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 Colonel John Tayloe, June 22, 1731

     Robert Carter writes to Colonel John Tayloe of Richmond County, June 22, 1731, concerning terms for employing Tayloe's brick mason, and the possible purchase of Mr. Champ's land.

Letter from Robert Carter to Colonel John Tayloe, June 22, 1731

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Corotoman. [Lancaster County, Virginia]

June 22d. 1731

Colo John Tayloe


     Your letter of the 27 of May hath been with me for some
time all along I design'd an Answer to it by the return of my Son
his stay at Fryingpan being longer than I Expected hath
made me more dilatory than I intended.

     The wages you demand for your Bricklayer if
he be a master Workman is a diligent quick fellow and posses [es]
with those good qualities you mention I think is not much out
of the way amiss only the word Sterling scares me if you will be
contented to take Cash I will come into that readily I have no
present occasion for him I would have his time Commence
from the first or middle of September he may carry on Rubd
work all the Winter and be ready when the Summer comes to
lay Bricks if this pleases you and I suppose it will not be ag=
ainst the inclinations of the fellow I will stand concluded by the

     As to your other Offer about Mr Champs land
were the times as easy to get money in as I have known them
I would not make two words about the Price but the word ster=

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ling is frightful to me. there also the buildings further than
houses to cure tobacco or put Corn or lodge negroes in you know will be of Little
Advantage to me and the Old fields and clear'd grounds which
must be presum'd to have been out of the best of the Land accor
ding to my information are much larger than you suppose
And the Lands to be Cleard chiefly hilly and upon Swamp sides
however if there be eight hundred Acres and Mr. Champ can make
me an indisputable Title I will adventure to give one hundred &
fifty Pounds for it With that terryfying word Sterling added
to it and will give my bills of Exchange immediately upon
passing proper Assurances for the Land this is within ten
pounds of yr. proposal which I fancy will hardly turn away
a good Customer -- You will particularly oblige me in being
the instrument of handing the papers that relate to Lloyds
Land to me I am

              Sir -- --
                  your most humble Servant


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.

The county and colony have been added for clarity to the heading on this draft.

[1] John Tayloe (1687-1747) of Mt. Airy, Richmond County, who served as justice, burgess, colonel of militia, and as a member of the Council after 1732. (Ryland. Richmond County Virginia. . . . pp. 115-16. )

[2] 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. )

[3] Rubbed brick is "a soft clay brick with a smooth polished surface, chiefly used for ornamental and high-quality brickwork. . . ." "Because of the uneven edges of hand-made bricks, rubbed bricks were used at corners and at window and door jambs to give a building sharp edges and snug fits around its openings. Rubbed bricks were selected for their density and even color, and were rubbed to precise shapes with smooth faces using a special stone or hard brick. The rubbed bricks' rich red color lent a wall surface handsome articulation." ( Oxford English Dictionary Online . Oxford University Press, and Calder Loth. "Flemish Bond: A Hallmark Of Traditional Architecture" posted to the Classicist Blog, December 1, 2011.

[]4 This may have been John Champ of King George County who had been appointed a justice and sheriff of that county in April 1731. (McIlwaine. Executive Journals of the Council. . . . , 4[1721-1739]: 235-36. )

[5] 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. )

This text, originally posted in 2005, was revised September 29, 2015, to add footnotes and strengthen the modern language version text.