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 Micajah Perry, July 2, 1729

     Robert Carter writes to London merchant Micajah Perry, July 2, 1729, to report bills of exchange and ordering wine from Madeira because he has lost his stock in his home fire.

Letter from Robert Carter to Micajah Perry, July 2, 1729

-1 -

Rappa[hannock, Lancaster County, Virginia]     
July. 2. 1729

Alderman Perry


     Since my last Two bills of Exchange are
come to my hands George Tubervile on James Buchanan
£65"6"8 William Cowherd on Thomas Frank & Compa of
Bristol £32"13"6 these bills I desire Credit for the firsts
now sent I need not Put you in mind where bills are not Paid to send me Protests

     The Poorness of our Vital comodity make [s]
it a very difficult time for men to pay their Debts I am increa
sing my Credit in your books as fast as I Can what my Tobo will
do this year sent to you I must wait for with Patience till the Even [t]
The terrible disaster I Underwent by Fire of which you will hear
Among many Other great destructions consum'd All my Stock of

-2 -

Old wines Of which I had pretty good Store I forgot to desire
your Order to the Gentlemen of Madera for two Pipes of their
best wines therefore now request you not to Omit it It's likely one
of yr own ships will Call there I would not have it Come by Wood
for I Expect some by him from Another order I am

              Sir     Your most humble Servt.

Since the Above another
bill is come to my hand of £18"5"3
Drawn by Thos: Chilton on Ed: Randolph
which I also send you


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 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] Merchant James Buchanan (d. 1742) had run his business from Biddeford and Topsham, Devonshire, but he later moved it to London. ( The Directory Containing an Alphabetical List of the Names & Places of Abode of the Directors of Companies, Persons in Publick Business, Merchants and other Eminent traders in the Cities of london and Westminster and Bororugh of Southwark. London: Printed and sold by Henry Kent in Finch-Lane Near the Royal Exchange . . . , 1736. p. 110; and A Compleat Guide to All Persons who have any Trade or Concern with the City of London and Ports adjacent. . . . London: Printed for J. Osborn, at the Golden Ball in Pater-noster-row, MDXXXL )

[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] This firm had been established in Madeira by Joseph Hayward in 1715. It became Hayward & Rider (1721-1723), Hayward Miles & Rider (1725-1730), and other partnerships later. ( David Hancock, "'An Undiscovered Ocean of Commerce Laid Open': India, Wine and Emerging Atlantic Economy, 1703-1813" in H. V. Bowen, Margarette Lincoln, Nigel Rigby, eds. The Worlds of the East India Company. [Boydell & Brewer, 2002]. p. 156. )

[5] A pipe is "a large container of definite capacity for storing solids or liquids, such as meat, fish, or oil. Now: spec. a large cask for storing wine or cider." Wikipedia, citing a book by Ronald E. Zupco, states that a pipe was half a tun which was "a large vat or vessel, most often holding 252 wine gallons," meaning a pipe was roughly 126 gallons of wine. ( Oxford English Dictionary Online . Oxford University Press and Ronald E. Zupko. A Dictionary of Weights and Measures for the British Isles: The Middle Ages to the Twentieth Century . [Memoirs of the American Philosophical Society , 1985, 168.] )

[6] Thomas Woodward commanded the Providence, a ship owned by Captain John Hyde & Company, during a number of voyages to the colony, 1723-1729. ( Survey Report 6800 summarizing Adm. 68/194 and Survey Report 6801 summarizing Adm 68/195, Virginia Colonial Records Project, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia, and Carter's letter to the firm, September 17, 1723. .)

[7] "Edward Randolph (October 1690-post 1756), sometimes referred to as Edward Randolph of Bremo, was a ship captain, a London tobacco merchant, and the seventh and youngest son of William Randolph and Mary Isham." He was cited in York County records in 1740: "Edward Randolph of London, mercht, now residing in Virginia, devisee under the will of Graves Pack. . . ." He was bankrupt by 1732 and Benjamin Harrison IV was among those who sued him. ( "Edward Randolph " in a carefully-footnoted Wikipedia article ; and "Charges Against Spotswood," Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 4[Apr., 1897]:357. )

This text, originally posted in 2005, was revised April 23, 2015, to add footnotes and strengthen the modern language version text.