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 Micajah Perry, May 17, 1727

     Robert Carter writes to London merchant Micajah Perry, May 17, 1727, to berate him for not allowing discounts for a large quantity of tobacco that was sold to English customers, and threatenting to sever their long association. He reminds Perry that he often has large sums of Carter's money in his hands and therefore has no grounds for complaining of Carter's account having none. He complains about Perry's failure to credit Carter with tobacco shipped by John Bolling to several merchants on Carter's account, and alerts Perry that he has been suing merchant Harry Offly for several years for debts. Perry's handling of the accounts for the estate of Nathaniel Burwell, Carter's son-in-law, are not satisfactory. He lists a number of bills of exchange that he has drawn both on his own and on the Burwell accounts. The lengthy letter ends with comments upon the Northern Neck case noting that he will stand the cost of another opinion from the Attorney General since Colonel Cage will not pay for it.

Letter from Robert Carter to Micajah Perry, May 17, 1727

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Rappa[hannock, Lancaster County, Virginia]   
May 17th 1727

Mr. Micajh: Perry

Sir --

     I am now upon yor: Accots: in your Sales of my
60 hhds: per Graves in 1725 Twenty one of them is sold to Inland Cus
tomers in the Sale of the 47 hhds: by Keeling Thirty of them went also
to Inland Customers fifty one in the whole upon these you allow
me no discounts I have demonstrated this matter to you largely
but you [aff] ord me no Answer and delight in very Short Letters
I shall [be] as Short in plainly tell letting you know untill you give
me Credit for the Discounts of these two Parcells of Tobbo: I shall Cease
to give you any more of the trouble of my Tobbo: The Tobbo: in Keeling
you Sold quickly after it got home and yet you have a Salvo in yor:
Acct: Currt: dated the 21st: of January following [when outstanding
Debts are come in & which is what I never Saw in an Accot: of yours
before till now nor your familys before you] I reckon my ballance is in
tirely in your hands and you will have the Advantage of a great
deal of my money a much longer time then you can say I was
out of Cash for any of my Tobbo: for this reason if there was no other
I think you ought to Credit me for my discounts In yor: Acct: Currt:
you place to me £3:8:I allowed to Colonel Bolling for his Commission
I see no reason for it Colonel Bolling no doubt drew his commission here
I must tell you this Storey I have bin Sueing these Several
Years for the debt Harry Offly owed me Colonel Bolling ships 56 hhds:
to the Randolphs in the Williamsburgh 8 in the Sea Horse 3 in Turner
to the Same Gentleman and 23 in the Micajh: to your Self
the produce of all these 90 hhds: to be paid into your hands on my
Accot: Isham Randolphs and Daytons ? Deighton bills of Lading I have. You
Accot: to me yet only for the 23 hhds: to your Self.

     I sent you Several bills of Exche: to a Considerable
value which I have not Credit for in your Accot: Conclude they
were not got to hand neither have I Credit for the Accot: of the Disb=
ursements of upon the LLs estate for 1725.

     You charge me £15:10 paid to Mr. Blew for his
charges and trouble in Soliciteing the King and Council One of yor:
Letters mention[s] you Should put me to the charge of £10:-:-There
happend to be no Occasion for it however, if so much mony
was given I must be Contented

     In relation to Mr. Burwells Estate Colonel Page

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and I have some Letters before you which you have not yet thot
Fitt to Give an Answer to, Wee complain [illegible] of Your broken Accots:
your late sales of that Estate's Tobbo: hath bin very low and your not
Allowing the Discounts upon the Merchts: hundd: Tobbo:, which belongs
to one of his Children, a re fresh Occasions of Complaint, Certainly
Either Majr: Burwells Estate or my own afforded money to Clear
these Tobbos:, for these reasons I have thought fit not to give you
the trouble of the Consignmt. of any of these Tobbos: this year I shall
write to Lewis Burwell by some of our Ships He [des] ires to be kept
at School a year longer to make himself more fit for the University
and promises a great deal of Diligence I wish he makes good his word
which will be greatly to the Satisfaction of his relations,

     I am now to advise you of the [illegible] bills of Exche: I have hith
erto drawn upon you (the bill for £10:-:6 to Mr. Leheup you
have bin long Since acquainted with) to witt for One hundred
pounds to the Lord Orkney. To Mr. Grimes for Nine pounds thirteen
and Six pence To Mr. Randolph for Six and Twenty pounds To
Josiah Burchett for five pounds -- and to Mr. John Falconar Merct:
for Three hundred pounds & to Mr. Bradley for one hundred pounds all which must desire you to pay at

     Upon the Accot: of Mr. Burwells Estate I have drawn
upon you the following bills, to witt To Mr. Grimes for Thirteen
Pounds Nineteen Shillings, & To William Camp for Fifty pounds
which Sums are to be paid and placed to the Accot: of that estate
[illegible] I hope you yet retain that rellish for Mr. Burwells memory
that you will do all the kindness you can for to his son in his Edu
cation but if you decline any further Concern with him I shall order
the care of him to another person

     If our Correspondence must [illegible] intirely break &
my Stocks and the money that I Shall have leave in your hands
be a trouble to you to manage as Soon as I have Intelligence of
it I Shall take the first Opportunity to give Orders for the displacing
of them

     In one of your Letters you mention the Northern Neck
Case is at last referrd to the Atturney Generals [sic ] to report upon but that Colonel
declines to answer the Charge and that there it must rest unless I will do
it and that you will pay away no money for me without my

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particular order that the charge will amount to fifteen guineas
You know that I have already paid for the Attorney Generals &
Solicitor Generals opinions upon that Case, and I have no reason
to fear but that the Attorneys Opinion will be as favourable as it
was, however if you can procure his Second opinion Suitable
to the former, I shall be Contented to bear this Charge also If I have
not Interest Enough with you the Proprs: will I hope to carry you into
this Service for their future advantage I am

Yor: most humble Servt:

per Hopkins
Copy 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.

Words in italics were changes written by Carter in the clerk's draft of the letter.

Moisture has lightened the ink of the words on the left side of the first page and those on the right side of the second page, making some words difficult to read.

[1] Captain William Keiling commanded the Betty. ( Survey Report 6800, found in the records of the Virginia Colonial Records Project, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia. )

[2] Because English law allowed an English purchaser of imported tobacco to apply for rebates of the impost, or duty, if the tobacco was exported from the country, Carter probably expected a discount on the charges on his tobacco sold to English merchants, or inland sales.

[3] John Bolling (1677-1729), a great-grandson of John Rolfe and Pocahontas, was a prominent citizen of Henrico County where he served as delegate in the Assembly and as justice. He was a merchant of some stature in the colony. (Kneebone et al. Dictionary of Virginia Biography. 2:61-62. )

[4] Harry Offley (Henry Offley) was a London merchant. ( "Virginian tobacco dealer" 5/20/2003 ; and "Descendants of Charles Anderson" 5/20/2003 )

[5] Isham Randolph was captain of the Williamsburgh in 1725-26. ( Admiralty 68/194, ff. 39v, found in the microfilms of the Virginia Colonial Records Project, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia. )

[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 )

[7] Lewis Burwell (1711 or 1712-1756), Carter's grandson by Elizabeth Carter Burwell and her first husband, Nathaniel Burwell (1680-1721). He was educated at Eton and Cambridge, and inherited considerable property, living at "Fairfield," Gloucester County. He would be president of the Council in 1750-1751.(Kneebone et al. , Dictionary of Virginia Biography. 2:434-5. and Carleton. A Genealogy. . . of Robert Carter. . . . p. 114. )

[8] Peter Leheup, an English Treasury clerk, was Virginia's and other colonies' agent in England for some years. He was related by marriage to the Prime Minister's brother who was secretary of the Treasury. His influence would be greater near the end of Carter's life.(Price. Perry of London. . . . pp. 75-77, 80, 83. )

[9] Josiah Burchet is presumed to have been an Admiralty official responsible for collecting the fees for Mediterranean passes which merchant ships needed to protect themselves from Barbary pirates. See Carter's letter to Burchet, May 13, 1727.

[10] 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 )

[11] William Camp (Kemp) was described by Carter as "the General Overseer of Mr Burwell's Affairs" and he wrote that Camp earned a salary "£50 . . . for the year 1731." Carter and his son-in-law, Mann Page, were the trustees of Nathaniel Burwell's children after Burwell's death in 1721. Camp was a resident of Gloucester County where most of the Burwell estates lay, and he must also have supervised "Rippon Hall" in nearby York County. ( Carter to George Braxton, November 20, 1729 , and Carter to William Dawkins, July 11, 1732, and Virginia Tax Records. [Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, Inc., 1983.] p. 539. )

[12] Captain James Hopkins commanded the Mary in 1727-1728. He was then working for London merchant Robert Cary. He is mentioned in Carter's diary. ( Adm. 68/194, found in the microfilms of the Virginia Colonial Records Project, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia. )

[13] Thomas Woodward commanded the Providence, a ship owned by Captain John Hyde & Company, during a number of voyages to the colony, 1723-1729. ( Survey Report 6800 summarizing Adm. 68/194 and Survey Report 6801 summarizing Adm 68/195, 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 July 3, 2012, to add footnotes and strengthen the modern language version text.