A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.

Robert Treat Paine Papers, Volume 3

From Thomas Cushing
Cushing, Thomas RTP
Boston April 26: 1776 Dear Sir,

I wrote you fully on the 22 Instant per post. Am surprized you scold so much about my not being more particular, when you are so very deficient your self. You do not write me a word about Congress, what you are doing or what you are about to do. Pray be a little more communicative. I am sure I have sett you a good example.

I am glad to hear you are bending your whole attention to Cannon and that you have contracted to have those designed for the Ships here cast at Philadelphia for I have no prospect of procuring them here seasonably; Mr. Hobart I hear has got his Air Furnace finished but cannot learn whether he has yet cast any Cannon. He has engaged to cast a number for this Province & for the Ships, but goes on very Slowly. I have wrote him repeatedly upon the Subject. My heart is engaged in this matter, for I consider Cannon as a very valuable article & shall do all in my power to encourage their being cast in this Province.

I hope the Ships will soon be launched and as soon as they are equipped for sea I shall have finished the Business assigned me. However I am heartily disposed still to serve the Continent & promote the glorious Cause we are engaged in and stand ready at all times to obey such orders as the Congress may give me; doubtless an Agent for these Ships will be wanted in this Province. As this will be in my way of Business & what I am somewhat acquainted with, when such an appointment comes on, Should be oblidged to you for your Interest or that I may be improved in any other way wherein you may think I can be serviciable.


I am with respect yr. sincere Friend & humble Sert.

Thomas Cushing

RC ; addressed: “To The Honble. Robert T. Paine Esqr. at Philadelphia”; endorsed.

Extract from the Minutes of the Continental Congress
Continental Congress
Monday, April 29, 1776

A letter from the council of safety of Maryland, with the examination of Alexander Ross,1 and sundry papers found in his possession:

Resolved, That the letter from General Washington2 and the letter from the council of safety of Maryland, with Mr. Ross’s papers, be referred to a committee of five:

The members chosen, Mr. Harrison, Mr. Rutledge, Mr. Goldsborough,3 Mr. Paine, and Mr. Rodney.

Printed in Journals of the Continental Congress, 4:316.


Alexander Ross, “from Fort Pitt, an old offender,” was stopped in Virginia while returning to Maryland after meeting with Lord Dunmore. The Virginia Committee of Safety copied letters found on Ross, including several from Lord Germain to Govenor Eden, and sent them to the Baltimore Committee. That committee referred the letters directly to the Continental Congress, bypassing and thus infuriating the Maryland Council of Safety. Ross was arrested and held in confinement until May 10, when the Continental Congress, acting upon the report of the committee, resolved to discharge him (Virginia Gazette, Apr. 12, 1776; Naval Documents of the American Revolution, 4:823–824, 873–874; Journals of the Continental Congress, 4:347).


This letter from Washington to John Hancock, dated April 25[-26], 1776, appears in The Papers of George Washington: Revolutionary War Series, 4:125–129.


Robert Goldsborough (1733–1788), a Maryland native, studied law in London and practiced there until 1759. Upon his return to America he continued to practice law in Maryland and became attorney general in 1766. He served in the Continental Congress from 1774 to 1776 ( DAB ).

From Sally Cobb Paine
Paine, Sally Cobb RTP
Taunton may 1th 1776 My dear,

I have rec:d yours of march th 6 & 25 Some time a goe but when I rec:d the Last I was confined to my bed & Sally So very ill as 203not to bear her weight for 5 weeks & almost all the rest of our family Sick but we are all better. Sally & Tommy are feeble yet. Could you have none the Scituation of our family you would have wrote in a different manner. I was almost over Joy:d to hear from you & yet some what disapointed you call:d on me to revize my Letters. I have & am not mistaken. When you return I will conveince you of your mistake if it Should be in my Life time but thats uncertain. Brother has paid mr. winslow & have engaged the pasture for another year. Seth is engaged for another year. I have not paid him. I did not Chuse brother Should pay him till I heard from you for I have Call:d on him this Long while. Brother is ready to due any thing in his power at any time when ever I ask. This day docter Cobb Set out for Boston with sesine to Settle their. If he Should get into business he will remove his family Soon. I am very Sorry the docter will goe but he thinks tis best for him. What we poor Taunton folks are to due for a doct. I dont know without we remove after him. Monday we began to farm it but we it is very cold & we so much rain that we have not done much as yet. I hope your Close application to business wont make you forget your family. I begin to fear it will for you have done writing to me but I Still hope Soon to hear from you. I beg youll write by every opportunity if tis but 3 Lines & half as hear to fore. In hast your ever affectionate

Sally Paine

May 3 theirs people often here after notes that was Left hear Last year to be Sue:d & I Cant find them. I Should be Glad if you would write me where they are & what I must due about them. Hezh. Cole has taken up his note 8–1.6. I received the money Last week.

RC ; endorsed.