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Robert Treat Paine Papers, Volume 3

From David Cobb
Cobb, David RTP
My Dear Sir, Boston June 10th 1776

The succession of Occurrences are so rapid in our Hemisphere, that it is difficult to relate what happen’d but six days since; I shall, however endeavour to give you what I can at present recollect, and for the future you may expect a weekly Journal, provided the oendemial desease of my habit don’t prevent it.

This day week was bro’t into Dartmô a Jamaica Sugar Ship containing 303 hhds. of Sugar, 90 Punchions of Rum, Cotton &c.; last Thursday another was bro’t1 into Cape Ann with 150 hhds. of Sugar, 100 Punchions of Rum & 20,000 Dollars in Cash. These Ships were taken sent out from Philedelphia, one command’d by Adam’s.2 Quere, whether the distinction between British & West India property can be determ’d. I wish I was a Judge of Admiralty for their sakes, or rather, I wish their was no distinction at all. Pray haisten that glorious Day when we shall no longer continue one of the Circulating Orbs of the System, but like our predecessor, the Sun, be fix’d in the Center, shine with unborrow’d Lustre and kindly defuse the Rays of our Influence upon the Worlds around us. You have the unanimous consent of every Town in this Colony for Independency. The Yankee Hero, a privateer Brigg mounting 14 Carriage Guns, own’d by Tracey’s, Jackson &c. of Newbury, was taken last friday afternoon by the Milford Man of War after an engagement of 3 glasses3; the same afternoon two of our privateers bro’t into Marblehead a Ship from Glasgow with 100 Officers & Soldiers of one of the Highland Regiments; she mounted 46 pounders but never fir’d a Gun. Grand Troops. Their was firing below in the Bay yesterday, but we have heard no perticulars.

I receiv’d your Letter4 last night & am suppriz’d you don’t know J. Russell Auctioneer, an old acquaintance of yours; I suppose he wants nothing more than the Priveledge of Venduing the Continental Captures etc. Their was great complaint last week at Beverly for want of a proper Vendue Master, where one Bond was employ’d by the Agents for that purpose, in the Sale of a Cargo of one of the Continental prizes; a Number of Gentn. went from this Town as purchasers, who came home very much disgustid from the Method of his conducting the Sale; so that I leave it with you whether a Man of Mr. Russell’s known Qualifications as an Auctioneer, seperate from your Inclinations to serve him, it wou’d not be 221more for the Intrest of the Continent to give him a Commission for a Joint Agent or a Continental Auctioneer to sell under their Direction, and allow him such a Commission for doing the business as shall be tho’t adequate to his services.

I return’d last Wednesday from my excursion to Taunton where our Families & Friends are all well. For the conveniency of getting along I have taken a Surgeon birth of one of the Regiments stationed in this Town, (I don’t mean ever to follow out of Town) and if their is any thing in my way, or any post of any kind that don’t oblige me to go out of Town, that you can git for me, better than a Regimental Surgeon, you’ll oblige me in doing it. My Friend Adieu

David Cobb

RC ; endorsed.


Manuscript repeats “was bro’t.”


The Reynolds was taken into Dartmouth (reported as the Vineyard in Thomas Cushing to RTP, below) and the Lady Juliana was taken into Cape Anne. They were captured by the privateers Congress (Capt. George McAroy) and Chance (Capt. John Adams) (Naval Documents of the American Revolution, 5:386, 450).


The Yankee Hero, commanded by Capt. James Tracy of Newburyport, Mass., was captured by H.M.S. Milford on June 6, 1776, and taken into Boston Harbor (Naval Documents of the American Revolution, 5:446–449). Three glasses equals one and one-half hours.


Not located.