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 Captain John Hyde & Company, May 25 and July 9, 1728

     Robert Carter writes to London merchant Captain John Hyde & Company, May 25 , 1728, to report the arrival of goods, letters, and accounts sent in the Carter, and that he will review the accounts later. He solicits Hyde's support of the colony's effort to have the prohibition against the importation of stemmed tobacco into England removed, and asks the merchant to order two pipes of the best Madeira wine from Mr. Miles there. In a brief post script dated July 9th, informs Hyde of bills of exchange.

Letter from Robert Carter to Captain John Hyde & Company, May 25 and July 9, 1728

-1 -

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

Capt: John Hyde & Company

Gent --

     The goods you Sent me in the Carter came
Safe as did your Letters and Accounts, There is a piece of Dowles
H:C. that we cannot find among the goods, You Shall hear
more of it hereafter, I shall take a time to overhaul my Account of
Sales and if I find any Error Shall advise you of it, An Account of
my Tobacco that went in the Carter is all that I think I want from
you I have Spent so much of my time at Williamsburgh that I
have had little to Spare for my private Affairs,

     Herein comes a bill of Lading for 20 hogsheads of my
Crop Tobacco on board your Ship Providence Captain Woodward will best
relate to you the news from hence he has got his Ship full
rather ]sooner] than he should have wanted I would have put some
more into him, I have ordered you some of Mr. Burwells Tobacco
out of York river. The Crop in this river tht. belongs to tht. Estate
I intend you by the Carter.

     The Country is so much aggrieved at the probhi
tion upon us from Stemming our under Tobacco that we have taken
all the measures in our Power to get that restraint taken off
The Council and Burgesses have addressd the King and have
Applied to the Parliament We have Employed an Agent to Solicit
the Affair and I believe most of the Considerable Gentlemen of the Country
have written to the Merchants to add their Strength to our Endeavors
in procuring a relief to us under this very grievous oppression
I am not without hopes you will be one of those that will appear
forward in Carrying on this good design for the releif Advantage of the trade
in General and of the Planters in particular I Shall not Enter into
the Several reasons that Encourage us to hope for Success in
this undertaking Your own Experience and the Information
you will have from those that are yearly Travelers hither
will better inform you that there is no method to be fallen

-2 -

to prevent all the trash of our Tobacco coming to market but by all
owing us the liberty of Stemming again thereby to Separate the good
Tobacco and to heave the bad away which now all [illegible] promis
cuously to market goes off to the great damage of the trade in all its

     I would desire you to take the first Opportunity
to Send an Order to Mr. Miles of Madeira to Send me a Couple
Pipes of the best of their Wine as Soon as a Conveniency presents
Such wines as he Send [s] to you for your own drinking I am will
ing to go to the highest price that I may have of the most Celebrated
of their Wines I must own Mr. Miles has hitherto Supplied
me very well and the last wine I had from him I think was
the best however allow me to Say yours that Capt: Woodward
brings you now pleases me better Therefore I am desirous to
have your Interest Joined with mine that I may be Served
with the best Sort the Island affords I am

                  Your most humble Servant

per Woodward

P.S. July 9th: 1728 -- Colonel Page and I have
lately drawn on you for £40 payable to Colonel George Braxton upon the
Account of Mr. Burwells Estate.
herein is a Small [bill] of Wm. Taylor's on your Selves for £1:12:3 which I desire
Credit for,


Source copy consulted: Robert Carter Letter Book, 1727 April 13-1728 July 23, Carter Family Papers, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond.

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 to the heading on the draft.

[1] The editor has been unable to determine what Carter meant by the use of the phrase "piece of Dowles." There is nothing in the Oxford English Dictionary Online that is useful unless one stretches the word "Dowles" to mean "dowels." Unfortunately any further correcpondence about "Dowles" is not extant.

[2] A bill of lading is "an official detailed receipt given by the master of a merchant vessel to the person consigning the goods, by which he makes himself responsible for their safe delivery to the consignee. This document, being the legal proof of ownership of the goods, is often deposited with a creditor as security for money advanced." ( Oxford English Dictionary Online . Oxford University Press. )

[3] Thomas Woodward commanded the Providence, a ship owned by Captain John Hyde & Company, during a number of voyages to the colony, 1723-1729. ( 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, and Carter's letter to the firm, September 17, 1723. )

[4] Parliament had passed the act forbidding the importation of stemmed tobacco in 1722. The colony appointed John Randolph as its agent. Randolph would not leave for England until 1729; 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. )

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

[6] This firm had been established in Madeira by Joseph Hayward in 1715. It became Hayward & Rider (1721-1723), Hayward Miles & Rider (1725-1730), and other partnerships later. (David Hancock, "'An Undiscovered Ocean of Commerce Laid Open': India, Wine and Emerging Atlantic Economy, 1703-1813" in H. V. Bowen, Margarette Lincoln, Nigel Rigby, eds. The Worlds of the East India Company. [Boydell & Brewer, 2002]. p. 156)

[7] A pipe is "a large container of definite capacity for storing solids or liquids, such as meat, fish, or oil. Now: spec. a large cask for storing wine or cider." Wikipedia, citing a book by Ronald E. Zupco, states that a pipe was half a tun which was "a large vat or vessel, most often holding 252 wine gallons," meaning a pipe was roughly 126 gallons of wine. ( Oxford English Dictionary Online . Oxford University Press and Ronald E. Zupko. A Dictionary of Weights and Measures for the British Isles: The Middle Ages to the Twentieth Century . [Memoirs of the American Philosophical Society , 1985, 168.] )

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

This text, originally posted in 2004, was revised October 24, 2014, to add footnotes and strengthen the modern language version text.