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 Captain Charles Lee and Thomas Berry, July 28, 1727

     Robert Carter writes to Captain Charles Lee and Thomas Berry, Churchwardens of Wiccomco Parish, Northumberland County, July 28, 1727, to clear up any misgiving that they may have had concerning the application of Reverend Thomas Bailey to be their minister. Carter lays out the circumstances of Bailey's departure from his last Virginia parish, his low wages in North Carolina, his qualifications as deacon and priest, and notes that Bailey asks only to be on probation until the arrival of the governor.

Letter from Robert Carter to Captain Charles Lee and Thomas Berry, Churchwardens of Wiccomco Parish, Northumberland County, July 28, 1727

-1 -

To Capt. Chas: Lee & Mr. Thos: Berry
Churchwardens of Wiccomco Parish
In Northumberland County               [Corotoman, Lancaster County, Virginia]
July the. 28th: 1727

     I believe what I Said to Captain Charles Lee relating
to Mr. Thomas Bailey Clerk might have some Influence upon Several of the
best better Gentlemen of your parish in Introducing an Indifferent Opinion of the Good
Mr. Bailey he is now returned with a Copy of the proceedings against him
before the Governor and Council, there does not appear in it upon a Com
plaint of the Vestry of the Parish he then Officiated in there does not
appear any thing made out against him It came to this Issue
he agreed to leave them and they paid him his Salary for that Current year
he was then as he Says invited to a Parish in North Carolina and in a
Short time after left the Government as he had promised the Governor to do
where his Income was so very Small he could not maintain him
self and family upon it, he has now produced both his Deacons &
Priests Orders to me whereby he is full Qualified upon that Account & to E [xercise]

-2 -

his Ministerial function amongst you and promises to take such care of his
future Life and Conversations to give no Occasion of Complaint
against him he is of very low Circumstances for the Support of him
Self and family All that he desires is that you will receive him
as a Probationer only for the present in the Exercise of his Ministeria [l]
function until the Arrival of the Governor and the Commissary In
which I have promised him to give him no disturbance Your Parish
has been a long time Vacant and if you Entertain him upon
these terms I believe you will think it better than to live Still without
any Minister at all I am

Yor: humble Servt:


Source copy consulted: Robert Carter Letter Book, 1727 April 13-1728 July 23, Carter Family Papers, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond. There is a nineteenth-century copy of this letter in the Minor-Blackford Papers, James Monroe Law Office and Museum, Fredericksburg, Virginia.

The name of Robert Carter's home, the county, and colony have been added for clarity to this unheaded draft.

[1] Charles Lee (1684-1741) of Cobbs Hall, Northumberland County. He was sheriff of that county in 1725 and 1726. (McIlwaine. Executive Journals of the Council. . . . , 4[1721-1739]: 86, 100. )

[2] Thomas Baylie (Bayley, Bailey, b. 1683?) was one of the most notorious colonial Virginia clergymen. Commissary Blair had written to the bishop of London in 1724, "We have at present two Ministers (Mr. Thomas Baylie and . . . ) so very scandalous for drunkenness and fighting and Quarreling in their drink that many grevious complaints are brought to me against them, and indeed the Country rings of the scandal given by them." Baylie was the minister at that time of Newport Parish, Isle of Wight County. The parish determined to get rid of Baylie, and in 1725, brought an agreement to the Governor and Council by which Baylie agreed to relinquish his ministry and leave the colony; he disputed the amount of salary he was to receive and was awarded the full year. ( John K. Nelson. A Blessed Company: Parishes, Parsons, and Parishoners in Anglican Virginia, 1690-1776. [Chapel Hill and London: University of North Carolina Press, 2001]. p9. 153, 304, 401; and McIlwaine. Executive Journals of the Council. . . . , 4[1721-1739]:89-90. )