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 Micajah Perry, July 4and 26, 1723

     Robert Carter writes to London merchant Micajah Perry, July 4, 1723, concerning the proprietors' affairs, noting that Perry's account current does not record payments of the rent due to them. He urges Perry to be prompt in payment so that there will be no damage to his reputation. Although he has not had any letters from either William Cage, the trustee, or from Lord Fairfax, to state their reaction to his handling of their affairs in the colony, he will continue to write them yearly. In his concluding paragraph, he informs Perry of his difficulty in obtaining money from Edmund Jenings that is due the proprietors, noting Jenings probably has more debts than resources. He was lucky to obtain some money from Jenings through a mortgage to Mann Page and John Wormeley, but expects that he will have to file a lawsuit.

     In a lengthy post script on July 26, 1723, Carter discusses the Jenings' affair further, and then turns to the law suit he is carrying on on the proprietors' behalf regarding their right to certain items set out in the grant itself. The case is before the colony's General Court and his case would be strengthened by specific instructions from Lord Fairfax and Colonel Cage, especially if they would obtain opinions from both the English Attorney General and Solicitor General. He also expects a suit concerning the Brent Town grant. He closes by describing grants made in an area he believes is within the proprietary by then governor Alexander Spotswood that he called to the proprietors' attention during his former period as agent to which they have never responded.

Letter from Robert Carter to Micajah Perry, July 4, 1723

-1 -

[Rappahannock, Lancaster County, Virginia]
July the 4th. 1723
Mr Micaja Perry -- --
                             to be writ

     In the Sketch of an Account Current you sent
me bearing date the 31st. of January last you do not charge
me with any Money paid to the proprietors, In severall of your
Lettrs: [illegible] you say their Money was ready for them, I beg of
you to be punctual with them that they may have no
just reason to Complain of my Delay

     I greatly admire at the Silence of my Lord
and Colonel Cage I cannot get one line from either of them
to let me know whether they are Satisfied or dissatisfied
although they have severall Letters of mine before them however
I shall not decline writing to them every Year --

-2 -

     And I desire you to be as punctual in paying them
taking proper discharges from time to time, that I may be secured
from any after claps, It is a very untoward bargain however
I must Support it as well as I can and must do it without
giving occasion for a slur upon my Reputation, The 20th of December
last I wrote to you and Enclosed another to my Son which I
desired you if he was to come away to Open and to persue
those parts of it that related to the proprietors Affairs it is my
earnest request to you to let me have an answer to them

     I was very lucky to get that money of Colonel Jennings
from by a Mortage to Colonel Page and Mr. Wormley, there
is two hundred more as Colonel Jennings himself reckons
is due to them which I profess I don't know how to get a penny
of, it is reckoned he is more Engaged than his Estate is worth
I have promises enough from him but they come to nothing
he proposes to Mortgage lands and Slaves whether he will
be able to meet with anybody to advance money upon such
a Security is a great question, I will take all the ways
that possibly I can for dunning I am sure he does not
want the last remedy I am sure must be the Law, which
I fear will not be safe much longer to decline I am Sir

Your most humble Servant

-3 -

A clause to be added to a Letter of Mr. Perrys Nine Leaves back concerning
the proprietors Affair.

     I should have gone a little further with the last clause
relating to Colonel Jenings's Money, the £600 that was paid to
the proprietors by Bills drawn upon Your self You know Very
Well & how long the Protested bills were before they came to my hands, I
did not know what part to act, about the £60 Damage for the
Protests It was Included in Jenings's Bills, but I ordered
my Son to take receipt as Money upon my own account this Trans=
=action Young Jenings was privy to, Colonel Cage gave such a
receipt , this story the Young man Acquaints his Father
I deny to pay to Allow them, the Money Jenings boggles with me, about the
Interest of Some money he owes me, & I am afraid will make
this a pretence to Stop So much from me, I Expect Colonel
Cage will give me credit for this £60 to You, however
I think Its their due, & if I can worst Jenings about It
I propose to Account to the proprietors for it hereafter, --

     I am already engaged for them in a Law Suit against the Crown
Upon the Meaning of their Grant wherein is given to them,
(all & all Manner of Deodands, Goods of Felons & Fugitives,
Treasure Trove Waifs, Strays, fines Forfitures, Escheats. advowsons,
Royaltys & Hereditaments whatsoever.) Colonel Jenings all his
time, let the governor have the Deodands, the Officers of the Revenue
have received the felons Goods. the Fines & the Forfietures Since I
[received ?] their power, I Made a Claim of their right before the

-4 -

governor & Council, Colonel Spotswood in Council oordered a Case
to be made by the Attorney General which now lies to be Argued
before our next General Court, I have employed the best lawyers we
have in the Cause, & have written to Colonel Cage largely about It
desiring he would Support me with all his Strength, &
that he would Send me the Opinion of some of the ablest Law=
=yers Upon the Interpretation of the Grant, If I could have
the Attorney General & Solicitor Generals opinions they would be
of the most Service. I believe You will have frequent
opportunities of Discoursing Colonel Cage, if not of my Lord
About this Affair, It will have no great Effect upon me
during my time, but It may come to be a Considerable
advantage to those who Will Enjoy this Estate hereafter.
I'm forced to give large Fees, for What I know it may
cost me 20 or 30 pound before I have done with It, & were
It my own case Should the judgment go against me
here I Should Insist upon an Appeal, I would desire
You at least so far to concern Your Self in this
affair, to get for me their full instructions about it as soon
as may be,

     There is another Law Suit I Expect to be thrown
Into about the Brenton Grant. these ways will dip me deep
In the above mentioned Sixty pound, & all in defence of their

     There is another Very considerable thing which
I think they Ought to look into, Colonel Spotswood in
his time passed many Grants in a large Tract of Land
In the Fork of Rappahannock River which to me seems properly
to be within the proprietors Grant, this Matter I laid before the
proprietors when I was their Agent before, in Colonel Nott's
time & gained an order of governor and Council to put a Stop to
all Grants in that Tract of Land until the illegible Queens pleasure
was known, Colonel Spotswood however has continued granting away this land all his time I never had one Line from the proprietors about
this Matter, If they donot [sic ] think fit to bestirr themselves
In the Support of their own Estate, I Shall have little
reason to give my Self any trouble,
In throwing myself Into the Frowns of Government, As their Trustee I have
done my duty in hanging out lights for them I am

Sir      Your most humble. Servant


Source copy consulted: Robert Carter Letter Book, 1723 July 4-1724 June 11, Carter Family Papers, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond. There is a 19th-century transcript in the Minor Papers in the Minor-Blackford Papers, James Monroe Law Office and Museum, Fredericksburg, VA.

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. His usual return address, the county, and colony have been added for clarity to this unheaded draft.

[1] John Wormeley (1689-1727), a younger son of Ralph Wormeley (d. 1701) for whom Carter had been a trustee in John's youth. When his older brother, Ralph died in 1714, John inherited all of their father's considerable estate in Middlesex and York counties.

[2] Alexander Spotswood (1646-1740) had been the governor from 1710 to 1722.

[3] Edward Nott (1652-1706) had been the governor from 1705 to 1706, dying in office.

This text revised April 3, 2002, to add the post script, and August 25, 2009.