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 Micajah Perry, September 30, 1723

     Robert Carter writes to London merchant Micajah Perry, September 30, 1723, to notify the merchant of six bills of exchange he is sending. He continues with a discussion of land that he has wished to buy for many years from Robert Cary of London. He reminds Perry that this Hull property had formerly belonged to his deceased niece, and that the dispute over the ownership had been appealed to the Virginia Council where Carter lost. He had then negotiated with Cary through his son John (when John was studying law in London) but Cary wanted £2,000 which Carter thought too much. He understands from John that Cary might be willing to sell lfor £1,000. If so, he instructs Perry to buy the property if Cary can give him a clear title.

Letter from Robert Carter to Micajah Perry, September 30, 1723

-1 -

Rappa [hannock, Lancaster County, Virginia]
Septr: the 30th: 1723
Mr. Micaja Perry


     Herewith I send you Six first Bills of Ex [c] hange
William Makdougall on William Anderson and Company for £41 pounds
Colonel Spotswood on John Cary for £77:14 shillings :0: Henry Fitzhugh
on Arthur Lee for £24:18 shillings :6 pence John Sharp on John Sharp for
£4:0 shillings :0 pence : James Makine on Henry McCall for £3:6:0:
Robert Carter on Mr: Perry for £15:0:0 Amounting in
the whole to One hundred Sixty five pound Eighteen Shillings and
Sixpence of which desire your Management

     And if any of them will not be paid pray let me have
them Exeditiously returned to me
                                                            Turn Over

-2 -

      If you will please to give yourself the trouble
to overhau l some of my late Letters you will find for Some Years
I have been In treaty with Mr. Cary for the Land he recovered
under the Title of Hull the Great Uncle of my Brothers Daughter
Elizabeth Lloyd who last died seized from these Lands in the trial
a great dispute arose whether Robert Hull under whom Mr.
Cary claims was Brother to the whole Blood to John Hull the
Grandfather of my Niece the point was so nice the Court was
equally divided until it came to Colonel Spotswood who gave his
judgment in favour of Mr. Cary, there are some that are in
possession of some of this Land yet hold out it is now said Mr.
Cary has got fuller proofs for his title under Robert Hull, I
employed my Son in this Affair to whom Mr. Cary promised the
refusal of this Land but after his Demands were nothing less
than Two Thousand pounds whereupon I declined all further
thoughts about the Matter, My Son Acquaints me by the last
discourse he had with Mr. Cary he believes he would part wth:
them for one Thousand Pounds My request to you is you woud will
renew this Treaty again and to let me know how he stands Incli
ned if he can make out a clear Title I believe I may adventure
at the purchase at a Thousand pounds If you think it proper
to give yourself the Trouble of this Affair you will oblige

Sr       Your most humble Servt:

My Son is entering upon the State of Matrimony
the 3d of next Month is the day set I have
already said Enough to you about the
Shortness of our Crops


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] A bill of exchange is a kind of check or promissory note without interest. It is used primarily in international trade, and is a written order by one person to pay another a specific sum on a specific date sometime in the future. If the bill of exchange is drawn on a bank, it is called a bank draft. If it is drawn on another party, it is called a trade draft. Sometimes a bill of exchange will simply be called a draft, but whereas a draft is always negotiable (transferable by endorsement), this is not necessarily true of a bill of exchange. ( "Dictionary of Financial Scam Terms" at 8/22/2005 )

[2] Alexander Spotswood (1646-1740) had been the governor from 1710 to 1722.

[\3] Henry Fitzhugh (1706-1742) of "Eagle's Nest," Stafford County, was educated at Oxford, and married Lucy Carter (1715-1763), Robert Carter's fourteenth child, in 1730. They had four children; after Fitzhugh's death, she married Nathaniel Harrison (1713-1791). He was a burgess and militia officer. (Carleton. A Genealogy. . . of Robert Carter. . . . p. 451 ; Robert A. Rutland, The Papers of George Mason, 1725-1792. [Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1970]. I:lii ; and extensive generalogical notes, "Fitzhugh Family," in volumes 7 and 8 of Virginia Magazine of History and Biography. )

[4] This Arthur Lee may be a son of Francis Lee (1648-1724), third son of Richard Lee the emigrant; Francis had returned to England to become a merchant in London.

[5] Robert Cary (1685-1751), a London merchant and member of a family of which many members were involved in colonial trade. Carter purchased lands from him in King George, Richmond, and Westmoreland counties; he is mentioned in Carter's will. ( Jacob M. Price. "Who Was John Norton? A Note on the Historical Character of Some Eighteenth-Century Virginia Firms." William and Mary Quarterly. 3rd. ser. 19[July 1962]:401. )

This text revised November 16, 2010.