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Robert Treat Paine Papers, Volume 4

From Seth Padelford
Padelford, Seth RTP
Taunton July 23. 1782 Sir,

I now sit down to Inform you of an affair that has happened in this Town, viz, one Hoskins a Constable in this Town Took a Yoke of Oxen by Distress for Rates viz. the Beef Tax as well as others & according to Law Notified the Sale at Joseph Deans, at the time of Sale a few of the Rabble appeared & threatened to knock any person down who should offer to Bid. In Consequence of this, & to give the person, from whom the Cattle were taken, an oppertunity of Redeeming them, (who by the way could if he would have raised the money) the Constable adjourned the Vendue to John Porters on friday last, the Rabble in the mean time ransacked Middleboro’, Taunton, Bridgwater, Raynham &c. to muster a posse sufficient to deter any one from Bidding—& accordingly about 20 appeared as active people, & a number more that I suppose to be wellwishers to them, & threatned to Every one that should bid to knock them him down & declared that no more Creatures should be taken for Rates, at the same time damning all Authority. Among the Ringleaders was one Nathan Bretton now of this Town who declared publickly that he wished to see the British Standard Erected on Taunton Green, &c. &c.

There was also one Daniel Thrasher of Middleboro’ & Micah Leonard of Taunton, & one Isaac Dean who lives near deacon Williams & one Star of Bridgwr. & David Andrews & two of the Caswells living in the Squawbetty, & old Wm. Burt. One half of my neighbours were gone to a funeral however about a dozen of us assembled determined to Bid & defend ourselves. Accordingly the Cattle were set up & Mr. Crocker bid first. Immediately he was Seized upon, kicked &c. & they attempted to drag him out of the house in the mean time some attempted to defend him & others bid again, the Scuffle continued about 10 minutes amidst all which our people bid upon the Cattle & in the End they were struck off to one of our party—& in about 5 minutes more the Scuffle Ended finding that our party were too strong for them who dared to appear active agt. us. In the End the Rates were Settled & the Cattle given up to the former Owner upon when he found that force would not do.

However Britton talked as high afterwards as before & more so if possible—Dean also Leonard & Thrasher—these 4 were the chief of which Britton talked, most & acted, & Thasher & Dean acted most.

My Opinion is that Britton at least as he Expressed himself as before, 219 ought to be taken up as an Enemy & a Dangerous person & sent to Boston & you I hope will consult some means to way to proceed with the rest (if not the same way) & I believe if that method is Immediately taken that it will deter any thing else of the like kind.

I hope Sir you & family are in health, as I & mine are pray make my & Mrs. Padelfords Compts. Acceptable to Mrs. Paine.

As I understood that when Boston Court set the week before last that you were not at home, I requested Robbins to Enter an Action for me viz Danl. Chase vs. Saml. Lee & Sent him a power, he Entered the Action, & Sent me word that the deft. had apply’d to him to assist the deft. Wherefore I beg you’d be kind Enough to take Care of the Action & not let it be continued or Slip next Supr. Court at any Rate, & I will be Answerable to you for a fee that is not mean. The Deft. makes great complaint as Robbins sends me word & try’d to see fee him not to Enter the Action & says he is hardly used, but as I am in part personally acquainted with the Circumstances I can assure you he has given wrong Information—he has not enough in the world, to pay the Debt therefore wants to protract.

Be kind enough also to look to the house Rent I spoke to you about & you will oblige your friend & Humble Servt.

Seth Padelford

If you have any Commands I will with pleasure Execute them for you.

Pray favour me with a Line Soon.

RC ; addressed: “The Honble. Robert T. Paine Esqr: Atty. General Boston”; endorsed.