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


     Robert Carter writes to London merchant July 13, 1720, in aletter by the Carter that he is shipping 60 hogsheads of tobacco onher, and 10 more in the Mercury ; he expects 11 pence per pound or hewill lose money. He reports that all goods came in good order butcoats for his two daughters were not included and should be sent nextseason. He sends an order for more goods, writing "You tell me Youlay out my money wth. as much Caution as If It were Yor. own, This Imust Confess is all I can desire, yett give me leave to Say some ofthem seems to be extraordinary Dear," and chides Dawkins about hissuggestion that Carter should follow Mrs. Heath's example in hisspending. "I must cutt my Coat according to my own Cloth and blessGod I am able to Do so well as I Do," he concludes. He pressesDawkins to find employment for Ben Graves, the son of Carter's oldfriend, ship captain Thomas Graves, and then discusses debts dueDawkins from Thomas Cunningham, Patrick Connolly, and Mr. Heath. Headds that he wants Dawkins to give him more information about hissons, then in England at school, and especially about their expenseswhich Carter thinks high and suggests that he may move them to theManchester School. He reports a bill of exchange, drawn on Dawkins,that he has given Edmund Jenings, and that he has had numerous deathsin his slave "familys" which are costing him a great deal to replace.He also chides Dawkins for suggesting that they sell the Carter pointing out "unless another Ship Supplys her place Yor. businesswill soon droope here." He asks for accounts from the Catherine , andexpresses the hope that he will make some money from the Carter's voyage that will offset his losses from "Hastewell's estate."

Letter from Robert Carter to WilliamDawkins, July 13, 1720

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Rappa [hannock, LancasterCounty, Virginia]

July 13. 1720

Mr. Wm. Dawkins
Sir. --

     This Accompanys the Carter She is loaded at £10
per Tun wch I hope will in some measure retreive [sic] the great
Great losses uponhe [r] late Voyages, Capt. > [Baily] Kent is threatned
Mightily to beremembred when a Scarce Year comes but
that humour will go neersoon to blow over There is no
reason that we who venture ourmoney Should be losers
by It --

     There is in her 60 hogsheads of my Crop Tobo. coming to
You,and 10 more Stemmed are designd to you per the Mercury
wch. makes Yor. Quota 100 hhdsaccording to Yor. Desire. If
You Do not give us Eleven pence perpound. now Freits are so high
we shall gett nothing,

     The Goods You sent me came in good order, but the
two Coatsfor my two Youngest Girls were neversent, pray
lett me have Them the next Year all that were at the opning
the Goods that came for myChildren can vouch for the truth
of this,

     Herein is an Invoyce for Goods to Supply my
Family's thenext Year wherein I have bin as good a husband
as possibly Ican, You tell me You lay out my money
wth. as much Caution as IfIt were Yor. own, This I must Con=
=fess is all I can desire, yett give me leave to Say some
of them seems to be extraordinaryDear, The earrings and
the Tomb Stone cost abundance more than I expected or
Intended. I shall be obligd to You to lett me be the Master of
my own money, You taulk [sic] vainly to me in making
Mrs. Heath my Pattern, had I but one Daughter and
She the Descendant of Two Successive Muck worms, perhaps
aparallel might not be improper, my Circumstances
are other ways.I must cutt my Coat according to my own
Cloth and bless God I amable to Do so well as I Do

     I'm heartily sorry for poor Ben Graves's misfortune
he's an honest brick man and I believe will hardlylong want
an Employ I shall be very well pleasd to hear he getts
a Good one. His bro[ the] r Adam made awrong Step when

he left the Carter however mythinks You Should be
So Generous to the memory of ThatGood man

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his father to find him a suitable birth in Some of Yor.
Ships& If my word will go any length wth. You tis my
Desire Youtake care of him.

     Yor. Debts I take the Same care of as I do of my own
gettthem when I can wth. out Law. Thos. Cunningham hath
pd. me upon Yor. Accot. his Debt of 26/3. Patrick Conolly is
in my Debt as well as Yors. he hath two hogsheads on boardthe
Carter to whom he Intends them Yett I dont know I shall
Give You a line more abt. some other of Yor. Debts in another

     Mr. Heaths Debts are so scatter'd I dont know wt.
willbecome of many of them but we shall write to him
A Joint Lettr.I find he dos not come into my proposal
Abt. Mr. Jacksons DebtTo give him Sattisfaction In that
matter I have sent him theStated Accot. from our
records of that Estate whereby It appearsI have paid
off more Debts, Than the Estate amounted toIncluding the
value of the land I sold & sure Mr. Heath isnot such a
violent lover of money to Desire I Should pay other
mens Debts out of my own Estate.

     I Should be oblig'd to You If You took more frequent
Opportunitys to give me an accot. of the welfare of my Sons
I have not had one line concerning them since The Carter
Iwant very much to know w[ha] t. I am to trustto In relation
of their maintenance, You gave me Yor. opinionThe two
Eldest would stand me in £40 aPs. If you run me out any
more money upon them I'm uponThots. [sic] of removing them
to Manchester School where I am well advisd I canmain-
=tain them for a great deal less & their education
Every whitt as Good.,

     I drew on You the other Day for £200 payable to
Edmund Jennings Esqr wch. request You to Ans [we] r at time
Some more Drafts I Shall be forc't to make er'e long
have had great losses of my Negroes inmy familys
this last winter The recruiting of wch. Swallows agreat
Deal of money, If You had sent me an Accot. Currt.
Icould have bin more Exact in my Care not to outrun

     You press me to Send You a Certificate
for the Cannister ofTea You sent me two Year ago

-3 -

It is here inclosed according to Yor. form, Sign'd by Mr. Pra [tt]
& Mrs. Jno. Robinson whose hands andpersons are both well
enough known in England,

     You make a proposal abt. selling the
Carter I have reason tofall into It I'm sure, I can hardly
believe You are in earnestwhen that time comes You'l be the
Greatest Sufferer, unlessanother Ship Supplys her place
Yor. business will soon droope here,

     The Ship Catherine's Accots. You say arenot Yett
made up when They are I shall be glad to gett some ofmy
money back again, I hope If The Carter makes any thing by
this voyage I shall be in the way of Getting my Debt
fromHastewells Estate, You must Expect never toEscape
Dunning till You have lickd me whole in that matter
wch. Shall Conclude me at present

Sir Yor. very humble Servt


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. 10-13.

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] RC's second wife, Elizabeth (Landon)Willis, had died in 1719, and the tombstone probably was tomark her grave at Christ Church.

[2] When Louis Wright edited this letter for his 1940edition, he speculated that Mrs. Heath might be a Mrs. Samuel Heathof Northumberland County. According to more recent research by AlanSimpson, Mrs. Heath probably was Katherine (Bailey) Heath, daughterof Arthur Bailey, Jr. and granddaughter of Robert Bristow. Bailey and Bristow had been partnersin a London mercantile firm and had owned ships in the Virginiatrade. Carter had lived in the Bailey household in the six years thathe spent at school and would have known Arthur Bailey's wife well. Asan heir to both wealthy men, Mrs. Heath could readily afford theexpensive jewelry of which Dawkins wrote Carter. (Wright. Letters of Robert Carter. . . . p.11 ; and Simpson. "Robert Carter'sSchooldays." p. 173.)

[3] Benjamin and Adam Graves were the sons of CaptainThomas Graves, long a captain of vessels trading to Virginia, and aspecial friend of RC.

[4] Patrick Connelly appears on a 1716 list oftitheables in Christ Church Parish, Lancaster County( "Titheables in Lancaster Co., 1716." William andMary Quarterly. 1st. ser., 21(1912): 106-112, on p.107 )

[5] RC undoubtedly knew of the Manchester GrammarSchool, in 1720 already over 200 years old.

[6] Katherine (Armistead) Hone Beverley married JohnRobinson (1683-1749) about 1701; they lived in Middlesex County. (See the discussion of John Robinson in Rutman andRutman, A Place in Time: Middlesex. . . . )

[7] This was probably Edward Hastewell, a Londonmerchant who signed on November 23, 1699 -- as did Micajah Perry and JohnGoodwin -- a memorial, on behalf of themselves and otherstrading to Virginia, to the Commissioners for Trade and Plantations.In a letter of July 13, 1720, to the Perrys, RC referred to Hastewellas one of the owners of the Carter.

This text revised November 20, 2008.