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 Holloway, June 2, 1729

     Robert Carter writes to his attorney, John Holloway, June 2, 1729, concerning a recent decision of the Council that confirmed the proprietor's right to certain fees, and the attacks being made on the proprietorship. He wants Holloway's assistance in stirring Lord Fairfax to action to defend his estate.

Letter from Robert Carter to John Holloway, June 2, 1729

-1 -

Corotom[an], [Lancaster County, Virginia]     
June 2. 1729

Majr Holloway


     I received your Packet After the Council at the
Oyer & terminer Colonel Page sent me Copies of the orders then
made Upon the Caveat you put in in the behalf of the Proprietors
In your Petition you have been so Considerate in laying your finger
upon All things necessary to be set forth that I cannot think
Any thing of importance more could have been added I still
want a Copy of the Order of Council about the fines & forfeitures
to see how Mr Robertson has worded it it was directed by the governor
if I remember right that notice should be given in the several
Counties of the Northern neck tht the fines & forfeitures were the Proprietors Mr Receiver General made a
distinction upon the Forfeitures and would have it that the neg=
roes in Glascocks Estate who was Convicted of the Murder of
one Forester if I do not mistake his right name belong to the
Crown but the whole board were Against him whether the
order may take notice of this Particular resolution may
be a question I have heard the Receiver General and the [. . .]
too the Auditors Uncle gives it as their clear Opinion that the
lands above Shenandoah Undoubtedly belong to the cro [wn]
what their Arguments are is Above my Conjecture b [ut there is ?]
warm Oppositions here little doubt is to be made the reven[ue]
Gentlemen with their Outmost force intend to Attack the grant
at home therefore it is my duty to Prepare his Lordship as
well as I can to rise up in the defence of his Estate I have

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heard it is Colonel Grymes's Opinion that the Crown he will be
compelled to sell his Estate & vest it Again in the Crown
these [. . . ] hasty forestalling opinions may be the effect
[. . .] and I do not desire they should be talked of
me but if you Can think of Any materials more than I have to
represent the case to his Lordship I should be very glad to recei=
ve them and shall Always have a great regard to your Opinion
If his Lordship will not bestir himself towards the Asserting
of his boundaries and defending his Estate I shall however have
this satisfaction of having done my duty I am

                   your most humble Servant

It coming into my head this minute that I have right to An Order of Assembly
entitling me to the Payment for a negro that was executed in Richmond some years
ago I conjecture you have Already given my Accot Credit for this money but am
not positive about it


Source copy consulted: Robert Carter Letter Book, 1727 April 13-1728 July 23, Carter Family Papers, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond. There is a 19th-century transcript of the letter in the Minor-Blackford Papers, James Monroe Law Office and Museum, Fredericksburg, Virginia.

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

[1] "The governor's Council, also known as the Council of State or simply the Council, consisted of about a dozen of colonial Virginia's wealthiest and most prominent men. Beginning in the 1630s the Crown appointed Council members. . . . Crown appointments were lifetime appointments. From 1625, when Virginia became a royal colony, until the outbreak of the American Revolution (1775-1783), the Council members advised the royal governor or his deputy, the lieutenant governor, on all executive matters. The Council and the governor together constituted the highest court in the colony, known initially as the Quarter Court and later as the General Court. The Council members also served as members of the General Assembly; from the first meeting of the assembly in 1619 until 1643 the governor, Council members, and burgesses all met in unicameral session. After 1643 the Council members met separately as the upper House of the General Assembly." ("The Governor's Council" in Encyclopedia Virginia )

[2] "Oyer is French for to hear -i.e. hear in court or try; and terminer is French for to conclude . The words mean that the commissioners appointed are to hear and bring to an end all the cases in the county." "In I710 Queen Anne extended the right of habeas corpus to Virginia and decreed that two courts of oyer and terminer be held annually to facilitate 'gaol delivery.' Such courts were to sit the first Tuesdays of December and June 7 ." ("Oyer and Terminer" in Dictionary of Phrase and Fable online at infoplease, 8/26/2011; Hugh F. Rankin. "The General Court Of Colonial Virginia: Its Jurisdiction and Personnel ." Virginia Magazine of History and Biography. 70[2(Apr., 1962)]: 144; and Rhys Isaac. The Transformation of Virginia 1740-1790. Williamsburg, VA:, Institute of Early American History and Culture, and Chapel Hill, NC, University of North Carolina Press, 1982; new edition [paperback], 1999., p. 92.)

[3] A caveat is a "process in court (originally in ecclesiastical courts) to suspend proceedings; a notice given by some party to the proper officer not to take a certain step until the party giving the notice has been heard in opposition." ( Oxford English Dictionary Online . Oxford University Press. )

[4] See the discussion of the Northern Neck proprietary on this project's home page.

[5] Forfeiture is "the fact of losing or becoming liable to deprivation of (an estate, goods, life, an office, right, etc.) in consequence of a crime, offence, or breach of engagement." ( Oxford English Dictionary Online . Oxford University Press. )

6[] "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.)

[7] "William Forrester had been murdered on November 5, 1723, by Thomas Glascock whose son Gregory was named as an accessory." Carter had noted Glascock's capture in his diary on November 13th: "Collo Barber acquaints me me he had Seizd Glascocks who had fled for Murther his Estate Coll Tarpley in the behalf of Glascocks Heir offers to Enter the Land as Escheat." The lands reverted to the proprietors, and Carter apparently managed them for some years for the benefit of Glascock's heirs; he later acquired title to the properties which are mentioned in his will. (Ryland. Richmond County Virginia. . . . p. 101.

[8] "The auditor was unquestionably a royal appointee, and held his commission under the great seal. He was, after 1680, upon the appointment of the auditor-general of the colonies, the deputy of that official. When the auditorship was established, it was stated that only councillors and those who had long resided in the colony were eligible to this office, and it seems that this principle was generally observed. . . . As the name of the office indicates, the auditor examined all the revenue accounts of the colony, except a few purely local ones under the supervision of the treasurer. Among these accounts were those of the royal collectors and naval officers, the quit-rents, the public claims, the fines and forfeitures. He swore to his accounts before the governor and the Council in April and October, and forwarded them through the auditor general to the lords of the treasury. . . . For a few years after the establishment of the office, the auditor received a salary from the Assembly; later, he was paid a salary as a royal official of £100 a year out of the British treasury. His compensation was, however, largely in the form of a fee, which was gradually increased from three to seven and a half per cent of the revenue accounts audited, and amounted to about £400 a year." ( Percy Scott Flippin. The Financial Administration of the Colony of Virginia [Johns Hopkins Press, 1915.] 38-39. )

This text, originally posted in 2005, was revised February 27, 2015, to add footnotes and strengthen the modern language version text.