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 [Mann Page], March 3, 1721

     Robert Carter writes to his son-in-law, [Mann Page], March 3, 1721, reporting that his sons in England were in good health as of October 24th which he has learned from Bailey Kent, the captain of the Carter. He commisserates with Page over his gout, and writes at length about his own recent attack of it. There have been fifteen deaths among his slaves, he writes, and adds that he hopes to return the coffee soon. He closes with blessings to all, sending the greetings of Mrs. Swan and Ann Vitty.

Letter from Robert Carter to [Mann Page ], March 3, 1721

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Corotoman, [Lancaster County, Virginia]

Mar. 3d. 1720/21

Honble. Sir --

     Your man Will got hither about 10 o'clock last night
The health of my Children is always most pleasing news to me,
Will at Machens picked up a Letter from Bailey Kent who gives
me the most perticular account of my Childrens health there. the 24th
of October the Date he desires his service may be remembered to all
his friends among whom I know Your Familys are placed
in the first rank,

     I condole with You for Your present affliction
under that Strong mortifying physic the Gout, and I do It
with the greater sympathy because at this time I am under
the strokes of the same distemper, having been confined to my
Chamber these Eight Days, Wednesday last was sennight in
the morning I was taken lame however ventured out in my
Coach to my home quarters to visit my Sick. Next morning I was
easier in hopes it would go off, & hobbled about the Yard pretty
often that Day at Night, my pains increased my ancle &
Instep swelled I then Expected nothing less than a Conflic [t]
with the Gout, which has been very Complaisant with me for
almost two Years, It brought me to my Crutch the three first days
since the pain has been much abated, on Tuesday I caught
some cold by what means I know not, by lying bare foot In
bed I'm sure it was not, this brought on a fever a pain in my
head & swellings & soreness behind my Ears & Neck at Night
I thought It proper, to put a blister above my most pained Ear
& going to bed I took some of andersons pills during my
fever I had a heavy oppression upon my Spirits as that
abated the other also went off with It. I cupped twice my
physic wrought very well, I clapped another blister above
the other Ear and yett after all my head remains all
over prodigiously sore, I have not Eaten one mouth full of
flesh all this time nor drank any thing Stronger

-2 -

than Small beer, Except three Glasses of English cider wth Stagg on Satur =
=day night. --

     The mortalities in my families are increased I think
Since You were here three or four, Sloop Toney is recovered
poor Harry Weaver a Negro Your wife knows very well went
off two Days ago., The Number of my Dead is now fifteen work
=ing Slaves, I thank God I bear these things with a Great
deal of Easyness Resignation . afflictions are very proper for us in our way
to Heaven. Its a rugged path yet It is the road that all the
blessed above have trod before us, I have heard lately
from all my families in Westmoreland at the Falls
who have no manner of Sickness among them Its pretty remark
=able these Distempers Should go about in Clouds as it were, we
have lost abundance in our Parish --

     You have been very kind in sparing me so much Coffee
I hope to be able to return It in a short time now, Colonel Jenings
gives It me under his hand, that he had received my Lords Lettr.
and that I sent by Robin Innis, The rest to Pray for the continuance of all Your healths to give my
proper respects to my Dear Children, to Your Children & to Your
Self, Mrs. Ann [Vitty] & Mrs. Swan are Your humble Servants. I am



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. 86-87.

Robert Carter generally used a return address of "Corotoman," the name of his home, on his Virginia correspondence. The county and colony have been added for clarity.

Although the letter does not bear an addressee's name, it is clear from the text that it is addressed to a family member, and as Mann Page, Carter's son-in-law, suffered from gout, it seems likely that he was the addressee.

[1] A ferry across the Rappahannock from Lancaster County was located at this Middlesex County property, probably owned by Thomas Machen who appears in the records of Christ Church Parish, Middlesex, in 1725. It was a short distance from Machens across the county to another ferry located at Seatons in Gloucester County on the south bank of the Piankatank River. Carter regularly took this route to Williamsburg. As Mann Page lived in Gloucester County, his servant certainly would have taken this route to go to "Corotoman." ( Churchill Gibson Chamberlayne, editor. The Vestry Book of Christ Church Parish Middlesex County, Virginia 1663-1767. [Richmond: Old Dominion Press, 1927] p. 202. )

[2] Kent was the captain of the Carter.

[3] Sennight means a week.

[4] Ann Vitty was Carter's housekeeper.

This text revised March 26, 2009.