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 Lord Fairfax and William Cage, August 1, 1721

     Robert Carter writes August 1, 1721, to Lord Fairfax, the owner of the Northern Neck proprietary, and William Cage, trustee under Fairfax's mother's will, concerning affairs of the proprietary on which Carter holds a lease. He encloses bills of exchange from Edmund Jenings, the former lease holder, for £400 in partial payment of debts due, and noting that Jenings requests that the bills not be presented for payment for as long as possible. Micajah Perry has been ordered to pay the proprietor's rent for the year 1720, and Carter will plan to pay at the end of each year. He complains about the bad bargain the lease is proving as he has received less than £20 in income so far.

Letter from Robert Carter to Lord Fairfax and William Cage, August 1, 1721

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Rappahannock, [Lancaster County, Virginia]

Augst. 1st. 1721

Rt. Honble. Lord Fairfax
& Wm. Cage Esqr.

     In mine of the 13th of February last I presumed to
give Your Lordship & Colonel Cage an Account of the [. . .] of Your
Lettr. with that to Colonel Jenings, and Insisted particularly
upon several things relating to Your proprietary That Letter I
have Intelligence from Mr. Perry got safe, and to the Several
parts of It I hope before long to receive Your Lordships answers
with the further powers that I then desired.

      I do now with pleasure here Enclose to Your Lordship
& Colonel Cage, Colonel Jening's Bills of exchange for £400, There re=
=mains as they say £300 due to You & Indeed Colonel Lee showed
me a receipt , wherein if I remember right, Colonel Cage owns to
have received upon my Lady's account £100, That was Agreed to
[ . . . ] in discharge of part of the 2 last Years Rent, a Copy of this
[receipt I ] took but have mislaid It at present & [ . . . ]
[ . . . ] It, which if I am not very mu [ch mistaken was
sig] ned by Colonel Cage, If there be any more than [ . . . ]
[ . . . ] please to let me know It, Colonel Jennings promises to
[p] ay this Sum punctually the next Year & I hope he will not fail

      I was in an Error in respect to the Yearly Rent due
here to the crown I am now informed It has been paid to the King's
Receiver General until my time.

     It is but lately I have received these bills of exchange
from Colonel Jenings, he tells me he was under some diffidence
about the fate of them, & pressed me very much to delay sending
them, which I let him know I could not answer, but would

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all the Interest I had with Your Lordship to delay protesting them
as long as possibly You could, If the merchants they are drawn
upon would promise payment of the money in any reasonable
time, This I was the more inclined to do, in respect to the prodig
ious [ . . . ] of money tht. all mankind do at this day Labour under

     I have ordered Mr. Perry to pay Your Rent for t [he]
Year 1720 & I have a great deal of reason to Expect you w [ill]
meet with no hessitation, & if I pay Your Rent at the End of
Every Year, I cannot but hope it will be to Your Entire Satis
=faction Considering the very hard bargain I have I do assure
Your Lordship I shall not make my money besides all my
Trouble by above £100 for that year, and the greatest par [t]
of that, it will be well if I received It ten or twelve mo [nths] hence
I have not got in to this day £20, what rents I have [are]
chiefly in light Arro [noco] Tobacco which all the merchants will acq [uaint]
You is worth next nothing I am

Your Lordships [& Colonel Cage's]
most obedient hum Ser [vant]



Source copy consulted: Robert Carter Letters, BR 227, folder 13, Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, San Marino, California. Printed: Wright. Letters of Robert Carter. . . . pp. 107-108.

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 to persons abroad. The county and colony have been added for clarity.

This is the recipient's copy, signed by Carter, as is shown by the use of italics, and has considerable damage to the body. Endorsed "Coll [. . .]; there is no address.

[1] A bill of exchange is a kind of check or promissory note without interest. It is used primarily in international trade, and is a written order by one person to pay another a specific sum on a specific date sometime in the future. If the bill of exchange is drawn on a bank, it is called a bank draft. If it is drawn on another party, it is called a trade draft. Sometimes a bill of exchange will simply be called a draft, but whereas a draft is always negotiable (transferable by endorsement), this is not necessarily true of a bill of exchange. ("Dictionary of Financial Scam Terms." 8/22/2005)

[2] Thomas Lee (1690-1750) of Westmoreland County was the son of Richard Lee II, and nephew of Edmund Jenings; he would build "Stratford," and succeed Carter on the Council. For a good article on Thomas Lee, see that by Jeanne A. Calhoun on Stratford plantation's website. ( Burton J. Hendrick. The Lees of Virginia: Biography of a Family. [Boston: Little Brown, 1935]. pp. 48, 51, etc. )

This text revised July 21, 2009.