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


August 20, 1706
Letter from Robert Carter to [Thomas Corbin,] August 20, 1706

     Robert Carter writes to London merchant Thomas Corbin, August 20, 1706, that he has written before by an earlier fleet to send bills of lading for tobacco sent on consignment for the benefit of Ralph Wormeley's estate, and noting that he regrets that Wormeley's son Ralph is angry with the estate's trustees who have limited his expenses but that limits are necessary. He complains that Corbin has joined other merchants in opposing the Virginia practice of prizing tobacco, and suggests that Corbin and others must help planters find a way to make money that will do more than pay the duties. Virginia has received news of victories in the war, and the political conflicts in the colony are subsiding thanks to the work of the new governor, Edward Nott, but will continue if the former governor, Francis Nicholson, is allowed to continue to stir trouble in England. He closes by admonishing Corbin that he should not have joined his brother-in-law, Edmund Jenings, in a memorial against the colonial Council because the Council in the presence of the governor had repudiated it. Carter adds that he writes this only as a friend and that he will not be active in political affairs again.

Letter from Robert Carter to [Thomas Corbin,] August 20, 1706

-1 -

Rappa[hannock, Lancaster County, Virginia]

Augt: 20th: 1706.

     [I] have writt to you by the Fleet wherewth sent you
[Bill] s of Lading for the Tobaccoes I had shipt to you on [the]
Accot of Esqr Wormelys Estate & advised you of the
Bills then drawn on that Accot., Yours per the Corbin
of the 29th of Novr. & 2d of Febry came to me but yesterday
I am Sorry Monsr. Ralph [Wormeley] is angry with us if it be for
ordering his keeping to be within Suitable limits We
must take no notice of it he will in time see his own folly.

     I find you are got into the Strain of Complaints agt the
prizing of Tobo. as well as the rest of the Merchts & let the
Tobo. be light or heavy or what it will you are all in
the Same tune, the design I almost think is to discour=
=age the practice of prizing Tobo. Your next
work will necessarily be to find out ways for

-2 -

us to relieve our necessities in respect to cloathing of us & in
answering the other calls of nature for if we must follow yor
directions & make such Tobo. as you will think fitt to
give a Character to twill do little more then pay the
Queen her Customs & the Merchts. their Commission
I heartily wish among yor other memorials & it seems to
be as well for yor own Interest as ours tht you will join
in a memorial to the Lords or where its proper to let
them know the necessitous Circumstances we poor p[lan=]
=ters labour under & how absolutely for the [Qu] ee[n's]
Service it is to Support our Trade tht we m[ay not need]
to fall upon manufactories for Cloathing [ourselves?]
& I cannot but think all who really desig[n the Queen's]
Service will think this the best way to keep us upon G[enerally follo]
=wing the Trade of Tobacco as now we do [if]
it comes to pass any of Esqr. Wormelys Tobo. sh[ould be]
over priz'd they Seldom used to take overmuch [ . . . ]
it its blessed news tht there is so good an Agreement [between]
the Queen & her people I have now a postman from
of the 18 of May tht gives the Accot. of a great Victory obtained [by]
the Duke of Marlborough in Brabant & he writes
by private Letters they understood the Seige of Bar[celona]
was raised These things we hope will contribute [to]
that long peace you speak of & which we All ha[ve]
reason to desire thank God the Division here gr[ows]
less & less every day, by the mild & prudent conduct of our good Govr & will be quite forgot at an End in a li[ttle]
-3 -

time if Collo. N[icholso] n be not allowed to perplex things
at home, Collo Quarry & Collo Cox hath brought in so
many Stories of his Grandure, his great intrest wth the great men
& the terrible threats he daily vents against those
tht were concerned in the Complaints agt him which
hath put a great many Mens Spirits upon a Fresh
Ferment that before began to grow quiet & calm but
I shall not say more of this Subject.

     It appears you have bin active in a memorial on
behalf of yor brother Jennings agt the Council it
had bin well you had taken care before hand that you
had truth for yor foundation, Mr Secretary was
told by the Council in the Presence of the Govr when 'twas read he had wronged thm
& charged them wth a falsehood to which he did not
know how to make any Answer, how far such a
proceeding may tend to yor Intrest its not my business
to consider for my part I shall endeavour to be
easy & rather than be ingaged in new quarrels
be content to Set down a private man & be no
more concerned wth the publick while I live I
write thus freely to you as a friend not intending you
should make use of my name upon any of these Accots
only for yor own Information & I hope you will not
make any other Construction I give you my humble
Service & remain

Yor affectionate Countryman &
most humble Servt.

I almost forgot to take notice of the young Wormelys coming in next fleet its agreed by all concerned tht Capt.
Graves shall have the care of them.

Sr. herein is an Invoice for some g[oods for the use of that estate I de] sire may be sent in per some good Ship to to
our River


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, 170-72. Extract printed William and Mary Quarterly , 2d. ser., 17 (1909), 260-62.

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 colony have been added for clarity.

[1] It is clear from internal evidence that this letter was addressed to Corbin.

[2] Carter refers to campaigns in Europe of the War of the Spanish Succession.

[3] Edward Nott (1657-1706) was the governor; he was to die three days after Carter wrote this letter, and Edmund Jenings as president of the Council would become acting govenor until Alexander Spotswood reached Virginia June 23, 1710.

[4] Robert Quarry served as surveyor general of customs for the colonies, and, although he was made a member of the Council of Virginia in 1702, he was frequently away in England or another of the colonies. (Tyler. Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography. I, 148. )

[5] Edmund Jenings held the post of Secretary of State of the colony; he was Corbin's brother-in-law.

[6] Carter often referred to in their youth as his "Cozns." Ralph Wormeley (ca. 1681-1714), Ralph Wormeley's (d.1701) oldest son; and John Wormeley (1689-1727) because their parents were his brother-and sister-in-law. He was one of the boys' trustees under their father's will.

This text revised July 22, 2008.