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Declaration Signer Robert Treat Paine’s Signed Cicero
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non nobis solum nati sumus ortusque nostri partem patria vindicat, partem amici

(“Not for us alone are we born; our country, our friends, have a share in us.”)

With the Republic ended after Caesar’s death and the Senate abolished, Cicero wrote what he considered to be his masterpiece—a work on ethics that emulated Greek philosophers as Romans had little native-grown philosophy. Among its most important elements is “On Duties,” written as a letter to Cicero’s then 21-year-old son who was in university studies in Athens.  Cicero composed “On Duties” in less than four weeks in October-November 44 BC, just over a year before Marc Antony had him killed. This Latin collection of the most popular of Cicero’s moral treatises includes “On Duties.” Among the famous sayings printed here:  “Primum, minima de malis.” (“Of evils choose the least.”)

In addition to being signed page bythe Massachusetts Declaration of Independence Signer Robert Treat Paine on the title, it is also signed by his grandson Charles Cushing Paine on the front pastedown. Like his grandfather and father, Charles C. Paine attended Harvard University,  where he would have read Latin texts such as this.

[ROBERT TREAT PAINE]. Signed Book. M. Tullii Ciceronis de Officiis Libri Tres. Cato Major sive de Senectute. Laelius sive de Amicitia. Paradoxa. Somnium Scipionis. Ex recensione Joannis Georgii Graevii cum ejusdem animadversionibus. [Marcus Tullius Cicero On Duties The Three Books. Cato the Elder on Old Age. Laelius on Friendship. Paradoxes. Scipio’s Dream. From review of Johann Georg Graevius and the same considerations.] Amsterdam: Henry Wetstein, 1691. 4¼ x 6½ in. Binding: Hardcover (Full Leather). Also signed by his grandson Charles C. Paine, 1843.

Inventory #23617       Price: $2,750

Robert Treat Paine (1731-1814) was born in Boston and attended the Boston Latin School. At the age of 14, he entered Harvard College, from which he graduated in 1749. He then taught at the Boston Latin School. He began the study of law in 1755 and was admitted to the bar in 1757. He served in the Massachusetts General Court from 1773 to 1774, in the Provincial Congress from 1774 to 1775, and represented Massachusetts at the Continental Congress from 1774 to 1776. There, he signed both the Olive Branch petition and the Declaration of Independence. He served as Massachusetts attorney general from 1777 to 1790 and as justice of the state supreme court from 1790 to 1804.

Charles Cushing Paine (1808-1874) was born in Boston, the son of Charles Paine and the grandson of Robert Treat Paine. He graduated from Harvard University in 1827, studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1831. Great nearsightedness made it hard for him to recognize clients and harmed his practice. In 1844, he bought a sea-shore estate, where he spent much of each year reading literature and conducting biographical research. His oldest son Charles Jackson Paine (1833-1916) commanded a regiment and then a division of African-American soldiers in the Civil War.

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) was a Roman lawyer, orator, and politician. Born southeast of Rome, Cicero learned both Latin and Greek. He served in an administrative post in Sicily in 75 BC, and he prosecuted the governor of Sicily in Rome, gaining success with his excellent oratory. In 63 BC, he was elected consul and withstood a conspiracy to assassinate him and overthrow the Roman Republic. Fearing a reprisal for his execution of the conspirators, Cicero went into exile in 58 BC but returned a year later. He failed to reenter politics and concentrated on his literary works. He sided with Pompey in his struggle with Julius Caesar and again fled Rome. Caesar pardoned Cicero, and he returned cautiously. After Caesar’s assassination in 44 BC, Cicero became a popular leader and an opponent of Mark Antony. Cicero supported Caesar’s adopted son and heir Octavian and urged the Senate to declare Antony an enemy of the state. He failed, and Antony had Cicero killed.

Johann Georg Graevius (1632-1703) was a German classical scholar. Born in Saxony, he originally intended to become a lawyer but abandoned it for the study of philology. He studied at Leiden and Amsterdam, and filled faculty positions at the University of Duisburg, the University of Deventer, and in 1662, the University of Utrecht, where he remained until his death. He created editions of many classic authors, but those of the works of Cicero are considered his best.

Henry Wetstein (1649-1726) was the son of a professor of Greek and divinity at the University of Basel. He settled in Amsterdam and carried on an extensive business as a printer. He published many important works, often with prefixes of his own composition, which reveal him to be “a man of considerable erudition and acuteness.”


Very good. Endpapers browned, text has scattered foxing, but mostly clean. Full early calf modest wear at the corners, rubbing and few surface marks and a small drip of wax or paint, inner joint cracked. Scattered browning but mostly quite clean internally. In a thick paper folded school-type cover that appears to be contemporaneous with the Charles C. Paine signature.


On Duties

Cato the Elder on Old Age

Laelius on Friendship


Scipio’s Dream

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