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 the Earl of Orkney, April 11, 1729

     Robert Carter writes to the Earl of Orkney, the titular governor of Virginia, April 11, 1729, concerning the situation in the colony over his son Charles's succeeding his brother Robert as naval officer of the Rappahannock and efforts of the Grymes family to obtain the post for Charles Grymes.

Letter from Robert Carter to the Earl of Orkney, April 11, 1729

-1 -

Rappa [hannock, Lancaster County, Virginia]     
Apl. 11th: 1729

The Rt: Honble. George
Earl of Orkney -- --

My Lord --

     This is the first Opportunity I have had since
the receipt of your Lordships kind favour of the 7th day of November last wherein it is no
Small pleasure to me to find your Lordship satisfied of my Integrity in rela-
tion to yor Lordships Salary.

     I Esteem my self highly Indebted to your LordShip for yor
obliging recommendation to our Governor in behalf of my Son Charles's
Succeeding to the Naval Office of this river upon the removal of his Brother Robert
he is removed and the Governor is pleased this far to Continue the Place to him, but
does not think it proper either to give a Deputation to h [is br] other Charles
or to give him a Commission for the Place Alleg [ing . . .] ized into

-2 -

a promise at his first coming in to Colonel Charles Grymes Brother to our receiver General
to give him the Place when when he Should take it away from my son Robert, Charles
Grymes is now put into the Collectors Place of this river if he can hold it, the Governor
would be altogether discharged from his word but if another be put in England
then I can hardly Say how it will go. Although the Governor has been so kind to [ask] give
me his repeated promise word that he will not turn out my Son Robert, but that the
Place Shall remain in my family, As long as it Shall Lie in his power to
Continue it With a due regard to his word Thus I have Presumed to acquaint
your LordShip with the naked truth of this Story, whether your LordShip will think
it proper to Concern your Self any further in this matter I must Submit to your
goodness Desiring however a Continuance of your remembrance when your LordShip
Shall think fit to give your self the trouble I am in all Duty

              My Lord
                  Your Lordships
                    Most Obedient
                      Most Obliged
                        & most humble Servant


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 when writing to persons abroad. The county and colony have been added for clarity to the heading on the draft.

1[] 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.] )

[2] The Rappahannock

[3] Charles Grymes (c. 1692-1743) was the son of John Grymes of Middlesex County, but lived at "Morratico," Richmond County where he was sheriff in 1724 and 1725, burgess, etc. He was a member of the Council ( "The Grymes Family." Virginia Magazine of History and Biography . 28[1920]: 90-96, 187-94, 283-85, 374-75; McIlwaine. Executive Journals of the Council. . . . , 4[1721-1739]:66, 85; and Ryland. Richmond County Virginia. . . . pp. 500, 504, 514. )

[4] "The receiver-generalship was a royal appointment" and the official was required to give bond both to the lord 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] Charles Carter was appointed naval officer of the Rappahannock by the governor November 1, 1729, there being "no objection" from the Council. (McIlwaine. Executive Journals of the Council. . . . , 4[1721-1739]:210. )

This text, originally posted in 2005, was revised February 13, 2015, to strengthen the footnotes and the modern language version text.