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 William Dawkins to Charles Carter, December 24, 1729

     Letter from London merchant William Dawkins to Charles Carter, December 24, 1729, to inform Carter that he and his partner, Edward Athawes, have posted security for Carter's good performance of his duties as naval officer, and giving Carter advice on the handling of his business and accounts.

Letter from William Dawkins to Charles Carter, December 24, 1729

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Decemr 24th 1729

Charles Carter


     I have received your several
letters and congratulate you on your
NavaL Office place. Mr Athawes
and I have given security for you
here at our [omission in text] and hope you
will take care that there shall never
be any mistake or error.

     I also desire you will be very
punctual and exact in doing all
your business as a Merchant to be
sure to endorse all your bills
regular and to give advice to what
Account they are to be placed; for
I shall keep your Naval Office
Account distinct; and to advise
whenever you draw any bills:
for I will pay no bills without
advice although I believe it may be

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your hand. Also, draw your bills
at sixty days, which gives time to
be in cash if it should be otherwise.
I desire you will write to me often.
Your place gives you great opportu=
nity of conveyance.

     As to the Tobacco Trade, it continues
bad -- the price low. Notwithstand
-ing the advices we have of the dam
-age the great rains have done to the last
crop in Virginia, our buyers
will not believe any thing until
they [omission in text] a real security, which is
far from with us at present.

     As to your Copper mine , it is
likely to be a very good thing; but
Mr Athawes, who has taken a great
deal of pains in having it proved by
the greatest artist, will give you a
full account of what [omission in text] he knows
of it.

      As I have had some small share in your
education, so I cannot forbear giving you advice
and recommending to you strict virtue and
integrity in every action of your life.

     You know Mr. Heath has a
Country Seat. If you meet with
any rarity of trees of plants, it
will be an acceptable present;
which is all I shall trouble you
with at present, but assure you
I am

              Your real friend & humble servant.
                   William Dawkins


Source copy consulted: Minor-Blackford Papers, James Monroe Law Office and Museum, Fredericksburg, Virginia. These texts are all nineteenth-century copies. Apparently there was in existence a letter book of Robert Carter's -- now lost -- and some incoming letters, from which the unknown copyist recorded these texts. As they are the only texts, the punctuation and "corrections" obviously supplied by the copyist have been retained.

Robert Carter had written to Dawkins on August 26, 1729 , to request his support in Charles's becoming naval officer.

[1] 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.] )

[2] 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. )

[3] In 1728, Carter, his sons Robert and Charles, and his son-in-law Mann Page, organized a company they named Frying Pan to mine for copper on a tract of some 27,000 acres that Louis Morton describes as lying "near the present boundary of Fairfax and Loudoun counties." Fairfax Harrison wrote that the tract was "on the Horsepen of Broad." Today, there is a Frying Pan Park just east of the border of the Dulles Airport reservation, and there are other things with the name in the area. The company was not successful. (Morton. Robert Robert Carter of Nomini Hall. pp. 18-19; and Harrison. Landmarks. . . . p. 342. )

[4] This may be Edmund Heath, husband of Katherine (Bailey) Heath, grandaughter and daughter of the Carter family's old English friends, Arthur Bailey and his son, Arthur Bailey , as Alan Simpson has speculated. (Simpson. "Robert Carter's Schooldays." p. 173, fn. 29.) )

This text, originally posted in 2005, was revised July 21, 2015, to add footnotes and strengthen the modern language version text.