A Collection Transcribed
by Edmund Berkeley, Jr.
List of Letters
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, University of Virginia Library
Letter from Robert Carter to Captain Benjamin Graves, July 29, 1723
Robert Carter writes to his old friend, Captain Benjamin Graves, July 29, 1723, whose ship was anchored in one of the colony's rivers, with general news. He states that the news from England confirms the amendment to the tobacco bill in Parliament will prohibit the importation of stemmed tobacco into England, and suggests that if English merchants could only be adept as Scots in avoiding dutys, they would maintain the trade. He adds that there is wet weather that may, should it continue, help the planters by limiting the crop. He wishes his friend health and success, and hopes he will write when he can. In a post script, he requests Graves bring him in a cauldron of coal on his next voyage.
Letter from Robert Carter to Captain Benjamin Graves,
July 29, 1723
Rappahannock, [Lancaster County, Virginia]
July 29. 1723
Capt. Benja. Graves
I hope this will find You in health as I thank
God It leaves me, This Encloses to You a Second bill of exchange
of Gwain Thacker on Mr. Evans payable to Your Brother
for Five pound Nine shillings & three pence which I believe
was the Desire of Your Sending It to Me,
I have begun Saving the Plank, for the Carter
According to the directions You left
I do not Yet hear whether You had the luck to Join the James
is arrived My Letters are not come up,
at Gloucester Court on Thursday last, confirm the Re=
=port, we had, that the Scotch
had got a clause into the Tobacco Act
for a Prohibition of the Importation of all stemmed Tobacco how
pleasing this is to us here You may Easily Imagine, We
Are now only to look for our Mercys from heaven, our fellow
Subjects It seems have none for us, If the English merchants
can be but as Arch in finding out ways of fraud as the North=
=Brittains are, they will be able to keep way with them, but
We that are the Planters, are tied down to the full payment of
the duties I will not pretend to forsee the consequences of
this fatal Streak, It looks like a very black cloud at present
The heavens have been Somewhat propicious to us of
late, The General Report of the Country is that Tobacco is but Mean
We have now a very wet spell over us, If it does but Continue
three or four days longer It may be a help to Us, Since the
Parliament has been so severe We have little reason to Expect
Ministry will show any Countenace to Our Stint Act
nothing but the Destruction of our Labour from the kind hand
of Providence will then be our relief, I wish [you]
In Your Undertakings and health in Your Constitution &
If You would allow Yourself the leisure to give me a free
line of News by Every opportunity You meet with, It
will be very acceptable to,
affectionate Friend & Servant
I would Desire You to bring me in a
cauldron of coals
I know you can
do it without putting me to the Charge
of any thing to bring them in,
Source copy consulted:
Robert Carter Letter Book, 1723 July 4-1724 June 11, Carter Family Papers, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond.
It is surprising to find the return address of "Rappahannock" (for the river on which he lived) rather than "Corotoman," (the name of his home) on this letter as he generally used it on letters sent out of the colony. His county and the colony have been added for clarity to the brief heading on the draft.
 Benjamin Graves was the son of Captain Thomas Graves (d. ante
1720), long a captain of vessels trading to Virginia, and a special friend of Carter. Benjamin also commanded vessels in the trade, especially the Carter
. ( Adm. 68/194-196, ff. 33r, found in the microfilms of the Virginia Colonial Records Project, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia.
 A bill of exchange is a kind of check or promissory note without interest. It is used primarily in international trade, and is a written order by one person to pay another a specific sum on a specific date sometime in the future. If the bill of exchange is drawn on a bank, it is called a bank draft. If it is drawn on another party, it is called a trade draft. Sometimes a bill of exchange will simply be called a draft, but whereas a draft is always negotiable (transferable by endorsement), this is not necessarily true of a bill of exchange. ( "Dictionary of Financial Scam Terms."
 Adam Graves was also a son of Captain Thomas Graves [d. ante
1720], long a captain of vessels trading to Virginia, and a special friend of Robert Carter's. Adam Graves commanded the Bailey
in 1725-1727, a ship that belonged to London merchant William Dawkins. ( Survey Report 6800, and Adm. 68/194-196 found in the microfilms of the Virginia Colonial Records Project, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia
 Captain James Hopkins would be in command of the Mary
in 1727-1728. He was then working for London merchant Robert Cary. He is mentioned several times in Carter's diary. ( Adm. 68/194, ff 77v, found in the microfilms of the Virginia Colonial Records Project, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia.
 The trading policies of Scots merchants were of considerable concern to Virginia planters and English merchants at this time, and the matter came before Parliament in 1723. Vessels sent by Scots were crewed by captains and factors authorized to pay good prices in Virginia which enabled them to obtain full cargoes. English merchants argued that the only way the Scots could afford to pay such good prices was their ability to avoid paying duties on the tobacco at home. Micajah Perry appeared before Parliament and gave statistics of the duties paid by his firm in earlier years and the far smaller amounts paid in the past several years because his ships could not obtain full cargoes in Virginia. (Price. Perry of London. . . .
 For the Virginia Council's reasons for assenting to this proposed tobacco law to reduce the quantity of tobacco planted, see McIlwaine. Executive Journals of the Council. . . .
 Chaldron is "an obsolete form of cauldron" and means "a dry measure of 4 quarters or 32 bushels. . . ." ( Oxford English Dictionary
This text revised October 14, 2009.