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 Edward Athawes to Charles Carter, October 30, 1728

     London mwerchant Edward Athawes writes to Robert Carter's son Charles re a "piece of copper received from Dr. [Shaw?]," the small load carried by the Carter to London, and encloses an extract of a letter, Peter Shaw to Athawes, October 28, 1728.

Letter from Edward Athawes to Charles Carter, October 30, 1728

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October 30, 1728

     I sent a copy of this letter by the "Spotswood" who sailed hence a few days ago, which I enclosed to Colonel Page and desired he would forward it to you. In that letter is the piece of copper received from Dr. ]Shaw] . I have heard nothing from him since.

     The Carter Frigate is safe arrived, but 300 hogsheads short of her loading, a circumstance which will determine her owners to put an [end to her?] going to Virginia. Upon this occasion we shall send the [omission in text] for this year into Rappahannock River to supply the [place of the Carter?] among our friends there.

      [Enclosed in the letter above was an extract from a letter, October 28, 1728, Peter Shaw to Athawes.]

     I have assayed the matter you left me and find it to be copper ore, somewhat stubborn in the fire and not very rich, as affording not an eighth.

     The metal seems to be exceeding soft & ductile the best properties copper can have. for want of an opportunity of working my Testing Furnace I have not [omission in text] the silver; so cannot say how much it may [omission in text] to [omission in text] The mine lies very commodius for [omission in text] [if ] there be ore enough surely it might work [omission in text] . I believe much poorer ore has been worked to advantage.

     I herewith send you a sample of the produce in Copper and am, Sir, Your very &c


Source copy consulted: Minor-Blackford Papers, James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library, Fredericksburg, Virginia. This text found in the Minor-Blackford papers is a nineteenth-century copy. Apparently there was in existence a letter book of Robert Carter's -- now lost -- from which an unknown copiest recorded some texts. As they are the only ones extant, the punctuation and "corrections"obviously supplied by the copiest have been retained. The copist used rows of the letter "x" to indicate material that he did not copy from the letter book. The text above was transcribed from a dictated text made by the editor in March1982 in which he did not note the irrelevant line breaks made by the 19th-century copyist in preparing his copy from the original letter book.

[1] The Spotswood was a London ship commanded by James Bradby, 1727-1732, and was owned by Micajah Perry. ( Adm 68/195, 70r ff., found in the microfilms of the Virginia Colonial Records Project, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia. See Carter to Micajah Perry April 16. 1730. )

[2] In 1728, Robert Carter, his sons Robert and Charles, and his son-in-law Mann Page, organized a company to mine for copper on a tract of some 27,000 acres that Louis Morton describes as lying "near the present boundary of Fairfax and Loudoun counties." Fairfax Harrison wrote that the tract was "on the Horsepen of Broad." Today, there is a Frying Pan Park just east of the border of the Dulles Airport reservation, and there are other things with the name in the area. The company was not successful. (Morton. Robert Robert Carter of Nomini Hall. pp. 18-19; and Harrison. Landmarks. . . . p. 342. )

[3] This may have been Peter Shaw (1694-1763), a noted British chemist, physician, and author. (Jan Golinski. "Shaw, Peter." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography online, Oxford University Press, 2004 , accessed 19 Jan 2015.)

This text, originally posted in 2004, was revised January 19, 2015, to add footnotes and strengthen the modern language version text.