Robert King Carter's Correspondence and Diary

   A Collection Transcribed
        and Digitized
   by Edmund Berkeley, Jr.

List of Letters | About This Collection

Electronic Text Center , University of Virginia Library


Letter from Robert Carter to Thomas Hooper, July 3, 1723

     Robert Carter writes July 3, 1723, to Thomas Hooper, a resident of Stafford County and manager of Carter's affairs in that area, chastising him for disputing an Assembly election in that county that has damaged Hooper's reputation. He then chides Hooper for failing to carry out surveys of lands in Stafford on Carter's behalf, especially of a tract between Carter and Mann Page. Carter's sloop is coming to Hooper's areas to pick up tobacco, and Carter hopes that James Carter has finished collections of quit rents so that they can be sent. George Mason and Carter have settled accounts of quit rents but Henry Fitshugh has not. He urges Hooper to write at length of their business affairs and send the letter by the sloop. Carter closes with a note that he has not heard of any progress regarding the Brenton grant, and by urging Hooper to assist James Carter in rapidly dispatching the sloop.

Letter from Robert Carter to Thomas Hooper, July 3, 1723

-1 -

[Corotoman, Lancaster County, Virginia]

July the 3d 1723

May It plea
Capt. Tho Hooper -- --

     I was in hope to have seen you at the assembly
after you had made so mighty a stirr about disputing the
Stafford Election and engaged so many of my friends in your
cause and [ . . . ] good [right ?] to Insist [ . . . ]
pretense to have. It was a great slur upon your
reputation. The worst of your enemies make their
boast that when you have a stock of £9000 by
you no consideration will part you from it --
These stories I tell you in friendship and would
hope they are more than [ . . . ] of you, I had
many reasons to have desired your company at
Town and some that ha [ . . . ] toward your
own advantage more then mine, but if your own son
will not prevail with you to push ever forward it is
vain for me to Endeavour to save you; I hear
you have done little or nothing towards surveying
all this spring. You have not sent me plats

-2 -

of the Divisions of the great Tract between
Colonel Page and I, in order to making out Grants.
it is reported when You are out in the Woods you
employ Captain Russell to run your lines. This is
the way you make great Confusions in
[uneven ?] bounds and to be Cursed in your
grave when you are Dead. Coppedge has
been down a good while. I have not seen
him nor know nothing of what he has done.
It's a hard case there is not a sober diligent
man to be found for my business.

     I was kept at Town longer by a fort
night than I expected. When I came home I was
forced to sheathe my sloop [ . . . ]
before I could use her. She now comes [bou] nd
for your parts for my tobacco in Stafford. I hope
Mr. Carter has finished his Coll [ectio] ns before
now and that she will meet with no delay.

      Colonel Lee draws upon you for the
rents of the Stafford lands 3,669 acres. his
note I do not send you believing you will not
Dispute my having it. If you are in his debt I
suppose you will [ . . . ] to me for it. Colonel Mason
and I have fully settled He paid me his Arrears in
money and gave me his Obligation for tobacco for
his last year's rent, and told me he had Lodge [d]
tobacco in Mr. Carter's hands for the payment of it
Major Dinwidie's money whether it is paid to you
or not you must tell me. Captain Henry Fitzhugh
has not sent his bill of his exchange to discharge
his Obligation. I hope you will not fail
per my sloop to send me a full tale of all matters
before you.

     The Brenton grant they tell me you have done
nothing towards Whether anything is done upon
the Broad run Lands or the Bull run I don't yet hear.

I pray you give all the assistance you possibly
can to Mr. Carter in the Dispatch of my sloop. [It will] be a
good time for Captain Fitzhugh to send me down his
bills of exchange by Mr. Carter whom you must direct
if Fitzhugh does not give his own Bills that to be sure
he Endorses them


Source copy consulted: Fairfax Papers, Box 1, Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, San Marino, California. Printed: Wright. Letters of Robert Carter. . . . pp. 49-50, 52, 54. The date of this letter was misread by Wright who printed it as July 3, 1720; there was no Assembly in 1720. The name of Carter's home, "Corotoman," the county, and colony have been added for clarity to this unheaded draft. It was written on pages of the letter book that were very absorbent, allowing much bleed through of the ink, and making transcription very difficult. In addition, there is a hole affecting some words.

The words "May It plea" that appear before Hooper's name as addressee apparently were written by the clerk as the beginning of a letter to the governor. Thinking better of writing that letter here, the clerk turned over the page and began again, but forgot to strike "May It plea."

Carter added to this letter in two places on succeeding pages of the letter book and these additions have been joined to this letter as he intended. The next-to-last paragraph appears on folio 20. Apparently the clerk turned the page to write the sentence below a letter to Governor Spotswood. The ink of this sentence is the same as that of the letter to Captain Hooper that comes to the foot of folio 19. The final paragraph was written into the letter book between letters of September 27, 1720, to Messrs. Perry and to John Carter, but it clearly is a post script to the letter to Hooper, and has been added to it. Wright printed them where they appeared in the letter book as his edition followed the order of the pages.

[1] William Russell (1680?-1741) was a well-known ranger andexplorer who eventually settled in Prince William County (later Fauquier). Fairfax Harrison thinks he may have been one of the rangers who accompanied Spotswood's Knights of the Golden Horseshoe.(Harrison, Landmarks of Old Prince William. p. 204. )

[2] John Coppedge appears as a justice of the peace in Northumberland County in 1714, but was not listed in 1726 there when the name appears as the surveyor of Lancaster County. ( Louis des Cognets, Jr., English Duplicates of Lost Virginia Records. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc. 1981, 27, 36. )

[3] Williamsburg

[4] James Carter (1684-1743), of Stafford County, was the younger brother of Carter's dear friend and associate, Captain Thomas Carter of Lancaster County, and was one of Carter's chief managers. ( Joseph Lyon Miller, "Captain Thomas Carter and His Descendants," William and Mary Quarterly. 1st ser., 17(1908-09): 275-285. )

[5] Quit rent was the term used for the payment due from the holder of land to the "lord of the manor," in this case, to the proprietors of the Northern Neck. Carter as the proprietor's agent, collected these payments. No services were required of the landholder as had been true in mediaeval times.

[6] 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 on Stratford plantation's website. ( Burton J. Hendrick. The Lees of Virginia: Biography of a Family. [Boston: Little Brown, 1935]. pp. 48, 51, etc. )

[7] George Mason III (c. 1690-1735), justice, sheriff, burgess, and county lieutenant of Stafford County, father of the constitutional theorist. (Copeland and MacMaster, The Five George Masons. pp. 50-86. ; and George Harrison Sanford King, The Register of Overwharton Parish Stafford County Virginia 1723-1758 And Sundry Historical and Genealogical Notes . [Fredericksburg, VA: privately printed, 1961.] )

[8] Henry Fitzhugh (1706-1742) was educated at Christ Church, Oxford; he served as burgess and sherriff of Stafford County where he lived at "Eagles Nest." In 1730, he married Lucy Carter (1715-1763), Carter's 14th child; her mother was Betty Landon (Willis) Carter. (Carleton. A Genealogy. . . of Robert Carter. . . . p. 451 ; Robert A. Rutland, The Papers of George Mason, 1725-1792. [Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1970]. I:lii ; and extensive generalogical notes, "Fitzhugh Family," in volumes 7 and 8 of Virginia Magazine of History and Biography. )

[9] Broad Run extends southwest from Lake Manassas in Prince William County and joins Kettle Run just west of present-day Lake Jackson of the Occoquan River, south of the town of Manassas. ( ADC. Regional Northern Virginia. [Alexandria, VA: Alexandria Drafting Company, 2002.] pp. 77, 84, 85, 89. )

[10] Bull Run is a major tributary of the Occoquan River, forming the foundary between today's Prince William and Fairfax counties, and then between Prince William and Loudoun counties.

This text revised August 20, 2009.