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, reiterating his often expressed complaints about the low prices realized by his tobacco, and to ask that Perry consider giving him a discount because of the large amounts of cash Carter has had in his hands. He notes some problems with the Merchants Hundred account, and reports bills of exchange.

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

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Rappahannock, [Lancaster County, Virginia]

July 11. 1732

Alderman Perry & Compa


     The Winchelsea man of Warr Capt. Pearce
is lately arriv'd Your Sundry packets with several accots of sales
and Accounts Current both Colol Pages Mr. Burwells and my own
I have received how pleasing they are you may easily guess without
my entering into Complaints about them Miserable are our Circum
stances when the Labour of our People will not maintain us and our
familys in Respect to my own affairs I sent you in a former ship
A State of my Account in the best manner I could make it up
there are some heavy Articles fallen on Since that I was not them app:
riz'd of I told you then that I was in hopes upon a review of my
business in some years past you would think it but reasonable to all=
owe me the discount of upon my last years Consignment the Argument I

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went upon that having had in your hands for several Years Successively
a ballance of between three and four thousand pounds without any or at
best but a small Advantage to me that it would be a ps of Commutative
justice to let me have the benefit of a little of your money untill I could
recruit myself after that great drafft upon my Cash that was made
to Consummate the purchase of Lloyds Estate and I will not Yet be out of
hopes but you will be so good humour'd to make this Reciprocal return
to me and I daresay you will not scruple to think your money as safe in my hands
as mine is in yours

     Respecting the Merchts Hundred affair I cannot doubt
you will own yourself in an Error in not allowing the discount
on that tobacco If you will pleas to look back into your Account Currt of the
25 of March 1728 under the Nominal title of Carter Burwell which I
have already told you was a mistake and not According to my direction,
and which you have since set to rights you will find a ballance then
due from you of £41"2"2 in your accot of sales of 10 hogsheads in the year
1730 You give the full discounts but now in your account of the [illegible] 13 hhds
sent you by the micajah in 1731 you allow only 15 perCt. the accot of
sales is sign'd by one James Johnston one of your clerks as I suppose who hath
committed this Error unknowingly to you and I am in hopes you will take
care to have Credit given upon for the prompt payment to this Estate the profits
whereof I never intend to apply any part of it to my own benefit but to the
Releif of Mrs. Burwell alias Nicholas and after her decease to rest upon one
of Mr. Burwells sons Out of the profits making good only the mortalitys

     I shall now say a word in relation to Colol Pages affairs The ball=
ance of your account is a very great sum and yet there is a necessity to make
our draft this year so many that the load will be Still encreased

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     The bills the Secretary and I have already drawn upon you
are to Dr. Blair for -- -- -- -- -- -£120 which was for Cash to answer debts
to Colo John Grymes      19"-"4 for the quit rents of the Land
to Majo. Peter Whiting      34"5"7 1/2 &
to John Randolph Esqr     232"2"2 in discharge of the debts and incident
incumberances on the Estate this last bill Mr. Randolph hath promised to wait for
till the Latter end of the year thus far we have already gone there is Colonel Willis's
claim and Colonel Bassets for a part of his Wifes fortune that was paid into
Colonel Pages hands yet behind most of the Crops will be consigned to you
We entertain hopes we shall see better times for tobo

     I have drawn upon you the following bills upon the Accot of
Mr. Burwells Estate to colonel [sic ] John Grymes for £14"-"2" & to John Carter Esqr.
£18"10"-to John Randolph Esqr. for £25"5"-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.

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 Burwell (1716-1756) was Robert Carter's grandson by his daughter Elizabeth (Carter) Burwell and her first husband, Nathaniel Burwell (1680-1721). Carter Burwell would live at "Carter's Grove," and would marry Lucy Grymes in 1738. (Carleton. A Genealogy. . . of Robert Carter. . . . p. 128. )

[2] 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. )

[3] Quit rent was the term used for "a (usually small) rent paid by a freeholder . . . in lieu of services which might otherwise be required; a nominal rent paid (esp. in former British colonial territories to the Crown) as an acknowledgement of tenure," in this case, to the proprietors of the Northern Neck. Carter as the proprietor's agent, collected these payments. ( Oxford English Dictionary Online . Oxford University Press. )

[4] Peter Whiting was a justice and sheriff in Gloucester County. (McIlwaine. Executive Journals of the Council. . . . , 4[1721-1739]: 119, 134, 173. )

[5] This is probably Francis Willis (1690-post 1749) of "'White Hall," Gloucester Co., VA. He was a member of the House of Burgesses in 1748. ("Willis Family Genealogy" ( as of 5/21/02; and "Willis Family." William and Mary Quarterly. 1st ser. 5(1896): 24-27, 171-176; 6(1897): 27-29, 206-214.) )

[6] William Bassett (1671-1723) of Eltham, New Kent County was a member of the Assembly, militia officer, and member of t he Council. His first wife was Joanna Burwell, daughter of Lewis Burwell, which would have connected him to the Carter family and may explain Carter's reference. ( "Featured Bassett: TheBassetts of Eltham, Virginia" in the Bassett Family Association Newsletter, May 2005. 9/1/2006; and numerous references in McIlwaine. Executive Journals of the Council. . . . , 4[1721-1739]. )

[7] 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.