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, February 13 and 17, 1724

     Robert Carter writes to London merchant Micajah Perry, February 13 and 17, 1724, reporting large shipments of tobacco from his own and the Lloyd and Burwell estates, and commenting on the "thinness" of the leaves that has prevented tight prizing, and produced lighter hogsheads than usual. He lets Perry know that he intends to take up again the item in his accounts from the merchant in which he is charged 2 1/2 "For receiving bills" which he is very unhappy about. There are great hopes in the colony that the shipments of the last stemmed tobacco they will be allowed to export will bring great prices. He concludes with orders for shoes, noting the "shooe Makers are very cheats" because they make the shoe sizes smaller than they used to. In a post script dated February 17, 1724, Carter notes that he is enclosing bills of lading (not present) for tobacco from his and the Lloyd estates, and alerts the merchant that Mr. Miles, a Maderia merchant, will send a bill for two pipes of wine and that he has ordered one more because this wine is the oinly one he can drink because of his "Gouty condition."

Letter from Robert Carter to Micajah Perry, February 13 and 17, 1724

-1 -

Mr. Micajh. Perry               per Keiling Rappahannock, [Lancaster County, Virginia]
Feb. 13th. 1723/4 --

                                             coppy per Woodward --

Sir -- --

     I have said so much to You lately my
entertainment now will be the Shorter, You have herein bills of
Lading for my Tobacco on board Keiling Thirty two hhds. of my own
Tobacco two of them of a different mark are not of my Crop
but I am assured are very well managed stemmed Tobacco & I hope
will Sell as well, here is also a bill of Lading for thirty
hhds. of the LLs. Keiling has been persuaded to sign these bills

-2 -

[ ... ] [ . . . ] ing at 8 pound but he would not sign for the Tobacco I
[ ... ] [consign] to Mr. Dawkins upon his Charter under Eight pound
[ ... ] [te] n, however I hope You will not Insist upon this Ten shillings
[ ... ] [o] f me, Eight pound is a very living price, and our Tobacco is Extream
[ ... ] [ly l] ight, by its thinness it would not prize heavier which is the common
Cry of the Country, I do not only make a third less in the Number
of hhds. but I am sure they weigh 100 less round per hogshead than
Ever I had used to Ship, both in Cant and Woodward You will have
Tobacco from me, the bills of lading will come by the particular
Ships You will also have the greatest part of Mr. Burwells
Concern, so that we will Engage You to do wonders for us if we
can, I have paid the impost of the LLs Tobacco Three pound one shilling
wch .you must give me Credit for, I drew a Bill on You to
Keiling for £2"7"2. desire Your payment of it, I Shall take
a time to have a stroke with You about the 2 1/2 per cent commission
For receiving bills tht. is yet a Standing Article in my Account
Some Years past, You are angry at this demand, & I Shall
not be pleased until You have done me right,

     We feed our Selves with fine hopes from this stemmed Tobacco that its
first Coming home the Moneyless Men may Afford good penyworths, but Your
Strength will Enable You to bring the smokers to a better Temper, let
the Top merchants fix their resolutions upon a good price & there is no doubt
but they will carry it,

     The last shoes I had from you for the LLs Concern were generally
too small if You have any opportunity this next Summer or by the fall
to Send me in four dozen of large strong plain shoes One half of the 16s.
and the other of the 14s. it would be very necessry & I would also desire You
to Send me Six dozen upon my own Accot half the 16s. & half the 14s. pray
take Effectual care they be Strong Carmens shoes as good as can be
bought for Money, The shoe Makers are very cheats make their
Sizes a great deal Smaller than they used to be, I have had very good
shoes from Your house formerly & so used Mr Burwell to have the
best that ever I Saw, I am

Sir Your most humble servant

Feb. 17. 1723/4
The above is a Copy of mine by Keiling herein I Send You a bill
of Lading for 20 hhds. of my own Crop Straight laid Tobacco Also a
Bill of lading for six hogsheads of the LLs. & have drawn a Small bill for
the Impost & cockett 13 shillings -- Mr. Miles of Madeira has lately Sent me
two pipes of Wine the cost of it there I dont Exactly know Colonel Page
ordered him to draw upon You for it upon my Account as I Expect he has
& that You will pay it accordingly We reckon the price will be about
Ten pound per Pipe, I have Sent for another Pipe lately & Colonel Page has ordered
the payment of it the same way it is the only wine I drink in my Gouty condition
that I must not want it if You will allow us to Afford it I am Sir
Your most humble Servant


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

[2] Parliament had passed an act forbidding the importation of stemmed tobacco in 1722. John Randolph would be 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. )

[3] Constantine Cant was the captain of the Burwell. ( Survey Report 6800 for Adm. 68/195, ff. 76v, Virginia Colonial Records Project, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia. )

[4] Thomas Woodward commanded the Providence during a number of voyages to the colony, 1723-1727. (Adm. 68/194 and 195, Virginia Colonial Records Project, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia.)

[5] The impost was the duty imposed by Britain on imported tobacco, and the cockett (for which a fee was charged) was "a document sealed by the officers of the custom-house, and delivered to merchants as a certificate that their merchandise has been duly entered and has paid duty." ("Something, such as a tax or duty, that is imposed." American Heritage Dictionary online at 2/15/2011; ( Oxford English Dictionary Online )

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

[7] This firm had been established in Madeira by Joseph Hayward in 1715. It became Hayward & Rider (1721-1723), Hayward Miles & Rider (1725-1730), and other partnerships later. (H. V. Bowen, Margarette Lincoln, Nigel Rigby, eds. The Worlds of the East India Company. [Boydell & Brewer, 2002]. p. 156. Online through Google Books,])

This text, originally posted in 2002, was revised February 18, 2011, to add footnotes, and to strengthen the modern language version text.