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, April 11 and June 20, 1729

     Robert Carter writes to Liverpool merchant John Pemberton, April 11, 1729, reporting the arrival of several "Packetts" from the merchant, commenting on the poor market for tobacco, alerting Pemberton about a mistake that he has made in marking some hogheads that belong to another account, directing him to charge protested bills of exchange from the Rose slave sale to his personal account, and enclosing (not present) a bill of lading for 25 hogsheads of his own tobacco. On June 20th he drafts a post script to add a bill of lading (not present) for 3 hogsheads more.

Letter from Robert Carter to John Pemberton, April 11 and June 20, 1729

-1 -

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

Mr. John Pemberton

Sir --

     I rec'd yor. Several Packetts by the Rappahannock Capt. Break
hill am Sorry the Sales both my own and yor. Cargoes Tobbo:turns out
so poorely indeed wee have not much better Encouragemt. from any other
Port, Your Marketts in former Years have rather Exceeded then fallen
short of others, I had not less at London then £7 per hogshead round how the
last Crop will rise I have not one Accot. as yet Except for a little fine
Tobacco out of York river which sold at 9 3/4d but that is no standard, I
shall think myself fairly of if my general Sales comes out at a Penny
less, Miserable is our Condition if we cant live by our Labour,

     I have Sent you one hogshead [tobacco mark: 1:9421:86:856:30:886 ] I must own to you I have
Committed a mistake in marking 3 or 4 more to the [tobacco mark] then I Should
it happend that I reckond Purcells Debt belongd to the Rose Concern
and did not See my Error till I came to Overhall the Papers, which
was after the Tobbo: was markt and gon, This I must rectifye out
of the [tobacco mark] Tobbo: which I hope will make little difference,

     I tell the Freighters of the rose I have orderd you to pay to
them the 8 Protested bills you sent me Amounting to £49:13:0 3/4
to be charged to my private Accot.

     I send you a bills of Lading for 25 hogsheads of my own
Tobbo: which I will beleive to be very good they came from Plans:
that have always made Such. it hath bin a disappointment to
me not to have my Goods in the Rappahannock You will yet I hope meet wth.
Some Opportunity or other to send them by but if you do not I desire
you will Send me double the Quantity of every Sort as Early in the next
fall as ever you can and if these goods should be come away then I wold
desire you to Send me the Same quantity over again in one of the Earliest
of your Ships,

     I Send you Copys of Some Accots. you had before to
Explain to you how I make £16:10:9 to be the right balance of them Accots.

     The hogshead of [tobacco mark] is the bill of Lading of the [tobacco mark] and in the bill of
[. . .] , You will please to Set this to rights, I am

              Yor. humble Servt.

To be Added to the freighters of the Ship Rose
I send you Copys of some Accots. on hand before to Explain
to You how I make £ 16:19:19 which is to be paid to you by Mr. Pemberton

-3 -

              Added to my letter to Mr Pemberton of the 11. Apl. 1729
Mr. John Pemberton
Sir                                                             Rappahannock June 20th. 1729

     I have now Ship'd 3 hogsheads of Tobo. more of the
[tobacco marks] you have herein a bill of Lading for it Them another

-4 -

lyes ready wch I could not get taken in there remains to ballance these marks as I reckon 2876
In checking this hogshead that is receiv'd the rest still outstanding wch
I shall be Answerable to you for hereafter

     I have little to say to you at Present only to desire
you will Comply with the Contents of above letter remaining

                             Sir          your most Humble: Servt

Copy per Letherland


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] There were several vessels with the name Rappahannock . One was based in Liverpool and was commanded by a Captain Francis Etheridge in 1725; she was a 90 ton ship with 13 men. Another of which Charles Whate was captain was of 60 tons with 11 men in 1726 and 1727. Carter's letters mention a Captain Hugh Brackhill in 1728-1729, and Captain Loxum in 1733. ( Adm. 68/194, ff.30, found in the microfilms of the Virginia Colonial Records Project, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia. )

[2] Carter refers to the sales of slaves from Pemberton's ship, the Rose, for which he had been the agent in the colony. See his letters to Pemberton in 1728 for more information.

[4] 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. (See "Bill of Exchange" in the online Dictionary of Financial Scam Terms: the Truth vs. the Scam. )

[5] A Captain Leatherland commanded the William & James in June 20, 1729, and the Samuel & Jane in 1732. (( Carter to the freighters of the ship Rose, April 11 and June 29, 1729, and Carter to Pemberton July 13, 1732. )

This text, originally posted in 2005, was revised February 16, 2015, to strengthen the footnotes and the modern language version text.