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


March 1, 1703
Letter from Robert Carter to Philip Ludwell, March 1, 1703

Letter from Robert Carter to Philip Ludwell, , March 1, 1703

-1 -

Rappaha[nnoc]k. [Lancaster County, Virginia]

March 3, 1703

To Philip Ludwell Esq.

Honrd. Sr.

     Yours of the 7:th of April and 28:th of May
came Safe, giving me proofs beyond a pretence
of your kindness to Virginia in General, and of
your friendship to me in particular, though they
are not the first of both sorts that have resulted
from you, you have lived too long not to be
acquainted with the unruliness of the Voice of
the People. I have formerly told you I would
have had it otherwise, though am almost glad
your hand was not in it, Seeing We met with
no better Success; and believing there was such
a Current the other way that 'twas very nigh
impossible to stem the Tide with the Strong=
est arm; But as bad as it is can hardly think
itworse than We deserve, And believe you
will be of my Opinion when you come to

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understand that the very men that set the Thing
on foot, by some late proceedings, have almost
given themselves the lie ; magnifying ap=
plauding &c the Treatments theyhad before so
liberally complained of. Such and worse has
been our unsteadiness that it has [sic] not only put
a Slur upon our late [word omitted] but will be a Warn
ing for any other to wearthat Character hereafter
So that let what will come upon us Our Lesson
must be Sustine et abstine . As another Disco
very against Our Complaint of Poverty,Our great
Politics runs so high lately to distribute among
the Officers of the House Six hundredpounds and
therein answering the great End of laying the Im
position of Liquors for theLess'ning the Levy
by the Poll. But the Circumstances We are left
in hereby, Our Cash is gone,the Demand for
[word omitted] Suddenly to be made, Our Revisers
to be paid, Our Capitolwants, according to
my Guess, the best part of a thousand pounds
to finish, Our Engagementsto our [ ... ] [word omitted]
if they will allow that to come in as an --
Article. All put togethermakes a pretty round
Sum. If I have the Security of keeping the Trea
, it may be worth something in time

     Our Assembly which had the Strength to
out live Death was forced to give up the ghost
atthe Six months End. We have a New one
to meet on the 17th Instant. Few Elections
over yet. Gloucester has been Steady in their
former Choice in their Chief Member . His
unexampled management in the House before
will, nodoubt, prefer him to the same Station

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there also, And then no doubt all things will go
on well under the Conduct of so experienced a

     The Country is highly indebted to
Mr Perry for his Warmness in our affairs, And
I believe hewill hardly miss of thanks from most
of those who have any business with him;
And if the Brainsof our Patriots are not quite
brutified, We Shall look for no other person to
Countenance ourAffaires, unless we were So wise
to joyn you with him. It is a Strange fate
that We are under,that everything that is said
against us Should be of such mighty weight,
and what We Say OurSelves, though ever So true &
convincing, Should all be but Dross & uncurrent

     To be kept from Our homes and Our Business,
to be hired out week after week, without almost
the pretense of anything to do, And the Burgesses
to go to play almost every day before ourgreat
Edifice, on purpose to be taken notice of; I say
that these things Should be hardships Weare
forced to endure here And yet that these things
elsewhere Shold be chargeable upon us as
Crimes; That four of the upper House Should
be forced to undergo all the business, No
more enduring to abide the Healot, the fatigues,
the Indignities, I say that these should be our
Crimes too, What may we expect will pass
for reason on our Side, or what have We
to do,but to lay our hands a cross and never
let our Tongues express our complaints any

-4 -

     I am very much obliged to you for
your Zeal in the Affair of the Northern
; not out of the mighty Love I have for
the Place, which carrys a great deal oftrouble
and uneasiness along with it, more I doubt
than the Profit will recompense, but for
your earnest and unwearied Solicitations
in my favour.

     If I take the thing right, Mr Perry is to
manage for the Proprietors, And accordingly
I haveentertained him with the Steps I have

     The Power I had was not only as short in
form but in Proof too, as I have noted both
tomy Lord and Mr Perry, and have Sent
to the latter Copies of the Power F[it]zHugh had to
be executed beyondexception.

     I have
tired you enough for once, yet Shall tres=
pass upon you again very Suddenly, Will
therefore conclude at this time only with
taking leave to subscribe my Self what
in truth Iam

Honored Sir,
Your most humble Servant



Source copy consulted: CO 5/1313, ffs. 48 recto, 49 verso, Public Record Office, London. Microfilm copy in the collections of the Virginia Colonial Records Project, Albert H. Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia.This appears to be one of the several copies of the letter that Carter would have had prepared and sent by separate ships to ensure the safe delivery of at least one in England. The signature is not Carter's but of the clerk who wrote out the copy.

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] Carter apparently refers to the controversy between Commissary James Blair and other members of the Council with Governor Francis Nicholson. Shortly after this letter was written, Carter was to join fellow Council members Blair, Philip Ludwell (1672-1727, son of the addressee of this letter), John Lightfoot, Mathew Page, and Benjamin Harrison in a petition and memorial to Queen Anne asking for Nicholson's recall. (Morton, Colonial Virginia I, 381-382. The petition is in Headlam. Calendar of State Papers Colonial Series. pp. 91-95 ; and McIlwaine. Journal of the House of Burgesses, 1702/3-1705, 1705-1706, 1710-1712. 101 ff. )

[2] Carter, then speaker of the House of Burgesses, had been elected treasurer of the colony by the House in 1699, and was continued in office until 1705 even though he had taken his seat on the Council on July 10, 1700. (McIlwaine. Executive Journals of the Council. . . . , 2(1699-1705):93. )

[3] Gloucester County had elected Peter Beverley as one of its burgesses to the previous session. He succeeded Carter as speaker in 1700, and was re-elected at each session through 1705, and again in 1710-1714. (Kukla. Speakers and Clerks. . . . pp. 103-105. )

[4] See the discussion of Robert Carter's admininstering of the Northern Neck Proprietary .

[5] Thomas, fifth Lord Fairfax (1657-1710)

[6] William Fitzhugh (1651-1701) preceded Carter as agent for the Proprietors. See Davis, William Fitzhugh. . . . pp. 39-42, and other references in the index.

This text revised June 10, 2008. Some corrections made March 6, 2010.