To Jonathan Boucher
Mount Vernon May 21st 1772
Inclination having yielded to Importunity, I am now, contrary to all expectation under the hands of Mr Peale; but in so grave—so sullen a Mood—and now and then under the influence of Morpheus, when some critical strokes are making, that I fancy the skill of this Gentleman’s Pencil, will be put to it, in describing to the World what manner of Man I am. I have no doubt of Mr Peales meeting with very good Incouragement in a Tour to Williamsburg; for having mentioned him to some Gentlemen at our Court, they seem desirous of employing him in his way down.1
Your excuse for denying us the pleasure of your Company with Governr Eden & Lady, thô not strictly warranted by Scripture, is nevertheless highly admissable, and I sincerely congratulate you upon the prospect of happiness; as I think there is a fair Field of it opening to your view, from the judiciousness of your choice2—Whether Mrs Washington ever stretches as far as An⟨mutilated⟩ot, we shall certainly take som⟨mutilated⟩ppertunity of making y⟨mutilated⟩n3 this occasion[.] In the meanwhile with Compliments to yr self & Miss Boucher in which she joins I am with very sincere regard Dr Sir Yr Most Obedt Servt
ALS, MiDbEI; cover, PWacD: Sol Feinstone Collection, on deposit PPAmP. GW wrote his letter to Boucher of 23 May, which he wrote after receiving Boucher’s letter of 22 May, at the bottom of this letter as a sort of postscript.
1. For Charles Willson Peale’s portrait of GW, see Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 3:108–9, and Cash Accounts for May 1772, n.8. Peale was at this time touring Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, hoping to make enough money on portrait painting to pay off pressing debts.
2. Boucher was married on 2 June to Eleanor Addison at Oxon Hill by the bride’s uncle and the groom’s friend, the Rev. Henry Addison. The visit of Gov. and Mrs. Robert Eden to Mount Vernon did not materialize at this time. See Boucher to GW, 22 May, and GW to Boucher, 23 May. Boucher’s “excuse,” which was apparently delivered on 18 May “by Peale” (Boucher to GW, 22 May), has not been found.
3. For the mutilated portion of the letter, someone has supplied the words: “as far as Annapolis or not, we shall certainly take some very early oppertunity of making you a visit on this occasion.” Ford, Writings of Washington description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford, ed. The Writings of George Washington. 14 vols. New York, 1889–93. description ends , 2:349–50, gives a different reading.