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 Stark, September 17, 1723

     Robert Carter writes to Glasgow merchant John Stark, September 17, 1723, complaining mildly of the poor tobacco sales the merchant has reported. He requests Stark find him a good barber surgeon either in Glasgow or Edinburgh, and adds later in the letter that he also needs a coachman, a carpenter, a blacksmith, a tailor, a brickmaker, and a bricklayer. He lets Stark know that a ship captain from another firm has solicited his business but that he will stay with Stark until he believes he is "Ill used."

Letter from Robert Carter to John Stark, September 17, 1723

-1 -

Rappa [hannock, Lancaster County, Virginia]

Sepr. 17th 1723 --

Mr. Jno. Stark

Sir --

     I have lately received Yours of the 18th of June I am
Sorry to find Your Market was under no better prospect of an
Alteration, I hope when You came to See some of your ships
not loaded & have the News of the Poor Crop we are like to
make It will mend --

-2 -

     I am in Great want of a Barber Surgeon in my fa [mily who]
Can Shave well, dress wigs let Blood, Dress Sores [ . . . ]
& the like, I'm told there are Abundance of such Journey [men]
& Young fellows that find It hard Enough to live among [you]
I desire You if possibly You can to send me in such a one of
honest character & sober principles If You cannot mee [t]
with one In Your City for my purpose I dare say You may
have one procured at Edinburgh If you can oblige me
with Such a person it will be a considerable kindness but no=
=thing will please me so much as Your Selling my Tobacco

     I have now been tempted by Captain Grayson to ship
four and Twenty hhds. of Tobacco more to Your Port in him and
You may believe have been very much Solicited to Consign
It to his Owner but Seeing I have begun with You I will not be
Persuaded to make use of any other person, until I think myself
Ill used, in the cource of my Life, I have several times found the
Larger my business has been, the less Encouragement I have
met with, and the Meaner has been my returns, I wish I come
off better with Now, I Shall the next Year be in want of a
Coachman, I know Such Cattle are very plenty both in Your
City & in Edinburgh If You can Supply me with a Towardly Young
fellow of a good Character, that Shall have five Years to
Serve You will oblige me, a good Smith, a Carpenter
a Joiner, a Taylor, a Brickmaker, a Bricklayer are
Tradesmen would very well suit my occasions I am

Sir Your very humble Servant

A Bill of Lading for this
Tobacco is here Inclosed.


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.

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 prominent Glasgow merchant in the sugar trade. He served as as baillie and provost (mayor) from 1725-1727. ( John M'ure. The History of Glasgow. [Glasgow: D. Macvean and J. Wyllie & Co., 1830. pp. 227-228] as seen on Google books; and "Provosts of Glasgow" at "Welcome to Glasgow" at

[2] Benjamin Grayson was, according to Fairfax Harrison, "one of the earliest of the Scots merchants to be established on Quantico, where Dumfries was to arise." He was appointed a justice of Prince William County in November 1731. (Harrison. Landmarks. . . . pp. 156 and McIlwaine. Executive Journals of the Council. . . . , 4[1721-1739]:256. )

This text revised April 1, 2010.