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 Falconar, July 9, 1728

     Robert Carter writes to London merchant John Falconar, July 9, 1728, to report that he is sending bills of lading for tobacco of his own and of the Burwell estate on the Amity, Captain Wills, and enclosing a bill of exchange. He complains about Falconar's holding his tobacco back from the market when the merchant has written that little tobacco was available for sale.

Letter from Robert Carter to John Falconar, July 9, 1728

-1 -

Rappahannock, [Lancaster County, Virginia]

July the 9th: 1728

Mr. John Falconar

Sir --

      Captain : Wills is come to my house on Purpose to
give me bills of Lading I have done him all the Service I possibly could
to wards [sic ] his Loading the bills of Lading for my Tobacco are herewith
Sent for 15 hogsheads of Mr. Burwells Estate's and for 30 of my own all
of my own Crops only the two last numbers I shall Say nothing
in praise of it, I have not time at present to be very Particular
you have a great deal of Tobacco from me this year, I Shall be glad
to find a Suitable Encouragemt. I was not at all pleased that you
kept my Tobacco for a Lag Sale and yet at the Same time tell me
your market was almost Empty if you intend to Set fast in my
Esteemn you must not keep me thus in the Dark I have not time
to write an Invoice at present that must be the work of my next
I wish you health and am

              Your very humble Servt:

herein comes Captain Willss first
bills of Exchange for £14:19 on your
per Wills --


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] 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 )

[2] Captain Peter Wills commanded the Booth in 1723-1724, a ship belonging to merchant Thomas Colmore of London (see Carter's letter to Colmore of January 20 and February 15, 1724), and the Amity, a vessel of 500 tons and 21 men, in 1727-1729. He is mentioned in Carter's diary in 1723. ( Survey Report 6800 summarizing Adm. 68/194, and Survey Report 6801 summarizing Adm. 68/195, Virginia Colonial Records Project, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia. )

[3] A bill of lading is "an official detailed receipt given by the master of a merchant vessel to the person consigning the goods, by which he makes himself responsible for their safe delivery to the consignee. This document, being the legal proof of ownership of the goods, is often deposited with a creditor as security for money advanced." ( Oxford English Dictionary Online . Oxford University Press. )

[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 )

This text, originally posted in 2004, was revised November 20, 2014, to add footnotes and strengthen the modern language version text.