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 Pemberton and Company, December 19, 1727

     Robert Carter writes to Liverpool merchants John Pemberton and Company, December 19, 1727, concerning the concluding details of a slave sale that he has conducted in the colony for the firm, sending a bill of lading (not present) for tobacco received in exchange for slaves, and a bill of exchange (not present). He has concluded not to send more of the firm's tobacco on an available ship because the merchants may have already made arrangements for its shipment.

Letter from Robert Carter to John Pemberton and Company, December 19, 1727

-1 -

Rappahannock, [Lancaster County, Virginia]

December the 18th: 1727

Mr. Jno: Pemberton & Company
Owners of the Ship Jno: & Betty

Gent --

     Herein Send you a bill of Lading for 29 hogsheads
of your Tobbo: put on board the rose James Christian M[aste] r [illegible] I Shall Send you
the weights of it when all is rec'd The two last Negroes I sold was a long time
before I could meet with a Chapman for them was forced at last to let them
go part for next year['s] pay and one of the three Mr. Denton left Dyed as is noted
in the Accot. The Receiver of this Tobbo. is not yet paid and I Expect my salary
out of the next proceeds of Sales how many more hogsheads of Tobbo: of this Concern
there will be I cant yet tell Several there are already rec'd and I have hopes
very few will fall Short of their Debts,

     By your Ship I Sent you a General Sale Excepting the
three Negroes unsold however I now Send you the Sale again Compleated, also
an Accot. of all the Cash rec'd and an Accot. Currant. Since the making of it up
I have observed a Small Error I have taken too much Salary by £ 2:6: --
upon the Acct. of Mr. Grimes's money £ 175 which he allowed no Echange upon
tho I shall allow in my next when I account with the receiver of the Tobbo: --
&ca" --

     Herein remitt you a Small bill of Exchange for £ 7"9"10
James Tarleton draws upon Thos: Seal & Company, and the outstanding Dept
of Morgan is to be paid in the Spring,

     I have now the Offer of a Brigantine upon Freight from
James river indeed the first proposal to the Owner when I was at Wms:Burgh
was for her going to Lyme I have a late Letter telling me she is ready for a Voyage
and Shall be Sent as soon as I please I am apt to think the Owner would be Con=
tented to have her Freighted to Leverpool which I could Easily do with the help
of your Tobbo: and I dare Say you'd be willing to have your Tobbo: home as Early as
you Cold what to do in this Case I cant tell the Danger will be that it is very
probable you will make provision for the bringing home your Tobbo: in Some
other Vessell which in Such Case would be a disappointmt. It Seems there

-2 -

most prudent to let all or most at least a great part of your Tobo lye for your Orders I shall Conclude
at present

                  Yor. most humble Servt: --

per the Rose


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

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 to the heading on the draft.

[1] James Christian was captain of the Rose, a vessel owned by merchant John Pemberton of Liverpool. (See Carter to Pemberton, April 15, 1730.)

[2] A chapman is "a man whose business is buying and selling; a merchant, trader, dealer." ( Oxford English Dictionary online. )

[3] The John & Betty was a Liverpool ship owned by merchant John Pemberton; she often carried slaves into the colony. In 1726 the captain was John Gale, and in the next year, she was commanded by a Captain William Denton. The ship would be lost in 1729. (Wright. Letters of Robert Carter. . . . p. 18, n. 23 ; Carter to P3mberton , December 18, 1727; Carter to Pemberton, April 15, 1730; and Carter to William Dawkins, June 28, July 26, and August 22, 1727, for Denton's first name. )

[4] 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.] )

[5] "Lyme Regis . . . is a coastal town in West Dorset, England, situated 25 miles (40 km) west of Dorchester and 25 miles (40 km) east of Exeter. The town lies in Lyme Bay, on the English Channel coast at the Dorset-Devon border." ( "Lyme Regis" in Wikipedia. )

This text, originally posted in 2004, was revised August 5, 2014, to add footnotes and strengthen the modern language version text.