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 Falconar, June 25, 1729

     Robert Carter writes to London merchant John Falconar, June 25, 1729, to inform him of the shipment on several different vessels of tobacco from his own crops and from that of the Nathaniel Burwell estate for which he encloses bills of lading (not present). He sends orders (not present) for goods and garden seeds

Letter from Robert Carter to John Falconar, June 25, 1729

-1 -

Rappahannock, [Lancaster County, Virginia]     
June the 25th. 1729

Mr. John Falconar

Sir --

     herein I send you 3 bills of Lading one for 11 hogsheads my
Rippon Crop which I gave so much Commendation of the last Year & which I
shall Expect will Equal the best York river Crops in Price. this Crop is on
board the Spotswood Capt. James Bradby. another bill of Lading for 30 hogsheads
on board the Amity Capt. Wills these are my own Crops also but made in
Rappahannock and I hope will rise to yor. Satisfaction. here the other bill of Lading
is for 12 hogsheads also on board the Amity belonging to the Estate of Mr. Bur=
the Merchants hundred Crop
which is 17 hogsheads markt [tobacco mark]
on board the Micajah & Phillip I have
Orderd to be Consignd to you and in Expectations you will be able to Sell
it as well as the best York I am Sure it deserves it as well as any of the
Neighbours and Lewis Burwells Crops round who does not live above 2 or 3
Miles of this Plantation [illegible] fetched this year 9 3/4d as I am informed.
I have drawn upon you two small bills payable to Capt. Wills
One for 33/ to be paid on ny own Accot. the other for 25/ to be paid on
the Accot. of Mr. Burwells estate, Sometime Since I drew upon you for
£5 Payable to Wm. Camp which beleive is not before advised of.

     Herein I send an Invoice for Some goods desiring your
Extraordinary care in the buying and shiping them, either to our river --
Piankytank or York. Capt. Wills I suppose you will Endeavr. to make
an Early ship next Year I shall be as well pleased to receive them by
him as by any body he a very Carefull obligeing Person and takes abund=
ance of Pains to Ingratiate himself into all our respects, I have sent for
Some Garden seeds which I must Earnestly desire you to let me have as
Early as Possible you can and Pray let them be good and fresh. Some
of them ought to be sewn on this side Christmas

     The Wms.Burgh stays out long by her wee Expect abund=
ance of Entertainmt. In relation to the fate of the Tobo: Trade. As also wt.
Accots. wee are to Expect for our last years Crops. which will afford us new
Subjects to Exercise our Pens with I shall Conclude at Present

                Yor. very humble Servt. --

Per Capt. Wills


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. A lengthy addition was written by the clerk in the lower left corner of the letter book page, fitted around the complimenntary close; this text has been inserted in the first paragraph of the letter where it was marked to be placed.

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.

[1] John Falconar (d. ca. 1729) was a London merchant with whom Carter dealt. In 1728, Falconar and Henry Darnell formed an association of 29 London tobacco merchants to deal with the French tobacco purchasing agent as a group in order to keep the price as high as possible. The association lasted only lasted a year or two before dissolving because some of its members were dealing directly with the French agent and selling below the agreed-upon price. (See Carter's letter to Falconar of July 24 and August 22, 1727, for details about the payment of £200 to him. See Carter to William Dawkins, for Falconar's death date. Arthur Pierce Middleton. Tobacco Coast: A Maritime History of the Chesapeake Bay in the Colonial Era. Newport News, VA: Mariners' Museum, 1953. p. 129 )

[2] A bill of lading is "an official detailed receipt given by the master of a merchant vessel to the person consigning the goods, by which he makes himself responsible for their safe delivery to the consignee. This document, being the legal proof of ownership of the goods, is often deposited with a creditor as security for money advanced." ( Oxford English Dictionary Online . Oxford University Press. )

[3] Rippon Hall had been Edmund Jenings' estate in York County which he had acquired in 1687 from John and Unity West when it was named "Poplar Neck." Jenings's bad financial circumstances forced him to mortgage the property to Carter who eventually acquired title to it. Carter obviously felt its mill would be a good acquisition .( "Notes and Queries." William and Mary Quarterly. 2[Apr. 1894]: 270-278, now available through the Internet Archive. )

[3] Captain James Bradby commanded the Micajah and Philip. ( Survey report 6801 summarizing Adm. 68/195, ff. 74v, found in the microfilms of the Virginia Colonial Records Project, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University ofVirginia. )

[4] Captain Peter Wills commanded the Booth in 1723-1724, a ship belonging to merchant Thomas Colmore of London (see Carter's letter to Colmore of January 20 and February 15, 1724), and the Amity, a vessel of 500 tons and 21 men, in 1727-1729. He is mentioned in Carter's diary in 1723. ( Survey Report 6800 summarizing Adm. 68/194, and Survey Report 6801 summarizing Adm. 68/195, Virginia Colonial Records Project, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia. )

[5] This property is six miles southeast of Williamsburg; in his will, Carter directed that it be called "Carter's Grove" in perpetuity, and this is the name it bears today. The house on the property was built by Carter's grandson, Carter Burwell , beginning about 1750.

[6] The Micajah & Philip was a large vessel of some 400 tons carrying a crew of 27. The captain's name varies from record to record as James Bradley or James Bradby. Thomas Jones wrote to his wife, then in England, concerning this ship in 1728, "The Micajah & Philip that comes to James River is as good as the best Ships that Comes hither, but Bradby the master seems to be a little conceited and prodigal." ( Adm. 68/194-196, found in the microfilms of the Virginia Colonial Records Project, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia ; and Virginia Magazine of History and Biography. 26[1918]: 172, abstracting the Jones Papers at the Library of Congress . )

[7] Lewis Burwell (1698/99-1743) lived "at one of the large properties he acquired on the north bank of the James River south of Williamsburg." He became a prominent citizen of James City County, serving as justice and burgess. He built a fine mansion at his Kingsmill plantation near "Carter's Grove." (Kneebone et al. Dictionary of Virginia Biography. ) 2:433-4.

[8] A bill of exchange is a kind of check or promissory note without interest. It is used primarily in international trade, and is a written order by one person to pay another a specific sum on a specific date sometime in the future. If the bill of exchange is drawn on a bank, it is called a bank draft. If it is drawn on another party, it is called a trade draft. Sometimes a bill of exchange will simply be called a draft, but whereas a draft is always negotiable (transferable by endorsement), this is not necessarily true of a bill of exchange. (See "Bill of Exchange" in the online Dictionary of Financial Scam Terms: the Truth vs. the Scam. )

[9] William Camp (Kemp) was described by Carter as "the General Overseer of Mr Burwell's Affairs" and he wrote that Camp earned a salary "£50 . . . for the year 1731." Carter and his son-in-law, Mann Page, were the trustees of Nathaniel Burwell's children after Burwell's death in 1721. Camp was a resident of Gloucester County where most of the Burwell estates lay, and he must also have supervised "Rippon Hall" in nearby York County. ( Carter to George Braxton, November 20, 1729 , and Carter to William Dawkins, July 11, 1732, and Virginia Tax Records. [Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, Inc., 1983.] p. 539. )

[10] the Rappahannock

[11] The Piankatank River lies between the Rappahannock and York rivers and was the boundary in Carter's time between Middlesex and Gloucester counties (as it is today except that Mathews County has been cut off from Gloucester).

[12] Isham Randolph was captain of the London ship Williamsburgh in 1725-26, and Charles Rogers commanded her in 1727-29. She was a large vessel of 550 tons and carried a crew of 26 men.( Admiralty 68/194 and 68/195,, found in the microfilms of the Virginia Colonial Records Project, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia. )

This text, originally posted in 2005, was revised March 27, 2015, to add footnotes and strengthen the modern language version text.