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Robert Treat Paine Papers, Volume 3

From Thomas Greenleaf
Greenleaf, Thomas RTP
Providence, Oct. 15th. 1775 Sir,

Being leisurly this Evening I embrace the opportunity to Write a Line to my Honored Uncle.

When you left us I had determined to spend the Winter at Philadelphia upon the strength of the Prospect for Employment represented by Mr. Collins. A strenuous Inclination still remains, as I conceive of no prospect that our Property and former Situation will soon be restored, and Wages at the southward for a Journeyman Printer being vastly greater than in these parts, besides many other Motives make me the more zealous to remove thither, least I should and find no Business. Shall esteem it a peculiar favor if you would make some Enquiry whether the Printers, or some one of them, are not in want of Assistance. I should also be glad to know the Expence that would attend Enoculation for the Small Pox.

I should not have presumed to desire this Favor of a person in your Situation, Sir, unto whom I am greatly Obligated already, had I other Acquaintance in the City. However, not scrupling but you will Pardon the Presumption, and satisfy the desire, shall wait until I hear from you.

Dr. Franklin, I hear, is on a tour to our Head-Quarters at Cambridge, &c. I suppose his Sister, Mrs. Mecom is at Philadelphia.1

It will be needless for me to Write long Paragraphs of News not knowing how nor when this will be Conveyed. Newport, Bristol, &c. Receive Daily Insults from Naval Force, which has been Augmented within these few Days to fifteen sail. After they arrived they began soon 99to Demand Stock from the neighbouring Towns, at Bristol in Particular, and in Consequence of their not Satisfying a Demand for three or four Hundred Sheep, &c. the Town was fired upon from the Ships under the Command of Captain Wallace, which were arrayed front of the Town, for two or three Hours; finally an Inhabitant, by hailing had Admittance on Board, who, to stop their Infernal Cruelty Promised and Delivered them forty Sheep. The Firing then Ceased. Three Geese only fell Victims to Wallace’s Despotic Power with all his Thunder Bolts, Damaged but few Houses.

Two large Row Gallies have within these few Days been launched in this Town, one Seventy odd, and the other 80 odd Keel, carrying between Thirty and Forty Oars each. It is hoped the plans these kind of Vessels are made to execute will be gloriously succeeded, as the Enemy by Water have it in their Power to do us far greater Mischief than those by Land at present.

Our Taunton Friends were well the last time I heard from thence, which was last Week. My Father has had no Place appointed him, as I have heard, by our Government, which makes me very anxious. Honored Sir, Your obliged Nephew,

Thomas Greenleaf

Eighteenth Instant, I have just Received Letters from my Sisters at Taunton bitterly Complaining that they have not Conveyed one Line to you since the last Session, notwithstanding the great pains has been been taken, and Inclosing two Letters which they beg’d I would not fail to Inclose in the first Mail for the Southward, which two with my own is reduced to No. 1. S.Y.H.S.,


RC ; addressed: “For The Honorable Robert Treat Paine, Esqr. Philadelphia Prov 12”; endorsed.


Jane (Franklin) Mecom (1712–1794) was the youngest and closest sister of Benjamin Franklin and the widow of Edward Mecom, a poor saddler of Boston. See The Letters of Benjamin Franklin & Jane Mecom, ed. Carl Van Doren (Princeton,1950).