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, April 15, 1730

     Robert Carter writes to Liverpool merchant John Pemberton, April 15, 1730, reporting tobacco that he has shipped even though the merchant has written since the death of his only son that he will no longer handle tobacco. He is willing that Pemberton send the tobacco to Foster Cunliffe if he is not willing to sell it, but Carter wishes to continue to obtain goods from Pemberton. He notes his ongoing negotiation for the purchase of Virginia land belonging to Samuel Hallowes of England.

Letter from Robert Carter to John Pemberton, April 15, 1730

-1 -

Rappa[hannock, Lancaster County, Virginia]

April 15. 1730

Mr John Pemberton


     I receiv'd your letters by the Loyalty Capt
with your Accots of Sales and Accot Currt. Misera
ble markets indeed the lowest I think I ever had from you
in the Coarse of our dealings. My goods came to me in
Very good order I am Sorry my 18 hogsheads by the Maxwell
prov'd no better am in hopes your rising market will advan=
ce them a pritty good sale

     I heartily condole the death of your only
Son and the more because he bore the Character from all
that were acquainted with him of a very hopefull gentlemen [sic ]
under the presoure of your presint grief. you tell me
you intended to decline trading in tobo advising me to a
Correspondence with Mr. Cunliff as a safe person and from
whom I may Expect honourable dealings I am in hopes
when the days of your grief are a little alleviated by the length of time
you will take up other thoughts and in respect to our long
correspondency Commencing I think near 40 years ago.
you will still continue to transact my business at least &
therefore I have consign'd to you the tobo I have on board the
Loyalty, here are two Bills of Lading one for 25 hogsheads of my
own Crop 15 of them stemm'd strait laid 9 well pickt clean lugs
at least I am made to belive so and one leaf, for good tobo such
as we have been used to make I beleive you will see none this year
I hope mine may rise as well as any Others, the other bill
                                                             Lading is for

-2 -

23 hhds. of Leaf I must own they are of last years crop but I
take them to be never the worse for that Several of the hhds. were opene [d]
at their going off they appear to be very Fresh and good
and I flatter myself they will pleas you better than this years
tobo they are receiv'd tobo you may dispose of them in such
manner as you think best

     After all if you remain fixd to your resolution
that you will have no more to do with the tobo trade I must be
contented that you Assign them over to Mr Cunliff who is an en
tire stranger to me however I have heard no other than a
reputable character of the Gentleman In such case I desire
you will assist Mr Cunliff with money to answer the Customs
for as much of the tobo as he shall see proper to keep for the
Inland Market I shall however send to you for the goods I
shall want this year and it may be in the courses of my busin
ess I shall have occasion to draw upon you for some money

     .I am yet in treaty with Mr Randolph attorney for
Esqr. Hallows about his land and have some reason to Expect
to be the purchaser at the last What instructions he hath lately
receiv'd I don't yet hear If I should buy this land I shall go near to
draw for a good part of the money in Your hands

     Herein I send you a small bill of Exchange
of Capt Loxums upon Capt Watkinson -- for £5"12"6 which I
desire Credit for I am Sir Your most humble Servant --


per Loxum --
3d letter


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] Captain Loxom commanded a vessel named the Loyalty in 1729-1730. (Survey Report 9727, Virginia Colonial Records Project, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia. See Carter's letters to John Pemberton 1730 April 15 and 1731 August 4.)

[2] Foster Cunliffe (d. 1767) was a merchant and prominent citizen of Liverpool who worked to expand manufacturing and the capacity of the harbor; he served a number of terms as mayor. He and Richard Gildart undertook "a major reorginization of business with Maryland and Virginia . . . beginning in the early 1720's [they] sent numerous factors to the region." They established stores in which retail goods were sold, purchased the produce of the region, had it ready for loading when ships arrived, and also moved into the sale of slaves ( James A. Picton, ed. Liverpool Municipal Archives and Records. . . . [Liverpool, 1907.] pp. 27, 31, 79, 90, 96, etc. and Paul G. Clemens. "The Rise of Liverpool, 1665-1750." Economic History Review. 24[May 1976]:211-225.

[3] A bill of lading is "an official detailed receipt given by the master of a merchant vessel to the person consigning the goods, by which he makes himself responsible for their safe delivery to the consignee. This document, being the legal proof of ownership of the goods, is often deposited with a creditor as security for money advanced." ( Oxford English Dictionary Online . Oxford University Press. )

[4] 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. )

[5] "The lowest grade [of tobacco] was known as lugs as early as 1686. . . ." ( Philip A. Bruce. Economic History of Virginia in the Seventeenth Century: An Inquiry into the Material Condition of the People, Based on Original and Contemporaneous Records. [New York: MacMillan and Co., 1896], I:442 online at "Classics of American Colonial History." )

[6] 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. )

[7] John Hallowes (Hallows) (1615-1657) had come to Maryland as an indentured servant, but later moved to Westmoreland County where he acquired extensive tracts of land. Some of that land was purchased in 1733 by Thomas Lee from Samuel Hallowes of County Lancaster, England, who "as a great newphew of Major John Hallowes," had acquired title in an important legal case decided in 1722. This land became part of Stratford. Carter may have hoped to acquire a tract from Samuel Hallowes to add to Nomini as John Hallowes had lived near that plantation of Carter's. John Randolph sailed to England in 1727 to become the colony's agent, and represented Hallowes futher in negotiations with Carter. ("Major John Hallowes. 1615-1657." Norris. Westmoreland County, Virginia. pp. 99-103.)

[8] 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. )

[9] Watkinson was captain of the Vine, a ship that may have been owned by Micajah Perry. (Carter to Pemberton , March 25, 1724.)

This text, originally posted in 2005, was revised August 4, 2015, to add footnotes and strengthen the modern language version text.