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 Edward Athawes to Charles Carter, November 26, 1728

     London merchant Edward Athawes writes to Charles Carter, November 26, 1728, concerning further tests that Dr. Shaw has made of the copper ore, and giving his estimates of the costs of shipping, duty, porterage, etc. against the potential sales price.

Letter from Edward Athawes to Charles Carter, November 26, 1728

-1 -


Nov. 26, 1728

Dear Sir

     Since I wrote to you about your Copper ore I have had another tryal made of it & I find the Amt. Dr. Shaw gave me of it is confirm'd by this Experiment. It will produce 1/8 pure Copper. I have endeavourd to inform mySelf of the Value of it & though I cannot be so thoroughly certain of it as I should if I had a larger Quantity sent, I believe it will Yeild from 6 to 8 £ per Ton if not more, the Duty is but a trifle at 2/6 per Ton. The freight I suppose may be 20 shillings per Ton in ore the Charges here for Cartage Porters &c besides the Commission I would suppose at the utmost wd not amount to ten shillings per Ton so that tho you should agree to allow 5 per hundred weight Commission there will be £6 per Ton to pay for the Charge of Casks & Labour in Virga. out of which must remain so large a profit that will Strongly induce you to digg & manage the Mine.

     I am heartily glad to see so good a prospect for you of making your fortune without the trouble of Labouring for it, here nature & providence has done that for you wch. the best Tobacco plantation at this time of day is not able to effect

x x x x x x x

     Dr. Shaw spent an eveng with me last week. He has tryed your ore for the Silver but he finds that Wd. not answer. he could make no Silver from the piece of ore he had

     There is a very rich mine of Copper ore in New York from whence you may learn the way to mange yours, & get information that may be of use to you in many respects, the produce of that mine is generally sent to Bristol & is sold for 40 or 45 £ per Ton. That market may probably do as well or better for you than this, & therefore I advise you to send some of your ore thither & some here wch. will be the way to know exactly.

Sir Yr. Affectionate friend & Servt.


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] In 1728, Carter, his sons Robert and Charles, and his son-in-law Mann Page, organized a company they named Frying Pan 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. )

[2] 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 22, 2015, to add footnotes and strengthen the modern language version text.