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 Wormeley] September 3, 1723

     Robert Carter writes to [John Wormeley] September 3, 1723, that his recent trip to visit the younger man has brought on an attack of gout which has confined him to his house for over a week. He turns to his attempts to obtain money due the proprietors from Edmund Jenings in which Wormeley is assisting him and states that he will not take Jenings to court immediately as he has written Colonel Cage in England. The sale of Negroes from the estate may raise the sums needed, as will taking over an estate.

Letter from Robert Carter to [John Wormeley,] September 3, 1723

-1 -

Corotoman, [Lancaster County, Virginia]

Sept. 3d. 1723.

Dear Sir --

     I Shall first Acquaint You that I reckon my Night Voyage
home when I left You hath brot. upon me a Fitt of the Gout On Monday
Morning I found my self lame In my right Ancle & the pain Increasd so
fast that by Night I was an Entire Cripple & so have continued till
Yesterday Morning not being able to stir a foot, but as I have bin carried
In a Chair between two, It hath handled me severely Enough, but hope
twill prove a Short fit, both my Feet are now swelld the Extreamity
of the pain is over, & I can hobble about the house without the help of a
Stick, In my Gouty Slippers

     Yors. came last Night & I must Acknowledge I am pleasd
You have pushd Collo. Jennings's Affair wth. So much Vigour & am Contented
upon Mr. Holloway's complying wth. his promise of giving me from under
his hand of his Consent to the Sale of the Negs. & that he will do his
Utmost the Money Shall be Applyd to the Payment of this Two hundred
& Odd pound to the Proprs, & also If Collo. Jennings will make his promise
to me under his hand In Termes as You Shall think proper that then
I wll tacke up out no Process to this General Court on the Proprs. Accot.. Although
If I remember my Lettrs. I fear I have promiss'd Collo. Cage I would delay
no longer, but pray be Sattisfied with nothing but Writing, You know that
Sound Maxim, Littera Scripta Manet,

     The time of the Lady Fairfaxs's Death, I can't tell how to Collect
Nor Indeed can I see the necessity of It, Collo. Jennings hath Accounted to me
Under his hand wch. I look upon to be Foundation Enough for the prosecution
when You have Transacted this matter to this Issue, the next Work will
be to Fall upon a Method to get my own Interest

     It Seems to be their Intention to pay no more of that, but I will
Endeavour not to be so serv'd, If Collo. Jennings will give me the present
possession of the Estate, there will then only the last Years Interest be
Due, which I will be patient in Staying For a little longer, Or If
they will bring my Interest Money Into the promise wth. the Proprs.
For the payment of It upon the Sale of these Negs. I Shall be Easie, or
If they will give me any Other Good Security For It, but If neither of
these Sattisfactions will be given me, I must desire You to take out a
proper process, Upon the Covenant In the Mortgage, Mr. Randolph
is my Lawyer & will Direct the affair Matter,

     As for Mr Holloway's Reasonable consideration If his reason
Squar'd with mine, he would think One Thousand pound a very large
Consideration for that Estate, were I to have the Fee simple of It I should
be very unwilling to give so much by a great deal, let Collo. Jennings but
find me my Money & then he may Make his Consideration as Extensive [as] he pleases.

     The Interest for the Two hundred & fifty pound his other Bond
[I'] ll find a way to pay myself, Out of the Arrears of his Quit Rents
[ . . . ] but get the Money out of my Collrs. hands

     I heartily wish Your firm health & am


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 county and colony have been added for clarity to the return address on this draft.

Carter's diary entry for August 24, 1723, noted that he had visited "mr wormeleys wth my Son" and that he "came home that Night slept in the boat good part of the way the Awning down." It seems likely that this draft was intended for a letter to Wormeley.

[1] John Wormeley (1689-1727), a younger son of Ralph Wormeley (d. 1701) for whom Carter had been a trustee in John's youth. When his older brother, Ralph died in 1714, John inherited all of their father's considerable estate in Middlesex and York counties.

[2] Carter remembered his Latin well; the phrase "littera scripta manet" means "the written word endures."

[3] Catherine Culpeper (d. 1719) was the widow of the fifth Lord Fairfax (d. 1710). From her father, the 2nd Lord Culpeper, she had inherited about 1689 his five-sixths interest in the Northern Neck Proprietary in Virginia. Lord Fairfax had consulted Micajah Perry about the affairs of the Proprietary, and Perry had recommended Robert Carter to be the Virginia agent in 1702. He held the post until 1710 when Lady Fairfax transferred the agency to Edmund Jenings with Thomas Lee as the deputy agent. When she died in 1719, she bequeathed her Virginia property to her son Tom, but she made Wiliam Cage and Edward Filmer, trustees of the proprietary. Filmer soon died, and Cage, a kinsman of the 6th Lord Fairfax, became the sole trustee. From his grandmother, Margaret Lady Culpeper, the 6th Lord Fairfax inherited the other one-sixth of the Proprietary. Cage consulted Perry, and Robert Carter was again made agent in 1721, holding the post until his death ten years later. (For sources, see those listed at the end of the discussion of the Proprietary on the home page.)

[4] 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.

This text revised February 4, 2010.