To Robert Treat Paine
Boston April 9. 1774
Well Brother Paine!
How does the Impeachment set upon the stomachs at Middle borough?1 Cant you steal a Moment in an Evening or Morning to write me a Line, by Kent?
I asked Putnam, at Charlestown this Week, whether the Chief Justice would sit at Worcester.2 He says he would not advise him to attempt it, and that he has given that Answer, to all who have asked him about it, since he came down, of all Parties.
The grand Jury at Charlestown, had it sometime under Consideration, whether they should do any Thing as they were, Summoned by a Writ, tested by Peter Oliver Esqr. They determined to proceed but to tack to their Indictments, a Remonstrance expressing their full approbation of the Impeachment of the grand Inquest of the Province, and their full Reliance that, the said P. O. would not set upon the Tryal of them. This was subscribed by all but four. The grand Jury had a few Things said to them by the Court, with much Moderation but they answered with great Firmness, that they looked upon their Honours then present, in the same Light they always did—but they did not think him a constitutional Judge, and if he had been present they should not have taken the oaths.3
Had a Letter, last Week from Cohass, from Collonell Judge, Clerk, Captain Fenton. He says that the spirit runs like wild Fire, to the very Extremities of N. H[amp]shire and that their Government is as determined, as ours.4
News, is the scarcest Commodity at Markett. Expectations are high. I want to hear how Things, are in your Quarter. Pray write me.
I am, your Freind and sert,
RC (MHi: Paine Papers); addressed: “To Robert Treat Paine Esqr. Counsellor at Law at Plymouth.”
1. The home of Chief Justice Peter Oliver.
3. On 5 April the Superior Court of Judicature opened sessions for Middlesex County at Charlestown, Judge Trowbridge presiding. On 7 April the Charles town grand jury delivered its indictments, accompanying the bills with a Remonstrance and Petition printed in the Boston Gazette, 11 April.
4. No letter from Col. John Fenton (d. 1785) has been found. An Irishman and former captain in the British Army, Fenton in 1772 moved from Massachusetts to New Hampshire, where he had received a grant of 3,000 acres. He settled in the town of Plymouth in Grafton co. adjacent to Coos co., from which he had written JA in 1774. After his removal to New Hampshire, Fenton quickly established a friendship with JA’s Harvard classmate Gov. John Wentworth and by 1774 could boast the array of titles to which JA alludes: colonel in the N.H. militia, clerk of Grafton co., and justice in Grafton and Hillsborough cos. (A sketch of Fenton appears in Lawrence S. Mayo, John Wentworth, Governor of New Hampshire, 1767–1775, Cambridge, 1921, p. 153–154. See also MHS, Colls. description begins Massachusetts Historical Society, Collections and Proceedings. description ends , 6th ser., 9 :66–68 and 7th ser., 6 : 45.)