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 Robert Cary, August 26, 1729

     Robert Carter writes to London merchant Robert Cary, August 26, 1729, to inform him of the reduced crops in the colony due to the heavy rains during the summer, and that he is not shipping tobacco because the merchant has not had a ship in the colony. He notes arrangements for financial security for his son Charles's work as naval officer of the Rappahannock.

Letter from Robert Carter to Robert Cary, August 26, 1729

-1 -

Rappa[hannock, Lancaster County, Virginia]     
Augst. 26th. 1729

Mr Robert Cary


     This is a Short line per the Williamsburgh there is no
doubt from other hands you will sufficiently hear of of the great
diminution of our Crops by the Violent and incessnt. rains we have
had this Summer this with the Liberty of Stemm'g makes
us hope for better markets for the Tobacco gone home then we have
met with for some years past     Your not having a ship here I
have sent you no tobo this year not that I intend totaly to dis
continue my business to you if you will but find a way to
make your Sales Equal to what other men give me for the same

     You were so kind to be one of my Son Robert's securitys
to the Commissioners of the Customs for the due discharge of his
Naval Offrs: place he with his family being remov'd into Potomack river
Our Gover: hath been so favourable to give the place to my
Son Charles in his brothers room and he hath his Commission
for it and hath given Security here however new Security must

-2 -

be given at home and I have writ to Mr. Dawkins and Mr.
to be his bondsmen at the Customs house and I
have writ to Some others of the Merchts also My business to
you being So Small I have not thought it decent to request
this favour a Second time from you altho I beleive If I did
ask you would not decline it I shall take my leave of you at
Prest Subscribing myself

                  Your most 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.

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] The London ship Williamsburgh was a large vessel of 550 tons and carried a crew of 26 men. Charles Rogers commanded her in 1727-29. ( Admiralty 68/194, and 68/195, found in the microfilms of the Virginia Colonial Records Project, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia. )

[2] 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. )

[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.] )

This text, originally posted in 2005, was revised May 19, 2015, to add footnotes and strengthen the modern language version text.