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 Edward Tucker, June 27, 1729

     Robert Carter writes to Weymouth merchant Edward Tucker, June 27, 1729, about the poor tobacco sales in that port that Tucker has reported to him, the damage to goods Tucker has sent him, places orders for Dorset and 6 ales to replace that he has lost in the fine that destroyed his house, and the caterpillers that have destroyed much of the fruit crops.

Letter from Robert Carter to Edward Tucker, June 27, 1729

-1 -

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

Edward Tucker, Esqr.

Sir --

     No ship coming directly from you this Year obliges me to
write to you Via London.

      Your last Letters bears date the 14th. of October and the 9th. of December
it is a miserable story you tell of Tobacco that it is so bad you had no Encourage
ment to Continue in it. We must live in hopes of its mending. Captain Wilson is an
unfortunate man. I am always a Considerable Sufferer by his ship, but I
hope not so bad as you are in doubt of. The Malt and the Beer you sent by the
Harrison I received but I cannot Say Safe, The hampers were so abused that wt.
with Theivery and what with Breakage I lost one third of it. This I suffer
every way.

     By my loss by fire of which no doubt you will hear I was
rendered very poor in Liquor. the Cheese and the sloops Sails I Expect you will send me
in Early the next fall And I desire you to send me in also four hogsheads of the best
Dorset Ale well and Carefully packed up into Bottles that I may be able to pay my Debts I hope I shall have
better luck with it then the last, There has been no Opportunity of sending
Tobacco to your Port Else I should have found Some for you Although if your
Markets remain as bad as you Say they were there will be little difference
between burning and shipping of it these are dreadful Considerations
to us that have no other trade to maintain our families by, I must desire
you to send me also a hogshead of your best Malt.

     herein I send you Colonel Hacks Exchange on your self for £3" --
which you will please to Credit my Account with or Protest.

      We have had a dismal Judgment upon our fruit trees these
two Years together by Caterpillers however the last year we made a great deel of
Cider that was Extraordinary good and if I had not loss [sic ] in my bottles in the Cellar
fire I could have Stocked my Self Plentifully for 2 Years but now it is all Pricked &
Spoiled and we have the least fruit upon the Trees that ever I saw so that I must
desire you if You can meet with any that is right good to send me a hogshead
of Southam well and Carefully bottled off, and Safely packed I am

                   Your most humble Servant-

per Bailey


Source copy consulted: Robert Carter Letter Book, 1727 April 13-1728 July 23, Carter Family Papers, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond.

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 to the heading on the draft.

[1] A Captain Wilson is mentioned in Carter's letter to Edward Tucker of May 27, 1721 , as having arrived after "15 weeks passage." and in his 1723 diary.

[2] Malt is "barley or other grain prepared for brewing, distilling, or vinegar-making, esp. by steeping, germinating, and kiln-drying." ( Oxford English Dictionary Online . Oxford University Press. )

[3] Robert Carter's home, "Corotoman," was located on the northeastern bank of the Rapphannock River in Lancaster County close to the present-day community of Weems. A stream called Corrotoman [sic ] River ran inland west of the house. Carter built a fine house there in the mid 1720s, but it burned in January 1729. See the "Corotoman" page of the web site of Historic Christ Church Foundation for more information about the house and excavation of its ruins. ( See the Maryland Gazette for February 4-11, 1728/29 for comment on Carter's loss. The Maryland Archives has placed its copies of the Maryland Gazette online. Unfortunately, page four of the issue of February 4-11, 1728/29 is missing, and that must be where the notice of the fire at Corotoman appeared; the text is quoted in secondary sources as reading: "The fine large house of Colonel Carter on the Rappahannock was also burnt lately. The particulars of his loss we can't give you, but we are inform'd it is very great." [Garden Club of Virginia Journal , May-June 1983, p.8.])

[4] Peter Hack (ca. 1690-1729) was sheriff of Northumberland County in 1716 and 1717. (McIlwaine. Executive Journals of the Council. . . . , 3[1705-1721] : 425, 448. Other information about Hack may be found in "Tithables of Lancaster County, 1654," Virginia Magazine of History and Biography , 5(1897):249-260 an online Google book; and "Peter Hack." )

[5] 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. )

[6] Southam is a type of English cyder. See Carter's letter to Weymouth merchant Edward Tucker June 28 & July 25, 1728. (William, Ellis. The Compleat Cyderman: Or, the Present Practice of Raising Plantations of the Best Cyder Apple and Perry Pear-trees, with the Improvement of Their Excellent Juices. ... By Experienc'd Hands, [R. Baldwin, 1754], p. 79. Google books .

[7] 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 17, 2015, to add footnotes and strengthen the modern language version text.