Part of a Manuscript Letter written from Carter Hall, Millwood, Clarke County, Virginia, to an Englishman intending to emigrate to America, discussing various elements of life there, including dress

[Carter Hall, MIllwood, Clarke County, Virgina, estate of the Burwell family]
Publication details: 
Carter Hall, Millwood, Clarke County, Virginia. 21 February 1876.
SKU: 13417

4pp., 12mo. 210 lines. The first bifolium of a letter only, and hence lacking a signature. In fair condition, on lightly-aged paper, with closed tears along fold lines. George Burwell, who had inherited Carter Hall in 1814 (see below) had died three years before the writing of this letter, and the identity of its author is unknown, although he does claim to be a 'Scotchman'. The letter begins: 'Dear Sir | Your letter of Jany 31 is received. I am glad to answer any questions, but I must not be supposed to advise you in any thing regarding a change of residence. No man can think for another, and <?> I can only give true replies to any questions upon you must lie the onus of exhaustive questioning. - Again, do not forget that I can speak only of the district - circumstances alter much in various places.' He asks him to bring out 'a parcel or two from England when you come'. There follow six numbered sections, discussing various elements of life in Virginia, beginning with the climate: 'July & August are our hottest months. Your families should arrive in Baltimore at about Sept 15. The temperature at Baltimore will probably be about 75o or 80o all the time from Aug 15 to Sept 15'. The second section discusses 'habitation' and employment. In section 3 he describes 'grass land' as 'much inferior to England '. Section 4: 'I mean to imply that a good farmer in a fair farm here will do as well as a tenant at home who pays rent - & I take into consideration that in capital of 5/ in so calculating.' Section 5 is on 'Sheep'. Section 6 begins: 'Men & boys were strong hollands in summer - poor people wear vests except on Sunday - as a rule you get these things better & cheaper here - than in England'. A long discussion of dress for both men and women follows ('Summer prints for ladies are good & cheap here - no use to bring them - (they are called calicoes here) But muslines, grenadines too are dearer here and should be brought out'). Other topics include 'household stores': 'We find it quite expedient to get out the following articles - as their representatives here are either bad or too dear, English mustard, Worcester sauce, Scotch marmalade Tea - oatmeal (for my boys breakfast - I am a Scotchman) sago, tapioca, curry powder, canary seed (if you have a bird)'. Also 'Medicines', 'Seeds'. 'Bring no harness or carriages - There is nothing in Gt. Britain to equal the carriages in this country [...] I may advise you to go to Phipps Saddlers Holborn London, who will give you saddles exactly like mine - cheaper & equal in leather to any in England - his bridles are first class also.' The letter ends with advice on 'hunting spurs' and 'thong'. Carter Hall is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A grand house and plantation, located in the lower Shenandoah River valley, it was the estate of the family of Lieut-Col. Nathaniel Burwell (1750-1814). It was also a home for Burwell's cousin Edmund Randolph, who had been United States Attorney General, and later Secretary of State under George Washington. George Burwell (1799-1873) inherited the estate in 1814 and added a large portico. It served as headquarters for Stonewall Jackson during part of the American Civil War, and was raided and sacked by Union troops during the war.