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 the Board of Trade, June 29, 1727

     Robert Carter as acting governor of the colony writes to the Board of Trade, June 29, 1727, to send lists (not present) of the approximately 1200 Negroes imported since "Lady day 1718 to Lady day 1727." He reports that restitution has been made to the owners of the ship John & Betty for duties on its rum collected that were proved not due. He cannot send the latest Council minutes because they have not been read and approved. He informs the board of the Council order that merchant ships leave the colony in fleets, and hopes that the new governor will take steps, when he arrives, to strengthen the defences in the colony if the war with Spain continues.

Letter from Robert Carter to the Board of Trade, June 29, 1727

-1 -

[Lancaster County, ] Virginia   
June the 29th 1727

My Lords

     In obedience to Yor Lordships commands, I here enclose
Lists of all the Negros imported into this Colony from Lady day 1718
to Lady day 1727: there have been upwards of twelve hundred imported since
and more daily expected, but none from the African company.

     Since my last to Yor Lordships (whereof a Duplicate is inclosed)
the Owners of the Ship John & Betty of Bristol have made proof
of that ships arrival on the 10th of June 1726 and being then at
anchor in Rappahannock River, and orders are given conformable
to Yor Lordships commands for restoring the money received for the duty
of the Rum imported therein.

     Herewith Yor Lordships will receive the Duplicates of the Council
Journals sent in my last dispatch, since which there has been one
Meeting of the Council as the Court of Oyer & Terminer held this month
but as the Minutes have not yet been read & approved I cannot send them
by this conveyance. The most Material point then under consideration
was the safety of the Trade, now that a War is begun with Spain
whose Settlement at St Augustine is like to prove dangerous to the

-2 -

Navigation of these Plantations. to prevent this it has been
judged necessary to order the Merchant Ships to Sail hence in Fleets
under the Convoy of the Man of war on this Station, which will
go in company with them a convenient distance off this Coast
and it is hoped the two Fleets directed to be formed (according to the
inclosed Resolution of the Council) will include all the Ships now
here, two or three only excepted.

     I hope this precaution will not be disapproved by Your Lordships
although I have received no public notification of the war, nor any
directions either in relation to the Security of the Trade of the defense
of the Country: but as it is probable a Governor is now on his way
hither, who being a Military man may be better acquainted wth those
matters than I am, I shall fobear troubling Yor Lordships with such
things as occurr to me as highly necessary to the Service of both if this
war is like to draw out into any considerable length. I am with
all possible duty and respect

                              My Lords
                                    Your Lordships
                                          Most obedient
                                                humble Servant

                              ROBERT CARTER


Source copy consulted: CO5/1320, Public Record Office, London, found in the microfilms of the Virginia Colonial Records Project, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia.. This is the recipients' copy signed by Robert Carter (as indicated by the use of bold italics), and is endorsed: "Received Aug 21st | Read Sept. 28 } | 1727 with two papers not copied." Marginal summaries have been placed to the left of each paragraph by the Board's clerk. There is a draft in Robert Carter Letter Book, 1727 April 13-1728 July 23, Carter Family Papers, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond., 83-84, and a nineteenth-century transcript of the draft in the Minor-Blackford Papers, James Monroe Law Office and Museum, Fredericksburg, Virginia.

Robert Carter generally used a return address of "Virginia" for the colony in which he lived rather than "Corotoman," the name of his home, on his correspondence to officials abroad. The county has been added for clarity.

Established in 1696 as successor to a similar body, the Lords Commissioners of Trade and Plantations was "an advisory group, subordinate to king and Privy Council, and with no executive, financial, or penalizing powers, the Board of Trade was nevertheless able . . . to exert a far reaching and often determining influence in colonial matters. . . . It prepared the royal instructions for the governors overseas. . . ." ( Henry Hartwell, James Blair, and Edward Chilton. Hunter Dickinson Farish, ed. The Present State of Virginia, and the College. [First published, 1940, by Colonial Williamsburg, Inc., and reprinted Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1964.] pp. xvi-xvii. )

[1] Lady Day, or Annunciation Day, is March 25th, the date on which many Christians believe that the announcement of Christ's incarnation was made to the Virgin Mary.

[2] The Royal African Company, founded in 1672, grew out of earlier slave-trading companies that had been founded in the middle of the seventeenth century, and that held monopolies on the English trade in slaves. The trade proved so profitable that Parliament was lobbied successfully to rescind the monopoly and open the trade to anyone which happened in 1698. ( ; and Billings. et al. Colonial Virginia: A History. p. 232. )

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

This text, originally posted in 2003, was revised March 5, 2013, to strengthen the footnotes and modern language version text.