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 William Dawkins & Company, June 28, 1731

     Robert Carter writes to London merchants William Dawkins & Company, June 28, 1731, to alert them to a shipment of tobacco and its consignors, and to report on Captain Thomas Dove's work in obtaining cargo in the colony.

Letter from Robert Carter to William Dawkins & Company, June 28, 1731

-1 -

Rappahannock, [Lancaster County, Virginia]

June 28. 1731

Mr Wm Dawkins & Compa


     This Covers Bills of Lading for the Tobo I consign you by the
Burwell Captain Cant, to wit twenty hogsheads belonging to Mr Bur=
well's Estate,
twelve hhds of the same Tobaco being Doctor N of the same
                                                                                            Crops --

-2 -

& allotted to Doctor Nicholas, but now belongs to me & to be accoted
for accordingly; they are equally good with the Rest of the Tobaco & alottd
in a just Proportion off of the best of the Plantation under the same Marks
& only distinguished by the Numbers you must take Care to let me have
a separate Accot according to the Bills of Lading.

     Capt. Dove was with me two days ago, he reckons he has
better than half his Load in, his Craft is all out; he hath promises
for more Tobaco than will fill him, if people dont deceive him; but
it will be A hard struggle upon him to get all his Load aboard before the
Tobo Law takes Place I suppose he takes all Opportunities of writing to
you. I am

                  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.

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] 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. )

[2] This vessel was commanded by Captain Constantine Cant and may have been owned by William Dawkins and Micajah Perry as Carter reported her December 1723 arrival to each of them. ( Adm. 68/194-195, found in the microfilms of the Virginia Colonial Records Project, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia. )

[3]A vessel named the Carter traded to Virginia for many years; she is most often referred to as the Carter Frigatt. The captain in 1706 was Thomas Graves who is mentioned in the Lancaster County Court Orders Book for judgements against him obtained by Carter. Later, the Carter would be commanded by Baily Kent, 1718-1721, Thomas Dove, and by Benjamin Graves. She was owned by Carter and William Dawkins in 1720. ( Survey report 6800 for Adm. 68/194-5, Virginia Colonial Records Project, Albert H. Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia ; and Lancaster County Court Orders Book 5, 1702-13, p. 187, as abstracted in Jones, Orders Book Entries . . . Referring to "Robert Carter. . . . " )

[3] Carter refers to the tobacco inspection act of 1730 introduced and steered through the legislature by Lieutenant Governor Sir William Gooch. " The "bill called for the inspection and bonding at public warehouses of all tobacco shipped abroad; for the destruction of all unacceptable tobacco; for standardization of the size of hogsheads . . . ; for maintenance of detailed records to prevent smuggling; and for the circulation of warehouse receipts as legal tender in lieu of tobacco iteself. . . ." Gooch also managed to obtain approval of the act in England. It went into effect August 1, 1731.(Billings. et al. Colonial Virginia: A History. pp. 236-39.)

This text, originally posted in 2005, was revised October 8, 2015, to add footnotes and strengthen the modern language version text.