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 Burridge, June 26, 1729

     Robert Carter writes to London merchant John Burridge, June 26, 1729, re bills of exchange, a bad debt, and the dismal state of the tobacco trade.

Letter from Robert Carter to John Burridge, June 26, 1729

-1 -

Rappa [hannock, Lancaster County, Virginia]     
June 26. 1729

John Burridge Esqr


     The last letter I had from you bears date
the 21st of December in It you tell me of the payment of my bill for
£16"-. to Mr Stagg I must now advise you I have drawn
another bill on you for the same sum to the same person
which I desire you to Answer at time

     I am Sorry I am to loose so much of Hop:
debt as for Hellers if the man is honest and will
pay it by degrees I shall be willing to wait his Ability

     These are dismal time for us Poor plan:
ters that we should not be Able to maintain Our family
by our labour the making Tobacco is our Only trade and
we have no other way to Employ our People your Market is
as low as any in England Captain Gundry Reed in Gundrys
Ship will take no Tobacco to any body but his Owner I design
when I have an Opportunity to keep up our Ancient Corres:
pondence by Shipping some more Tobacco to you

     I heartily wish you a Comfortable old age
and Am Sincerely Sir

               your most humble Servant


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.

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.

[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. )

[2] There is not enough information in this letter to be certain who Hopkins was, but Captain James Hopkins is a possibility. Carter frequently sent tobacco on his ship, and often lent money to ship captains. Hopkins commanded the Mary in 1727-1728. He was then working for London merchant Robert Cary. He is mentioned in Carter's diary. ( Adm. 68/194, found in the microfilms of the Virginia Colonial Records Project, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia. )

[3] Nathaniel Gundry was a merchant in Lyme Regis, Dorset, and mayor of that town several times. His son was a member of Parliament and later a judge. (Notes made by Francis L. Berkeley, Jr., from George Robert. History and Antiquities of the Borough of Lyme Regis & Charnmouth. [London, 1834]. pp. 97, 383-4. ; and Sedgwick. The History of Parliament . . . Commons. pp. 91-92. )

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