A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.

Robert Treat Paine Papers, Volume 1

To James Allen, Joseph Palmer, and Richard Cranch
RTP Allen, James Palmer, Joseph Cranch, Richard
Newburn in Nuce River North Carolina March 1 1750/51 Gentlemen,

After due Compliments to you all I shall proceed to give you a Summary of my Proceedings hitherto. I sat Sail from Boston February 5th. stood down the South Channel cold weather &c., had some very Bad Weather in My Passage. On Thursday Morning the 14th. day we Anchored in Bacon Island Road1 there waited for a Pilot to carry us up the Country.2 I understood it was very dull Times, the Produce of the Country being exceeding Scarce. I have not Time to describe Bacon Island Rhoad to you but shall only say the like I neer see before, calm one Hour Hurricane the next. I waited till 20th before I could get a Pilot then we satt out for Newburn, for I could not learn wch. River had least Vessells. I can't now tell you the Fatigue I underwent in getting along, however the 24th I went ashore about half way up the River & Rid about to Miles over to Core Sound3 to the Collector's to Enter in. Arrived at Newburn the 27th. Day. Found many Vessells there, & upon the whole I learn, that these Late Hurricanes have very Much hurt the Country so that Provisions are exceeding Scarce & likewise the that there are so many Trees Blown down in the Woods that it is with difficulty they can make Tar, & that there are very many Vessells from New England131in for Tarr Pitch &c., & Many large Vessells from Europe. Goods of almost all Sorts are plenty. I suppose there is 20 or 30,000 Bushells of Salt here in Town so that many Vessells have sold Salt for 1/ Proc. equall to I/ L.M. NE:4 on the other Hand Tarr has been Sold for 50/ 55/ & I Believe some for three Pounds pr. Bll. which Price will answer our Ends as well as Any, Provided we can sell it proprotionably at Boston but there lays the Difficulty, however, & in Order to prepare the way let it be known about that all the Vessells that are loading for Europe (of which there are a vast Many) gave that Price for Tar 4£ 10 and 5£ for Pitch 3£ to for Turpentine. But for comfort to us I hope not to give above 50/ for any of mine. Proc: Money is very Plenty at Newburn & in good Credit so that I hope to turn my Cargo into Money soon but I fear the Voyage will be longer than we proposed. You may depend upon it I shall let no opportunity slip of persuing the Good of the Voyage. The Heavens above & the Earth underneath Appear very much like April in NE.

Upon the Whole Gentlemen I do not think we shall gain much Money by the Voyage but then I sincerely think we shall lose none. But expect An Opportunity of writing about a fortnight from the Date hereof by which Time I shall be able to inform you more. Remember me well yrs. &c.,


LbC ; addressed: "To Messrs. Jas. Allen Jos: Palmer & Richard Cranch pr. Capt. Ling."5


Properly Beacon Island Roads, an anchorage in Pamlico Sound at Beacon Island, 3.7 miles west of the village of Ocracoke (Roger L. Payne, Place Names of the Outer Banks [Washington, N.C., 1985], 32–33).


RTP kept marine journals, which are in the Paine Papers, of four of the voyages he made during the years 1751 to 1754. In the journal of this first voyage to North Carolina on the sloop Success he describes his arrival: "Thursday Feby. 14. Fine Day an easy Breese at NE; pass'd along by Cape Hattaras about Noon it is long low Land with low Shrubby Bushes, no ways Remarkable for Anything, saving Barreness of Aspect, with respect to which it looks as tho' Cain had been there and Entailed a Curse upon it and founded the Empire of Desolation and Horror upon it; and one Red Sand Hill North. About I o'Clock we passed thro' the Shoals, there being a pretty large Swell the Breakers Run high; we struck 6 or 8 Times, altho we had between 1 1/2, 2 and 3 Fathom of Water which made strong Knees Smite and strong Hearts tremble; our Course thro' was SW by S, giving Birth to one Shoal between us and the Cape, our distance from Cape about two Miles SE; we had a leading Breese all the PM steering w by S and WSW about Sun Set we made Ocracock Island and the Vessells laid at Anchor at Beacon Island Road but not having sun Enough to go over the Barr we stood off and on all Night.".


A lagoon in Carteret County which extends south from Pamlico Sound (Payne, Place Names of the Outer Banks, 60)

132 4.

Lawful money was defined by the Massachusetts General Court in Jan. 1742 to be coined silver of sterling alloy, at the rate of 6s. 8d. per ounce Troy weight (The Acts and Resolves, Public and Private, of the Province of the Massachusetts Bay, 21 vols. [Boston, 1869–1924 hereafter Mass., Province Laws, 2:1083).


Capt. Ling arrived in Boston from South Carolina during the week of Apr. 20 (Boston Gazette, Apr. 23, 1751).

To James Allen, Joseph Palmer, and Richard Cranch
RTP Allen, James Palmer, Joseph Cranch, Richard
Newburn on Nuce River North Carolina March 12th. 1750/1 Gentlemen,

Gentlemen, I wrote you a Letter Per Capt. Ling dated the 1st. Instant in which I informed you of my Passage & Arrival & some hints of the Hardness of Times here the Scarcity & dearness of Tar &c. & the plenty of all Goods, since which Time I have had more Time to look around me & the more I look the more I wonder, a Country equally bad upon all accounts I believe the Heavens don't Cover; but I shall Mention only what Concerns Merchandize; Tarr very scarce & dear, none of the Vessells as I can learn have gotten Tarr under 6/8 and many have given 7/4 Pitch 12/ and What is still worse a Load cannot be gotten under a Month or six Weeks some say two Months, from date hereof; I have sold nothing to tell off since; but could have sold off all my Rum at 3/ but cared not sell at so low a Rate without a parcell of English Goods with it. On Thursday the 7th. Instant I went to Bath Town on Pamplico River in order to receve some Money that Mr. Allen gave me an order to Mr. Rosette for being a Debt collected by him from one Clarck but said Clarck is dead & worth nothing & all that has been collected or ever will be is Twenty Pounds Old Ten., wch. I received.

I found Tar to be cheaper at this River than in Nuce. I visited all the Merchants & offered my Cargo to sale but some did not want to buy & others had neither Money nor Tar to buy with & so I could do nothing with them. However I made a Verbal Bargain with Mr. Duncan1 (brother to Mr. Duncan in Boston) to this purpose viz. That in Consideration I would take in 200 Blls. of Tarr for him upon Freight he would employ a cousin of his that lives up the River some distance to Engage Pitch & Tarr to the No. of 700 Blls. to be gotten Ready with the utmost dispatch, wch. he thought might be in abt. 6 Weeks & he thought it might be gotton for 6/ pr. B11. & perhaps 5/4 & Proc. Money to be Engag'd for it which I was to Raise by cruising from Creek to Creek & making the best of my Cargo, but he expected to hear from his Cousin speedily & would133let me know this Week when he should be over to Court wch. begins this day & then next week comes the Assembly during all wch. Time there will be a vast Concourse of People from all Parts of the Country in which Time I hope to sell off some Goods. This day I had an offer of An other Nature viz. Capt. Sim: Wade Come over from Pamplico and offered me a Load of Tar to be ready the 15th. Instt. or the Demurage to be pd. wch. I could make to appear & he to be pd. in New England in Cash at 6/8 pr. Barrell the Money to be paid in a Certain Number of Days after the Arrival of the Vessell, but as yet I have made no bargaind with him being afraid to Engage so much Money. In short I never was at such a Loss in My Life, I don't know who are my Freinds & who my Foes.

As for the Cargo, I doubt I shall never sell it all for the first Cost & some not at all. I can buy many Goods cheeper in the Stores than they are charged in the Invoice; however I shall do something or another speedily if I can so as not to destroy all hopes of Profit by the Length of the Voyage. If I can do nothing better I believe I can do this viz. Take in a Load on Freight, wch. If I can get it in any Reasonable Time I believe will clear the Charges, & then sell as much of the Cargo as I can & bring it home in Tallow at 3/ old Ten. Deers Skins 1/4 Proc. &c. If I can get them. Corn is Twenty Shill. pr. Bushll. Pork 20i per. Barrell Beef 13g. Love nor Money wont purchase a Patatoe or any other sort of sawce nor a Fowl. Bacon /8d per. lb. I can't so much as get Black sand there are Vessells here that come lading'd? that have been 4 months in the River & Expect to sail in about 1 month more. I long to gett out of this fagg End of Nature. I don't much Expect you will have an Opportunity of writing to me, if you should so as you can think I shall not be come away let me know yr. whole minds. Remr. me to all Freinds &c.,


LbC ; addressed: To Messrs. Jo. Allen Jos: Palmer & Ric: Cranch."


Abraham Duncan of North Carolina was a brother of Robert Duncan (ca. 1702–1752), merchant of Boston. Between Apr. 15 and May 18 he provided RTP with 2890 barrel staves, 21 pounds of tallow, 2 barrels of pork, 3 1/2 bushels of corn, 2 barrels of pitch, and 177 barrels of tar, per a receipt signed by Duncan's cousin George Duncan (RTP Papers; Essex Institute Historical Collections 86[1950]: 255; Thwing Index).