Paine, Robert Treat

Paine, Robert Treat, 1731–1814, political figure in the American Revolution, signer of the Declaration of Independence, b. Boston, Mass. He served briefly as a chaplain in the French and Indian War but gave up the ministry for law. In 1770 he conducted the prosecution of the British troops indicted for murder in the Boston Massacre. Paine was a member of the Continental Congress (1774–78) and in 1775 was sent (with John Langdon and Robert R. Livingston) on an unsuccessful mission to win Canada to the Revolutionary cause. Paine later served as attorney general of Massachusetts and then (1790–1804) as state supreme court justice.

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