Robert King Carter's Correspondence and Diary

   A Collection Transcribed
        and Digitized
   by Edmund Berkeley, Jr.

List of Letters | About This Collection

Electronic Text Center , University of Virginia Library


Letter from Robert Carter to John Falconar, May 16, 1727

     Robert Carter writes to John Falconar, May 16, 1727, concerning the merchant's ship, the Marlborough, and his tobacco that will be shipped aboard her. He hopes an earlier shipment on the Trevisa has been sold, and he send a bill of exchange on Micajah Perry for Falconar to use in paying duties. He then asks Falconar to consider taking his son Landon as an apprentice to become a "Virginia merchuant." He sends his respects to Mr. Pratt.

Letter from Robert Carter to John Falconar, May 16, 1727

-1 -

Rappa [hannock, Lancaster County, Virginia]   
May 16, 1727

Mr. John Falconar

Sir --

      Believe I have all your Letters the 10th of December
is the last date by the Marlborough Yor: Captain I have seen
Several times a Person very well qualified to oblige Gentlemen
and I believe you will find the Effects of it, You [r large] promises
and the hopes I have to meet with upright and J [ust] dealings in
your hands have prevailed with me to Exert my utmost
Strength towards the Loading your ship. it was a [grea] t disadvan
tage to her to come in so late. However, believe she will fare
better than any of her time. I have already ordered her seven
and twenty hogsheads to the Southward and I design 30
more from hence, which puts me much to my [ . . . ] mps Con
sidering the distressed condition the Carter is now i [n]

     This encloses a bill of Lading to y [ou] for
20 hhds: of my own Crop tobacco on board the Mary Captain
Hopkins thus you See I am running into your hands
head and Shoulders I'm in hopes before this arrive [s] my
10 hhds: Sent you in the Mansell Captain Trevisa hath met wth:
so quick a market that the Effects of it will be now re
turning into your hands time Enough to answer the prompt
payment at the Custom house however that you may
be in full Cash both for this business and what more I
Shall send to you, I now Send you a bill of exchange on Mr.
for three hundred pounds, Quick sales & returns
is the life of Trade. If you will but Exert your Self in bring
ing my Crops into a good reputation I shall be very willing
to let you into a large share in my business,

     I am now to propose a matter to you which
perhaps will not be very agreeable, however I would desire

-2 -

you to give me your Early and free thoughts about it, It is
no less Concern than the disposal of one of my Sons [sic ] for his
future State of Life he came in in the Carter has been under
the care of Mr. Dawkins for this seven years, he is past sixteen
Years of age is very well qualified to Enter upon any business
a Lad of good Morals & of an agreeable Obliging behaviour
My Strong Inclinations are to breed him up a Virginia
Merchant, Now I want to know whether you will agree
to tak [e hi] m an Apprentice and upon what Terms, I had
a great [d] esire to See him before I determine wt to do with him
If I w [ere] sure you would Accept of the proposal upon m [oder]
ate terms he Should return by this fleet and whether
at all adventures I Shall not send him back I am at
pre [sen] t wavering I must be so free to tell you I have m [ade]
the proposal to Mr. Dawkins and Mr. Bradley who both
decline it The first becaus he is a Single man, and lives
in [a] nother mans house. The other because he has lately
taken in Apprentices as many as he can Employ Other
wise tells me he Should Embrace the offer be it as it will
I Earnestly desire you will take all Opportunities either
from London or the out ports to let me have your full and
free answer to this Subject Pray my kind service to
Mr. Pratt and let him know I shall not forget my good
Dadd I am

Thy Esteemed Friend and
Humble Servt:

per Hopkins


Source copy consulted: Robert Carter letter book, 1727 May-1728 July, Robert Carter Papers (acc. no. 3807), Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia. There is a water stain down the right side of the sheet affecting words near the end of the lines on the obverse page and some near the left margin of the reverse page.

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] John Falconar was a London merchant with whom Carter dealt. In 1728, Falconar and Henry Darnell formed an association of 29 London tobacco merchants to deal with the French tobacco purchasing agent as a group in order to keep the price as high as possible. The association lasted only lasted a year or two before dissolving because some of its members were dealing directly with the French agent and selling below the agreed-upon price. ( Arthur Pierce Middleton. Tobacco Coast: A Maritime History of the Chesapeake Bay in the Colonial Era. Newport News, VA: Mariners' Museum, 1953. p. 129 )

[2] The Marlborough was a vessel of 100 tons and 14 men, commanded by George Buckeridge (Buckbridge). ( Admiralty 68/195, abstracted in Survey Report 6801, Virginia Colonial Records Project, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia. )

[3] The Mary was a London ship of 130 tons commanded by James Hopkins, and owned by merchant Robert Cary. ( Admiralty 68/194,ff. 82r, abstracted in Survey Report 6801, Virginia Colonial Records Project, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia. )

[4] Carter noted in his diary July 29, 1726, the arrival of the Mansell, Captain Trevisa, and in his letter of January 14, 1727, to the Board of Trade, gives the captain's full name as James Trevisa.

[5] Carter refers to the duty imposed by Britain on imported tobacco, known logically as the impost, and to the cocket (for which a fee was charged), a document bearing a cocket or seal issued by the "King's Customs House" that the impost had been paid. (See the definition of each word in Oxford English Dictionary Online.

[6] 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," 8/22/2005 )

[4] Landon Carter (1710-1778) was Carter's seventh child by his second wife, Elizabeth (Landon) Willis. Landon would live at "Sabine Hall," Richmond County, and marry three times, leaving many descendants, some of whom own "Sabine Hall" today. As an adult, he would keep a very interesting and useful diary. A reproduction of a portrait of him may be found on the website of the Found ation of Historic Christ Church. ( Jack P. Greene. "Landon Carter" in Sara B. Bearss, John G. Deal, et al., eds. Dictionary of Virginia Biography. [Richmond: Library of Virginia, 2006], 3:76-78; and Greene. The Diary of Colonel Landon Carter. . . . )

[8] James Bradley was a London merchant with whom Carter dealt from at least 1723 until his death. As noted in his letter to Bradley of May 17, 1727, Bradley owned the Welcome, but little information about Bradley has been located. (There is a listing of the firm of Bradly & Griffin, Merchants, Fenchurch-street, opposite the Mitre Tavern, on page 13 of Kent's Directory For the Year 1740 Containing An Alphabetical List of the Names and Places of Abode of the Directors of Companies, Persons in Publick Business, Merchants, and other Eminent Traders in the Cities of London and Westminster, and the Borough of Southwark. [London: Printed and Sold by Henry Kent in Finch-Lane, near the Royal Exchange: and by the Booksellers and Pamphlets Shops of London and Westminster, 1740]. p. 39. Online, examined 8/12/2005 and 6/14/2012. )

[9] John Pratt was a London merchant and an old friend of Carter's who usually referred to him as "Daddy."

This text, originally posted in 2003, was revised June 14, 2012, to add footnotes and strengthen the modern language version text.