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 Cage, Esqr., July 9, 1724

     Robert Carter writes to the trustee of the Fairfax estate,William Cage, of County Kent, England, July 9, 1724, detailing his success in collecting £200 due the proprietor from Edmund Jenings, the former Virginia agent. He notes that he has received the sum by threatening a law suit and taking a mortgage, and Lord Fairfax and Cage may collect the money from Micajah Perry in London. In order to collect a further £100 on their behalf, he needs more evidence from them, but he notes Jenings' deteriorating mental and physical health. He reports a secret survey he has had made of the Brent Town grant that will not be binding on anyone but which will open some land to grants. He turns to the law suit he has brought in the colony to determine the proprietor's right to certain fines, fees, etc., and requests that Cage show the proprietors' grant to the Attorney and Solicitor General and send their opinions to the colony where they will bear much weight with the court. He asks for instructions about an appeal to the King in Council should the case be lost in the colony.

Letter from Robert Carter to William Cage, Esqr., July 9, 1724

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Rappa[hannock, Lancaster County, Virginia]   July 9th. 1724


     Your favour of the 2d. of Decemr. came safe to
me at last after some doubting of its miscarriage I was glad
to hear of his Lordships health beg you will do me the honour
in making my compliments to him letting him know how
much I am his Lordships most obedient humble servt:

     It is a pleasure to me to find both his Lordship &
your self under so much satisfaction with my management
of your affairs. I have now got pay'd into my hands two hun=
dred pounds more of your debt from Col: Jennings I shall not
magnify my merit in getting this mony for you, yet must
take the liberty to tell you it was not easily come at and nothing
less then hanging a severe law suit over his head would bring
him into the humour of doing you justice, and at last it is
hall'd out of a Mortgage that he hath made for the security
of some other persons. This two hundred pounds I have orderd
Mr Perry to pay when you are pleased to call for it but
I shall take it as a favour if you are not too quick upon
him untill he is in cash upon the sale of a large quantity
of Tobo. he hath of mine in his hands.

     As for the remaining balance between you and Col
Jennings it remains yet unadjusted; I in your behalf de=
manding one hundred twenty nine pounds for want of
vouchers and he insisting (taking advantage of your letter
to his son) that there is only twenty nine pounds behind;
for the balance of this Acct. when tis Setled as well as for
the security of a larger sum he ows to myself I am let into
the tail of a Mortgage which must confess I do not like very
well, however tis the best I could get and I believe the best
he can give for as I stand informed he hath not a negroe
nor an Acre of land but is under Mortgage to some person

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or another Now it is necessary for you to send me the clearest proof
you have of the nonpayment of this hundred pounds to take
the force of your expressions to his son and if you can send
your own testimony how far your knowledge goes about the
nonpayment of this hundred pounds to my Lady Fairfax
it may not be amiss; Col: Jennings is at this time under
so great a decay both of mind and body that tis expected by
all he cannot hold out much longer

     I have got some lines run about the Lands tht.
I think must be deemed to be what the Brenton Grant
designed including something more than thirty thousand
Acres but this I was forced to do without noise both Mrs. Brent
and the inhabitants about this place and within these
bounds threatning to stop the surveyer whenever he came &
indeed way-lay'd him on purpose but he had the luck to pass
them before They were aware. Now I cannot conclude this
private survey will be binding either to you or to the Proprietors
of the Brenton Grant however it will have this good effect
to lay open a large quantity of back Land toward the Moun=
tains that people have been hitherto affraid to Meddle
with being kept in aw by that Grant --

     Your cause with the Crown upon the words of
your Grant is still depending untill the opinions of the Attorney
and Solicitor General can be had this method both our
Attorney General and my self with the advice of the Lawyers
I have imployd came readily into and if you'l please to
produce your Grant to these great men & send me their
opinions upon the Clause wherein is given to you All and
all manner of fines & forfeitures Escheats goods of felons &
fugitives &c whether they shall extend to fines set in our
County Courts upon offenders for contemptes and other misde=
meanours that are of course inherent in the Crown whether
these fines and foreitures goods of felons & fugitives escheats
&c belong to you or to the Crown is the jet of the Controver=
sy. If the opinion of these great men be with you as

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my Lawyers think there is no manner of doubt of, I'm
in hop's the Attorney General here will think it proper
to decline the tryal at least I expect it will have a
great weight with the Court.

     I desire you will let me have your full
orders if the cause should go against you here whether
you will have me carry it before the King in Council by an appeal

     Some other parts of your letter are yet
unanswered but that I shall give you the trouble of
in another Letter. I AM

Your Most Obedient

And Most Humble Servt:


My Son lives at one=
end of the Country &
I at tother his complimts:
I must supply for him



Source copy consulted: Fairfax Papers, BR 227, folder 21, Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, San Marino, California. Printed: Wright. Letters of Robert Carter. . . . pp. 114-16.

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 persons abroad. The county and colony have been added for clarity.

This text is a recipient's copy sealed with Carter's arms and with the following on the conjoined address leaf: To Wm. Cage Esqr. | Of Milgate | In the Parish of Bearshead | In the County of Kent -- | To be left at Mr. Micaj Perrys | Of | London |Per the Spotswood | Capt. Bagwell. It is endorsed in Cage's hand, "July 9th 1724 | Coll Carter." Carter has signed, indicated here by the use of bold italics, which does not reveal the size of his signature which is at least twice the height of the clerk's hand.

[1] Catherine Culpeper (d. 1719) was the widow of the fifth Lord Fairfax (d. 1710). From her father, the 2nd Lord Culpeper, she had inherited about 1689 his five-sixths interest in the Northern Neck Proprietary in Virginia. Lord Fairfax had consulted Micajah Perry about the affairs of the Proprietary, and Perry had recommended Robert Carter to be the Virginia agent in 1702. He held the post until 1710 when Lady Fairfax transferred the agency to Edmund Jenings with Thomas Lee as the deputy agent. When she died in 1719, she bequeathed her Virginia property to her son Tom, but she made Wiliam Cage and Edward Filmer, trustees of the proprietary. Filmer soon died, and Cage, a kinsman of the 6th Lord Fairfax, became the sole trustee. From his grandmother, Margaret Lady Culpeper, the 6th Lord Fairfax inherited the other one-sixth of the Proprietary. Cage consulted Perry, and Robert Carter was again made agent in 1721, holding the post until his death ten years later. (For sources, see those listed at the end of the discussion of the Proprietary on the home page.)

[2] Mrs. Brent was the mother of George Brent who inherited from his grandfather, George Brent ([d. 1699] of "Woodstock," Stafford County, the "resident partner in Virginia" for the development of the Brent Town grant by Nicholas Hayward), the family's claim to a portion of the Brent Town grant. She was a considerable thorn in Carter's side concerning the grant and its boundaries. (Harrison. Landmarks. . . . p. 178 ff. See Carter's letter to Cage July 4 and 22, 1723.)

This text, originally posted in 2002, was revised September 15, 2011, to add footnotes, and to strengthen the modern language version text.