Cover for The Papers of Robert Treat Paine
The Papers of Robert Treat Paine
1787-1814
Robert Treat Paine. Edited by Edward W. Hanson
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The fifth and final volume of this series encompasses Robert Treat Paine’s time as a justice on the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts and covers the final years of his life. Best known as a signer of the Declaration of Independence, Paine spent the remainder of his public career in state service. He concluded his career as attorney general by prosecuting several high-profile cases, most notably the treason trials that followed Shays’s Rebellion and a kidnapping case that contributed to the prohibition of the slave trade in Massachusetts. After Paine took a seat on the commonwealth’s Supreme Judicial Court in 1790, he issued his most clear statements of political thought in the form of Charges to the Grand Jury. Against the backdrop of nation-building and the French Revolution, Paine deliberated on cases related to many aspects of civil and criminal law, including treason, citizenship, and the Alien and Sedition Acts. Outside of the courtroom, Paine’s family life developed as his children grew to adulthood. His relationships with his wife, Sally, and his eight children gain prominence in this volume, especially the turbulent relationship with his second son, Thomas (later renamed Robert Treat Paine Jr., who became a much-lauded poet of the era), and the warm and witty exchanges with his four daughters.

Distributed for the Massachusetts Historical Society

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