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Robert Treat Paine Papers, Volume 3

From Henry Knox
Knox, Henry RTP
Dear Sir, New York July 19 1776

I received yours respecting Mr. Byers coming to Philadelphia. He is apprehensive of a difficulty for want of Sea Coal, but will set for Philadelphia on monday next. He has cast us six of as fine Howitzers as perhaps were ever made. He did intend to have done ten but your call will prevent him for the present. I take the Liberty of suggesting the propriety of his setting up an Air Furnace near Boston, where they have plenty of Sea Coal and as Im inform’d vast quantities of Copper late the property of Ralph Inman,1 Martin Gay,2 &c. The Importance of getting a large number of light field peices is so great that no pains or Expence will be too great to obtain them.

The enemy have attempted nothing since last friday. I wish to God they would endevor some capital stroke before their reinforcement arrives. I think the army in general have a just Idea of the infinite consequence of our making a great resistance. If they do as well as I think they will, america will rise exceedingly fast.

I am Dear Sir Your very Hble. Servt., Henry Knox

RC ; addressed: “Robert Treat Paine Esqr. Philadelphia”; postal stamps: “FREE,” “N*York, July 19.”


Ralph Inman (c. 1718–1788) was a merchant in Boston and lived, after 1756, in Cambridge. He was closely tied to the merchant network through his second wife, Elizabeth Murray Smith, and his brother-in-law John Rowe. Although suspected of Tory leanings as treasurer of Cambridge’s Anglican Christ Church and with a son in the British Army and son-in-law in the British Navy during the Revolution, Inman himself remained in Massachusetts both during and after the war (Paige, History of Cambridge, 169, 170).


Martin Gay (1726–1809) was a Boston coppersmith and captain in the Artillery Company. He was among the Loyalists who evacuated the town of Boston with the British troops in March 1776. Living first in Halifax and later in England, Gay returned to Boston in 1792 and spent the rest of his life there (Jones, Loyalists of Massachusetts, 321–325).