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 the Earl of Orkney, May 13, 1727

     Robert Carter writes to the colony's governor, the Earl of Orkney, May 13, 1727, to report on payment of his salary and a portion of other monies due him, and to enclose bills of exchange (not present) for what is due.

Letter from Robert Carter to the Earl of Orkney, May 13, 1727

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[Lancaster County, ] Virg [inia]
May 13th: 1727

The Rt: honble: Earl of Orkney

My Lord --

     I have had the honour Several times
to address my Self to your Lordship am in no doubt yor: Lord
ship has long Since received your bills of exchange for yor: Salary
from the Death of Colonel Drysdale to the 25th: of October This Acc
ompanys bills of exchange for Six hundred pounds five hundred pounds thereof drawn by the receiver General on Mr. Perry & Endorsed
by me the other hundred pound my own Draught on ditto
My own Draught on Mr. The five hundred pounds thereof being
your Lordships Salary to the 25th: of April the One hundred
Pounds for the better half of the perquisites that have yet been
paid to me The Marriage and Ordinary licenses are [A]
ccounted for but once a year in October. Mrs. Drysdale received
them all to our late governor's Death as She did the Shipping
fees It is not the Custom of the Naval Officers to make up their
Accots: oftener than every half year and then they account only
for the vessels that have cleared out These methods Occasion
my being in Possession of no more of the prequisites at

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this Time We have been in Expectation of
Lieutenant Governor Colonel Gooch for some Time to whose Arrival I
shall think it my Duty to be accountable to your Lordship

     The public Affairs for his Majestys Service have been transmitted ac
cording to the Instructions and practice of former governors and
nothing I hope has been neglected within the Compass of my Duty
Although a Crazy health does Still Attend me I am with the utmost

My Lord
Yor: Lordships
Most Oblidged
Most Obedient
& most humble Servant

per Hopkins
Copy per Woodward


Source copy consulted: Robert Carter Letter Book, 1727 April 13-1728 July 23, Carter Family Papers, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond.

[1] 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," 8/22/2005 )

[2] The naval officer was an official in the colony that reported to the Commissioners of Customs, a body that had first been established in 1663; the group was reorganized several times, especially after 1688. The board was "intrusted with collection of customs both in England and the colonies." The board helped write many of the instructions for colonial governors in collaboration with the Privy Council. "Their direct connection with the colonies was through the governors, who were instructed to correspond with the commissioners, and to send them, every three months, lists of clearances, and also reports of illegal trading. The governor's agent in matters of trade was the naval officer whom he was empowered to appoint, but who was required by the 7th and 8th William III to give security to the commissioners of customs." ( Louise Phillips Kellogg. The American Colonial Charter. A Study of English Administration in Relation Thereto, Especialy after 1688. [Annual Report, American Historical Association. Vol. 1, Govt. Print. Off., 1904], p. 226. ) For a recent study, see Alvin Rabushka. Taxation in Colonial America [Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2008.]

[3] Sir William Gooch (1681-1751), lieutenant governor of the colony under the govenor, George Hamilton, Earl of Orkney, would reach Williamsburg in September 1727. He would serve during Carter's lifetime (and until August 1749). ( Emily J. Salmon and Edward D. C. Campbell, Jr. The Hornbook of Virginia History. Richmond: The Library of Virginia, 1994. p. 106. )

[4] Captain James Hopkins commanded the Mary in 1727-1728. He was then working for London merchant Robert Cary. He is mentioned in Carter's diary. ( Adm. 68/194, found in the microfilms of the Virginia Colonial Records Project, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia. )

[5] Thomas Woodward commanded the Providence during a number of voyages to the colony, 1723-1727. ( Adm. 68/194 and 195, found in the microfilms of the Virginia Colonial Records Project, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia. )

This text, originally posted in 2003, was revised June 1, 2012, to strengthen the footnotes and modern language version text.