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 John Pemberton & Company, August 29, 1729

     Robert Carter writes to Liverpool merchants John Pemberton & Company, August 29, 1729, concerning tobacco shipments and the few slaves reaching the colony in the past year. Those from Gambia sold well, and he suggests sending a slave ship from there the coming year.

Letter from Robert Carter to John Pemberton & Company, August 29, 1729

-1 -

Rappa[hannock, Lancaster County, Virginia]

Augst. 29th. 1729

Mr. John Pemberton & Company


     Having an Opportunity of some freight to yr.
Port have shipt in the [omission in text] Capt. [omission in text] Ireland Commdr:
5 priz'd hogsheads which is all that I have yet got for yr. Concern the
[tobacco mark] Numberd letters are the produce of some of the goods left with
me by Christian the [tobacco mark] and the [tobacco mark] belong to the Owners
of the John & Betty and are to be Accounted for [illegible] accordingly

     We have had but two Negroe Ships into the Country
this year and they from London The first from Gambia the men Sold at £18. per head
the Women at £17"0"0. The last Ship from the Coast I hear
went off at £40 Sterling a pr. the Choice of them all the Top
buyers refused and would not give that Price I almost think
a Ship Early from Gambia next year would do pretty well
I am

                  your most humble Servt.

the impost of this Tob is due to


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] To prize is "to compress (cured tobacco) in a hogshead or box." There is a good description of the process on pages 100-101 in Middleton's Tobacco Coast. ( Oxford English Dictionary Online . Oxford University Press; and Arthur Pierce Middleton. Tobacco Coast: A Maritime History of the Chesapeake Bay in the Colonial Era. [Newport News, VA: Mariners' Museum, 1953]. )

[2] James Christian was captain of the Rose, a vessel owned by merchant John Pemberton of Liverpool. (See Carter to Pemberton, April 15, 1730.)

[3] The John & Betty was a Liverpool ship owned by merchant John Pemberton; she often carried slaves into the colony. In 1726 the captain was John Gale, and in the next year, she was commanded by a Captain William Denton. The ship would be lost in 1729. (Wright. Letters of Robert Carter. . . . p. 18, n. 23 ; Carter to Pemberton , December 18, 1727; Carter to Pemberton, April 15, 1730; and Carter to William Dawkins, June 28, July 26, and August 22, 1727, for Denton's first name. )

[4] Gambia was a part of West Africa at Carter's time (and is a country today).

[5] The impost was the duty imposed by Britain on imported tobacco, and the cocket, for which a fee was charged, was the document bearing a cocket or seal issued by the "King's Customs House" that the impost had been paid. (See the definitions of each word in Oxford English Dictionary Online. )

This text, originally posted in 2005, was revised June 9, 2015, to add footnotes and strengthen the modern language version text.