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 13, 1720
Letter from Robert Carter to John Carter, July 13, 1720

     Robert Carter writes to his son John, then in London studyinglaw, on July 13, 1720, complaining at length about John's expenses,particularly in persuading Micajah Perry to advance him funds beyondhis allowance. He states that if John deceives him again about theexpenses, he will no longer accept John's word about the managementof his affairs in London. He continues by refuting John's claim thatJohn Randolph has maligned John, and adds that Randolph never worebetter clothes that he has observed although his acquaintance withRandolph is slight. Randolph's politics and his were so opposed,Randolph being "a rank Torey a Proud, humble Parasite a fawningSycophant to his Patron," that he had not hired Randolph again aftera year of retaining him, and now finds Randolph involved in almostall cases he has lost. Robert continues that his lawsuit againstThomas Wise should soon be concluded, and that he will writeseparately concering "Mr. Lee's Settlemt. & Sr. Robt. Raymond's opinion upon the Case." He writes John that "Mr. Cary'sLawsuit is not Yett determin'd" and gives some details of the case,and notes that some poor familys that "whose Ancestors before themhave liv'd & Dyed in quiet possession of these Lands" are likelyto be hurt by the suit, adding that he has a closer claim to thelands than the person from whom Cary acquired because they hadbelonged to his niece. He instructs John to visit Cary and make himacquainted with these facts, reporting that he had made offers toCary through his lawyers to buy the lands in question, and directingJohn to keep in close contact, pressing Cary for his "LowestDemands." He concludes by criticising John for not mentioning hisbrothers who are in England at school, and reports that the family iswell.

Letter from Robert Carter to John Carter, July 13, 1720

-1 -

July 13th 1720
Rappahannock [LancasterCounty, Virginia]
Dear Son John --

      Yours of the 15th of Feb. came lately to my hands in It
You make me a great many promisses to make no farther use of
my money Beyond the Allowance I have agreed to give You &
Indeed it is a piece of very extraordinary managemt. In Mr. Perry
to give you the opportunity of doing It. Though Ihave Your frequent
promisses for a Stated Account of Your Expenses You leave me
As much in the Dark as ever, You Engage yourself Indeed
upon more full mouthed promisses for a better regulation
a Closer applicatn to Your Studies & agreater frugality for the
Future, but what reason have I to believe You'll bemore Consistent
with Your word now than You have hitherto bin, however I will once
more lay some weight upon what You say isYour fixed resolution but
If you deceive me again I must be so plain to tell You --
I Shall have little Dependance upon what You say hereafter
In relation to the managemt. governmt of Your self [sic] --

     You seem to Suspect Mr. Randolph has Done You
Some Disservice in his character of You but in that You are
Entirely Mistaken I Dont know nor ever heard he has
lett fall any Expression to Your Disadvantage nor Indeed had
I Ever much Discourse with him abt. You, so that If he's under any
obligation to You, he is for what I know clear of the Sin of
Ingratitude. as for his wearing finer Linen or finer Clothes
Than You he never appeard in any Such here that I
have seen, my Accquaintance with him is very slender
only now and then casualy at a Dinner, his Principles
& mine are of a very Diff [eren] tnaturea rank Tory a
Proud, humble Parasite a fawning Sycophant to his
Patron with all the other requisites to a servile Courtier. These
are as much reverse to my nature as white is to black
besides although he was my Servant for ayear & I gave him aretaining fee at his first
coming in he has been in all Causes That Ihave had against me
From whence You may conclude there is very little
familiarity between us.

     Mr. Richard Perry tells me heshould Settle Mr.Wise's
Affair in a Short time, Mr. Lee's Settlement & Sir Robert Raymond's
opinion upon the Case I Shall Consider in a Letter by Itself.

     Mr. Cary's Lawsuit is not Yet determin'd altho I
take the most Difficult part of Itto be over It is come to the
Issue The last Jury made two Surveys & have submitted It
to the Judgement of the Court w[hi] ch. of the two Surveys is the
right such a proceeding in a Jury I never Saw before but it
lies upon this Issue for Trial to the next Court. let theDetermination
be as much in the Disfavour of Mr. Cary as It can

-2 -

he will have Enough for his money, &in my Conscience I think
of right he ought to go no further than the Inmost lines If
he recovers to the outer most It will be a very hard fate
to several Poor families whose Ancestors beforethem have
lived & Died in quiet possession of these Lands, & If Carybe a
Man of honour & Circumstance I believe If he were
upon the Spot he would be contented to takehis land
with out Disturbing these poor people. I'm sure w [ere] he in
right mind I would Forthwith give It up, & If Proximity
of blood might take place, I am a nearer heir than the
Person Cary Purchased from, Those Landswere the Inhe=
=ritance of my Bro [the] rs Daughter and she died last Seizd
of That Inheritance, I'd have you acquaint Mr. Cary
with this whole Story. he has retained indeed all the
Lawyers that are of any value in theCountry How far
the Strength of Lungs may go in bewildering A Court
& worrying Poor men out of their rights I Cannot tell
You might very well Smile at Cary's taulking [sic] of £3000
when he bought. those Lands & two considerable Tracts more
as I take It for less than 500, I offered his Lawyers
At the bar to take the Land with in theInmost bounds & to
pay him his principal money & Interest from the
time of the Payment with the Charges of the Lawsuit
& £100 besides for his bargain. or If this will not do
I Shall be willing to give him as much for It as
any body else & I think the relationship should make
him So Generous rather to let me have It than another
I would have you keep the business warm between You
& to Accquaint me with his Lowest Demands. There
is but one Difficulty in the Wind which If I can get over
I may make a better Title to these lands than any of
the heirs of Hull under whom Cary purchased --

     In all Yor Long Letter You forget toSay one
Sylable of YorBro [the] rs Surely they are more inYorcare
Than all this comes to. Yor Sisters & their families are in
health my daughter Page wth her husband went from
hence but two Days ago we all Enjoy health in this
family at this time thank God I commit You to the
Protection of the Almighty & am


Source copy consulted: Robert CarterLetter Book, 1720 July-1721 July, BR 227, Huntington Library, ArtCollections, and Botanical Gardens, San Marino, California. Printed:Wright. Letters of Robert Carter. . .. pp. 7-10.

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 to merchantsabroad. The county and colony have been added for clarity.

[1] RC and Thomas Wise had"traded with each other in tobacco and bills of exchange between 1707and 1717," but Wise "neglected his duty in returning those bills thatwere protested." Carter sued Wise in England to recover his money,and he won £180. ( Survey Report 10147 describingC24/1398 part 1, Virginia Colonial Records Project, Albert H. SmallSpecial Collections Library, University of Virginia; andletter of August 19, 1723, RC to Micajah Perry.)

[2] Sir Robert Raymond, later Lord Chief Justice, wasAttorney General in 1720. He was regarded as the foremost lawyer ofhis day.

[3] Mr. Cary may have been Robert Cary (1685-1751), amember of a British family of merchants who had many Virginiaconnections. See Price. "Who Was John Norton? A Note on. . . Some Eighteenth-Century London Virginia Firms." for anextensive discussion of the Cary family.

[4] Elizabeth (Carter) Lloyd (1675-1693) was RC'sbrother John's only child. Elizabeth married John Lloyd in 1691, andwas dead of measles by November 1693. John appointed managers of theestate in 1699 in Essex County, and returned to England the next yearas he had inherited land there. Elizabeth inherited from her mother,Elizabeth Hull, also an only child, all of her grandfather JohnHull's property.

[5] Probably Richard Hull of Northumberland County whodied in 1717.

[6] John Carter's younger brothers, Robert (1704-1732), Charles (1707-1764), and Landon (1710-1778), were then inEngland for their education. (Greene, TheDiary of Colonel Landon Carter of Sabine Hall,1752-1778 ,3. )

[7] John's sister Judith (1695-c.1750) who marriedMann Page of "Rosewell" in 1718.

This text revised November 20,2008.