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, March 25, 1721

     Robert Carter writes to London merchant William Dawkins March 25, 1721, concerning the possible purchase of some lands owned in England by the heirs of a man named Ashton. He states that John Fitzhugh has claimed since his return to Virginia that he bought the lands and left the deeds in England to be executed. If that proves to be the case, that ends the matter, but he asks Dawkins to investigate as he would acquire the property if available. He reports that the Spaniards at St. Augustine have taken men and the cargo from a ship which then escaped, and that pirates are fitting out in Santa Domingo; he hopes that protection will be provided for "the Security of our Trade." Carter has added in his hand to the draft a request for salt to be sent.

Letter from Robert Carter to William Dawkins, March 25, 1721

-1 -

Rappa [hannock, Lancaster County, Virginia]

Mar. 25th. 1721

Mr. Wm. Dawkins -- --

     I writ to You from Wmsburg an Ansr. to Yors relating
to some lands, That were offer'd to You to Sale in Stafford County under the
care of Mr. Thos. Lee belonging to Some persons in England that are heir [s]
to one Ashton, since I have made Enquirey into these Lands and am
Inform'd tis a Seat worth buying John Fitzhugh since his Arrival
hither hath reported he hath bought them for two hundred pound
but had left the Deeds behind him to be Executed after he came away
which makes me think It is nothing but pretence, if You'l give
Yor.self the Trouble to Enquire into the Title if the claiming persons
can make me a good Sale I should not care if I were the purchasr.
whoever can buy a good Title to It for two hundred & fifty pound
I believe It may be well worth the money, If Fitzhugh has bot.
It there's no more to be said, but if not You will oblige me to keep
a Treaty on foot till You can Inform me of all the perticulars
relateing to It --

     We begin to look hard for the London Ships, The Spaniards
[illegible] of Saint Augustin continue to play the rogue a Vessel lately
Arriv'd hither went thither with goods, The Master and Six of the
men were taken out of the Ship and their goods the remaining
part of the Crew to prevent the Ship's being made a prize run
away with her, a Vessel from Barbados reports that Six
Pyrates were fitting at St. Demingo the biggest of them 36
Guns another 18 Tis [not] to be doubted some of them will infest
our Coast this Spring but sure there will be some care taken of us
for the Security of our Trade, I want Salt if You can find a way
to send me 3 or 400 Bushells twill be very welcome


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. 91-92.

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] Thomas Lee (1690-1750) was the son of Richard Lee II, and nephew of Edmund Jenings; he would build "Stratford," and succeed Carter on the Council.

[2] John Fitzhugh (d. 1733) of Stafford County, a younger son of William Fitzhugh of "Bedford." He was a burgess from Stafford in 1727. ( "The Fitzhugh Family." Virginia Magazine of History and Biography. 7[1899-1900]: 317-19. )

[3] The last words of the letter beginning with "I want" are in Carter's hand as is shown by the use of italics.

This text revised March 27, 2009.