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 John Randolph, [ca. June 2, 1729]

     Robert Carter writes to John Randolph, [ca. June 2, 1729], to welcome him home from England and to bring him up to date on two lawsuits, including one against the proprietary, for which he has been Carter's attorney.

Letter from Robert Carter to John Randolph, [ca. June 2, 1729]

-1 -

[Rappahannock, Lancaster County, Virginia]     

John Randolph Esqr:


     Being Arrived at the years of Infirmity
Wherein I may too truely say I have little Pleasure I
am forced to do the most of my business with Pen and Ink

     In the first place I shall congratulat [e]
you upon Several Accots upon your safe arrival into [your]
Own Country Upon the recovery of your health and p [ar]
ticularly upon your Success in being the Happy man [in]
bringing back the olive branch of Liberty ag [ain to us]
which for some years hath been been [sic ] like chains about [our]
necks to restrain us from modelling our Vital Comod [ity into]
such shapes tht renderd it most agreeable to the market [and]
most Advantageous to the Masters For this Vaulable

-2 -

no doubt
                              [you will
-3 -

deservedly meet with the
generous thanks of your country.

     My law=suit with Allerton is
of no great value and yet I would
not loose it upon any account if
I could help it. Their endeavour=
=ing to weaken my title under the
Proprietor's grant without setting
up any title under the person
who last dyed seized I can see no
manner of reason for: nor can I
think the Court will allow
them, or ought to do it, to insist upon
this part of their argument. How=
=ever I hope you will arm your=
=self with all your strength to bat=
=ter them out of this part of their
hold. The papers I have at home
with me and shall send them to
you as soon as you shall think it

     Upon the passing of some Patents
in the Little Fork of the Rappahannock
which is plainly within the bounds
                              [of the Northern

-4 -

of the Northern Neck, by Mr. Hol=
, I entered a caveat; and I
left it as my desire to him to
tell you as soon as you arrived.
I depended upon you as my lawyer
in the cause. He promised me not
to forget it and told me withall
told me from your being engaged in
defending the Properitors Grant
before he believed you reckon your=
=self engaged to be for me now.

     There is a suit at Law in eject=
=ment brought against a tenant of
of [sic ] Mr. Burwell's in King George,
by Capt. Henry Fitzhugh, in which
Mr. Holloway is engaged and I
reckon upon you alsoe.

     Mr. Holloway drew the caveat for
the Properietors, hath all the pa=
=pers and will let you into the
whole of the case. The Orders of
made in it I suppose he
hath alsoe.

                                 [I have a

-5 -

I have a great desire to see
you; and if I can get well enough
in a fortnight or three weeks time
to undergo the fatigue I purpose
to make a trip to York & thence
to Town, unless I can luckily
meet you at Colo. Page's.

              I am, sir, &c.


Source copy consulted: The Robert Carter Letter Book, 1727 April 13-1728 July 23, Carter Family Papers, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond, still includes the first page of the draft of this letter which bears some damage along its right margin. The other pages of it have disappeared since the 19th-century copyist had access to the letter book, and the rest of the letter text has been prepared from the copyist's transcript in the Minor-Blackford Papers, James Monroe Law Office and Museum, Fredericksburg, Virginia. A note has been provided to show where the copy texts change. After page one, the line breaks are those in the 19th-century copy rather than those of the original draft letter.

The letter book's first page of the draft bears neither date nor address. The date is tentatively assigned because this letter follows another of this date in the letter book. Carter's usual return address of "Corotoman" for letters sent to persons in Virginia, and the county and colony, have been added for clarity.

[1] Randolph had recently returned from a trip to England where he had acted as the colony's agent in working for the removal of a Parliamentary act prohibiting the shipping of stripped tobacco; his mission was successful.

[2] The letter book text ends with the word "Service."

[3] Willoughby Allerton (1664-1724) was a prominent citizen of Westmoreland County where he was burgess, sheriff, and militia officer. ( Allerton Genealogical Data and McIlwaine. Executive Journals of the Council. . . . , 3[1705-1721]: 92,146,381,420. )

[4] See the discussion of the Northern Neck proprietary on this project's home page.

[5] The Fry-Jefferson map shows the Little Fork as a tributary of the Hedgman (now the Rappahannock) River. It lies in what is probably Culpeper County today, not far from the Blue Ridge.

[6] A caveat is a "process in court (originally in ecclesiastical courts) to suspend proceedings; a notice given by some party to the proper officer not to take a certain step until the party giving the notice has been heard in opposition." ( Oxford English Dictionary Online . Oxford University Press. )

[6] "The governor's Council, also known as the Council of State or simply the Council, consisted of about a dozen of colonial Virginia's wealthiest and most prominent men. Beginning in the 1630s the Crown appointed Council members. . . . Crown appointments were lifetime appointments. From 1625, when Virginia became a royal colony, until the outbreak of the American Revolution (1775-1783), the Council members advised the royal governor or his deputy, the lieutenant governor, on all executive matters. The Council and the governor together constituted the highest court in the colony, known initially as the Quarter Court and later as the General Court. The Council members also served as members of the General Assembly; from the first meeting of the assembly in 1619 until 1643 the governor, Council members, and burgesses all met in unicameral session. After 1643 the Council members met separately as the upper House of the General Assembly." ("The Governor's Council" in Encyclopedia Virginia )

[5] Williamsburg

This text, originally posted in 2005, was revised February 26, 2015, to add footnotes and strengthen the modern language version text.