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 Micajah Perry, March 25, 1723

     Robert Carter writes to London merchant Micajah Perry, March 25, 1723, commenting briefly on whether laws recently passed by the Assembly will be allowed to stand by the Crown, and that he has noted in Perry's account current what has been paid to William Cage for the rent for the Northern Neck proprietary. He complains mildly that Perry has not responded to questions that he had sent concerning lands for which he is being sued by Cary. In stronger terms he takes Perry to task for "smiling" at Carter's proposal that he take the £1,500 coming from Carter's annuity and pay Carter 5% interest, and for complaining that Carter expects interest when he had not paid Perry interest for the money Perry had advanced to obtain the post of secretary of state for Carter's son John. Carter points out that a check of the firm's books will show Perry that his firm has often had the use of large balances of £3-5,000 in Carter's sccount over many years without being asked for interest. He chastises Perry for complaning that Carter has not complimented him enough for his "respects & kindness" to John which Carter states emphatically is not so, and notes that Perry of all the London merchants is his "darling." He sends "fresh acknowledgements" for Perry's kindness to John. He concludes that the barber Perry had recently sent probably will not prove to be very good as he has been in the army, and reminds Perry of his requests for "other tradesmen."

Letter from Robert Carter to Micajah Perry, March 25, 1723

-1 -

[Rappahannock, Lancaster County, Virginia]

March 25th 1723

Mr. Micajah Perry
Extract --

     I am glad to find you acknowledge
yourself obliged to Virginia -- that you
will always be readie to stand
up in its service when there is
occasion. What is written to me
about our laws I can't tell
how to form a judgement of.
Some say the imposition acts
will be allowed to us and the
Tobacco Law will not. The opinion
of others ++++++ them is just the re=

     In your account Currt I observe
what you have paid to Colonel Cage and
you tell me he would take the rest
after Chistmas and that it is his
fault if he has not had it sooner,
so that there can be no blame at
my door, which has been always my
desire to you to taken care to avoid.

     As to Lloyd's affair, I am sorry it

-2 -

proves so troublesome to you, but you
are strong enough to stand their ut=
=most shocks. I wish you had thought
of saying something about that tract
of Land belonging to that Estate
that I told you I was sued for by Cary.
There are a great many things I have
said to you in relation to that
concern that are yet unanswered.

     I now come to the subject that
brought you to a smile. You had told
me my annuity of 1500 pound would
be paid off at a certain time and
desired me to think of a way to dispose
of that money; upon which I made
you the offer of it at 5 PCt. I confess
I can't measure the reason how this
came to put you in so merry a hu=
=mour. You then grow angry that
I should expect interest for my money
and you should have none for the money
you advanced for my son's place, which
I shall now endeavour to set in
such a light that it may come within
the reach of your comprehension
and not appear so wonderful a
paradox; & this I shall do by going into the

-3 -

virtue of reflection. If you will
please to over=hall [sic] my accounts
current from your house for many
years past, you will find my bal=
=ances seldom less than three
thousand pounds in my favour --
sometimes four -- I may say, some=
times five M -- and the balance of
the Account now sent me is about ["a
blank is here"]
thousand pounds. I
cannot think that my Tobaccos yearly
ever wanted so much as as two thou=
=sand pounds to give me the advantage
of the discount; and especially the
other year when I sent you but 50
Hhds -- and thereupon I may justly
reckon I have all this time had
considerable sums of money lying in
your hands which returned me no
benefit. Upon this reason I went,
when I told you I would pay you
no interest for the money you ad=
=vanced for my son's place: and I think
it unanswereable. If you can find a
convincing one you will do well to let me
-4 -

have it. And I must observe further
that half this money is charged to
me in a great deal less than a year
& the other half you have had in your hands
all this time. +++++

     You wrong me egregiously to charge
me with want of acknowledgement
for your respects & kindness to my
son. I am sure I have often said & I
believe it is to be seen in some of my
letters, that I took it as a lasting
obligation that I should not easily
forget; and I am sure I have not failed to
serve your interest since, where it has
lyen [sic] in my way. I take notice you have
a fling at my darlings, but if you would
look back you would find yourself
to have been the occasion of dividing my
concern and nobody else. If I have any
darling in the trade among the London
merchants it is Mr. Perry -- and so I be=
=lieve he will continue to be if he
does not give me new occasions of
dissatisfaction; and I think this year
will sufficiently demonstrate it. As
to your fresh respects to my son in ap=

-5 -

pearing so early his friend as you men=
=tion in your letter, I give you my
fresh acknowledgements.

     The barber, by Holladay, is with
me -- am afraid he smells too
much of the Camp to prove good.
As for those other tradesmen I wrote
for, I hope you will exert yourself
to get [them?] when you have op=

I shall conclude &c
Your Obedient Humble servt


Source copy consulted: Source copy consulted: Minor-Blackford Papers, James Monroe Law Office and Museum, Fredericksburg, Virginia. These texts are all nineteenth-century copies. Apparently there was in existence a letter book of Robert Carter's -- now lost -- from which the unknown copyist recorded these texts. As they are the only texts, the punctuation and "corrections" obviously supplied by the copyist have been retained. The copyist used rows of the symbol "+" to indicate material that he did not copy from the letter book. This copy is headed "Appendix G," aand the copyist added the word "Extract" at the head.

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 name of the river, and the county and colony have been added for clarity to this unheaded draft.

Micajah Perry I had died October 1, 1721, and the editor has assumed that the news of his death, even in the days of slow communication with England, would have reached Virginia by the time this letter was written six months later, and that it was addressed to Perry's grandson.

[1] The copyist added a footnote reading "The payment was on account of his Agency for Lord Fairfax," referring to Carter's lease of the Northern Neck proprietary.

[2] Carter had obtained Perry's assistance in lobbying for and in making a payment to obtain for Carter's son John the office of secretary of state of the colony.

[3] The quoted words are those of the copyist.

[4] William Holladay commanded a ship named the Princess Carolina. ( Survey Report 6800, found in the microfilms of the Virginia Colonial Records Project, Albert H. Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia. )

[5] Carter means that the barber had been in the army.

[6] The copyist could not read this word and inserted his tentative reading, with a question mark, in brackets.

This text revised August 6, 2009.