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, 1724

     Robert Carter writes to London merchant Micajah Perry, March 25, 1724, reporting the arrival of Captain Holliday's ship, the Carolina, and noting that the captain is a "brisk driving Man." He adds that he is sending 3 hogsheads of the Lloyd estate tobacco on board Graves who is soon to sail. He turns to Perry's recent sales of his tobacco with which he has not been pleased. He reminds Perry that the merchant should review Carter's correspondence with both Perry's grandfather and himself about John Bashford's case, and then notes what Perry has written about payments to Colonel Cage of the rent for the agency of Northern Neck. A long statement of his position about not paying interest for the £1500 Perry advanced for the purchase of the post of secretary of state of the colony for John Carter follows, in which Carter notes the large balance in his favor regularly on the merchant's books. He concludes by noting that the barber Perry has sent "smells too much of the Camp to prove Good," and by reminding Perry that he continues to need other tradesmen.

Letter from Robert Carter to Micajah Perry, March 25, 1724

-1 -

Rappa [hannock, Lancaster County, Virginia]
March the 25th: 1723 4
Mr: Micaja Perry --

      Captain Holladay in the Carolina Arrived hither
the 20th. of this Month he is ahead of the Fleet no news yet
of any of the rest, Your Lettrs: &Ca: I have, Your Master is a
brisk driving Man And I doubt not will do his business with
the uttmost dispatch If the Scotch do but keep out a little

-2 -

[long] er, for as yet not one of them is heard of, and I reckon
[the] re is not above 5 Thousand hhds: gone out of York and
our River for London, You have in Graves 3 hhds: of the
LLs he came here late last night and went away in
a hurry without giving me Bills of Lading resolveing
to Sail as Soon as the winds Offers having broke --
ground Yesterday

     I have very little time and yet cant forbear
giving an Answer to yours of the 22d: of January
You begin with resenting my finding fault with your
sales of the NB tobacco as if 10 pound per hhd: for that
fine Crop as it always was Esteemed, is Such a mighty
price in these times, I think I may say in reply it was
never sold so low in the worst times, we have had, I have
had the Satisfaction within this 3 days to receive Accots:
of Sales for above 100 hhds: of stemmed tobacco of my Crops
that you have lately reckoned much inferiour to them
Crops that clear me considerably more per hhd: than
that price, And I am in hopes by the promises you give
me in some of Your Lettrs: that I shall meet with no
more Such mean Sales for my Crops as for these late
Years, You have been pleased to Afford me,

      All Bashford is a poor unhappy fellow
to be contending so many Years for a small Estate and
to be so far from it Still, I request you to give me a
clearer and a more direct answer to my last Lettr:
I wrote to you about this Affair and that you will give your
self the trouble to take a review of my former Letters
from time to time I wrote to your Grandfather about
it and also of his answers to me which will set you
in a clearer light in this Matter than you at present
Seem to have

     I am glad to find you acknowledge yourself
obliged to Virginia that you will be always 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 Judgment
of, Some say the Imposition Acts will be allowed to us

-3 -

and the tobacco Law will not, The Opinion of others [about]
them is just the reverse,

     In your Accot: Currt: I Observe what You [have]
paid to Colonel Cage, and You tell me he would take the rest
after Christmas and that it is his fault he has not had it
Sooner so that there can be no blame laid at my Door which
has always been my desire to you to take care to avoid

     As for Lloyd's Affair I am sorry it proves so
troublesome to you but you are Strong Enough to stand
their utmost Shocks I wish you had thought of saying some
thing 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 unanswerd

     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
[illegible] Offer of it at 5 per cent I profess I can't measure the reason
how this come to put you in so merry a humour, You then
grow angry that I should Expect Interest for my Money
and you should have none for the money you advanced for
my Sons place which I shall now Endeavour to set in such
a light that it may come within the reach of Your Comprehen
sion and not Appear so wonderful a Parodox , and this
I shall do by going into the Virtue of reflection, If you
will please to overhaul my Accots: Currt: from your house
for many Years past you will find my balances --
Seldom less than 3 Thousand pounds in my favour --
Sometime 4 and I may say Sometimes 5 thousand and the
balance of the Accot now sent me is about [omission in text] thousand
pounds, I can't think that my tobaccoes yearly ever wanted
so much as two Thousand pounds to give me the advantage
of the discounts 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

-4 -

[up] on this reason I went when I told you I would pay you
[n] o interest for the money you advanced for my Sons place
and I think is unanswerable if you can find a Convincing
one you will do well to let me have it, and I must observe
further that half this Money is charged to me in a great
Deal less than a Year, and the other half you have had
in your hands all this time, You continue your wonder
that I should Expect to be allowed the discounts upon
7 hhds: of tobacco I sent to you of my Sons in my Bill
of Lading, I shall be so far from Endeavouring to re move
this wonder that you must allow me to tell you I Still
Expect that allowance, make it appear that I had not
money in your hands to clean that tobacco when it
came to you, I will then give up my right and not until
then, You wrong me Egregiously to charge me with
want of Acknowledgement for your respects and
kindness to my Son, I am sure I have often said and
I believe it is to be Seen in some of my Letters that I
took it as a lasting obligation that I should not easiely
forget, And I am sure I have not failed to Serve your
Interest Since where it has lain in my way, I take
notice you have a fling at my Darlings but if you
would look back you will find yourself to have been
the Occasion of Dividing my concern and no body
Else, If I have any Darling in the Trade among the
London merchants it is Mr: Perry and so I believe he
will Continue to be, If he does not give me new Occa
sions of dissatisfaction and I think this Year will Suffi
ciently demonstrate it, As for your fresh respects to my
Son in Appearing so early his friend as you Mention
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 when you have the Oportunity
I shall Conclude at present Sir

Your most humble Servant

[Her] ein is first bills of exchange Vizt: Robert Carter on Yor Self £35-& Thomas Edwards on Mr. John Brooks for
[...] :5: both which Sums I desire You will give me Credit for --


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.

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

[2] The Rappahannock River.

[3] John Bashford (d. 1735), son of Symon and Grace Bashford, married Elizabeth Heath. In 1726 he was to present affaidavits in Northumberland County court to prove his parentage and marriage because "he had fallen heir to an estate in England." He had appealed to Carter for help several years earlier, and Carter had enlisted London merchant Micajah Perry to assist. (See Carter to Perry, July 13, 1720 ; and "The Heaths of Northumberland County, Virginia," William and Mary Quarterly 24(1): 109-115] ).

[4] Robert Cary (1685-1751), a London merchant and member of a family of which many members were involved in colonial trade. Carter purchased lands from him in King George, Richmond, and Westmoreland counties; he is mentioned in Carter's will. ( Jacob M. Price. "Who Was John Norton? A Note on the Historical Character of Some Eighteenth-Century Virginia Firms." William and Mary Quarterly. 3rd. ser. 19[July 1962]:401. )

[5] Carter purchased through Perry the post of secretary of state of the colony for his son John.

[6] Carter means that the barber has been a soldier.

[7] 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" at 8/22/2005 )

This text, originally posted in 2002, was revised July 21, 2011, to add footnotes, and to strengthen the modern language version text.