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 Messrs. Haswell & Brooks, May 29, 1732

     Robert Carter writes to London merchants Messrs. Haswell & Brooks, May 29, 1732, to report the arrival of letters and goods from them. He complains that a shipment of coal is a very small quantity, and about the merchants having deducted a half penny on a tobacco sale because of poor stemming. A bill of lading (not present) for a tobacco shipment is enclosed, and wine that they have ordered for him has arrived so they should expect a bill from the wine merchant.

Letter from Robert Carter to Messrs. Haswell & Brooks, May 29, 1732

-1 -

Rappahannock, [Lancaster County, Virginia]

May 29.. 1732

Messrs. Haswell & Brookes


     I have receiv'd your several letters sent this year
Your goods by the Bailey came to hand in safety your accounts of
sales we must put up with as well as We can the prizes we get are
so miserable we cannot live by our Labour

     The coals by Seabrooke were delivered at my house
in my absence what measure is made me I cannot say they lye loose
and appear to be a Small parcel. You tell me fine tobaccoe will do
pritty well I must say in answer I send you as good as I make
and you may be sure I take the outmost Care I can to make it as
good as possible In your Postscript of the 17th of January you advise
me of the sales of two hogsheads at 9d. but that you were forc'd to abate
a half penny for bad Stemming I could almost adventure to forfeit
the tobacco if there could be found four pound of Stemms in both the hogsheads
I take the outmost Care to have this Evil prevented and by our tobacco
our Overseers are under great penalties if they do not do their duty
in this respect; We promise our selves [sic ] great matters by this Law how
our hopes will succede we must leave to Experience

     This encloses a bill of Loading for twenty hogsheads
of stemm'd tobacco strait laid and hath pass'd the Inspection, certainly
I shall meet with no complaints of this tobaccoe Capn. Brookes is now
here to take his leave of me I hearily wish him a good Voiage and
Safe to you he is in mighty haste and allowes me only time for
this letter I have receiv'd a Pipe of wine by Capn. Harwood of your
Ordering the merchants will pay themselves by a draft on you I have
not seen the master yet to pay him his freight which is forty Shillings
Currt. money if the freight should be demanded of you there must
be a discount of 20 pounds per hundred which is the difference of our Exchange
at Present I must taken another Opportunity of sending for some goods

I am      Gent


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.

[1] Haswell and Brooks was a London firm listed in 1740 directories of that city. Samuel Haswell was a London Assurance director in Suffolk Lane. John Brooks' obituary appeared in the Pennsylvania Gazette, May 8, 1740, where his partnership with Haswell was noted and that he had been "formerly Commander of the George, in the Virginia Trade." ( ( A Compleat Guide to All Persons who have any Trade or Concern with the City of London and Ports adjacent. . . . London: Printed for J. Osborn, at the Golden Ball in Pater-noster-row, MDXXXL ; and 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]. 8/12/2005 and 5/9/2016. p. 39. ) Brooks' obituary courtesy of Todd A. Farmerie, 1/21/2013.)

[2] 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]. )

[3] 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. )

[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 iteself. . . ." Gooch also managed to obtain approval of the act in England. It went into effect 1731 August 1.(Billings. et al. Colonial Virginia: A History. pp. 236-39.)

[5] 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. )

[6] 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." .)

[7] A pipe is "a large container of definite capacity for storing solids or liquids, such as meat, fish, or oil. Now: spec. a large cask for storing wine or cider." Wikipedia, citing a book by Ronald E. Zupco, states that a pipe was half a tun which was "a large vat or vessel, most often holding 252 wine gallons," meaning a pipe was roughly 126 gallons of wine. ( Oxford English Dictionary Online . Oxford University Press and Ronald E. Zupko. A Dictionary of Weights and Measures for the British Isles: The Middle Ages to the Twentieth Century . [Memoirs of the American Philosophical Society , 1985, p. 168.] )

This text, originally posted in 2006, was revised May 19, 2016, to add footnotes and strengthen the modern language version text.