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 William Dawkins and Edward Athawes, July 26, 1731

     Robert Carter writes to London merchants William Dawkins and Edward Athawes, July 26, 1731,to report on the feverish activity of Captain Thomas Dove of the Bailey to make up his cargo before the implementation of the tobacco inspection act, and to send an invoice (not present) for goods to be sent by an early ship. He adds some notes about the disappointing progress of the work at the Frying Pan copper mine, and encloses two small bills of exchange (not present).

Letter from Robert Carter to William Dawkins and Edward Athawes, July 26, 1731

-1 -

Rappahannock, [Lancaster County, Virginia]

July 26. 1731

Mr. William Dawkins &
Mr. Edward Athawes


      Captain Dove I suppose writes his own story he is riding
about to all our courts and public places life a fury and takes
mortal pains to get his men to double their diligence that he may get
a full ship before the law takes Place but I doubt they are too much
like Packhorses to move out of their old Jadish pace to help him
Foward my sloop carried on board him above 80 hogsheads

     The Bailey being a Backward Ship I have thought
it necessary to send you my invoice now that I may have it in some
forward ship pray let me not wait for the Coming away of that Ship any
more it was a Considerable disappointment to me the late Coming in of
my goods this year I send for no goods to Mr. Perry I am well satis
fied he will let any of his ships Accommodate you And in Point of
convenience there is little difference between York River and Ours

     I will crowd in here a line to Mr. Athawes about our
Frying pan it carries so Poor a prospect does not afford Agreeable
matter for a letter of itself Our work men prove such idle lazy fellows
they do Very little service but to eat our Victuals & drink & to Cash our
money feeding us up with empty hopes this one time or other we
are to do wonders getting up Very small quantities of Ore and yet every
day a little blowing up the rocks persuade us they shall be at
a body of very good Ore before long Loney carried off 4 Barrels all that
these miners have raised no more they have barrelled as yet nor do I
Expect we shall get any more ready for this Shipping there are 67
Barrels of our old Ore shot loose into the run of the Bailey We shall before
long give Mr. Athawes the Entertainment of a joint letter from us.
He will please us very much to miss no Opportunity to Advise what we are
to Expect from our last years ore

     Herein are two small bills of Exchange George
on Nat Gundry for 8"5.11. & John Robinson on Robert Cary
& Company


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. There is a 19th-century transcript of the letter in the Minor-Blackford Papers, James Monroe Law Office and Museum, Fredericksburg, 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] The Bailey was a London ship owned by William Dawkins and commanded at various times by Adam Graves (1725-1730) and by Thomas Dove 1730-1732. She was a vessel of some 250 tons and carried 15-17 crew members. ( Survey report 6801 summarizing Adm. 68/195, 156v, and other data in Adm. 68/194 and /196, found in the microfilms of the Virginia Colonial Records Project, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia; A letter of Carter's to Dawkins May 12, 1732, refers to "your ship Bailey." as does a letter of August 10, 1733, from Carter's executors to Dawkins. [ Lloyd T. Smith, Jr., ed. The Executors' Letters of Robert Carter of Corotoman, 1732-1738. (Irvington, VA: Foundation for Historic Christ Church, 2010) p. 76]. )

[2] Carter refers to the date of implementation of the tobacco inspection act that had passed the Assembly the previous year, proposed and implemented by Governor Gooch. (Billings. et al. Colonial Virginia: A History. pp. 236-40 )

[3] A jade is a "a horse of inferior breed, e.g. a cart-or draught-horse as opposed to a riding horse; a roadster, a hack; a sorry, ill-conditioned, wearied, or worn-out horse; a vicious, worthless, ill-tempered horse. . . . ( Oxford English Dictionary Online . Oxford University Press. )

[4] the Rappahannock

[5] In 1728, Carter, his sons Robert and Charles, and his son-in-law Mann Page, organized a company 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. )

[6] See the letter from Robert Carter, John Carter, Robert Carter, Jr., and Charles Carter to Athawes, July 22, 1731 .

[7] 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. )

[8] Nathaniel Gundry was a merchant in Lyme Regis, Dorset, and mayor of that town several times. His son was a member of Parliament and later a judge. (Notes made by Francis L. Berkeley, Jr., from George Robert. History and Antiquities of the Borough of Lyme Regis & Charnmouth. [London, 1834]. pp. 297, 383-4 now available on Google Books; and Sedgwick. The History of Parliament . . . Commons. pp. 91-92. )

This text, originally posted in 2006, was revised February12 , 2016, to add footnotes and strengthen the modern language version text.