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 Board of Trade, [post August 17, 1727]

     Robert Carter writes to the Board of Trade, [post August 17, 1727], to enclose the minutes (not present) of the recent Council meeting and to report the actions of the Indians on the frontier as well as those of the pirates in North Carolina who were captured, brought to Virginia for trial, sentenced to death, and are soon to be executed. He notes that the Council has prorogued the Assembly until the lieutentant governor, who is expected very soon, can handle more pressing matters.

Letter from Robert Carter to the Board of Trade, [post August 17, 1727]

-1 -

[Rappahannock, Lancaster County, Virginia]

My Lords

     According to what I had the Honour to write
you in my last, I here inclose the proceedings of the
Council on the 14th: and 15th. of June last which in
all probability would have compleated the Account
of my Administration, had not Some new Incidents
occasioned my calling another Council on the 17th:
instant, the Minutes whereof I hope in a Short time
to forward to yr. Lordships. One thing which gave
occasion to this Council, is a threatned invasion
from the Western Indians. Their pretences at first
was to revenge themselves of Some of our Tributarys
and the Tuscaruros; but having met with Some
Success in that Enterprize they begin to talk more
insolently & to threaten our Frontier Inhabitants
but I hope the Measures projected will not only
disapoint their designs, but remove them further
of from our Frontiers. Another thing which
which hath lately happened here, is the hasty forming

-2 -

and as Speedy Suppression of a gang of Pirates in North
Carolina: One Vedell a man of Desperate fortune
having got with him three or four others of the Same
Stamp, fitted out a Perriague; and took and plundered
Several trading Vessells on that Coast, but before he
had encreased his Gang he was Sett upon by Some of
the Country people and taken with two more of his
first Gang and one press't man; they were Sent in
hither for Tryall, and on the 17th: instant Vedell
and two of his People received Sentence of Death
and will be speedily executed. These are the principal
Occurrences since my last letter, except that upon the
uncertainty of the Lieutenant Governors Arrival, I
have prorogued the General Assembly to the 16th: of Novr.
judging that tho his arrival Should happen as Soon
as may be, the General Court and other Affairs of the
Government will not permitt him to hold an
Assembly Sooner, nor indeed is their any imediate
necessity for it's Meeting. I am

My Lords      Yr. Lordships
     Most Obedient humble Servt:


Source copy consulted: CO5/1320, ff 205, Public Record Office, London. This is the recipient's copy signed by Carter as is indicated by the use of bold italics. It is endorsed: "Virginia | Lre from Mr. Carter, President | of the Council & Commander in | Chief of Virginia, without Date," and "Recd Octor: 9th | Read Decr: 6: } 1727." Marginal summaries of its contents have been added by a clerk in London. As noted in its endorsement, Carter and his clerk forgot to write the date line on this letter; it has been assigned this date on the basis of evidence in the letter and from Carter's diary entries of this period.

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] 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. )

[2] John Vidal's execution would be delayed by Carter, and he would later be pardoned by the King. The new lieutenant governor, William Gooch, would write to the Boarde of Trade on September 21, 1727, "And 'tis my duty now to acquaint y'r Lordships, that the third, John Vidal, an Irishman and a Protestant, whose execution was by a Reprieve from the Preswident before my Arrival . . . was represented to me as a proper Object of the King's Mercy: Upon which I thought fit to take the Advice of the Council, who in their opinion unanimously agreed, that in respect of his Majesty's accession to the Throne, and my first appearance among them, it was very becoming to begin my administration with an Act of Mercy, and therefore they did advise me to grant unto the said John Vidal his Majestys most gracious Pardon, hence it is my Lords, that I hope my compliance will be justified by your Lordships, and approved of by his Majecty." ( Beverly Fleet. Colonial Virginia Abstracts. [Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2000, 2006. Reprint of the original multi-volume edition. I, 300, citing CO5, vol. 1321, p. 3, Public Record Office.] 0 )

[3] Pirogue is the West Indian term for a dugout canoe.

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