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 [Thomas Lee], July 5, 1721

     Robert Carter writes to [Thomas Lee], July 5, 1721, concerning the affairs of the Northern Neck proprietary for which Lee had been acting agent in Virginia until 1715 while the agent, his uncle Edmund Jenings, was in England. He notes that Lee had granted land to his uncle in 1719, and informs Lee that he and Jenings had reached an agreement about the payment of quit rents that Jenings owed, and that they have also agreed to refer the question of "Downings Composition" to lawyers for settlement. He asks Lee to send him payment for certain lands that Lee has granted to himself after the expiration of his power of attorney from Lady Fairfax. Carter then turns to the matter of the Ashton lands owned by "Esq. Jeoffrys, the heir of Ashton in England." The remainder of the letter is missing.

Letter from Robert Carter to [Thomas Lee, ] July 5, 1721

-1 -

Corotoman, [Lancaster County, Virginia]

July 5th. 1721

Sir -- --

     You have thought fit to favor me with a Sight of Your power from
My Lady Fairfax, by It I find what I knew before, That You were
her attorney until You were superseded by Colonel Jenings in the Year
1715, what I objected to was Your Granting him lands in 1719 when
Your power was long before revoked , with a Salvo for his not paying
his quit Rents till the Year 1725 but Colonel Jenings undertakes
to pay all the rents of those Lands Yearly, So that matter will be no
longer a bone of Contention, The business of Downings Composition
We have agreed to refer to Lawyers, Mr. Holloway's opinion I
value as much as any mans in the Country when he sits Judicialy
& has heard both partys, but what he or any other Lawyer Says
upon the State of a Case from one Side only can be called but
An opinion Ex parte at the Most, Colonel Jenings has delivered
me up the rent rolls & has made me fair promises in other
respects which if he performs believe he and I Shall hardly Quarrel --

     In the List You gave me You own there are several
pieces of Land that You owe me for the Composition of being
Granted after the Expiration of Colone l Jenings Lease I
hope you'll find a time to do me Justice in these at least

     You hold Lands in Westmoreland, Stafford, Richmond
& Northumberland, You are likewise attorney to Esquire Jeoffrys, the heir
of Ashton in England & are concerned with the management of Colonel
Fitzhughs Land
[s] It will be but reputable in You to


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. 106-107.

The county and colony have been added for clarity to the name of Carter's home. It is clear from the context that this letter was sent to Thomas Lee.

[1] Thomas Lee (1690-1750) of Westmoreland County was the son of Richard Lee II, and nephew of Edmund Jenings; he would build "Stratford," and succeed Carter on the Council. For a good article on Thomas Lee, see "Thomas Lee of Stratford 1690-1750" by Jeanne A. Calhoun on Stratford plantation's website. ( Burton J. Hendrick. The Lees of Virginia: Biography of a Family. [Boston: Little Brown, 1935]. pp. 48, 51, etc. )

[2] For Lady Fairfax, see the discussion of the North Neck proprietary accessed from the opening screen of this site.

[3] Quit rent was the term used for the payment due from the holder of land to the "lord of the manor," in this case, to the proprietors of the Northern Neck. Carter as the proprietor's agent, collected these payments. No services were required of the landholder as had been true in mediaeval times.

[4] Carter probably refers to Sir Jeffrey Jeffreys, MP, heir to the business affairs of his uncle, John Jeffreys (1614-1688), master of the Grocers Company and alderman in 1661.Carter had been interested in the Ashton lands for some time, and had written about them in a letter to William Dawkins on March 25, 1721. The lands probably were those on the Potomac River "known as Chatterton or Chatterton Landing and . . . now located in King George Co." bequeathed by Colonel Peter Ashton to "James Ashton, his brother of Kirby Underwood County, Lincolnshire and to John Ashton his brother of Lowell, Lincolnshire. . . . " ( J. R. Woodhead. The Rulers of London 1660-1689. [London: London and Middlesex Archaeological Society, 1965]. pp. 97-98; Harrison. Landmarks. . . . pp. 607-612); "ENG-CAMBRIDGESHIRE-L Archives" ; and "Elkins Genealogical Data" )

[5] William Fitzhugh (1755-1701), lawyer, emigrated from England, married, and settled at "Eagle's Nest" in Stafford County by 1674 where he became burgess and later, justice and militia officer. He became, with George Brent, agent for the proprietors in 1693 and held the office until his death. (Davis, William Fitzhugh. . . . pp. 3-55. )

[6] This letter ends here as further pages of the letter book are missing.

This text revised May 12, 2009, and again January 26, 2015.