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 Micajah Perry, May 25, 1728

     Robert Carter writes to his long-term correspondent London merchant Micajah Perry, May 25, 1728, to report a number of bills of exchange for the Lloyd estate, but primarily to ask for Perry's help in the efforts of the colony to overturn the prohibition of stemmed tobacco into England.

Letter from Robert Carter to Micajah Perry, May 25, 1728

-1 -

[Rappahannock, Lancaster County, Virginia]

May the 25th 1728

Micaja Perry Esqr.

Sr --

     The above is a Copy of mine from York Ex
pecting I shall soon have a large call upon me for Money
upon the Accot of the LLs Estate think it Necessary to remit
the following Bills to you to witt my own to Richard Meeks
for £35" John Collier on John Berry £35 John Grymes
on your self £205" George Turberville on James Buchanan
£28: Simon Hollies on John Midford £100 & Philip
Smith on John Berry £20:4s: Amounting in the whole
to £434:4s:

     I cannot forbear using Arguments to --
persuade you to join your Strength in the design of the
Council and Burgesses to get the clause in the Act of parlia
ment prohibiting the Stemming of Tobacco to be repealed in
Order to the obtaining of which we had addressed his --
Majesty and have made our Application to the parliament
Mr. John Randolph Clerk of the house of Burgesses --
coming for England we have made our Agent to
Solicit this Affair to whom we hope all the Merchants

-2 -

in the Trade if they have any real desire to prevent the
Sending away Shipping of our Trash Tobacco will Contribute
their Utmost Assistance I believe most of the Gentlemen --
in Virginia are Urgent with their Correspondents to
come into this good design. It is become the practice
of all the Consigners almost in Virginia to tie up all
their Ground Leaves that has any part of the leaf
good and this wears the Name of under Tobacco and
is Shipped off to Scotland & the Outport [s] nay Some of
it comes to London and the Merchants here buy it up at
half price and there is none hardly so bad but one or
other will give Something for it what ever is done
with it when it comes home we know that its Said that
a great many out port Ships have at least a Third
of their Loads of this Sort of Tobacco to be Sure this
must have a very bad Effect upon the Trade of the
good Tobacco . and we can See no remedy unless we
may be alowed to Stem our under Tobacco and then it
will be our Interest to Separate the good from the
bad and we cannot think it will be any detriment
to the King & in his Customs for all the worst and
Meanest Tobacco : is now made to Supply the Export
Trade which pays no Duty besides we are very Appre
hensive ways are found out to defraud the King of his
Customs of most of this refuse Stuff which we cannot --
think if a fair computation was made through the Country
but amounts to Several Thousands of hogsheads You are so well
Acquainted with all these things and will be so much better
furnished with Arguments . from your more Valuable friends
that I shall give you no further trouble about the Matter
only that it is my Opinion that nothing will more recom
mend you to the favour of this Country than in being
Strenuous and Eminent in Effecting this good work
which is so much at heart among all the better
Sort of Men among us
-3 -

who I am very apt to think would cheerfully come
into a Contribution for the Vigorous carrying it on
I know there has been very great feuds between you
& some of the Randolphs but I am told those jars are
blown over I am

                  Yor most humble Servt

per Clack
Copy per Trice --


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] Parliament had passed the act forbidding the importation of stemmed tobacco in 1722. 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. )

[2] 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 )

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

[4] No information has been located on Captain Clack who is mentioned in several of Carter's letters of this period.

[5] 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 30, 2014, to add footnotes and strengthen the modern language version text.