Robert King Carter's Correspondence and Diary

   A Collection Transcribed
        and Digitized
   by Edmund Berkeley, Jr.

List of Letters | About This Collection

Electronic Text Center , University of Virginia Library


Letter from Robert Carter to John Carter, October 14, 1727

     Robert Carter writes to his son John Carter, October 14, 1727, secretary of state of the colony, to inform John that illness will prevent his coming to Williamsburg for the opening session of the general court. He gives John instructions about dealing with the "perquisites" or salary due him as acting govenor before Hugh Drysdale arrived, and for dealing with a small debt.

Letter from Robert Carter to John Carter, October 14, 1727

-1 -

To the Secretary     Corotomn: [Rappahannock, Lancaster County, Virginia]     
Octobr 14th. 1727

Dear Sir

     I had resolv'd to be at the General court
the first day & had laid Matters accordingly but on monday
last early in the Morning I was siezed with a violent disease in
My bowels & left side & night & day especially in the nights have
been pursued ever since with very tormenting pains & the last
night as bad as any which puts me out of hopes of being able to
attend the Court at least in the fore part of it you know the reasons
I have to be there are so pressing that I shall delay no time in coming so soon
as it shall please God to allow me health with safety to venture a
broad however expecting the Naval Officers & Clerks will be early
at the Court to make up their accots: of the governours perqui=
which is this work I must desire you to Manage as far as there

-2 -

is Occasion before my Coming to town & to set all matters in a
Clear light to you I send you the Naval Officers & Clerks Accots
of the perquisits to April last I likewise [enclose] what I reckon is to be pd: to me out
of the Governours Salary upon the Lord Orkneys Accot. & my own
if it happens I am not able to be there when the receiver passes his Accots
I would have the Salary pd: in two sets of bills of exchange in equall
Sums whether the governour will reckon his government commence from
his Arrival or publication of his commission I am not certain former
precedents will rule in this case Mr. Robertson is the fittest person to
be consulted in this affair & in respect to the Naval Officers Accots Mr.
Hickman will be the Manager of the other perquisits the Naval Officers
you know pay sterling & if they pay Outport bills they allow 1/2 per
Ct. & for Scotch bills 2 & 1/2 perCt: Mr. Wilson Cary pay'd off his
Acct. in cash at 18 perct but I don't care to take Cash at any rate
tis not long since I was allowed 20 perct: for my own bills I don't
know what is proper further to be said to you

      Mr. Grimes there is a Small Accot. between Mr.
Grimes and I. I have his Obligation for £7 odd money and I am to pay
him or Colonel Page on Accot. of Harry Willis £12 if it be to him I will
give him my own bills for the balance I would not have this Accot mixt
in the Salary Accot. Pray give my respects to Doctr: Nicholas and
my Daughter to whom I should write but have
neither time nor Ease at present My Duty to the Govr. you
will not forget God Grant you health and Prosperity and may your
Latter days be Accompanyd with more Comfort than falls to my Lot. I am


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.

The county and colony have been added for clarity to "Corotoman," the name of Carter's home.

The last paragraph of the letter is in a different hand than the first paragraph. It was added to the letterbook after the letter to William Camp of the same date as it was written around the date and address of that draft letter.

1[] "The governor's Council, also known as the Council of State or simply the Council, consisted of about a dozen of colonial Virginia's wealthiest and most prominent men. Beginning in the 1630s the Crown appointed Council members. . . . Crown appointments were lifetime appointments. From 1625, when Virginia became a royal colony, until the outbreak of the American Revolution (1775-1783), the Council members advised the royal governor or his deputy, the lieutenant governor, on all executive matters. The Council and the governor together constituted the highest court in the colony, known initially as the Quarter Court and later as the General Court. The Council members also served as members of the General Assembly; from the first meeting of the assembly in 1619 until 1643 the governor, Council members, and burgesses all met in unicameral session. After 1643 the Council members met separately as the upper House of the General Assembly." ("The Governor's Council" in Encyclopedia Virginia )

[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] Perquisities are "any casual profit, fee, remuneration, etc., attached to an office or position in addition to the normal salary or revenue." ( Oxford English Dictionary online. )

[4] "The receiver-generalship was a royal appoitmnet" and the official was required to give bond both to the lords of the treasury and to the governor. "Those who filled the office of receiver-general were practially all councillors. . . . The duties of the receiver-general included the receiving of the quit-rents, the revenue arising from the export duty of two shillings per hogshead on tobacco, the one penny per pound on tobacco exported from Virginia . . . the port duty, which was the revenue arising from the fifteen pence per ton on all vessels arriving in the colony, and all funds of the colony not received by the treasurer. . . . He paid out of the revenue . . . the salaries of the officers of the colony, also those of the auditor-general of the colonies and the solicitor of Virginia affairs, both of whom lived in England. All the public expenses of the colony, except, of course, those paid out of the funds held by the treasurer, were paid out of the funds received in his office. . . . He of course reported to the lords of the treasury all payments made on the order of the governor. The accounts of the revenues and the reports of disbursements forwarded to the lords of the treasury were certified to by the auditor and the governor, and sent by the governor." (Percy Scott Flippin. The Financial Administration of the Colony of Virginia [Johns Hopkins Press, 1915.] 41-42.)

[5] Richard Hickman (d. 1732) had been deputy clerk of Middlesex County in 1709. After Governor Hugh Drysdale's death, the Council appointed him to manage the Governor's house and its gardens. His name appears a number of times in the Council minutes as he was the doorkeeper, and as he took out land patents. From Carter's letter to William Robertson 1727 July 15, in which he complains that "Mr. Hickman is very dilatory with his probatted Administrations," it seems that Hickman must have done other work for the colonial government. (Edward W. James. "Libraries in Colonial Virginia." William and Mary Quarterly. 3[1,#4, Apr. 1895]:248-51 for Hickman's inventory recorded 1732 May 15 listing many books; "Notes from the Journal of the House of Burgesses, 1712-1726." William and Mary Quarterly. 21[1,#4, April 1913]:257 mentions his being Council doorkeeper; "Notes from the Journal of the House of Burgesses, 1727-1734, William and Mary Quarterly. 22[1, #1, July 1913]:54,56-58, mentions his being clerk of the Committee of Propositions and Grievances; and McIlwaine. Executive Journals of the Council. . . . , 4[1721-1739]:114. )

[6] Out port means "a port outside a particular place; any port other than the main port of a country, etc.; spec[ically]. a British port other than London." ( Oxford English Dictionary Online )

[7] Henry Willis (1691-1740) founder of Fredericksburg. (See Paula S. Felder, "A Slow Beginning: 1728-1732" in "Fredericksburg's Origins and a History of Its Neighborhoods;" and "Willis Family." William and Mary Quarterly. 1st ser. 5(1896): 24-27, 171-176; 6(1897): 27-29, 206-214.) )

This text, originally posted in 2004, was revised May 13, 2014, to add footnotes and strengthen the modern language version text.