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Robert Treat Paine Papers, Volume 3

From Eunice Paine
Paine, Eunice RTP
Dr. Brother, Newton Sept. 22d 1777—

I have Endeavour’d to recollect concerning the Barberrys & to the best of my remembrance I got ten quarts clear Juice from 2 Bushells Berrys. They must be Bruis’d Gently before they are press’d Gently I say for the Seeds must not be crack’d. They give a very Austere taste. I wish I was in a situation to do it for you as tis too Early to gather them yet. They Ought to have a smart frost to separate their parts. as yet they are Till then they will not yield their Juice nor have that fine acid. I thank you for the wafers but tis matter of speculation how you came by the knowledge of my Poverty.

That you are closely Engaged I can Easily beleive if with all your assiduity you can reform the manners of the people your time will be well bestow’d & your abilities properly Exerted. A blessing attend all your Endeavours Prays your affectionate Sister

Eunice Paine 393

Pray be so good as to deliver the inclose’d. I dont love to give two Errands to important folks.

RC ; addressed: “For The honable: Robert Treat Paine Esqr. at Boston”; endorsed.

Extract from the Minutes of the Massachusetts House of Representatives
Massachusetts House of Representatives
Monday, September 22, 1777

Moses Gill, Esq; brought down a Letter from General Gates, directed to the Chairman of the Committee of the County of Berkshire &c. dated Camp at Behmus’s Heights, Sept. 17, 1777.

Read and thereupon Ordered, That Mr. Speaker Paine, Col. Ashley, Mr. Partridge and Capt. Stone, with such as the Honorable Board shall join,1 be a Committee to consider the same and report what is proper to be done thereupon. Sent up for Concurrence.

Printed in the Journals of the House of Representatives of Massachusetts, 53, pt. 1:81.


Jeremiah Powell, Benjamin Greenleaf, and John Taylor were joined to this committee from the Council, Sept. 22 (Records of the Massachusetts Council, microfilm copy at MHS).

From James Lovell
Lovell, James RTP
Sir, Philada. 24th. Sepr. AM 1777

Situated as I am, it would be very unpardonable in me not to give you some sort of history from this quarter.

About 3 o Clock last friday morning the Members of Congress were warned by an express from one of Genl. Washington’s Aids, Coll. Hamilton,1 to leave this city immediately as the enemy could throw a body of troops into it, some of our boats having fallen into their hands. The Gentleman wrote his letter just after his horse had been disabled one of his oarsmen killed and another wounded in passing the river Schuylkill. Upon so strong an allarm; with the capture of Govr. McKinley2 fresh in 394memory, your Colleagues with their brethren of Congress took to the saddle without loss of time, governed by different fancies as to roads. Mr. S. Adams with others who boarded with me at Mrs. Cheseman’s crossed into the Jersies by the middle ferry, as I have heard to hastily for me to be of that party. I breakfasted at Bristol in a large Company. Mr. Hancock went from thence to Trenton and was soon followed by Mr. J. Adams. Mr. Geary intended to take another road to Reading, when a desire to ascertain the true state of affairs & a little unfinished business of my own together with a greater quantity for others brought me back to this place. Finding the city quietted in a degree I remained here to receive the letters expected by the Post from the eastward and to forward of necessary any intelligence of weight by expresses.

Last evening we had a most sudden allarm that the enemy were on this side of the Schuylkill in full march towards this city, the militia flying before them. The officer who commands advised me to remove; but with the Deleware so near at hand I chose to wait for daylight. I will not seal till I have collected the Reports of this morning. In the mean time, however, I will carry you back a few days. I have it from Governour Johnston3 that the last of the enemy’s fleet passed down by the mouth of Patapsco River at 1 oClock the 18th., twenty or thirty ships having passed down several days before. He judged Baltimore to be rendered so safe hereby that he intended to send a few additional companies of militia to join Gen. Washington. He also acquainted Govr. Henry4 wth. the movement of the ships that the virginia militia then collected might march so as to be useful in case Howe should move but slowly or we should be unfortunate. Are you not astonished in New England at hearing that the enemy have marched 70 miles—that their ships are rounding the Cape of Chesapeak to come the Delaware and that day after day passes without even a skirmish? I dare not be more minute as to the causes than only to tell you that the philadelphians themselves say “it would not be so in New England, every stone wall would rattle about their ears.” I hope, however, you will not give the least entertainment to despair of precious cause. Consider that Galloway the Allens &c. are conducting the enemy thro the most torified tracts assisted by Sherrifs of counties who know all the paths accurately; while our worthy Chief is intirely among foes, who will not or friends who dare not act the part of spies for him. Should the enemy be coming down on this side of Schuylkill from Sweed’s ford or higher up the case will be altered the roads known and the people somewhat faithful to him.


Commodore Hazlewood5 expected to have had a chance of burning some of the Enemy’s Ships last saturday morning. He fell down the River over night, but his object slipped away perhaps with intend to draw him into broad water further down than Chester; but, his orders are contrary. There seems to be no want either of fireworks or manly spirit on the Delaware: Unless there should be a fatal deficiency of the latter on the country part Philadelphia will not go to ruin in this tryal of Sr. William and My lord conjunctly.

I am chagrined at not hearing from Genl. Gates 13 days. In his last, he said that “perhaps a few hours will discover whether Mr. Bourgoine will risque a Battle or slip back to Tyconderoga”; that letter reached us in 3 days.

You will be affected by not receiving News papers from hence. The failure of them makes a general melancholy impression. We took early care to remove types as a valuable article. I can scarcely read yr. eastern papers now, the types are so blount with use. Let the People know that the Papers are not stopped by Congress to “conceal bad news” as Tories used to propagate last winter.

Upon enquiry I find from Coll. Hamilton that a small Party of Hessians & Light Horse crossed about 18 Miles up the River, and there remain! Scandalous! The militia here seem to turn out only for the pay, without intention to fight at all. Genl. Washington is at monotamy watching the main body of the Enemy which lays at Potsgrove on the opposite bank of Schuylkill 35 miles from this. He will not expose his baggage & stores, laying in the neighbourhood of Reading, to save this City from a Fright or even Destruction, finding the Inhabitants of the State do not think it worth strugling for.

The city post master slipped away last evening to Bristol, and I am suddenly called on by the postmaster of the army.

Peletiah Webster6 who intends to remain here urged me to take from him 200 Dollars, money belonging to our State. I did it without Authority, having been bro’t to want it by a villainous Pickpocket last friday evening, who took my Book with 260 Dollars and a number of Lottery Tickets, I think 15 belonging to Col. Whipple. My Family was in want before. This Blow will oblidge me to quit, here, and return speedily to seek some mode of aiding them nearer home.

The Evening Post has nothing new; nor was there any thing interesting in a packet which I recd. 3 days ago from the Hague of June 11th. 396Both French & Dutch seem to be waiting till we are free & independent by our own exertions; and then they will dare to feel so themselves. I am with much Regard Sir Your Friend & humb. Servt.,

James Lovell

I belive the Chester Letter writer of Sepr. 12th. has aggrivated the Enemy’s Loss of General officers otherwise his account is tollerable.

RC ; addressed: “Honble. Robert Treat Payne Esqr. Boston On public Service James Lovell”; endorsed.


Alexander Hamilton (1757–1804) had entered the Continental Army in 1776 as captain of artillery and was appointed as an aide-to-camp to General Washington on Mar. 1, 1777, serving in that capacity until Feb. 16, 1781. Later he served in the Continental Congress (1782, 1783, 1788) and was secretary of the treasury under President Washington (1789–1795) ( DAB ).


John McKinly (1721–1796) was president of Delaware’s Council of Safety from late 1776 to February 1777, when he was named as the state’s first president and commander-in-chief. On the second day of the Battle of Brandywine (September 1777), McKinly was taken prisoner when the British captured Wilmington. He was held in captivity until August 1778, when he was paroled. The next month McKinly was exchanged for William Franklin, the former governor of New Jersey. Upon his release, McKinly left politics and returned to his medical practice ( DAB ).


Gov. Thomas Johnson of Maryland.


Patrick Henry (1736–1799), the Virginia planter and orator, served with RTP in the Continental Congress (1774–1776) and was governor of Virginia (1776–1779 and 1784–1786) ( DAB ).


John Hazelwood (ca.1726–1800), who had been promoted to commodore of the Pennsylvania Navy earlier in the month, was unsuccessful in this attempt to engage the British ships laying at Chester, Penna. The next month Howe captured Philadelphia and demanded the surrender of the state navy. Hazelwood not only refused but prevented the British fleet from moving upriver, destroying two men-of-war in the process ( DAB ; Naval Documents of the American Revolution, 9:897, 944–945).


Pelatiah Webster (1726–1795), a 1746 Yale graduate, left his pastorate in Greenwich, Mass., in 1755 to become a merchant in Philadelphia. Webster suffered both imprisonment and confiscation of most of his property during the war but remained active as a political and economic writer. He urged that the support for the war effort should be through taxes rather than loans and later was a strong supporter for the ratification of the federal constitution ( DAB ). RTP mentioned dining with him early in his Philadelphia stay (RTP, Diary, Oct. 1, 1774).