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 George Hamilton, Earl of Orkney, June 27, 1729

     Robert Carter writes to the titular governor of Virginia, George Hamilton, Earl of Orkney, June 27, 1729, to send him a small bill of exchange for money due him from the sale of beaver skins while Carter was acting governor.

Letter from Robert Carter to George Hamilton, Earl of Orkney, June 27, 1729

-1 -

Rappahannock, [Lancaster County, Virginia]     
June 27th. 1729

The right honble. George
Earl of Orkney

My Lord --

     On the 11th of Aprill I did my self the honr. to own
the receipt of yor. Lordships most oblidgeing favour of the 7th of Novr. It was my
thoughts I had fully though discharged your Lordships part of the Salary not
then remembering some beaver skins that I had as Tribute from the Indians
which by an Accot. I received this shipping from Mr. Dawkins return some
£5"6"8 the half of this money belongs to yor. Lordship. Therefore now Enclose
a bill of Exchange for £2"13"4 the moiety The Naval Office which yor Lordship hath bin
so kind to Concern yourself about remains still as it was with my Son
Robert And am not without hopes it will fall to the Lot of my Son Charles
at last. I most Sincerely Pray for the Continuance of yor Lordship's health
& Presume to Subscribe myself

              My Lord
                  Your Lordship's
                    Most Obedient
                      Most Obliged
                          & most humble Servt.

Per Baily


Source copy consulted: Robert Carter Letter Book, 1727 April 13-1728 July 23, Carter Family Papers, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond. There is a nineteenth-century copy of this 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 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. )

[2] A moiety is "a half, one of two equal parts." ( Oxford English Dictionary Online )

[3] The naval officer was an official in the colony that reported to the Commissioners of Customs, a body that had first been established in 1663; the group was reorganized several times, especially after 1688. The board was "intrusted with collection of customs both in England and the colonies." The board helped write many of the instructions for colonial governors in collaboration with the Privy Council. "Their direct connection with the colonies was through the governors, who were instructed to correspond with the commissioners, and to send them, every three months, lists of clearances, and also reports of illegal trading. The governor's agent in matters of trade was the naval officer whom he was empowered to appoint, but who was required by the 7th and 8th William III to give security to the commissioners of customs." ( Louise Phillips Kellogg. The American Colonial Charter. A Study of English Administration in Relation Thereto, Especialy after 1688. [Annual Report, American Historical Association. Vol. 1, Govt. Print. Off., 1904], p. 226. For a recent study, see Alvin Rabushka. Taxation in Colonial America [Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2008.] )

[4] The Bailey was a London ship owned by William Dawkins and commanded at various times by Adam Graves (1725-1730) and by Thomas Dove (1731-1732). She was a vessel of some 250 tons and carried 15-17 crew members. ( Survey report 6801 summarizing Adm. 68/195, 156v, and other data in Adm. 68/194 and /196, found in the microfilms of the Virginia Colonial Records Project, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia; A letter of Carter's to Dawkins May 12, 1732, refers to "your ship Bailey." as does a letter of August 10, 1733, from Carter's executors to Dawkins. [ Lloyd T. Smith, Jr., ed. The Executors' Letters of Robert Carter of Corotoman, 1732-1738. (Irvington, VA: Foundation for Historic Christ Church, 2010) p. 76]. )

This text, originally posted in 2005, was revised April 13, 2015, to add footnotes and strengthen the modern language version text.