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 Thomas, Lord Fairfax, June 25, 1729

     Robert Carter writes to Thomas, Lord Fairfax, June 25, 1729, to inform him of the latest actions of the Council regarding the Northern Neck proprietary, and urging him to find as many suporters of the proprietary in England as he can.

Letter from Robert Carter to Thomas, Lord Fairfax, June 25, 1729

-1 -

Rappahannock, [Lancaster County, Virginia]     
June the 25th. 1729

To the Right honble. the Ld. Fairfax

My Lord --

     Upon Considering the orders of Council lately made for upon
my puting in Caveats in your Lordships behalf I cant but observe that there
appears to me to be a wide diference between former Govrs. Granting away the
Lands in the little Fork when there was no Caveat put in against them & those
back woods was then very little known and the Present Govrs. Continueing these Grants
after a Caveat is Enterd and Such Plain Proof offer'd that these Lands are within
your Lordships bounds. Perhaps my reasoning may have no force in it. I have had
Some private hints from my Lawyers that they thought the Govr. was not very forward in going into this order
but the Opinion of the Major part of the Council prevaild however it was your
Lordship may Conclude it to be highly necessary for your Lordship to make as
many friends as Possibly you can in England for I doubt the Grant will meet
with but few friends here unless Some folks are made to know that the Estate
is above their reach. In the other order you will meet with a great many new

-2 -

names Such as Happy Creek. Cape Leanock. and the fork of Leanock ri [ver]
and the fork of Cape Leanock Run and all layd down to lye in Spotsilvan [ia]
County Contrived under these names never heard of before but in reality
According to all Informations I can get they are only streams Issuing
out of Chenandoa and discharge themselves thro it and if Spotsilvania
County be to be [sic ] Extended to all the Lands on the upper side of Chenandoa the
great stream of Patowmack which I have often Calld Cohunkoruta
the Indian name will be its Boundary and will surround to the Westward
all your Lordships Grant I have Said Enough to give your Lordship a Right
Idea of the nature of the place And it may be more then was necessary

per Spotswood


Source copy consulted: Letter book, 1728 August-1731 July, Robert Carter Papers (acc. no. 3807), Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia. There is a 19th-century transcript of the letter in the Minor-Blackford Papers, James Monroe Law Office and Museum, Fredericksburg, Virginia.

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 persons abroad. The county and colony have been added for clarity.

[1] Carter refers to an action of the Council June 11, 1729, that the governor be authorized to continue making grants in the disputed areas of the proprietary until "his Majesty's pleasure be further known." (McIlwaine. Executive Journals of the Council. . . . , 4[1721-1739]:205. )

[2] "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 )

[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] The Fry-Jefferson map shows the Little Fork as a tributary of the Hedgman (now the Rappahannock) River. It lies in what is probably Culpeper County today, not far from the Blue Ridge.

[5] The Spotswood was a London ship commanded by James Bradby, 1727-1732, and was owned by Micajah Perry. ( 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. See Carter to Micajah Perry April 16. 1730. )

This text, originally posted in 2005, was revised March 25, 2015, to add footnotes and strengthen the modern language version text.