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 John Pemberton and Company, June 1, 1728

     Robert Carter writes to Liverpool merchant John Pemberton and Company, June 1, 1728, about the shipment of tobacco belonging to the firm and the arrangements he has made, and reporting several bills of exchange.

Letter from Robert Carter to John Pemberton and Company, June 1, 1728

-1 -

Rappahannock, [Lancaster County, Virginia]     
June the 1st: 1728

Mr. John Pemberton & Company
Freirs: of the Ship Rose

Gent --

      This Encloses to you a bill of lading
for 35 hogsheads of Tobbo: on board the John and Betty under the
[tobacco mark] 's mark, The weights whereof and of the 33 hogsheads by the rose
with the 30 Shipt on the Mary [illegible] are likewise herein Sent Together
with a Stated Accot. of the money Concern as far as it is gon
I have drawn upon You to Capt: Denton for the Impost of
these 35 hogsheads £3"11" -- to be placed to the Sales of the Tobbo:

     On the 10th of Aprill I gave noats to Capt.
for 30 add [sic ] hogsheads of yor. Tobbo: lying in Patowmack
upon his promises of Sending for them [illegible] ing a Short time after, My
Occasions Soon Calld me from home he meeting with Tobbo:
for his business a little more Convenient never Sends for yors [sic] : keeps
my noat till the 8th. of May and then returnd it leting me know
he Should not Send for the Tobbo: This Storey Capt. Denton very well knows -- haveing no prospect of Shiping it
for your Port have Sent for it round in a Sloop of my own Intend
ing to Ship it in the Carter for London beleiving you will rather
have it any where then to let it lye in the Country all the year
and having often heard Mr. Pemberton when he could not get
his Tobbo: to his own Port chose to have it to London before any
other place, When it is all got together I reckon there will be near

-2 -

about 40 hogsheads , I shall take care to Consign this Tobbo: to Mr.
Pemberton that he may choose his own Mercht. in London for
the Sale of it,

     It will not be amiss to observe to you that altho
Capt: Denton hath Synd the bills of Lading for 35 hogsheads of this
mark he Says both his Mate and Boatman assures him there
are so many I am very doubtfull there is but 34 for Certain
I am 3 of the lightest hogsheads were Sent ashoar to my Prize house
and were there put into 2

     The day of paymt. for Awbrys Debt is already
past he lives 150 Miles from me have heard nothing
from him hope I shall be able to recurit you a part at least
if not the whole of his money by t some of the latest Ships

     herewith I Send you the following bills of
to wit, G. Eskridge on Mr. Pemberton for £70"-"-
Hugh Brent on Edwd. Tucker Esqr. Weymouth for £34"-"-
Robt: Mitchell on Bryan Blundell for £65"-"-£169 in
in [sic ] the whole and have given directions to Mr. Pember
ton to pay you £18 Dr. Edgars Debt You will take notice
that the receiving the Tobbo: yet unshipt and the Nails for the
lining is to be charged hereafter This I think I have given
you as full an Accot. of yor. Concern as I am at present able

I Remain
                  Yor. very humble Servt. --

per Denton
herein is the Mark Numrs. and
weights of the 29 hogsheads went by
the Rose --
per Denton
per Brackhill Trice


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] 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. )

[2] The John & Betty was a Liverpool ship owned by merchant John Pemberton; she often carried slaves into the colony. In 1726 the captain was John Gale, and in the next year, she was commanded by a Captain William Denton. The ship would be lost in 1729. (Wright. Letters of Robert Carter. . . . p. 18, n. 23 ; Carter to P3mberton , December 18, 1727; Carter to Pemberton, April 15, 1730; and Carter to William Dawkins, June 28, July 26, and August 22, 1727, for Denton's first name. )

[3] James Christian was captain of the Rose, a vessel owned by merchant John Pemberton of Liverpool. (See Carter to Pemberton, April 15, 1730.)

[4] The Mary was a London ship of 130 tons commanded by James Hopkins, and owned by merchant Robert Cary. ( Admiralty 68/194,ff. 82r, abstracted in Survey Report 6801, Virginia Colonial Records Project, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia. )

[5] The impost was the duty imposed by Britain on imported tobacco, and the cocket, for which a fee was charged, was the document bearing a cocket or seal issued by the "King's Customs House" that the impost had been paid. (See the definitions of each word in Oxford English Dictionary Online. )

[6] There were several vessels with the name Rappahannock . One was based in Liverpool and was commanded by a Captain Francis Etheridge in 1725; she was a 90 ton ship with 13 men. Another of which Charles Whate was captain was of 60 tons with 11 men in 1726 and 1727. Carter's letters mention a Captain Brackhill in 1728, and Captain Loxum in 1733. ( Adm. 68/194, ff.30, found in the microfilms of the Virginia Colonial Records Project, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia. )

[6] Frank Awbrey (1690?-1741) was an active land speculator in the area that became Loudoun County, and was one of the first justices when Prince William County was organized in 1731. He was sheriff of that county in 1739. (McIlwaine. Executive Journals of the Council. . . . , 4[1721-1739]:239, 439; and Harrison. Landmarks. . . . pp. 148, 150, 153-54 ff. )

[7] 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 )

[8] Hugh Brent was a resident of Christ Church parish in the 1716 survey of tithables of Lancaster County, and he would be sheriff in 1734. ( "Tithables in Lancaster Co., 1716." William and Mary Quarterly 1st. ser., 21[July 1912]: 106-11, and McIlwaine. Executive Journals of the Council. . . . , 4[1721-1739]:319. )

[9] Bryan Blundell (c. 1674-1756) was a prominent Liverpool merchant, mayor in 1721-1722. He was later to become involved in the slave trade, and is remembered as the founder of theBlue Coat School for the Poor, having given up the sea to oversee its affairs. ( Elizabeth Donnan, ed. Documents Illustrative of the History of the Slave Trade to America. [New York: Octagon Books, 1969.] Vol. II: The Eighteenth Century. pp. 468, 492 )

[10] Dr. Alexander Edgar's inventory was recorded in Lancaster County February 10, 1730. ( Ida J. Lee. Abstracts Lancaster County,Virginia, Wills. 1653-1800. [Greenville, SC: Southern Historical Press, Inc., 2004. Reprint of the original 1959 edition.]) p. 76. )

[11] 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, 1723-1728. ( 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 November 11, 2014, to add footnotes and strengthen the modern language version text.