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Letter book, 1746 and 1751-1773, of James Abercromby, of London, England, serving as agent for the colonies of Virginia and North Carolina, containing approximately 360 letters written by Abercromby between 13 July 1751 and 1 March 1773. Abercromby represented the political and business interests of the colonies in the British government and with British merchants and these letters comment on those interests. Abercromby's correspondence is with the governors and lieutenant governors of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and the Bahamas, with merchants of Virginia, and with friends of Abercromby's in Great Britain and in the colonies. Correspondents include John Blair, Robert Dinwiddie, Francis Fauquier, James Glen, Gabriel Johnston, and Samuel Swann. Letterbook also contains seven documents concerning two courts-martial held in 1746 on board the transport ship Winchester at which Abercromby served as judge advocate of General James St. Clair of the British army
Member of
  • Accessioned
  • Described
  • Revised
Additional physical form
Also available on microfilm (Misc. Reel 263).
Biographical or historical data
James Abercromby was born in 1707 in Tullibody, Clackmannanshire, Scotland, to Alexander Abercromby (ca. 1671-1755) and Mary Duff Abercromby. He attended the Westminster School, the the University of Leyden from 1724 to 1725. He studied law at Lincoln's Inn and was admitted to the bar in 1728. In November 1730, Abercromby was appointed Attorney-General and Advocate-General of the Court of Vice Admiralty for South Carolina. He arrived in South Carolina in 1731. Abercromby sat in the colony's Commons House from 1739 to 1742 and in 1744. He returned to England in 1744. Abercromby was appointed Judge-Advocate for "all forces employed in an expedition to North America," which did not get to North America, but attacked the Brittany coast of France. North Carolina appointed Abercromby its Colonial Agent in 1748 and he served until 1758. Virginia appointed him its Colonial Agent in 1754 and he served until 1774. Abercromby also served as the unofficial agent for the Bahamas for a few years in the late 1750s. Abercromby served as deputy Auditor-Gernal of Plantations from 1757 to 1765, and was a member of the British Parliament from 1761 to 1768. Unmarried, he died by November 1775.
Cataloging source
Citation source
John C. Van Horne and George Reese, eds. THE LETTER BOOK OF JAMES ABERCROMBY, COLONIAL AGENT, 1751-1773. (Richmond : Virginia State Library and Archives, 1991). Published version does not contain the court martial records
Form designation
Letter book
Item located in oversize
Item located in oversize
  • The Library of Virginia
Immediate source of acquisition
Virginia Daughters of the American Revolution
Type of unit
v. (428 leaves)

Library Locations

    • Library of VirginiaBorrow it
      800 East Broad Street, Richmond, VA, 23219, US
      37.5415632 -77.4360805
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