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 William Dawkins, June 28, July 26, and August 22, 1727

     Robert Carter writes to London merchant William Dawkins, June 28, 1727, that he is sending 28 hogsheads of tobacco from the estate of Nathaniel Burwell on board Dawkins' ship, the Bailey, and Mann Page will send the bill of lading. Because a large share of the estate's tobacco is being sent to Dawkins this year, he hopes the merchant will exert himself to get the best prices for it to justify Carter's faith in him. He sends an invoice (not present) for goods for the Burwell children, and two bills of exchange. Adam Graves has come to see Carter to deny that he has made disparaging remarks about the Carter, and Carter asks Dawkins to forget what he has written previously about Graves in this matter. He reports that Captain Dove (of the Carter ) hopes to have a load of 300 hogsheads, but will probably not make the next fleet. In closing, he notes that he has been preparing invoices for his goods in hopes of receiving them earlier than usual, but they are not ready. In a lengthy post script dated July 26th, Carter adds details of many bills of exchange, sends an order (not present) for goods, payment to him of a debt due Dawkins from George Devenport, the further problems of Captain Dove and the Carter, and the news in the colony of the raising of the siege of Gibralter. In a second post script dated August 22nd, he reports that the Carter will sail without being fully loaded which he attributes to her late arrival in the colony. He sends an invoice and a bill of lading (not present) and a number of bills of exchange.

Letter from Robert Carter to William Dawkins, June 28, July 26, and August 22, 1727

-1 -

Mr: Wm: Dawkins       Rappahannock, [Lancaster County, Virginia]   
June the 28th: 1727

Sir --

     Yor: Ship Baily makes ones of this first Fleet
there are on board her 28 hogsheads belonging to Mr. Burwells Estate and
of his best Crops Consigned to you a bill of Lading I Expect Colonel Page
Sends you a large Share of those tobacco comes under your management
this year I hope you will Exert yourself in keeping up their reputation
and not let mine Suffer in ordering So much to you. I Compute
there is money Enough in your hands to entitle the Estate to all the Discounts
however a payment of Some money belonging to it falling into Colonel
Pages hands I have desired him to lodge some more of it with you I
wish you were more frequent wi th your Accots: Currt: that we might
be at a nicer Certainty,

     An Invoice for a Supply to Mr. Burwells Children
for the next year comes herewith In which I hope you will Study
to please their Mother both in the goodness and Cheapness,

     Herein I Send you two bills of exchange of my own drawn
upon yourself Colonel Pages for £100" -- " -- and John Taliferro
for £9:16:3 which I desire Credit for

     Adam Graves hath been with me to give me Satis
faction about the reports he was made the author of in disparagement

-2 -

of the Carter which he utterly denies therefore pray let what I w [rote]
you about him Stand for nothing I Shall be very unwilling to recas [t]
any prejudice against him in your Esteem without a Just Cause
Dove moves on as fast as he can he is now in hopes of geting to 800
hogsheads tobacco comes out unpectedly Flatter myself he will Exceed
that number but am afraid he will not be ready for the next Fleet
which is appointed the 25th of next month

     Being desirous to have my goods in Earlier than
I have had them for these two or three years past I have been prepare
ing my own Invoices Time is so Short I cannot finish them now
must let them lie for another Opportunity I am

Sir --
Yor: very humble Servt:

per Watkinson
Copy per Trice

-3 -

                             Added to his Letter of 28 June
Mr. William Dawkins                             Rappahannock July the 26: 1727
Sir --

     herein you have the Seconds of the former bills
of Exchange Also five Small first bills to wit William Eustace on yorSelf
for £1:12" -- Robert Carter & Richard Lee on Ditto for £14:12"1 George Turberville
on Nathaniel Gundry for £2:16:6 Peter Pressly on Ditto for £3"6 and Thomas

-4 -

Lee on John Burridge for £16:8"11 Amounting to Thirty Eight pounds
Fourteen and Eleven pence,

     On the 25th of May I drew on you to Robert Jones for £15/ --
On the the 3d June I drew on you to Colonel Braxton for £182:5:11.
Colonel Page and I drew on you to Mr. Stagg for £8"-"-and to Doctor
for £117"18"2, on Account of Mr. Burwells Estate --

     Mr. Richard Lee and I have drawn on you on Accot of the Orphan
of Hancock Lee to William Strother for £11"-"-to Elizabeth Lee £7"10
to Robert Carter £14:12:1 These I think are all the bills you are to be
advised of at present --

     Herewith comes an Invoice for Some goods in the
buying and Shipping of which I desire you will follow the directions
therein given its Considerably larger than I have had from you these
late years,

     The other day I received from George Devenport Your Debt from
William Devenport for Thirty Shillings and Six which you must charge
me with I See little hopes of getting any more Except from two or three
and when they will be able to pay I cant tell Skrine tells me he hath
Sent you Tobacco for his Debt and I believe it because I heard nothing
from you this year about him

     I Called on board the Carter last night Dove is a little ailing
of the Gout instead of Increasing he grows Short in his hopes he ll will fall
Short of 800 hundred hogsheads reckons to be ready for Sailing about the 10th next
Month he is in some hopes of making a little freight by Some Walnut

     Several ways we have the news of raising the Seige of
Gibralter and it is brought from New York that the differences between
the Contending Powers are to be Settled in a Congress how true we must
leave to Time I am

Sir --

Yor: very humble Ob [edient] Servt: -- herein I Send you two Small bills of
Exchange to wit Hugh Brent on yourself for 1:8:9
James Ball on Joseph Ball for £3:7:3
which I desire Credit for --

Per Captain Trice
Copy per Carter

-5 -

                             Added to Mr. Dawkins the 27 July
                                                            Rappahannock, August the 22d: 1727
Sir, --

      We are now come to the Time of the Carters Sailing
She falls Short Considerably of 800 hogsheads which I am Satisfied is
partly owing to her being so late a Ship had she been in one month
Sooner she would not have been a hogshead short I cant Say but Captain Dove
has done his utmost and whoever had been her Master I believe he
would have met with the same fate; if you cannot make her an earli
er ship it is my Present thoughts She will be in danger of faring a
nother year as badly as she has done this, I have done her all the Service
I possibly could have loaded upon her 150 hogsheads but all would not do
I Shall leave the rest of the Story to Doves telling

     herewith Send you A Copy of my Invoice also Seconds
of Some other former bills likewise a bill of Lading for 76 hogsheads of my
own crops on board the Carter they are marked of 2 marks 20 of them
with the mark I used to send to Mr. Perry making my Consignments
this year near 100 hogsheads hoping I Shall not come off as some times I
have done the larger my business hath been the worse hath been my
fare You have here Captain Doves bills of Exchange upon you for £41:18:4
which I desire Credit for I have desired Dove to bring me in a few things
which I have ordered him to apply to you for the money to pay for them

     herein I Send you also Six Small billsof Exchange to wit
Margret Rimor on Thomas Longman Bristol for £2:6:10 --
Henry Stevenson on Peter How & Company in Whitehaven £3:-:-
Nick Smith on John King Bristol for £12:9:5 Charles Broad
water on Captain Hyde £3:17:4 John Fitzhugh on Walter Lutwidge
Whitehaven £5:2:10 Henry Fitzhugh on Foster Cunliffe Liverpool
for £14 -- Amounting to Forty pound, Sixteen Shillngs and five
Pence which I desire your Management of

     I have this day drawn upon you for £8 to Mrs. Elizabeth
and for £92:10 to Captain William Denton of Liverpool these Sums I
desire you to pay on my Account Wishing the Carter a Safe passage to
you I take my leave at present. I am

                                      Yor: very humble Servant --
per the Carter


Source copies consulted: The original letter and post scripts are in Robert Carter Letter Book, 1727 April 13-1728 July 23, Carter Family Papers, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond.

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 to the heading on the draft.

[1] The Bailey was a London ship owned by William Dawkins and commanded at various times by Adam Graves (1725-1730) and by Thomas Dove (1731-1732). She was a vessel of some 250 tons and carried 15-17 crew members. ( Survey report 6801 summarizing Adm. 68/195, 156v, and other data in Adm. 68/194 and /196, found in the microfilms of the Virginia Colonial Records Project, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia; A letter of Carter's to Dawkins May 12, 1732, refers to "your ship Bailey." as does a letter of August 10, 1733, from Carter's executors to Dawkins. [ Lloyd T. Smith, Jr., ed. The Executors' Letters of Robert Carter of Corotoman, 1732-1738. (Irvington, VA: Foundation for Historic Christ Church, 2010) p. 76]. )

[2] 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 )

[3] John Taliaferro (1687-1744), would be one of the first justices of Caroline County in 1728, and sheriff of that county in 1730. (McIlwaine. Executive Journals of the Council. . . . , 4[1721-1739]:87, 98, 105, 172, 188, 195, 215, )

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

[5] The 140 ton Welcome was owned by London merchant James Bradley to whom Carter would write about her on May 17, 1727 . John Trice (Frice) was her captain, 1723-1727. ( Adm 68/195, 154r, found in the microfilms of the Virginia Colonial Records Project, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia. )

[5] Thomas Lee (1690-1750) of Westmoreland County was the son of Richard Lee II, and nephew of Edmund Jenings; he would build "Stratford," and succeed Carter on the Council. For a good article on Thomas Lee, see that by Jeanne A. Calhoun on Stratford plantation's website. ( Burton J. Hendrick. The Lees of Virginia: Biography of a Family. [Boston: Little Brown, 1935]. pp. 48, 51, etc. )

[7] Hancock Lee (1653-1709) was an intimate friend of Robert Carter who was named in Lee's will as "a good friend," and appointed one of the trustees of his children. (Lee. Lee Chronicle . . . pp. 33-35. )

[8] William Skreen of Hanover Parish, Richmond County, and two others had taken a patent for 1020 acres in what was then Essex County August 17, 1720. A patent held by William Skrien (Skreen, Skrine) is referred to in a number of patents taken out in St. George's Parish, Spotsylvania County, in the 1720s. ( Nell M. Nugent. Cavaliers and Pioneers: Abstract of Virginia Land Patents and Grants. [Richmond: Virginia State Library, 1979] 3(1695-1732):198, 222, 308, 317, 411. )

[9] In early 1727, Britain was allied with France and Prussia against Spain and Austria, and the Spanish had laid siege to Gibralter; it was not successful. The conflict would end in 1729 with the treaty of Seville by which Britain obtained Gibralter. ( J. H. Plumb. England in the Eighteenth Century (1714-1815). [Hammersmith, Middlesex: Penguin Books, 1953] pp. 64-65. )

[10] Peter How was a merchant of Whitehaven (on the Irish sea in northwest England), who, with Richard Kelsick, traded with the Fredericksburg, Virginia, area from the early 18th century. "In 1745, Peter How and Richard Kelsick built a store on the corner of Caroline and Hanover streets (Lot 16). While Kelsick continued to be based on the Northern Neck, How ran the Fredericksburg store, returning to Whitehaven sometime before 1756. The store operation evidently continued, for his ships made the annual voyage into the 1760s. The property was acquired in 1767 by James Ritchie & Co. of Glasgow; but How was back in Spotsylvania in the 1770s pursuing debtors." ( Paula S. Felder. "Fredericksburg and Whitehaven Connection to English Port a Forgotten Chapter in Area's Colonial History Living-history Program," Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star, 7/2/2005. ) "He had interests in coal and iron-ore mines and set up an iron-working forge at Low Mill in 1750. Debts incurred by the forge and the decline in the tobacco trade may have contributed to his bankruptcy in 1763." Notes on a portrait of "Mrs Peter How and her Two Children, Peter and Christian,", 2/22/2006. )

[11] John Fitzhugh (d. 1733) of Stafford County, a younger son of William Fitzhugh of "Bedford." He was a burgess from Stafford in 1727. ( "The Fitzhugh Family." Virginia Magazine of History and Biography. 7[1899-1900]: 317-19. )

[12] Foster Cunliffe (d. 1767) was a merchant and prominent citizen of Liverpool who worked to expand manufacturing and the capacity of the harbor; he served a number of terms as mayour He and Richard Gildart undertook "a major reorginization of business with Maryland and Virginia . . . beginning in the early 1720's [they] sent numerous factors to the region." They established stores in which retail goods were sold, purchased the produce of the region, had it ready for loading when ships arrived, and also moved into the sale of slaves. ( James A. Picton, ed. Liverpool Municipal Archives and Records. . . . [Liverpool, 1907.] pp. 27, 31, 79, 90, 96, etc. and Paul G. Clemens. "The Rise of Liverpool, 1665-1750." Economic History Review. 24[May 1976]:211-225. )

[13] Mrs. Elizabeth Young was Carter's housekeeper. He had agreed with her for one year's service in 1724 but found her satisfactory for a longer term. She went to England in May 1728. (DiaryJune 2, 1727, and this letter for her first name. Carter to Pemberton May 8, 1728, for her sailing to England.)

[14] 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. )

This text, originally posted in 2003, was revised January 9, 2013, and December 18, 2014, to strengthen the footnotes and modern language version text.