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Robert Treat Paine Papers, Volume 1

To Stephen Woolley
RTP Woolley, Stephen
Boston March 25th. 1753 Brother Wooley,1

Since I see you last at Philadelphia, I have been constantly Engag'd with heats & colds, Storms & Tempests, but amidst all my Fatigues & hurries I have never forgotton my Freinds, but have often thought of you with a great deal of Satisfaction & desire. I have never have had any perticular Oppertunity of writing to you, till now. Mr. Addington Davenport a perticular Freind of mine is travailling that Way an acquaintance wth. whom I doubt not will be very Agreable to you as he is a Gentleman of great Ingenuity. Pray Remember me to all acquaintance & tell Mrs. Read that I have not forgott the Care she took of me, give my Sincere Respects & Service to Dr. Bond & Family & Complements to all the Ladies I have had Any Acquantance. I am bound to Sea very soon but hope in the Fall if possible to visit the City of Brotherly Love, I never think of Philadelphia without a vast deal of pleasure, I had some Acquaintance there wch. I believe I never shall forget. Excuse my Brevity & assure yr. Self that I am yr. Loving Brother very Freind & humble Servt.,


LbC ; addressed: To Dr. Stephen Wooley at Philada. pr. favr. Mr. Davenport."


Stephen Woolley (1724–1776), son of Edmund and Mary (Parsons) Woolley, and nephew of William Parsons, surveyor general of Pennsylvania, was a medical practitioner in Philadelphia (information from Whitfield J. Bell, Jr., former librarian of the American Philosophical Society).

To Miss M. M.
RTP M. M., Miss
April–May? 1753?

As I was musing the Other Night, by my Fire side, & preparing my Body to take that Refreshment which Nature calld aloud for, My Thoughts from thence took Occasion to consider the great difference between our souls & our Bodies, & to ruminate on the hidden Mistery of their Union.1How is it thought I, that so active a Spirit as I find my self posses'd off, should inhabit & be so closely United to a lifeless Lump of Clay. But while I mus'd, My Body doz'd Unable any longer to assist my Mind in its Contemplations left it a Captive to the wild flights of Fancy. My Spirit unincumber'd with my Clayey Tabernacle soon trans-186ported me thro' the Deserts of this lower World, being determin'd if possible by indifatigable searches to explicate that Mistery wch. had so lately ingag'd its attention. In this Rapidity I was hurried over hills & dales, thro' Woods & dismal Swamps till at last I came to a stupenduous Montain, whose vast height was perpetually covered with Ice & Snow. Down its steep sides hung Rocks immensely cragged, upon whose rough Backs the purling Stream was condens'd to solid Cristall. The appearance of such an Obstacle surpriz'd me much, for tho' I had left my Body at rest behind, yet our Fancys frequently represent us incumbred with the difficultys of its Weight. Here then, I stopt with Amazment considering on the insuperable Task before me, but while I was pondering on the easiest way of Ascent, my Ears were saluted with loud acclamations of Joy, & repeated Shouts. Encouraged by this, without more thought I immediately siez'd the craggy Cliffs & fir'd with Intrepedity I climb'd the seemingly unpassable Ledges. The Ice & Snow almost Oerwhelm'd me & I frequently lost my hold & came tumbling Amain; down the dire Cataracts of this horrid place. Almost discorag'd, I had near fainted in my Undertaking but as soon as the Noise of falling Rocks & cakes of Ice and Snow, wch. Echoed from an hundred direful Caverns, had ceas'd their horrid Din, Again the Voice of Gladness, saluted my Ear (which at a distance sounded like some joyfull Acclamations bestow'd on a Heroe in Triumph, for we can only compare our Joy to mortall things). Thus Animated with fresh Vigour & fired with intrepidity inexpressible; I rush'd on, insensible of what hapned till I reach'd the Top of the Mountain. There I beheld some few Scattering Trees oercome with horrid Frost & bowing their hoary heads in reverence to the fleecy snow. I immediately Stretchd myself up & at a distance beheld the Scene of Joy & the Glimring Light was of Service to guide me down the dreadfull Precipice of the mountain. As I approacd still nearer the Joy Encreas'd & fill'd my Soul with Impatience till I arrived near the happy Mansions of peace. Here I stop't to hesitate & sensible I had no commission to pertake such extatic happiness I dar'd approach no nearer, nor had approach'd, but that one from within the Palace beckned to me & with a freindly aspect bid me draw near. I speedily approach'd & at the first View was swallow'd up in Joy. I found my Self arrived at that delightsome place where happy Spirits by various forms, & Angels sometimes put on human Bodies, I percieved that an Experiment of the like Nature was the cause of the Present Transport, & full my View I beheld the object fair as the Moon, bright as the Sun, & comely187as the rising Morn. His Silver Locks adorn'd his beauteous Temples, his Ruddy Cheeks sent forth a fragrance, his countenance was all Chearful yet compos'd & the Viguour of his Eyes declar'd the Soul within. His Neck represented some stately Tower; his Shoulders well set & proportion'd, his Body of a most comely Mold, his Thighs, not brawney & rough as though inur'd to hard ship, but fleshy, well set & of beauteous Shape. His Legs were Nimble & Active, but as his Body was form'd for the tender Endearments of Beauty & not for rugged activity so they were similar to the whole. I could but admire the lovely Form which the Active spirit had taken possession off. It appeared like its inhabitant tainted with no Stain, nor Scar'd with any deformity. Thought I, how happy must these Spirits be who can Inhabit a Body free from mortal Corruptions. I bewaild my own Condition to wm. was alloted a troblesome Fabrick. But while I was intranced in pleasure, veiwing the various feats of Activity & Pastime wth. wch. these Refind spirits divert themselves, Lo! one, who percieving my horrid Form & knowing me not so much as a Candidate for such refind Pastime, speedily shot too the Casement, & hid from my Eyes, what had so long held them fixt & attentive. I can't express the swoon of my Spirits, nor the despair I fell into. In short the shock was too great for even Fancy to sustain. So my Soul meeting such a repulse abroad return'd to bless its own proper charge.

Dft ; addressed: "To Miss M. M. on the following in shorthand: dressing in men's clothes."


The woman to whom RTP addressed this literary exercise was not further identified.