Robert King Carter's Correspondence and Diary

   A Collection Transcribed
        and Digitized
   by Edmund Berkeley, Jr.

List of Letters | About This Collection

Electronic Text Center , University of Virginia Library


Letter from Robert Carter to John Pemberton, June 24, 1731

     Robert Carter writes to Liverpool merchant and old friend John Pemberton, June 24, 1731, to report a shipment of tobacco and enclosing an invoice (not present) for goods.

Letter from Robert Carter to John Pemberton, June 24, 1731

-1 -

[Rappahannock, Lancaster County, Virginia]

June 24th.. 1731

To be added to Mr. Pembertons first Letter by Loxum


     Your favours by the Mayflower with my goods came
to me in Safety and very Welcome they were Upon the same reasons
I gave you in the Above letter for sending my tobacco to you I adventure
now again to trespass upon yr: prohibitory orders and enclosing a bill
of Loading
for 20 hogsheads more in the Mayflower 16 of them are stemmd
my own Crops the other 4 leaf from abroad that may go at a masts
if you think fit if Mr. Foster Cunliff must have the dispose of them
herein is a proper letter for him That I may be early enough with my
invoice this Year for the goods to come away by the first ship bound
hither I now inclose an invoice to be sent in to me either by yr:
self or Mr. Cunliff as the state of my business shall be if you will not
be at the trouble to send them me I must desire it may be deliver'd to him
I continue to wish you a Comfortable Old Age & Am

                  Yr. Old friend &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. This is a postscript to a letter to Pemberton that is not extant.

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. "Rappahannock," the county, and colony have been added for clarity to this unheaded draft postscript.

[1] Carter first mentions this vessel in a letter to Foster Cunliff of June 24 1731 , noting that a Captain Fowler commanded her. Other mentions in letters to Cunliff and John Pemberton, both Liverpool merchants, indicate that city probably was the vessel's home port.

[2] 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. )

[3] 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. )

[4] To sell at the mast means a sale on board a ship where the "ship's mainmast [w]as the usual place of assembly for a court hearing, public sale, etc., on board ship. . . . " ( Oxford English Dictionary Online . Oxford University Press. ).

[5] 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.

This text, originally posted in 2005, was revised October 6, 2015, to add footnotes and strengthen the modern language version text.