Monday, July 04, 2011
Robert Treat Paine
1731 - 1814
Representative of Massachusetts to the Continental Congress
Signer of the Declaration of Independence
Robert Treat Paine came to the cause of Independence early. Born in Boston, graduating from Harvard College as a teacher and returning to attend Law School, Paine was actively involved in resistance to the British in the 1760's and early 1770's, against the hated Stamp Act and Townshend Acts, and quickly became a patriot for the cause of independence. In 1770, Boston hired him to prosecute the British soldiers involved with the "Boston Massacre," and while he lost his case to opposition council John Adams, he became quite popular with the patriots. In 1775, he was elected to the Second Continental Congress as a delegate from Massachusetts, and supported the move for independence. One of his most important jobs in the Continental Congress was to secure gun powder for the troops and assist in starting the manufacture of salt peter to do so.
He helped write the Constitution of Massachusetts and served as a Supreme Court Justice in Massachusetts. He was respected as a scholar and was known to be devoutly religious, a firm believer in the divine origin of the Christian religion.