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 Doctor [Joseph] Belfield, June 30, 1729

     Robert Carter writes to Doctor [Joseph] Belfield, June 30, 1729, to explain his reasons for firing Belfield as the physician responsible for the care of the slaves on many of his plantations.

Letter from Robert Carter to Doctor [Joseph] Belfield, June 30, 1729

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Corotom[an, Lancaster County, Virginia]     
June 30. 1729

Doctor Belfield

     I receiv'd yours of the 16th Currant and with [my]
answer shall follow it in Order I did not tax you with any ill ma [n]
ners to my self but your letter to my son which I had I think
has none good in it your Stuffing my People with poysonou [s] [sic]
druggs that you got here in the Country and giving them un
warrantable Potions that cost you Nothing but your own
invention without any Authority from your Physick books
which you Pretend to be very well versed in I am ready to

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prove to your face not only by the Evidence of Mr Meeks and his
wife but Other ways Alsoe You load Meeks with a great many
envious detracting epithets which I know he is not Guilty of
And as for your neglect to come to my sick people when sent
for very frequently many times when your have been in your Airs
many days together is to be prov'd not only by Mr Meeks and
his wife but I believe most of the Overseers I have

     I find you are very angry that I should think it
Proper after such usage to give you a discharge from my bus
iness which at other times I am wrongly inform'd if you have
not spoke of with Contempt as for the Ostentation of your
Character I shall not meddle with leaving it to your own breast to
pleas your self as much with the thoughts of it as you own up think fit
illegible will give you And shall only wish for your own sake it were runs
more Current Com more smoothly Among those that know you

     you have been very kind in helping me to the
first letter I sent you upon coming into my business which
makes out in what manner you were to take care of my fami:
lys I am sure you will not pretend that you have complyd
with the terms of this letter I beleive you have not visited my
Coles Point Plantation above two or three times if so Often
since you have been in my business and it will lye upon
you to prove that I came to any other Agreement with you You
have been so far from following the terms of this letter that I
beleive if a true Accot were made of the times of sending to you
you have never some to my People upon one half of the messages if not two thirds
of the messages you have had and several of my slaves have died wch you never saw in their sickness I have been very kind to you pd

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your money Punctually Several times advanced money to yo to pay yr.
debts I have now your obligation for £25 sterling dated some years agoe
let you have Considerable quantities of corn almost yearly that
never [were] Charged to your Accot these and other kindnesses should
be return'd with gratitude from a generous mind and not An:
swered with a dark inuendo of my Usage to you When you come
to give me a visit You will do well to prepare yourself wth
a great deal of good humour which will be the only way to
make you a welcome guest to your

              Humble Servt.


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 nineteenth-century copy of this letter in the Minor-Blackford Papers, James Monroe Law Office and Museum, Fredericksburg, Virginia.

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

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