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 Dawkins, May 25 and July 8, 1728

     Robert Carter writes to London merchant William Dawkins, May 25, 1728, to report some bills of exchange, and then to solicit Dawkins' support for the colony's effort to have the prohibition against the importation of stemmed tobacco into England repealed. In a post script dated July 8th, Carter advises Dawkins of more bills of exchange, and reports on the bad time that Captain Thomas Dove and the Carter are having in the colony.

Letter from Robert Carter to William Dawkins, May 25 and July 8, 1728

-1 -

[Rappahannock, Lancaster County, Virginia]     
May the 25th. 1728

Mr Wm Dawkins


     I have already advised you of a bill of
I drew on you at WmsBurgh for £22"12S:2 -- -
payable to Mrs. Stith; herein send you three Small Bills of
Exchange John Troad on Geo: Strange of Biddiford payable
in Londo £1"15" Elias Edmonds on your Self £5" and
Eliza Grant on Richd Yeoward of the City of York for £5
which must desire you to get for me or if refused to return
me protested, Capt Dove no doubt writes his own Story
he hath been up the river near a fortnight his Success
I know not yet am in hopes he will do a great deal better
then he Expected Last week the Mate told me they had about
two hundrd hogsheads on Board

     It is the General Opinion of most of
the Consigners among us that the Great evil of Shipping
of so much of our under Trash Tobbo is owing to the prohibition
we are under of not Stemming our Tobbo for by this
means all the Trash goes is tyd up & put to Sale and it is become a Trade among
the Outport & Scotch Merchts: to buy up all this under
Tobbo at half price and none is hardly so bad but what
some or other will give something for whatever be=
comes of it when it comes home wh ether it is runn or Ex
ported to be sure it very much Effects the Trade of the good
we are made to hope that the Londo Merchts & as also those in
the Outports nay the Scotch even tell us they are willing
to joyn their Strength to get the Clause in the Act of

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Parliamt: repealed and we think it very demonstrable
it will be no detriment to the King in & his Customes if
it were, so, then this prohibition were taken of it will be our Interest to Seperate the
good & heave the bad away which now all [illegible] promiscuously
goes to Markett That wee may not be wanting to our
selves the Council & Burgesses have joyned in an ad
dress to his Majty: and have made their Application to
the parliamt: for releif and Mr. Jno: Randolph one of our Emi
nentest Lawyers is coming home our Agent to Solicit
this Affair and we are made to hope the Londo Merchts will
joyn their Interest wth: us and if all the Merchants will
joyn with us both the Londo& the Outports this we hope
will add such a weight to the design that we cannot
fail of Success It is Expected most Gentm. will write
to their Correspondents to Contribute their Assistance
to our Agent in getting this good work Effected and we I [sic ] hope
you will not be one of the backwardest in it you will have
better reasons from Stronger & Younger heads however
alow me to throw in my Mite as I will willingly my
Share of pence to Support the change in a Vigorous pro
secution I am

              Your very humble Servt

per Clack
Copy per Wills

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                         Postscript to Mr. Dawkins Letter of the 25th. of May
Sir              Rappahannock July 8th. 1728

per Wills
Copy per Trice      This brings to you five Small first bills of Exchange
Vizt. John Seagar on your Self for £18"-"-Peter Pressly on George
Buck of Biddiford for £3"6"- Addam Graves on your Self £4"2" --
Thos: Harrison on G: Buck of Biddiford for £2:14:8 Ch. Dameron
on himself for £2"7"11 which desire your management of

     Capt.. Dove hath bin laid up with the Gout a Consider
able time which I beleive hath bin a great damage to the Ship, but
what hath done her the most damage hath bin a malicious lye
raised of her leaking, Said first to be bruited by some of her men
but hath bin mightily Improved Since which hath scared Sevl.
Considerable freighters who have now put their Tobbo: into other
Ships in York river, I will not aggravate things let Dove make
his own Excuses I was once in hopes of his geting near 900 hogsheads
2 days ago he told me he Should not Exceed Seven, It is a miserable
Storey I Shall Say no more about it at present I am

              Yor. very humble Servt.
Colonel Page and I have lately drawn on
you for £100 Payable to Colonel Braxston being for Negs. wee bought to Supply the Mortality of that Mr. Burwells Estate


Source copy consulted: Robert Carter Letter Book, 1727 April 13-1728 July 23, Carter Family Papers, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond. There is a 19th-century transcript of the letter in the Minor-Blackford Papers, James Monroe Law Office and Museum, Fredericksburg, 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. "Rappahannock," the county, and colony have been added for clarity to this unheaded draft.

[1] A bill of exchange is a kind of check or promissory note without interest. It is used primarily in international trade, and is a written order by one person to pay another a specific sum on a specific date sometime in the future. If the bill of exchange is drawn on a bank, it is called a bank draft. If it is drawn on another party, it is called a trade draft. Sometimes a bill of exchange will simply be called a draft, but whereas a draft is always negotiable (transferable by endorsement), this is not necessarily true of a bill of exchange. ( "Dictionary of Financial Scam Terms," 8/22/2005 )

[2] Parliament had passed the act forbidding the importation of stemmed tobacco in 1722. John Randolph would be sent to England in 1729 as agent for Virginia to try to have the act overturned; his mission would be successful. ( Arthur Pierce Middleton. Tobacco Coast: A Maritime History of the Chesapeake Bay in the Colonial Era. [Newport News, VA: Mariners' Museum, 1953.] p. 116. )

[3] Out port means "a port outside a particular place; any port other than the main port of a country, etc.; spec[ically]. a British port other than London." ( Oxford English Dictionary Online )

[4] King George II (1683-1760) reigned from 1727 until 1760. ("The Royal English Monarchy." 11/20/03)

[5] Captain Peter Wills commanded the Booth in 1723-1724, a ship belonging to merchant Thomas Colmore of London (see Carter's letter to Colmore of January 20 and February 15, 1724), and the Amity, a vessel of 500 tons and 21 men, in 1727-1729. He is mentioned in Carter's diary in 1723. ( Survey Report 6800 summarizing Adm. 68/194, and Survey Report 6801 summarizing Adm. 68/195, Virginia Colonial Records Project, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia. )

[4] The 140 ton Welcome was owned by London merchant James Bradley to whom Carter would write about her on 1727 May 17. John Trice (Frice) was her captain, 1723-1728. ( Survey Report 6801 summarizing Adm 68/195, 154r, found in the microfilms of the Virginia Colonial Records Project, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia. )

[5] Vizt. is the abbreviation for the Latin word "videlicet"; it means "that is to say; namely; to wit: used to introduce an amplification, or more precise or explicit explanation, of a previous statement or word." ( Oxford English Dictionary online. )

[6] "Bruited," according to the Oxford English Dictionary Online means "Noised abroad; rumoured, reported; famed, renowned, celebrated."

This text, originally posted in 2004, was revised October 20, 2014, to add footnotes and strengthen the modern language version text.