PAINE, Robert Treat. Autograph legal manuscript (a draft?) signed ("R T. Paine," with flourish), as Massachusetts Attorney General, a legal filing addressed "To the Honorable the Justices of the Inferior Court of Common Pleas, Holden in Boston...," 5 February 1780. 3½ pages, folio, slightly browned, second leaf neatly inlaid, clean partial separation along one old fold.
SEIZING THE PROPERTY OF AN EMINENT BOSTON PHYSICIAN WHO AIDED THE BRITISH AT THE LEXINGTON ALARM. The document concerns an eminent Tory physician, Sylvester Gardiner (1707-1786). He studied medicine in London and Paris and built a very successful practice in Boston. He became wealthy through the sale of medicines, and was an early advocate of smallpox inoculation. But Gardiner publicly affirmed his support of the Royal government and, it is stated, actively aided the British at Lexington and Concord.
The extensive document begins: "Robert Treat Paine Esq....certifies that Sylvester Gardiner, late of Boston...Physician...upon and since [19 April 1775]...being an inhabitant...of the late Province, now state of Massachusetts Bay, levied War and conspir'd to wage War against the Government & People of this Province, Colony and State, and then and there adhered to the King of Great Britain...." Furthermore, Paine writes, Gardiner "then and there did give to them aid and comfort," and on [30 April 1776], without the permission of the Legislature or Executive Authority of this or other of the United States of America did withdraw himself...from this State...."
Since, Paine asserts, Gardiner "hath not since returned," he has forfeited title to certain "tenements, lands and buildings" in Boston. The precise dimensions of the lots and buildings are described according to survey. In conclusion, Paine certifies that the property described shall "accrue to the sole use and benefit of the Government and People...." Such seizures of Tory property began during the Revolution and continued for many years after the Treaty of Paris. Gardiner, like other former Tories, returned to the U.S. after the war, was able to recover some of his extensive properties, and died in Newport in 1786.