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 Lewis Burwell, August 9, 1728

     Robert Carter writes to his grandson,Lewis Burwell, August 9, 1728, at Eton School in England to chastise him for not writing, and to inform him that he is to remain at Eton through Christmas when he will then enter Cambridge University. He has instructed Micajah Perry "to be very frugal in your Expences."

Letter from Robert Carter to Lewis Burwell, August 9, 1728

-1 -

Rappahannock, [Lancaster County, Virginia]     
Augst. 9th: 1728

D [ea] r. Lewis Burwell

     I have not received a Letter from you this year
which I very much wonder at when you know the Entire care
of you is Committed to me by your Father. Mr. Perry gives me
hopes as you grow older you will grow wiser he tells me he was
advised by your Master Dr. Bland to continue until Christmas [illegible] next
at Eton, and then intends to Send you to Cambridge where it is the
desire of all your Friends you Should go I commit the Entire dire
ction of you to Mr. Perry desiring him to be very frugal in
your Expences and not to let you run out more money than will
be absolutely necessary for your decent maintenance there tht.
you may keep Gentlemens Company and further than this I will
by no no means allow you You are now growing towards Man
hood it is not fine Clothes nor a gay outsight but Learning &
Knowledge and wisdom and Virtue that makes a valueable
man that you may prove Such a one is the daily Prayers of

              Your Loving GrandFather

Your Mother is now at my house with
your Brother Robin & Sister Betty
She wil has a will to write to your herself
I Suppose All your Friends and relations are in health as far
as I know and hearty wishes of your welfare

per the Carter


Source copy consulted: Letter book, 1728 August-1731 July, Robert Carter Papers (acc. no. 3807), Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia. There is a nineteenth-century copy of this 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 to persons abroad. The county and colony have been added for clarity.

[1] Lewis Burwell (1711 or 1712-1756), Carter's grandson by Elizabeth Carter Burwell and her first husband, Nathaniel Burwell (1680-1721) for whom Carter was guardian. He was educated at Eton and Cambridge, and inherited considerable property, living at "Fairfield," Gloucester County. He would be president of the Council in 1750-1751. (Kneebone et al. , Dictionary of Virginia Biography. 2:434-5. and Carleton. A Genealogy. . . of Robert Carter. . . . p. 114. )

[2] Henry Bland, then headmaster or provost of Eton College, appointed in 1728 as dean of Durham Cathedral, a post that he received becaue of his "steady adherence to the Whig party, on whose behalf he used to write political pamphlets and articles." ( Henry Churchill Maxwell Lyte. A History of Eton College. 1440-1875. [Macmillan and Company, 1875], pp. 287 ff, 294-95. )

[3] "Eton College, near Windsor, Berkshire, one of England's largest independent secondary schools and one of the highest in prestige. It was founded by Henry VI in 1440-41 for 70 highly qualified boys who received scholarships from a fund endowed by the king. . . . The other students, called Oppidans . . . have traditionally come from England's wealthiest and most prestigious families, many of them aristocratic. Boys enter Eton about age 13 and continue there until they are ready to enter university." ("Eton College" in Encyclopaedia Brittanica online. 12/9/2014)

[4] Outsight as Carter uses it means "vision or perception of external things; the capacity to see or observe; (the ability to take) an overview." ( Oxford English Dictionary Online . Oxford University Press. )

[5] Robert Carter Burwell (1720-1777) was Robert Carter's grandson by his daughter Elizabeth (Carter) Burwell and her first husband, Nathaniel Burwell (1680-1721). Robert Burwell would live in Isle of Wight County, and marry twice, first in 1742 to Sally Nelson, and later Mary Blair Braxton.(Carleton. A Genealogy. . . of Robert Carter. . . . p. 174.

[6] Elizabeth Burwell (1718-?) was Carter's grandaughter by his daughter, Elizabeth, and her first husband, Nathaniel Burwell. She married in 1738 William Nelson of Yorktown.(Carleton. A Genealogy. . . of Robert Carter. . . . p. 143. )

This text, originally posted in 2004, was revised December 9, 2014, to add footnotes and strengthen the modern language version text.