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 [Nathaniel Harrison,] August 7. 1727

     Robert Carter writes to [Nathaniel Harrison,] August 7. 1727, militia commander in Surry County, concerning depredations by and threats from Indians, the need to alert the militia, the failure of William Robertson, clerk of the Council, to have prepared militia commissions that were promised to Harrison, and the steps that Carter has taken to have the commissions completed and sent to Harrison since Robertson has broken his leg and been seriously ill.

Letter from Robert Carter to [Nathaniel Harrison,] August 7. 1727

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Rappa [hannock, Lancaster County, Virginia]     
Augt. the 7th: 1727


     I received your express last night am Sorry to
find this Government . is never to be at rest from our Brutal Neighbours
the Indians You know how very much a Stranger I am to the nature
and ways of these people by the Accots you Send me the Catawbas
seem to have bad designs in their heads against their fellow Indians &
if they come down with such a power as they threaten it is very
likely that our Frontier Inhabitants in those parts will be in dan
ger of suffering in their Stocks at least if and Corn fields
at least if in nothing Else what ever measures you shall think
proper to take for the Defence of our people from the Insults
of these villans You shall not want the Countenance of my
Authority to justify you in the best method I can think of
is forthwith to send orders to the Militia in those parts to be upon their
Guard and upon the first Notice of these Indians Appearing
to go out for the Security of the Frontier Inhabitants &
to prevent them from making inroads into the our bounds of our

     As for the Attack of the Western Indians
upon the Meherirns and killing so many of them I never
heard a Syllable of until your Intelligence

     The dangerous condition poor Will
lies in at Gloucester Court by a broken Leg I cant
think you are without . . . without an Accot of . Stagg Saw him yesterday morning tells
writes to me last night that two days before his Fevers
pursued him so Violently that his life was Dispaired of but had
a good night before he saw him and that then his Fever was
quite off and the Surgeons were in great hopes of his doing well

     It has been entirely Mr. Robertsons fault that
you have not had those Military Commissions you desired
long ago he promised to have them ready for my Signing before
I left the Town but in that he failed he promised quickly
to Send them after me I wrote to him Several times Since

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to Dispatch them to me and if Crew was out of the way who
Solicitited me for that Office to put Francis upon preparing
the Commissions who I knew would readily do it I have had
Several Expresses from Mr. Robertson Since in which he does not
so much as mention them Commissions

     I have now drawn these Commissons & signed them
you and . . . in hand send them away herewith to Mr. Hickman
with orders to put the Seal to them and to dispatch them to
you by Express I hope to have the Satisfaction of Seeing you
at the Court of Admiralty on the 15th: where we may consult
what will be the properest measures for the Security of the
Inhabitants of our Government from the Invasion of these threa
tening Indians I am

              Your most humble Servt -- :


Source copy consulted: Robert Carter letter book, 1727 May-1728 July, Robert Carter Papers (acc. no. 3807), Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia. Although no addressee's name is given in the draft, Carter wrote in his diary on 1727 August 6 that he had received a letter from Charles Stagg enclosing three packets including one from Colonel Harrison.

Robert Carter generally did not use the return address "Rappahannock" (for the river on which he lived) for letters sent to persons within the colony, but the clerk has written it here. The county and colony have been added for clarity.

[1] Williamsburg

[1] Richard Hickman (d. 1732) had been deputy clerk of Middlesex County in 1709. After Governor Hugh Drysdale's death, the Council appointed him to manage the Governor's house and its gardens. His name appears a number of times in the Council minutes as he was the doorkeeper, and as he took out land patents. From Carter's letter to William Robertson July 15, 1727, in which he complains that "Mr. Hickman is very dilatory with his probatted Administrations," it seems that Hickman must have done other work for the colonial government. (Edward W. James. "Libraries in Colonial Virginia." William and Mary Quarterly. 3[1,#4, Apr. 1895]:248-51 for Hickman's inventory recorded 1732 May 15 listing many books; "Notes from the Journal of the House of Burgesses, 1712-1726." William and Mary Quarterly. 21[1,#4, April 1913]:257 mentions his being Council doorkeeper; "Notes from the Journal of the House of Burgesses, 1727-1734, William and Mary Quarterly. 22[1, #1, July 1913]:54,56-58, notes his being clerk of the Committee of Propositions and Grievances; and McIlwaine. Executive Journals of the Council. . . . , 4[1721-1739]:114. )

This text, originally posted in 2003, was revised October 25, 2013, to strengthen the footnotes and modern language version text.