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Robert Treat Paine Papers, Volume 3

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).

From Thomas Cushing
Cushing, Thomas RTP
Roxbury, April. 17 1775 Sir,

Mr. Hancock & Mr. S. Adams have Concluded to go to Philadelphia togather by Springfeild Rhoad. Mr. J. Adams is undetermined, but if he goes thro Rhode Island will be at your house by Monday night or on Tuesday next. I shall go in a Sulky & as my Family is to reside at Providence I believe I shall be oblidged to go there to make Preparations for them, & design to be at your House on Monday night or Some time on Tuesday next When I hope to have the pleasure of your Company to Philadelphia. I would not have you wait longer than that time as Mr. Hancock & Mr. Adams design to sett out on Monday next & if I go your way shall be there be sure by Tuesday next. Pray send me line by the first oppertunity, whether you shall be able to sett out at that time.1 Your Humble Servant

Thomas Cushing

RC ; internal address: “Mr. Paine.”

44 1.

RTP left home to return to the Continental Congress on Apr. 22. As he noted in his diary for that day, “abt. 9 oClock set out from Taunton accompanied by Richd. Dean as a waiter & Capt. Dean of the Troop & 10 more Troopers fine weather. Stopt at Lanes in Newton, thence to Morris in Wrentham & dined, thence to Mendon quite dark. Found the Tavern full of soldiers from East Hartford, under Col. Pitkin. Wth. difficulty got lodging put up at Keiths Tavern.” Armed guards from various towns accompanied his progress through western Massachusetts to Connecticut. The Massachusetts delegation gathered at Hartford and from there progressed together. On May 5, RTP took time to stop in Norwalk, Conn., “to see Mr. Edward Arnold & saw his Museum a very large Collection of Birds, Insects, Fossills Beasts Fishes &c. wch. he has been 7 yrs collecting.” On May 6, they “Rode under the same escort to Kings Bridge there met by No. of Gentlemen from NYork din’d thence to NYork the last 7 miles under the Escort of a Grenadier & Ranging Company & 600 Militia & a vast Crowd of Gentlemen & People in Carriages, on Horse back & foot went to Francis Tavern.” Escorts continued through New Jersey, and on May 10 the party “proceeded to Philadelphia, met 5 miles out of Town by a Great No. of Gentlemen & military Companys, one of Riflemen escorted by music to City Tavern, dind at Mrs Yards where we put up. PM met in Congress at the State House, chief of the Members arrived. Chose a President Mr. Peyton Randolph & Secry. Charles Thomson.”