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 Mann Page, June 20, 1729

     Robert Carter writes to his son-in-law, Mann Page, June 20, 1729, concerning a mortgage, a letter to manager William Camp that he sends to Page for his review and additions, and responding to comments by Page on the attacks on the proprietorship of the Northern Neck.

Letter from Robert Carter to Mann Page, June 20, 1729

-1 -

Corotom[an], [Lancaster County, Virginia]     
June 20th. 1729

Colo. Page

Honble Sir

     I have finished this business [. . .]
ken his Mortgage & gave him bills of Exch [ange . . . ] according to
the Method you proposed which he will weight wait Upon you to
have your hand to them also and I now send a letter to Mr Perry
to go On board the Spotswood to Advise of these bills and a [. . .]
tobo is Consigned to him

      My letter to Wm Camp directing him how [to]
take bills of Lading I send you Open that if you think f [it to]
make any alteration in respect of Mr Burwell' s Tobo I would
give way to it

      This Letter to Mr Perry carrys also [. . . in]
voices for the next years Supply of them familys [Capt. Bra] =
dby hath sent me word by Charles they intend to [ . . . ]
they sail however have thought it not Amiss to Prepare [them]
in Case they should not

-2 -

      I have drawn bills to the Recr General for the qt ren [ts]
of Mr Burwells land and this day to Mr Stagg [. . .] for
£12._._ for a years dancing for the Children & Pd. him also
three pistoles for their Ball doings

      you have been very Obliging in taking care to
send me Copys of the Orders of Council and likewise the en=
tertainmt you give me of the Other Passages relating to that
Matter which indeed Afford great Sbjects for Speculation
I shall not Prognosticate how the Prest Lord Propr Will relish
these things but if his predecessors were alive I fancy they
would Convince some Gentlemen they have not so precarious a
title to their Estate as they seem to Imagin As for the Old Gent
[. . .] ing his judgment so freely I have been so long Acquainted
wth his wild Opinions that I am not much mov'd at it. but after such
convincing Proof from so many various ways I can't but be sur=
prized at some of his Pr . . . &c

      My Son Robin came down yesterday they are
a [ll] well there as I thank god we are At this time Myself only
Excepted Sore Eyes and Sickness being my nightly Companions
the Violent pain in my back which held me for two or three
days bu [t] I believe Mr.Jones told you of is Pretty well gone off

     Yr Waggon is just come Over And we are in hopes
[. . . ] the Sloop dispatch'd to Morrow And next week God willin [g]
[. . . ] my Sawyers And Oxen. I hear nothing yet from Mrs
[Nic] holas
of An Invoice for her Children the Ships Robin Expects
[. . . ] Every hour to Clear out

      The proper Salutes of this Family to yours you Always com
mand My kind love to My dear daughter and her Children hear
tily praying for her happy minuit I am


Source copy consulted: Robert Carter Letter Book, 1727 April 13-1728 July 23, Carter Family Papers, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond. The first page of the letter has suffered some damage leaving holes in the text.

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

[1] 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. )

[1] This London ship was commanded by James Bradby, 1727-1732. ( Adm 68/195, 70r ff., found in the microfilms of the Virginia Colonial Records Project, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia. )

[3] William Camp (Kemp) was described by Carter as "the General Overseer of Mr Burwell's Affairs" and he wrote that Camp earned a salary "£50 . . . for the year 1731." Carter and his son-in-law, Mann Page, were the trustees of Nathaniel Burwell's children after Burwell's death in 1721. Camp was a resident of Gloucester County where most of the Burwell estates lay, and he must also have supervised "Rippon Hall" in nearby York County. ( Carter to George Braxton, November 20, 1729 , and Carter to William Dawkins, July 11, 1732, and Virginia Tax Records. [Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, Inc., 1983.] p. 539. )

[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. )

5[] "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.)

[6] Quit rent was the term used for "a (usually small) rent paid by a freeholder . . . in lieu of services which might otherwise be required; a nominal rent paid (esp. in former British colonial territories to the Crown) as an acknowledgement of tenure," in this case, to the proprietors of the Northern Neck. Carter as the proprietor's agent, collected these payments. ( Oxford English Dictionary Online . Oxford University Press. )

[7] This was Charles Stagg (d. c. 1735), the manager of the first theatre in Williamsburg, and a dancing master. He and his wife Mary had come to Virginia about 1715. "In 1716 a merchant named William Levinston, assisted by his indentured servant Charles Stagg and Stagg's wife Mary, formerly actors and teachers of dancing and elocution in England, produced some plays, one of which was possibly given in 1718 before the Governor." Levinston entered a contract with them the next year that they would attempt to obtain a license for "the sole provilege of Acting Comedies, Drolls or other kind of Stage Plays within any part of the sd colony not only for the three years next ensueing the date hereof but for as much longer time." ( Phyllis Hartnoll and Peter Found. The Concise Oxford Companion to the Theatre. [2nd ed., Oxford University Press, 1996.] ; A contract between the Staggs and Levinston is to be found in York County Records, Orders, Wills, etc,. Book XV, 53. ; and Odai Johnson and William J. Burling. The Colonial American Stage, 1665-1774: A Documentary Calendar [Fairleigh Dickinson, 2002].)

[8] A pistole, often called a doblon, was a "Spanish gold double-escudo dating from the 1530s and surviving into the 19th cent.; (also) any of various coins derived from or resembling this from the 17th and 18th centuries." See the illustration on page 5 of John J. McCusker. Money & Exchange in Europe & America 1600-1775 A Handbook. [Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press for the Institute of Early American History and Culture, 1978.], and discussion in note 3 on page 6. ( Oxford English Dictionary Online.

[9] "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 )

[6] Although the word Carter dictated to his clerk has not been discovered, even in the Oxford English Dictionary, Carter seems to mean an impending birth. He had referred to it in a previous letter to Page. If this is correct, the child must have been stillborn for there is no record of Judith (Carter) Page having a child after 1728. (Carleton. A Genealogy. . . of Robert Carter. . . . p. 252. )

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