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 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 been 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 arrived into York the 10th. of this month, We
were most of us in dispair 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 Tobacco 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 shore as they went by, is to call in her way
down for Some Tobacco , 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 Tobacco other Men had the Sale of. twelve hhds.
of my Tobacco You give me no Account of, although Your former Letters pro=
=mise me complete Accounts I cant guess at Your meaning in it. I hope
the Tobacco is not lost, Your Accounts are made up in a different manner to
Other Mens, You charge Brokerage as a Standing Article in all
my Accounts which I never saw before unless where the Tobacco was Sold to
Export, certainly Mr. Levitt who was the buyer of most of my Tobacco and
Mr. Mayne are persons of higher note, than to want Brokers to find
them out, You have also a Charge for postage of Letters in Every Account
of Sales, an Article Intirely new to me, I always meet with the Charge
of Postage in my Account Current & 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 Account of my twelve hhds.

     Mr. Pratt has been so firm to Your Interest to keep his
Tobacco for Your Ship, and therein run a very great hazard, I am told tht.
Wills is Secure of his Loading & it is not doubted but will get away
in good time, Some of Mr. Burwells Tobacco You will have in him
being willing to make another trial in hopes You will be able
to sell our Tobacco for as much as other Men do, The Bailey got in
but two days before Your Ship, I am,

Sir Your most humble Servant
February 15. 1723/4

I have overhauled Your Shoes & find none of them large Sizes that I wrote
for Your shoemaker has been a Arrant Cheat He has markd sizes
Upon the Bottoms of them much beyond their bigness, I shall be in a mighty
straight to fit my large People, I pray You will take the first opportunity
to send me in Six dozen of the best Strong plain Carmens shoes that
You can buy for Money, well nailed, one half of them to be of the large 16s.
the other of the 14s. I hope You may be able to get these shoes 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.