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Robert Treat Paine Papers, Volume 3

From Abigail Paine Greenleaf
Greenleaf, Abigail Paine RTP
April 10, 1775 Dear brother,

I don’t know what to say to your kind offer. Many Country Gent’lmen last sumer were desirious that we sho’d leave the town and said they wou’d fetch us out when ever we were willing. We can’t see them now but shou’d be glad to find them of the same mind for the charge of transportation is a sufficient reason for our going but little way.42

My love to sister. Love to the children the flutters of my spirits at present prevents writing more but my ardent desires for divine support & direction. Your Sister

A Greenleaf

RC ; on the same sheet as Joseph Greenleaf to RTP, above.

From Joseph Greenleaf
Greenleaf, Joseph RTP
Boston April 16. 1775 Dear Sr.,

It Seems wrong not to write to you tho’ I’ve recd. no answer to my last, perhaps ’tis Dr. Blanchard’s fault that I have not.

Our public affairs are not less perplex’d then when I wrote before. The Scene changes almost as often as the wind so that we hope & fear alternately. The general voice is still for a total evacuation of the town. but It cannot be effected without a miracle & yet it seems necessary.1

The news that was current yesterday morning you have in the inclosed paper. this In the afternoon a man of war arived hear from England with the terrible news of Seven regiments of troops, & dragoons & This morning another arived informing of the passing the act for further restraning the commerse of this Colony.2 How far providence may Suffer the infatuated Nation to go we know not, but the Justice of our cause should encourage us to persevere even to the end. For our encouragement we are informed that a Subscription for the sufferers in this is set a going in England which in one half hour arose to £1500 Sterlg. & in a few days got up to £3000. This is the Lords doing, & is, or should appear, marvelous in our eyes—tis a good omen. I am as undetermin’d about my own affairs as ever, & cannot act in this critical time without advice, for, I do not intend to be blamed for my conduct.

We are all as callm as can be expected in this trying time.

The provincial congress is adjourned to the tenth day of May next. Two regiments, the grenadiers & light infantry, with trunks & baggage, are preparing to embark this evening for Some Secret expeditions. We had need keep a good look out. ’Tis conjectured they are going to Falmouth to prevent Collins’s Ship from being destroyed, but all is uncertain.3


Please to remember us all to Sister & the children. I am Sr. yr. friend & brother,

Jos: Greenleaf

RC ; addressed: “For Robt. Treat Paine Esqr. att Taunton favr. Dr. Blanchard”; endorsed.


RTP had noted in his diary as early as Apr. 7 that “the Inhabitants of Boston began to move out of Town.” The main rush of refugees began after the Battle of Lexington. See below, letters to RTP from: Eunice Paine, May 9; Sally Cobb Paine, May 11; Joseph Greenleaf, May 12; and Abigail Paine Greenleaf, May 12.


The Boston Evening-Post of Apr. 10, 1775, reported: “The following we hear, is an exact list of the reinforcement intended for Boston: Three regiments of foot, one of dragoons, seven companies of marines, and a large train of artillery.”


Greenleaf reports preparations for what would become the battle of Lexington. RTP noted in his diary for Apr. 19: “heard that 1500 Kings Troops had Stole a march by night to Concord killd 6 men in their passage, & there burnt a store of Flour & burst 2 cannon & had fought on the retreat to Charlestown.” The next day’s entry indicates the level of local involvement—“a company of 100 men went from Taunton to Boston; minute men in Arms in all the Towns”—which continued with “Minute Men from all parts marching to Boston to oppose Gen. Gage” (Apr. 22).