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, August 26, 1729

     Robert Carter writes to London merchant John Falconar, August 26, 1729, to inform him of the great damage to the colony's crops caused by the heavy rains of the summer, and to request that he pay John Pratt for goods Carter has asked Pratt to buy for him. In a post script he asks Falconar to join William Dawkins as security for Carter's son Charles work as naval officer of the Rappahannock.

Letter from Robert Carter to John Falconar, August 26, 1729

-1 -

Rappa[hannock, Lancaster County, Virginia]     
Augst. 26. 1729

Mr John Falconar


     This will is like to be the last conveyance we shall
have you will have from many hands the news of the great destruction
upon our Crops this year by the Continued rains to pretend to guess how
much we Shall make less then we did the last Year will be nonsence
but very much short to be sure it will be which with the Liberty of Stemm
gives us reviving hopes that we shall meet with much better markets
for the tobo already gone than hath fallen to our Share These late years

     My Good Daddy Pratt I have requested to buy
me some Particular things which I now desire you to let him have the
money for when he Calls for it I reckon they will amount to between thirty
and five and thirty pounds

     I heard of Capt Willis's being safe about 30
Leagues to the Eastward of our cape I hope by this time he is near wth:
you I am

                  Your friend & Hmble. Servt:

      A postscript to Mr Falconars letter Augst 26. 1729

     My Son Robert being remov'd with his family from me into Poto
mack river Our Govr hath been so kind to give his Naval Offrs:
to My Son Charles he must give new Security to the Commissrs:
of the Customs I desird you to be one for My Son Robert you answ.
ered me you willingly should but that there was no Occasion
for you You will oblige me now to Offer yourself to Mr Daw
to be joyned with Him I will be your Counter security


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.

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] Parliament had passed an act forbidding the importation of stemmed tobacco in 1722. John Randolph was sent to England in 1728 as agent for Virginia to try to have the act overturned; his mission was successful, and he was home in the colony by June 2, 1729 , when Carter wrote to welcome him home. ( Arthur Pierce Middleton. Tobacco Coast: A Maritime History of the Chesapeake Bay in the Colonial Era. [Newport News, VA: Mariners' Museum, 1953], 116. )

[3] John Pratt was a London merchant and an old friend of Carter's who usually referred to him as "Daddy."

[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] The naval officer was an official in the colony that reported to the Commissioners of Customs, a body that had first been established in 1663; the group was reorganized several times, especially after 1688. The board was "intrusted with collection of customs both in England and the colonies." The board helped write many of the instructions for colonial governors in collaboration with the Privy Council. "Their direct connection with the colonies was through the governors, who were instructed to correspond with the commissioners, and to send them, every three months, lists of clearances, and also reports of illegal trading. The governor's agent in matters of trade was the naval officer whom he was empowered to appoint, but who was required by the 7th and 8th William III to give security to the commissioners of customs." ( Louise Phillips Kellogg. The American Colonial Charter. A Study of English Administration in Relation Thereto, Especialy after 1688. [Annual Report, American Historical Association. Vol. 1, Govt. Print. Off., 1904], p. 226. For a recent study, see Alvin Rabushka. Taxation in Colonial America [Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2008.] )

This text, originally posted in 2005, was revised May 19, 2015, to add footnotes and strengthen the modern language version text.