Robert King Carter's Correspondence and Diary

   A Collection Transcribed
        and Digitized
   by Edmund Berkeley, Jr.

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Electronic Text Center , University of Virginia Library


July 15, 1702
Letter from Robert Carter to Francis Lee, 1702 July 15

     Robert Carter writes to London merchant Francis Lee that he has sent 20 hogsheads of tobacco and that some of the other trustees of the Ralph Wormeley estate are pushing other merchants for the estate business, but as he has control of the estate's business on the Rappahannock (while Edmund Jenings supervises that on the York), he will continue to send crops to Lee. Carter states that it is strange that Wormeley, who had inherited large estates, should regularly have been in financial trouble. He notes that some of the trustees had previously wanted to bring Wormeley's sons home from England, but they are now content; their mother had asked that their expenses be kept at a moderate level, and this is important if Ralph and John are to inherit good estates. And he adds that he has observed that those boys educated in England who had the most pocket money and finest clothes did not obtain the best education. He closes by noting that his sister-in-law, Elizabeth Wormeley, has a right to one-fifth of the proceeds of the previous year's crop, and will market her share herself in the future.

Letter from Robert Carter to Francis Lee , July 15, 1702

-1 -

Rappa[hannock, Lancaster County, Virginia]

July the 15th. 1702.

     My Last [illegible] went by the Lawrell of Leverpooll [sic]
Bound for London Containing a Bill of Lading for
Twenty hogsheads of Tobacco, all Consisting of the home
Cropps being well near the Moiety of the Quantity made
there. Some of the Trustees, you mayGuess them
with out Naming have Endeavoured Strongly to Turn
most of the ConsignmentsAnother way, but I have hither=
to had the Ordering of the Concerns in this River, the
Yourk [sic] Business under Collo. Jenings's manage=
-ment;I promised a More Particular Regard to your Letters.
which take in these Words.

     You very much Resent Mr. Secretarys Discourses before his Death
Do Assure you I AddedNothing but Rather Diminished
in the Relation. I know your Acquaintance was of a Long
Standing, As for the Obligations on your Side, they were
secrets to the World; it is Strange to hear A Gentleman

-2 -

to whom so Large a fortune Descended, Whose great
places of profit sat fast to him for nearThirty Ye [ars]
together, Ending not but with his Life should be Under A
-nnual Arrears for Money, but that it was so I Dou [bt]
not having your Word for it.

     A Stir was made at the Beginning to have the Children
Remov'd, One of the TrusteesAffirming, the Fathers Ord [ers]
was so , but that hott humor is now Off, andno
Noise is made about them Nor I Believe will, unl [ess]
the occasionRises on your part. It is an Old Rule in
the mean vertue Consists, If I forgett not it was the [wish]
of the Mother that the Childrens Expences should [Not]
be too Excessive, nor too Scanty, If I may be Allow'd [tojud]
-ge theirs hitherto have too great a Taste of the former, and [ . . . ]
to me, to be above a proportion to the Comin [gin]
If they be so Already, what will they be, a Y [ear]
hence,they themselves, when th [ey become]
Men, will be the first that will Censure [the Trustees]
if they Meet with Empty purses.

     Their Father bore a very great Post in [Virginia and]
Liv'd as great,perhapps more Expensive than a [ny]
Gentleman in't, but Every Year to ClearScore [ . . . ]
behind the lighter as you Say, was a Temper [I can't?]
tell how to Commend. If his Place and Cropps w [ere]
Littleenough to Support his Grandure, pray whe [re would]
he been, If the formerhad fail'd him, he must [then]
have Lower'd his Topsailes or gone off like aMus [ket]
as some of his Neighbours did before him.

     Ralphy In Prospect will have a fine Estate, Joh [n]
a Tolerable good One; yet it will hardly be Come [nda]
-ble in either of them, to follow their Fathers Step [s in]
all things, I will not Undertake to prophecy,tha [t]
they will be Secretarys or Naval Officers.

     Uppon the whole it is my Opinion if you Retr [ench]
their Expences whatReasonably you Can, it will be [a]
kindness to the Boyes, too much finery, andtoo [much]
pockett Money most an End Raises inyoun [g]

-3 -

Folks such Opinions of their Estates that they
hardly know how to take up when they Come
tobe their own Masters.

     Tobacco hath held up its head for several
years together, but he that Measures his Expences
by his seven Last Years gettings in Virginia,
may Seven years hence probably have Little to
Spend, but perhapps I have harp'd too much already
upon this String, at least I know it will notbe
very pleasing to the Boys. I have only One
Word more, from my Own Observations when I
was in England, Those boyes that Wore the finest
Close and had the most Money in their pockets still
went away, with the least Learning in their heads
yet am I not for too Narrow a keeping neither.

     I must not forget to tell you that my sister Worme=
hath a5th. part Due to her of the Produce of the last
years Cropp, She hath now her Tobacco to her self
Iam Sir

      [Presen] t my kind Respects
to [theboys. I] intend them all the Good
[Let] them think, what theywill.

Your Affectionate Country-
-man and humble Servant


Source copy consulted: Christ Church Parish, Lancaster County, Processioners' Returns, 1711-1783, and Wormeley Estate Papers, 1701-1710, 1716, Acc. 30126, Archives Research Services, Library of Virginia, Richmond, 152-154. Extract printed in William and Mary Quarterly, 2nd ser., 17(1909): 256.

Robert Carter generally used a return address of "Rappahannock" for the river on which he lived rather than "Corotoman," the name of his home, on his correspondence, especially to merchants abroad. The county and state have been added for clarity.

[1] A moiety is one of two approximately equal portions.

[2] Ralph Wormeley (ca. 1681-1714), Ralph Wormeley's (d. 1701) oldest son; Carter was among the trustees for the boys.

[3] John Wormeley (1689-1727), a younger son of Ralph Wormeley (d. 1701) for whom Carter was one of the trustees. When his older brother, Ralph died in 1714, John inherited all of their father's considerable estate in Middlesex and York counties. He married Elizabeth ? and had six children. (See "Letters Concerning The Estate Of Ralph Wormeley" in the opening page of this web site. )

This text revised June 9, 2008.