A Collection Transcribed
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 29, 1731
Robert Carter writes to London merchants William Dawkins & Company, July 29, 1731, concerning tobacco he has shipped on board the Bailey
for himself, his son Robert, and the Burwell and Mann Page estates. He encloses an invoice (not present) for goods, mentions his claims against merchant John Falconar's estate and the affairs of the Frying Pan copper mine, his and Dawkins' problems in being part-owner of trading ships, and Tom Dove's hard work in the colony this year as master of the Bailey.
He adds that should Dawkins decide to build a new ship for Dove, he would be willing to own a portion of her, and alerts them to several bills of exchange. He presses the merchants to return to a former method in their accounts, and of his need for a new clerk to replace Richard Chapman.
Letter from Robert Carter to William Dawkins
& Company, July 29, 1731
Rappahannock, [Lancaster County, Virginia]
July 29 -- 1731
Mr. William Dawkins & Company
This I intend as the Concluding stroke to my
business Per [the ] Bailey
Brings to yo the Bills of Lading
for the tobacco on
board her Vizt
thirty hogsheads of my own tobacco three of them leaf.
Purchase tobo all the rest stemm'd & my own Crops 6 hogsheads belonging to
my Son Robert
also stemm'd and of as good a Crop as Any I have 8 hogsheads
stemm'd belonging to Mr. Burwells
Estate which Capt Hyde
sold very well also 22 hogsheads belong to Colo Pages
Estate stemmed likewise
of which yo have already had an Acct
My own consignmt of my own tobacco this Year in the whole is 102 hogsheads
Besides the Invoice of goods I have already
writ for for the Use of my familys I now send another small invoice
which I would have Come in as Early as yo can and by no means to
the same Ship with my other Invoice that I may not
risque both in the same
both in the same
I have already Writ so fully and so frequently
about the Several Sums of money due to me from Mr Falconars
and have so fully Lodgd that Matter within your Power that to me there
seems no reason for doubt the Payment of those Ballances into yr hands witho [u] t
any further trouble either to yo or to myself before this will reach you
I find you throw the whole Affair of our Copper
upon the Sholders of Mr. Athawes
just as it is with him sometimes
I find or hopes the next news ready to dispair in the same manner hath been
[no ?] entertainments since we have got the Miners to Work Mr. Athawes
[ hath ] a full history of these matters therefore I shall not give yo the
[trouble ?] of repetition
I observe you make heavy Complaints of yr. Concerns in
Shipping and are design'd to wear out those you have and to have to do
with no more if this be your Case who have the consignments to lick yr.
Losses Whole you will easily make a judgement what little reason we
have to run into such Adventures that have none of those sweet Morsals
to make up our Losses you know what a great Sufferer I was for many
years together by the Carter
never faild in filling up my quota every year
and yet always brought in to bear a share in the dead Freight
Have pleas'd yourself in saying all the disadvantagious things of yr.
Shipping I believe you will find it absolutely necessary while you
are desirous to Support your interest in the trade
. . . will be necessary
to continue an owner
I reckon Tom Dove
is pritty secure on an imploy under yo.
The Bailey is grown pritty old how long you will think her fit to
Continue in the trade is none of my business to given an opinion in --
from Mr. Doves Silence (for he hath not said one Word to me
about a New Ship) I reckon
he is very well satisfy'd to Continue in the old one
as I am that he hath made to me no
Solicitations If my stem'd
tobacco Sent you last year and this would turn out at about 10£ Per hogshead
and yo. and Mr Athawes inclination were
fixd so much in his favour --
to build a new
Ship for him to be appropriated for this River
I would upon these
Conditions Adventure to be Concern'd in her as far as
two or three hundred
Pounds will go. Tom Dove hath shew'd so much life and dexterity
in his business this Year that I have taken up a better opinion of him
than I Us'd to have which was when he was made a master there was a
good Mate spoil'd
Herein comes the following Small bills of Exchange
Mr. Thomas Edwards
on yr. Selves for 11"18"2
Capt Thomas Dove on do -- -- 9"14"0 Carried to the next
John Lees on Hugh Arburthnot 3"6"3 Page but one
Brought from the forgoing Page but one
I will once more beg of yo to take up yr old method in the Invoice
you send me that is not to give me the plague of the Shop noats I must
confess it is the method of the other Merchts and I believe it saves
them some trouble but it is not much and I hope yo will please me in this
As for yr. own business you have it at large in a joynt letter
from Mr. Lee
and my self which I Expect will be to yr. Satisfaction --
I heartily wish yr. Health and all the imaginable Happyness which
this World has to bestow upon us Wretched mortals while we are in our
Veil of Pilgrimage combating with the dayly
of it and am
with abundance of Sincerity,
Yr. Most humble Servt. --
A Postscript to Mr. Dawkins last letter
In a former letter I have writ to yo both very Pressing --
ly to use yr. Utmost endeavours to send me in a Person of Proper qualifi
cations to be a Clerk to me in the Room of Richard Chapman
whose time of
Service is near Expirig I cannot forbear repeating this request to
you with all imaginable Earnestness. I am to Advise I have just now a
bill of Exchange
on yo. Payable to the said Richard Chapman which I
request yo to Answer
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. The lower corner portion of the first leaf has bee3n affected by a water stain thast has faded the ink making reading difficult.
 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].
 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.
 Vizt. is the abbreviation for the Latin word "videlicet"; it means "that is to say; namely; to wit: used to introduce an amplification, or more precise or explicit explanation, of a previous statement or word." ( Oxford English Dictionary
 Carter uses the word "bottom" in the sense "bottom (of a ship): generally . . . 'the part of the hull of a ship which is below the wales' . . . ; also, the hull as a whole; hence, a ship, boat, or other vessel." ( Oxford English Dictionary Online
. Oxford University Press.
 John Falconar (1677-1729) was a London merchant with whom Carter dealt. He apparently was in New Jersey and Maryland, 1699-1705. In 1728, Falconar and Henry Darnell formed an association of 29 London tobacco merchants to deal with the French tobacco purchasing agent as a group in order to keep the price as high as possible. The association lasted only lasted a year or two before dissolving because some of its members were dealing directly with the French agent and selling below the agreed-upon price. (See Carter's letter to Falconar
of July 24 and August 22, 1727, for details about the payment of £200 to him. See Carter to William Dawkins,
for Falconar's death date. "GEN-MEDIEVAL
-L Archives" on Rootsweb, 8/10/2015
; and Arthur Pierce Middleton. Tobacco Coast: A Maritime History of the Chesapeake Bay in the Colonial Era.
Newport News, VA: Mariners' Museum, 1953. p. 129
 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.
and Harrison. Landmarks. . . .
 Dead freight is "the amount paid for that part of a vessel not occupied by cargo, when the vessel is chartered for a lump sum." ( Oxford English Dictionary Online
. Oxford University Press.
 the Rappahannock
 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.
"Thos. Edwards, a little petty Fogging Lawyer the Clark of our County that hath as much Mettle and more cunning for Contention then his predecessor had" Carter wrote to Landon Jones, July 22, 1723.
His opinion of Edwards later changed for there are more appreciative mentions of him in Carter's diary. Edwards was clerk of the Lancaster County court from 1720-1746. ( Within the Court House at Lancaster.
Lively, VA: Lively Printing Services, Lively, VA: Lively Printing Services, . p. 15.
; and "Thomas Edwards, Gentleman, Clerk of the Court" in Brown and Sorrells. People in Profile.
 Carter may refer to Thomas Lee (1690-1750) of Westmoreland County, the son of Richard Lee II, and nephew of Edmund Jenings; he would build "Stratford," and succeed Carter on the Council. For a good article on Thomas Lee, see "Thomas Lee of Stratford
1690-1750" by Jeanne A. Calhoun on Stratford plantation's website. ( Burton J. Hendrick. The Lees of Virginia: Biography of a Family.
[Boston: Little Brown, 1935]. pp. 48, 51, etc.
 As Carter's clerk, Chapman had written out and signed as a witness to Carter' will and several of its codicils.
This text, originally posted in 2006, was revised February 18, 2016, to add footnotes and strengthen the modern language version text.