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Robert Treat Paine Papers, Volume 3

From David Cobb
Cobb, David RTP
My Dear Sir, Boston August 26th 1776

I have receiv’d, since I wrote you, your Letters of the 10th & 17th Curt.1 and as my Journal for the week is very barren, I shall endeavour to make you up a Letter, chiefly of the Small pox.

When leave was first obtain’d for Inoculation in this Town, the people of the Country rush’d in with the greatest eagerness to receive the Infec­275tion; and whether from the Numbers that the Physicians had prevented that attention that was necessary in the Disorder, or whether it arose from bad matter that was us’d, I am not certain, but full 1/5 of the Number first Inoculated never receiv’d the Infection; ’tho’ they had an eruption at the usual period, which the Faculty suppos’d to be the Small pox, and were accordingly turn’d out as free from the Disorder, yet all of ’em afterwards had it in the Natural way, and I suppose out of the Number of those who where thus unhappily deceiv’d 1/40 have dy’d; this added to many that staid in Town and refus’d Inoculation from Principles of Conscience, (Hellish principles) has not only increas’d our Bills of Mortality, but has given rise to a common report, that a great Number have dy’d by Inoculation; when Inoculation, upon those that receiv’d the Infection, has been favourable as ever it was.

The Small pox Hospital that I have care of, is design’d altogether for the Army, ’tho’ I inoculate privately any person that applies. Hospitals are establish’d in almost every County; there is four now in this (but two of ’em at present receive patients) one at Point Shirley another at Dedham, a third at Sewell’s point, up the River towards Cambridge, and a fourth at Medfield; there is likewise five appointed in the County of Wocester, and I am inform’d that the Court of Sessions for the County of Bristol are to meet tomorrow with an Intention to commission two for that County, one in Taunton, the other in Dartmô. Thus much for Small pox.

My Family still continue at Taunton, where Mrs. Cobb is now in the Straw with another Daughter, and if I shou’d not return to Taunton to take of the Hospitals of that County, I shall remove my Family into Town in about a month.

My time is cheafly taken up in the Care of the Army. Every other day I visit my Small pox Hospital on the Island, and every day I am oblig’d to Visit a Military Hospital at Dochester and likewise a Hospital in this Town of the sick and wounded Prisoners; my Town practice is small. Thus you see I am in constant employ, tho’ but little profit arising from it, occasioned by that rigid parsamony that runs thro’ all our public proceedings.

We have a private Letter in Town from St. Eustatia which gives the following Intelligence, viz. That the Porteguece & Spaniards are arming themselves with the greatest expedition, that the latter have a Fleet a Sea of 17 Ships of the Line, their destination unknown, that England had desir’d of the States of Holland the Loan of their Scotch Dutch Troops and 7 Ships of the Line but were refus’d, in consequence of which an 276English Frigate has taken two Dutch Merchantmen, and the Dutch in return have taken off the prohibition on the exportation of Arms and Amunition to America, have order’d 20 Ships of the Line immediately to Sea, 50 more to be repaird. and built & have added 20 Thousand men to their Land Army. If this is true, “O! happy America, retir’d to the quiet Vale of peace, remote from the confusion of a World in flames, where unmolested, she may enjoy the Bounties of luxuriant Nature, and Bask an Eternity in the Halo of Pleasure.”

I have wrote to Mrs. Paine, desireing her that whenever she wrote to send it here, and as she has now almost a weekly oppertunity, its probable you’ll hear from your Family oftener than heretofore. Their is no danger of any Infection being communicated by Letters that you may send here for Taunton.

As to Salt Petre matters I’ll make an enquiry & give you an answer in my next. You know that we made 50 odd Tun by 1st June last, & that our Powder Mills are at work & have been these two Months past.

Last Thursday was carried into Portsmouth a Prize Ship from the Bay of Honduras with Logwood, nothing comes amiss, & another was carried to Marblehead last Saturday with Sugars. She was chais’d in by the Milford Man of War which is now in our Bay. I believe our Counsil are contriving to put the Guns of some of our Fortresses on board the Frigates at Newbury port with an Intention to attack the Milford, for while she stays in our Bay their can be no safety to Prize Vessells, Privateers or Coasters coming in here. She must be taken or drove off if we do it with Whale Boats.

I am just call’d upon to go to the Island, shou’d otherwise have fill’d up the page; but what is wrote I believe will answer for a Week. Dr. Sr. Good bye. God bless you. Your Friend

David Cobb

I am confident you have not receiv’d all the Letters I have wrote, & believe I have not receiv’d all yours; to make the matter certain for the future we’ll number ’em.

RC ; endorsed.


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