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, July 23, 1728

     Robert Carter writes to Liverpool merchant John Pemberton, July 23, 1728, to report that Captain Tarleton does not have room for the last of Pemberton's tobacco, and to enclose an invoice (not present) for goods. He writes that he has bought this year a number of "Gambere" slaves which he prefers over all others, and that Mr. Lee "with your Ship" has gone to Stafford to buy tobacco.

Letter from Robert Carter to John Pemberton, July 23, 1728

-1 -

Rappahannock, [Lancaster County, Virginia]     
July the 23d. 1728

Mr. John Pemberton

Sir --

     I have already written to you of all matters
various ways relating both to your own Concerns and mine
I have Since Spoke to Captain Tarleton to take in the remains of your
Tobacco but he has not room for a hogshead This Serves to Enclose to
you an Invoice for Some goods what I propose to have from
you this year I am unwilling to delay it any longer that
you may have time before you to Send them in Early
Therefore for want of a direct Opportunity Send it Via

     Negroes have been poured in upon Us this year
in abundance I have lately bought a parcel of Gambere
Slaves (which in my Estimation are preferable to any other
Country by 40/ per head) the Choice of the Ship at £34 per pair
and pay for a good part of them in Cash too at the Allowance
of 15 per Cent Exchange which now no good bills are to be got for Mr. Lee
with your Ship had the good luck to have the good Start of these late
Ships which I reckon has given him the Opportunity to do
better. The last I heard of him he went up into Stafford to buy
a Load of Tobacco where the Scotch Merchants have not been very
plenty this year I am

              Sir --
                  Your very humble Servant

Sent to York
Copy per Carter


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. The county and colony have been added for clarity to the heading on the draft.

[1] This may have been James Tarleton who in 1731 cammanded the The Loyalty . Several vessels with this name sailed to Virginia. One commanded by Francis Wallis cleared from Poole for Virginia in 1726. Captain Loxom commanded a vessel of this name in 1729-1730.. (Survey Report 9727, Virginia Colonial Records Project, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia. See Carter's letters to John Pemberton April 15,1730 and 1731 August 4 .)

[2] Carter may refer to an area of Africa properly known as Gambia.

[3] 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 )

[4] The trading policies of Scots merchants were of considerable concern to Virginia planters and English merchants at this time, and the matter came before Parliament in 1723. Vessels sent by Scots were crewed by captains and factors authorized to pay good prices in Virginia which enabled them to obtain full cargoes. English merchants argued that the only way the Scots could afford to pay such good prices was their ability to avoid paying duties on the tobacco at home. Micajah Perry appeared before Parliament and gave statistics of the duties paid by his firm in earlier years and the far smaller amounts paid in the past several years because his ships could not obtain full cargoes in Virginia. (Price. Perry of London. . . . pp. 64-65. )

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