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 Alderman [Micajah] Perry, March 8, 1732

     Robert Carter writes to London merchant Alderman [Micajah] Perry, March 8, 1732, to report that the sad news of the death from smallpox of Ralph Wormeley Page has reached him, and that three tobacco inspection warehouses have been burned.

Letter from Robert Carter to Alderman [Micajah] Perry, March 8, 1732

-1 -

Rappahannock [Lancaster County, Virginia]

Mar 8. 1731 [2]

Alderman Perry


     Since my writing The Surprizing News of the
Sudden death of Ralph Page is handed to me by my daughter with
such Circumstances to leave no room for hopes that it may not prove
true it comes in by Possford into James River that he went to take
his leave of Lewis Burwell who was in the Small pox that he was taken
with it soon after and dyed in a few days a sad Catastrophe to the poor
Young man father and son gone within the Compass of a year I shall
not stand to make any more melancholy reflections A person I have seen
tells me he had it from one Dr. Gillmore who came in Possfords ship
and that the Dr. told him he heard the danger was pritty well over with
Lewis Burwell

     Our tobacco law meets with strange opposition
three of the Inspecting houses near me two one in this County another in Nor
thumberland have lately burnt to Ashes I have time to say no more
the ship being pass'd my house but that I am

                  Yr most humble Servant


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 nineteenth-century copy of this 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] Ralph Wormeley Page (1713-1732) was the son of Mann Page and his first wife, Judith (Wormeley) Page. He died suddenly from smallpox as is recorded in this letter. (Carleton. A Genealogy. . . of Robert Carter. . . . p. 252. )

[2] Lewis Burwell (1711 or 1712-1756), Carter's grandson by Elizabeth Carter Burwell and her first husband, Nathaniel Burwell (1680-1721); Carter was his guardian. He was educated at Eton and Cambridge, and inherited considerable property, living at "Fairfield," Gloucester County. He would be president of the Council in 1750-1751. (Kneebone et al. , Dictionary of Virginia Biography. 2:434-5. and Carleton. A Genealogy. . . of Robert Carter. . . . p. 114. )

[3] A Thomas Possford commanded the Harrison in 1725 and the Hannah from 1726 at least until 1729. ( Admiralty 68/194, and 68/195, found in the microfilms of the Virginia Colonial Records Project, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia. )

[4] The tobacco inspection act of 1730 was introduced and steered through the legislature by Lieutenant Governor Sir William Gooch. " The "bill called for the inspection and bonding at public warehouses of all tobacco shipped abroad; for the destruction of all unacceptable tobacco; for standardization of the size of hogsheads . . . ; for maintenance of detailed records to prevent smuggling; and for the circulation of warehouse receipts as legal tender in lieu of tobacco itself. . . ." Gooch also managed to obtain approval of the act in England. It went into effect August 1, 1731. (Billings. et al. Colonial Virginia: A History. pp. 236-39.)

This text, originally posted in 2006, was revised April 7, 2016, to add footnotes and strengthen the modern language version text.