Robert King Carter's Correspondence and Diary

   A Collection Transcribed
        and Digitized
   by Edmund Berkeley, Jr.

List of Letters | About This Collection

Electronic Text Center , University of Virginia Library


Letter from Robert Carter to John Stark, September 27, 1727

     Robert Carter writes to Glasgow merchant John Stark, September 27, 1727, to send a bill of lading (not present) for 12 hogsheads of tobacco, and to order coverlets, stockings, and caps for his slaves.

Letter from Robert Carter to John Stark, September 27, 1727

-1 -

Mr. John Stark     Rappa[hannock, Lancaster County, Virginia]     
Sepr: 27th. 1727

Sir --

     This comes by Capt: Nicholson and Encloses
a bill of Lading for 12 hhds of Tobbo: In mine by Bowman
I told you of Some things I should want from [you] which I doubt
hath bin neglected hitherto but am in hopes it is not yet to late
I would desire you to Send me in by the first Opportunity One
hundred and Twenty of your best and largest Coverlets If I could
have them Six Inches longer and a foot broader and thicker then
[illegible] will much better Suit our Purposes

-2 -

[I shou] ld also desire you to Send me the following things Goods
to witt One hundred and fifty Yards of broad white
mild plaiting One hundred Yards of Broad Rugland Grays, Six dozen large
Milld plading hose for negro men with large feet -- --
Five dozen thick Kilmarnock milld Caps to be very large in the head
for Negroes. These things Mr. Reid advises me will be very use
full for our Negroes I request you will take the first Opportun
ity to Send them in to me I am

              Sir --
                  Yor. very humble Servt --

Per Nicholson


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.

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.

[1] John Stark (b. 1685) was a prominent Glasgow merchant in the sugar trade. "John Stark, another Revolutioner provost, was born in 1685, the son of a merchant, and was admitted a burgess by right of his father in 1706. He was brought into the magistracy in 1724 as dean of guild and then chosen as provost in 1725. Stark's election as provost was quite unusual, because, while all the provosts from the Union until 1724 had experience of serving as merchant-baillie, he had none. This probably indicates that Stark represented a new force of urban politics which came into the council in 1724. . . . " He served as as baillie and provost (mayor) from 1725-1727. ( Hisashi Kuboyama. "The Politics of the People in Glasgow and the West of Scotland, 1707-c. 1785." [Ph.D. thesis, University of Edinborough, 2012.], p. 66. ; and "Provosts of Glasgow" at "Welcome to Glasgow." )

[2] Captain Samuel Bowman commanded the Lucia. Carter mentioned this vessel in his diary in June 1724, and again on 1726 March 4 when he wrote that she "came in had 20 Weeks Passage."

[3] Fabric that has been milled is "made of cloth thickened by fulling," that is, it has been treated by "the process of cleansing and thickening . . . by beating and washing. . . . " ( Oxford English Dictionary online. )

[4] According to the Oxford English Dictionary , plaiting is " a thing made of plaited [braided] strands; a collection or construction of plaits or pleats."

[5] By a "Kilmarnock cap" Carter means a cap similar to those made in the Scots town of Kilmarnok, probably "resembling a tam-o'-shanter." "The Kilmarnock bonnet has gone through various stages of development over over a period of 250 years. This a traditional Scottish hat that can be worn as part of formal or informal Highland dress and Dates back to at least the 16th century. It originally took it's [sic ] form as the form of a knitted, soft wool cap with a flat crown." "Kilmarnock was known as early as 1656 for the "knitting of bonnets and spinning (sic) of Scottish cloth." ( Oxford English Dictionary online; "House of Labhran -- Vintage Gentleman's Wardrobe: Kilmarnock bonnet -- Scottish hat history "; ; and Robin Smith. The Making of Scotland: A Comprehensive Guide to the Growth of Its Cities, Towns, and Villages. [Edinbrough: Canongate Books, 2001.] p. 519.) )

[6] James Read (Reid) is not referred to as "captain" which means he was an official of John Stark's firm on a trading vessel who was empowered to do its business in Virginia. He was aboard the Charles, a Glasgow ship that was owned by Stark. Carter specifically refers to "Your Ship"and "the Charles of Glasgow" in a letter to Stark of September 4, 1723.

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