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 John Pemberton, June 9, 1732

     Robert Carter writes to Liverpool merchant John Pemberton, June 9, 1732, to inform him of two shipments of tobacco, bills of exchange, and to enclose an invoice for goods (not present). Stories in the colony report that tobacco is in short supply and he hopes that will affect the market favorably.He requests Pemberton enquire of Samuel Hallows if it is true that he has sold an estate to Thomas Carter that he, Robert Carter, had tried previously to buy as he remains interested in it.

Letter from Robert Carter to John Pemberton, June 9, 1732

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Rappahannock, [Lancaster County, Virginia]

June 9 1732

Mr John Pemberton


     I sent you by the True Blue Captain Berry fifty hogsheads of stemmed
straight laid Tobaco . I have already told you the pleasing Story I had from Capt
that he heard you say in Publick Company you would do my Business
although you had declined being concerned for anybody else; therefore I go on
in giving you the Trouble of my Consignments. Herein is a Bill of Lading for
thirty hhds more on Board the Mayflower of Stemmed Straight laid tobo.
Your advising that this Sort of Tobaco would do best at your Market hath in=
couraged me to ship so much of it to You. I have some in Loxam & some in
Leatherland. Capt. Fowler will give you the Relation of the News that's now

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stirring, that many of the Ships both from London & the Outports are in
no Expectation of getting near their Lodings; & its said in York and James
Rivers Tobaco is much shorter than it is here. We can't forbear pleasing
ourselves with Hopes these Reports will have a good Influence upon the
Markets as well for the Tobo already gone as for that which is still to --

     Herein I send an invoice for some goods which I
would willingly have by the first Opportunity, Here is also a first
bill of Exch of Mr. Burgesses for 15'1"8 and A second bill of his for £125"15"5
both drawn on Mr. Cunliff I have already advisd you of a bill of Excha.
I drew payable to Edward Anderson for £90.

     Here is a report that Esqr. Hallows hath sold his land
to Colo Thomas Lee at the price of £450. and I am well inform'd Colo Lee
hath said as much himself but I don't know how to beleive this report
when I consider as you may pleas to remember I offered him by yr hands
Some years agoe £500 for it and if I forget not in my behalf you pro
posed to lay down the money: Beleiving you are well Acquainted with this
gentleman I make it my riquest to you to inform yourself from him
whether he has parted with his estate here or no for I am not yet quite off of
the humour of buying it I am

              with a great deal of Esteem and Sincerity
                Yr very 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.

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 last two paragraphs on the second page of this draft letter are in a different hand than the text that precedes. Apparently Carter started the draft with one clerk, and finished with another. The change in hand is indicated by a change in the color of the text.

[1] The True Blue was commanded by Captain Berry in 1732; she may have been owned by Liverpool merchant John Pemberton. ( Survey Report 05336 summarizing "Admiralty-Miscellanea, Register of Passes, 1731-1732 found in the microfilms of the Virginia Colonial Records Project, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia . See Carter to John Pemberton , March 1 , 1732, and Carter to Pemberton , April 12, 1732.)

[2] The Content was a Liverpool ship owned by John Pemberton and commanded by various masters including captains Stephenson (1721) , Fowler (1723), and Morton (1727). (Wright. Letters of Robert Carter. . . . pp. 92, 93, 102 ; and Carter to Pemberton, February 14, 1721, and June 28, 1727 . Also, Survey Report 05337 summarizing "Public Record Office Class: Adm. 7/80. "Admiralty-Miscellanea, Register of Passes, 1733-1736." found in the microfilms of the Virginia Colonial Records Project, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia. .)

[3] 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. )

[4] Carter first mentions the Mayflower in a letter to Foster Cunliff of June 24 1731 , noting that a Captain Fowler commanded her. Other mentions in letters to Cunliff and John Pemberton, both Liverpool merchants, indicate that city probably was the vessel's home port. There were a number of vessels of this name sailing from various British ports that appear in the records of the Virginia Colonial Records Project, but two that seem pertinent are: Survey Report 06445 summarizing "Public Record Office Class: Adm. 68/196. Greenwich Hospital: General Accounts. the Names of Ships and The Accounts Paid for Sixpences at the Port of London, 5 October 1731 to 26 August 1737" and Survey Report 05336 summarizing "Public Record Office Class: Adm. 7/78.Admiralty-Miscellanea, Register of Passes, 1731-1733."

[5] Captain Edward Loxam commanded a vessel named the Loyalty in 1729-1732. James Tarleton commanded a vessel of that name in 1731. ( Survey Reports 04587 and 09727, Virginia Colonial Records Project, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia. See also Carter's letters to John Pemberton April 15, 1730 , and August 4, 1731 .)

[6] Captain Nathaniel Leatherland commanded the William & James in June 20, 1729, and the Samuel & Jane in 1732. In 1727 he commanded the Penelope , owned by John Pemberton, when it was captured by a Spanish ship and Pemberton filed a claim for £2488. ( Carterto the freighters of the ship Rose, April 11 and June 29, 1729, ; Carter to Pemberton July 13, 1732 ; and Survey Report 02046 summarizing "House of Lords Record Office Class Main Papers 1735 May 13. Account of British ships taken at sea. 1732." Virginia Colonial Records Project, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia )

[7] Out port means "a port outside a particular place; any port other than the main port of a country, etc.; spec[ically]. a British port other than London." ( Oxford English Dictionary Online )

[8] 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. )

[9] Foster Cunliffe (d. 1767) was a merchant and prominent citizen of Liverpool who worked to expand manufacturing and the capacity of the harbor; he served a number of terms as mayor. He and Richard Gildart undertook "a major reorginization of business with Maryland and Virginia . . . beginning in the early 1720's [they] sent numerous factors to the region." They established stores in which retail goods were sold, purchased the produce of the region, had it ready for loading when ships arrived, and also moved into the sale of slaves. ( James A. Picton, ed. Liverpool Municipal Archives and Records. . . . [Liverpool, 1907.] pp. 27, 31, 79, 90, 96, etc. and Paul G. Clemens. "The Rise of Liverpool, 1665-1750." Economic History Review. 24[May 1976]:211-225. )

[10] Samuel Hallows (Hallowes) was a great nephew of John Hallowes, an early landholder in Northumberland and later, Westmoreland County, who was usually identified as of "Nomini" in Westmoreland County. Samuel Hallows lived in Ashworth, County Lancaster, England. The tract in which Carter was interested may have been that of 2400 acres acquired from Hallowes in 1733 by Thomas Lee. Carter had written Hallows 1728 May 30 that he would not buy the tract of land. ("Major John Hallowes, 1615-1657" in Norris. Westmoreland County, Virginia. pp. 99-102. )

11] Thomas Lee (1690-1750) of Westmoreland County was 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. )

This text, originally posted in 2006, was revised May 30, 2016, to add footnotes and strengthen the modern language version text.