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


Letter from Robert Carter to William Dawkins, 1717 October3

     Robert Carter writes to London merchant William Dawkins, October3, 1717, an addition to an earlier letter (probably that of September16, 1717) hoping that the victory achieved by the Tories at the lastsession (of Parliament) will result in peace in the country and will"promote the real good of the community" and "the securities of [the]Protestant Religion." He comments that the colony understands thatthe repeal of the tobacco law has been accomplished and that plantersare giving "orders to strip in the old way." He is glad to hear thatthe Carter has reached home safely and hopesfor her early return,and concludes with a comment that the recent "gust" has not damagedcrops as badly as had been feared.

Letter from Robert Carter to WilliamDawkins, October 3, 1717

-1 -

Rappa [hannock, LancasterCounty, Virginia]

Octor: 3rd 1717.
To William Dawkins

     This, a short additional line
by a Brig, Colman . Our great news
at this time is the triumph the
Torys have gained in the last Session.
May all these divisions end in the
peace of the nation. Its no great
matter to us who is uppermost,
so they promote the real good of the
community and the securty of
the Protestant Religion .

     The repeal of the Tobacco Law is a
believed truth and grounded on
some of the merchants letters.Mr.
Perry writes he took it to be neer
effected: so we give orders to strip in
the old way.The " Carter's " safety is a piece of
pleasing news. I hope you'll think
it proper to dispatch her back to us
with the first . I came a few daies [sic] sincefrom the
falls of our River.

-2 -

The gust has donelittle damage there.
They have generally pretty good crops
in the upper parts ofthe country and good in
quality too. There will not be thatscarcity
of Tobacco as was expected from our storm


Source copy consulted: Minor-Blackford Papers, James Monroe Law Office and Museum, Fredericksburg,Virginia. These texts are all nineteenth-century copies. Apparentlythere was in existence a letter book of Robert Carter's -- nowlost -- from which the unknown copiest recorded these texts. Asthey are the only texts, the punctuation and "corrections"obviously supplied by the copiest have been retained.

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, especiallyto merchants abroad. The county and colony have been added forclarity.

[1] Unidentified.

[2] As the Whigs were firmly in control of bothParliament and the government at this time, it is not clear what RCmeans.

[3] Governor Alexander Spotswood had gotten throughthe General Assembly in 1713 an act "for preventing frauds in Tobaccopayments And for the better Improveing the Staple of Tobacco." Amongother provisions (such as the establishment of tobacco inspectionshouses and of inspectors of tobacco), this law prohibited thestemming of tobacco. There was immediate opposition tothe law, but Dodson in his biography of Spotswood notes that thelieutenant governor had the power of appointment of the tobaccoinspectors, and "twenty-seven burgesses, a clear majority, weretobacco agents" in 1714, which helped defeat amendments to the actthat were brought up at that session. The colonial oppositiontogether with opposition from the English merchants led to the repealof the act in 1717; the news was announced in Virginia on November12. (Dodson. Alexander Spotswood. pp. 52-55; first quote from p. 54, fn. 53; second quote from p.57. )

[4] The copyist has added a footnote: "meaning thefirst fleet of the season."

This text revised September 30,2008.