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 Richard Perry, July 13,1720

     Robert Carter writes at length to London merchant Richard Perry(son of Micajah), July 13, 1720, thanking him for his advice abouthandling attacks of gout; Carter will no longer drink claret. Hefinds the prices realized for his tobacco quite acceptable but warnsagain of his concern about selling his tobacco near the end of themarket, and then comments on Perry's complaint of Carter's tobaccohaving "a Smoaky smell," noting that it is necessary to use fires inthe curing houses when there is "funky foggy weather." He agreeswith Perry that the opening of the "The Spanish Trade as well as theFrench" should make good markets for tobacco, and notes that shipcaptains will be reporting at home the Virginian's expectations ofthe best crop in some years. He is resolving to be more careful inhis tobacco production since he is irritated that Mr. Pratt getsbetter prices for tobacco "that comes from all parts of their Countylow lands as well as high" when his own lands are better. Hecontinues with comments on his bank stock and annuities, and "printedproposals of the South Sea Company & the Bank to the Parliament"which Col. Harrison had when Carter was in Williamsburg. He asks thatPerry "act with the same prudent regard to my Interest as you Do for Your own." And he adds someremarks about his upcoming heavy expenses. He concludes by thankingPerry for "the commendable Character You give me of my Son" whichpleases Carter as the expenses of John's education have been heavyand any more would have left him "at a loss to know how to keep the rest of my family from want."

Letter from Robert Carter to RichardPerry, July 13, 1720

-1 -

Rappahannock, [LancasterCounty, Virginia]

July 13 1720

Mr. Richard Perry

Sir --

     Yors. of the 13th. of February By aMarylander
came to me 5 Days ago , The kind advice You give me for
the management of my self in the Gout is very Acceptable, I
have had no touchof It since my first fit. It made me quite
leave off Drinking claret as I resolve to do every thing else
I shall be advis'd
That mayany ways contribute to that Distemper --

     The prices You have sold my Tobacco athitherto I am well Enough
pleased with If you do but put off therest as well I shall be easy.
These lag Sales are always a terrour to me Youcomplain of some
of my Tobacco having a Smoaky [sic] smell I do not know the meaning
of It,our Tobacco houses are Separated far enough fromour
Q [uarte] rs indeed Sometimes infunky foggy weather when Tobacco is just uponturning we are forced
to makesmothers under our houses inour houses to Dry It, & this iswhat's
practiced by the best planters in virginia & Ever wassince I
have been acquainted with Themaking of Tobacco , We have
hopes The Spanish Trade as well as theFrench being open
You will not find Your selves mistaking [sic] in Your Expectati [on]
of a Standing Markett [sic] for some Years, we reckon we have had
a great many fewer Ships This Year than the last, indeed
they'll all go neer [sic] to return full & Some Tobacco will be left
& They will bring You the Story ofa fair Crop being in
the Ground. but how that will Issue no bodyknows It
looks hitherto to promise to be better Tobacco than wehave
had for some Years I take up resolutions to be nicer in the
handling of minethan Ever I was Yet, It troubles
menot a little that Mr. Pratt should get more for
hisMiscelaneous stuff that comes from all parts of
their County low lands as well as high than I do
for mine that is made with my own people & upon as good&
proper [lands] as any body canboast of

-2 -

     You have set me right about my bank StockI was afraid 100 taken away would have
prov'd 100 Diminution but It seems the remaining 90 Stands in the place of
The 100, Your observation of the Annuities I can say little tomore Than I
already have. In the begining of May at Wmsburg Colonel Harrison by some
means had gotten the printed proposals of the South SeaCompany & the Bank
to the Parliament, which presently alarm'd me and from York River
I wrote to You abt. It. Desiring You would act with thesame prudent
regard to my Interest as you Do for Your own thereI left
It then And So I think must do now. That annuity whattime
I had come in It whether 96 or 99 Years I never Yett [sic] knew.You may
please to remember that fund was never yet verygrateful
to me I took It in compliment to You because You toldme you had
purchased It for meotherwise I had rather been with out Its 4
so poor a premium I will never take so little again This Year
I Shallfind so many ways for the Drawing out my money I have
nooccasion to try contrive new ones for letting go any more upon Interest. [ . . . ] the bank stock & the
Annuity I havealready [ . . . ] If you do not find It necessary to
take in mymoney I would have [ . . . ]
Your Father in his Letter of the 20th of February tells
me the bank Does buy upall the Annuities they can
whether this will be any Salve to meI know not It is
all in a great Measure a mystery to us & So I Shall pass It,
The part I am to hold inBagwells Ship, a Draft of £500
I made on You t'other Day to Colonel Jenings & some other large
uses I must make of you in a Short time will sink me low
enough If not too low I'm afraid for any present thots. of further

     You please me very well in the commendable Character You
give me of my Son. Itis no small Satisfaction to me tohave
a pennyworth for my Pennyto have spent so much money upon
a dunce or a Blockhead hadbin most Intolerable & Yett [sic]
After all to have a finicall [sic] inside & not a Suitable Cover-
=ing for the out Side will makebut a Schymity gentleman I'm
Suspicious Mr. Randolph has
bad & mean company to be sure
has been the bane of many a Young manbut certainly£200
per Annum is no such Scanty Allowance to lay himunder any
Such Disadvantage If It be, I shall be at a loss toknow
how to keep the rest of my family from want That Yors. may
Swim in a much Greater Affluence is the Cordial Desire of

Sir Your sincere humble Servant

In my account Current you omitted
giving me credit for my 30
hogsheadsof Tobacco per Hancock indeed You
likewise omit making me debtor
with a large bill you have paid for me
both which I expect will have their birth
in mynext Account


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. 1-4.

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] Louis Wright has speculated that Mr. Pratt mightbe William Pratt of Gloucester County as there were several Prattsactive in Virginia at this time. In his letter to Micajah and RichardPerry written this same day, RC noted that "Mr. Pratt took care ofthose [letters] for James rivr & York" which makes Wright'sspeculation as good as any. In the close-knit society of his time andclass, RC would certainly have learned what others were receiving fortheir crops, but a definite identification of the irritating Mr.Pratt is not possible. (Wright. Letters ofRobert Carter. . . . p. 2. )

This text revised November 26,2008.