WASHINGTON, JOHN, lieutenant and engineer, assigned to the British garrison at Annapolis Royal, N.S.; fl. 1719–24.
Washington’s behaviour was frequently a source of agitation in the British capital between 1719 and 1724. He neglected to keep his engineering accounts in order, ignored the orders of his superiors, and intrigued against the local authorities. In June 1721 a fellow officer noticed that Washington was spending a good deal of time in the “Necessary house” at the fort. While leaving the privy one day Washington dropped a piece of “foule Paper,” which was found to contain a draft of a letter to the Board of Ordnance accusing Governor Richard Phillips* and the provincial councillors of graft and peculation. A search of Washington’s quarters revealed that he had been sending such letters to England for months. The revelation of this “Villanous underhand dealing” prompted an investigation and the dispatch of voluminous denials by the councillors to the home authorities. Although Washington was obviously untrustworthy and possibly insane, the council was unwilling to take action against him since he was directly responsible to the politically powerful Board of Ordnance. Apparently he remained in Nova Scotia until the spring of 1724, when he was either recalled or persuaded to return to England.
Mass. Hist. Soc., Gay papers, III, IV. PAC, Nova Scotia A, 11–16; see especially 13, pp.105–44, 164–85. Documents relating to currency in Nova Scotia, 1675–1758 (Shortt). PAC Report, 1894, 40–55. Brebner, New England’s outpost.