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, July 31, 1723

     Robert Carter writes to London merchant William Dawkins, July 31, 1723, concerning Dawkins's offer to assist in the purchase Lloyd's Virginia estate [which Carter had managed for some years]. He understands that an arbritation of his "controversie" with Wise [in England] had resulted in payment into Micajah Perry's hands but he has not heard about it from Perry. Friends have seen letters recently arrived in Virginia that declare the bill including the prohibition of stemmed tobacco into England is a "Certainty" which "will have a very fatal Effect upon us." He turns to his instructions to Dawkins to return his son Robin to Virginia, noting that he had thought he might arrive in the current ship, but directs Dawkins to send Robin with Captain Benjamin Graves if he sails early.

Letter from Robert Carter to William Dawkins, July 31, 1723

-1 -

Rappahannock, [Lancaster County, Virginia]

July 31st.. 1723 --

Mr. Wm. Dawkins

     Upon taking a review of Your Lettrs. My Memory
is refreshd with a Clause in one of them, In which You
tell Offer to Serve me in the Purchase of Mr. Loyds Estate, I believe
I have already writ Something to You in Answer, but don't
at present remember what, I Sent a full State of this whole
Affair to Mr Perry, & have told him, Your Offer to be concernd
for me in It, Mr Jno. Willis by a Lettr. to my Son, makes a
loose proposal of the Sale of this Estate, which of You are the most
Intimate with the Willis's I don't know nor what their Interest
In It is, If You can be Instrumental, In this matter I Shall
be Obligd to You for It --

     I dont know how My Controversie with Mr. Wise lyes

-2 -

[ . . . ] n tells me there was an Arbitration & Some money awarded
[ . . . ] which he believes was paid into the hands of Mr. Perry &
Mr. Perry Says not one word of It, so that Matter Stands --

     Hopkins is lately arrivd Into James River, I hear of
no Lettrs. for me yet, but a Friend of mine from Gloster Court which
Was five days ago, Acquaints me he Saw severall Lettrs. that
came in by Hopkins which gave an Accot. of the Certainty of
the Prohibition of all Stemd Tobo. this news we Expect will
have a very fatal Effect upon us when the Act comes to take place, but
We flatter our selves that what Stemd Tobo. gets home before the
time, will be advanc'd by it.

     Upon Your telling me You will Send my Son Robin away
In the Summer, I had Some thoughts he would have come in, in this Ship
but Surely You will not pretend to Keep him any longer than
the first Ships of the next Fleet. I had rather Benja. Graves
should have the care of him than any other, if he be an Early
Ship, but not Else by any means I am --

Yor. humble Servt.

Mr. Wm. Dawkin[s]


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 copy of the letter in the Minor-Blackford Papers, James Monroe Law Office and Museum, Fredericksburg, Virginia.

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 to the heading on the draft.

[1] Captain James Hopkins would be in command of the Mary in 1727-1728. He was then working for London merchant Robert Cary. He is mentioned in Carter's diary. ( Adm. 68/194, found in the microfilms of the Virginia Colonial Records Project, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia. )

[2] Parliament had passed an act forbidding the importation of stemmed tobacco in 1722. John Randolph was sent to England in 1729 as agent for Virginia to try to have the act overturned; his mission would be successful. ( Arthur Pierce Middleton. Tobacco Coast: A Maritime History of the Chesapeake Bay in the Colonial Era. [Newport News, VA: Mariners' Museum, 1953], 116. )

[3] Benjamin Graves was the son of Captain Thomas Graves (d. ante 1720), long a captain of vessels trading to Virginia, and a special friend of Carter. Benjamin also commanded vessels in the trade, especially the Carter . ( Adm. 68/194-196, ff. 33r, found in the microfilms of the Virginia Colonial Records Project, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia. )

This text revised October 20, 2009.