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Robert Treat Paine Papers, Volume 3

From Sally Cobb Paine
Cobb, Sally RTP
My Dear, Taunton Sept. 26:1776

I take my pen once more to write to you for methinks I See you Scowl & I am not willing to do any thing to hurt your Beauty but my reasons for not writing are I have been unwell for Some time & we have had Company thats taken up my time as I Should have wrote before but I flatter my Self you dont think I am unmindfull of you but far from it. I have not rec:d a Line from you Since th 7 Sept. I have ask:d every body that Came from Boston but in vain. I wish you reformation in this respect.

Mr. Greenleaf & wife spent Last weak with us & send their Love.

I have done with the thoughts of having the Smallpox for this year. We are not Like to have a Hospital in this County & I dont Chuse to go to dedham. I wrote the doct. about it but have not rec:d an answer. I want to know about the army at new york. We have Such dreadfull Storys hear that if we ware to Belive them we Should be frighten to death. I have fear’d greatly for you. I hope that is not the reason for your not writing.

Our family are pretty well. I am better than I was. Brother Jonathan has Lost his Son. His wife has been very Sick but is better. All friend Send Love, & Complyments. Mr. Adams is going So must conclud. I desine to write very Soon for thats the only way I expect to known anything about you for all most dispair of Seeing of you. Our potatoes turn out very fine this year. Seth is diging of them. He thinks we Shall have 300 & 50 Bushels.

In hast your ever mindfull & affectinate, Sally Paine

RC ; addressed: “To The Honble: Robert Treat Paine Esqr. In Philadelphia Prov. Free”; endorsed.

Extract from the Minutes of the Continental Congress
Monday, September 30, 1776

A Petition from J. Rowe and others, owners of goods on board the ship Elizabeth, which was taken by captains John Manly, Daniel Waters and 300John Ayres, commanders of the three armed vessles Hancock, Lee and Lynch, and libelled in the court maritime for the state of New Hampshire, and, by the sentence of the said court, acquitted; against which sentence, an appeal has been entered, was presented to Congress and read, praying that the said appeal may be heard and determined; Whereupon,

Resolved, That a committee of five be appointed, with full powers to hear and determine on the appeal brought against the sentence passed on the libel against the ship Elizabeth.1

The members chosen, Mr. Paine, Mr. Huntington, Mr. Stone, Mr. Wyth and Mr. Smith.2

Printed in Journals of the Continental Congress, 5:835 .


Gen. Thomas Gage, then in command of the British army in Boston, on Oct. 1, 1775, directed Crean Brush to remove any supplies that might assist the Americans in carrying on the war effort. Brush seized such materials as he considered potential war supplies and loaded them aboard the brigantine Elizabeth, probably without the knowledge or permission of the owners, who included the prominent Boston merchant John Rowe (1715–1787). The Elizabeth sailed for Halifax but privateers captured her in April 1776. RTP’s brother-in-law Joseph Greenleaf unsuccessfully attempted to depose Brush in Boston concerning this case during the summer. On Oct. 14, the committee recommended overturning the court’s decision and restoring the cargo or its value to the claimants. The committee members based their decision on the earlier resolution of Congress (Nov. 25, 1775) defining the types of ships and supplies that privateers might properly seize. Congress agreed to the report on the same day (Naval Documents of the American Revolution, 6: 202–203, 1263–1265).


James Smith (c. 1719–1806), a native of Ireland, came to America c. 1729. He studied law and was admitted to the bar in Pennsylvania in 1745. He later moved to York, Penna., where he engaged in iron manufacture and in 1776 organized the Pennsylvania Militia and the two regiments of the Flying Camp in Perth Amboy. Smith was a delegate to the Continental Congress (1776–1778) and signed the Declaration. After he war he mainly devoted himself to his private law practice ( DAB ).