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 Peter Leheup, May 18, 1727

     Robert Carter writes to Peter Leheup, the colony's agent in London, May 18, 1727, to inform him of the actions Carter has taken as acting governor, especially of reports and payments made. He notes particularly the concern in the colony that war with Spain may have begun, and that the warship stationed in the colony is convoying ships well off the coast.

Letter from Robert Carter to Peter Leheup, May 18, 1727

-1 -

[Corotoman, Lancaster County] Virginia   
May 18th: 1727

Peter Leheup Esqr:

Sir --

     On the 16th: of March I took the Opportunity to
Answer your favour of the 7th: of Nvember Acquainting you of my Tranmitt
ing all the Public Papers to the Lords of the Board of Trade, I now Se [nd]
to their Lordships the Naval Officers lists, Accounts of the public
revenue the proclamations and the minutes of the Council for the last Council And
do my Self the honour to write to their Lordships. I have also sent
to my Lord Orkney bills of Exchange for his Salary and his Mojety [sic] of the perquisities
to the 25th: of April which I hope will give his Lordship Entire
Satisfaction. Your own bill for £10" -- "6 I rec'd Expect you have long
Since received. I have Sent to Esquire Birchet my Exchange for £5:-for four Medite
rranean Passes Private Letters and Some prints tell us that
War is begun by the Siege of Gibralter We have no Public
press concerning it. We have not thought it adviseable to lay
a Strict Embargo upon our Shipping but have taken the best
measures we can that they Shall go in fleets and Captain Peirce
his Majestys Station Ship is ready to Accompany them off of
this Coast. he is now gone out with a Small Fleet and Intends to
be ready for another in a Short time,

      We are in daily Expectation of the Arrival of
Our Governor I am

Yor: most Obedt: humble Servt

per Hopkins


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

The name of Carter's home and county have been supplied for clarity.

[1] Peter Leheup, an English Treasury clerk, was Virginia's and other colonies' agent in England for some years. He was related by marriage to the Prime Minister's brother who was secretary of the Treasury. His influence would be greater near the end of Carter's life.(Price. Perry of London. . . . pp. 75-77, 80, 83. )

[2] Established in 1696 as successor to a similar body, the Lords Commissioners of Trade and Plantations was "an advisory group, subordinate to king and Privy Council, and with no executive, financial, or penalizing powers, the Board of Trade was nevertheless able . . . to exert a far reaching and often determining influence in colonial matters. . . . It prepared the royal instructions for the governors overseas. . . ." ( Henry Hartwell, James Blair, and Edward Chilton. Hunter Dickinson Farish, ed. The Present State of Virginia, and the College. [First published, 1940, by Colonial Williamsburg, Inc., and reprinted Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1964.] pp. xvi-xvii. )

[3] 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.] )

[4] 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 )

[5] A moiety is one of two approximately equal portions.

[6] Josiah Burchet is presumed to have been an Admiralty official responsible for collecting the fees for Mediterranean passes which merchant ships needed to protect themselves from Barbary pirates. See Carter's letter to Burchet, May 13, 1727.

[7] H. R. McIlwaine wrote in 1910, "It is true that in 1727 . . . England was at war with Spain, but the war was one in which not much blood was shed and which was soon over." As Carter was writing in 1727, the Spanish were indeed beseiging Gibralter, but they were not successful and gave up in July. A treaty of peace was to be signed in 1729. ( H.R. McIlwaine, ed. Journals of the House of Burgesses of Virginia, 1727-1734, 1736-1740. [Richmond: Virginia. General Assembly. House of Burgesses, Virginia State Library, 1910], xiii. )

[8] Captain Vincent Pearse was the commander of the Tartar, the British warship on station in the colony. (McIlwaine. Executive Journals of the Council. . . . , 4[1721-1739]:136. )

[9] 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. )

This text, originally posted in 2003, was revised July 4, 2012, to add footnotes and strengthen the modern language version text.