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 John Pemberton, July 2[9] and August 29, 1723

     Robert Carter writes to London merchant John Pemberton, July 2[9], 1723, following up on an earlier letter in which he had sent a bill of lading for 40 hogsheads of tobacco on board the Vine. He details several bills of exchange, and reports that the Content will have to lie over for the next crop as there is none available for shipment. He states that the news from England confirms the amendment to the tobacco bill in Parliament will prohibit the importation of stemmed tobacco into England, which "compleats our ruin." In a post script dated August 29, 1723, he reports that bad weather has ruined the crops.

Letter from Robert Carter to John Pemberton, July 2[9] and August 29, 1723

-1 -

Rappahannock, [Lancaster County, Virginia]

July 2[9]th 1723 --

Mr. Jno. Pemberton

Sir --

                             For Harvey to write

     My last accompanied the Vine & [illegible] Enclosd a bill of
Lading for £40 hhds. of Tobo You & then acquainted You
of Sundry Drafts I had made to John Holloway To wit one
Bill for 100 £. one Ditto for 90 £ & one for £82. -- I have sent
You two Small Bills of Exche.
and am now to acquaint
You of another draft I have lately made on You for
Sixty Eight pounds to John Tayloe, herein I send You a
Small Bill for Nine Pound, drawn by William Pain on Joseph
Clegg, which I belive is good.

     The Content Captain Fowler is lately arrived. The Tobacco is
all gone, he lies over for the next crop, The Scotch a great
Many of their Ships cannot get Tobacco near to load them Some
Take in Tar, A Londoner last Week brought us in the Confir=
=mation, that the Scotch had been so Strong in the house of Com=
=mons, to get a clause in the Tobacco Law prohibitting all stemmed
Tobacco This I think completes our Ruin, that was the only
Trade we had for our Relief, The Scotch did not know
what to do with It, We are dreadfully scared at this news,
pray God Send our Fears are greater than there is occasion
for I am -- --

Sir Your most humble Servant

Herein one second First bill of exchange
John Fitzhugh on John Goodwin for
£ 10"2"6 also a second bill of
William Paine on Joseph Clegg for £9.

                             Augst. 29th. 1723.
We had a continued spell of
Rains all this month along which
has very much damaged Our Crops,
I incline to think notwithstanding
our large Expectations In the Spring
our Crops will be very mean in the End both in quantity & Qualitys


Source copy consulted: Robert Carter Letter Book, 1723 July 4-1724 June 11, Carter Family Papers, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond.

The second digit of the day of the month on which this draft was written has been obscured by an ink blot, but because the letter falls between others written on July 29th, it has been assumed to have been written on that date.

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 the brief heading on the draft.

[1] One of Carter's clerks was named John Harvey, and there are notes on some of his letters, similar to that on this one, "Harvey to copy." A John Harvey witnessed his will, and some of its codicils, which is logical if Harvey had written it out for Carter. However, on 1729 November 14, Carter wrote to Micajah Perry that Harvey, "whom you sent me from the Hospital," had completed his service, indicated that he did not trust Harvey, and intimated that Harvey may have stolen some accounts of the Burwell estate of which he requested copies from Perry.

[2] 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 )

[3] John Tayloe (1687-1747) of Mt. Airy, Richmond County, who served as justice, burgess, colonel of militia, and as a member of the Council after 1732. (Ryland. Richmond County Virginia. . . . pp. 115-16. )

[4] The trading policies of Scots merchants were of considerable concern to Virginia planters and English merchants at this time, and the matter came before Parliament in 1723. Vessels sent by Scots were crewed by captains and factors authorized to pay good prices in Virginia which enabled them to obtain full cargoes. English merchants argued that the only way the Scots could afford to pay such good prices was their ability to avoid paying duties on the tobacco at home. Micajah Perry appeared before Parliament and gave statistics of the duties paid by his firm in earlier years and the far smaller amounts paid in the past several years because his ships could not obtain full cargoes in Virginia. (Price. Perry of London. . . . pp. 64-65. )

[5] 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. )

This text revised October 14, 2009.