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1759, settled as a lawyer at Taunton, in the county of Bristol. Hare he became acquainted with his surviving consort. Their connexion was most affectionate and happy. Sanctioned by heaven, and mellowed by time, it cheered and soothed him to life's latest hour.
His preparation for the bar was worthy of his celebrated instructor. He was soon known as a sound lawyer; most taithful and assiduous in the business entrusted to him; and he rapidly acquired notice and coufidence. His townsmen testified their sense of his wortii, by an election to the provincial general court, about 1769. Those who are familiar with our history will recollect that at a season of much difficulty and solicitude, ntll adapted to call forth the energy of the master minds of the country, Mr. Paine was among the zealous and active friends of the popular interest, in the questions which were agitated between the assembly and the royal governors, by whom he was marked as one of the “busy spirits" that must be put down. The part which he took from conviction he resolutely maintained ; and was returned as a member of the provincial congress, from which he was delegated to the first continental congress, ith Sept. 1774. In this body he was efficient and prompt in action, resolte and wise in council; and retained his seat till, on the adoption of the Mas. sachusetts constitution, he was appointed the first attorney general in his native state. This office he discharged, in a season peculiarly trying, with great ability and fidelity; and in 1730 he was cominissioned as one of the justices of the supreme judicial court. Inflexibly just as a sublic prosecutor, he received the approbation and secured the gratitude of the wise and good. His was also another tribute, often not less unequivocal, the dislike and censure of the turbulent and unprincipled. Those by whom the laws were pronounced " grievances" were not to be expected to feel much complacency towards the upright and faithful functionaries of justice. All who were not ripe for rebellion were denounced as enemies. For fourteen years he continued on the bench, highly esteemed by his associates, and of most important service to the public. His hearing haing become greatly impaired by a severe cold, taken on one of the circuts, he resigned in 1804, when he was immediately elected into the executive council of the commonwealth. He declined a reëlection; and resolutely withdrew from public life.
Of all good designs, for the advancement of sound knowledge and useful improvement, he was a ready and efficient promoter. He was among the founders of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and was one of the counsellors, from its establishment, in 1780, until his decease.
Though he devoted so much time to the public, he was yet much with his family; and as a companion and a father he was affectionate, provident, exemplary, and endeared. His attachments, public and private, were very warm and sincere. Of most active mind, and social dispositions, he cheered the circle of kindred, friendship, and neighbourhood. He read much and thought much ; his knowledge was extensive and well digested; his memory retentive and ready; bis wisdom was all practical and operative. Of regular and temperate habits, and cheerful temper, she was spared to a good old age; be enjoyed his faculties unimpared to the last ; retained his interest in his friends and country; its religious, civil, and literary institutions ; rejoiced in its good, lamented its delusions, was impressed with its danger's, prayed for its peace.
He was the friend of Christianity and its ministers. Religion was with him a sentiment, as well as a system. It was operative in his life and at his death. He bore successive bereavements as became a man and a christian; he died like a hero and a saint. Leaving his affectionate blessing to survivors, his exit was that of the righteous; firm in faith, cheerful in hope.