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, February 13, 1721

     Robert Carter writes to London merchant William Dawkins, February 13, 1721, to thank him for news of his sons studying in England, and comments on Dawkins' dismal reports "of the Stock Jobbing Trade." He then responds to Dawkins' complaints about the quality of his tobacco. He promises to let Captain Baily Kent "hear of this foolish prateling on both Sides of his Ears" for carrying false tales about a part of Carter's tobacco production. There are outport ships in Virginia taking advantage of the larger merchants holding back their ships from an early voyage, and some colonists are rushing to obtain good freight rates. He hopes the Carter will arrive safely next month.

Letter from Robert Carter to William Dawkins, February 13, 1721

-1 -

Rappahannock, [Lancaster County, Virginia]

February 13. 1720/21

Mr. William Dawkins

Sir -- --

     I received Yors. of the 27th of October the best news in it is the
welfare of my Children, You tell a Dismal Storey of the fatal Effects
of the Stock Jobbing Trade and Every body Else chimes upon the
Same note thank God our Merchants had more foresight than to be
caught wth these treacherous baits, The worst part of Your story to
me is the Sad Account You give me of my Tobacco I am at a loss what answer
to make to You I take as Vigilant a Care to prevent these things as
any man no one can boast of better Lands or better Materials
to work with. My Overseers are under as Strict orders and as penal
obligations as I can put them -- The chief part of the tobaccoes
You had of me both in the Carter and the Bailey was made
at some of my best plantations after I have done my utmost there
will be some Indifferent hogsheads which must keep Company

-2 -

with the better Sort, You tell me of [Captain Baily] Kents stories of the dammage
of my Tobacco in the Country which I know he had from his Mate
[Captain Thomas] Dove there was indeed some hogsheads that was caught in rain a
flat [boat] Load as I take It which did not go far in the Cask and this
must be made a noise of to The discredit of my concern if I
live to see Kent he shall hear of this foolish pratling on both
Sides of his Ears he was only the Trumpet to Sound out the Information
of another, he saw nothing of It himself I dare say

     The Keeping Your Ships that they might not return back
upon You too Soon appears to be a very prudent resolution we in
Virginia have Reason to be very well pleasd with It, here are
Some Straggling Outport Ships among us That are loaded as fast
as they could take It in at nine and Ten pounds per ton these
things are not in our power to help If the large Freighters will
not give It the Small ones will Such is the Madness of the
people That They will be Freighters and not Freighters as the
price Rises and falls here. I hope the Carter is now under a fair
Gale towards us and that we may see her safely here Some time
the next month, That This may find You all in good health
is the hearty desires of --

Your very humble Servant

Mr. Richard Lee and I drew on You for £15. payable
to Doctor Archibald Blair which we desire You to pay
on Account of the orphans of Mr. Hancock Lee.


Source copy consulted: Robert Carter Letter Book, 1720 July-1721 July, BR 227, Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, San Marino, California. Printed: Wright. Letters of Robert Carter. . . . pp. 74-75.

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] Carter's sons Robert (1704-1732), Charles (1707-1764), and Landon (1710-1778), were then in England for their education. (Greene. The Diary of Colonel Landon Carter. . . . , p. 3. )

[2] Archibald Blair (ca. 1665-1733) was the brother of Commissary James Blair; he served from 1718 to his death as a burgess from Jamestown or James City County. From about 1702 in partnershipwith James and Philip Ludwell, he ran a store in in Williamburg. (Rouse. James Blair of Virginia. pp.176-178, 268. )

[3] Hancock Lee (d. 1709) named Carter in his will as "a good friend," and appointed him one of the trustees of his children of whom Richard Lee (1691-1740) was one. (Lee. Lee Chronicle. . . . pp. 33-35 , and Wright. Letters of Robert Carter. . . . p. 28.)

This text revised March 3,2009.