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 Micajah Perry, April 10 and 11, 1729

     Robert Carter writes to London merchant Micajah Perry, April 10, 1729, concerning and defending his administration of the John Lloyd estates. In a brief post script dictated the next day, Carter notes that he has found some accounts for the Lloyd estate for 1711 and 1712 and is enclosing copies (not present).

Letter from Robert Carter to Micajah Perry, April 10 and 11, 1729

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Rappahannock, [Lancaster County, Virginia]     
April 10th: -- 1729

Alderman Perry

Sir --

     In one of your Letters you desire me to Send you
Accounts of the Disbursements upon the LLs Estate from Year 1711 to 1718
this is a very hard task and it is Impossible for me at this distance of
time to produce all the Vouchers to those Accots: You cannot Expect
we [sic] are as regular in our books as you Merchants are whose business
it is to transact Affairs for other men had your Grandfather & Father
made any Exceptions to any Articles in those Accots: it was then in
my Power to have Justified them in every Punctilio , but Seeing
they have Passed and I have had Credit for them so long ago I cant
think it my business at this time of day to be Concerned about them
however that I may give you all the light in my Power I now Trans=
mit you all the se Copys of these Accots: you desire even down to 1721 as I find them in my books
Together with what Vouchers I have, Colonel Tayloe's Tobacco Account for
the Year 1713 I Send you but his Account for the Year 1712 for 9060 pounds Tobacco I can find
nothing of for 960 pounds and I am very well Satisfied there is no
footstep of it to be found with him. You have here a Tobacco Account for the Year
1715 where you will find the Debts that Year paid out of the Crops, You
are pleased to tell me they are very Clamorous against these Accounts
and Tax me of Several Indirect Practices I can only answer they are
under very wrong Informations I can very well Justify my Integrity
and Justice in this whole Affair and that I do not deserve those Severa [l]
Censures they are Pleased to Vent against me, The Persons I have employed
more Immedately in the Care of this estate are Colonel Tayloe, Captain Tuberville
and Mr. Richard Meeks all Still living to be Appealed to, to run its Part=
[i] culars to answer every malicious little Story that ma [y] Perhaps have been
hatched by Some over Officious Persons, would be En [. . .] I wear a
higher Character in your Esteem and the Esteem [ . . .]

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Then to think me capable of mean Pitful l Arts and frauds for a
little gain to my Self, I thank God from the interest of my money I cant
charge my Self with no Such thing.

     I have so often inculcated to you the meanest of the Plan s :
how much the Lands there were wore overstocked with Slaves, how Im=
possible it was to make tolerable Crops with them and how absolutely
necessary it was to find more Lands for the better half of these Slaves &ca:
that I Shall not repeat any of these things but refer you to abundance
of former Letters which are full of this Subject, I Shall observe one
thing to you which I think proper for your Information when I Entered
upon this Estate Quit rents was paid for 4,000 and odd Acres of Land, the
mistake I was under for Sometime [sic ] but when I came to be better Acq=
uainted with the Several Tracts I could find but 2330 Acres of which Mr.
Survey being a much Elder Grant took away bet we n 4 & 500 Acres
which has reduced these Lands to 1900 & odd Acres When this Estate was delivered into
my hands the houses upon the Several Plantations
were so gone to decay and out of repair that
we were forced to make all new buildings & we also then Seated two new
Plantations out of the Woods this made the Charge run high for the first Years, but the
Crops then answered very well while the Lands were fresh

     Upon Consideration of the great trouble I have been at
through this whole affair in Your Grandfather Fathers and your own time
which you cannot but be very Sensible of in a great measure your Self
I hope according to yours and their promises you will take care upon
the passing your Accounts that I am allowed a Suitable Salary I have said
so much of this to all of you already and make Such Continual Claim
that this seems hardly necessary to you Now I am

              Sir --
                  Your most humble Servt: --

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                              Rappahannock Apl. the 11 1729 --

Since writing the above I have accidentally fallen on Some
rough Accounts between Colonel Tayloe & I which will Serve for Vouchers for the
Year 1712 Also a mixed Account between him and I for 1711 in which is Con-
tained [ . . . ] my Paying to him the Account of Lloyds Estate

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and will give Some light into the Charges of 1711. Copies of these I also
Enclose, And now you have all the light that I can give you and indeed
more then I Expected to be able to furnish, You may please to observe for
the first Year or two before you Sent in Supplies for the familys we were forced
to buy goods in the Country as we could get them I am

              Sir --
                  Your most humble Servant


Source copy consulted: Robert Carter Letter Book, 1727 April 13-1728 July 23, Carter Family Papers, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond. Carter addresses Perry as "Alderman" because Perry had been elected an alderman of London in February 1728. (Price. Perry of London. . . . p. 7. )

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] Punctilo means "a minute detail of action or conduct; a nicety of behaviour, ceremony, or honour; a small or petty formality. Also: a hair-splitting or fastidious objection; a scruple." One suspects Cater meant the hair splitting. ( Oxford English Dictionary Online . Oxford University Press. )

[2] John Tayloe (1687-1747) of Mt. Airy, Richmond County, who served as justice, burgess, colonel of militia, and as a member of the Council after 1732. (Ryland. Richmond County Virginia. . . . pp. 115-16. )

[3] Carter had extensive knowledge of the law, and may have used "tax" here to mean "To estimate or determine the amount of . . . to assess. . . ." ( Oxford English Dictionary Online . Oxford University Press. )

[4] Inculcated means "to endeavour to force (a thing) into or impress (it) on the mind of another by emphatic admonition, or by persistent repetition; to urge on the mind, esp. as a principle, an opinion, or a matter of belief; to teach forcibly. . . ." ( Oxford English Dictionary Online . Oxford University Press. )

[5] Quit rent was the term used for "a (usually small) rent paid by a freeholder . . . in lieu of services which might otherwise be required; a nominal rent paid (esp. in former British colonial territories to the Crown) as an acknowledgement of tenure," in this case, to the proprietors of the Northern Neck. Carter as the proprietor's agent, collected these payments. ( Oxford English Dictionary Online . Oxford University Press. )

This text, originally posted in 2005, was revised February 12, 2015, to add footnotes and strengthen the modern language version text.