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Robert Treat Paine Papers, Volume 2

To Eliphalet Dyer
RTP Dyer, Eliphalet
Boston Decr. 24th. 1760 Sr.,

After my Compliments to you & yr. Lady I inform you that by close watching I got the first Volumns of Bacon's abridgments1 from Mr. Skinners2 Library who is lately dead.B 3 They are out of Print & so esteemed as to fetch £8.10.0 Ster. in London.C A The method they took to sell his Law book was to get them priz'd by a Stationer who prized 'em all at the Sterling Cost.B C These are as good as new, 'tis a shocking price for three small folios but I gave it, & so did a brother Lawyer for a set not long since & I refused 40 dollars for these because I expected you chose to have 'em which if you do you are welcome to 'em at £11.6.8. Law, Money which they come to from selling? sterling, but tho I have laid out the money for them yet if you think it too much they will sell as it happens, & so it will be no damage equall to the safisfaction of giving you the Refusal of 'em. I shall reserve 'em till I hear from you & pray it may be soon. The 4th Volume is out & may be had at a much cheeper rate. Give me leave to add a word relating to my Land. I wish a chap could be found for it even tho on credit & good security. I flatter my self you Will not be wanting if any thing should offer.

LbC ; addressed: "To Eliphalet Dyer Esqr. at Windham."


Matthew Bacon, A new abridgement of the law (London, 1736, and later editions).


William Skinner (1707/8–1760) was a Boston lawyer (Sibley's Harvard Graduates, 9:98–99). RTP 202noted in his cashbook that he purchased the following volumes on Nov. 2, 1760, from Mrs. Lydia Skinner: Bacon's Abridgt. 3 Vols. (Matthew Bacon, A new abridgement of the law, 5 vols. London, 1759–1766, 1762–1766), 32s.; Boothe on Real Actions (G. Booth, Nature and Practice of Real Actions in their Writs and Processes. 1701, 1704), 3s.; New Nata. Brevium (Anthony Fitzherbert, The new Natura brevium of the most revered judge, Mr. Anthony Fitz-herbert. Many edns. London, 1652–1755), 6s.10d.; Doctor & Student (Christopher Saint German, Doctor and student: or Dialogues between a doctor of divinity, and a student in the laws of England. 15th ed. London, 1751; copy now at Mass. Hist. Soc.), 5s.1d.; Molloy de Jure Maritimo (C. Molloy, De Jure Maritimo et Navali; or Treatise of Affaires Maritime and of Commerce. many edns.), 5s.4d.; Naval Trade & Commerce 2 Vols. (General Treatise of Naval Trade and Commerce as Founded on the Laws and Statutes of this Realm. 1753), 10s.8d.; and Worrals Law Catalogue (John Worrall, Bibliotheca legum. London, published annually beginning 1732), 11s.3d.


The superscript letters probably indicate changes in the organization of the letter by RTP before he sent the fair copy to Dyer.

From Abel Willard
Willard, Abel RTP
Lancaster January 13 1761 Sr.,

I Recd. yours by Capt. Richardson & the Note Inclosed1 & herewith Send Full & for the loan of the Book shall expect (after you have Settled the Affair with de la Vertu2 for till then Mechanism aside) a drill Plow in miniature or Such Directions that Aaron may be able to build one. You gave me a hint in your Letter of an Intercourse cum fratre3 de la Vertu. You had better Said nothing or Said more for it was just enough to Sett me alonging to hear the whole. For I fear O. Bob. O. de la Vertu me Occidisti4 will be the Language of your Soul if Success attends not on thy long & deep laid Schemes. Valeo de Scabie. Quare Gaudeo & valde gavisus Sum5. I am yr. Friend & hble. Servt.


N.B. Send me Rasilas6 if you have it at home by my Brother the Bearer therof.

I have got a Power of Attorney from Mr. Haskell but it is only a common one which I believe will do if not I will get another & send it in Short time.

RC ; addressed: "To Mr. Robert Treat Paine in Boston"; endorsed: "Abel Willard Jany. 1761."


Not located.


An unidentified woman with whom RTP corresponded. Judging from the comment in this letter, she may have been the E. Clark, probably of Boston, who appears twice in RTP's diary, both times in coded entries: July 31, 1760: "About this time contracted an acquaintance with E. Clark";203Dec. 29, 1760: "This night owned my mind to E. Clark." She does not appear again in either the diary or correspondence.

There are three items, all undated, addressed to I'Vertue in the Paine Papers, none of them published in this edition. One is a undeciphered coded letter, one is titled "To l'Vertue on human Uncertainty," and the other is "To I'Vertue on the Death of her sister."


With the brother of.


You have slain me.


I am well from the scabies. Wherefore I rejoice and have rejoiced very much.


Samuel Johnson, Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia (London, 1759).