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, July 11, 1732

     Robert Carter writes to London merchant William Dawkins, July 11, 1732, to assure the merchant that he has pleased Carter by refusing to give Lewis Burwell, then a student at Cambridge, any money and directing him not ever to do so. Carter points out an error in an account, complains of the abysmal state of the tobacco trade, and writes of bills of exchange.

Letter from Robert Carter to William Dawkins, July 11, 1732

-1 -

Rappahannock, [Lancaster County, Virginia]

July 11.. 1732

Mr. William Dawkins


     I have already been very Copious to you by several
conveyances yours of the 25th. of march [sic ] is the greatest Occasion of this
and more particularly what relates to mr. Burwells affairs I am
Surprized as much as you at the assurance of the youth, to demand money
of you he has no Estate in your hands that I know of he may lavish
away his estate when he gets it into his possession I am very glad you
were so Cautious to deny him and I pray you to hold your resolution
not to let him have a farthing out of your hands I am sole guardian to
all his fathers Children, and almost think when the account is made up &
a division made he will find there will be Little Coming to him besides
what he has expended in England In the three first Articles of Mr
Account Current from the 27th of March 1731. to the 17th of June Mr.
Perry has paid upon his drafts £170. I suppose Mr. Perry has refused
him more and that has sent him to you but let him lay none of his fing=
ers upon any money in your hands and I have your promise you will
punctially follow my instructions in this affair

     In your next Paragraph I think you are wrong
in reducing the balance of that Estate to £350 the £250 you have paid
Mr. Perry you must debit my Account it belongs to that Estate

      It is miserable to think what Circumstances our trade
is in but we are in hopes the worst is over with us at Least for the Present
Your masters no doubt give you a full accot of their Conditions Dove
tells me he has written by this Ship to you I have already shipped on him
fourscore and odd hogsheads and I gave him notes yesterday for some tobacco I

-2 -

have at the Inspecting houses to help him what I Can but where is our enco=
uragement sending this tobacco for London is in a manner giving away
the Capitol when your turn is served you regard us no further

     I have already advised you of £l50 I have drawn
on you to Colonel Fitzhugh, and I have lately drawn [on] you to William=
for £50 being his Salary for his Care over Mr. Burwells Estate
for the year 1731 he has promised me not to send away the bills but 'till by some
Later ship I hope you will always be able to make your sales Equal of
the tobaccoes you shall have from Mr. Burwells Estate & Colonel Pages too to any
others and the mind I am in you shall not want some Share of both
While I have the ruling of the Roost I heartily wish your health & am

              Very Sincerely Sir
                  Your very humble Servant.

Via Liverpool Loxum


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] Carter refers to Lewis Burwell (1711 or 1712-1756), his grandson by Elizabeth Carter Burwell and her first husband, Nathaniel Burwell (1680-1721); Carter was his guardian. He was educated at Eton and was at Cambridge when Carter wrote. He would inherit considerable property (contrary to Carter's gloomy assertions to Dawkins) and live 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. )

[2] A farthing is "the quarter of a penny; the coin representing this value," i.e. "a very small piece of anything." ( 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] A score is twenty, so fourscore is eighty.

[5] Henry Fitzhugh (1706-1742) of "Eagle's Nest," Stafford County, was educated at Oxford, and married Lucy Carter (1715-1763), Robert Carter's fourteenth child, in 1730. They had four children; after Fitzhugh's death, she married Nathaniel Harrison (1713-1791). He was a burgess and militia officer. (Carleton. A Genealogy. . . of Robert Carter. . . . p. 451 ; Robert A. Rutland, The Papers of George Mason, 1725-1792. [Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1970]. I:lii ; and extensive generalogical notes, "Fitzhugh Family," in volumes 7 and 8 of Virginia Magazine of History and Biography. )

[6] 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. )

[7] William Camp (Kemp) was described by Carter as "the General Overseer of Mr Burwell's Affairs" and he wrote that Camp earned a salary "£50 . . . for the year 1731." Carter and his son-in-law, Mann Page, were the trustees of Nathaniel Burwell's children after Burwell's death in 1721. Camp was a resident of Gloucester County where most of the Burwell estates lay, and he must also have supervised "Rippon Hall" in nearby York County. ( Carter to George Braxton, November 20, 1729 , and Carter to William Dawkins, July 11, 1732, and Virginia Tax Records. [Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, Inc., 1983.] p. 539. )

[8] Several vessels named The Loyalty sailed to Virginia. One commanded by Francis Wallis cleared from Poole for Virginia in 1726. Captain Edward Loxam commanded a vessel of this name in 1729-1732 as did James Tarleton in 1732. (Survey Report 09727 extracting "Public Record Office Class E 190/915/9. Exchequor King's Remembrancer Port Books. Poole. Collector 1726/7," Virginia Colonial Records Project, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia. See Carter's letters to John Pemberton April 15,1730 and August 4, 1731 .)

This text, originally posted in 2006, was revised June 20, 2016, to add footnotes and strengthen the modern language version text.