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 James Bradley, August 26, 1729

     Robert Carter writes to London merchant James Bradley, August 26, 1729, to order additional goods including a "close stool," "Mill brasses," nails, stockings, etc., and a suit and accessories for himself. He writes of the heavy rains during the spring that have damaged the crops. In a post script, he asks Bradley to be one of the securities for his so Charles as naval officer of the Rappahannock.

Letter from Robert Carter to James Bradley, August 26, 1729

-1 -

Rappa [hannock, Lancaster County, Virginia]

Augst 26. 1729

Mr: James Bradley


     The chief occasion of this is to desire a Small addition
of Goods may be made to those I have already sent to you for. (Vizt)
a close stool (besides that [illegible] in my former invoice for a Chamber to be round all of Wood Except the pan to have
a lock to it of this sort I have seen very handy ones;) A Set of Mill brasses
one for the Spindle two for the Gudgeons) Six dozen Strong mens plains
Common Shoes. 2 dozen 14s: 2 dozen 12s: 2 dozen 10s,) Six dozen large Irish Sto:
ckings .) fifty thousand 8s nails 30 thousand 10s nails;) 500 pounds of Iron for hoes in flat
Bars 1/2 for weeding hoes) Half a dozen pound of Powder for periwigs
One quart perfumed oil for Ditto:) And a fashonable suit of broad
Cloth Clothes for my self for the Winter of a grave Colour lined with Shalloon
Mr: How has my measures and knows how to fit me he took it in
Virginia and has also made me Clothes since I am become a great much sm
aller in Bulk than I was at that time, Also a pair of Milled Stockings
and a pair of Worsted Stockings to suit the Clothes I hope this letter will
get [to you in] time Enough for the goods to come away with the rest

     You will have an Account from all hands of the great
destruction in our Crops by the continual floods of rain we have had
this Summer which will make them much short of what they were last
year some reckon a third some a fourth some More I shall make no guess.
es this with our Liberty of Stemming must of Necessity influence the
Market Considerably and we hope for that already gone I am

                  Your most humble Servant

-2 -

A Clause to be added to Mr. Bradleys letter August 26th. 1729
not many days ago our Governor has been so kind to give
my Son Charles (who is now at Mans Estate and I believe of whom you
have some Remembrance) a Commission for the Naval Officer's place
of our river he has given Security here but Security must
Also be given to the Commissioners of the Customs for the due
discharge of this office I have writxten to Mr. Dawkins to be one
of his Securitys and he hath writxten to Mr Athawes to be the Other
I tell Mr. Dawkins any of the Merchants that [sic ] I Correspond with
I believe will be joined with Him particularly naming you
If there be Occasion I request it of you and I will be your
Counter Security


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.

Thhe numerous parens seem to havve been entered by Carter's clerk, but probbably for some other reason than parenthetical expressions because they are not used to enclose sets of words.

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] James Bradley was a London merchant with whom Carter dealt from at least 1723 until his death. As noted in his letter to Bradley of May 17, 1727, Bradley owned the Welcome, but little information about Bradley has been located. (There is a listing of the firm of Bradly & Griffin, Merchants, Fenchurch-street, opposite the Mitre Tavern, on page 13 of Kent's Directory For the Year 1740 Containing An Alphabetical List of the Names and 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 the Borough of Southwark. [London: Printed and Sold by Henry Kent in Finch-Lane, near the Royal Exchange: and by the Booksellers and Pamphlets Shops of London and Westminster, 1740]. p. 39. Online, examined 8/12/2005 and 6/14/2012. )

[2] Vizt. is the abbreviation for the Latin word "videlicet"; it means "that is to say; namely; to wit: used to introduce an amplification, or more precise or explicit explanation, of a previous statement or word." ( Oxford English Dictionary online. )

[3] "A close stool , used from at least the sixteenth century until the introduction of indoor plumbing, was an enclosed cabinet or box at sitting height with an opening in the top, which might be disguised by a folding outer lid. The close stool contained a pewter or earthenware chamberpot. . . ." (Wikipedia. 5/15/2015. The Oxford English Dictionary Online states that it is "a seat enclosing a chamber utensil; a commode; more explicitly stool of ease.)

[4] By the term "mill brasses," Carter means the bearings . (See the "Mills Archive" online.

[5] A periwig is "any highly stylized wig of a kind formerly worn by men and women, and (esp. in Britain and parts of the British Commonwealth) retained by judges and barristers as part of their professional dress. More generally: a wig of any kind." ( Oxford English Dictionary Online . Oxford University Press. )

[6] Shalloon is "a closely woven woollen material chiefly used for linings. ( Oxford English Dictionary Online . Oxford University Press. )

[7] Worsted is "a woollen fabric or stuff made from well-twisted yarn spun of long-staple wool combed to lay the fibres parallel." ( Oxford English Dictionary Online . Oxford University Press. )

[8]Parliament had passed an act forbidding the importation of stemmed tobacco in 1722. John Randolph was sent to England in 1728 as agent for Virginia to try to have the act overturned; his mission was successful, and he was home in the colony by June 2, 1729 , when Carter wrote to welcome him home. ( Arthur Pierce Middleton. Tobacco Coast: A Maritime History of the Chesapeake Bay in the Colonial Era. [Newport News, VA: Mariners' Museum, 1953], 116. )

[9] 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.] )

[10] the Rappahannock

This text, originally posted in 2005, was revised May18 , 2015, to add footnotes and strengthen the modern language version text.