Letters of Robert Carter, 1720-1727: The Commercial Interests of a Virginia Gentleman

Letters of Robert Carter, 1720-1727: The Commercial Interests of a Virginia Gentleman

Letters of Robert Carter, 1720-1727: The Commercial Interests of a Virginia Gentleman

Letters of Robert Carter, 1720-1727: The Commercial Interests of a Virginia Gentleman

Excerpt

Original records of colonial Virginia are all too scarce. War, fire, rats, and spring-cleanings have taken a terrible toll of documents describing the lives of the planters who established a remarkable civilization in the region below the Potomac, in the years before the Revolution. Of the various types of manuscript source material for the history of this period, letters are among the most important, and letters, particularly from the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, are very few in number. The most important runs of letters from the early days are those of William Fitzhugh and the first two William Byrds, published at scattered intervals in the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography. They have supplied much of our information about details of plantation life and of the commercial activities of the colonists. Another series of letters, equally important for the social historian, has not heretofore been accessible in print. These are letters of Robert Carter of Corotoman, Lancaster County, Virginia, written between the years 1720 and 1727, and now in the Huntington Library. They are preserved in copies made by Carter's secretaries, with an occasional correction or addition in Carter's own hand. Most of them are found in one copybook, containing Carter's business communications to his agents abroad, from July 13, 1720 to July 5, 1721. Included . . .

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