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Robert Treat Paine Papers, Volume 2

To Samuel Eliot
RTP Eliot, Samuel
Boston Jany. 12. 1770 Dear Sr.,

I honestly Confess I feell an Uneasiness of Mind on recollecting my Shameful Neglect of you during yr. Absence wch. is equal to any Punishment yr. Goodness would permit you to inflict on me for my delinquency, but however odd it may seem my neglect the continual & earnest Remembrance I have had of you & my attention to yr. Interest has in great measure prevented my expressing the same to you, for; to have wrote a Small Sing Song Letter of Compliments wod. have in no measure have Comported with the Intentions I had in my Mind when you left us, & the Urgency of my Affairs, living distant from the Center of Intelligence have defeated my design of digesting certain matters that floated in my mind. Nevertheless I frankly confess I should have wrote before & 'tis my Sense of this my duty that induces me now to write tho I can collect nothing worthy yr. perusal which you will not recieve more amply from other hands by this Vessel. You will doubtless hear the Welfare health &c. of the dear Partner of yr. Joys & Sorrows, for some time457after yr. departure She really stood in need of Comfort & Philosophick Assistance to compose her mind. She Now talks & seems to think of nothing but May day the expected period of yr. return, & her very Countenance seems to expresses that line of Pope's "Long as the Night to her Whose Love's away."1 I frequently remind her of that Philosophic text "that they that have Wives should be as tho they had none" & till you have compleated the design of yr. Voyage I recomend the Same to you, so far I mean as relates to anxiety.

Respecting the design of your Voyage, I would feign Say something that might be Serviceable if I knew What, but really matters Seem to be very settled here. I have been in Town some time & have attended a merchants Meeting as it was called, the design of which was to reduce to a compliance to the non Importation Agreement certain Persons as you will see in the Papers who have behaved, I think very inconsistent with the Compliance of Citizens of the members of any Fraternity, the affair has made great noise, I was sorry to see so Small Proportion in the Meeting of those who could be called Merchants or Traders, unless you call tradesmen such, however it seemed to me, that the Merchants of more note who did not attend were desirous that Something might be effected tho they were not fond of going into those measures which the Urgency of the Affair Seem'd to make necessary. The whole meeting went in a Body to Wm. Jacksons, to desire a compliance but he gave them evasive answers, & they have deferd the Consideration of it to next Tuesday, but they Succeeded on a like application to Messr. Hutchinson, & after some Conference with the Lt. Gov., 47 Chests of Tea were delivered up, Spirited measures are talked of but of what kind I know not. I hope they'll the Merchants will hold out till the Parliamt. give us Relief.2 You who are on the Spot can best Judge, of the Effect of our Measures, & the Prospect of Relief & it pleases me to think you have an opportunity of laying in a valuable fund of materials for conversation & Reflexion, While some who have tarried behind encrease neither that nor their Substance. I please my self with the Prospect of hearing from you a more perticular Account of many perticulars than I have ever yet from any one & desire that if I should not happen to see you on yr. first Arrival that you wd. not Suffer the Spirit of your Observations to be exhausted by frequent repetitions till I see you.

Inclosed I Send an Invoice of a few Books &c., wch. I pray you to get for me, the most noted Bookseller for Law Books I Suppose to be John Worral at the Dove in Bell Yard near Linkons Inn:3


Blackstones Comentary's: of the Laws of England 4to. 3 voll. and the 4th. if printed

Hales His. Pleas Crown 2 Volls Fol
Burrows Reports 2 Voll Fol
Fosters Reports 1 Voll Fol
Cokes Entrys 1 Vol Fol
Rastells Entrys 1 Vol. Fol

Owen Ruffheads Probates at large 4to if to be got at the price they sold for wn. first printed

1 pr. Snugg Pocket Pistols the Cock in the middle of the Stock

the best map of England you can find, for size & perspicuity

Do. of London & environs

a Good Gun & Bayonet

a Scioptric Ball & Locket in Wood at B Martins

Dft .; addressed: "To Mr. Saml. Elliot Mercht. London"; docketed in another hand.


From Alexander Pope's translation of "The First Epistle of the First Book of Horace."


RTP noted in his diary for Jan. 18, "attended Merchant Meeting." The meeting, as herein described, took place at Faneuil Hall and is detailed in The Boston Evening-Post, Jan. 22, 1770. Thomas Hutchinson, Jr., and his brother Elisha headed the merchant firm of T. & E. Hutchinson & Co., and were sons of the then Lt. Gov. Thomas Hutchinson.

The passage of the Townshend Acts in 1767 by the British Parliament setting up the Board of Commissioners and taxing certain items imported from Great Britain by the American colonies led to the adoption of non-importation agreements by the Boston merchants. Those merchants not complying with the agreements were visited at times by a committee of merchants and urged to change their ways. A refusal often led to the publication of the names of the offenders in the Boston newspapers (Rowe, Letters and Diary, 153–160 et seq.; Boston Gazette, Jan. 1, 1770).


RTP's RTP apparently sought current editions of the following legal publications: Sir William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England, 4 vols. (Oxford, 1765–1769); Sir Richard Hale, Pleas of the Crown (London, 1678); Sir James Burrow, Reports of cases adjudged in the King's Bench (London, 1765); Sir Michael Foster, A Report of Some Proceedings on the Commission of Oyer and Terminer (Oxford, 1746); Sir Edward Coke, A Book of Entries (London, 1566); and Owen Ruffhead, Statutes at Large, 9 vols. (London, 1763–1765).

RTP noted in his cashbook on June 21, 1770, a payment to Eliot of £21.12.0 for all the requested books (except Ruffhead) and the "Utensils bought in London," viz. "1 pair Brass Pistols" and "1 Scioptric Ball."