Adams Papers

To John Adams from Robert Treat Paine, 13 April 1789

Boston April 13. 1789—

Much Respected Friend,

When we were going to the first Congress our worthy Friend Hawley, gave us in writing some broken hints—I take Liberty to imitate him in the method tho not in the matter, I intended to have done my self the great pleasure to wait on you at Braintree for the benefit of social Conversation, but innumerable accidents have prevented, I wish to Communicate a few Ideas respecting my official situation, & hope this method may not be disagreeable

I have toiled in public business from the first movings of the Revolution with all my Exertions of mind & body, eleven Years in my present office, & what with the difficulties of the times & the contrasted Ideas some Influential men have of supporting public Offices, I have spent my well earned monies I had on L for the necessary support of my family, & in lieu thereof have demands on Government which bear no Interest & which I receive in a manner too scanty for my Support—twice have I been honored with an appointment to the Sup. Court, the first while at Congress I declined because I thought I could be more Serviceable (in our then precarious State) in the political line,—when I returned from Congress in ’77 I accepted the present Office on the unexpected call of government, because I saw it was necessary for the Existence of the Commonwealth that it should be executed in the manner which I have [. . .], and every Lawyer who was capable was immersed in more profitable business—

I can not describe the fatigues of it, nothing but a Sense of Honor & Duty prevented my resigning—in ’83 I was honored with an Appointment to the Sup. Jud. bench which I declined because I hoped my Office would have provided me more income to furnish my family wanted, then a judgship, but I have been sadly disappointed and have the mortification to find my self outranked by all my juniors in Politicks, & having no income to recompense it, by lodging in an office which tho of essential importance to Government, I have been out of the line of public Notice, and am not without Apprehensions that the Change of Government may still further seduce me—I have not sought popularity but endeavored to do my duty; expecting that plans which since brought me into notice, would continue me in it—My Age, abilities, political pretentions, all which you will judge for yourself, make me wish for some station less exposed to drudgery & fatigue than that I am in, but my Family Circumstances oblige me to attend to the income. if any Judgeship or quam diu office should turn up it would suit me better than the one I am in, but if I should be appointed to this with reasonable support, I shall be thankful—I do not mean to solicit any thing improperly, & if I should, I am sure it would have no effects on you—I present these observations because I have always known you attentive to a propriety of Conduct & desirous of a State of facts, & I have no other wishes than that as opportunity offers. you would do respecting the principles what you think proper to be done—I think General Washington cannot have forgotten me, my Vote, when he took Charge of our Army to Support him with life & fortune & my signing the Charter of our Independence—it would be galling to me to find that those who in the times of greatest danger were acting a salvable part, should now catch the bird from the bush which I have beaten—but I will trouble you no more but wishing you health & all happiness / subscribe your Friend & hble Srvt

RT Paine

P:S. if this is Occasion for any particular information, pray favor me with a line.

MHi: Adams Papers.

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