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 Captain John Hyde & Company, May 17, 1727,

     Robert Carter writes to Captain John Hyde & Company, May 17, 1727, reporting the arrival of letters and goods from the London merchant, and complaining that "your sales of my Tobbo: were the lowest of any that I had met." He gives details of the stay of the company's ship, the Providence, in the colony, sends a bill of lading (not present) for 20 hogsheads of tobacco on board the ship, and reports a bill of exchange that he has drawn to Captain Woodward.

Letter from Robert Carter to Captain John Hyde & Company, May 17, 1727

-1 -

Rappa[hannock, Lancaster County, Virginia]

May 17th. 1727.

Capt: John Hyde & Company

Gent: --

     I have rec'd your Several Letters & goods
your sales of my Tobbo: were the lowest of any that I had met
Indeed it hath bin my Misfortune all along to have but low
Sales from you what ever hath bin the reason of it Mr. Levitt is a Safe man but he always gives
the lowest prices You give me hopes of your doing better hereaf
ter. Your ship hath made a long Stay here Your master is to accot:
for it My Tobbo: hath bin ready for him ever Since he came in
I only waited till his ground Line was laid and then he had it,

     herein Send you a bill of Lading for 20 hhds of
my own Crop Tobbo: made at my home plantations prized
under my Eye Sweet Scented Tobbo: I make no other and I
promise my Self is very good I hope will merit an Inland
Sale and give me the Advantage of the Discounts,

     I have now drawn upon you a bill of Exche:
payable to Capt: Woodward for £34:15:-which I desire you
to answer on my Accot: he wanted two hhds. to full him up
I let him have them I ask him what freight he would want
of me His answer was 30 would do He might have had more
if he had wanted it I heartily wish your Ship Safe to you & am,
Yor: most humble Servt.

per Woodward


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.

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] There is a listing of John Levett, Alderman, at the Temple, on page 49 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. This was probably the John Levett (b. 1688) who was a member of the Drapers Company. ([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; and "John Levett " online examined 6/18/2012. )

[2] Carter probably means the ship's mooring for her time in Virginia.

[3] There were two two major types of tobacco grown in Carter's day. Oronocco was "bulkier and coarser than sweetscented . . . had a sharper leaf 'like a fox's ear,'" and was stronger in flavor "than sweetscented." ( Arthur Pierce Middleton. Tobacco Coast: A Maritime History of the Chesapeake Bay in the Colonial Era. Newport News, VA: Mariners' Museum, 1953. p. 97 )

[4] 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 )

[5] Thomas Woodward commanded the Providence, a ship owned by Captain John Hyde & Company, during a number of voyages to the colony, 1723-1727. ( Adm. 68/194 and 195, found in the microfilms of the Virginia Colonial Records Project, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia, and Carter's letter to the firm, September 17, 1723 .)

This text, originally posted in 2003, was revised June 17, 2012, to add footnotes and strengthen the modern language version text.