"Extract of a letter from Leicester, August, 1774. 'Yesterday Mr. Paine, of Worcester, was visited by near 3000 people"
Timothy Paine (1730 – 93) was a wealthy and influential loyalist from Worcester, Massachusetts, connected by marriage to the Chandlers, another wealthy loyalist family. Paine graduated from Harvard and studied law after he was appointed clerk of courts at age twenty. He soon became a mainstay of local government, serving Worcester as assessor, clerk, selectman, and moderator. In 1735 he became justice of peace, in 1757, register of probate, and in 1765, register of deeds. He also served as a special justice of the Superior Court and was active in Boston politics by serving on the Governor’s Council in 1763.
Among the Coercive Acts was the Massachusetts Government Act of 1774, which revoked the colony’s 1691 charter and concentrated political power in the hands of the royal governor, Thomas Gage (1719-87). All government positions that had been elected were now appointed by the governor, including seats in the Governor’s Council, which acted as the upper house of the legislature. Paine was appointed by Gage to the council, and though he neither sought nor wanted this position, he felt he could not refuse it without being disloyal to the king. Throughout the colony, these mandamus councilors, as they were called, were forced to resign their commissions by large gatherings of militia. An article in the third column of the fourth page in the September 5, 1774, issue of the Boston Evening Post described how, to protest the Massachusetts Government Act, the militia gathered in Worcester forced Paine to recant his commission with a public statement of apology.