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 William Dawkins, June 28, 1729

     Robert Carter writes to London merchant William Dawkins, June 28, 1729, to report shipments of tobacco from himself and the Burwell estate on the Bailey, and to inform the merchant that he remains interested in holding a share in a new vessel in the Virginia tobacco trade. He informs Dawkins of a number of bills of exchange, the conclusion of "your Affair with Mr. Lee," his approval of "your Chastizements of my son Robert" for his sloppy business practices, and that he has received "the Widdow Hutchins's Obligation for your Debt."

Letter from Robert Carter to William Dawkins, June 28, 1729

-1 -

Rappahannock, [Lancaster County, Virginia]     
June the 28th. 1729

Mr. Wm. Dawkins
per Bailey
Sir --

     I am now taking niy leave of Adam Graves. he is a
full ship has left me out 3 hogsheads of Tobacco that was designed for you you have
now a bill of Lading for 41 hogsheads there is a mistake In the mark of 17 of them
they want the B of the back side, but they are all my own Crops they came down
from my Plantations just as the ship was full we were In such haste that we quite
forgot marking them of the right mark,

     By a letter I wrote to you dated the 12th. of October last
(I give it you in the very words.) I believe you'll think it for your Interest to have
"a small ship here In this river early for this Crop. I expect the Carter will be sold
"I have been so indifferently used in her that I have often taken up resolutions
"never to be Concerned in any other. however taking Tom Dove to be a very honest
"fellow and being willing to be a Contributor towards another ship for him
"if you will build a new ship of about 5 or 600 hogsheads and calling her after my
"name to be a standing ship for this river I will hold an eighth in her. This
"ship I cant Expect can be got ready for this crop but may very well be made
"an early ship against the next to Continue Tom Dove in business in the
"mean time if you will think it proper to send him in a small ship In=
"differently Early I should think he cant miss of geting full I will do him
"all the service I can,

     This Letter I sent away by one Naylor a Liverpool man
who it is reported has never been heard of and not finding you take any
notice of it suppose it was lost Dove it seems has proved himself so notorious
a Villain that I believe neither you nor any of his friends will have any
thing more to do with him and Indeed if the reports of him be true he deserves
the Abhorrence of Mankind.

     I am still Contented to be Concerned in a new ship to
use this river to be of the Burthen above mentiond and to wear my name
and to hold an eighth in her, Adam Graves I would also Choose to be Master
of her and he seems to be desirous of it for the love of his father and himself
too he has a better Interest among us then any other you can send,

     Herein I send you my invoice for the goods I design to have
from you next Year, Desiring in the buying and shiping them you will
follow the directions therein given.

     I now give you advice of the bills of exchange I have drawn up=
[on] you to wit £ 40 Payable to Major Thoma's Randell, £5 to Thomas Carter and £ 2:13:4 to the
Lord Orkne [y] & £294:8:9 to Mr. Richard Lee I do not find any more bills drawn on my
own Account On the Account

-2 -

of Mr. Burwells Estate Colonel Page and I have drawn upon you for £4:
to William Blackburn. for fifty pounds to William Camp for £12 to Charles Stagg
and for One hundred pound to Mr. Emanuel Jones to be placd to the Account
of that estate.

     Herein I send you three bills of Exchange Samuel Peachy for
£7:-:- Thomas Edwards for £27"18"12. John Seagar for £12:12:1' All
drawn upon your self.

     I sent you an Order last year to pay Adam Graves four
Pound ten shillings a debt I owed to his Brother Ben. he tells me he heard
nothing of this order:

     My son and,I have loaded upon the ship the Bailey this year
a 100 and odd hogsheads which has been no small service to her in her dispatch

     I have finished your Affair with Mr. Lee I hope it is done
to your satisfaction the First bill of Exchange I send. to you by the Bailey , the second bill
shall come by another Opportunity

     I am very far from taking It amiss that you are so free
in your Chastizements of my son Robert you Act the part of a good friend to
him You may believe he wants not my Admonitions for these dangrously [sic ]
slips I hope he will take warning and be more Exact in his business for the
future before he bites off the Bridle and suffers by a dear bought Experience
he is gone to live by himself upon the Estate I design him to learn to be
Master of his own Affairs and I promise my self after a few years more
Experience he will prove a diligent Careful man. his family Increases
he has 2 Children and his wife ready to lie down with her third,

     The Williamsburgh stays out long we Expect a great deal of
news by her and that the Merchants will all write Plentifully Pray God send
it be good I heartily wish the Bailey a Prosperous Voyage to you both for your
own sake as well as mine.

     I have got the Widow Hutchings's Obligation for your Debt
I think it is safe but you must have patience until she Is able to pay it
Connelly is now my Overseer as I have already told you I take him to be
honest but both you and I. I doubt must wait a long time before he Is able
to pay our money. to carry such People to the law I hate and If I did you
know the proverb Sue a beggar &c. I sincerely wish your health & happiness,
& am

                   Your most humble Servt --

herein is a bill of Exchange of mine and Mr, Lee's
for £ 10:7:10 to be paid out of the Produce of the
Tobacco sent you on Account of Mr. Hancock Lee ['s estate] I have drawn on you for £ 5"8 payble.
to Doctor Edgar Alexander Edgar .

I have on board the Lee Galley George Buckeridge Master 13 hogsheads of
Crop Tobacco which I have orderd the Consignment of to you and Expect a bill of Lading
will be sent in the ship. There are 20 hogsheads . belonging to Mr. Burwells estate on the Burwell
Captain Cant. This Tobacco I have ordered to be Consigned to you a bill of Lading [w] ill b [e sent]


Source copy consulted: Robert Carter Letter Book, 1727 April 13-1728 July 23, Carter Family Papers, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond.

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] The Bailey was a London ship owned by William Dawkins and commanded at various times by Adam Graves (1725-1730) and by Thomas Dove (1731-1732). She was a vessel of some 250 tons and carried 15-17 crew members. ( Survey report 6801 summarizing Adm. 68/195, 156v, and other data in Adm. 68/194 and /196, found in the microfilms of the Virginia Colonial Records Project, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia; A letter of Carter's to Dawkins May 12, 1732, refers to "your ship Bailey." as does a letter of August 10, 1733, from Carter's executors to Dawkins. [ Lloyd T. Smith, Jr., ed. The Executors' Letters of Robert Carter of Corotoman, 1732-1738. (Irvington, VA: Foundation for Historic Christ Church, 2010) p. 76]. )

[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] the Rappahannock

[4] Carter sent letters by Captain Naylor of a Liverpool ship in the fall of 1728, but apparently the ship was lost because Carter noted to William Dawkins June 29, 1729 , the ship "hath never been heard of."

[5] 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. )

[6] 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. )

[7] Emanual Jones lived in Gloucester County. ( Beverley Fleet. Virginia Colonial Abstracts . [Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., reprint, 2000, 2006. online at Google Books,] p. 14 abstracting Essex County Wills and Deeds, 1711-1714, includes "Emanuel Jones of the Parish of Petsworth in the County of Gloucester Colony of Virginia Clerk. . . . " as a party to a deed of patition in December 1712 ; and Polly Cary Mason. Records of Colonial Gloucester County Virginia: A Collection of Abstracts. . . . [Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., reprint, 2009, online at Google Books] p. 105 includes similar records for Jones.)

[8] "Thos. Edwards, a little petty Fogging Lawyer the Clark of our County that hath as much Mettle and more cunning for Contention then his predecessor had" Carter wrote to Landon Jones, July 22, 1723. His opinion of Edwards later changed for there are more appreciative mentions of him in Carter's diary. Edwards was clerk of the Lancaster County court from 1720-1746. ( Within the Court House at Lancaster. Lively, VA: Lively Printing Services, Lively, VA: Lively Printing Services, [1976]. p. 15. ; and "Thomas Edwards, Gentleman, Clerk of the Court" in Brown and Sorrells. People in Profile. pp. 94-103. )

[9] 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. )

[10] This may have been Francis Hutchings (d. 1734), widow of John Hutchings (d. 1723) because she was named her husband's executrix. ( Ida J. Lee. Abstracts Lancaster County,Virginia, Wills. 1653-1800. [Greenville, SC: Southern Historical Press, Inc., 2004.] Reprint of the original 1959 edition. p. 121, 122. )

[11] Patrick Connelly appears on a 1716 list of titheables in Christ Church Parish, Lancaster County ( "Tithables in Lancaster Co., 1716." William and Mary Quarterly 1st. ser., 21[July 1912]: 107. )

[12] Carter refers to the old proverb "sue a beggar and catch a louse." ("proverbial saying, mid 17th century; meaning that it is pointless to try to obtain restitution from someone without resources." ( The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable , edited by Knowles, Elizabeth. [Oxford University Press, 2005].)

[13] Hancock Lee (1653-1709) was an intimate friend of Robert Carter who was named in Lee's will as "a good friend," and appointed one of the trustees of his children. (Lee. Lee Chronicle . . . pp. 33-35. )

[14] Dr. Alexander Edgar's inventory was recorded in Lancaster County February 10, 1730. ( Ida J. Lee. Abstracts Lancaster County,Virginia, Wills. 1653-1800. [Greenville, SC: Southern Historical Press, Inc., 2004. Reprint of the original 1959 edition.]) p. 76.

[15] The Lee Galley was a vessel commanded by George Buckeridge in 1729. She was a vessel of 100 or 200 tons and 13 men. ( Adm. 68/195, ff. 155v, found in the microfilms of the Virginia Colonial Records Project, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia. )

[15] This vessel was commanded by Captain Constantine Cant and may have been owned by William Dawkins and Micajah Perry as Carter reported her December 1723 arrival to each of them. ( Adm. 68/194-195, 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 April 20, 2015, to add footnotes and strengthen the modern language version text.