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 Richard Oswald & Company, July 9, 1731

     Robert Carter writes to Glasgow merchants Richard Oswald & Company, July 9, 1731, concerning contradictory information about his tobacco in two of their letters, a bill of exchange he has drwan on the firm, and a shipment on board the firm's ship, the Martha.

Letter from Robert Carter to Richard Oswald & Company, July 9, 1731

-1 -

Rappahannock, [Lancaster County, Virginia]

July 9. 1731

Mr. Richard Oswald & Com

Gentlemen -- -- -- --

     I have received the favour of two letters
from you with the Accot of sales of my 4 hogsheads tobacco Per the Martha
In yours of the 28 of December you give me a particular character
of them saying they were good among the best of any you had
in the year

     In yours of the 11 of February you acquaint me with the sum they had
yielded and tell me rather than not have of a better sort you are
willing to have none from your friends I am at a loss how to reconcile
these two letters According to your Directions I now Value myself
upon you for fifteen pounds by a bill of Exchange payable to
Colonel George Braxton which I desire you to Answer on my Accot quick
Sales I must own as a very good ingredient in your management
and because your Sales are not below other mens I shall not Complain I am
now preparing some tobacco for the Martha Mr Cheaps Sloop is to call here
for it in a short time I intend to be further trouble some to you b [efore]
our Shipping are all gone I am

                   your most humble Servt


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. Thsi draft haz been water-stained in the middle and some of the text is extremely faint.

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] Richard Oswald (1687-1766) was a prominent Glasgow merchant who was "involved in West Indies and Madeira trade as well as tobacco importation." In partnership with his brother Alexander, the firm owned three ships (the Martha, the Amity, and the Speedwell ) of the 41 sailing from Glasgow in 1735. ( Devine, T.M. The Tobacco Lords: A Study of the Tobacco Merchants of Glasgow and their Trading Activites c. 1740-90. [ Edinburgh: John Donald Publishers Ltd.] p. 183; and "The Old Country Houses of the Old Glasgow Gentry: LXXXVII: Scotstoun." . 8/2/2005, 10/23/2015.)

[2] The Martha was commanded by a Captain Dunlop and owned by Richard Oswald & Company; see Carter to Richard Oswald & Company 1729 August 11, and Carter to Oswald, 1731 July 27.

[3] 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. )

[3] This may have been Patrick Cheap, a merchant from Urbanna in Middlesex County. (Rutman and Rutman, A Place in Time: Middlesex. . . . p. 247.)

This text, originally posted in 2006, was revised October 23, 2015, to add footnotes and strengthen the modern language version text.