Robert King Carter's Correspondence and Diary

   A Collection Transcribed
        and Digitized
   by Edmund Berkeley, Jr.

List of Letters | About This Collection

Electronic Text Center , University of Virginia Library


Letter from Robert Carter to Thomas Colmore, January 29 and February 15, 1724

     Robert Carter writes to London merchant Thomas Colmore, January 29 and February 15, 1724, reporting the arrival of Captain Wills's ship, and complaining about the merchant's sales of his and the Burwell estate's tobacco. He also complains of Colmore's method of preparing the account current that he sent to Carter. Mr. Pratt has kept his tobacco to be sent on Wills' ship, and he adds that he is sending some more Burwell estate tobacco to Colmore in the hope that he will receive better sales this time. In a post script dated 1724 February 15, Carter lets Colmore know that the slaves' shoes the merchant has shipped were far too small for the sizes maked on them; "Your Shoomaker hath bin a Arrant Cheat." He orders 6 dozen pairs in large sizes to be shipped as soon as possible.

Letter from Robert Carter to Thomas Colmore, January 29 and February 15, 1724

-1 -

                                     per Fowler
                                     Copy per Keiling
Mr. Thos. Colmore                                 Rappa[hannock, Lancaster County, Virginia]

Janr. 29th. 1723/4 --

Sir --

     Captain Wills Arrivd into York the 10th. of this month, We
were most of us in dispare of his coming time Enough to get away in
March The Burwell got in three Weeks before him, I took freight there
for the last of my Tobo. not above ten days before Your Ship came, Some small
help I can now afford her, but not much, Wills's Sloop is [illegible] up our
River, put my Goods on Shoar as they went by, is to call in her way
down for Some Tobo., You must allow me to tell You that neither
my own nor Mr. Burwell's sales are pleasing to me, They come out con=
=siderably less than the Same Tobo. other Men had the Sale of. twelve hhds.
of my Tobo. You give me no Accot. of, although Your former Letters pro=
=mise me compleat Accots. I cant ghess at Your meaning in it. I hope
the Tobo. is not lost, Your Accots. are made up in a different manner to
Other Mens, You charge Brokerage as a Standing Article in all
my Accots. which I never saw before unless where the Tobo. was Sold to
Export, certainly Mr. Levitt who was the buyer of most of my Tobo. and
Mr. Mayne are persons of higher Noat, than to want Brokers to find
them out, You have also a Charge for postage of Lettrs. in Every Accot.
of Sales, an Article Intirely new to me, I always meet with the Charge
of Postage in my Accot. Currt. & there I desire to find it & not in my
Sales, I hope You will think it proper to give me Credit for these
Wrong charges, and that in some of the Ships that are to come, I shall
receive an Accot. of my twelve hhds.

     Mr. Pratt hath bin so firme to Your Interest to keep his
Tobo. for Yor. Ship, and therein run a very great hazzard, I am told tht.
Wills is Secure of his Loading & 'tis not doubted but will get away
in good time, Some of Mr. Burwells Tobo. You will have in him
being willing to make another Tryal in hopes You will be able
to sell our Tobo. for as much as other Men do, The Bailey got in
but two days before Your Ship, I am,

Sir Yor. most humble Servt.
Febr. 15. 1723/4

I have overhauld Yor. Shoes & find none of them large Sizes that I writ
for Your Shoomaker hath bin a Arrant Cheat He hath markd sizes
Upon the Bottoms of them much beyond their bigness, I shall be in a mighty
Streight to fitt my large People, I pray You will take the first opportunity
to send me in Six doz of the best Strong plain Carmens Shoos that
You can buy for Money, well nailed, one half of thm. to be of the large 16s.
the other of the 14s. I hope You may be able to get these Shoos to me sometime
in the Summer or at least by Fall,


Source copy consulted: Robert Carter Letter Book, 1723 July 4-1724 June 11, Carter Family Papers, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond.

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 to the heading on the draft.

[1] Thomas Colmore was a London merchant. ( A 1740 London directory, A Compleat Guide . . . , consulted by Francis L. Berkeley, Jr., in London, listed Colmore as a resident of Pudding Lane, Eastcheap. )

[2] Captain Peter Wills commanded the Booth in 1723 and the Amity in 1727. ( Survey Report 6800 summarizing Adm. 68/194, and Survey Report 6801 summarizing Adm. 68/195, Virginia Colonial Records Project, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia. )

[3] This vessel was commanded by Captain Constantine Cant and may have been owned by William Dawkins and Micajah Perry as Carter reported her December 1723 arrival to each of them. ( Adm. 68/194-195, found in the microfilms of the Virginia Colonial Records Project, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia. )

[4] The Rappahannock.

[5] Louis Wright has speculated that Mr. Pratt might be William Pratt of Gloucester County as there were several Pratts active in Virginia at this time. In his letter to Micajah and Richard Perry written July, 13, 1720, Carter noted that "Mr. Pratt took care of those [letters] for James rivr & York" which makes Wright's speculation as good as any. (Wright. Letters of Robert Carter. . . . p. 2.)

[6] The Bailey was a London ship owned by William Dawkins and commanded at various times by Adam Graves (1725-1730) and by Thomas Dove (1731-1732). She was a vessel of some 250 tons and carried 15-17 crew members. ( Survey report 6801 summarizing Adm. 68/195, 156v, and other data in Adm. 68/194 and /196, found in the microfilms of the Virginia Colonial Records Project, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia; A letter of Carter's to Dawkins May 12, 1732, refers to "your ship Bailey." as does a letter of August 10, 1733, from Carter's executors to Dawkins. [ Lloyd T. Smith, Jr., ed. The Executors' Letters of Robert Carter of Corotoman, 1732-1738. (Irvington, VA: Foundation for Historic Christ Church, 2010) p. 76]. )

[7] A carman was a worker with carts, and Carter seems to mean here a worker who wears good, stout shoes for his job.

This text, originally posted in 2002, was revised January 25, 2011, and December 18, 2014, to add a footnote and to strengthen the modern language version text.