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 Pratt, August 22, 1727

     Robert Carter writes to his old friend, London merchant John Pratt, August 22, 1727, to tell him that he has worked very hard to see that John Falconar's ship the Marlborough was fully loaded and that he has shifted most of his business to Falconar from Micajah Perry. He gives Pratt information about the current crop estimates in the colony, and writes that he owes his daughter Elizabeth (Carter) Burwell Nicholas £50 which she wishes to be paid in plate. She will write to Pratt herself asking for his assistance in choosing it. He mentions his grandson Lewis Burwell's many promises of greater attention to his studies in preparation for university, and his own health problems.

Letter from Robert Carter to John Pratt, August 22, 1727

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Mr. John Pratt     Rappa[hannock, Lancaster County, Virginia]     
Augst: the 22d: 1727

My good Daddy --

     Yor: Entertainmt. of the 7th: of Decr. now calls on me
for my Anniversary Answer by the Carter Capt: Buckeridge who I hope
is now very near you will be able to give a good Accot. of himself
Sailed the Last of the last month when he came in both he and his friends
were very doubtfull he wouild fall a great deal Short of his loading
however our Zeal amongst us was so great that your friend Falconar
hath no dead freight to pay and you must allow me to tell you
he met with no [o] ne friend that Exerted himself more then I did for
which Service I hope Mr. Falconar will have a Suitable Concern
for my Interest who is now let into a great Share of my business
and your old friend Mr. Perry with whom I have had a long Chain
of large Affairs hath not one hogsheads from me this year how the
Gentleman will resent it his next must tell me if he will pay
away my Estate in his hands with honour I Shall have no
other regard for his great ness [sic ]

     You Speak of an Empty market and give us hopes
wee Shall meet with better prices this year then we did the last. It will
be good news if your Conclusions proves true. The Carter falls Short
of her Loading between two and three hundred hogsheads purely because
She was a lag Ship there is little to be depended on from our Guesses
of a Crop at this Time of year but the General Opinion at present is
that this crop will be a great deal less then the last was Our Tobbo:
are fired away prodigiously but It and hath bin hurryd to the houses
before it was fit to go there, I beleive you'l hear the Same Story from the
rest of your friends

     I have for a long time bin indebted to my Daughter
in a promise of £50 to be laid out for her as She Should direct
She now Chuses to have it in Plate and writes to you herself to be
Assistant in the buying of it my Instructions go to Mr.Falconar --
I am glad to hear your little family was so well and that the Nephew
proves so great a Comfort to you and am Sorry you have nothing good
to Say of my GrandSon Lewis but that he is well, he gives me migh
ty promises of reforming himself and takeing to his book[s] heartily
in order to Qualifye him for the University Pray God Grant him such
a measure of his Grace that he may answer the great design of

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his father in Sending him for an English Education

      Wee have had an Extream hot August from the begining
If our Govr. Should come in quickly whom wee Expect dayly in the
Randolph he will go near to be Saluted with trying weather I thank
God all your friends are in reasonable good health of my large fam
ily I know of none but are well Colonel Page will give Accot. of himself
for my own part I am under an Afflicting distemper that I am afraid
will bear me company to my Grave I am Sir in the Catalogue of
one of your paternal care and

                  Yor. most humble Servt: --


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 Pratt was a London merchant and an old friend of Carter's who usually referred to him as "Daddy."

[2] The Marlborough was a vessel of 100 tons and 14 men, commanded by George Buckeridge (Buckbridge). In a letter to London merchant John Falconar July 24, 1727, Carter refers to this vessel as "yor. Marlborrough." ( Admiralty 68/195, abstracted in Survey Report 6801, Virginia Colonial Records Project, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia. )

[3] John Falconar (d. ca. 1729) was a London merchant with whom Carter dealt. In 1728, Falconar and Henry Darnell formed an association of 29 London tobacco merchants to deal with the French tobacco purchasing agent as a group in order to keep the price as high as possible. The association lasted only lasted a year or two before dissolving because some of its members were dealing directly with the French agent and selling below the agreed-upon price. (See Carter's letter to Falconar of July 24 and August 22, 1727, for details about the payment of £200 to him. (See Carter to William Dawkins, for Falconar's death date. Arthur Pierce Middleton. Tobacco Coast: A Maritime History of the Chesapeake Bay in the Colonial Era. Newport News, VA: Mariners' Museum, 1953. p. 129 )

[4] Lewis Burwell (1711 or 1712-1756), Carter's grandson by Elizabeth Carter Burwell and her first husband, Nathaniel Burwell (1680-1721). He was educated at Eton and Cambridge, and inherited considerable property, living at "Fairfield," Gloucester County. He would be president of the Council in 1750-1751. (Kneebone et al. , Dictionary of Virginia Biography. 2:434-5. and Carleton. A Genealogy. . . of Robert Carter. . . . p. 114. )

This text, originally posted in 2003, was revised November 22, 2013, to strengthen the footnotes and modern language version text.