Robert King Carter's Correspondence and Diary

   A Collection Transcribed
        and Digitized
   by Edmund Berkeley, Jr.

List of Letters | About This Collection

Electronic Text Center , University of Virginia Library


Letter from Robert Carter to Captain John Hyde and Company, May 26, 1729

     Robert Carter writes to London merchants Captain John Hyde and Company, May 26, 1729, to enclose a bill of lading (not present) for 40 hogsheads of his own tobacco on board their ship the Providence, and reporting that he had prevailed upon Captain Woodward to give him a pipe of madeira that was on board the ship because he had lost his wines when his house burned. He orders two more pipes.

Letter from Robert Carter to Captain John Hyde and Company, May 26, 1729

-1 -

Rappahannock, [Lancaster County, Virginia]

May 26th. 1729

Capt John Hyde & Compa.

     Capt Woodward now leaving our river us wth design to
lye in the freshes of James river till the fleet sails I give you this
short entertainmt reserving my self for Enlargemt till my next

     This Encloses a bill of Lading for forty hogsheads of my
own Crop Tobo on board the Providence you will be informd from yr:
Capt: how kind I have been to him in filling him up when he was
at a Loss to make up his load any otherway [sic ] upon the loss of my house
and destruction of all the Old wines I had prevaild wth Woodward
Upon his not bringing me in Any wine by the order you had send to
Maderas to spare me a Pipe of the wine he had taken on board
for your S [e] lf which I daresay you will not be disatisfyed

-2 -

at leaving it to you to Charge me for it as you shall think Proper
and least I should forget it hereafter I now desire you to send fresh
orders by Corrispondts in Maderas to send me Two Pipes of their
best wines if yr. Ship comes that way again I had rather have
it by her than any Other

     I have drawn upon you £40"12"3 payable to
yr Capt which I desire may be Answered on my Accot who Am

                  Yr: most Humble Servt.

per Wooodward


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] Thomas Woodward commanded the Providence, a ship owned by Captain John Hyde & Company, during a number of voyages to the colony, 1723-1729. ( 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, and Carter's letter to the firm, 1723 September 17.)

[2] The Oxford English Dictionary Online defines "freshes" as " containing fresh as opposed to salt water." Carter means that Captain Woodward planned to anchor his ship at the point in the James River where the salt water turned to fresh.

[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] Robert Carter's home, "Corotoman," was located on the northeastern bank of the Rapphannock River in Lancaster County close to the present-day community of Weems. A stream called Corrotoman [sic ] River ran inland west of the house. Carter built a fine house there in the mid 1720s, but it burned in January 1729. See the "Corotoman" page of the web site of Historic Christ Church Foundation for more information about the house and excavation of its ruins. ( See the Maryland Gazette for February 4-11, 1728/29 for comment on Carter's loss. The Maryland Archives has placed its copies of the Maryland Gazette online. Unfortunately, page four of the issue of February 4-11, 1728/29 is missing, and that must be where the notice of the fire at Corotoman appeared; the text is quoted in secondary sources as reading: "The fine large house of Colonel Carter on the Rappahannock was also burnt lately. The particulars of his loss we can't give you, but we are inform'd it is very great." [Garden Club of Virginia Journal , May-June 1983, p.8.])

[5] 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. )

This text, originally posted in 2005, was revised February 24, 2015, to add footnotes and strengthen the modern language version text.