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 John Stark, June 3, 1727

     Robert Carter writes to Glasgow merchant John Stark, June 3, 1727, advising him of a bill of exchange payable to George Braxton that he has used to buy slaves because of the many he lost during the winter. He notes that he has received Stark's letter of February 20th, and hopes his shipment was not damaged in the grounding of the Ann and Elizabeth, and adds that there was on board a small shipment from the Burwell estate. He will ship 30 hogsheads on the Lucia.

Letter from Robert Carter to John Stark, June 3, 1727

-1 -

Rappahannock, [Lancaster County, Virginia]

June the 3d: 1727

Mr. John Stark

Sir --

     I have already informed you that the great
Mortality I have Suffered among my Slaves this last winter
would bring me under the Occasion of drawing upon you for
a large Sum which I have now done to wit for Three hundred
pounds payable to Colonel George Braxton desiring you will
answer this draft at time on my Accot: I do not Stand Engaged
for the payment of this money in London therefore I must leave
you to act in it as you See fit,

     Yors: by the Ann Eleanor and Eliza Mary of the 20th. of February
arrived here Since Kelsick Sailed in which you tell me you
Shall Soon Send me the Sales of my 23 hhds: per the Lucia You
Say there is no damage in the Cargo of the Ann and Eliz: I hope I
Shall Suffer little there by the Ships running ashore besides my
10 hhds: there was 3 hhds: in that Ship belonging to Mr. Burwells
ordered to you whether a bill of Lading taken for it I am not
Sure I Load upon the Lucia Captain Bowman 30 hhds: whether
I Shall be able to get any for Nichalson I am not yet Certain
Shall Conclude here

Yor: very humble Servant

per the Dispatch Captain Barry


Source copy consulted: Robert Carter letter book, 1727 May-1728 July, 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] John Stark was a prominent Glasgow merchant in the sugar trade. He served as as baillie and provost (mayor) from 1725-1727. ( John M'ure. The History of Glasgow. [Glasgow: D. Macvean and J. Wyllie & Co., 1830] pp. 227-228 as seen on Google books; and "Provosts of Glasgow" at "Welcome to Glasgow" . )

[2] 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 )

[3] Carter noted in his diary January 19, 1727, the arrival of the Mazareen at his house and a visit from her captain, Richard Kelsick, four days earlier. Kelsick, with Peter How, a merchant of Whitehaven (on the Irish sea in northwest England), traded with the Fredericksburg, Virginia, area from the early 18th century. ( Paula S. Felder. "Fredericksburg and Whitehaven Connection to English Port a Forgotten Chapter in Area's Colonial History Living-history Program," Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star, 7/2/2005. )

[4] Captain Samuel Bowman commanded the Lucia. Carter mentioned this vessel in his diary in June 1724, and again on March 4, 1726, when he wrote that she "came in had 20 Weeks Passage."

[5] Elizabeth Donnan's Documents Illustrative of the History of the Slave Trade to America. Volume II. The Eighteenth Century (Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Institution of Washington, 1930, and a later edition: Buffalo, NY: William S. Hein & Co., Inc., 2002) contains a good many references to a slave ship named the Dispatch, a brigantine, owned in Bristol. and trading to Africa, the Caribbean, and the British colonies in North America. Her captain in 1727 was William Barry. " On October 7, 1725, a group of Bristol merchants, who then dominated the Biafra trade, directed Captain William Barry of the Dispatch to buy 240 'Choice slaves' from the obscure port of Andoni." ( G. Ugo Nwokeji. The Slave Trade and Culture in the Bight of Biafra: An African Society. . . . [London and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010. p. 145.) )

This text, originally posted in 2003, was revised October 2, 2012, to add footnotes and strengthen the modern language version text.