Robert Treat Paine
|Robert Treat Paine|
|Religion||Christian- Congregationalist; Unitarian |
|Founding Documents||Declaration of Independence|
Robert Treat Paine (b. March 11, 1731; d. May 11, 1814) is an American Founding Father. He was a lawyer that received the honorary degree Doctor of Laws from Harvard, he was a teacher and a merchant marine. Paine would be elected to the Provincial Assembly. He would become a delegate of Massachusetts in the Continental Congress and would sign the Declaration of Independence. He became Attorney General and Supreme Court Judge for Massachusetts. Paine was a founder of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Also, Paine authored the final appeal to King George III, known as the Olive Branch Petition. 
Robert Treat Paine was born in Boston to pastor and father Thomas Paine. Robert studied for seven years at the Latin School, then went on to Harvard College pursuing law and theoology. He had frail health, Paine set out some years as a merchant marine visiting the southern colonies, Spain, the Azores, and England. He returned home and would study law in Portland, Maine (then a part of Massachusetts) and opened a law business. At age 26, he was admitted to the Massachusetts Bar and in the same year, 1757, his father died. Robert married Sally Cobb and they eventually had eight children. 
Paine publicly despised the Stamp Act. In 1768, he was a delegate to the convention that was called at Boston after the dissolution of the general court by royal governor of Massachusetts. In the trials of British soldiers following the Boston Massacre, Paine served as associate prosecuting attorney versus John Adams, representing the defense. In 1774 Paine was elected to the General Assembly, then to the Continental Congress. In 1775 he would author the final letter to the King of England, hoping to avoid conflict. Paine would be reelected in 1776 and signed the Declaration. He would continue serve in 1777, 1778 and by 1780, he started crafting the constitution for the commonwealth. Paine was appointed attorney general until 1790 and supreme judicial court until he was age seventy-three.
By his retirement in 1804, he had lost his hearing. Paine had failing health and died at the age of eighty-four.