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 Edward Athawes, September 10, 1731

     Robert Carter writes to London merchant Edward Athawes, September 10, 1731, to report that the rich vein of copper ore found in their mine had run out and that he is shipping a total of 21 barrels of the ore by two ships.

Letter from Robert Carter to Edward Athawes, September 10, 1731

-1 -

Rappahannock, [Lancaster County, Virginia]

Sepr. 10. 1731

Mr. Edward Athawes


     By Dove I wrote largely to you about
our mine Adventure we had just then cut a rich Vein
of Ore we raised about four ton [s] of it and the vein went out
we are endeavouring to find it again what Success we
may have is Very uncertain Sixteen Barrels of this ore
we have put on board the Brig the Mary Captain Belcher
We have assayed Several of the Barrels in our Small
furnace which have Yielded one third Copper Whatever the
rest of the Ore We have sent may do We assuredly promise
Ourselves this must Answer Very Well we have five
Barrels of this ore left which We design to Put on board the
Thistle Captain Reid who will be the latest London ship
from hence By her You will go near to hear further from
me us A bill of Lading for these 16 Barrels is enclosed I am

                   Your most humble Servt

per Belcher


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] 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. )

[3] The Thistle was a London ship commanded by a Captain Reid and owned by merchant James Buchanan. (See Carter to Edward Athawes , September 10, 1731, and Carter to James Buchanan , November 19. 1731. )

[4] 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. )

This text, originally posted in 2006, was revised February 23, 2016, to add footnotes and strengthen the modern language version text.