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, July 9, 1731

     Robert Carter writes to London merchants William Dawkins & Company, July 9, 1731, to enclose a bill of lading (not present) for tobacco shipped on board the Spotswood and adding comments on the quality of it.

Letter from Robert Carter to William Dawkins & Company, July 9, 1731

-1 -

Rappa[hannock, Lancaster County, Virginia]

9 July 1731

Mr William Dawkins & Co


     The business of this is to be a Cover to a Bill of Lading of my tobo on board
the Spotswood under two marks; the first my Rippon Crop
the Reputation of which plantation you have already had from
me I expect it will equal in price either Mr Burwells or Colonel
[illegible] best Crop. It lies in the Middle of them. There is --
some hogsheads of Leaf; the most of it is stemmed . You must allow
me to say from my own Eye sight of several of the hogsheads it is good Tobo
the 12 hhds are also my Crops & all stemmed & straight laid. I --
Make no Leaf through all my Plantations, excepting Rippom
One would think this would render it much more valuable than
those Crops where the prime of the tobo is made into Leaf I am sure it
very much lessens my Quantity in the Main. I shall give you no --
further Trouble at present but remain

                  Your most humble Servant

to be Copyd


Source copy consulted: Letter book, 1731 July 9-1732 July 13, 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] The Spotswood was a London ship
commanded by James Bradby, 1727-1732, and was owned by Micajah Perry. ( Adm 68/195, 70r ff., found in the microfilms of the Virginia Colonial Records Project, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia. See Carter to Micajah Perry 1730 April 16.

[2]Rippon Hall had been Edmund Jenings' estate in York County which he had acquired in 1687 from John and Unity West when it was named "Poplar Neck." Jenings's bad financial circumstances forced him to mortgage the property to Carter who eventually acquired title to it. Carter obviously felt its mill would be a good acquisition .( "Notes and Queries." William and Mary Quarterly. 2[Apr. 1894]: 270-278, now available through the Internet Archive. )

[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. )

This text, originally posted in 2006, was revised October 20, 2015, to add footnotes and strengthen the modern language version text.