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 Micajah Perry, Sr., and Jr., March 25, 1721

     Robert Carter writes to London merchant Micajah Perry and his grandson of the same name, March 25, 1721, that Edmund Jenings's son has been quick to take money from Carter, but is reluctant to write to his father, and that collecting money from him is difficult. He adds that both Jeningses are in debt to him. He is suffering from the gout, and reports Mann Page's loss of his house and store from a fire on Marth 8th. Although the Perrys have written gloomily about the market for tobacco, Mr. Wormeley's tobacco has fetched a good price. The governor, Alexander Spotswood, is at his iron mine at Germanna and is pursuing the work strenuously. There is to be a meeting of the trustees of the College of William and Mary to settle their differences. Carter added in his hand to the clerk's draft a request to be sent salt.

Letter from Robert Carter to Micajah Perry, Sr., and Jr., March 25, 1721

-1 -

Rappa [hannock, Lancaster County, Virginia]

Mar. 25. 1721

Messrs. Micajh. Perry
Senr. and Junr. -- --

     I could never believe Colonel Jenings having had
the Proprietors affairs in his hands in so very good times but that he had quitted
Scores with them every Year, Young Jenings I find has been nimble enough
to receive my bills although he has not found an opportunity among the many
that have offered to write his Father a line as he tells me, You give me
several hints that You wish I may come by my money as easy from him
as I parted with It to him, all I can now say is It had been well these
cautions had come sooner, I should have had the wit not to let
him have the fingering so much of my money, You may believe I was
not in his debt, I have both him and his Son bound to me body and
bones, if that will be a sufficient security to me. --

     The story You tell of Mr. Buckner is such a pitiful
one that any person who had any value for his Character would
blush to hear of --

     I have now been confind to my house for above a month
by that cruel companion the Gout, Poor Colonel Page has had a
most dismal loss the 8th of this month his dwelling house and
Store burned down to the Ground --

     You advise us strongly to endeavour the keeping the Ships
that are come in from Loading but that is Impossible, People will
be mad in Spite of our Teeths,

     Arthur Lee's Ships had the luck to meet with
long passages else they might have been upon the return by this
time, Your Letters have many discouraging presages of the fall of the
market and yet I'm told Arthur Lee sold all Mr.
Tobacco that went in Wharton at 11 1/2 pence, We begin to look
hard for the Ships sure it will not be long before we see some of
them, The Governor is gone to Germana pursue his Iron Mine Stren
=uosly there is weighty talks about It, how it will Succeed must
be left to time, The governors of the College meet on Monday next
to settle Differences amicably as it is said which I shall be glad
to hear, That that noble design may have a better use among us
than to be a lasting Foundation of jars and Divisions, I want
Salt very [much]
three or four hundred Bushels if You can contrive to
order [it for] me It will be very welcome.


Source copy consulted: Robert Carter Letter Book, 1720 July-1721 July, BR 227, Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, San Marino, California. Printed: Wright. Letters of Robert Carter. . . . pp. 89-91.

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] This Arthur Lee may be a son of Francis Lee (1648-1724), third son of Richard Lee the emigrant; Francis had returned to England to become a merchant in London.

[2] John Wormeley (1689-1727), one of Ralph Wormeley's (d. 1701) sons for whom Carter was a trustee.

[3] Alexander Spotswood (1646-1740) was the governor from 1710 to 1722.

[4] Alexander Spotswood had been interested in mining iron ore in Virginia from about 1710, and had helped pay the expenses of some German miners brought into the colony in 1714. They were settled in Orange County, and the settlement came to be known as Gemana. In 1732, he was to assert to William Byrd that he not only was "the first in this County, but the first in North America, who had erected a regular furnace." (Dodson. Alexander Spotswood. pp. 229-231, 296, 298, 300.)

[5] The college was William and Mary in Williamsburg, and the governors were the trustees.

[6] Carter refers to the long controversy between James Blair and Alexander Spotswood, often spilling over into the trustees of the College of William and Mary, that caused great contention in Virginia and resulted in the replacement of Spotswood with Hugh Drysdale in September 1722. (Rouse. James Blair of Virginia. )

[7] The last sentence of this letter, beginning with "I want," was added to the draft by Carter in his hand as is shown by the use of italics.

This text revised March 30, 2009.