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 John Falconar, July 24 and August 22, 1727

     Robert Carter writes to London merchant John Falconar, July 24 and August 22, 1727, to send bills of lading (not present) for tobacco of his own, the Burwell estate, and his grandson, Carter Burwell. He sends an invoice (not present) for goods, and notes that he has some debts which he intends to have paid into Falconar's hands "to answer all my Occasions." In a lengthy post script dated August 22, 1727, he sends a copy of the earlier invoice (not present), an invoice for medicines (not present), an order on Micajah Perry for £200 (not present), and a bill of lading (not present) for 17 hogsheads of tobacco that he wishes sold promptly. He also orders some silver long promised to his daughter, Elizabeth (Carter) Burwell Nicholas, and tells Falconar that Mr. Pratt, his old friend, will assist in this purchase.

Letter from Robert Carter to John Falconar, July 24 and August 22, 1727

-1 -

Mr. John Falconar     Rappahannock, [Lancaster County, Virginia]     
July the. 24th. 1727

Sir --

     My last went by Hopkins in the Mary by whom
Sent you 20 hhds: of Tobbo: this accompanys Capt: Buckeridge in yor:
Marlborrough [sic] and bring[s] you bills of Lading for the following Tobbo:
To witt 20 hogsheads of my own Crop. The 13 NB a Crop of Mr. Burwells
The 14 NCB a Crop likewise on the Accot: of Carter Burwell one of
his Sons and is Equally valueable in reputation I think from all
this you may Conclude you grow into my Esteem apace I have
done my utmost to Serve your Ship and am glad to find you have
no dead freight to pay at last Accots: of this Tobbo: must be kept
Distinct I am afraid we Shall not be in full Cash with you for the
Clearing of all this Tobbo: what wee fall Short and you Assist us with
I shall Studdy to oblige you Suitably hereafter this is the only year I
reckon will Shall [sic ] want of full Credit for our both? Concern,

     Herein I Send an Invoice for Some goods I beleive
will amount to near about Two hundred pounds in the Shipping
whereof I desire you will follow the directions I have Several Consid
erably [sic ] Sums of money due to me that I Expect to receive in a few
Months which intend to remitt into your hands and hope will
be ready time Enough to answer all my Occasions. Capt: Buckeridge
now at my house is in very great hast I can add no more but

per Buckeridge
Copy per Carter --             Yor: very humble Servt:

-2 -

--               Added to Falconars the 24th: July

Sir --                                                             Rappahannock, Augst: the 22d: 1727

     herewith I Send you a Copy of my Invoice also
a Small Invoice for some physick which I desire may be bought
at the Apothecarys hall that I may have the medicines fresh & good
and truly made up according to the dispensatory and pray your
particular care in having them well and Safely Packt up.

     According to my former promise of remitting
Some money into your hands I now Send you an Order upon Mr.
for the sum of Two hundred pounds which I hope will well
Enough answer all my Occasions,

     herein also is a bill of Lading for 17 hogsheads of Tobacco
Consignd by the Carter which I desire may be Sold as soon as it
comes home for Exportation at least that it be bonded and none of
my money laid out in the payment of the customs and Sold of as soon
as you can meet with a Suitable market accoding to the best Judgemt.
you can make --

     I have bin long under a promise of laying out
£50 for my Daughter Nicholas in Such things as She Should desire
which she now Chooses to be laid out in the following Plate to
witt, A Two Eard Caudle Cup and Cover, to hold 2 quarts to be
round plain Substantial Plate, a Coffee Pott plain, to hold 1 qt.
and a Tea Pott to hold a Pint, all the Plate to have my Coat of
Arms upon it. She writes to Mr. Pratt about it and so have I whos[e]
care and Assistance in the well buying of it I doubt now he will pleasingly afford
to his old friends I Shall take my leave of you at present & am
very Sincerely

                                                            Yor: Esteem'd friend & humble Servt.

[per] the Carter


Source copy consulted: 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.


[] John Falconar (d. ca. 1729) 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. (See Carter's letter to Falconar of July 24 and August 22, 1727, for details about the payment of £200 to him. (See Carter to William Dawkins, for Falconar's death date. Arthur Pierce Middleton. Tobacco Coast: A Maritime History of the Chesapeake Bay in the Colonial Era. Newport News, VA: Mariners' Museum, 1953. p. 129 )

[2] 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. )

[3] The Marlborough was a vessel of 100 tons and 14 men, owned by John Falconar (as is noted in this letter), and commanded by George Buckeridge (Buckbridge). ( Admiralty 68/195, abstracted in Survey Report 6801, Virginia Colonial Records Project, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia. )

[4] Carter Burwell (1716-1756) was Robert Carter's grandson by his daughter Elizabeth (Carter) Burwell and her first husband, Nathaniel Burwell (1680-1721). Carter Burwell would live at "Carter's Grove," and would marry Lucy Grymes in 1738. (Carleton. A Genealogy. . . of Robert Carter. . . . p. 128. )

[5] Clearing of goods imported into Britain involved paying the impost, the duty imposed by Britain on imported tobacco, and obtaining the cocket (for which a fee was charged), a document bearing a cocket or seal issued by the "King's Customs House" that the impost had been paid. (See the definitions of each word in Oxford English Dictionary Online. )

[6] A physick is a "medicinal substance; spec. a cathartic, a purgative. Also: medicines generally." ( Oxford English Dictionary online. )

[7] The Apothecaries Hall was "destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666, the Society immediately set about re-building the Hall. Work was completed in 1672 and an 'Elaborator'' was included for the first ever large-scale manufacture of drugs."

[8] Carter wants Falconar to avoid paying the impost or customs duty on this tobacco which was not liable if the tobacco was exported.

[9] A caudle cup was a "small, two-handled silver cup, usually with a cover, originally made in England during the second half of the 17th century and possibly used for caudle -- warm ale or wine mixed with bread or gruel, eggs, sugar, and spices -- which was administered to women after childbirth and to convalescents." (Encyclopedia Brittanica online, 8/27/2007)

[10] John Pratt was a London merchant and an old friend of Carter's usually referred to him as "Daddy."

This text, originally posted in 2003, was revised May 30, 2013, to strengthen the footnotes and modern language version text. Revised 8/27/2007