A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.

Robert Treat Paine Papers, Volume 3

From John Hancock
Hancock, John RTP
In Congress Feby. 14, 1777

Resolved, That Mr. R. T. Paine be desired to contract with Colo. Gridley for forty 8 Inch Iron howitzers upon terms that he shall judge reasonable & cause ten of them to be mounted & sent to Ticonderoga.

By Order of Congress

John Hancock Presidt.
Sir, Baltimore Feby. 16th 1777

By the above resolve you will perceive Congress have desired you to agree with Colo. Gridley for forty 8 Inch Howitzers, upon reasonable 354terms. I must beg your attention to it, cannot enlarge at this time being much hurried, shall write you more fully by Express. I am Your most Obed. Hb. Servt.

John Hancock Prest.

I sent your Trunk by a Waggon with Money, which went off 11th Inst.

RC ; these two letters were written on a single sheet with the postscript on the side; addressed: “On Publick Service To The Honble. Robert Treat Paine Esq. Chairman of the Come. for procurg. Cannon at Boston or Taunton Congress Baltime. John Hancock”; endorsed.

To William Baylies
RTP Baylies, William
My dear Sir, Taunton March 3d. 1777

The doubts you expressed of the prospect there was of carrying the Regulating Act into Execution has given me great Uneasiness, but more so when I found you did not consider it so essential to the Support of the Common Cause as those did who made it, for however Zealous I know you to be in the defence of American Liberty yet I never could expect you to be Zealous in Support of so difficult a measure which you do not think Essential to it; I therefore take the Liberty breifly to state the Connection between the execution of this Law & our Political Salvation; to save time I would referr you to the Observation made last Saturday on the destruction Evil attending a depreciating Currency, the Embarrassment it gives to Trade & the Destruction of public Credit, the excitement to Fraud, extortion & even rapine, the total destruction of that quiet of mind that arises from a security of property & a fairness in dealing. There is no End to expatiating on this head. Lets view it in another Light. The undue price of one Article, excites & even makes necessary the high price of others till it gets to the whole; this we have bitterly found. It has infected the Army, hence the unsupportable Bounties, hence the Cry for more Wages, & why Say they Should not the Soldiers Wages bear the same proportion to other things it always did. This Question has been seriously put & push’d, & what has been or can be the Answer. Listing truly by way of Preamble it has been Said & with Irresistable Truth that no Army ever was paid as ours & that to advance the wages as is proposes 355must effectually ruin us. It would ruin us if the Colonies consented to it, but it would ruin us by dissolving the Union as the Southern Colonies already Complain at the high Wages & bounties given by the Eastern N England but as the Soldiers can’t Support themselves, if the Prizes of Goods are continually rising & there wages kept at their first Station, the Proposal of Congress hath been & the purview of the Regulating Bill undoubtedly is to fix the prices of Goods at a due proportion with Soldiers Wages, & they are continually taught to believe as an incouragement for the Listing, that the prices of Goods shall be fixed, witht. which we cannot expect them to list at the Establish’d Pay, & they will most reasonably expect, that while they are fighting in defence of our Libertys abroad that those who tarry at home Should exert themselves in Support of a bill Law made to realize their Wages & support their Families, by the whole Strength of Law & even fighting. If then we can neither Obtain or Support an Army witht. giving permanency to our Currency & fixing the prices of Goods, then every measure to effect this is essential to the political Salvation of America. This is no time to please our selves with Speculations we must practice; it is written in the book of Nature & should be engraved on the Heart of every American, that if we do not exert ourselves in fighting against our comm. Enemy we shall soon be forced to do it in working for them. I wish to see you as soon as may be & am with great Esteem yr. h. servt.,


However essential the Execution of the Law may be to our Safety, it may not be prudent to proclaim it to our Enemies least they Should take more pains to distroy the Currency than the Freinds of America do to Support it.

Dft. ; internal address: “Dr. Baylies.”