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 [Edmund Jenings, Jr.], March 8, 1721

     Robert Carter writes to Edmund Jenings, Jr., March 8, 1721, who has been acting for his father who had held the lease of the Northern Neck proprietary prior to Carter's assumption of it. Carter disagrees with Jenings about the handling of the lease, especially in their approach to escheats, and in the issuance of deeds. He chides Jenings about the handling of the records, and concludes that he will not fight "a paper controversie with You" but if Jenings will do him justice, he will not pursue the questions he has. He deleted from the draft a sentence about erasures in the records of the dates on which deeds were issued.

Letter from Robert Carter to [Edmund Jenings, Jr.], March 8, 1721

-1 -

Coro [toman, Lancaster County, Virginia]

Mar. 8th 1720/21

Sir --

     Yors. by Captain Turbervile I have and find Your notions &
mine very much differ about Justice in the business of the Escheat
which I shall always Study to do to every body but must be allowed
to make my own reason the measure of my actions & not another
mans, The right of Escheats arises to the Proprietors no doubt from
the time of the dying seized without heirs, but the right in the Propri=
=etors to the Composition commences from the passing the deed
& I must strangely alter in my notion opinion before I shall be brot. to be perswaded to
believe it is right Just for me so to do otherways. Your distinction that I must pass
the Deeds as I am Agent for the Proprietors & not in their my own name
there's no weight in It that I can see, I believe no person
concerned in their affairs will pass any deed in their own
names so I shall Still lay the Justice of the poor man's case
at Your Door, let the right of Escheats fall whe re they will

-2 -

when I am to make over the Proprietors right, I shall Claim
the right to the Consideration

     I do not well remember what I said to You about the deeds
that remain in the office unpaid for but if I did Demand
them It was upon the Expectation that they never would be paid
for and than I am sure it is highly reasonable that the Proprie=
=tors should be made acquainted with It, & . . . that
they may fall upon a right method to come at their rents &
that must be by cancelling & regranting, as for the Consideration
if it is to be had is Colonel Jennings' right I make no question
about, but if not I think in Generous Justice he ought to return
the Deeds to the office and I believe he will be of the Same
opinion, but what say You to the last Rent Rolls, be=
=lieve you'll hardly Scruple owning they belong to the office and nor
the plats neither as many as there was, Indeed I always
thought the Surveys belonged to the owners of the Lands, & we are gone that way is well enough I can give
You convinceing reasons there was no probability, the office
Should remain where it was, but that in Its proper time
You are the only fit person to make a list of the Deeds that
You have passed since the 29th of September 1719, & of all other things that . . . to . . . in my head
I cannot Expect a
right Information from any Mortal living beside considering
how many erasures there appear to be in the book in the
very place where the Deeds are Dated, how far Your Clerk
may have been concerned in this I cant pretend to know
& to give me satisfaction
in all other things, that seem to want an Interpretation
Do me fair and open Justice and I Shall be easy and not desirous
to meddle in Colonel Jenings's time, as I dont take You to be
infallible So I am far from pretending to be so my Self.
when I entered upon the office, I had a very dark pattern to
follow. I preceded You and I hope You will allow me to
say without offence that I Should be very sorry if my record books had been kept
in that Dark mysterious Immethodical manner as You have made
the method of
Yors. is, I shall not further enter into a
paper contoversy with You, if amicable ways won't
do; It's none of my fault, The Proprietors right & mine
too must be come at some way or other, I wish You a cheap-
er bargain in plank than I can afford You, & am Sir

Your most humble Servant


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. 88-89.

Robert Carter generally used a return address of "Corotoman," the name of his home, on his correspondence to persons in Virginia. The county and colony have been added for clarity. While the recipient of this draft is not stated, it is clear that it was intended for Edmund Jenings, Jr., as he had operated the proprietors' office for his father.

This text revised March 27, 2009.