tv Descendant of Declaration of Independence Signer Robert Treat Paine CSPAN February 12, 2023 3:55am-4:46am EST
good afternoon. i'm john dirlam from the wellesley historical society. it's my great pleasure to welcome you here this afternoon. if you think the weather out here is a little damp and cold, we just drove back en route to from williamstown, massachusetts. so our first snow of the year in, of all places, the top peaks en route to in the berkshires, in the town of wait for it,
florida and florida, mass situations. i always thought that was some kind of a joke. but anyway, it gets the first snow. this year and just a little harbinger of things to come and not enough to make the roads impassable, which will happen later on in the year. but anyway, i want to first thank a couple of folks who are here to thank our friends from c-span, who are going to be recording this for future use on television. thank rachel hobson from the library, who was here making sure everything is set up properly and and most importantly, thank chris meyer, who is the sponsor of this series, a member of our board and a longtime member of the wellesley historical society. and also, just so you know, there will be refreshments. you're after the talk by tom paine, although many of you have already had access to the refreshments and that's fine. so anyway, my my great pleasure this afternoon is introducing tom paine. he has spoken to us before. tom spoke on his family history
in the civil war back about three years ago. i think, tom, in pre-covid days, fascinating family history today. he's going to be speaking about another interesting ancestor, robert treat paine, and before i turn this over to tom, let me just give you a very quick introduction of of tom's a qualification since he is a recently retired landscape architect, he has retired for the purpose of doing more research on his family and also probably writing a book on the history of family. although, tom, i think you could probably write six or somebody could, but in any case, tom is very active in historical circles. he has been a board member or a trustee of not only the wellesley historical society, where he currently serves, but also the massachusetts historical society, the longfellow house in cambridge, and the colonial society of massachusetts, and probably others that i have forgotten.
tom has a couple the degrees from that little school over in cambridge, his master's and his b.a. are both from harvard, and he has an mba from the university of virginia. so without any further ado, i would present to you, tom paine. he's been. well, thank you, john, for that. the generous introduction in the next 50 minutes or so, i want to share with you the story of massachusetts little known founding father robert treat paine. the four times my four times great grandfather. i will focus on the highlights, the milestones of his life that found him again and again in the room, an important moments in our nation's formative years and earned him the title in his day of, quote, a friend to the rights of mankind. i grew up in a house in weston,
a little town north of here, where a facsimile copy of the declaration of independence hung on the wall just outside the powder room. a wonderful term for a lavatory that originated in the era when patriots wore were powdering their wigs. anyhow, in this document were the truly big wigs of their day and right now and right below samuel adams and john adams signatures and the biggest of the bunch was the signature of robert treat paine at eye level for a ten year old. hard to miss. did his quill slip up when he was signing it looked that way anyhow. in the family he was always called the signer. full stop. anyhow, here is his back story. as i piece it together over the
past six decades. bob payne is born in the so-called town of boston. in 1731 into a world not much different from the town of 16,000 shown here in this paul revere engraving, his parents are a preacher turned merchant named thomas paine. a preacher turned merchant. figure that one out and a preacher's daughter named eunice. her father, reverend samuel treat, was a minister among native americans on cape cod and, you know, thomas and eunice raise him and three sisters in a house a block from the public latin school. so bob has no excuse for tardiness. indeed, he graduates at the head of his class, other future patriot alumnae include samuel adams and john hancock, the
school's most famous dropout. benjamin franklin, whom paine will soon meet and discover a shared interest in scientific matters. bob's diary records his fascination with what he calls the electra city, as well as fire works at age 14, when boston is celebrating the fall of the french colonial city of lewisburg home court, two marauding privateers during the dimly recalled war of austrian succession, bob marvels at what he calls, quote, all manner of fireworks on boston common before long, his diary will reveal his love of skating gunning, swimming, fishing and dancing. bob enters harvard college at the age of 14, which is not that unusual in that era shown here in this engraving by yes, you
guessed it, paul revere. while he is there to to setbacks occur his life, his mother dies and his father loses his fortune. that fortune that he retired from the ministry to acquire loses his fortune to guess what french privateers. he studies greek using this latin textbook. imagine studying greek and latin. well, that's what he had to do as his father had before him. and this very copy duly signed by both of them upon graduation in 1749. bob tried his hand at several callings, teaching, preaching, voyage to the azores and spain and a whaling voyage in. 1754, en route from north carolina, he meets ben franklin in philadelphia. his father is facing difficulties collecting on those debts and advises bob to become
a lawyer and do it as fast as possible and help him out. bob takes his advice to heart and reads the law. excuse me, no law schools existed and he reads the law with a distant cousin named samuel willard and joins him during the french and indian war at crown point, a hot spot in the now raging french indian war of eight of 1755 for willard's regiment, bob serves as chaplain, and he gives a sermon. there is a time for war and a time for peace in which he uses the term true sons of liberty. a decade before that term becomes a household word back in boston, in the very months that his father dies, he is admitted to the bar in 1757 and promptly goes out and buys a wig, properly trained and now properly attired. he qualifies as for practicing
before the superior court. in 1758 and can now fraternize with fellow members of the bar in the judicial chambers in the townhouse today, known as the old statehouse, one day when bob is 27, in strides, a fledgling lawyer by the name of john adams, 23 years old, who soon weighs in on bob payne and his soon to be voluminous diary quote bob payne is an impudent, ill bred, conceited fellow, yet he has wit, sense and learning and a great deal of humor and has virtue and pride except for his fretful, peevish, childish complaints against the disposition of things, unquote. well, i suspect that john adams is projecting a little there pain as soon on the circuit
court or the court circuit, i should say, and rise and his rise on the court circuit. take him as far away as the courthouses in what is now maine in 1761. he decides to strike out on his own, venturing to relocate in the town of taunton, a center of iron production and blessed with a deep voice, tall stature and piercing black eyes, payne soon becomes the town moderator and justice of the peace while expanding his clientele by 1766, he is frequenting a tavern on the green, which is over here on the far left. it's owned by the local iron entrepreneur thomas cobb, who's 22 year old daughter sally runs the tavern and catches the eye of a 35 year old bachelor who,
by the way, has had a string of girlfriends over the years and i think turn them off because his language was too flowery for them in some of his correspondence with them as his survived. anyhow, sally cobb is on his radar screen. meanwhile, in boston, the people are feeling the impact of new taxes imposed by parliament to pay for the french and indian war. the stamp act of 1765 spawns the true born sons of liberty and is repealed only to be followed in 1767 by the townsend act, causing the british appointed governor thomas bernard to dissolve the legislature for refusing to retract its denunciation of the taxes leading to mob violence and protests. and this is in 1767. soldiers are now staying in the townhouse in 1768, only a year after samuel adams and others
have insisted that a public gallery be installed in the old townhouse so that the public can can see the accountability of its legisla tors. that's a first in the colonies. meanwhile, merchant john hancock, samuel adams and james otis organize a colony wide assembly known as the massachusetts convention of towns, in which paine represents taunton. at their meeting in the old south meeting house. if i can do this, i can't see the rest of my text anyway. they have they have a meeting at the old south meeting house. meanwhile, the soldiers and boston are soon quartered with citizens. it is only a matter of time
before british soldiers and local citizens come to blows in late february, a customs informer defending himself from an angry mob fires into the crowd and kills 11 year old christopher cider on a snowy marsh fifth in 1770 in front of the town house, british soldiers fire on unarmed civilians and kill five, including native american black crispus attucks. four days later, samuel adams is colleague william molnar sends a letter to paine in taunton, formerly requesting him to return to boston and lead the prosecute in which he is fully willing to do. he accepts, but first he must attend to a personal matter. marrying sally cobb, who has been carrying his child for seven months. when he finally gets word of it
in february and the next day, immediately he asks for her hand in marriage. ten days after the massacre, which was march 5th. on march 15th, bob and sally marry in her parents house, the first of their eight children is born. two months later, a name for the father. the second child will be named for the mother. sally jr. the lawyer chosen to defend the british is none other than john adams. as we all know, though, he believes independence to be inevitable. facing his legal rival and future friend. robert treat paine prosecute aiding the troops though he is not yet sure that independence is inevitable or even wise. the three trials finally take place in the fall, one for the customs official who killed a boy and and christopher cider, a second for captain preston and a
third. so the eight armed soldiers in the transcript is based on testimony as the cover says, taken in shorthand, the trials are moved from the townhouse, which cannot accommodate the crowds. the enormous crowds that want to be there to the newly built courthouse, which stands on the side of today's old city hall in boston. close to where paine grew up, close to the were the latin school also was snippets of paine's arguments survive quote a number of soldiers have come out of their barracks armed with clubs burned cutlasses tongs and interim use of divers coins and in the most disorderly, outrageous manner were ravaging the streets, assaulting everyone they met, and even vented their inhumane inhumanity on the little boy of 12 years old. some of them were conspiring to blow up the liberty tree, but quote unquote, in the three
trials, paine wins conviction of the customs officer for the manslaughter of the 11 year old christopher cider by captain preston is acquitted and only two of the eight soldiers were convicted of manslaughter. the other six acquitted despite the acquittals, the foundation of paine's reputation as a lawyer is laid and as adams later sees it, in the boston massacre trials, quote, the foundation of american independence was laid. ton now joins the boston committee of correspondents sending paine to represent their town. in may 1773, taunton voters elect paine and thomas leonard, who happens to be sally cobb, paine's cousin, as its representatives to the legislature. paine is now spending a lot of time in boston, leaving sally to raise their now three kids.
bob, sally and tom in retaliation for the boston tea party in 1773, the british are now the british parliament, i should say, passes the coercive acts dubbed the intolerable acts, annulling the massachusetts charter shutting down the port, allowing the stabling of horses in the old south meetinghouse and the quartering of soldiers, even in faneuil hall, the cradle of liberty. in june, a secret committee of the legislature to including paine selects from its eight members the slate of delegates for an unprecedented continental congress to meet in philadel in fear. but first, they must be put to a vote of the full legislature. it didn't just happen if the acting military, governor thomas gage, gets wind that such a vote is about to take place. he will dissolve the legislature
to prevent that vote. paine's fellow delegate from taunton thomas leonard, is a loyalist who would certainly tip off governor gage about the impending vote. but paine comes up with a ploy to prevent it. he tells eleanor that an urgent matter requires the immediate removal and presence in taunton. off they go and in their absence, the vote takes place. when gage hears he to promptly dissolves the legislature and massachusetts has its duly elected representatives proceeding to philadelphia thanks to pay on the way to philadelphia, they stop at milford, connecticut, where bob paine says, i suppose you're all curious why i'm the only guy in the carriage who has a middle name. well, let me explain to why i'm called robert treat paine. i'm name for this puritan governor you've probably forgotten. was the governor of connecticut, but he was the guy who saved the connecticut charter from that despot 90 years ago, named
governor andros. he was the one that saved the charter and headed in the charter oak tree that robert tree. so on. they go to philadelphia having listened to robert treat paine go on and on about his ancestors when arriving in philadelphia here at a banquet hosted by pennsylvania delegate thomas mifflin, paine offers a timely toast. the john adams duly records quote, i. i love this way. the collision of british flint and american steel produced that spark of liberty which will illuminate the latest posterity. yes, lock, stock and barrel. the metaphor suits the times and expresses paine scientific bent and lifelong fascination with powder that is, powder used in firearms and or in fireworks, but not necessarily the powder used for wigs. meanwhile, back in taunton, while the continental congress is meeting patriotism is on fire.
bob's sister writes, we all rejoice that our whole continent have been so happy in their choice of patriots to compose this noble assembly. the sons of liberty wanted to set a flag of liberty upon your house to honor you, but were prevented by the doctor. that is david cobb, who was a doctor. sally cobb, paine's brother. but all is not lost of that flag. the taunton, the sons of liberty flag has been called the earliest national banner. it still flies there instead of hanging limp on this front door, the panes of the paint house, the that the panes builds on the green. in 1771, it flies across the green on a newly erected liberty pole. and in the late breaking news, as julie recorded in the boston evening post, a liberty pole 112 feet long was raised on which a vein and a union flag flying
with the words liberty and union there on to the pole is fixed. the following lines, quote, be known to the present and to all future generations that the sons of liberty and taunton have erected this monument or liberty standard steadfast in freedom's cause, will live or die. other liberty poles appeared in a number of other towns as well, but this was the one with a flag that resounds through the ages inde liberty and union becomes our motto. as faneuil hall reminds us the words uttered by daniel webster in the most famous speech ever given on the floor of the senate liberty on union now and forever. one and inseparable and i think the most important word speaking to us in our times is that word union. as paine and his fellow delegates meet and philadelphia. the significance of the moment is not lost on his brother in
law, joseph greenleaf, or writes him, the eyes of the world are upon you. your decisions will determine the fate of nations. such large ideas are emerging, sprouting up all across the land in this amazing moment. on the 19th of april 1775, a date none of us will ever not know. british soldiers venture outside boston in hope of arresting john hancock. and that's scurrilous firebrand samuel adams. and also confiscating the main stockpile of gunpowder, the essential ingredient of revolution, only to find that militiamen are waiting for them in concord and lexington. and so war breaks out the last. and on to bunker hill in june, where the shortage of powder ends in a british victory. but a costly one. meanwhile, the second continental congress gives king george one last chance at
reconciliation with his colonies in the so-called olive branch petition, where the names of adams and payne appear side by side as they will in a seditious document. a year later, king george rebuffs the idea. game on. in this period, paine earns a nickname as the object maker. well, he's a well-trained lawyer. you know, your honor, i object. as recorded by pennsylvania delegate dr. benjamin rush. but surely paine himself has no objection to rush. also calling him, quote, a firm, two sided and persevering patriot. sally, who has been writing bob is kidding him that she suspects he must be keeping a second wife. she's she's so glad to see him, if only for a time. in august, after he observes the continental army siege from outside boston and dines with
general washington, newly appointed governor, i should say, commander of the continental army, and quartered in the former vassal house that has been abandoned by loyalists who have fled town today as i'm sure all of you know, this is known as the longfellow house. washington's headquarters, national historic site. lovely lee preserved by generations of longfellow's and where in the run up to the civil war henry wadsworth longfellow had written the poem the midnight ride of paul revere. back in philadelphia, paine has a delegation to albany to confer with the iroquois nation and persuade them to side with the colonists. the onondaga people nicknamed paine cruel. why he or good news? and this is what paine says to a fellow patriot about that moment at albany. we attended a treaty with the six nations, and it appeared to be a very serviceable to the cause that a committee from a
mob is calling the grand council fire at philadelphia attended it. the indians were much elated and behave with every mark of friendship. their speech contains matters of importance. indeed, the native nation federation had a lot to teach the colonies as they considered forming their own federation. but paine's lifelong scientific bent and interest in powder recommends him for leading efforts to assure supplies of powder and ordnance as he visits foundries and spreads the word on how and where to source. hard to find saltpeter even says, look underneath on the damp grog, underneath meeting houses, and you'll probably find some. these are the essential ingredients of resisting the british. meanwhile, in 1776 appears an anonymous pamphlet common sense that flies off the shelves and persuades the populace to
embrace independence. robert treat paine copy of it may be the only one with the name paine written on it. a committee headed by jefferson and adams drafts what tom paine calls for a declaration for independence, soon to be signed by the 56 delegates in this room in independence hall. shortly before that date, bob paine declares to his diary his own personal independ dence from wearing a wig. if paine is concerned that he has just signed a seditious document for which he could be tried and executed, it does not show in his diary. indeed, unlike diarist john adams, who is surely a blogger before his time, paine keeps a diary more like a twitter feed. here is what he writes for july third and july 4th. july third. cool day. july 4th.
cool. the independence of the states voted and declared. very cool. by the way, the only two signers of that seditious document who had ancestors who had signed the mayflower compact calling for self-government were john adams and robert treat paine. so did paine's quill slip? that is what my father always said. but compared to other versions of paine signature, we can see that paine is all in and so is. so is his egg. it's the same jaunty flourish he uses when he is showing off. when sally gets the news about july 4th from bob, she replies, quote, i receive yours of july 5th, and the declaration for which i thank you for i've been longing to see it this some time. well, amen to that. here is what the press has to say in philadelphia. close enough on the date, quote,
congress unanimously resolved to declare the united colonies free and independent states. well, it took a while for the word to get to boston. born on july 18th, the just arrived declaration is read from the balcony of the town townhouse. the idea of declaring independence will go viral, inspiring someone 120 declarations of independence across the globe over the years that follow into our own era. sally paine's brother, david cobb. writes his brother in law on july that july 18th day, this day at 1:00 was declared the independence of america from the balcony of the townhouses in the presence of thousands, a regiment of continental troops in the firing of field pieces. hail the rising empire. while the different fortresses in the harbor were after the joyful sound of heaven and thunder. smoke and fire. the day was closed with a bonfire made of all the engines of royalty that could be
collected. paine now retires from continental congress and returns to massachusetts for good with his family still living in taunton. he is unanimously elected the state's first attorney general and speaker of the house. as such, he leads the effort to organize a suitable celebration to be held on the occasion of july 4th, 1777. and sure enough, includes a finale of fireworks on the common. john adams spearheads the complicated effort to frame a state constitution. this is before the revolution is even over, which has been on adams mind since the publishing his thoughts on government in 1776. he has many helping hands, scores of them, including robert treat paine. the goal is government of laws, not of men protecting natural inalienable rights. adams credits john locke, whose two treatises on government were reprinted in boston.
in 1773. paine served on many of those committees and chaired at least ten of them. and among the declaration of rights article. 12 comes out of one of paine's committees and one that he chairs, quote. it's worth quoting no subject shall be compelled to furnish evidencegainst himself and every subject shall have a right to be fully heard. his defense to meet to meet the witnesses against him face to face and to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury of the country without whose consent or his own voluntary confession, he cannot finally be declared guilty or sentenced to loss of life, liberty, or property, unquote. the american jury system, cornerstone of our democracy, india of the world took root in massachusetts under the watchful eye of robert treat paine and his colleagues. the
massachusetts constitution, the oldest in continuous use in the world, the first submitted directly to the people for the for their approval, in spite of the us constitu. and that in turn has inspired constitutions around the world. now, all that was a year before the british surrender at yorktown in 1731, and that year. at long last, paine and his family of now, six children are living in boston, where they will remain. when the news of yorktown reaches boston, paine's now good friends in massachusetts governor john hancock invites paine to join him on the balcony of his house on beacon hill to observe the fireworks display on boston common. how could paine refuse? paine is also leading the process of codifying state law to reflect the new constitution. stricter hearings to the rule of law requires coherence, and paine is on the case. one thing paine has learned in crafting documents that required
a wide buy in is the wisdom of teams as he would write, quote, i have too long been acquainted with public life to suppose an individual by himself can propose and determine questions so well as a collection of sages who to bring together all the matter to be considered and ripe in each other's judgment by mutual observations. good advice. america is free. yet slavery is still lawful as peace is being declared. paine is in worcester prosecuting the case that formerly enslaved men caught walker brings against nathaniel jenison, who was savagely beaten him. jenison claims that walker is his property and a runaway. attorney general payne introduces testimony proving that clark walker's former master, the deceased former husband of nathaniel jensen's now wife, promised him his freedom before age 25, which he
now is. therefore, the assault and battery of walker is unlawful. chief justice william cushing goes further and cites a new state constitution's language, declaring that all men are born free and equal under and before the law. the case is pivotal in hastening the olitioof slavery in massachusetts. weeks before george washington is to be sworn in as the first president of the united states, paine writes adams, quote, i have not sought popular charity, but endeavored to do my duty. i think general washington cannot have forgotten me. my vote when he took charge of our army to support him was life and fortune. and my signing the charter of our independence. a year later, governor hancock appoints paine associate justice of the massachusetts state supreme court. so soon after, his longtime colleague john adams becomes president in a close election,
paine elaborates on what is at stake for the court system and the rule of law itself. partizan politics has become ugly. washington warned against it in his farewell address. england and france are now at war, and both are seizing american ships caught trading with the enemy. americans are bitterly divided over which side to take or how to proceed. in such a moment, paine charges a grand jury with these words when the unbounded ambition of some and revengeful passions of others are let loose on a community deceiving and enraging the unwary and those who may not have opportunities of other information by false pretensions of liberty and public good, then we may well have apprehend chance that our as our union is essentially deficient in the public safety and happiness may be in danger upon such
occasions. the call is loud for everyone who wishes to preserve and hand down to posterity the precious fruits of american union. and he says word union to rally around the standard of our political constitution. well, i if anybody would agree with me, and i think he's kind of speaking to the posterity of 2022. at home, the paynes are known as congenial hosts. paine can be slow on the uptake of a good joke. however, for it was said that the report of his laugh was not heard until the flash of the jest had entirely vanished. so he was slow on the uptake. that may explain a lot. yet even the anecdotes about paine evoke powder and gunfire too of sally and bob's now grown sons partake in commemorating independence. one son initially his father by marrying a young british english
actress and his estranged for a while but makes a name for himself as a poet. indeed, on the 177th anniversary of the landing of the mayflower and mothers in a poem pleading for national unity, he coins the usage of the term pilgrim to refer to the mayflower fathers and mothers. and the usage goes viral. a year later, that robert treat paine jr composes a popular song. adams and liberty. in 1798, it figures prominently in the john adams reelection presidential campaign in 1800, which he unfortunately still loses to jefferson. but the song's melody is a winner, and it finds immortality 16 years later by being adopted in our national anthem. another son, charles, is on the 25th anniversary of independence nation, and one speaks in the old south meetinghouse of how america was once a howling
wilderness and is becoming the permanent boast of the world. he will lose his fortune and die of tuberculosis. in 1810, before his father dies, leaving his widow sarah sumner cushing, shown here to raise their four children alone. as a single parent. one of those four children being my great great grandfather. also marking the 25th anniversary of the signing. in 1801 is a picture. don't call the congress voting independence in which appears the first commemorative group painting of the 56 signers by robert pine and edward savage, who needed to paint portraits of each signer for the job, including paine shown on the left margin right there. which is the only portrait paine ever took the time to sit for.
it was not even complete, but it was enough for for edward savage to go on and do the group painting. i mean, robert treat paine really needed a better publicist. savage did not even finish it, but paine's daughters persuaded savage's heirs to part with it and had another artist complete it. so that's half a portrait for paine versus an in old age, comparing with 20 or more that john adams somehow find the time to sit for over his time, many of them were his wearing a wig. unlike what we see here in 1804, paine, finally at age 73, retire from the bench at age 80, robert treat paine paine is hobbling along with john adams at age 75, signed by side, as adams writes, founding father benjamin rush. it would divert you to witness a conversation between ancient friend and colleague, robert treat paine and me.
he is about 80. i cannot speak and he cannot hear. and yet we converse. in may 1814, at age 83, paine catches a chill tending his garden and dies. on may 11th. adams writes a friend. alas, the message this is triumvirate is broken. judge paine is no more rare. remembering a forgotten founding father, it is john troubles group portrait of the 56 signers that we remember as it hangs in the rotunda of the capitol. it was once featured on the back of remember those $2 bills and robert treat paine is in the blue circle. there or blown up. you can see them better here. so here's paine. he's holding a paper but no longer making objects prints as he was known for his believes in the ripening of ideas and the wisdom of teams in faneuil hall
hangs a copy of that one portrait, this one done by chester harding, where he's out an actual hand inside the coat jacket, another by richard stagg hangs at independence hall in philadelphia. his final resting place, the granary bearing ground along the east wall alongside or nearby other patriots, as well as the victims of the boston massacre. alert walkers will notice public art on winthrop lane of winthrop square in boston. i wonder if anybody's noticed that besides me. anyway, you can see samuel adams next to robert treat paine. there or this plaque on the side of his house on milt street corner of federal. two blocks from where he was born, philadelphia signers walk off as this and d.c. offers this at the memorial of the 56 signers of the declaration of independence. on the mall, paine has been reimagined and i mean really nice.
we had sat for a set for a portrait when he was a younger, younger guy, so he's been imagined as the old guy on the left there. but if you use face up, you can kind of take a few years off of him using up and kind of get a sense of what he might have looked like. i don't think his hair would have been quite like that, though. my father was the one who coordinated with his aunts and uncles in donating the robert treat paine papers to the massachusetts historical society way back in 1940. and they've finally been edited and published a task no doubt impeded in part by paine's often illegible script. paine was indeed a man of fewer words and often less legible ones than his colleague john adams. and he was guilty of less incendiary rhetoric than his very distinct eyes. and tom paine, inviting future generations to find the common sense of decency, vision and
guts that shaped the life of robert treat paine the best memorial to paine anywhere is in taunton, where his career took off, where he met his wife and began his family paid for by local town fathers and by paine descendants. and still presiding over commemorative events to this day, a fitting monument to the man whom one he once elegantly summed up as calling a friend to the rights man mankind. thank you. because. shall i answer this question? will you take some questions? yeah, i'm willing to take really take questions. anybody any have any questions? i don't see a lot of hands raising. so maybe i said all that needs to be said. well, yes, please.
you keep talking, referring to the fireworks and his gunpowder, etc.. so is he. seems like a gentleman of many talents, i guess, and is that one of them in terms of i yes, he was. he was something of a of an amateur. amateur a chemist, i guess you could say. and he was also one of the founding members of the american academy of arts and sciences. so he was very much aware of the technology and mixing things up in more ways than one was was lay ahead in our future. so, yes, he was a man of many talents. i didn't mention all the careers. he didn't he didn't undertake or stick with it. one of them was clockmaker or it's a part clocks and added like an alarm or alarm bell to it, then reassess ambled it. you could do stuff like that. so he was a person of many talents. john, in your research, do you have have you been able to get a sense of of how and when he started moving toward the patriot cause rather than being
loyal to two, great britain was some of the founders that that those breakpoints are clear but with paine i just not sure it is unclear i think he basically was looking for trying to redress grievances with the crown by being still a part of the colony to to to britain. but as to when that tipping point came, it's really hard to say, but certainly think somewhere after the olive branch, a petition, he's basically saying, okay, and he's reading common sense. so i'm going to i'm going to just guess. i don't think anybody's going to a straight answer for this. a more clear answer to this, that early in 1776, say, march somewhere around there to support a sort of a date on it. so, yes, he was i think he was he was a voice of reason. he was not impetuous. he was not like the firebrand, which we also needed in that moment at the same samuel adams, who was finally his due reaches to the in the recent book by stacy schiff.
but the voice of reason was also what needed to be in the room so that we could have these conversations and get their slowly and reasonably without any further objections. so i think that's that's the answer to that. so he i think he he needed to be who he was. so yes, please. out there. and to that is that where he spent his later years so we a question about stone hearst the the waltham estate of robert treat paine junior and lew and lydia lyman payne built in the 1880s built by robert treat paine the signers great grandson name for him his namesake. yes. so there are artifacts there like a declaration, independence on display, a kind of decorative copy of it and so on. so the connection is there. he was quite proud of it. needless to say. so, yes, sir.
mr. greco to. tom, at one point you mentioned. with good reason the fact that there were two halves to america as it was trotting along create the freedom and liberty. what do you think is the lesson we should take from what you have said about the history of the united states coming together despite those divisions all along from the beginning and sadly to now? well, i think the big is that don't despair. we're going to do this once again. it gives us hope to look at our history. but it also it reminds us of of of of what the true measure, i guess you could say, of patriotism is. and and and we should be mindful of the appropriation of all these popular terms to make sure that they are are called out
when they're being, let's say, mis or something of that sort. but absolutely, we've had difficulties from from day one. i mean, going back to the creation of of of the party system for heaven's that was called factionalism back then. so there was a thought when we first got started that we're going to be parties that was going to be trouble. well, we've got used to parties, so now we've got to kind of deal with how parties interact each other, as we always have to do every so often. and we're in that moment now, as we well know. but i have to say, it's been it's been a kind of a week of calm here in the present moment. so it's a nice time to be giving this talk. and the other questions. well, thank you one and all. great to have you here. so one last item of business, tom. thank you very much. we recently produced some little cards that give you immediate access to our website. and the fact that it was tom's idea to do this, they're available. i've put them next to the
cookies so you couldn't miss them. and we want you to do help yourself to the cookies, the coffee, anything else that's sitting there. and also to, i'm sure, tom is more than happy to stay and chat with you. if you have more more personal or specific questions. but thank you for coming. we very much appreciate it. and thanks to see i see cspi. thank you for joining