A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.

Robert Treat Paine Papers, Volume 3


From David Cobb

10 October 1775

From Thomas Greenleaf

15 October 1775
From Abigail Greenleaf
Greenleaf, Abigail RTP
Taunton Octr. 14th 1775 Dear Sir,

The Docter received your letter & Paper and has communicated it to us. We thank you Sir for your care of us but wonder why you have not had a letter which my Aunt Paine wrote about 10 days after you left us. I am very sorry you have reason to complain of being neglected, but think tis not our fault, but we are very unlucky our letters don’t reach you. This I write intending to send it to Providence to my Brother & get him to Put it in the Post office there that we may have another chance this week to inform you of the health of your Family. We have all got bad colds. Tis I believe oweing to the many sudden changes of weather from heat to cold which we have had, & I hope we shall none of us be sick. We all attended the funeral of Mr. Cobbs little son! last thursday. It lay sick of the camp distemper but six days. It was as fine a child of five months old as I ever saw. The Poor Parents are in great distress at the loss of it. Your other Freinds here are all well. The Docter wrote this week & inclosed it to Coll: Warren who, we since hear is absent. My Aunt Paine wrote last Sunday night, and directed to Pappa. He, we also hear is absent upon a committee about Salt Petre somewhere but, where I can’t learn. I am very sorry that they both miscarry. Pappa & Mamma both left us the monday after you and we have not seen them since. I hope soon to hear that they have got a home for us to repair to. My Brother Continues at Providence yet, is much Pleased to find he can release some of the burden, from your Family by taking care of himself. Before this reaches you doubtless you will have a Particular account of Wallaces cannonading the Poor sick town 97of Bristol. We were a good deal alarmed at the roaring of the cannon which lasted an hour & a half with some little intermission. They shook our house. We then Supposed it to be at Newport. They are in the utmost distress there. Women & Children fled from their homes into some remote corner to save their lives. I hope this inhumane Wallace will not long be Suffered thus to tyranize over us but we must continue to trust in that being who rules all events, that he will not Suffer them to land & ravage the Country.

How Sir, did you receive the news of the Perfidy & treachery of Docter Church? Was it not in Silent astonishment? It will I believe, bow down the grey hairs of his Father & Mother, with Sorrow to the grave. His Poor wife too, is an object of the Pitty, & Compassion of every one. She still Loves him, tho, he has treated her in so base a manner. If she looses her senses I think twill not be strange; but it will be melancholy.

We all wish you could send us some news that will Soften the Presant appearance of the approaching winter to us, that are not acquainted with the secrets of state it wears an exceeding gloomy aspect. I wish and dont doubt, but that, you can see so much farther than we, that your eyes are blessed & hearts cheered with the bright shining’s of the Sun upon this American world; thro, the dark heavy cloud that now hangs over us, to me, every thing looks gloomy. The very trees of the wood seem to hang their head & drop thier Leaves as if to mourn the hapless fate of this once happy Land, but I still hope, that something in the Providence of that God who, will ever Protect the righteous will turn up to Prevent the coming of the twenty thousand men & four men of war which we have heard so much of. If they should come, it seems as if destruction was before us & nigh at hand.

My Aunt Paine Sends her love to you. Cant write now, as tis Saterday morning but will soon. Your dear little ones are all well. Charly the little stranger grows finely now; tho, it has been so sick that its life was despaired of since you saw him. He is very well at Presant, & much handsomer than he was. Every body says he looks like his Pappa he has his eyes & nose. When do you expect to return to us? I hope before spring tho, sometimes I am ready to think, you will spend the winter in a warmer Climate. Aunt Eunice is not able to write, having a bad cold I beleive but sends love & good wishes.

We have no news Publick nor Private but what you will hear ere long. Seth is digging the Potatoe & thinks he shall have a good crop.


I should be very Proud of a line from your hand Sir when you find leasure & hope before I write again to find some freindly hand to whet my knife or mend my Pen. I am much ashamed of the writing, but could not let the oppertunity of sending to Providence slip for the want of a good Pen. May heaven Preserve you from every evil, and direct you in the Paths of true wisdom is dear Sir, the hearty Prayer of your most obliged & dutifull Neice

Abigail Greenleaf

RC ; addressed: “For Honble. Robert Treat Paine, Esqr. Philadelphia”; endorsed.