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 Colonel Mann Page, December 5, 1727

     Robert Carter writes to his son-in-law, Colonel Mann Page, December 5, 1727, concerning the affairs of Nathaniel Burwell's estate, the stroke recently suffered by Nathaniel Harrison whose positions as member of the Council and as auditor general of the colony will become vacant on his death. Carter believes the best person to replace Harrison on the Council will be John Clayton, the attorney general, who is expected back from England at any time. He adds news about his family and their and his health, Charles's trip to the falls, and concludes with affectionate greetings to his daughter and all of Page's "fireside." In a lengthy post script he notes Clayton's arrival and that he soon hopes to hear the results of Clayton's presentation to the House of Lords about the Northern Neck proprietary.

Letter from Robert Carter to Colonel Mann Page, December 5, 1727

-1 -

[Corotoman, Lancaster County, Virginia]
D[embe] r the 5th 1727
To Collo Page

Honrble Sir

     I am indebted to you for two letters
this cleanes the score Mr Perry in a long letter intermixd with severall
other subjects says what follows relating to Mr. Burwells
concerns which I give you in the enclosed paper in his own words the packet
you sent me Yesterday contains Only his invoice for the Estates goods
now in the Spotswood which I return to you by Peter I would have
Camp copy it & let me have it again

     Poor Collo: Harrison hath had death so long in
his view that I hope this Sudden stroke hath not found him un

-2 -

prepared the Auditors place is worth troubling for the Salary upon
the Accots. last year amounted to him to near £400 in the Currt:
Year and is a place of little trouble perhaps the Secretary may push for it and nature will would oblige me
to be a Solicitor for him before any other had I any interest but I have none
he hath Cary his friend & Dr. Carteret his patron the place may be reckond
incompatible with this but I cant see the reason that owing purely
to the force of his money the favour from the Crown was the Effect of
Tickells interest & my son holds it by purchase

     Were I to give my Opinion impartially for a person
to make up the breach of Collo. Harrison in the Councill and to hold
up his place as a judge, I can think of no person so properly qua
lifyed as Mr. Clayton All mankind must allow we want such a man
in the Court. And to Compensate the loss of his other incoms I would have
in the Auditors place into the bargain & I fancy the Attorney hath very
good interest both by his own relations & Mr Perry who pushes strong
where he's harty I think of Severall others will be Candidates for this
place kissing Generally goes by favour I shall remain only as a spe-
ctator tho' wishes that merit may take place

     Here is the Negro ship that I last sold off will be ready to
sail I beleive some time next weak if you have any letters for
Britain my son Robert Accquaints the Govr: with it & intends
a Messanger to receive the Govrs Commands his dispatches a few days before the
ships Departure pray forward Robins letter now Coming
by Peter I thank you for the Care you take of my boy George
I order Camp to send Peter with him to Rappa: I Expect Carter Burwell with him

     My Son Charles hath now been gone up to the falls
al l most three weeks he had particular Directions to see your new settle
ment My Carpenters have been building there I reckon above a month
I should think a few hands to be sent there forthwith might be pr
oper but that to your own Conduct

     I am sorry for the indisposition of your Children
hope all will issue well my family within doors all in Good health
& are yours & their Sisters humble Servts My own health much
as it used to be sometimes better sometimes worse I have such

-3 -

a defluxion upon my Eyes that they are Allmost quite glued
up evry morning My love and respects to my Daughter & your fire=
side I should be hugely Glad of the pleasure of Your Compas:
sometime in the Christmass hollidays if this should overtake Mr.
at Your house let him not want my Congratulations
upon his Arrivall make not my Opinion about a succeeding Au=
ditor the subject of Your familiaritys I am

Px [sic ] S Now Mr. Attorney's
arrived I must turn out to my own
lodging which wants repairs prodi

     Notwithstanding my good Opinion of Mr Attorney as above I
know he hath been a vigilant against me in the proprietors
before the lords and hath brought in their determination to the
Govr prevailing with the Attorney General to Alter his opinion in some
points differing from the opinion he & the Solicitor sent me some
Years agoe the Propres: themselves as I suspect have supinely ne
glected to appear in Vindication of their interest & what I shall al
ways conclude is their right but if they will set still and never stir in
their own Affairs to themselves be it I am not yet apprised of the
particulars of the Lds: resolution upon the Attorney General's
Opinion it will not be long before yo: know it & may hand it to me

     Miss Page I fancy wants a little romping with
proper playmates if yo: will trust her hither she shall be as wellcome
as in her fathers house


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.

"Corotoman," the name of Carter's home, the county, and colony have been added for clarity to the heading on the draft.

[1] This London ship was commanded by James Bradby, 1727-1732. (Adm 68/195, 70r ff., found in the microfilms of the Virginia Colonial Records Project, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia.)

[2] William Camp (Kemp) was described by Carter as "the General Overseer of Mr Burwell's Affairs" and he wrote that Camp earned a salary "£50 . . . for the year 1731." Carter and his son-in-law, Mann Page, were the trustees of Nathaniel Burwell's children after Burwell's death in 1721. Camp was a resident of Gloucester County where most of the Burwell estates lay, and he must also have supervised "Rippon Hall" in nearby York County. ( Carter to George Braxton, November 20, 1729 , and Carter to William Dawkins, July 11, 1732, and Virginia Tax Records. [Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, Inc., 1983.] p. 539. )

[3] "The auditor was unquestionably a royal appointee, and held his commission under the great seal. He was, after 1680, upon the appointment of the auditor-general of the colonies, the deputy of that official. When the auditorship was established, it was stated that only councillors and those who had long resided in the colony were eligible to this office, and it seems that this principle was generally observed. . . . As the name of the office indicates, the auditor examined all the revenue accounts of the colony, except a few purely local ones under the supervision of the treasurer. Among these accounts were those of the royal collectors and naval officers, the quit-rents, the public claims, the fines and forfeitures. He swore to his accounts before the governor and the Council in April and October, and forwarded them through the auditorgeneral to the lords of the treasury. . . . For a few years after the establishment of the office, the auditor received a salary from the Assembly ;18 later, he was paid a salary as a royal official of £100 a year out of the British treasury. His compensation was, however, largely in the form of a fee, which was gradually increased from three to seven and a half per cent of the revenue accounts audited, and amounted to about £400 a year." (Percy Scott Flippin. The Financial Administration of the Colony of Virginia [Johns Hopkins Press, 1915.] 38-39.)

[4] Carter Burwell (1716-1756) was Robert Carter's grandson by his daughter Elizabeth (Carter) Burwell and her first husband, Nathaniel Burwell (1680-1721). Carter Burwell would live at "Carter's Grove," and would marry Lucy Grymes in 1738. (Carleton. A Genealogy. . . of Robert Carter. . . . p. 128. )

[5] The flow or discharge accompanying a cold or inflammation; a running at the nose or eyes; catarrh. ( Oxford English Dictionary online. )

[6] John Clayton, the Attorney General of the colony, had been to England to argue the colony's case against the proprietors of the Northern Neck and obviously had return ed to the colony at this time.

[7] See the discussion of the Northern Neck proprietary on this project's home page.

This text, originally posted in 2004, was revised May 23, 2014, to add footnotes and strengthen the modern language version text.