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Robert Treat Paine Papers, Volume 1


From Samuel Haven

11 July 1749

From Samuel Haven

12 August 1749
From Israel Cheever
Cheever, Israel RTP
Wrentham1 July the 27th, 1749. Dear Sir,

I Rec'd yours dated July the 21 &c.,2 at the opening of which, I was not a little suprized; to see your sweet Name, affixed at the bottom of the Lines, wrote to me; to tell the truth, I could hardly Keep in my jumping heart, for it skipped like Lambs upon little Hills, but when I cam to understand the weight and solidity of the same, the wings of my Enthusiastick flame dropt off, and I was then so calm and sedate, that I 053could read with tears in my Eyes for desire of seeing the author of it and the weighty matter of them &c.

I Would enform you, that I am in usual Health blessed be the God of Salvation &c., and that I am here (in eremo subobscura3) have not the fashonable People of the world to converse with, nor no sweet Chum to confabulate with upon a Bed of Ease &c. But I cant help letting you Know one thing, and that is I have no bosom friends in the Night upon my Lodgings. You may give a very good guesse at wt. I mean. But for fear you should be put to trouble (Bed buggs). But you may take it for granted there's Chipping squirrils, moscatoes, bats and Night Hawks anough to make it up &c. But not to dwell upon the Inferior Part of the creation any Longer. I want not food nor Drinkables, we have got considerable Spaw water4 here, in these tents of Kedar.5 And as for my Brood, they are like to grow, by feeding of them with tender meat. In Number I have had thirty seven, but I have constantly but about 17. How many more are a coming out of the Eggshels I know not, some of these have not yet got them off their Backs. I have about eight which read in the way Cap: Hoar told off, and some rather better.

But must not go on here; but with wt. words shall I conclude my letter, to my, Dear Chum, with whom I have layn warm so many Nights &c.

Can't we say, Sr., as the Royal Psalmist, (in some measure) did, By the Rivers, there we sat down, yea, we Wept when we Remembred our parting, (putting our parting for Sion).6 If there were a Chrystal casement in my Breast, thro' which you might espy the inward motions and Palpatations of my heart, then you would be certified of the Sincerity of my heart in all these affirmations. And may it be with you, once my dear chum, Now my absent friend, as it was with those Trees, Jotham speaks of in the 9 chap. of Judg: 8 Verse, (he represents them speaking as men) &c.7 The Olive tree will not leave his fatness, nor the figtree his sweetness, nor the Vine his wine &c., I am apt to think the meaning of which is obvius to you as what I entend by them is Plain, by the following conclusion.

The good Affection you bear unto all Kinds of polite Literature accompanied with your genuine Inclination thereunto, and in Particular to my wellfare at Present, together with those manifold obligements which your Noble self and (Mr. Freeman to whom I shall write, my Servise to him and all that ask after me &c.) have accumulated upon Me, do incite and encourage me to employ that breath and time, which I would have spent 59in Expressions of Gratitude and observance, to beg your good nature to increase the causes of it, and do hereupon beseech you to accept the tender of my regards in this small Present, to grant that your Protection and the Author your Pardon; with favourable Permission to stile himself, Your most Humble servant and well wisher &c. &c.,


PS, The Reason of my writing so close is for want of Paper, and as for enlardging not is for want of more time for the Barrer is in a great Hurry. Please to commit these to the flames &c., you may depend another from me shortly. My Servise to Mr. Palmer 8 & his wife & Mr. Cranch.

RC ; addressed: "To Mr. Robert Treat Paine att Boston Living in School House Lane QDC"; endorsed.


Cheever had taken a teaching position at Wrentham which Shipton mis-identifies as Waltham (Sibley's Harvard Graduates, 12:363).


Not located.


Hidden in the wilderness.


"By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembred Zion." Psalms 137:1. Water from mineral springs (OED).


Water from mineral springs (OED). Reference to the Biblical tribe of Kedar which lived in the desert in black tents.


Reference to the Biblical tribe of Kedar which lived in the desert in black tents. "By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembred Zion." Psalms 137:1.


Jotham's parable begins "The trees went forth on a time to annoint a king over them, and they said unto the olive-tree, reign thou over us." Judges 9:8.


Joseph Palmer (1716–1788) and his wife Mary (d. 1790), the sister of Richard Cranch, were to became close friends and business associates of RTP and his family. They had arrived in Boston with Cranch in 1746 from England. As a brigadier general during the Revolution, Palmer commanded the Oct. 1777 attack on British-occupied Newport. The failure of the expedition resulted in Palmer's court martial, but a Continental Congress inquest under RTP cleared him of culpability (DAB).