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, May 29, 1732

     Robert Carter writes to London merchant William Dawkins, May 29, 1732, reporting on letters that are being sent, the activities of Captain Dove, and that the colony's assembly is meeting. He has sent the governor's speech and replies to it to Micajah Perry. While work continues at their copper mine, there is no further hint of success. Mr. Bradley's ship carrying their goods has not arrived.

Letter from Robert Carter to William Dawkins, May 29, 1732

-1 -

Rappa [hannock, Lancaster County, Virginia]

May 29. 1732

Mr. William Dawkins --


     I was gone from home to Solemnize the fune=
ral of my dear son Robert when Malbon paid his last Visit to this
house however I had prepared some letters for you which were
sent away by him as also a bill of Loading for the tobacco I consignd

      Captain Dove visits me frequently dined with me
Yesterday he cannot see through his business yet he complains Captain
galls him very much I do him all the Service I can,
believe I shall muster up for him near fourscore hogsheads I
suppose he writes his own Story to you My Son Robert has left
his affairs in a great deal of distraction but more of this hereafter

     We are now in assembly I send to Mr. Perry the
Governours Speech and the Council and Burgesses answers the Coun
try are wonderfully fond of the tobacco Law pray God Grant we find the
good Effects of it from the trial to relieve us out of the dismal Circum=
stances we are present [ly] under My Service to Mr. Athawes Our mine
Adventure continues to afford us no glimmerings of success and that
all our Charge will be almost entirely lost We have no news yet of
Mr. Bradleys ship that was to Come in the room of the Welcome and to bring
us in all our goods And to mend the matter here are very odd Stories
broaced of his Circumstances which I will hope has no foundation but
hatched on purpose to give his affairs a Clog * here Captain Brookes is in
haste I shall referr [sic ] you to my former letters and Conclude

Your very humble Servant

* you had a bill of Loading sent you by
Loney for 9 hogsheads consigned you on board
the Smith He sailed by my house also in my absence
was hugely pressing for my tobacco to be sent to Forward but I had left
possitive orders to the Contrary


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. The material following the complimentary close and preceded by an asterisk was added at the bottom of the page and was to be inserted in the text of the next-to-last line where an asterisk also appears.

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 Rebecca was probably a London ship; she was of 300 tons, had a crew of 11, and was commanded by Samuel Malbon in 1730-32. ( Survey Report 06445 sumarizing "Adm. 68/196," "Greenwich Hospital: General Accounts. the Names of Ships and The Accounts Paid for Sixpences at the Port of London." )

[2] 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. )

[3]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]. )

[4] Charles Seabrook was a partner with Thomas Reynolds in a Yorktown business. In Seabrook's 1752 will, he bequeathed half his estate to Reynolds including his share in a sloop. ( "Reynolds and Rogers." William and Mary College Quarterly Historical Magazine ,12: 128; and Survey Report 04620 summarizing the 1743 will of George Tilly in "Principal Probated Registry Class Will-Register Books 26 BOYCOTT Probate Act Book 1743," f. 9, vo, mentions Chas. Seabrook as a witness together with the chief and second mates and the ship's carpenter. )

[5] 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.)

[6] 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. )

[7] James Bradley was a London merchant with whom Carter dealt from at least 1723 until his death. As noted in his letter to Bradley of May 17, 1727, Bradley owned the Welcome, but little information about Bradley has been located. (There is a listing of the firm of Bradly & Griffin, Merchants, Fenchurch-street, opposite the Mitre Tavern, on page 13 of Kent's Directory For the Year 1740 Containing An Alphabetical List of the Names and Places of Abode of the Directors of Companies, Persons in Publick Business, Merchants, and other Eminent Traders in the Cities of London and Westminster, and the Borough of Southwark. [London: Printed and Sold by Henry Kent in Finch-Lane, near the Royal Exchange: and by the Booksellers and Pamphlets Shops of London and Westminster, 1740]. p. 39. Online, examined 8/12/2005 and 6/14/2012. )

[8] The 140 ton Welcome was owned by London merchant James Bradley to whom Carter would write about her on May 17, 1727 . John Trice (Frice) was her captain, 1723-1728. ( Survey Report 08654 summarizing Public Record Office Class H.C.A. 13/138. "High Court of Admiralty. Answers" ; and Survey Report 06444 summarizing Public Record Office Class: Adm. 68/195. "Greenwich Hospital: General Accounts. The names of Ships and the Amounts paid for Sixpences at the Port of London, 1728-1731." .)

[9] Christopher Brooks commanded the Cambridge, a vessel of 100 tons and 11 men owned by London merchants Haswell and Brooks in 1729. ( Survey Report 06444 summarizing "Public Record Office Class: Adm. 68/195. Greenwich Hospital: General Accounts. The names of Ships and the Amounts paid for Sixpences at the Port of London, 1728-1731." .)

[10] The Forward was a British-built London ship of 150-200 tons commanded in1728-29 by William Loney, and in 1731 by George Buckridge. ( Survey Report 10158 summarizing "Public Record Office Class C 24/1478. Chancery Records. Town Depositions"; and Survey Report 06443 summarizing Admiralty 68/194: "Greenwich Hospital: General Accounts. The Names of Ships and amounts Paid for Sixpences at the Port of London 1725 June 26-1728 October 26." Virginia Colonial Records Project, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia. )

This text, originally posted in 2006, was revised May 16, 2016, to add footnotes and strengthen the modern language version text.