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 Alderman [Micajah] Perry, July 11, 1732

     Robert Carter writes to London merchant Alderman [Micajah] Perry, July 11, 1732, concerning his review of the mechant's accounts for the Burwell estate, and especially about his ungrateful grandson Lewis Burwell's profligate spending habits and poor manners in not writing his grandfather in over two years.

Letter from Robert Carter to Alderman [Micajah] Perry, July 11, 1732

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Rappahannock, [Lancaster County, Virginia]

July 11.. 1732

Alderman Perry


     In looking over Mr. Burwells Account Currt
the three first Articles on the debet Side are £60." £50" £60" paid on
notes of Lewis Burwells quickly after that Comes a broken Account of
5 hogsheads of tobacco sold to an Insolvent which Carrys off £129"6"9 a smart
Article indeed that will hardly be retreiv'd by 20 hogsheads more You are the
Seller you chuse your men you have all the power in your hands of
taking what security you pleas upon your sales for the Security of yr.
payments but be your methods what it will Our ruin depends upon
the effect of an incautious trust this is a melancholly Consideration but
I Shall [illegible] not whet upon it any longer at Present
In my accot I am charg'd £25 for one hogshead of tobacco
more than any five of mine produces me

     Besides this £170 paid between the 27. of March 1731
and the 17. of June on Lewis Burwells notes it seems he hath been with Mr. Dawkins for money
of him but he hath had the prudence to denye him any he is of age 'tis
true but I hope he has not the power to ruin the rest of his fathers Child=
ren and I desire and begg of you that you will not let him take his
Swing in any immoderate manner and I am sure tis in your power to restrain
him from having any more money than you see reasonable to let him have
if he spends his own after he gets it into his possession he must then thank
himself but before he has that power in himself there ought to be an Accot
Settled and a division made if this is to be the Effects of an English Education
I don't know who will venture their Sons thither

     Some late letters of Yours have said many good things

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Of this youth that he had made a very good use of his time at the univer=
and would be a Comfort to his relations here when they come to see
him and that he would without fail come to Virginia this next Ship=
ping I have writ Year after Year for his Coming in and have writ to
him many monitory letters with the tenderness of a father but he turns
his back upon me and where he has his manners I know not Certainly
the University affords better or else I had rather breed a Son in a dark corner
of the Earth he hath not vouchsaf'd a line to me now these two years and
when I had one I should be very angry with a son of mine if he could not
have afforded me a better at 14 years of Age Perhaps I may be carried
into more warmth than is intirely prudent however I shall again repeat
my Solicitations to you to send him to Virginia as soon as possibly yo.
can and in the mean time not to let him lavish out money that is none of his
own And if you will indulge him beyond what's proper the fault will not
lye at my door twas propos'd at his going to the University to allow him
£150 a year and no more all that he spends beyond that I am sure had
better be hove into the Sea the keeping that Estate together and the
making the most of it has cost me abundance of Care and trouble and
I have a very Affectionate Memory for the worthyness of his dear father
Pray God Grant him that he may imitate him in prudence and also
other manly Virtues I am

                  Your most humble Servant

via Leverpoole 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. 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] 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. )

[2] Cambridge

[3] Monitory means "giving or conveying a warning; serving to admonish; admonitory." ( Oxford English Dictionary Online . Oxford University Press. )

[4]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 24, 2016, to add footnotes and strengthen the modern language version text.