1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Paine, Robert Treat

PAINE, ROBERT TREAT (1731–1814), American politician, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on the nth of March 1731. He graduated at Harvard in 1749, and was admitted to the bar in 1759. In 1768 he was a delegate to the provincial convention which was called to meet in Boston, and conducted the prosecution of Captain Thomas Preston and his men for their share in the famous “Boston Massacre” of the 5th of March 1770., He served in the Massachusetts General Court in 1773–1774, in the Provincial Congress in 1774–1775, and in the Continental Congress in 1774–1778, and was speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1777, a member of the executive council in 1779, a member of the committee which drafted the constitution of 1780, attorney-general of the state from 1777 to 1790, and a judge of the state supreme court from 1790 to 1804. He died in Boston on the nth of May 1814.

See John Sanderson, Biography of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence (Philadelphia, 1823), vol. ii.

His son, Robert Treat Paine (1773–1811), who was christened Thomas but in 1801 took the name of his father and of an elder brother who died without issue in 1794, was a poet of some repute, but his verses have long been forgotten. His best known productions are Adams and Liberty, a once popular song written in 1798, The Invention of Letters (1795), and The Ruling Passion, the Harvard Phi Beta Kappa poem of 1797.

His Works in Verse and Prose (Boston, 1812) contains a biographical sketch.