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

-1 -

[Corotoman, Lancaster County, Virginia]

Augst. 24th. 1723 --

Capt. Thos, Hooper --

     My Sloop arrived the 22d. Instant I have weighed her Tobacco &
Even by Mr. Carters weights She has not brot. me 40,000 weight he writes me
Only a Short Lettr., does not tell me whether the Secretary's dues or Colonel
Debt are Included, certainly If all my debts in Your County, were
paid I should have as many thousands as I have now hhds. Mr. Carter I doubt
has spent so much of his time about Your Store tht. he has not treated
my business with tht. diligence he ought to have done

     I heartily wish the character tht. I told You in friendship I had of You
had not too much Foundation of truth, I have been told from those tht. are
none of Your enemies, that a keg of good liquor is a Sheet Anchor that You
Can not get clear from, until it is run out, & indeed it is apparent from
Your proceed [ing] s in my businss, tht. too much of your time goes that way, to
Mention no other it is wonderful tht. in all these summer months, You should not
have found the leisure to have prepared for me plats for the Tract of
Land between Colonel Page & I, Seeing the division & all the trouble s [o] m [y] .
part has been done so long, You say You are in an Ill State of
health which most an End proves to be the fate of the Intemper [a] te. lazy
man, he tht. Spends his Youth in Luxury is laying in fuel for a
crazy old age but Its generally his doom never to come to It --

     Cappedge tells me the surveyors work he has already done amounts
to 22,000 pounds of Tobacco half of which is Yours surely tht. is business tht. does not
Deserve to be treated with neglect -- You Say Men Scruple tht.
have Deeds of me to make their tobacco conv [ien] t I have already frequently
told You tht. I would have you deliver no deeds out of Your hands until
tht. work was done & I now tell You again that I will have You bring
All men under Oblig [ation] s. for making their Tobacco conv [ien] t & weighty for me
before I pass any more Deeds, If they do not think the Land they
get worth this they may let it alone, I'm under no Obl [igatio] n that I know
of to Grant lands upon Easier terms. Money is my due by good
right, the Compos [itio] n. & fees in the rest of the country are paid in money
sterling , & I see no reason I have to grant away the Proprietors Land for any
[o] thr. [sic] specie & then there will be no dispute about making their Tobacco 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 entries for any
lands lying near the Bounds of the Lines You shall run, although the
Quantity be never so small and I Expect you'll Exactly comply
with this order & tht. You will take this as a control of the power I
have already given You relateing to Receiving entries

     I do not at all wonder at the fees the clerk of Yr. Vestry
Demands for copies of Your Levys when I consider it is a county tht.
Observes neither Law reason nor Justice in levying taxes upon
the people, but I hope to live to See these things under a better regula=
=tion, And as Your Friend I heartily wish Your finger had not been So much in the pie --

     It is Something Extraordinary You should press me So Earnestly
for Colonel Lee's note upon You for payment of his quit rents in your County
I dare Say the gentleman himself has so much value for my Credit tht.
he will make no scruple to allow this Article in Your Account
Although the note Should never Appear against him, however
I Shall lay up this note for Your Service If You should have
Occasion of It, --

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

     If Mr Carter brings me down Captain Fitzhughs bills
It will be very well, Captain Turberville has his obligation & if Carter
fails I doubt not the other will do the business Effectually --

     I once more Importune You to revive Your spirit
& to be more Vigorous in my business tht. lies under Your care
which both Your self profit & Credt. is so much concerned in I'm
in great haste at Present. Conclude. --

Your Affectionate friend & Servant

Your Vestry orders that are written in
Your own hand are Imperfect, I want
the orders of Vestry for the levying this Tobacco
& what number of titheables it was levied
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.