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 Colonel [Thomas] Lee, March 4, 1729

     Robert Carter writes to Colonel [Thomas] Lee of Westmoreland County, March 4, 1729, to alert him that he had written a week earlier about militia commissions and to send him condolences on the fire that had destroyed his home. Most of the letter deals with land that Lee wishes to obtain, and attempts to persuade Lee to exclude from his survey a small piece of land that would be useful to Carter and his son.

Letter from Robert Carter to Colonel [Thomas] Lee, March 4, 1729

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Corotomn, [Lancaster County, Virginia]     
March 4. 1728/9

Colonel Lee


     Last week I sent you the Commissions for the militia
of your County and then discharged my self of a duty I thought
lay upon me to condole your severe misfortune

     Some parts of your letter by Mr. Thomas I have
already answered in relation to the lessening the quantity of the

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Land comprised in your Deed now in the Office it is a method I can
by no means fall into the con se quence of it will be both intricate &
end less Mr Thomas tells me in that survey he was entirely guided
by Awbery Who was Appointed by you to guide the work and he very
much scrupeled the taking in so large a quantity of Land until
Awbery undertook that you should give me satisfaction about it & that
you your Self had Shown him several known places at large distances
that you would have him take in all these circumstances brought
together I hope you will no Longer insist

     As for the Composition I will have it weighty from tho=
se who pay me in Tobaccos : the crown you know takes no tobacco for the
Rights Sterling money is my due Bills of Exchange will best please
me however to make it no precedent to Oblige you I will take
Cash of you as you propose

     Mr: Thomas has Shown me his plat of the land at
the falls of your river taking in upon the three warrants a great r [sic]
quantity than all the warrants contain yours if for 150 Acres
if you persist in having your quantity I shall not Oppose it
but I must reserve the Eleven Acres at the upper end of the rolling
road next to Captain Turberville's Land to take in the red hill and the
Small Level that is below it and to include that part of the rolling
road but you would much better please us to leave all that piece of
Land that lies between the run and your other line and
methinks a little good humour may bring you into this althogh you
fall some few acres short of your full quantity however if [you]
will not bate an inch you have the Priority and must have it
The Point below this waste land being yours already affording
all imaginable Convenience of Levels for Building &ca: it will be
pretty harsh you will not leave my son a small part of this
waste Land to Set a house or Two upon for receptall to his
goods when ever he shall have Occasion to bring any there

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The 11 acres is Clearly without your Entry and if you will not allow
a little spot more I shall say no more about it. I am

                   your most humble Servt:


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

The county and colony have been added for clarity to the heading on the draft.

[1] Thomas Lee (1690-1750) of Westmoreland County was the son of Richard Lee II, and nephew of Edmund Jenings; he would build "Stratford," and succeed Carter on the Council. For a good article on Thomas Lee, see "Thomas Lee of Stratford 1690-1750" by Jeanne A. Calhoun on Stratford plantation's website. ( Burton J. Hendrick. The Lees of Virginia: Biography of a Family. [Boston: Little Brown, 1935]. pp. 48, 51, etc. )

[2] Carter had written a letter to Lee February 24, 1729.

[3] Carter refers to the fire that burned Lee's house on Machodoc River in Westmoreland County on January 29, 1729. The Maryland Gazette reported that "Col. Thomas Lee's fine House in Virginia was burnt, his Office, barns, and Out-houses: His Plate, Cash (to the Sum of 1000 £) Papers, and every Thing intirely lost. . . ." (See the Maryland Gazette for March 25-April 1, 1729. for the report of Lee's loss.)

[4] James Thomas was surveyor of Lancaster County, and after 1727, of Westmoreland County. In 1736, he would be one of the surveyors involved in the work of the commission to determine the bounds of the Northern Neck proprietary. (Brown. Virginia Baron. . . . pp. 83, 92. See Carter to Peter Beverley, December 14, 1727 . )

[5] Francis (Frank) Awbrey (1690?-1741) was an active land speculator in the area that became Loudoun County, and was one of the first justices when Prince William County was organized in 1731. He was sheriff of that county in 1739. (McIlwaine. Executive Journals of the Council. . . . , 4[1721-1739]:239, 439; and Harrison. Landmarks. . . . pp. 148, 150, 153-54 ff. )

[6] 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 )

[7] the Potomac

[8] One of the many meanings of "bate," according to the Oxford English Dictionary Online, is " to decrease in amount, weight, estimation."

[9] While Carter's clerk wrote "receptall," the editor suspects that Carter may have dictated "receptacle."

This text, originally posted in 2005, was revised February 10, 2015, to strengthen the footnotes and the modern language version text.