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 [Philip Ludwell], July 23, 1726

     Robert Carter writes to [Philip Ludwell], July 23, 1726, responding to the news of the death of the governor, Hugh Drysdate, the night before. He states his inability to go to Williamsburg for several days because the Carter which lies before his home is ready to sail and he must prepare documents and letters to go with her. He sends instructions that the funeral is to proceed without him, and that he is notifying other members of the Council.

Letter from Robert Carter to [Philip Ludwell ], July 23, 1726

-1 -

Co[roto] m[a] n, [Lancaster County, Virginia]    July 23d:1726: 6 [o'clock]
[Philip Ludwell]

Hon[ora] ble: Sr

     Yr: very surprizing news reacht
me just now, I dare say you know me so
well to believe tht: I am very tenderly affect=
ed with the loss of so good a Governor when
we were all in hopes of his geting well
at least the report was so with us & that, --
that was the occasion of his stay

     The Post tht: I am now to act in
is so far from being gratefull to me that
nothing less than absolute necessity will
draw me to it

     The Carter now lies before my
Door her business done ready to depart
my Letters unfinishd my Bills of Loading
not taken, these things must be settled

-2 -

I can leave my home

     It will be impossible for me to
get to town before Thursday or Fryday
next & the inconveniancies of delaying
the Funiral may be so great tht: I do not
think it proper for me to direct such a
thing, therefore let Mr: Holloway & Dr:
know tht: it is my desire the Funiral
be performd on the appointed time & beg you
will make my excuses where they are ne=
cessary, I know the inconveniancies tht may
attend the Council by there being at the Funiral
& afterwards waiting for my coming to
Town but 'tis impossible for me to help it
the Ship will not stay. Col: Page comes to
my house to day from Mrs: Wormeleys, Col:
his Lady [left] on Thursday last

-3 -

at night, M[r.] Grymes is the only person
that is likely to be at the Funiral [sic] My Boat
is going to Rosegill forthwith, I shall give
these three Gentlemen notice, I order the
Messenger to call upon Col: Beverley &
Col: Digges, I let them know the Funeral
is to be on Tuesday, Col: Beverley is so
crazy tis not likely he will be at the Funeral
altho' if he is at home Col: Byrd &
my son will be the only suffering persons
yr: way by my delay whose goodness I
must rely upon to forgive it I alwais am

Your most Obedient
Humblest Servt:


Source copy consulted: Mss1L51f63, Lee Family Papers, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond.

The county and colony have been added for clarity to the heading of Carter's home, "Corotoman," on the letter. The addressee's name has been learned from Carter's diary entry for this date in which he wrote, "6 Clock Coll Ludwells Express came wth the Accot of the Govrs Death after 2 the morning before. . . ."

This is the recipient's copy in the hand of a clerk and bearing Carter's large and prominent signature. There is no address on the outer leaf as it was certainly handed to Philip Ludwell's messenger for immediate delivery. The letter was closed with a wax seal that has left a stain on the paper.

[1] At a Council meeting on June 25, 1726, Edmund Jenings had been suspended from that body due to his mental incapacity; Carter had thereby become the senior Council member, or president, and automatically became acting governor of the colony at Drysdale's death (McIlwaine. Executive Journals of the Council. . . . , 4[1721-1739]:113 )

[2] Williamsburg

[3] "Rosegill" is the Wormeley home in Middlesex County; it lies between Rosegill Lake and Urbanna Creek, slightly up the Rappahannock from "Corotoman."

[4] 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. )

[5] William Byrd II (1674-1744) of "Westover," Charles City County, was educated in England and at the Middle Temple. He was a burgess, Council member, Receiver General, and three times the agent for the colony in England. (See the sketch of him in Tinling. The Correspondence of the Three William Byrds. . . . pp. 195-202. )

This text, originally posted in 2003, was revised September 22, 2011, to add footnotes, and to strengthen the modern language version text.