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 Philip Perry, March 2, 1732

     Robert Carter writes to London merchant Philip Perry, March 2, 1732, brother to and partner of Micajah Perry, to comment the need for a tailor for the Burwell estates, on tobacco sales, and on the debts of the Page estate to the recently deceased merchant John Pratt.

Letter from Robert Carter to Philip Perry, March 2, 1732

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Rappahannock, [Lancaster County, Virginia]

March 2d, 1732

Mr. Philip Perry


     By this conveyance I have already written
pretty largely to your brother Mr. Alderman however having received various
Letters from you I shall think it proper to give you a Short entertain

     In your of the 27th. of July you give me hopes
of procuring a tailor for Mr. Burwells Estate and in answer a . . . which I shall be glad
you Succeed in we have always been Supplied by You hitherto although
he were one of an inferiour rank he might Serve to make up Servants
clothes As to the Servant I wrote for on Accot of Colonel Pages affairs
a proper Well disposed Person that could write a good hand

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and had some Small knowledge in Surgery such as I have met with
in Barbers boys would be of great Use in that estate I had the luck
some years ago to get one of this Sort at the rate of £5. Per annum
but how to Limit you I cannot tell I should not think it proper to
exceed £8" Per annum the highest wages I think that you have sent
any Tailor was 7£ or 8£. it may not be amiss here to Acquaint You
the Shoemaker that came away in Loney one of his Convicts which You
recommended to my favour died in his passage else I should not have
endeavour failed to use my endeavour to [illegible] answer your desire

     In yours of the 10 of November is included
the steps you had taken in the sales of my tobacco Last Year 12 of the [tobacco mark]
by Malbon Sold at 8 1/4 and 22 of the [tobacco mark] by ditto Ship at the same price
they were all stemmed tobacco and your brother speaks in favour of the
goodness of the first mark I shall not complain of this mean sale
but Allow me to tell you a story I met with this very day a Neigh
bour of mine sends 38 hogsheads of stemmed in a ship that did not sail so soon as Malbon to Mr. [gap in text] Forward which I cannot
believe under better management than mine Was 22 of them are Sold
the top sort at 9 1/2 pence the middling at 9 pence . and the lugs at 81/2 pence he is a new
broom indeed but by the pleasing accounts he sends to his Customers
he engroses a great many consigments he has now three ships
in his interest and how can you blame men for running into him
upon this great difference in prices he finds ways to give them

     Your letter directed to the Executors of Colonel Page about Mr. Pratts affairs tells us
you had given Account by the Dolphin bound to Nansemond of his death
This letter never came to hand that I know of another of the 24th of July by Lony I suppose is much to the same purpose

     You tell us in Mr. Pratt's books Colonel Page stood indebted upon his own
Accot 164"7"6 and as Attorney for Mr. Pratt 189"7"1 I cannot take
upon me to answer to these things till I meet the Secretary I believe no
thing of All this appears from Colonel Pages books or papers which I must

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you know appear to be kept in a very Confused negligent manner but more of
this another time We shall endeavour to give you the best light
we Can into this affar and conclude at present

                  Your most humble Servant


Source copy consulted: Letter book, 1731 July 9-1732 July 13 , Robert Carter Papers (acc. no. 3807), Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia. There is a nineteenth-century copy of this letter in the Minor-Blackford Papers, James Monroe Law Office and Museum, Fredericksburg, 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] Philip Perry (1703-1762) was partner with his brother Micajah III in the family business after the death of their father Richard in 1720 and grandfather Micajah in October 1721. (Price. Perry of London. . . . pp. 24-27. )

[2] In Carter's time barbers not only were to " shave or trim the beards, and cut and dress the hair, of customers" but "were also a regular practitioner in surgery and dentistry. The Company of Barber-surgeons was incorporated by Edward IV. in 1461; under Henry VIII. the title was altered to 'Company of Barbers and Surgeons,' and barbers were restricted to the practice of dentistry; in 1745 they were divided into two distinct corporations. ( Oxford English Dictionary Online . Oxford University Press. [4/4/2016] )

[3] The Forward was a London ship of 150-200 tons commanded in1728-29 by William Loney, and in 1731 by George Buckridge. ( 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. )

[4] The Rebecca was probably a London ship; she was of 300 tons, had a crew of 11, and was commanded by Samuel Malbon in 1731-32. ( Adm. 65/195, found in the microfilms of the Virginia Colonial Records Project, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia. )

[5] "It is become the practice of all the Consigners almost in Virginia to tye up all their Ground Leaves that has any part of the leaf good and this wears the Name of under Tobbo. . . , " and "The lowest grade [of tobacco] was known as lugs as early as 1686. . . ." ( Carter to Perry , May 25, 1728, and Philip A. Bruce. Economic History of Virginia in the Seventeenth Century: An Inquiry into the Material Condition of the People, Based on Original and Contemporaneous Records. [New York: MacMillan and Co., 1896], I:442 online at "Classics of American Colonial History." )

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

[7] The Nansemond is a tributary of the James River flowing into it on the south side of Hampton Rhoads along the west side of present-day Suffolk.

This text, originally posted in 2006, was revised April 7, 2016, to add footnotes and strengthen the modern language version text.