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 Pemberton, June 3, 1727

     Robert Carter writes to Liverpool merchant John Pemberton, June 3, 1727, to advise the merchant of the arrival of his ship, the Vine, and his attempts to get Captain Watkinson, "a very gruff old Gentleman," to take some tobacco left by another of Pemberton's ships. He has not heard of the arrival of Pemberton's slave ships which should have done better had they arrived earlier. Carter has drawn two bill of exchange on him payable to George Braxton for slaves that Carter was forced to buy because of many deaths among his slaves during the winter.

Letter from Robert Carter to John Pemberton, June 3, 1727

-1 -

Mr. John Pemberton       Rappahannock, [Lancaster County, Virginia]   
June 3d: 1727

Sir --

     Watkinson Arrived here the latter End of
Aprill I have Orderd him the Tobbo: belonging to the John and
he refuses to take any more of it but what lyes in
Corotoman I have promised him 30 hhds: of my own if he
does not leave me out A fortnight ago he writ me word he
had half his Load my in, I have presst him mightily to take
in all your Tobbo: but he is a very gruff old Gentleman I
hear nothing yet of your two Negroes Ships It had bin Adv=
antageous to those Concernd if they had bin here in the last

     The Cheif business of this is to advise you of bills
of Exchange I have drawn upon you this day for three hundred

-2 -

pounds payable to both George Braxston a great many o[f]
my Slaves have Dyed this winter which hath Obliged me to
buy Early to Supply their rooms and Occasions this large
Draft upon you I bought near four Score in the middle of
Aprill the Choice of the Ship three men to one woman at
Twenty pound per head it had bin a Satisfaction to me to
have laid out my money with you had either of your Ships
got it time Enough I hope Capt: Moreton is safe with you
hear no news of him yet I Shall Conclude here

Yor: very humble Servt:

per the Dispatch Capt Barry


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] Watkinson was captain of the Vine, a ship that may have been owned by Micajah Perry. ( Carter to Pemberton, March 25, 1724. )

[2] The John & Betty was a Liverpool ship owned by merchant John Pemberton; she often carried slaves into the colony. In 1726 the captain was John Gale, and in the next year, she was commanded by a Captain William Denton. The ship would be lost in 1729. (Wright. Letters of Robert Carter. . . . p. 18, n. 23 ; Carter to Pemberton, April 15, 1730; and Carter to William Dawkins, June 28, July 26, and August 22, 1727, for Denton's first name. )

[3] The Content was a Liverpool ship owned by John Pemberton and commanded by various masters including captains Stephenson (1721) , Fowler (1723), and Morton (1727). (Wright. Letters of Robert Carter. . . . pp. 92, 93, 102 ; and Carter to Pemberton, February 14, 1721, and June 28, 1727. )

[4] Elizabeth Donnan's Documents Illustrative of the History of the Slave Trade to America. Volume II. The Eighteenth Century (Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Institution of Washington, 1930, and a later edition: Buffalo, NY: William S. Hein & Co., Inc., 2002) contains a good many references to a slave ship named the Dispatch, a brigantine, owned in Bristol. and trading to Africa, the Caribbean, and the British colonies in North America. Her captain in 1727 was William Barry. " On October 7, 1725, a group of Bristol merchants, who then dominated the Biafra trade, directed Captain William Barry of the Dispatch to buy 240 'Choice slaves' from the obscure port of Andoni." ( G. Ugo Nwokeji. The Slave Trade and Culture in the Bight of Biafra: An African Society. . . . [London and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010. p. 145.) )

This text, originally posted in 2003, was revised September 28, 2012, to add footnotes and strengthen the modern language version text.