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 Captain Thomas Hooper, August 24, 1723

     Robert Carter writes to Captain Thomas Hooper, August 24, 1723, concerning the tobacco that arrived on board Carter's sloop, complaining that the shipment was small and that Thomas Carter has not sent him the information he needs about what quantities are his son's or were from Colonel Mason. He then as a friend chides Hooper for drinking too much and not spending enough time on his responsibilities to Carter. Instructions regarding the granting of lands follow, including a specific order that he will make no grants in or near the Brent Town grant, and that Hooper should not do any work there at all. Carter comments on the high fees that the Stafford vestry clerk charges for copying out the levy lists, and returns to chiding Hooper by noting that he finds it "Something Extraordinary" that Hooper should press Carter for Thomas Lee's note on Hooper for payment of the quit rents. In conclusion he adds some details of business and again urges Hooper to pay attention to his business.

Letter from Robert Carter to Captain Thomas Hooper, August 24, 1723

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[Corotoman, Lancaster County, Virginia]

Augst. 24th. 1723 --

Capt. Thos, Hooper --

     My Sloop Arrivd the 22d. Instant I have weighd her Tobo. &
Even by Mr. Carters wts. She hath not brot. me 40,000 wt., he writes me
Only a Short Lettr., doth not tell me whether the Secretry's. dues or Collo.
Debt are Included, certainly If all my debts in Yor. County, were
pd. I shod. have as many Thousds. as I have now hhds. Mr. Carter I doubt
hath spent so much of his time abt. Your Store tht. he hath not treatd.
my business wth. tht. diligence he ought to have done

     I heartily wish the Charactr. tht. I told You in friendsp. I had of You
had not too much Foundation of truth, I have bin told from those tht. are
none of Yor. Enemys, that a Cagg of good Liqr. is a Sheet Anchor that You
Can not get clear from, till tis run out, & indeed tis apparent from
Yor. proceed[ing] s in my businss, tht. to much of Yr. time goes that way, to
Mention no othr. tis wonderfull tht. in all thse. Sumr. mos., You Shd. not
have found the leizure to have prepar'd for me Platts for the Tract of
Land between Collo. Page & I, Seeing the Divisn. & all the trouble s[o] m[y] .
part hath bin done so long, You say You are in an Ill State of
health wch. most an End proves to be the fate of the Intemper[a] te. laizy
man, he tht. Spends his Youth in Luxury is laying in fuel for a
Craizy old age but Its genly. his doom never to come to It --

     Cappedge tells me the Surveyrs. work he hath already done amts.
to 22,000 pds. of Tobo. half of which is Yrs. surely tht. is business tht. does not
Deserve to be treated wth. neglect -- You Say Men Scruple tht.
have Deeds of me to make thre. tobo. conv[ien] t I have already freqtly.
told You tht. I would have you deliver no deeds out of Yor. hands until
tht. work was done & I now tell You again that I will have You bring
All men undr. Oblig[ation] s. for making thre. Tobo. conv[ien] t & weighty for me
before I pass any more Deeds, If they do not think the Land they
get worth ths. they may let it alone, I'm undr. no Obl[igatio] n that I know
of to Grant lands upon Easier Termes, Money is my due by good
right, the Compos[itio] n. & fees in the rest of the country are paid in money
Sterl, & I see no reason I have to grant away the Proprs. Land for any
[o] thr. [sic] specie & thn. there will be no dispute abt. making thre. Tobo. Conven[ien] ts., --

     You tell me You are suddenly going upon the Brenton
[Gran] t
& that people are lying ready to take up the Lands tht. You
[will lay?] out, I have often already told You, I will grant no
[lands ly] ing any ways near that Grant, and I now Send this

-2 -

Express almost on purpose to forbid You receiving any Entrys for any
lands lying near the Bounds of the Lines You shall run, although the
Quantity be never so small and I Expect You'l Exactly comply
with ths. ordr. & tht. You will take ths. as a Controul of the powr. I
have already given You relateing to Receiving Entrys

     I donot at all wondr. at the fees the clerk of Yr. Vestry
Demands for Copys of Yor. Levys wn. I considr. it is a county tht.
Observes neithr. Law reason nor Justice in levying taxes upon
the people, but I hope to live to See thse. things undr. a bettr. regula=
=tion, And as Yor. Friend I heartily wish Yor. fingr. had not bin So much in the Pye --

     It is Something Extraordinary You Shd. press me So Earnestly
for Collo. Lee's noat upon You for paymt. of his Qt. Rts. in Yr. County
I dare Say the Gentn. himself has so much value for my Credit tht.
he will make no scruple to allow ths. Article in Yor. Accot.
Although the noat Should never Appear agst. him, however
I Shall lay up ths. noat for Yor. Service If You shd. have
Occasion of It, --

     As for Dinwiddie he trifles wth. me prodigiously I
hope to find means to make him do me justice in the long run

     If Mr Carter brings me down Capt. Fitzhughs bills
It will be very well, Capt. Turbervile hath his oblign. & if Carter
fails I doubt not the othr. will do the business Effectually --

     I once more Importune You to revive Yor. spirit
& to be more Vigorous in my business tht. lyes undr. Yor. care
wch. both Yor. self profit & Credt. is so much concernd in I'm
in great haste at Present. Conclude. --

Yor. Affect. frd. & Servt.

Yor. Vestry Ordrs. that are writ in
Yor. own hand are Imperfect, I want
the Ordrs. of Vestry for the levying this Tobo.
& wt. Numbr. of Tythables it was levy'd
upon, which I request You will supply
me with,


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. There is a nineteenth-century transcript of this letter in the Minor-Blackford Papers, James Monroe Law Office and Museum, Fredericksburg, Virginia.

The name of Carter's home, "Corotoman," the county, and colony have been added for clarity to this unheaded draft.

[1] Thomas Carter (1672-1733) was the second of that name in Lancaster County, and may have been Carter's first cousin as there is evidence that their fathers were brothers. He lived at "Barford" in the northern part of the county. ( Catherine Adams Jones, The Early Thomas Carters of Lancaster County, Virginia . Lancaster, Virginia: Mary Ball Washington Museum & Library, 1982.

[2] 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.] )

[3] John Copedge 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] pp 27, 36. )

[4] Thomas Lee (1690-1750) was the son of Richard Lee II, and nephew of Edmund Jenings; he would build "Stratford," and succeed Carter on the Council. ( Burton J. Hendrick. The Lees of Virginia: Biography of a Family. [Boston: Little Brown, 1935]. pp. 48, 51, etc. )

[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] Probably 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 January 12, 2010.