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Robert Treat Paine

1731-1814

Robert Treat Paine was a native of Boston, where he was born, in the year 1731. His parents were pious and respectable. His father was for some years the settled pastor of a church in Weymouth, in the vicinity of Boston. His health failing him, however, he removed with his family to the latter place; where he entered into mercantile pursuits. His mother was the grand-daughter of Governor Treat of Connecticut.

   At the early age of fourteen, he became a member of Harvard College; but of his collegiate course, little has been recorded. On leaving the university, he was engaged for some time in a public school. As the fortune of his father had, from various circumstances, become much reduced, the support of his parents, with some other relations, seemed to devolve upon himself. In the acquisition of more ample means for their maintenance, he made a voyage to Europe. It was an honorable trait in his character, thus in the morning of life to exhibit such filial affection; a kindness of disposition, which he continued to manifest during his father's life.

   Previously to his commencing the study of laws he devoted some time to the subject of theology, which tended to enlarge his views of Christianity, and to confirm his belief of its truth. In 1755, he served as chaplain to the troops of the province at the northward, and afterwards preached a few times in other places.

   At length he directed his attention to the study of law, during which period, having no pecuniary assistance, he was obliged to resort again to the keeping of a school for his support. By most persons such a course would be deemed a serious evil; but experience has shown, that those who are obliged to depend upon their own energies for the means of education, generally enter upon their profession, if not with higher attainments, with more courage to encounter the difficulties with which almost every one meets, and they are more likely to attain to a high elevation, than those whose resources are abundant.

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Last modified January 2, 2004