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 John Stark, August 8 and 15, 1723

     Robert Carter writes to Glasgow merchant John Stark, August 8, 1723, referring to an earlier letter concerning a draft on Stark. He then alerts Stark that he will ship 50 hogsheads on board Captain Bowman's ship, and that James Read's solicitations for more on board Stark's ship, the Charles, he probably will agree to, but he hopes Stark will obtain a better price for the tobacco than last year's. He complains strongly about the difference in weight of his tobacco when he weighs it just before shipping it, and when it is weighed by Stark. Carter wants Stark to send good claret to his daughter, Elizabeth Burwell on York River, but complains about the price charged those men who received claret from him this year. In a lengthy post script dated August 15, 1723, Carter encloses a bill of lading (not present) for 51 hogsheads of tobacco, complains that Stark did not allow him the farthing per pound more that he gave others, orders brandy for his daughter, and tells Stark that his masters will tell him more of the damage to crops from the recent bad weather.

Letter from Robert Carter to John Stark, August 8 and 15, 1723

-1 -

Rappa [hannock, Lancaster County, Virginia]

Augst. 8, 1723.

Mr. John Stark --

     I have already advised You Via London of my draft
Upon You for one hundred pounds to Mr. Perry which I Expect You will
Comply with, without any Allowance for the exchange which I take to be
the Meaning of Your Letter of the 11th of October last.

     I Shall Ship on Board Captain Bowman fifty hogsheads & put
It on board with my Own Sloops For which I hope illegible expect I Shall be allowed.

     Mr. James Read has [sic] been with me this Week, & solicits
me Strongly For 20 or thirty hhds. freight which believe I Shall go
near to help him to, Upon Your Account but All this is in hopes, You will
think It proper to Allow me more for my Tobacco than You did last Year
I lose considerably by that Tobo, I may say that reckon Shrink=
=edge, salary Sloop hire, & other charges, the Tobacco I Send You
Stands me in Above twelve Shillings per hundred weight here , Whatever is the reason I
can't tell, there is a Prodigious difference between the weights here &
the weights at Your Scales, and I illegible which is very Strange considering
I weigh All my Tobacco in Scales too, just before I ship it,

     I have promissd my Daughter Burwell who lives In
York River to write to You for a hogshead of claret, & accordingly
I now desire You to Send her in one upon my Account , The Wine
that You Sent in this Year to several Gentlemen has the character of
being very good, but Is the Dearest that Ever I heard of, I have had
Many a hogshead of good claret from Mr. Arbuckle of Belfast for Eight

-2 -

[pounds] per hogshead and as good Pontac as Ever I drank in my Life I paid he charged me
£12 per hogshead For, I would have this Wine of the best Sort but
[ho] pe You will be able to Send It at a much Cheaper rate than the
last Years came at, I am

Your humble. Servant

Per the Mazereen Captain Kelsick
Copy. --

                             Rappahannock Augst. 15th. 1723 --
     The Above is a Copy of mine by the Mazereen this accompanies Captain
Bowman & Covers a bill of Lading for 51 hhds. of Tobacco on board his Ship pray God
Send It Safe to You, & to a better market than the last met with, I am this day told
by one of Your Townsmen that You gave Some other men a Farthing a pound
more than I had, I am Sorry the largeness of my Quantity Should depreciate me in price
I must desire You with the hogshead of claret I have written to You for, for my daughter
-3 -

Burwell that You will Send her in a quarter Cask of the Best french [brandy ?]

     I'm preparing Some more Tobacco for Mr. Read by whom I Sen [d letters]
to Entertain You more at length, Every hogshead of this Tobacco in Bo [wman]
I have carried to his Side In my own Craft, I hope you will take c [are to?]
Allowed for my Charge, Your Masters will Acquaint You, with the gre [at]
Damage we have Sustaind In Our Crops by the Rains & hard Winds [ac]
=cording to the present report from most parts of the Country, Our Crops wil [l]
be but Short, I am
                             Sir --                               Your very humble Servant


Source copy consulted: Robert Carter letter book, 1723 June 16-1724 April 23, Robert Carter Papers (acc. no. 3807), Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of 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.

[1] John Stark was a merchant, probably the one to whom Carter referred when he wrote to Micajah Perry on 1723 July 4 that he had drawn an order on "Mr. Stark of Glasgow." On that same day, he wrote to a John Stark, referring to Captain Bowman.

[2] Captain Samuel Bowman commanded the Lucia. Carter mentioned this vessel in his diary in June 1724, and again on March 4, 1726, when he wrote that she "came in had 20 Weeks Passage."

[3] James Read (Reid) is not referred to as "captain" which means he was an official of John Stark's firm on a trading vessel who was empowered to do its business in Virginia. He was aboard the Charles, a Glasgow ship that was owned by Stark. Carter specifically refers to "Your Ship" and "the Charles of Glasgow" in a letter to Stark of September 4, 1723.

[4] Carter knew of the long conection of the Pontac family with the Haut-Brion vineyards, and the wines produced in that region that came to be known as clarets. ( "Chateau Haut-Brion" at, found 4/16/02 )

[5] Peter How was a merchant of Whitehaven (on the Irish sea in northwest England), who, with Richard Kelsick, traded with the Fredericksburg, Virginia, area from the early 18th century, establishing a store there in 1745. "He had interests in coal and iron-ore mines and set up an iron-working forge at Low Mill [England] in 1750. Debts incurred by the forge and the decline in the tobacco trade may have contributed to his bankruptcy in 1763." ( Paula S. Felder. "Fredericksburg and Whitehaven Connection to English Port a Forgotten Chapter in Area's Colonial History Living-history Program," Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star , 7/2/2005; and Notes on a portrait of "Mrs Peter How and her Two Children, Peter and Christian,", 11/19/2009. )

[6] This long postscript to the letter of August 8, 1723, was squeezed into the letter book below it.

This text revised November 23, 2009.