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 William Dawkins, [Novermber 29, 1723]

     Robert Carter writes to London merchant William Dawkins, [Novermber 29, 1723], repeating an order for a summer suit, coat, hat, shoes, and accessories for his son, Robert, that he had earlier sent from Williamsburg. He has received a letter from Dawkins sent by Captain Keiling, complains mildly about the price realized for his tobacco, and reports two errors he has noted in his account. He will have the 50 hogsheads Dawkins has reserved for him on Keiling's ship sent on board as soon as it is ready. He believes all those for whom Dawkins has reserved space on the Betty will take it as all planters want to get away the last of the stemmed tobacco before the new law goes into effect. The present crop is only one-third to one-half of previous years. He does not believe he will find space on any of the ships now in the colony for tobacco from the estate of his late son-in-law, Nathaniel Burwell. He sends his son Robert's "Service" to Dawkins, and concludes with the hope that his son Charles will soon reach home from England.

Letter from Robert Carter to William Dawkins, [Novermber 29, 1723]

-1 -

[Rappahannock, Lancaster County, Virginia]

Mr Willm. Dawkins

     I writ to you the lst: Instant from
Williamsburg in which I desir'd you to send me in for my Son
Robert some things and it was in the following words. I
desire you to take the first Opportunity to send him
in a handsom Decent Sumr: Suit with Stockings
suitable & a hatt, Also half a Doz. Turnovers or Neck-
cloths as they are worn and ruffles, And two pair of
Sumr: Shoes, I suppose his Taylor has his measure
and Shoemaker too, And he may be fitted well enough
allowng for his Growth, I would also have a Suitable
loose Coat for him he has brought in none but his Dufill
one, I am in hopes You may be able to send me in these
things by some later ship into one of our Rivers, I hate
to be under the necessity of going to any of our Dear
Stores for any thing that I want.

     I am now to tell you I have yrs by Keeling, as for the
Sales of my Tobo:, I had that poor story pretty fully before,
I was in hopes you would have brought them out at eight £
per hhd: the price that Mr Perry gave me for wt went in the
Averilla I reckon we are got to the end of those mean
sales all agree Tobo: was considerably Started especially

-2 -

the Stem'd upon the act of Parliament for its P[ ... ] [reventi-]
on sure I am if you have had but faith in the ac[ ... ] [ounts]
we have frequently given you of the poor Crops we h[ ... ] [ave]
made this last year which in the Sequil you will find
to be true, You must have taken up resolutions of maki[ ... ] [ng]
us amends for the many bitter potions you have aff[ ... ] [ord-]
ed us these late years. I have taken but a slight view of
yr account Currt: yet two errors I note at present, the
first that you Chargd for the parcel of goods that you
Sent me last £389"2"3 your Invoice which is now before
me amount's to £385"7"7d the other error is (which I
Shall never give up my Claim to) that you do not give
me Credit for the twenty five pounds you took from me
for the freight of my goods in the Carter

     The fifty hhds you have Charter'd for me on Board
the Betty will be ready for her in a short time and sent
on Board as soon as I am satisfied her ground tire is lay'd
those of your other friends that I have discours't will comply
with their quota's Keeling would be glad to find any of
them failing, he is mightly crouded upon people are
all on fire to get away their Stem'd Tobo: You have com=
mitted an error in not sendng in yr Charter to some per=

     The next Ships if they come not very soon
must lower their Top Sails you may reckon it as a
Certainty there is not so much Tobo: made through the
Country by a third as there was last year, some folk's
will have it not above the half the former I can say

     The Carter if She comes I hope we shall have
her soon be it as soon as twill she will have a very
hard Task, one help she will have Arthur Lee by his
late Sales seem's to have given a severe wound to his

-3 -

[ ... ] [ . . . ] ht he had got very much into the favour of many
of your friends. I do not yet foresee where I can get a hhd:
freight in one of these forward Ships for you out of Mr
Concern altho' ugh I must own the Acct: you have
sent us of the twenty hhds: doth not fall much short
of others.

     My Son Robert gives you his Service his own Country climat
agrees very well with his Constitution hitherto I am in hopes
of having Charles amongst us in a few month's now


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] Duffle is a "coarse woollen cloth having a thick nap or frieze." Carter means that Robert had brought home with him from England only a heavy winter coat. ( Oxford English Dictionary Online )

[2] Captain William Keiling commanded the Betty. ( Survey Report 6800, Virginia Colonial Records Project, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia )

[3] Parliament had passed an act forbidding the importation of stemmed tobacco in 1722. John Randolph was sent to England in 1729 as agent for Virginia to try to have the act overturned; his mission would be successful. ( Arthur Pierce Middleton. Tobacco Coast: A Maritime History of the Chesapeake Bay in the Colonial Era. [Newport News, VA: Mariners' Museum, 1953], 116. )

[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.

This text revised December 2, 2010.