Carter Braxton seeking advice from his uncle, Philadelphia, 1776

Contributed by Maine Historical Society


Carter Braxton (1736-1797) was a very wealthy Virginia landowner from an early age. In 1761 he was appointed to the Virgina House of Burgesses, and throughout his tenure, he also served as the county delegate to every session of the Virgina Convention, was sheriff of King William County, the colonel of the county's militia, and a vestry of a nearby church. Braxton took office in the Continental Congress in 1775 following the unexpected death of a fellow Virginian delegate.

The letter's recipient, Braxton's uncle Landon Carter (1710-1778), was also a wealthy land and slave owner in Virginia. Son of Robert "King" Carter, Landon is known for keeping a well organized diary describing upper-class colonial life. At the time of this letter, he was retired to his mansion in Richmond County, Virginia, dubbed Sabine Hall.

In the letter, written from Philadelphia on April 14, 1776, Braxton is wearily asking his uncle for advice. Braxton, a British sympathizer until the war, fears that he was "improperly called" by the colonies to support the revolution, and began seeking out advice from his friends and family. He believes that the American army is too weak to separate itself from Britain, but concedes that France will defend them if they choose to take part in the revolutionary "experiment." The letter continues to explain Braxton's frustration and nervousness with the thought of the colonies seceding, albeit he understands it might be a future necessity.

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About This Item

  • Title: Carter Braxton seeking advice from his uncle, Philadelphia, 1776
  • Creator: Carter Braxton
  • Creation Date: 1776-04-14
  • Subject Date: 1776-04-14
  • Location: Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, PA
  • Media: Ink on paper
  • Dimensions: 22.7 cm x 18.2 cm
  • Local Code: Coll. 420, Box 58/4
  • Collection: John S. H. Fogg autograph collection
  • Object Type: Text

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For more information about this item, contact:

Maine Historical Society
485 Congress Street, Portland, ME 04101
(207) 774-1822 x230

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