A Collection Transcribed
by Edmund Berkeley, Jr.
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Letter from Robert Carter to William Downman, [December 27, 1723]
Robert Carter writes to Richmond County sheriff William Downman, [December 27, 1723], strongly urging him to do his duty in seizing the lands and property of murderer Thomas Glascock and offering to let him read the appropriate law book about the requirements in such a case. Carter notes that the seized property and lands belong to the proprietors and that he had the opinion of the governor and attorney general to that effect in an earlier case.
Letter from Robert Carter to William Downman,
[December 27, 1723]
[Corotoman, Lancaster County, Virginia]
[December 27, 1723]
Mr. Willm: Downman
I have waited in expectation of Colonel Barber
who was Coroner
and sat upon the body of the Docter the Slain Man and found
guilty of the murder and of his flight for it upon the Inquest which
was taken before him which the Law calls a Conviction upon
record and upon this
the murderer had forfeited his Lands
his Goods &c and You as Sheriff ought immediately to have
seized the Estate and the profits of the Land for the King and you
the Law makes answerable for the Same these things belo[
to the Proprietors by their Grant I had Mr Attorney's
on and Colonel Spotswoods
too in a Case of a like natur[
Edwards of Westmoreland by name and his Esta[
delivered to me by the Sheriff what Colonel Barber has [
[ . . . ]
this Estate I can't tell as this Case is the Law in [
[ . . . ]
that it does not allow Maintenance to the Murderer nor his
family out of his Estate
If You have not yet
made the seizure I think it is your duty
immediately to do it but for your better instruction You may
consult Mr Daltons officers sheriff
under his title forfeiture
there You may read Your duty at large before you
proceed to alter the property of any of the estate I should
be glad to see you the next week in the Oyer and Terminer Court
if the weather be fair believe I shall hardly be at home
I doubt You have been slack in Your duty in the pursuit
of this Murderer the afforesaid book will give You directions
what you ought to have done my being concerned so much in
this affair will justify this Letter to you from Sir
Your Humble Servt:
Source copy consulted:
Robert Carter letter book, 1723 June 16-1724 April 23, Robert Carter Papers (acc. no. 3807), Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia.
The name of Carter's home, the county, and colony have been added for clarity to this unheaded draft. The letter is written into the letter book immediately preceding one of December 27, 1723, and that date has been assigned to this undated draft.
 William Downman was a justice of Richmond County from 1718, sheriff in 1722 and 1723, and a tobacco inspector in 1731 and 1732. (Ryland. Richmond County Virginia. . . .
and McIlwaine. Executive Journals of the Council. . . .
, 4(1721-1739): 12, 34, 238, 286
 Charles Barber had been sheriff of Richmond County in 1704 and 1715, and its surveyor in 1721. (McIlwaine. Executive Journals of the Council. . . .
, 3[1705-1721]: 271,398, and 540
 Thomas Glascock murdered William Forester on November 5, 1723, and Carter noted in his diary on November 13th that Col. Barber "acquaints me he had seizd Glascocks who had fled for Murther." (Ryland. Richmond County Virginia. . . .
 Alexander Spotswood (1646-1740) had been the governor from 1710 to 1722.
 Carter refers to Michael Dalton's The Office and Authoritie of Sherifes. Abridged by the Former Author Mich. Dalton, of Lincolnes Inne, Esquire.
(London, 1628), a copy of which was in his library as he writes to Downman. (See the 1733 inventory
of Carter's estate, and Wright. "The Literary Interests of the First Carters." p. 46.
This text, originally posted 2002, was revised December 3, 2010.