Skip to main content

Oversize letters, 1759 - 1803

 File — Box: Manuscripts Oversize Box 7, Folder: 51

Scope and Contents

[Jonathan] Boucher, Port Royal, Virginia, to [John] James, at St. Bees, near Whitehaven, England., 7 Aug[ust] 1759 Reflections on tedious voyage and on American society; condemns levity and bad language of Americans.  The countryside of Virginia and the dress of the colonists.  Plans to start a school may turn out better than expected, though he has heard of few pupils yet.  The James' child and a visit by the commissary. 

[Jonathan] Boucher, Port Royal, Virginia to [John] James, at St. Bees near Whitehaven, Cumberland [Co.] England., 14 [Septem]ber 1759 Americans have no notion of the Art of letter writing to preserve friendship. Has started his school and foresees no lack of pupils, although their dispositions are unpleasing.  Account of Mr. Giberne, a clergyman [Rector of Hanover Parish, King George's county].  His attendance at horserace and the balls following.  Asks for mathematical books.

[Jonathan] Boucher, Port Royal, Virginia to [John] James, at St, Bees, near Whitehaven, [Eng]., 31 Jan[uary] 1760 Proposes to give up teaching and the church in favour of running a store which is to be set up by Mr. Younger [whose sons he accompanied to America as tutor], confessing that he has long been conscious of his unworthiness for his present occupation. Clergy in Virginia poor in quality.  Asks James to advise his brother, who seems inclined to come out to Virginia; he should persevere in his attempt to take orders, in which case Boucher may, if he prospoers, be able to get him preferment.

[Jonathan] Boucher, P[or]t Royal, Virginia to [John] James, Whitehaven, England., [Feb]ruary 1760 A short study of the uniqueness of the character of Virginians.  Intention of becoming a merchant may surprise James.  He doubts the wisdom of his brother's coming to America in the hope of succeeding him at the school at Port Royal; Captain Dizon [Mr. Younger's agent] although a worthy man, and the company he keeps in America, would not appeal to his brother.  Repeats his request to assist Mr. Younger in recommending an usher to succeed him at Port Royal.  Requests James to mark his recommendations in a book catalogue he has ordered.

Jonathan Boucher, St. Mary's [Parish, Caroline Co., Va.] to [John] James,  [Whitehaven, Eng.]., 9 Dec. 1765 Urges James to write. Maury is seriously ill.  Disturbance over the terrible Stamp Act which is "oppressive, impolitic and illegal;" Parliament has not right to impose it upon us; he also grieves at Government's policy in India.  Asks James to help him find an usher, though his school is still in rather a precarious position.  Expresses sorrow at the death of his elder brother and wishes to know if he succeeds to the Blencogo estate.  Now has respect for Americans and does not intend to settle in England again. Reason for declining grammar master place at William and Mary. 

Jona[tha]n Boucher, Virg[ini]a to [John] James, at St. Bees, near Whitehaven, [Eng.]., 18 June 1766 Thanks him for his letter and makes renewed professions of friendship.  Wishes to resign from irksome employment of teaching; if it were possible, he would like to settle in Cumberland, for which he feels a special attachment.  Correspondent in Glasgow has sent him two parcels of books. His brother's widow has recommended her unborn child to his care and he asks James to help him with this charge.  Sends a cask of snake root.

[Jonathan] Boucher, St. Mary's [Parish], Caroline [County, Va.] to [Rev. John James, Whitehaven, Eng.]., 9 March 1767 His return to England is not yet likely; his school is flourishing with 17 boys at £20 p.a. for board and education.  Contrasts situation and methods of presentment of the clergy in Virginia and Maryland in favour of the latter, but hopes of preferment there have been spoiled by arrival of Rev. Benedict Allen and "a lady he calls his sister"; American clergy, especially converted Scotch Presbyterians, are in bad repute.  Expresses his admiration for "our airy American girls" and his hopes of marrying Mrs. Judith Chase a young widow of respectable fortune.  Accounts of his friends Mr. Addison [Rev. Henry Addison of Prince George's County, Maryland] and Mr. Maury, whose scheme to settle in the West was put a stop to by the unjust and impolitic Royal Proclamation against further settlements.  Thanks him for "Friendly Intentions" toward his sister-in-law.  Asks his reaction to the "Demise of Dr. Brown."

Jona[tha]n Boucher, St. Mary's [Parish, Caroline County, Va.] to John James, Whitehaven, [Eng.], 4 July 1767 Encloses a bill to await the arrival of his sister.  Mr. Cooper, President of the College of New York [see B/2], has been sounding out the clergy on the scheme of a bishop's coming to America, but has met with little encouragement.  Asks information on the Rev. Benedict Allen.  Hopes of preferment in Maryland. 

[Jonathan] Boucher, St. Mary's Parish, Caroline County, Va.] to [Rev. John] James, Whitehaven, Eng.]., 25 July 1769 Although he applied to the new Governor, [Robert Eden] before his coming out to Marland, as Mr. Addison and the Dulaneys advised, he has failed to secure preferment and Mr. Magowan, his own protege, has been successful. He would like to buy a living in England and could raise £1000.  Asks James to look for a curate for Mr. Addison and an usher for his own school.  Sends thanks to Mr. Denon for his letter of recommendation.

Jonathan Boucher, London, [Eng.] to [John James]., 7 Jan[uary] 1776 He believes that the present troubles in America are due less to the Stamp Act and Duties on tea than to a "principle of revolt innate in all colonies"; the British constitution is not well adapted to the ruling of colonies, but as colonies are so important to Britain, she should profit by past errors; any accommodation reached must be of a permanent nature; American institutions cherish Republicanism but various English men from Chatham to Priestly have helped kindle this flame; in America, members of the Church of England, particularly the clergy, have remained loyal in spite of persecution.

[Jonathan Boucher], London, [Eng.] to [John James], 8 Jan[ua]ry 1776 He regrets leaving America, but he could not have remained there with safety; his friend the Governor of Maryland has written to recommend him to the Earl of Dartmouth, the Bishop of London, his brother-in-law the Bishop of Bangor [John Moore 1730-1805], and his brother the Under Secretary of State [William Eden, 1st Lord Auckland 1744-1814]. Boucher has discussed America with Lord George Germain, the new American Secretary. The large numbers of American refugees make it difficult to obtain preferment, but Dr. Cooper [see B/2] has given up his curacy of Paddington, worth 70 p.a. to Boucher; Boucher has left lands and slaves in America worth 5000 and has brought only L200 with him; he will find it difficult to support the orphans at Blencogo [possibly Kitty and Betty Strange who appear in later letters as protegees of Boucher]. Problems with repaying his debt to James. Asks to raise debt to L200.  4 pages. Autograph Letter.

James Maury, Frederi[ck]sville Parish, Albemarle County, [Va.], to Jonathan Boucher, [15 April 1763] Letter mounted on paper with pencil notes including passage on friendship from letter of 20 Feb., 1764, not in this collection. Medium oversize file. (B/1/1). As mutual friends give him a good account of Boucher's taste, openness of temper and goodness of heart, and he has seen and admired part of a letter written to Mr. Tickell [see Boucher letters to Tickell], he is eager to be placed among his correspondents and friends.


  • Creation: 1759 - 1803


Conditions Governing Access:

Collection is open to all researchers. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, such as the Virginia Public Records Act (Code of Virginia. § 42.1-76-91); and the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (Code of Virginia § 2.2-3705.5). Confidential material may include, but is not limited to, educational, medical, and personnel records. If sensitive material is found in this collection, please contact a staff member immediately. The disclosure of personally identifiable information pertaining to a living individual may have legal consequences for which the College of William and Mary assumes no responsibility.


From the Collection: 2.17 Linear Feet (3 boxes)



Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center Repository