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Robert Treat Paine Papers, Volume 1

To Edward Salter
RTP Salter, Edward
Ocacoe Barr Novr. 11. 17521 Sr.,

I this day heard by Capt. Arthur (who had the News by a Vessell from Boston) that Mr. Snoad is dead & buried; in consequence of wch. I have sent you my power of attorney, wch. I could not get acknowledg'd before a Justice which you need not let be known. I have a Case in Mr.180Veals2 hands against Abra: Sheppard, which if recovered and he be willing to pay to you pray recieve. The News of Mr. Snoads Death Affected me much, Yours &c.,


LbC ; addressed: "To Mr. Edward Salter Mercht. at Bath."


RTP sailed from North Carolina on Nov. 13, 1752, on board the sloop Ranger, John Simpson, master. In his diary entry of Nov. 27, he says: This Day 2 oClock P M we anchored in Boston harbour after a very tedious passage of 11 days to the Vineyard, in which Time we had nothing but Gales of Wind from all Quarters and very high Seas, having been absent my self from Boston, ten months lacking Eleven days. I find my Freinds all well." By the end of Dec. the cargo had been disposed of, and RTP agreed on Dec. 20, with "Messrs Freeman and Leddall to fit me out on a Voyage for Carolina and Phyall Fayal and had Orders to look out a Vessell."


Jeremiah Vail.

From Joseph Palmer
Palmer, Joseph RTP
Germantown, Janry: 5th. 1753. Sr.,

1 your favour when you left Boston 2 was

£82.11.0 Old Tenor
I paid for Caseing your Desk and Book Case  6.--
£76.11.0 O.T. Rest Due

I shou'd be glad to have it Settled & pay you before you go another Voyage in Order to which if you can get any thing that Suits you at Mr. Woodwards,3 Mr. Allens, or a pr. Buckles at Mr. Olivers,4 or can draw upon us for Cards, it will be very agreeable to yr. hble. Servt. who wou'd rejoice to see your Shadow once more at Germantown.

So much may suffice on that Head. I shall therefore without ceremony pass on in the next place saying that a Gent: of your taste, after so long an absence will doubtless be enquiring after News & I rejoice at the Opportunity of gratifying your curiosity before you've opportunity to ask it; which I shall relate in Short as follows—Soon after our last interview at Boston, viz On the 10th Decr. O.S. we set out in Search of the N W Passage, & after the various & almost infinite Vicissitudes incident to such undertakings, wch. wod. be too tedious to relate, we happily discover'd a passage between two high Lands or Mountains which were cover'd wth. Trees of low Stature. Thro' this passage we Sail'd under a Reef'd Mainsail, 'tho not without imminent danger, for our Vessel Struck181on a hard Gravel which hazarded the loss of our Rudder, but we happily got safe thro' this narrow passage, & narrow indeed it was, for as we passed thro' we cou'd plainly discover people on each side of us, which stood & gazed at us as 'tho they had never seen a Vessel there before, as 'tis likely they never had, but we soon left them to the conjectures of their own Minds wondering who or what we were; & after we left them we had in general fair Weather, 'till we arriv'd safe here on the 21st Decr: N.S. 1752. without the loss of a Man. As to the particulars of this Voyage you may expect it in some future time when I've more leisure; but I cou'd not forbear sending you this Short acctt. per first opportunity because the discovery of the N W Passage has engagd. the attention of the European Courts for several yrs. past.5

If you shou'd see Mr. Jno. Franklin6 you may acquaint him with this Affair because I hear that his Bror: Ben: is about to send a Vessel upon this Expedition,7 & if our Journals can be of any service to him he may commd. 'em at pleasure. You may let him know that this passage bears about N W by N for a Cape call'd Phillips's Head which was discover'd some yrs. since. I remain Sr. Yr. Assured friend &c. &c. &c.


RC ; addressed: "For Capt. Robert-Treat Paine at Mr. Elliots In Boston"; endorsed.


Text missing because of hole in manuscript.


Text missing because of hole in manuscript.


Not identified.


Andrew Oliver (1731–1799) was a jeweler early in his career (Sibley's Harvard Graduates, 12:456).


This description may have been a flight of fancy intended to amuse RTP, for no other evidence of such a voyage has been found.


John Franklin (1690–1756), brother of Benjamin Franklin, was along with Palmer one of the founders of the glass factory in the part of Braintree that came to be known as Germantown because of the large number of German artisans employed there (Franklin, Papers, 1:171n., 4:65n).


Benjamin Franklin assisted some Philadelphia merchants and others to raise money to purchase the ship Argo. Charles Swaine commanded this ship on two voyages to the coast of Labrador in 1753–1754, in a fruitless attempt to find the Northwest Passage (ibid., 4:380–384; Ernest S. Dodge, Northwest by Sea [New York, 1961], 211–220).