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 Colonel Mann Page, December 22, 1727

     Robert Carter writes to his son-in-law Colonel Mann Page, December 22, 1727, thanking him for his long letter the writing of which must have tired Page who may wish to use a clerk as he does. He was surprised that the English opinions concerning the rights of the proprietors of the Northern Neck to certian fees had yielded rights that Carter had never considered part of the grant. His son Charles has visited Page's settlement and found that it was ready for occupancy. Charles had planned to cross the Shenandoah but the waters were too high. He comments on the governor's position concerning the vacant auditor's place, the bad news concerning his grandson, Lewis Burwell, and that he has directed Micajah Perry to send Burwell to Cambridge in the spring. He concludes that he is sending his daughter all the chocolate nuts he can spare, and hopes that she will have a successful childbirth.

Letter from Robert Carter to Colonel Mann Page, December 22, 1727

-1 -

Collo Page     [Corotoman, Lancaster County, Virginia]     
Decemr 22d: 1727

Honble: Sir

     I am thankful to you for your news and
believe it tired you heartily to write so much your refuge must be to do as I am forced
to write by another hand

     I shall make no reflections on the proceed
ings of the Council
only that they were very extraordinary and none knows
how far the consequence will sting but as the hands of Governours are
ti ed up by their instructions from receiving presents from the Country

-2 -

its probable the Councils will too in time

     My suspicious humor made me expect
greater alterations in the Attorney generals Opinion than I find
the fines by Act of Assembly I never pretended to and the felo
I had his Opinion before were not Granted but by ex
press words so that the crown have got nothing but what I would readily
have yielded

     Charles was at Your settlement both
he and Jones who was with me last week agree that your Over
seers house & quarter would both be finished by last Saturd
ay so that you may plant Your people there as soon as
you think fit Charles had for the Other buildings that
w ould ill be necessary for the plan: I think I shall be able to
do them for you before they will be wanted

     Charles had the courage to see Shenan
but the waters were too high for him to pass it to the
other side where the greatest body of good land lies he is very
particular in the relation of his travels but that must be
the work entertainment of Another time Charles will best divert you with
it himself

     Certainly the Governor has taken the most
prudent way in respect to the auditors place to disobli=
ge none I am Sorry the Assembly is to be held in the winter se=
ason The very bad story you tell me of Lewis Burwell is a very gre
at Affliction to me If I knew how to help it I have ordered Mr.
by this Liverpool ship to send him to Cambridge in the
spring which has been your advice All along and have pre
st him with great earnestness to be careful in his choice of
a proper tutor

     I have sent my Daughter 20 pounds
of chocolate nuts which is All I can well spare although if
these will not do before you can recruit I will let you have
some more Mrs Wormeley lately had as much from me

-3 -

     Pray god Grant my daughter a happy minuit this
family salutes you with their proper compliments all
join in our wishes for a Merry Christmas to you my
kind love & respects to my Daughter & children I am
glad to hear they are got well again my eyes continue
as bad as ever & my Other Maladies persecute me every
night this cold weather has kept me in the house that I
could not ride out these many days I am


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. There is a 19th-century transcript of the letter in the Minor-Blackford Papers, James Monroe Law Office and Museum, Fredericksburg, Virginia.

The name of Carter's home, "Corotoman," the county, and colony have been added for clarity to this unheaded draft. [1] There are no extant minutes for Council meetings between March 21, 1727 and the date of this letter which makes it impossible to know to what Carter refers. (McIlwaine. Executive Journals of the Council. . . . , 4[1721-1739]:. )

[2] A felodeses is a suicide, or "one who 'deliberately puts an end to his own existence, or commits any unlawful malicious act, the consequence of which is his own death' (Blackstone)." ( Oxford English Dictionary Online Oxford University Press. )

[3] Carter writes of the English Attorney General's opinion just received in the colony with the colony's attorney general's return from England concerning the rights of the proprietors to certain fees in their lands in the Northern Neck.

[4] "The Shenandoah River is a tributary of the Potomac River, 55.6 miles (89.5 km) long with two forks approximately 100 miles (160 km) long each, in the [present day] U.S. states of Virginia and West Virginia." In Carter's time, explorers were venturing across the river to seek new lands. ("Shenandoah River" in Wikipedia, 8/12/2014.)

[5] "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 auditor general to the lords of the treasury. . . . For a few years after the establishment of the office, the auditor received a salary from the Assembly; 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. )

[6] Lewis Burwell (1711 or 1712-1756), Carter's grandson by Elizabeth Carter Burwell and her first husband, Nathaniel Burwell (1680-1721) for whom Carter was guardian. He was educated at Eton and Cambridge, and inherited considerable property, living at "Fairfield," Gloucester County. He would be president of the Council in 1750-1751. (Kneebone et al. , Dictionary of Virginia Biography. 2:434-5. and Carleton. A Genealogy. . . of Robert Carter. . . . p. 114. )

[7] Carter probably refers to the widow of John Wormeley.

[8] The transcription of this word is questionable, and it seems likely Carter dictated a word unfamiliar to the clerk. No other possible word has been discovered, however. Carter may refer to the impending birth of Judith (Carter) Page's last child, a daughter who apparently died soon after her birth in 1728. (Carleton. A Genealogy. . . of Robert Carter. . . . p. 252. )

This text, originally posted in 2004, was revised August 12, 2014, to add footnotes and strengthen the modern language version text.