Primary Resource

Letter from Robert "King" Carter to William Cage (1724)

Both members of the governor's Council and both, at different times, agents for the Northern Neck Proprietary of the Fairfax estate, Robert "King" Carter and Edmund Jenings were rivals. On July 9, 1724, Carter addresses this letter to the trustee of the Fairfax estate, William Cage, of County Kent, England, and explains his efforts to collect money from an aging Jenings who, as agent, had used Fairfax money to cover his personal debts.

Transcription from Original

Rappa [hannock, Lancaster County, Virginia]

July 9th. 1724

Sr.

Your favour of the 2d. of December came safe to me at last after some doubting of its miscarriage I was glad to hear of his Lordships health beg you will do me the honour in making my compliments to him letting him know how much I am his Lordships most obedient humble servt:

It is a pleasure to me to find both his Lordship & your self under so much satisfaction with my management of your affairs. I have now got paid into my hands two hundred pounds more of your debt from Colonel Jenings I shall not magnify my merit in getting this mony for you, yet must take the liberty to tell you it was not easily come at and nothing less than hanging a severe law suit over his head would bring him into the humour of doing you justice, and at last it is hauled out of a Mortgage that he has made for the security of some other persons. This two hundred pounds I have ordered Mr Perry to pay when you are pleased to call for it but I shall take it as a favour if you are not too quick upon him until he is in cash upon the sale of a large quantity of Tobacco he has of mine in his hands.

As for the remaining balance between you and Colonel Jennings it remains yet unadjusted; I in your behalf demanding one hundred twenty nine pounds for want of vouchers and he insisting (taking advantage of your letter to his son) that there is only twenty nine pounds behind; for the balance of this Account when it is Setled as well as for the security of a larger sum he owes to myself I am let into the tail of a Mortgage which must confess I do not like very well, however it is the best I could get and I believe the best he can give for as I stand informed he hath not a negroe nor an Acre of land but is under Mortgage to some person or another Now it is necessary for you to send me the clearest proof you have of the nonpayment of this hundred pounds to take the force of your expressions to his son and if you can send your own testimony how far your knowledge goes about the nonpayment of this hundred pounds to my Lady Fairfax it may not be amiss; Colonel Jenings is at this time under so great a decay both of mind and body that it is expected by all he cannot hold out much longer

I have got some lines run about the Lands tht. I think must be deemed to be what the Brenton Grant designed including something more than thirty thousand Acres but this I was forced to do without noise both Mrs. Brent and the inhabitants about this place and within these bounds threatening to stop the surveyer whenever he came & indeed waylaid him on purpose but he had the luck to pass them before They were aware. Now I cannot conclude this private survey will be binding either to you or to the Proprietors of the Brenton Grant however it will have this good effect to lay open a large quantity of back Land toward the Mountains that people have been hitherto afraid to Meddle with being kept in awe by that Grant—

Your cause with the Crown upon the words of your Grant is still depending until the opinions of the Attorney and Solicitor General can be had this method both our Attorney General and my self with the advice of the Lawyers I have employed came readily into and if you'll please to produce your Grant to these great men & send me their opinions upon the Clause wherein is given to you All and all manner of fines & forfeitures Escheats goods of felons & fugitives &c whether they shall extend to fines set in our County Courts upon offenders for contempts and other misdemenaours that are of course inherent in the Crown whether these fines and foreitures goods of felons & fugitives escheats &c belong to you or to the Crown is the jet of the Controversy. If the opinion of these great men be with you as my Lawyers think there is no manner of doubt of, I'm in hopes the Attorney General here will think it proper to decline the tryal at least I expect it will have a great weight with the Court.

I desire you will let me have your full orders if the cause should go against you here whether you will have me carry it before the King in Council by an appeal

Some other parts of your letter are yet unanswered but that I shall give you the trouble of in another Letter. I AM

Sir.

Your Most Obedient

And Most Humble Servt:

ROBERT CARTER

My Son lives at one end of the Country & I at the other his compliments I must supply for him

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