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 the Duke of Newcastle, June 29, 1727

     Robert Carter writes to the Duke of Newcastle, June 29, 1727, to send the Principal Secretary of State all the public papers including the Council minutes except for the most recent ones which have not been read and approved. He informs the Duke of the Council order for merchant ships to leave the colony in fleets that are convoyed well off shore by the warship stationed in Virginia, because of the war with Spain. He concludes by informing His Grace that royal customs revenues will increase substantially because of exported tobacco and a good crop in the ground, and that the colony is "in perfect tranquillity."

Letter from Robert Carter to the Duke of Newcastle, June 29, 1727

-1 -

                      [Lancaster County, ] Virginia     
June 29 1727

My Lord

     The Journal of Council which I have now the
honour to convey to Yor Grace, contain[s] all the publick Occurrences
of this Government since the administration fell into my hands, except
those of a late Council, the Minuits whereof could not be dispatched by this
Conveyance because they have not (according to our Rules) been yet read & approved.

      Tho I have hitherto received no public intimation of the War, with
the Emperor and Spain, I have nevertheless thought it expedient to use
all necessary precaution for the Safety of our Trade, wch is of so great
consequence to his Majesty with respect to his Customs, and of great
value but with regard to the British Shipping employed in it, and the adventure
of the Merchants and Planters: To this purpose Orders are given for
the Ships to sail hence in Fleets for their mutual defence in case they are

-2 -

attackd in their passage, and for their security agt the Enemys
Privateers wch are expected on this Coast, they are to be convoyed
a convenient distance from hence by the man of war on this
Station, and I hope the Superiority of his Majestys Fleets
will secure ]them] from any danger on the British Coast --

     I have the satisfaction to informe Yor Grace that by the larger
Export of tobacco this year and the prospects of the Crop now onthe
ground, His Majesty will receive a great increase of his Customs.
and I have also the pleasure to acquaint Yor Grace that this Colony
is in perfect tranquillity, which is all I have to offerr at present
except the professions of my being with the most profound respect

                      My Lord
                          Yor Grace's
                              Most dutifull &
                                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 Carter as is noted by the use of bold italics. There is a draft in Robert Carter Letter Book, 1727 April 13-1728 July 23, Carter Family Papers, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond., 84-85; over the dateline of the draft is written in a hand not that of the transcribing clerk: "For his Majestys Especiall Servece," and the same hand has added at the foot: "To | His Grace | The Duke of New Castle |His Majestys principal Secry: of State | Whitehall." There is 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 "Rappahannock" for the river on which he lived rather than "Corotoman," the name of his home, on his correspondence to persons abroad. The county and colony have been added for clarity.

[1] Thomas Pelham-Holles, the 1st Duke of Newcastle, was Secretary of State in the Walpole government; Richard L. Morton notes that the duke carried on a policy of "`saluatory neglect' of the colonies which lasted until the Seven Years' War." (Morton. Colonial Virginia. p. 506. )

[2] H. R. McIlwaine wrote in 1910, "It is true that in 1727 . . . England was at war with Spain, but the war was one in which not much blood was shed and which was soon over." As Carter was writing in 1727, the Spanish were indeed beseiging Gibralter, but they were not successful and gave up in July. The conflict would end in 1729 with the treaty of Seville by which Britain obtained Gibraltar. ( H.R. McIlwaine, ed. Journals of the House of Burgesses of Virginia, 1727-1734, 1736-1740. [Richmond: Virginia. General Assembly. House of Burgesses, Virginia State Library, 1910], xiii; and 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 15, 2013, to strengthen the footnotes and modern language version text.