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 William Robertson, September 2, 1727

     Robert Carter writes to William Robertson, clerk of the Council, September 2, 1727, to thank him for an overabundance of military commissions and commenting on the news of the death of King George I, his pardoning of pirate John Vidal and the influence of Rev. Peter Fontaine on his decision, the militia expedition against the Indians, and Robertson's and his own health.

Letter from Robert Carter to William Robertson, September 2, 1727

-1 -

Mr. Wm. Robertson     Corotoman [, Lancaster County, Virginia]     
Sepr. 2d. 1727

Sir --

     You have now Supplied me with Military
Commissions in abundance twice illegible Several more [illegible] than I wrote for
however the proverb is a Store is no Sore,

     The news of the Kings Death is Attended with
so many Circumstances there Seems hardly room left to disbelieve
it and yet that the King Should die at Hanover the latter End of June
and that the news Should be in new York above a fortnight ago its
pretty Difficult to be Accounted for,

     The Solicitation of Mr. Fontaine and the Intercession
of so many worthy Gentlemen has prevailed with me to reprieve
Vidal although I must own to you I have very little Compassion
for persons Convicted of his Crime and let what mincing soever
be made use of in his favour It appeard very plainly to me
from the Testimony against him as well as the rest that his heart was
fully prepared for perpetrating the blackest of Crimes Villianies Although the
design was laid with the greatest Improbability of Success, but tht.
was no foundation of merit in the Contrivors however Charity Should
Cover a multitude of Sins And may we all meet with mercy in the
day of our distress Pray give my Service to Mr. Fontaine whose
Concern in this affair has had a great Influence upon me

     I hope Colonel Harrison will be so Successful in his En
that our Frontier people in those parts will remain quiet
and unmolested in the Enjoyment of their little alls that some but
the Brutes will Envy them

     When I hear of your health so soon when but a few
days before I had an Account of your life being in a great deal of dan
ger I cannot forbear having Some remains of hope of our that the report of the Kings decease be
ing yet alive
Although accompanied with such Strong Circumstances
may yet prove a mistake My Gout has proved more favorable
to me than my wishes I am Still lame my foot and Ankle Swelled
and Cant wear a Shoe I heartily wish you your firm health & am

              Your most humble Servant


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.

The county, and colony have been added for clarity to this draft.

[1]George I (1660-1727) who reigned 1714-1727. ( "George I." )

[2] Peter Fontaine (1691-1757) had been educated at Trinity Coillege, Dublin and was minister of James City Parish 1716-1720, and then of Westover Parish in Charles City County until his death. William Byrd was a parishoner and friend of Fontaine's who was chaplain of the boundary commission party in 1728-1729. ( 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]. pp. 98-99, 200, 310, 377, 396. )

[3] John Vidal was one of the three pirates captured in North Carolina who had been convicted and sentenced to death in a Vice Admiralty Court in Williamsburg in August. 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." See Carter's letters, July 24, 1727, to Sir Richard Everard, governor of North Carolina, and William Robertson, clerk of the Virginia Council. (McIlwaine. Executive Journals of the Council. . . . , 4[1721-1739]:144,149-50. )

[4] Carter refers to an expedition of the militia against the Indians that was being led by Nathaniel Harrison. See his letter to Harrison, August 7, 1727.

[5] By "Bruits" Carter means the Indians.

[6] Robertson had broken his leg and his life had been dispaired of.

This text, originally posted in 2004, was revised May 13, 2014, to add footnotes and strengthen the modern language version text.