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 John Pemberton, June 11, 1724

     Robert Carter writes to Liverpool merchant John Pemberton, June 11, 1724, to enclose a bill of lading for 22 hogsheads of leaf tobacco on board the Vine, and commenting on the diminishing trade in the colony from the non-London ships. He adds that Scots merchants have taken much tobacco, and that the current crop will be poor in part because of the limit on plants that each man is allowed. He reports a number of bills of exchange, and alerts Pemberton that he will soon send an invoice for goods. He closes with a complaint that the slave shoes the merchant has sent are too small.

Letter from Robert Carter to John Pemberton, June 11, 1724

-1 -

                             per the Vine
                             Copy per Holladay        Rappahannock, [Lancaster County, Virginia]       
June 11th. 1724 --

Mr. John Pemberton

Sir --

     This is by the Vine Accompanys a Bill of
Lading for two & Twenty hhds.. of leaf Tobo. which I doubt not You will
make as good a Dispose of as is to be had, All our Lettrs. out of England
give us hopes of a rising Markett this Summer Especially for Leaf Tobo -- & if
Stemd dos not rise now twill be very Strange when You are
like to have no more of it, The Outports have Shrunk prodigiously
in their Trade, Yours hath nothing to what it usd to have, Bristol
Falls Short a great deal, Londo. hath Several Ships fewer then they
[had] last Year, The Scoth have carried off 10 or 12 thousand hhds.
[ . . . ] their Ships won't carry above 4 thousand hhds. We are stinted
to the Planting [6] thousand Plants per head & have a Very poor prospect at
this time of Even getting that planted, All these things one Would
think will help the Markett --

     I am now to advise You of the Bills of Exche. I have drawn
on You to this day, To Witt for £18"17"5 to Collo: Samuel Boush
for £38"5/ to Wm. Shrine, for £12"15/ to the Execrs. of Robt. Tucker
for £100. to Collo: Diggs or Henry Willis I dont well remember

     I shall want some Goods from You, My Invoyce will
Come here after, Your Shoos are very Small I don't know what
I shall do for my large people unless I can get them from You
I writ Early for this Spring I remain,

Yor: very humble: Servt.


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] The Vine at this time was commanded by a Captain Watkinson. The vessel seems to have belonged to Micajah Perry. (See Carter to Pemberton March 25, 1724.)

[2] William Holladay commanded a ship named the Princess Carolina, a ship owned by merchant John Pemberton of London. ( Survey Report 6800, found in the microfilms of the Virginia Colonial Records Project, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia; and letter, Carter to Pemberton, March 25, 1724. )

[3] 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. )

[4] The trading policies of Scots merchants were of considerable concern to Virginia planters and English merchants at this time, and the matter came before Parliament in 1723. Vessels sent by Scots were crewed by captains and factors authorized to pay good prices in Virginia which enabled them to obtain full cargoes. English merchants argued that the only way the Scots could afford to pay such good prices was their ability to avoid paying duties on the tobacco at home. Micajah Perry appeared before Parliament and gave statistics of the duties paid by his firm in earlier years and the far smaller amounts paid in the past several years because his ships could not obtain full cargoes in Virginia. (Price. Perry of London. . . . pp. 64-65. )

[5] 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 )

[6] Samuel Boush (d. 1739) was a justice and sheriff of Norfolk County for many years, and a large landowner. (Torrence. Virginia Wills and Administrations, 1632-1800. p. 44; and McIlwaine. Executive Journals of the Council. . . . , 3[1705-1721]: 171, 180, 543. )

[7] William Shrine may have been the resident of Spotsylvania County whose name appears in Patent Book 11 in a 1723 record.

[8] A Robert Tucker's will was probated in Surry County in 1722. (Surry County Deeds, Wills, Etc., 1715-1730, p. 415, as indicated in the Library of Virginia's "Wills/Administration" search as of 9/9/2011.)

[9] Cole Digges (1692-1744) lived at "Bellfield" in York County. He was appointed to the Council in 1719. (McIlwaine. Executive Journals of the Council. . . . , 3[1705-1721]: 518, and Louis B. Wright and Marion Tinling, eds. William Byrd of Virginia: The London Diary (1717-1721) and Other Writings. [New York: Oxford University Press, 1958.] p. 459. )

[10] Henry Willis (1691-1740) of Fredericksburg. ("Willis Family Genealogy" as of 5/21/02 (and 9/9/2011); and "Willis Family." William and Mary Quarterly. 1st ser. 5(1896): 24-27, 171-176; 6(1897): 27-29, 206-214.) )

This text, originally posted in 2002, was revised September 13, 2011, to add footnotes, and to strengthen the modern language version text.