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Charles Paxton

Charles Paxton Oil on canvas
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This portrait of Charles Paxton (1708-1788) was painted by Edward Truman in 1734.

Charles Paxton was born in Boston in 1708, the son of Wentworth and Faith (Gillman) Paxton. A customs officer by the age of 25, he became a surveyor of customs in 1760 and a commisioner of customs in 1767. He was known for strictly enforcing the writs of assistance despite their unpopularity. When Gov. Thomas Hutchinson's house was sacked in August 1765, Paxton is said to have used a barrel of punch to bribe the mob to stop the attack. He seized one of John Hancock's vessel's for smuggling wine, was hanged in effigy on the Liberty Tree and fled to England in 1776. He died in England in 1788.