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WHILE engaged in the preparation of an article upon 
the mercantile life of John Hancock, my attention was 
directed to a volume of manuscript of possible use in 
my line of study. 

Curiosity led me to a thorough examination, requiring 
many weeks of the most studious labor, the result of 
which was first given to the public through the columns 
of the Boston Transcript. The interest manifested was 
sufficient to induce me to issue this volume in hopes 
that it might create a demand for a life of John Han 
cock, which may be given the public by other hands. 

Courtesies aiding in the preparation of this volume 
have been received from John Ward Dean, A.M., libra 
rian of the New England Historic Genealogical So 
ciety ; Samuel Arthur Bent, clerk and treasurer of the 
Bostonian Society ; Mr. Harrison Gray Otis ; the histor 
ical societies of the towns of Concord, Lexington, and 
Bedford ; and from Allen Coffin, Esq., of Nantucket, 
Rev. E. G. Porter of Boston, Mrs. William Wales of 
Dorchester, Mrs. Lydia Taft of Boston, owner of the 
portraits of Thomas Hancock and wife, and other inter 
ested friends of a long-neglected patriot. 




Neglect of John Hancock. Family Record. Adoption of the 
Boy John by Thomas Hancock. In Latin School and Har 
vard College. Boyhood Visits to Lexington and Bedford. 
Sojourn in England. 


The Famous Autograph. Hancock Wharf. John Wendell a 
Fellow-Merchant. The Bowes Family at Bedford and 


John Hancock enters the Firm. Garrison Supplies. Death of 
John Wendell. Sir Peter and Lady Warren. Tory Row. 


Family Supplies. The Boston Packet. James Scott first ap 
pears. Ship Coal from Newcastle. Settling General Whit- 
more s Estate. Thomas Hancock fails in Health. Garrison 
Supplies. Province Treasury as a Bank. 


Thomas Hancock s Private Charity. Launching of the Boston 
Packet. Her First Voyage. James Otis as Attorney. Other 
Noted Lawyers. Hancock sends for Wigs. Costumes of 
the Time. Correspondence with Lady Warren. Aid to 
Prisoners at Brest. Hancock Firm lost Control of Nan- 
tucket Oil-Trade. Deals in Mortgages. 


Passengers to England. William Rotch in the Commercial Busi 
ness. James Scott advised to Prudence. Death of Thomas 
Hancock. Funeral Customs. John Hancock and Nan- 
tucket Merchants. Group of Old Boston Merchants. Lon 
don Insurance. 





Effort to collect Bills in London. John Hancock aids Relatives 
and Friends. An Eye for Business. In Quarantine. Re 
solves to do no More Business on Shares. Watches Com 
petitors. Small-pox injures Business. Sends to London for 
Shoes. His Boston Shoemaker. Sends for Sea-Coals, Tea, 
Hemp, etc. 


Revenue Laws make Bankrupts. Sir Peter Warren. Hancock 
tries to form an Oil-Trust. John Hancock s Financial 
Straits. Hancock s Dinner-Party with William Rotch. . 
Chosen on the Board of Selectmen. Draws from the Prov 
ince Treasury. Invoice of Silks. 


Rivalry between Hancock and Rotch. John Hancock as a Fi 
nancial Adviser. Trade with Madeira. Compassion for the 
Aged. John Hancock s Ship Liberty and Her First Com 
munication to London. Stamp Act a Cruel Hardship. 
Stamps arrive. Severe Treatment of Oliver and Hutchinson. 
New Brig Harrison. John Hancock will not be a Slave. 
Hancock makes a Record for Posterity. 


People refuse to use Stamps. Large Tax paid by the Hancock 
Firm. Evil Forebodings of November First. Slaves in the 
Colonies. Boston instructs Representatives in General 
Court. John Hancock appeals to Heaven. Sends to Lon 
don for Books a Gift for Harvard College. John Han 
cock in Despondency. Ships Goods without Stamps. 
Goods ordered on Condition of the Repeal of the Stamp Act. 
No Telephone. Rides to Lexington. 


Ever Ready to aid Worthy Young Men. Hancock neglects His 
Own Business for the Good of His Country. A General 
Business Agency. List of Merchants associated with Han 
cock. Orders Goods in Case the Stamp Act is repealed. 
"Hancock and His Crew." Loss by Wreck. Colonel 
Henry Bromfield. Richard Clark. Hancock in Town- 
Meeting. Garrison Supplies. 


Hancock starts a Young Man in Business. Boldly declares His 
Rights. Introduces William Bowes. Solicits Business. 



Merchants in London feel the Business Depression. Utter 
ances of the Press. Liberty Tree. Hancock on Committee 
of Resolutions for Town of Plymouth. 


The Repeal of the Stamp Act. The Welcome News brought by 
Hancock s Vessel. The Public Rejoicing. Hancock freely 
treats to Madeira. Inscriptions to Liberty engraved by 
Paul Revere. Hancock in General Court. 


.Hancock s 111 Health. A Merchant s Shrewdness. Absorbing 
Cares. Power of Resentment. Boston Harbor frozen over. 
Scarcity of Money, llancock represents Boston in the Gen 
eral Court. Hancock recommends James Otis, Esq., as an 
Attorney. Change in London Agents. Hancock scatters 
Guineas among His Poor Tenants. Non-Importation Reso 
lutions are revived. Orders Wine from Madeira. Hancock 
had Everything to lose and Nothing to gain. 


Unanimous Election to the General Court. Hancock and Haley 
exchange Presents. Town-Meeting adjourned to South 
Meeting-House . Troops arrive in Boston to compel Sub 
mission. -Hancock denies a Bold Accusation. New Agree 
ments in Regard to Trade. General Court removed to 
Cambridge. Hancock vindicates Himself. 


Hancock recovers from Severe Illness. Gifts to Brattle-Street 
Church. Hancock Memorials in Country Towns. Gift of 
a Fire-Engine to Boston. John Hancock commissioned a 
Colonel of Cadets. Journey to Connecticut. Boston Tea- 
Party. Hancock sends William Palfrey to carry News of 
Destruction of Tea to Philadelphia. 


William Palfrey conducts Hancock s Business. John Hancock 
delivers the Massacre Oration. Arrival and Reception of 
General Gage. Colonel Hancock and the Cadets. Han 
cock s Commission revoked. Legislature meets at Salem. 
Last Session called by a Governor under the Crown. Pro 
vincial Congress at Concord and Cambridge. Boston School 
boys keep a Secret, and save the Cannon. Indignation of 
Treatment of a Billerica Man. Gage s Army injure Han- 



cock s Property. Notable Gathering at Lexington Parson 
age. Battle of Lexington. Flight from Gage s Army to 
Burlington and Billerica. 


^John Hancock chosen President of the Second Continental Con 
gress. He is proscribed by Proclamation of General Gage. 
A Love-Letter and Subsequent Marriage. 


Hancock s Letter to Washington in Regard to Bombarding 
Boston. Letter to Canada. Rejoicing at Washington s Re 
port of the Evacuation of Boston. Occupants of Hancock 
Mansion during the Siege of Boston. Hancock denounces 
Charge against the Provinces. Hancock and His Wife in 
vite General and Lady Washington to their home at Phila 
delphia. Declaration of Independence. Flight to Baltimore. 
Birth of a Daughter to John and Dorothy Hancock. Han 
cock s Appeal for Protection of New England. 


Congress returns to Philadelphia. Letter to Mrs. Hancock. 
Hancock resigns as President of Congress. Returns to 
Boston. Reception. Elected to Town Office. Military 
Service. Reception to French Fleet. Hancock pays Bills 
for Boston s Honor. 


Again in General Court. Severe on the Loyalists. In Conven 
tion to form the State Constitution. Elected the First 
Governor under the Constitution. Rev. Dr. Samuel Cooper 
preached the First Election Sermon. Calls for Financial 
Consideration from Government. Hancock resumes Busi 
ness. Letters to London. Orders for Family Supplies. 


Hancock Mansion and Gardens. Noted Guests entertained. 
Household Supplies. Mrs. John Hancock s Apparel. Han 
cock Coach. Governor John Hancock pays the Debt to 
Nature. Funeral of the First Governor of the State of Massa 
chusetts. Mrs. Dorothy Hancock marries Captain James 
Scott. Madam Dorothy Scott and General Lafayette. 


Financial Retrospect. 


John Hancock, by Copley Frontispiece 

Rev. John Hancock, Grandfather of the Patriot r^gc 3 

Mrs. John Hancock, Grandmother of the Patriot .... "4 

Nicholas Bovves s Candlestick " 5 

Nicholas Bowes s Inkstand Dish " 5 

Autograph of John Hancock 

Dominie Manse, Bedford 10 

Hancock Mansion, Boston "12 

Reproduction of Letter of 1763 ... " 14 

Thomas Hancock " 16 

Mrs. Thomas Hancock "17 

Apthorp House, Cambridge "19 

Longfellow House 22 

Autograph of James Scott " 25 

The Boston Packet "28 

James Otis "34 

Cocked Hat and Hat-Box "37 

Rotch Warehouse, Nantucket . "43 

Gov. William Shirley and Autograph "52 

Old State-House "58 

Hancock Table and Furnishings "60 

Hancock Autograph Letter of 1765 .... "63 

William Rotch "65 

Bill of Exchange of 17.66 "71 

Harrison Gray, Province Treasurer "75 

Facsimile of Stamp 83 

Letter of 1765 "85 

Home of Rev. John Hancock, Lexington . " 90 

John Hancock s Book-Plate "97 

Book-Title " "97 



John Hancock s Money-Book 

Hancock Family Tomb at Lexington .... 1 1 1 

Faneuil Hall of 1763 . . . . " 116 

Invoice Head used by John Hancock . nS 

Old South Meeting-House l2 ^ 

Osgood House, Andover . 

Hancock Sun-Pial . MI 

Autograph of Isaac Cazneau, Jr. . . M4 

Autograph of William Palfrey .... MS 

Hancock Doorknocker M iS 

The Province House .... 

Home of Isaac Royall, Medford 

Autograph Order l ^ 

Old Parish Meeting-House, Concord . l8 7 

Hubbard House, Concord 

Site of Amos Wyman House, Billerica J 9 r 

Forest Path taken by Hancock and Adams, April 19, 1775 . 195 

Precinct Parsonage, Burlington 

John Hancock, President of Continental Congress . 203 

General George Washington 

Mrs. John Hancock . . 

Autograph of William Hoskins 

Facsimile of Letter to Mrs. Mary Haley 

Scarlet Velvet Coat, etc 

Hancock Monument in Granary Burying-Ground 246 

Madam Scott 24S 

John Hancock, His Book 




"Ill-: who would study the career of Hancock must 
glean it piecemeal from the brief notices of the encyclo 
paedias, the pages of general history, and the biographies 
of other men," said Curtis Guild, Jr., at the unveiling 
of the memorial to John Hancock in Boston, on Sept. 
10, 1896. Various reasons may be assigned for this 
neglect. Hancock died at the age of fifty-six years, and 
left no descendants. His numerous relatives received 
and enjoyed his great wealth ; but neither pride nor 
gratitude incited them to the work of writing the life 
of their benefactor. His unremitting toils and sacrifices 
for the public good during the most trying period of 
the history of this republic may have been so far over 
shadowed by his unaccountable management of the 
treasury of Harvard College as to deter any man of 
that institution from undertaking the work. 



We are thankful that the Commonwealth of Massa 
chusetts has so far repaired this neglect and paid her 
debt of gratitude as to erect the monument now to be 
seen at the tomb of her first governor in the Old Gran 
ary Burying-Ground, Boston ; and it is hoped that some 
pen is now at work upon an adequate history of John 
Hancock which the public will welcome before many 

It is not the purpose of this volume to supply the long- 
felt want, except in so far as the letters of the man may 
afford slight glimpses of it. Ruskin has said that "the 
true biography of a nation is written in the book of its 
deeds, the book of its art, and the book of its words." 
It is to the book of the deeds and words of John Han 
cock that I wish to direct my readers. 

There is no better way in which to reach the real 
sentiments of a man than through his private corre 
spondence. Speeches are for the public, and often are 
more truly the voice of the people than of the speaker ; 
but in letters to trusted friends the man records his real 
self. It is my purpose to allow the letters of John Han 
cock to speak for him, introducing only such familiar 
facts of history as are needful to make clear the long- 
hidden utterances of the man. These letters cover that 
period of our history which Rufus Choate said was the 
most significant, but most neglected decade, that from 
the revenue acts to open hostilities. But before brush 
ing away the dust of a full century from this worm-eaten 
volume of manuscript, let me pause to introduce my 
friend to the rising generation. I say "my friend " be 
cause I rate in my circle of friends all whose labors have 
conspired to give to me this glorious heritage of freedom. 

He was the third in as many generations of the fam- 


ily to bear the name, John Hancock, in the history of 
the Colony of Massachusetts Bay. The first, his grand 
father, was Rev. John Hancock, pastor at Lexington for 
many years. He was often called Bishop Hancock be 
cause of his wide field of great usefulness. His resi 
dence, the old parsonage, is now eagerly visited at 
Lexington by tourists, who seek for the place of enter 
tainment of the patriot John Hancock on the eventful 
night of April 18, 
1775. The second 
generation was Rev. 
John Hancock of 
Braintree (Ouincy) ; 
he was pastor there 
from 1726 till his 
death in 1744. He, 
as pastor and parent, 
placed the outward 
seal of baptism upon 
the third John in 
January, 1737. The 
same hand performed 
a similar act on the 
innocent brow of John 
Adams. By the early 

death of this pastor, a widow and three young children 
became objects of the solicitude of their friends. 

There was living in Boston a brother of the deceased 
pastor, Thomas Hancock, who with his wife, Lydia 
Henchman, was blessed with wealth and all that it could 
procure ; but no little feet pattered about their elegant 
mansion on Beacon Hill, and they early opened their 
hearts and home to the boy John. This lad of seven 



years was kept in touch with his mother, his brother 
Kbcnezer, and his sister Mary ; but he was the lad who 
most cheered the hearts of the merchant and his com 
panion, who was the daughter of a like noted merchant 
of the town of Boston. 

Dressed in the best that the town afforded for boys 
of his age, John Hancock was tenderly guarded by his 

uncle and aunt. He 
was early found in 
the Latin School 
during the sessions, 
and was taken in 
the Hancock chariot 
to Lexington for the 
benefits of country 
air during the vaca 
tions. When rest 
less at that parson 
age he was driven to 
the Bedford parson 
age, but a few miles 
away, where he was 
the envied of his 
little cousins, who 
made merry the 

hours of his visit. This attractive boy was given the 
best that the parsonage afforded, and was allowed to 
dip his quill in his uncle s " inkstand disk " while dis 
playing his youthful ability in penmanship. 

The best candlestick was used in his honor, and all 
attention given the boy, as a representative of Thomas l 

1 Thomas Bowes, nephew and namesake of Thomas Hancock, cousin 
of John, died in youth at Bedford. 


(Elizabeth, daughter of Rev, Thomas and Mary 

Clark of Chelmsford.) 




Hancock, whose wealth and influence were often help 
fully displayed at this minister s home in a new and 
struggling settlement. One of the Bedford minister s 
children was Lucy, the namesake of her mother, - 
Lucy, daughter of Rev. John 
Hancock of Lexington. This (f== * 
daughter of .Rev. Nicholas 
Bowes and Lucy Hancock 
was often found taking steps 
for her grandparents at Lex 
ington, and with young John 
from Boston romped hand in 
hand over the hills of Lex 
ington, peered with curious 
eyes into the old belfry, or 
made mud pies at its rude 
base. Yes, my reader, John 

Hancock was a boy, and had wants like other boys 
of his time. No one can doubt that they were all sup 
plied ; perhaps if oftener denied he would have been 
the gainer. School text-books were scarce and dear, 
but John Hancock never " looked over " 
with his companions. The Henchman 
house imported and dealt in all kinds of 
books and stationery, and John s uncle 
Thomas had an account with his father- 
in-law. In the Henchman day-book is 
found, with charges to Thomas Han 
cock, " I book to John, 5^. 4^. ; I 
Hammond s algebra to John, 9^. 7</." 

John Hancock, well fitted, entered 
Harvard College, and was graduated 
from that institution in 1754. His tall, graceful figure, 

N. BOWES, 1721. 

(In possession of 

A. E. Brown.) 


elegant dress, courteous manner, and prospective for 
tune made him the envied of the best circles of the 
seaport, but this did not turn his well-poised head, 
and he entered his uncle s business house in the po 
sition of clerk. Manifesting a deep interest in the 
business, he was intrusted with its affairs, and in 1760 
was sent abroad to represent the house in London. He 
took the trip under the patronage of Mr. Thomas 
Pownall, who had been governor of the province, and, 
as a friend of Thomas Hancock, had been a frequent 
guest at his home, and manifested much interest in the 
young man of the household. John Hancock s visit 
chanced to be at the time of the death of George II. 
and of the coronation of George III., pageants not un 
congenial to the taste of the young man. It is recorded 
that the Boston merchant was later presented to the 
new king as a representative of one of his Majesty s 
colonies in America, and that King George presented 
the young man with a gold snuff-box. I shall not vouch 
for the truth of this statement ; but custom made such 
articles of daily use in the ordinary exchange of cour 
tesy. If the king, in the exuberance of his exalted 
position, did lavish this token upon his young American 
subject, he had occasion to regret it in later years; and 
doubtless John Hancock failed to pass it about with 
pride among his business or social friends, for " rich 
gifts wax poor when givers prove unkind." 

The following letter, "billet," is in the possession 
of Mrs. William Wales of Dorchester, a grandniece of 
Mrs. Dorothy Hancock. It is without date, but must 
have preceded the death of the grandmother, which 
occurred in February, 1760, and is the earliest known 
to exist : 


DEAR AUNT: My Father I accompany this afternoon to Lexing 
ton in a chaise, if you have any Commands there, shall be happy 
in the execution of them. My Grandmama will be happy to receive 
a Word or two from you as will your Nephew in committing to 
Memory what shall proceed from an amiable & beloved aunt, and 
as the original will not be present the proxy must answer as a feeble 
representative. Respectfully 


Saturday, 12 o clock A.M. 

Superscribed 1 Madam Hancock. 1 




ON the fly-leaf of his letter-book is read the well- 
known autograph. 

It lacks some of the steadiness and regularity of curve 
of that on the Declaration of Independence. Yet this 
and others in the letter-book are more nearly like the 
average signature of the business man. The above is 
in the possessive case ; and the volume is in the main 
the record of the business transactions of John Han 
cock, although the early entries are those of Thomas 
Hancock. They introduce the reader to the business 
house when John Hancock was one of a large number 
of young men who did the clerical work of this famous 

Hancock was a general importer, but his exports were 
necessarily confined to the products of the whale fish 
eries. The wholesale department of the business was 
conducted at the warehouses on Hancock s wharf, which 
formerly opened into Fish, now North Street. Lewis 


Wharf represents it in part. Hancock was the owner 
of, or had a large interest in, several retail stores ; and 
the variety of goods on sale placed him at the head of 
the business interests of the Province. 

We are at first introduced, under date of Oct. 14, 
1762, to Matthew Woodford, Esq., apparently an agent 
with whom Thomas Hancock has treated in regard to 
supplies furnished a garrison stationed at Annapolis 
and Chignecto, Nova Scotia. John Wendell is asso 
ciated with him. Wendell was another Boston mer 
chant of the time. He was a neighbor of Thomas 
Hancock, living on the corner of Court and Tremont 
Streets (says Drake). 

On Oct. 17, 1762, we have a glimpse into the Han 
cock mansion on Beacon Hill, where the young man, 
John Hancock, just home from his sojourn abroad, is a 
most important member of his uncle s family. 

DKAR SIR : At my Return from Church, I found on the Table the 
Rev d Mr. Dodd s Excellent Sermon, preacird at the Anniversary 
Meeting of the Governor s of the Magdalen Charity, in March last, 
which my Nephew had Just Received. I Read it with great Pleas 
ure, which Reminded me of a former Resolution of throwing in my 
mite to that noble charity, which thro Hurry of Business I had 
omitted and lest I should forget it again, I take my Pen, and Desire 
you will please to pay out of the first money you may Receive from 
me, Seventy Guineas, my subscription to the Magdalen Charity 
charge to my Account. 

I am with much Respect, 

Dear Sir, 

Your most Obedt Humble Serv<- 

one of the Govrs of Magdalen Charity. 

This was but one of many of the acts of benevolence 
recorded to the honor of Thomas Hancock, whose noble 


example was well followed in this particular by his 

The next group of letters affords some intimation of 
the commercial relations of Boston merchants during 
the last French war, and of the difficulty in adjusting 

BOSTON, Novemr 5^ 1762. 

GENTN : I Reed your favour of July 31*1, observe Mr. Atkins s 
Bill on Trafford Elms is Refused & Noted ; however am of 
Opinion it will be paid, as Newfoundland is happily fallen again 
into our Hands. As I have no Power of Attorney from Kilby, 
Barnard & Parker, to whom Mr. Laughton was Indebted, so could 
have no Demand in Law, therefore have Deliver d that acco" to 
Mr. Parker, your Partner, my Power is from Kilby & Barnard 

In Regard to Sewall & Lewis, I have good Security, but as I 
wrote, they can t pay yet, & it would not be prudent to sue, as it 
must break them up as things are at present. 

The Tea is Arrived. I hope to hear from you soon and am 
Gentn, Your most Obed t Humble Servt- 

P.S. Inclosed is a Certificate from the Custom House of landing 
the Tea, by Loring. 


BOSTON, A cvet/ir 3oth, j 762. 

GENT N : I herewith Inclose Invoice for sundry Goods, which I 
Desire you to Ship on my Acco" by the first good Opportunity, in 
the Spring & Insure them. You will take particular Care, that the 
Goods are well Chosen, Pack d & Charg d at the lowest Prizes. 

Inclosed you have also William Thomas s Bills on Mr. William 
Bivall Dartmouth ^175, Thomas Williams s Bills on John Hum- 
frey, Esqr. for ^20. When paid Credit my account. 
I am with Great Esteem 

Your most Obed t Humble Servt- 

P.S. Hope soon to hear the Fate of my Bill Transmitted by the 
Mast Fleet. 

Capt. Atkins s Bill for .688 6s 6d sterl g, notwithstanding, I 
wrote to send it back protested, if this Comes in Time protest it, 






- CO 

:> * 



take 10 p. ct. Damages & Interest till paid. I hear, & there will 
be no Doubt of its being paid, if not done already. 


BOSTON, Dccemr 2&, 1762. 

GENT N : Since the foregoing I Reed Via Halifax your favour 
of 3i st Aug st with the Papers, referring to Mr. Cummings which I 
shall see Executed, as soon as may be. I Desire you to protest his 
Bill & keep it, that I may Draw the Interest & 10 pr. ct. Damages. 
The Papers shall be forwarded you, as soon as Authenticated. 

Capt. Robert Stockton, in the Ship Hopewell, is a Transport 
still in the Service, and if the Bill be not paid, protest it, & beg you 
will apply to the Navy Board, & stop the money, as I don t ever 
Expect to see him again, and I know there is or was, when here a 
large sum due for him of s d ship. I thank your honouring Sword & 
Bell s Bill with Hill & Lamars, for the Wine. Hope there will be 
no Peace till the Parliament Setts. 

I am Gent", 

Your most Ooedt Humble Serv*- 

P.S. I sent you all the Pott ash I had made. If it will answer, 
I shall go into the manufacture. 


BOSTON, Decemr 2^, 1762. 

SIR: Capt. John Campbell, whose Note of Hand for ^100 
Sterling, I find among the Late General Whitmore s Papers, Copy 
of which I here Inclose you, is Gone from Newfoundland to Eng 
land ; he is of the 22^ Regiment. 

I give you this Notice, in Order that you may make a Demand 
of the Money in Case he may be met with there, and if you are paid 
by him, You will acquaint me thereof, that the original note may be 
deliverM, to his order. I am afraid to send it now lest it should 
miscarry in War Time. I hope the ^1000 I remitted by the Mast 
Fleet is RecM & Paid. The Articles of Furniture I Rec d from 
Louisburg, are not yet sold, but shall take the first good opportu 
nity to Dispose of them, they are old little worth, and should 
there be a man of War or Peace soon, I will send your Papers & 
money for Ballance, if I cannot Procure Bills of Exchange, which are 
very scarce at present & not to be had. 

I am Sir 

Your most Obedt Humble Serv*- 



BOSTON 2d Decemr 1762. 

GENT* : Since I put my Letters into this Ships Bag, I have 
Drawn the Inclosed Bill. Say, Wendell & Hancock on William 
Beth Esq. in Amsterdam value ^110, sterg. When paid Credit my 
acco"- therefore; please to forward the Inclos d Letter to him. 
I am with Respect, Gent 11 

Your most Obed* Servt- 


BOSTON, Decemr 2^ 1762. 

SIR : We have wrote you severall Letters in the Course of the 
Summer, some of which we are certain arriv d safe. We then In- 
clos d you all the necessary Papers &c., relative to the ship William 
Galley, and are not a little surprised that we have not heard from 
you, owning the Receipt of Wendell s affidavit etc., but hope we 
shall soon. We have Taken all proper measures for your Interest, 
in consequence of which several necessary charges have arisen, in 
part of which we have this Day drawn a Sett of Bills on you, in 
favour of Messrs. Jon*- Barnard & Co., Merchants in London for 

77/E BOl\ l<:S FAMILY 13 

;io, Sterling, which you will please to honour. Accontt of which 
shall be Transmitted you hereafter. 

We are Sir, 
Your most Humble Serv ts 

To WILLIAM BETH ESQ. in Amsterdam. 

BOSTON, Decemr 28^ 1762 

GENT* : I have not yet Rec d the Goods I wrote you for, hope 
they will soon arrive. This is chiefly to cover you the In- 
clos d Letter from Mr. , Will 111 Bowes, 1 who is a Nephew of mine 
& who has some time Dealt in hardware & inclined to corre 
spond with your house. He now writes you for some Goods. 
You are safe in Dealing with him, & I am to Desire you will 
supply him & for what he now writes I will see you paid. 

1 am Gent" 
Your most Obed 1 Humble Serv* 


1 William Bowes above mentioned was the eldest son of Rev. Nicholas 
Bowes and his wife, Lucy Hancock, of Bedford. He was bom Dec. 3, 
1734, and baptized four clays later by his grandfather, Rev. John Hancock 
of Lexington. Rev. Nicholas Bowes died as chaplain in the Northern 
army in 1755. William, with other children, sold the estate at Bedford. 
He had been taken, under his uncle s superintendence, into the business 
circles of Boston. His mother, Lucy Hancock Bowes, was married to 
Rev. Samuel Cook of Cambridge. 




IN the following letters we have the first announce 
ment of the co-partnership of Thomas and John Han 

BOSTON, January ist, 1763. 

GENTN : I am to acquaint you, that I have at last Got my affairs 
into such a Scituation, as that I have this Day Taken my Nephew 
Mr. John Hancock, into Partnership with me, having had long Ex- 


perience of his Uprightness, & great Abilities for Business, as that 
1 can heartily Recommend him to Your Friendship & Correspon 
dence, which wish may be long & happy. You will therefore Cause 
my private Acco" to be Settled & the Ballance that may happen 
on either Side Carried to the Company Acco" and what Goods 1 
have wrote for, be Charged to Thomas Hancock & Company, 
mark d T. I. & H. & Consigned to Thomas Hancock & Comp a 

You will please to protest the Bill of Cumming s & keep it, that 
we may Draw the Interest, & Damages, the proper Papers will be 
forwarded soon. 

I wish You the Compliments of the Season, & am with much 
Respect, Gent", 

Your most Obed t Serv t. 


On Jan. 7 the Hancocks address Matthew Woodford, 
Esq. : 

Mr. Winslow writes me the Provisions shipt to Chignecto ar 
rived safe there, and is what will last him till mid summer & that 
the Bread from Annapolis proves much better than Expected, that 
with the Help of the French, will find no difficulty in Issuing it. I 
am very glad to hear this. I hope also it will Turn out better at 
Annapolis than Mr. Williams Expected, he writes me he has fifty 
French come in to Winter & Desires more Pork & other species 
some fresh Bread, for the officers, which I propose to Send as soon 
as the Season will permit, and as I am Considerably in advance for 
you, shall soon send you the acco" thereof, as also the Charge, of 
Agency from Mr. Steel s Death, to Mr. Williams Taking Posses 
sion of the Stores. Mr. Miles Greenwood, by the Officer s Orders, 
Issued the Provisions from 22^ April to 16^ May, Charged ^6.5^ , 
when Mr. Dyson, by M^ Gerrish s order, Took Charge of the Pro 
visions & he Charges Agency, from i6 th May to 6th ]u\y, following. 
Both these Acco s, I have Engaged at last to pay, for Steel s Sal 
ary can be paid no longer, by the Crown than to the Day of his 
Death; and when there was no Commissary, you are by Contract 
to find one. 1 have paid Mr. Gerrish also his Agency ^91, to 6t> 
November, Halifax Currency and Mr. Winslow s Acco" I expect 
every moment to be the same Time. 

I am Sir, Your most obed { Humble Serv 1 




The garrisons being supplied by the Hancock firm 
were on the Bay of Funcly ; Annapolis being on the 
western coast of Nova Scotia, and Chignecto was at the 

isthmus between the 
bay and Northumber 
land Strait. T h e 
business seems not 
to run very smoothly, 
as may be inferred 
from a letter to Mat 
thew Woodford on 
Feb. 10, 1763 i 1 

I have just Rec d Your 
favour, of 8 > Novr last, 
& Duplicate of 7 th Sept. 
by the Parquet, and Ob 
serve their Contents, & 
Remarks you have made, 
on the State of Provis 
ions, & Cash Accotts c . 
I shall take the matters 
under consideration, Send 

Abstracts from your Letter to Mr. Gerrish, and do everything in my 
Power to Secure your Interest, but the strange Confusion the Pro 
visions were in, Deaths of Commissarys, one after another, made 
things so Intricate that I much fear, whether ever things can be made 
Clearer, than what I have done, and you must settle with the Gov 
ernment, in best manner you can, with what I have sent you, the 
often change also of Commanding Officers at Annapolis, & Chig 
necto & many dead since. Two killed at Newfoundland makes 
things worse & more difficult than otherwise would have been, as 
for Deschamps we can have no Redress. I Drove that matter, as 
far as it would bear. We have a very hard Winter & no Commu- 

1 Rev. Edward G. Porter, in a recent examination of the files of papers 
at the Province House, Halifax, N.S., found abundant evidence of the busi 
ness relations between Thomas Hancock and the government. He fur 
nished vessels and food supplies. 

(By Blackburn.) 


nication at present, with Annapolis or Chignecto, all froze up & no 
Navigation can Stir to or from thence. 

I thank You for paying my Bill. I am now Considerably in Ad 
vance for I sent Provisions to Annapolis &c. as you will have seen 
by Letters I have wrote you the months past, & more I must Pur 
chase soon, but hope the Peace will make them more Plenty & 
Cheaper; I congratulate You upon it, and think it a good Peace. 

I have taken my Nephew, Mr. John Hancock into Partnership 
with me, and you will please in future to Direct to Thomas Han 
cock Esqr. Company. 

We are Sir, 

Your most Obedt Humble Servts. 


On Feb. 22 they write to Messrs. Jonathan Barnard 
& Co. for the fol 
lowing : 

2 prs. sup. fine Black 
Broad Cloth 7-41*. d. 
2 prs. good Black. 


i prs. sup. fine Black 

i prs. sup. fine Blue 
Broad Cloth 7~4rs. d., 
deep Mazarene Blue. 

The "Peace" 
which Mr. Hancock 
refers to was that of 
Feb. 10, 1763, which 
ended the colonial 
possession of France 

(Lydia Henchman. By Blackburn.) 

in North America. 

John Hancock became a partner of the firm at a time 
when his uncle was ill, and the young man was burdened 
with great responsibilities. We learn from the follow 
ing letters that Thomas Hancock was a sufferer from 


the same disease that made life a burden to his nephew 
when engrossed with the cares of an extensive business 
as well as the responsibilities of an experimental gov 

BOSTON, March i8th, 1763. 

SIR : This serves to acquaint you of the Death of John Wen 
dell, Esqr your attorney in the affairs of the Ship, William Gal 
ley. Our last Letters Acquainted you the Particulars of that affair, 
and I am very Sorry to find that there is no Prospect of having Jus 
tice done to the Concerned in this Country. 

I must Desire that you will be pleased to Impower some other 
Gentleman to Receive the Papers Settle the Acco" of Expences, 
which we have been at, and to Carry on the Suit. I am Sorry to 
Say, that my Health will not permit me to Attend that Business, 
having been Confined these three months with the Gout, & don t 
Expect to be able to attend to very little Business again, if any. 
I am Sir, 

Your most Obed 1 most Hum We Servt- 


Via New York. By Davis to Amsterdam. 

On the same date Mr. Thomas Hancock writes the 
following to Lady Warren : 

MADAM : The Letters you sent me in Your Last to the Gentle 
man, Indebted to the Estate of Sir Peter Warren, were Delivered, 
and I am Sorry to Say have had no manner of Effect. I have been 
constantly applying, and have not Rec d a Farthing from either of 
them since, and I am to Desire Your Ladyship to Send proper 
Powers of Attorney to some Gent" here to take upon them the Trust 
of Collecting in the Remainder of the Debts due to said Estate, that 
my Health will not permit me to go through that Business. 

I have now been Confined above three months to my House, 
with a Nervous Disorder & the Gout, that I am not able to Give 
that Attention to Your affairs, which they absolutely Require. I 
beg therefore that Powers may be Sent over immediately to Receive 
of me the Books & Mortgages which remain unpaid, and settle with 
me for the Money I have Rec d & Remitted You ; in the mean time, 
I shall be doing everything in my Power to Secure your Interest. 


Mrs. Hancock joins me in our Respectfull Complim ts to Your 
Ladyship, and I am Madam 

Your Most Obedt Humble Servt. 

P.S. I have Rec d. no answer to my Letters, respecting the 
Demand made on me, for Sir Peter s Subscription to the Church at 
Cambridge, with a Letter from Mr. Inman. 


The above postscript has reference to Christ Church, 
the first rector of which was Rev. East Apthorp, who 


left the parish and the Province because society was not 
congenial to him. Among his associates and workers in 
this church were the families of Vassal!, Inman, Oliver, 
Phips, Lechmere, Brattle, and such as lived in Brattle 
Street, Cambridge, at one time known as "Tory Row." 
By these letters we are impressed with the disadvan 
tages under which merchants and mechanics conducted 
their business. The only means of conveyance and 


communication with foreign countries were the clumsy 
sailing-vessel of the time ; and several months were re 
quired to get an order filled in England for a few casks 
of common nails or a few domestic supplies, such as are 
ordered for Mrs. Hancock in March, 1763, viz., "One 
dozen bottles of very best double distilled lavender 
water;" or for the house in June, viz., "Seventy-six 
casks of nails. Let them be made of good stuff and 
drawn and full size, the cask of the same make with 
the London cask, not flat hoops." 





ON March 20, 1763, the Hancocks send an order to 
London for family supplies, and give some positive busi 
ness directions: 

We wish the fav You will send one do/.. Bottles of very best 
double distilled Lavender water, for Mrs. Hancock, please to let 
it be well Cork d Tied over with Bladder, charge our acco- 
The Bottles our J. H. Brought, were so badly Cork d that they were 
useless, those were put up by Miss Crowes ; please to let them be 

You will please to Protest the Bill on Beth keep it by you as 
we shall forward the accott by next oppory, when I Expect he pays 
the Bill, or will put it into Chauncery, not so much for the Value of 
the Money, as for the Insult in Refusing payment. We look upon 
it very ill usage, & beg you will please to Signify so much to him 
by a Letter. After the money was Expended, in his Service & every 
method us d for his Interest, he should refuse to pay the Necessary 
Expences, because it faiPd of the Success he Desir d. Have wrote 
him to appoint some other persons. 


The firm address Matthew Woodford, Esq., in regard 
to provisions for garrisons under date of May 6, 1 763 : 

We have already wrote you by this Conveyance whence you 
had Lists to 20^ March. We have already furnished Provisions to 


the Different Posts for your 500 men, in part, and are now Sending 
more to last up to 25111 Dec. next, and as this is the time of year to 
lay in Provisions, we are Purchasing every thing at the Cheapest 
Rates, and you may Rely every step shall be Taken to Advance y r 
Interest. As soon as the whole supplies are gone, we shall Trans 
mit you the acco" of our Advances, now Considerably in Advance. 
We have Drawn on You by this oppor y for ^1000, sterPg in favr 
of Jon a Barnard & Co. in part, which you will please to honour. 
We shall shortly Transmit, a particular acco"> & then Draw for the 
Remaining Ballance. 

We Congratulate you on the Conclusion of a Peace, & hope we 
shall soon be able to take your Contract on a footing that will be 
satisfactory on all sides, be assured no one shall more Consult your 
Interest in all Respects & better carry on your Contract than 

Sir, Your most Obed* Serves- 

i III II Ml I 

(One of the Houses of Tory Row. Built about 1759, by Colonel John Vassall.) 

In a letter to their London agents, the Hancock firm 
write under date of May 6, 1763 : 


We duly note what Mr. G. II. mentions Respecting our Con 
cerns with You in a Yessell solely for the London Trade, which 
think will answer, & as soon as can see Mr. Folger, shall Deter 
mine; & if agreeable, shall then set up one that will be most suit 
able ; of which more in our next. 

We shall by next oppor y Transmit our whole acco" to Mr. 
Woodford & Remit you a Bill on him. 

We are with Esteem Gent 11 

Your most Obed 1 Servts. 

On the following date they write : 

We Desire you will please to ship us by very first oppor y Fif 
teen or Twenty Tons of best Petersburgh Brack Hemp. This we 
want for whale Warps & must be of the very best quality. The 
last you sent was good, & desire you will keep up to the like good 
ness, which charge to our acco lt - 

We are in great haste 


Your most Obedt Servts- 

Under date of June 7, there is another letter in re 
gard to building the vessel already mentioned : - 

We have Consulted with Capt. Folger in Regard to his Con 
cerns with you & us in a Vessel which we agree to, and have accord 
ingly set at a vessel to be Built in Boston by Hunt, a very good 
Builder. To be a ship of 160 Tons think to call her the Boston 
Packett, to be Launched by the middle of September, every thing to 
be Done, in the best manner. Shall aim to have her a prime going 
Ship, handsome to Carry well, plain but neat & for the London 
Trade, to Hold in Thirds, or other ways, if Folger does not Chose 
so large a Concern. We think Capt. Folger will take the Com 
mand of her, at least for two or three voyages & we need not tell 
You he is a suitable man. 

Inclosed is a pattern of Scarlet Bays or Whitney, which we De 
sire you will send a piece of, to be very best. 

Please to acquaint Mr. Lepley we Rec\l his letters & Powers & 
have Rec d the papers of Mr. Royall & shall do all in our power for 
his Interest, & will write him by next oppor y. 


We hope soon to hear from You & having not to add, we remain 
with Esteem Gent" Your most obedt Humble Servts- 

Should the Devonshire, Capt, Hunter not be arriv d when this 
comes to hand, we desire You will make Insurance to the full on 
Ten hog s p o tt ash we ship You by him. 

BOSTON, June 14, 1763. 

GENT* : We have none of Your fav* unanswered. The Glass 
not yet Arriv d. This is the Desire you will by first opp y, Ship 
us the few things mentioned at Bottom hereof & beg your care 
that the nails be well Drawn, the last you sent were extreme Bad, 
that we met with Difficulty in the sale of them, for their amo we 
shall order you payment in Time. 

We are with Esteem 

Gent" Your most obed. serves. 
Please to Send 
10 ps. Red narrow Bristol Bays 

5 " Blue Do 

20 pr. German Serge, half Blue not dy d in the cloth & half good 
cloth coll s 

30 cask iod Nails ^ 

20 Do S<l Do Let them be made of Good stuff well 

6 Do 6d Do - Drawn & full size, the Cask of the same 
10 Do. 4 d Do. make with the London Cask, not flat Hoops. 
10 Do. 20^ Do.J 


On the same date, to London agents, they write : - 

We are using all Expedition in Building the Ship, as many hands 
as can work on her are Employ d & shall be carefull to have her well 
finished We think we shall soon ship some oil in thirds with You 
& Folger. Folger Returns home this day & if the Price breaks as 
he Expects he will then make a purchase 
\Ve shall soon write you again. 

We Remain with Esteem 

Your most hble serv ts - 

Under date of June 27, 1763, the Hancock firm men 
tions, for the first time, the man, James Scott, who plays 
a most prominent part in the business and domestic 


affairs of the Hancock family for the next half century. 
They also say : 

The Hemp, Duck & Anchor for the new ship you did not send 
by Jarvis as you Designed. We are going on fast with the Ship. 
We observe what Mr. J. II. mentioned Respecting the person Mr. 
Cahill Recommended for Mastr, at present are of opinion Mr. 
Folger will Command her. Should he alter his mind the preference 
will be given to this Mr. Scott. 

We are much hurried at present, that we can t add, save that we 

are with Esteem Gent n, 

Your most obedt Humble Servts. 


In these days, when coal is so abundantly supplied at 
our doors that the owners of forests of wood can hardly 
afford to have it prepared for fuel, we scarcely realize 
that sailing-vessels brought coal from England, and that 
our American mountains were then filled to bursting 
with inexhaustible stores of it. With what envious eyes 
many of the poor, dependent upon the countrymen who 
hauled their fuel on ox-teams to Boston, must have 
looked into the homes of the Hancocks, Faneuils, Hench- 
mans, and others, where the family gathered about the 
grate, flaming with English coals, procured as indicated 
in this letter : 

BOSTON, June 14^, 1763. 

SIR : This day we Rec d your favour of Hth of April last, advis 
ing you are Sending the Ship Mary, John Honnog, master to our 
address, with a Load of Coals. The Ship does not yet appear, but 
when she arrives, we shall Dispose of the Coals most to your Advan 
tage ; it s unlucky there is a great Quantity of Coals in Towne, fear 


they will not sell Immediately, in that case must be obliged to Store 
them, in order to Discharge the Ship, according to Charter, which 
you may Depend we shall at the smallest Expense possible, and do 
everything in our power to Serve Your Interest. We are Sir, 

Your most ob nt, Humble Serv ts. 

To BENJ N BIRKBECK, ESQ R. at the New Castle Coffee House, St. 
Mary s Hill, London. 

After the sale of the freight, the following was writ 
ten :- 

BOSTON, July 29^, 1763. 

SIR : We wrote you first Inst. of the arrival of Capt. Honnog & 
that the Coals were sold. We now Inclose You Acco" of sales, 
with Capt. Honnogs Rec* for ^200 SteiTg ; paid him, & our Bill 
on Messr. Jona. Barnard & Co. for the Ballance due to you being 
22. o. 3. We have charged no Commission on Cash paid or the 
Remittance, are Sorry the Coals fetch no better price, but we did 
the best we could & as for ourselves there was no Prospect of 
Coals Rising. The Town well supplied & the Charge of Storing 
very high and might have staid unsold 12 mo. That we think we 
acted upon ye whole most for yr. Interest, in Disposing of them at 
the first good offer, and are persuaded no Coals will be better sold 
this Season. 

The Ship was Dispatched in the Ten days agreeable to Charter 
party, Capt. Honnog sail d for Carolina 21 st - Inst. 

We Tender you any further Services in our Power, you may 
Rely none shall more study your Interest in all Respects than Sir, 

Your most humble Servts. 

To MR. BENJ N BIRKBECK, at the New Castle Coffee House, St. 
Mary s Hill, London. 

On Aug. 2, 1763, in writing to their London agents 
the Hancocks say : - 

Messrs. Folger & Gardiner applied to us to be concerned with 
you & them g in Oyle to be sliipt to you, which we complied with 
& by this opp y Capt Jarvis, we have shipt about 30 Tons. In 
voice & % you will have in the Compa Letter. We have Shipt 
about 45 Tons on board Jacobson, who will sail in a few days. 

We Desire you will please to pay Major General Bastide ^12. 5. 3 


sterg. & charge our acco" being a Ball* due from T. II. to Major 
Patrick Mackellar p d him by his order, & forward his Rect- 

By Jacobson we shall ship Two Trunks, & some cash for Capt. 
Edward Whittemore & when they arrive we pray your care of them 
& when he applies to Deliver them to him, we shall also forward 
you a Discharge for him with the other Heirs of the late Gen 1 
Whittemore to sign. 

We have not to add save we are with Esteem 

Your most Obed* humble Servts- 


The three following letters afford a few hints in re 
gard to the manner of settling estates of deceased men, 
and to the last French war, and also of the physical 
condition of the senior member of the Hancock firm. 

On July 4, 1763, in a letter to Capt. Edward Whit- 
more, who represents several heirs, Thomas Hancock 
says : 

SIR : I Rec d your favr with the Duplicate of March 9^. I am 
Glad the Bill for ^1000 steriv. was duly paid. 

I here Inclose you Capt. Campbells original note of Hand for 
the Hundred Pounds Sterl g. Genl. Whitmore lent him, which have 
Recorded in the Notary s office. I thought best to Transmit! this 
now that you may Demand the money of him. 

I have got all my acotts Ready Relative to Gen l Whitmore s 
Estate & should have transmitted them with your Papers, by this 
opp y, with the Ballance in my Hands, but the Chief Justice, who 
is Judge of Probate is Gone the Circuit, and has been absent some 
time, at whose office the accotts must pass, which has put it out of 
my Power to do it now, but it shall be done at his Return, which 
will be soon. I am Sir 

Your most Obed Hum ble Servt- 


BOSTON, .ln^st ist, 1763. 

SIR: This Advises you that I shall ship you by Capt. Howard 
Jacobson, on board the Ship Boscowen Two Trunks of Papers, One 
Hundred Guineas, a Gold Watch & Silver Cup, consigned to Messrs 

28 JOHN 11 A \ COCK, 111S BOOK 

Jona Barnard & Co., who will Deliver them to you on their arrival, 
these Guineas are the same I Reed, among Genl.Whitmore s money, 
are very short of weight, & to pass them here would be a Great 
Loss, as they must weigh here 5 dwt. 9 gr. & the Reason 1 did not 
send them before was the Insurance, very high, on accott of the 
war. I give you this Advice that you may Insure if you think fitt. 

1 shall write you more particularly by Capt. Jacobson, and am 

Your most Obed 1 Humble Serv 1 - 


BOSTON, Angst 2 , 1763. 

DEAR SIR: I Rec d your fav April I s * from Bath, Inclosing a 
Letter for Mr. Bastide, I herewith Return, as he Sail d from hence 
to London, in Capt. Farr, some Time since. I hope the Bath will 
be of Service to you, of which shall be Glad to hear. 

I now write to our Friend Barnard & Co. to pay you for Acc ts of 
Maj r Mackellar ^12. 5. 3. Sterlg. Balla. due him from me, when 
you have Rec d it, please to Acquaint him of it with my Comp ts - 

The first of March last I Renewed your note for ^300 & added 
the Interest to that Time .13, and Took a new note for ^313, or 
must have Rec d the Principal money out of the Treasury, the 20^ 
June last, this new note is payable 2o* h June 1766. 

I am very weak & cannot get well, my Legs & Feet swell much 
& I am Incapable of Doing hardly any Business, the Rest of the 
Family are pretty well. 

Mrs. Hancock joins me in our most Respectfull Compts to you 
& your Lady, Mrs. Bastide & the Young Ladies. 

I am very sincerely, Dear Sir, 

Your most Obed most Humble Serv- 

Dr. Cooper 1 & Mrs. Hancock send their comps. 

The treasury alluded to above and in other letters 
was the Province Treasury, which served as a bank of 
deposit for the people of the time. 

Under the same date, a letter is written to Matthew 

1 Dr. Cooper was the pastor at the Brattle-street Church, attended by 
the Hancock family. 


Wopdford, Esq., from which more facts are obtained in 

regard to supplies for the garrisons : 

SIR : Inclosed you have three months victualling Lists, one from 
March 2it to 17^ April, 1763, for 13698 Rations, one from i8th 
April to 15 t i May 13424 Rations, one i6tl May to I2t June 15093 

We have Rec d no Letter from you since 7 th March, have the 
Pleasure to Tell you, that, Mr. Williams has got clear of all the old 
Bread except 1 140!^-, but we were obliged to send him from Boston a 
Quantity of higher prized Bread for the officers, &c. to help it oft 
& make em easy. We will Endeavor to get a Certificate from the 
Officers, if we can, that you may Recover this Loss, of the Govern 
ment, as Mr. Gerrish Recommends. 

As the Government are Repairing the Fort at Annapolis, suppose 
the numbers will be Augmented, Considerable of which Expect soon 
to hear. 

To my Great Surprise, Mr. Gerrish writes me Mr. Townsend 
has forbid him to act any longer as Commissary for you. Copies 
of his Letters you have here Inclosed, as also one from Mr. Wil 
liams. We have wrote to Desire his Continuance, or to Recom 
mend such an one as we may Depend upon Doing us Justice. We 
wish & hope Mr. Gerrish to Continue Hill can hear from you on 
this Head. We have victuall d Chignecto & Annapolis up to Dece , 
& some Groceries over done. Bread & Flour we Sent to Philadelphia 
for. As these articles come Cheaper & there is a Necessity soon to 
send six months more, to Chignecto, for the Navigation to that 
Place will not admit without great Risque, of Sending there after 
October & should a Cargo be lost, there would be no Replacing it 
again the whole winter & no Going to that Place, till April or May, 
with any safety, to Annapolis can send at almost any Time & shall 
Defer buying Pork, for that Place, till new comes in, to Compleat the 
next six months. The Reason for Sending so much Flour to Chig 
necto is they issue it instead of Bread, & it s a cheaper Freight. 

We have Insisted on Issuing all the Rice they possibly can & 
they say they do, even to Troops Complaining of having so much 

Provisions are still high. The Droughts for two years past made 
a Great Scarcity. Pork is now 15 Dollars pr. Barrel we bought 
hitherto for you Cheaper, but for the next six months, we must give 
more, are Going to Send to Philadelphia, & see what it can be had 


for there. We have now a good Season & Like to have Great Crops, 
that next Year all Provisions must fall, propose to Send for Bread, 
Flour, Pork &c. to Philadelphia, to make up what s wanted, for the 
next six months, when we draw our own Bills of Exchange, & pay 
the ready money, as we did for the last Cargo, & is Cheaper than 
can be purchased here, although it s more trouble to us. Are now 
in advance for you. Accos will be Sent as soon as we have 
Time to Get them out, when shall Draw for the Ballance. 

You may Depend we shall on all occasions, act, what we think 
will be most for your Interest and are 

Your most obedt & most Humble Servants. 

BOSTON, Angst 17, 1763. 

GENT N : By Jarvis. we wrote You & handed You Invoice of 212 
Casks Sperm Oil, in thirds with You & selves, hope will arrive safe 
& meet a good market. 

We now Inclose You Invoice & Bill of Lading of 119 Casks 
Sperm Oil, & 172 Casks Whale Oil, Shipt, on board the Boscawen, 
Howard Jacobson Master, to Your address pr Invoice, on acco" 
and Risque of you & selves, wish may arrive safe. We would just 
observe to You that this Whale Oil, is far preferable to what com 
monly is at Your market, it is quite white & sweet, & well manu 
factured. We therefore Desire Your particular Inspection of it, in 
the Sale, & we judge will fetch a better Price than the brown sperm, 
as the quality of this much excedes the common sorts and you may 
Recommend it for Such. We also cover You the cost of the whole 
amo, to ,1436. 14. 4 Lawfull Money. One third of the n* Proceeds 
you will please to carry to the credit of T. H. & Co. ; the other 
two thirds to be Settled between Yourselves Folger & Gardner, 
to whom is left the Settlement of the Purchase of Your third here, 
& they will Draw for that Amount. 

The new Ship goes on very well, we Expect she will be Launched 
by 15^ Sepf next, & shall be able to get her away by I st Nov- 
We believe this vessel will answer Your Expectations, as she ap 
pears to be well Executed, and will be a fine Ship, at least no Pains 
is spar d to have her so. 

We are Gent n , 
Your most Obed*. Humble Serves , 




The following letter of Aug. 23 shows that the legal 
steps have been taken in settlement of the Whitmore 
estate, and gives a hint at the working of the law of 
primogeniture as far as it was applicable in this coun 

You will see that the Judge has made a Distribution of the Es 
tate here, according to our Laws & Decreed You two shares of said 
Estate, you being the Eldest son. I have acted in all things what 
I thought for your Interest. The Rank the General held in the 
Army, occasioned the expense of his funeral to be much higher than 
otherwise it might have been, but as he had all the Honors paid 
him according to his Rank, I am persuaded you will think the money 
well expended. 

The keys of the Trunks are in the Bag with the Guineas. 





BOSTON, September 10^, 1763. 

MY DEAR SIR : I am to acquaint you, that both Capt. Peter 
Bulkley, his mother Mary Bulkley are Dead. Peter made a Will 
& Gave all to his Mother, who Died before him, & left nothing in 
this Country, that I can find. They are both in my Debt, for which 
Reason I have Taken out Letters of Administration upon both their 
Estates, the Reason I did it on Peter s was on Acc t of the Estate 
said to be his, in your Hands, and I most earnestly Desire that you 
will please to let me know the Circumstances of that Estate, and 
whether there will be any thing finally to Receive, when and what it 
may be. I have Given Bonds to the Office & wholly maintained old 
Mr- Bulkley & Wife for many Years except what of your Goodness 
you advanced to her when at Boston, this I did in Compassion to 
the good old People, & if there is no Help for me from you out of 
that Estate at Epsom, I must wait for my Reward in the other 

I shall be extreamly Obliged to you for a Line on this Subject, 
by first Opportunity, & to hear of your Health & Happiness. 

Mrs. Hancock Joins in Compliments to both you & your good 
Lady, and believe me to be with great Regard 

Dear Kilby 
Your most Obliged Friend & most Obed* Humble Servt. 

P.S. You shall have Certificates if you please, of my Administra 
tion from the Office. 



In writing under date of Sept. 26, the Hancocks 

The 24 th Inst. the New Ship was Launched & we shall use the 
utmost Dispatch to fit her for the Sea, & get her away as soon as 
possible. We think her a good vessell, well Built & believe will 
Answer your Expectations in every Respect, am sorry Loring is not 
in, as we much want that Mr. Scott whom you Recommend ; if she 
does not soon arrive, we must be obliged to fill up his Birth. We 
are much Hurried and add but that we hope soon to hear from you 
& that we are with Esteem Gent", 

Your most Obedt Serves. 


A month later, in a letter to the London agents, we 
read : 

Our ship Boston Packett will certainly sail by the loth Novr 
had we not met with Disappointments, in oyle, would have sailed 
sooner, in Regard to Insurance act as you Judge best. Should She 
not arrive in Time, believe it best to Insure ^1600 01-^1700 sterlg, 
on the Ship, Nath^l Coffin, master. As to the Cargo, cannot ascer 
tain any sum, not being wholly loaded, but should you imagine any 
Risque by her not arriving, You will make Insurance on her Cargo, 
to the am of ^2500 SterPg or ^3000, upon the whole leave it you 
to act as You think best. The Ship &. Cargo, being in thirds with 
You, ourselves, & Folger & Gardiner. 

Every student of the Revolutionary period of our his 
tory becomes deeply interested in James Otis, and must 
welcome the slightest allusion to that brilliant man. His 
famous speech in 1761 against the "Writs of Assis 
tance " gave him a most enviable reputation as an orator 
and as a lawyer. We find that the Hancocks lose no 
opportunity to recommend him as a lawyer to their 
commercial associates in England having business trans 
actions here. It requires but little exercise of our im 
agination to see James Otis as he walks in and out the 
Hancock counting-room, lingers to take advice of the 



senior member of the firm, or to exchange a friendly 
greeting with John Hancock, who was but a few years 

his junior. 

BOSTON, October 27^, 1763. 

SIR : We Reed. Your Letter of July 14^ last, covering Your 
Letter & Power of Attorney to James Otis, Esq. which we Del d to 
him, in Consequence of which he Immediately Sett out for Newbury, 
are Sorry, without Success, as he will write You by this opportu 
nity, to which we Refer, 
find Mr- Harris s Effects 
were all made over & 
Secured to Messrs. Tric- 
othick & Co. long ago. 
We had a Letter from 
Harris declaring, till Mr. 
Otis acquainted him, he 
never heard of Your 
Name, nor of this De 
mand ; he has a good 
Character here & a fair 
honest man. These Mis 
fortunes are certainly 
brought upon him by 
his Partner Cummings. 
We are really sorry for 
you. Mr. Harris has 
since Taken Passage for 
London, to Settle his 

affairs, having not had a letter from his Partner, these 18 months. 
We should have been very ready to have assisted Mr. Otis in the 
affair & have paid Mr. Otis, his Demand ^4. 10. sterling, which 
you will please to Repay to Mr. Barnard & Co. 

We are Sir, 
Your Most Obedt Humble Servt. 


The following letter of Oct. 29, 1763, suggests condi 
tions of the market here which to the merchant of to 
day seem almost incredible : 



This is to Desire you will as soon as possible & without Fail 
Ship us from Cork 250 Barrels of Best Irish Pork & 100 Firkins of 
good Irish Butter, the weight of each Barrell of Pork to be mark d 
on the head, to be well Packed. This Article will be very Scarce & 
Dear here, that we must Depend upon your shipping it with the 100 
Firkins of Butter to be here in all March if possible & if no oppor y 
to this place, Ship it to Halifax to the care of Benj. Gerrish Esqr. 
and as soon as the next May Butter is fit to ship we Desire you will 
then ship us 100 Firkins more of the best new Rose May Butter. 
We rely on your care to have these articles of the best kind & pur 
chased at the best Rates, which charge to our accott. 

We beg your attention to this that we may not by any means be 
disappointed, as we shall be in great want of it. 
We are with Respect 

Your most hum. Servts. 


In a letter of Nov. 4, 1763, Mr. Thomas Hancock 
writes : 

I can heartily Recommend the following Gent" of the Law, if 
Mr. Beth or Capt. Covenhoven think proper to Impower, with Mr. 
John Wendell they may Depend any of them will serve them 
faithfully, viz., James Otis Esq r -, Oxenbridge Thatcher Esq r -, or 
Robert Auchmuty Esqr. 

These lawyers were all prominent at the opening of 
the Revolution. Thatcher s office was near the south 
door of the Old State House. Auchmuty lived on School 
Street, and was a judge in the court at one time. 

The Hancock firm were burdened with a variety of 
duties for people abroad. In a letter of Nov. 7, 1763, 
they give advice in regard to a land claim. Thus 

Inclosed you have a Return of the Land s value to which Refer. 
You ll observe there is 303 Acres taken into the Province of New 
Hampshire & in their Possession, & not to be Recover d, as You 
are here informed, without an application to King & council ; of 
this You will consider, whether it is worth your while to be at the 


Expence of. There is many People in this Country who have Lands 
Taken from them in the same manner, & have gone through Law 
Suits. Lost their Cases. They no Doubt will be willing to join 
You, should it be worth your while to make application Home. 

We have paid for Examination of the Records, Postage, of Let 
ters, &c. We are Sir 

Your Most Obedt. Humb le Servt- 


The land trouble referred to above was doubtless the 
outcome of the adjustment of the boundary in 1741 be 
tween New Hampshire and Massachusetts. 

In a letter of Nov. 9, 1763, we learn that the Han 
cock firm send for foolscap paper, and remind their 
agents that the last sent was too poor to take ink. A 
great variety of duties were intrusted to their foreign 
agents. On the I4th of the same month they send for 
a large quantity of grindstones to come by their new 
ship, Boston Packet, and close a long letter with the 
following : 


Our J. H. asks the fav r that Mr. Harrison will please to get 
made & sent him I neatt Bag wig and I neatt Bob wig. Fashion 
able & of a light colour, the size of Mr. Barnard s will nearly suit 
the Tie wig Mr. Birch made which J. H. Brought with him fitted 
very well. The cost of them Mr. Harrison will charge in his little 
accott with J. H. 

The above order, and others for family supplies, sug 
gest the costume of the time. Whoever met with 
Thomas Hancock in his home, doubtless saw him dressed 
in a red velvet cap, with an inside cap of white linen 
which turned over the edge of the velvet two or three 
inches ; a blue damask dressing-gown lined with sky- 
blue silk ; a white satin waistcoat, with deep embroid 
ered flaps ; black satin breeches, with long white silk 
stockings, and red morocco slippers. 



If they met him on the street or at the warehouse, 
they noticed that he had changed his velvet cap for his 
bag or bob wig, and had on a large three-cornered hat ; 
in place of his flowered brocade he had on a gold-laced 
coat of red or blue broadcloth, with deep lace ruffles at 
the wrists ; had a sword on his side, and wore on his 
feet a pair of shoes with great silver or gold buckles. 

But the costume of the elder Hancock could not have 
satisfied the younger. John Hancock in these days 
would be called a dandy. His toilet was elaborate. His 
shirt-front was trimmed 
with fine lace, and doubt 
less there was a great 
brooch stuck in it. His 
breeches were of green 
or red velvet, or white, 
lilac, or blue satin, and 
his fine shoes had the 
most expensive buckles. 

These costumes af 
forded little comfort 
when the wearers were 

racked and tormented with the gout, and doubtless 
either Hancock would gladly have exchanged them for 
the menial s costume if they could at the same time 
have had the menial s freedom from the pain that 
dragged them down to death. 

The vessel that carried the orders for wigs, etc., took 
the following to Messrs. Jona. Barnard & Co. : 

As Pork will be scarce & Dear here, we think, if it be at mod 
erate Price, in Ireland, a cargo would come to a good markett, here 
to be Early. We have wrote You by the " Boston Packett " to 
ship us 250 Barrells 100 Firkins of Butter, to be here in all, 



March, if possible. We now Desire You to send us Double the 
Quantity at the lowest Freight, & if no oppory to this place, ship 
it to Halifax to the address of Benj. Gerrish Esq. Or if You 
prefer a Concern in Loading a small vessell to this place, we will 
stand the half, and think some Beef might answer, but it must be 
here early ; if You do not incline, we must Depend You will send 
me the Quantity we wrote for, as soon as possible. 

In a letter of Nov. 25 to the London agents we 
read : 

What of your Goods by Blake, that are on shore & opened, turn 
out well, except the single piece of scarlet Whitney we wrote for, 
which as we limited no Price & mentioned it was solely for T. H. & 
family s use this Winter, we Judg d you would have been a little at 
tentive to send it of the very best, had the expence been twice as 
much ; instead of that you have sent a common Colchester Baize of 
a bad colour & so immoderately Coarse that it is entirely useless & 
some Disappointment to T. H. & will hardly answer for common 
sale at the Price. We are not apt to P^ault You, but this we could 
not help mentioning have to desire in future that you will please 
to, when any Article is wrote for Family use, to send it of the very 
best kind, cost what it will. 

Thomas Hancock has occasion to write to Lady 
Warren again. The letter places before the reader the 
names of more of the lawyers of that time. 

BOSTON, November 2$th , 1763. 

MADAM : I Receiv d your fav ? r of a Letter, wherein you Desired 
to pay Sir Peter s Subscription to the Church at Cambridge & that 
you had Desired Mr. Delancy to Remitt me the money, I have since 
Rec d the Balla. of Majr Lockman s Bond, of poor Mr. Jones, who 
is since Reduc d, & not worth a Farthing, and have paid me said 
Subscription out of that Money, and have wrote Mr. Delancey of 
it, & that he need not send me the Money. 

I should be very glad, were it in my Power to Settle your af 
fairs ; but as my Health will not permitt, I beg you will Impower 
some other Gent n to take the Papers, settle with me, & Collect the 
Remainder of your Debts. 


I would Recommend to you, James Otis, Esq r or Robert Auch- 
muty Esq r, of the Law, or Nath 1 Wheelwright, Esqr., or Natiri 
Bethune, EsqY., either of them will serve you faithfully. 

Mrs. Hancock Joins me in best Comp ts to you, and I am, 

Your most obed t & most Humble Serv nt. 


The firm take upon themselves a new duty, and write, 
on Dec. 23, 1/63, to London agents thus : 

We some time ago wrote you Respecting one David M c Cloud, 
who went a Randsomer for a vessell of Mr. Tim Fitche s, we now 
Request the favr, You will please to write over to Brest, where he 
now is in Gaol, and order to be paid him, Five Pounds SteiTg which 
charge to our acco"- This we do at the Desire of his Father ; & 
you will please to signify the same to him & beg if you can be any 
way servicible in setting him at Liberty, that you will please to do 
it, as Mr. Fitch says he has money in your hands, & has Desired 
you long ago to pay the Ransom. 

In a letter of April 6, 1763, the Hancock firm ac 
knowledge having failed to control the oil trade at Nan- 

GENTN : We have wrote You already by this Ship of 2^ Inst. : 
since which we have Rec d Your fav r of 3o tl1 Dec. and note the 
contents. Observed You had made near full Insurance on the 
Boston Packett. You say nothing of the Ship-master, nor, indeed 
any thing about her, should have been glad to have known the 
Character of Mr. Coffin, & whether You should like to Continue him 
in the ship, of which you are silent. 

The schooner from Nantucket, sailing to your place with oyle, 
was very unlucky, more especially as it fetched so great a price, as 
it may be a means of their continuing that method, beside keeping 
up the price of oyle here. Capt. Folger did all he could to prevent 
her sailing, but they were Determined upon it. 

The early merchants had to manage with mortgages 
as do modern traders. Witness the following : 


BOSTON, February g//t, 1764. 

GEXT* : I have taken Possession of Mr. Lewis Estate in Your 
names, which was mortgaged a security for his and Se wall s Debt to 
You, & can now sell so as to Receive your whole Debt, but the 
Power of Attorney I have from you, is not sufficient to give a Title 
to Real Estate, or I should have sold Reed the whole of your 
Demands : I have therefore got a Power prepared agreeable to our 
Laws, which is here Inclosed. You will please to get authenticated 
& Return d as soon as may be, for the Estate is mortgaged to two 
other People since, for more than its worth, but we must be satis- 
lied, which can t be unless I Give a good Title, which can t be done 
until I have this Power you need be at no other Expence at 
Home. I have Joined my Nephew in this Power, hope will be 
agreeable to you. 

I am Dear Sir, 

Your most obed.t, Humble Servt- 





MRS. EDWARD How goes to England in one of the 
Hancock vessels to seek redress of the government. 
In the vessel going next after her departure, Mr. 
Thomas Hancock writes to her thus : 

BOSTON, February io///, 1764. 

DEAR MADAM : After wishing you a good voyage & all Imagi 
nable success in your affairs, this is to Desire you, when You have 
Rec d such money s of the Government, or other ways, as shall en 
able you to pay the Ball* due to the late Com pa of Apthorp & 
Hancock, that you will be so kind as to pay my half of the same to 
Messrs. Jonathan Barnard Co. merchts 1 , in Size Lane, London 
for my acco" ; and their Receipts shall Discharge the Estate of the 
late Edward How Esqr from all Demand s upon said Estate. 
I am with great Respect, 

Your most ObecU Humble Servt- 

P.S. Mr. Wheelwright will deliver you the acco" with a Letter. 
To M RS - MARY MAG* How. 

After several letters in regard to a renewal of contract 
for supplying the garrisons at Nova Scotia, and in ad 
justing former accounts, the Plancocks write to their 
London agents : 


BOSTON, July gth 1764. 

GENT* : The Boston Packett sail d 27^ of June & hope she is 
well on her Passage as she has had a fine time wish this may 
find her safe with you & beg your utmost Diligence to Dispatch her 
back, to this Place ; if not a full freight better to get away early than 
lose a freight of White Oyl in the Fall, which shall be ready for 

The Brigt Lydia, James Scott, Masr will saile in six or eight 
days, to your address, with a valuable cargo of Sperm Oil, in Equal 
Thirds, with you, Folger & Gardner, & ourselves, as to Cargo. 
The Brigt on your acco" and ours, in equal halves, if agreeable to 
you. She is a very good Vessell & a. cheap one. We think it best 
to make Insurance, at least in part & on Rec* of this, desire you 
will please to Order Insurance to be made at the Lowest Prem<- 
Viz t. 

On Brigt Lydia, James Scott, Masr at and from Boston to Lon 
don ^800. On Cargo & Freight, 2200, 3000, Sterling. * * Oil 
is extremely high and scarce which you will Notice in the Sale. 
We have been so very Lucky in purchasing a Cargo of Oil, for this 
vessell & think we have Gained a Great Point, when Mr. RotcrTs 
vessell lays waiting for Oil & she began to Load before Our Brigt 
was Ready to Take in & indeed while the Boston Packett was 
Load g. You shall have some particulars hereafter. 

Give us leave out of friendship just to mention that we think you 
are not altogether so Regular in Your answers to Letters Sending 
accotts of Sales, &c. as is Expected ; We have heard many Com 
plaints of that Sort, which is apt to Prejudice Persons against your 
House. We could not say so much, as could have wished, as there 
is a great Proof of it as to our own acco tts - This you will Excuse 
& hope there will be no occasion for the like Complaints in future. 

You will duly Notice that we did not Recommend Mrs. How to 
you for Credit only for any little Civilities or Services you might 
please to show her, as she was Distressed. 

We can t add but that we are Sincerely 

Your most Obed* Servants. 


Mr. Rotch alluded to in the above letter was probably 
William, brother of Francis Rotch, who built the ship 


Dartmouth, and placed her in the merchant service. 
They were sons of Joseph Rotch. The family at first 
appear at Nantucket, from whence they went to Dart 
mouth, which in part became New Bedford. Mr. Fran 
cis Rotch named his vessel, built in 1767, for the old 
town, where he took up his abode at about the time of 
his introduction to Mr. Hancock. 


There seemed to be a spirit of rivalry existing be 
tween the Hancock firm and William Rotch, both being 
engaged in the same branch of commerce. 

In a letter of July , 1764, to Barnard & Harrison, 
sent by Brig Lydia, James Scott, master, the Hancocks 
write thus : 

We could wish, tho think it something unlikely, that you could 
procure a Freight for the Brigt immediately back to this Place, or 
to Halifax, if to be had without waiting, but rather than she should 
be Delayed we would advise that the Brigt should with all Dispatch 


proceed to New Castle & Receive on board a full Load of Coals, for 
this Place, which \ve think will answer pretty well, especially as it 
is not probable, many ships will come from thence, as our Marketts 
have been so dull. In case she proceeds to New Castle, or on any 
other voyage, you will keep her fully Insured, till her arrival at Bos 
ton. We shall have a Load of Oyl Ready for the Brigt on her re 
turn here. Messrs Folger & Gardner must pay 50 / steiTg per Ton, 
Freight for one third the cargo, which Suppose you will Charge 
them, and Credit our acco", for one half their freight. 

You will please to advice Mr. Scott against incurring any need 
less Expences on the Bright, & pray Recommend Prudence care 
to him, as he is Young, & let him advise with you, Respecting 
his conduct. The Brigt, has we think Provisions Sufficient to 
bring her back & don t know any stores she is in want of. 

This letter concludes with an order, which reveals the 
suffering condition of the senior member of the firm : - 

Please to send by the Boston Packett a covering for a Bed, to 
be had at Mr. Fisher s, the Eiderdown Warehouse in Litchfield 
street, Oxford market, pray be very particular in the choice of a 
good one, as it is for our T. H.\s own use, in the Gout, about nine 
or Ten Guineas 1 Value. It is call d an Eider down Quilt or Cover 
ing; a Bale of Crocus for Bread Bags, 7 or 800 yds., yd. wd. ; i 
Ton of Good Sound Cheshire cheese; 10 chests of Good Florence 
Oyle. Send none but new. If the Bright goes to New Castle pray 
order us from thence Ten Groce of best Quart Champaign Bottles, 
for own use, to be well pack d in Basketts. 

But a few more letters are recorded during the month, 
and there follow several blank pages suggestive of the 
silence in the leading business house of the province. 
The senior member, Thomas Hancock, died on Aug. i, 
from apoplexy, being attacked while at Old State House, 
where he was serving as one of his Majesty s council. 

The funeral of Thomas Hancock was a ceremony in 
keeping with the times, when gloves and rings were 
freely given, according to the rank and estate of the 
deceased. There was observed on this occasion, the 


custom of hanging the escutcheon of a deceased head 
of a family from the window or over the entrance of his 
dwelling when the funeral ceremony was to begin. 

The manner in which a house was prepared for a 
funeral is thus described by Mrs. Stowe in " Old Town 
Folks :"- 

" It was a doctrine of these good old times, no less than of many 
in our present days, that a house invaded by death should be made 
as forlorn as hands could make it. It should be rendered as cold 
and stiff, as unnatural, as dead and corpse-like, as possible, by closed 
shutters, looking-glasses pinned up in white sheets, and the lock- 
ing-up and out of sight of any pleasant little familiar object which 
would be thought out of place in a sepulchre." 

The funeral of Thomas Hancock was the last when 
the extremes of custom, in the way of mourning-badges, 
were observed. 

The people of Boston decided upon a non-importation 
system, to effect which they decided to abolish the ex 
pensive costumes, as well as many other things. 

The plan went into effect, and was demonstrated at 
the funeral of a noted man, who died soon after Mr. 

It seems to have been a carefully studied plan of Mr. 
Hancock that his death should occasion no interruption 
in the business of the firm. 

As soon as the needful ceremonies were over, and the 
legal steps for settlement of the estate had been taken, 
John Hancock took his pen to give orders in his own 

His uncle had given him a large share of his fortune 
of about seventy thousand pounds sterling, and he was 
prepared to continue the business, and to extend it, as 
may be inferred from the following letter: 


BOSTON, Angst jy, 1764. 

GENT N : I now Inclose you Invoice & Bill of Lading of thirty 
one barrells & four hogsheads of potashes shipt on board the Eliza 
beth, Edm d Wendell master to your address which you will dispose 
of to the best advantage & credit my account for the produce. I 
must desire you will have it all weighed, & dispose of it at the 
smallest tare you can. I hope it will meet a good markett. 

Inclosed is a Certificate from the Custom house of the several 
Cargoes of oyl & the whale bone referred to in my Letter in C w th 
Folger & Gardner. I cannot now be so particular as I could wish, 
being much Engaged & hurri d. Pray dispatch the Boston Packett 
& Brig* Lydia as early as possible that they may return with a Load 
of oyl . 

The whole of the oyl shipt to Your Markett this year will Center 
with You & Champion & Haley, Buxton & Symmes, & you may 
depend in the fall that you will have as much or more, for- the plan 
they have laid of Engrossing the whole oyl, will not Effect, neither 
shall it, for I determined rather to increase than lessen my Concerns 
in it. My visit to Nantuckett was very agreeable & formed such 
Connections as to prevent any disappointment, I can have what 
Oyl I please & of the best men there, which of course, takes from 

the other Channell and is very chagrining to Mr. R h but he 

knows my mind. 

I continue in the same store, and propose carrying on the same 
business as with my late Uncle, by myself, of which shall write you 
more hereafter. I should be glad of your opinion respecting oyl & 
Pott ashes, whale bone, c., & to know your inclinations as to con 
cerns in oyl, whether you would approve a concern in more than 
what will load the ships & Brig s. Inclosed you have a Certificate 
of landing the Tea & Partridge, so long depending in the Custom 

You will please to observe that Folger & Gardner settle with 
You for the third of Cash of all the Cargoes except the Brigt Lydia s 
Cargo, which I shall settle, & your third of sd Cargo being ^779. 
13. 3. sterFg. You will please to carry to the credit of T. H. & Co. 
& I have accordingly chg d it to you you will credit s<l account 
with one third the produce of all the Cargoes of oyl &c. 

I am apply d to by M"- Timothy Fitch and the Parents of David 
McCloud to undertake to get him released and Mr. Fitch will reim 
burse the Expence. 

I must desire the favor You will please to write over to Brest to 


know if he be there, and if he is, that You use your best Endeavour 
to obtain his Release on the best terms you can, the Ransom is 
^200. sterFg, & no doubt some Expences to pay, which pray En 
deavour may be as moderate as possible I must desire You will 
please to order it to be paid as soon as possible, and charge to my 
account. Send me the amount with all charges that I may receive 
it of Mr. Fitch. 

I must further desire that when he is released You would procure 
him a passage to this place, if any vessel of mine in the River, I 
would give him his passage in her. Pray get him released imme 

I must beg leave to Referr to my next, for what I have further to 
say, and am with the greatest respect 


Your most obedt. Servt. 

The cost of Brigt Lydia and Expences of Boston Packett shall 
be sent by next. 


Again, to same agents, Mr. Hancock says : 

We shall be glad You will be Explicit in Your opinion respect 
ing oyl & whether You would chuse a Concern in more than what 
will load the Ship and Brig. The whole of the oyl will centre 
with You, Champion & Haley, and Buxton & Symmes. You will 
have a large Quantity in the Fall, for we are determined the plan 
they have laid shall not take effect, and should they have any Con 
versation with You on the subject, pray be cautious how you open 
Yourself to them & keep them ignorant of our Concerns, for J. H is 
determined to pursue this business, which takes from the Channel 
of R h and Centres it with you. Pray, in all Your Letters inform 
us what you can of oyl &c. & be frequent in your advices, this may 
be of use to us. 

We have not to add but that we are with much respect, 

Gent" Your most obedt Servts. 

On Aug. 20 Mr. Hancock writes to Matthew Wood- 
ford, Esq., informing him of the death of his uncle, of 
his intention to continue the business, and his desire to 
continue supplying the garrisons at Nova Scotia. He 


keeps a sharp lookout for the conditions of the market 
in oil, and writes his London agents on Oct. 10, 1764 : 

I was a little surprized that Champion & Haley should get for 
the oyl in Coffin ^29, & ours but 27. I dou t not youV doing your 
utmost, but such things are apt to give a Prejudice to some People, 
but you may depend I shall always do my utmost for the Interests 
of Your house in all respects. I must beg at all events You will 
send me the Co. Accounts settled. I long e er now Expected the 
sales of the oyl, & pray close those accounts as soon as possible. 

Mr. Hancock notifies Barnard & Harrison that he 
has drawn bills on them in favor of several gentlemen, 
amounting to ,3,668. This was done between Sept. 24 
and Oct. 1 2, showing that he did somewhat of an exten 
sive banking business together with his other branches. 

The list of names is of interest, as among them are 
men who were prominent in Boston s affairs of that 
time and during later years : 

Thomas Amory, who built a stately edifice at the corner of Park 

and Beacon Streets. 
Samuel Abbott. 
William Bowes, a cousin of John Hancock, of whom more will 

be said. 

Burnell & Barker, a Nantucket firm. 
John Cunningham. 
Samuel Eliot, a reformer in the Fire Department and a dealer 

in dry goods in Dock Square. 
Royal Tyler, Esq., one of a young men s club in 1777-1778. 

They had a room at the corner of Court and Brattle Streets, 

where they met and discussed politics, literature, and war 

(says Drake). 
Benjamin Clark was one of the company who threw the tea 

Christopher Clark, one of fifty principal merchants who charged 

crown officers with appropriating to their own use moneys 

belonging to the Province. 


William Gray, familiarly known as " Billy/ was a man of mercan 
tile eminence, and the largest ship-owner in America. 

John Appleton and Nathaniel Appleton, names familiar to Boston 

Rufus Green, an officer in Trinity Church. 

J. and I). Waldo. 

Mr. Hancock renewed the contract for supplying the 
garrison ; shipped to London agents a cargo of oil by 
the Tuton, Thomas Robson, master, and on the 25th 
of October wrote to Barnard & Harrison thus : 

Since my last I am favoured with yours & Capt Diney, Bruce 
& Marshall. The latter arrived Yesterday. Bruce got here four 
days before Marshall. Your s by the Boston Packett. InclosVl 
Inv & Bill of Lading of the Goods on board him ; but was greatly 
disappointed in not having all the things wrote for, particularly the 
Lemons & oyl, which would come to a very good Markett I beg you 
would at all times be careful to send all my Goods at the first opp y, 
as it makes a great odds in the sale. You also neglected the Eider 
down Quilt many other things which if you do not send by Scott 
will be a great disappointment to me. I am also at a Loss, to ac 
count why my Hemp Beer & many other things should be omitted 
in my own ship & others have the preference w ch is certainly now 
the case, I must insist upon it that in future none of my goods be 
turned aside for any others whatever for the disappointment to me 
is greater than if even I was oblig d to pay a double freight, but 
perhaps you may have reasons for this but to me it appears pretty 
extraordinary. The dispatch you gave to the ships is very agreeable. 
You may depend she will be immediately returned to you with a 
good Cargo of Oyl 

I am with perfect Esteem 

Gent" Your most obedt Serv . 

It will be noticed that Mr. Hancock speaks of his 
vessels by the names of the commanders. This was an 
idiom of the day in common use by all merchants, and 
is noticed in the literature of the time. 

It is also noticeable that while great care was taken to 


secure insurance on vessels and cargoes, it was all done 
in England, which must have been an added disadvan 
tage in the conduct of business. 

Although the general system of insurance may be 
traced back for several centuries in England, its adop 
tion in this country is of a comparatively recent date. 
Mr. Joseph Marion established an insurance office in 
Boston as early as 1724, but he met with little encour 
agement for many years. While the commercial rela 
tions of the colony were confined closely to trade be 
tween it and the mother country, it was evidently 
thought best to obtain the needed insurance upon the 
vessels making transatlantic voyages in the insurance 
associations of England. 




IN a letter of Nov. 17, 1764, to Barnard & Harrison, 
Mr. Hancock writes: 

I should be very glad you would give some attention to recover 
payment of the Bills long ago remitted you by my late uncle. Say 
Govr. 1 Shirleys Bill & many others, if you can obtain payment 
thereof, or use your influence, shall take it a favour. I beg your 
opinion, whether it is probable they will ever be paid. I should be 
glad you would give me some advice as to the circumstances of 
Admiral Knowles, as he is indebted to my late uncle ^300 steiTg. 

I have given a letter to Messrs. Blanchard & Hancock (the latter 
a brother of mine, who declined staying with me and chose the 
hardware business). Mr. Blanchard has the character of an hon- 

1 In 1755 William Shirley was made major-general, with the superin 
tendence of military affairs in the Northern colonies. The loss of Oswego 
was attributed to him, but he was later exonerated from blame. lie was 
made governor of the Bahamas, and stayed from Boston until 1769. It 
was during this absence that Mr. Hancock endeavored to collect the bill, 
which was doubtful, as Governor Shirley died a poor man, March 24, 

The Shirley and Hancock families were allied by business and social 
relations. When Colonel George Washington came to Boston in 1756 he 
was received at the family residences of these notable men ; and when 
he came, in 1775, as commander-in-chief of the Continental army, he was 
obliged to see the Shirley mansion used to quarter troops, while he did 
what he could to protect both houses, 


est, industrious man, & I prevail d on him to take my brother into 
partnership ; they write you for goods by my desire. I think you 
are safe with them, however, I will be answerable to you for five 
hundred pounds steiTg on their accounts and shall give them a bill 

for that sum ; hereafter you will use your judgment as to a farther 
concern with them beyond the ^500, as I shall not be answerable 
for any more. Mr. Aurthur Savage 1 is Passenger in Marshall, his 

1 Drake says : " Arthur Savage was an officer of customs in Boston. 
He is credited with having had the ball which killed General Warren at 


business home is to obtain a credit for goods, he is recommended 
to me as an honest, industrious man, but no great capital. His 
friends have prevailed on me to give him a letter to you, which I 
have done, and further, if he succeeds and should apply to you for 
a few goods I will be accountable to you for three hundred pounds 
& if he does not pay you in time that amount 1 will see you paid, 
but I do not mean by this to strengthen his credit with you, so as 
to give him a further supply, neither will I advise to it, but when 
you see him you will be able to judge for yourselves, and act your 

This I do purely to serve him, and at the Earnest request of his 
friends. The Brigt (Brigantine) Lydia is not yet arrived. I wish 
she may soon get in as I have all her Loading ready & will dispatch 
her if good weather in twenty days. I cant but approve of Capt. 
Marshalls conduct in every Respect & hope he will Merit your 

I have sent you a large order for Goods. You must be carefull 
that they are well chosen & best of their kinds. I must beg that 
the oznabrigs now ordered may not be purchased of the same per 
son, that the two last parcels, you sent us were, for such importa 
tions are not to be countenanced, about a yard of it outside very 
good & the remainder unfit for any use, that it is turned upon my 
hands, and I can never sell it. Do be particular in your orders for 
the whole of my goods. 

The mem Inclosed of Garden Seeds & Trees you will please to 
send by Marshall. 

I am with perfect Esteem 

Your most obed* Serv*- 

On Nov. 17 Mr. Hancock notifies his London agents 
that he has shipped on board Boston Packet, John Mar 
shall, commander, a cargo amounting to ,6,675 1 7 S - d- 
lawful money, and adds : 

We were obliged to leave out two tons of fine bone. Marshall 
could not take it on board, it shall come in the Brig 1 - This we men- 
Bunker Hill, which he gave to Rev. William Montague, rector of Christ 


tion the rather as you make Provision for a Markett, for it will be 
the whole to come to your Markett this season. 
We are with much Respect 

Your most obed* Serv*- 

J. H. 

Mr. Hancock writes to Messrs. Wright & Gill, also 
to Mr. William Jones, informing them of the death of 
the senior member of the firm, and solicits business as 
in the past. 

He also introduces Messrs. Blanchard & Hancock to 
these firms, also to Devonshire & Reeve. 

Ebenezer Hancock was the younger brother of John 
Hancock. He was employed by the firm ; but soon 
after the death of his uncle left the situation, and set up 
business with Mr. Blanchard. Of Ebenezer more here 

Mr. Arthur Savage and Mr. Arthur Jenkins were 
both introduced to Barnards & Harrison as men worthy 
of their confidence. 

Under date of Nov. 23, 1764, Mr. Hancock addresses 
his London agents. He makes complaint of neglect on 
their part, and cautions them not to be remiss in that 
line aorain. He further adds : 

The goods I have wrote for you will please to send let them 
be marked I & H. I wrote you that to prevent trouble, you might 
charge the cost of trunk of goods I. W. to my account, since which 
I have opened the trunk & on examination find the Cambrick & 
Lawn very badly charged. So high in Price & bad in Quality, that 
unless you can obtain an allowance for me I must loose money, for 
their Charge with the Duty I have paid here, will be more than I can 
sell them for; do think of this & make me an allowance. 

I observe you have sold the oyl pr. Hunter, the White & Brown 
well sold, but wonder there should be such a difference in the Price 


of whale oyl between your house & Mr. Lane s. Mr. Rowe l of this 
Place owner of Capt. Hunter, shipd some whale oyl at same time of 
Hunter, and has an account of Sales of it, at ^23. 15^. and yours 
only 21. the difference is a handsome Profit, but make no doubt 
you did your best. 

I beg at all events you will use your utmost Endeavours that 
Marshall may be here by the last of March, fill up with Hemp for me 
rather than detain her with you. You will have goods enough of 
your own I think to give her the quickest despatch, nothing in my 
power shall be wanting to return her from hence. 

I hope soon to hear from you, being with tenders of my best 
Services Sincere Esteem, 


Your most obed 1 Servt. 

If those whose strongest impression of John Hancock 
has been that of pride, vanity, and conceit, will read his 
correspondence thus far, they will, at least, credit the 
neglected man with shrewdness and acumen in business 
transactions, and readiness to aid others less fortunate 
than himself. There is no room for doubt or uncer 
tainty as to the slightest detail of each business direc 

Quarantine laws were rigidly enforced, the small-pox 
being the dreaded scourge of the port. In the following 
letter we see the annoyance of it to this merchant : 

1 Mr. John Rowe was a prominent merchant and co-worker with John 
Hancock in the patriot party. Gordon says that it was Mr. John Rowe 
who was suggested as a candidate for representative to General Court, 
when Samuel Adams said, looking to the Hancock mansion, "Is there 
not another John that may do better?" They were both elected, and 
served together on many important committees in succeeding years. 

Mr. John Rowe s business extended to traffic in negro slaves, as wit- 
nesseth Boston Post Boy of Dec. 19, 1763. "Just imported and to be sold 
by John Rowe at his store, a few likely negro boys, and two negro men 
between 20 and 30 years of age. Also New Castle Coals, Lisbon Salt, 
Fyal wine, Quart bottles by the groce, Hemp, Russia and Ravens Duck, 


BOSTON, Deer. 6, 1764. 

GENT* : I have at last got the Brig safe up to town, and tomorrow 
will be clear, and next day begins to take in that, if the weather, 
which at this Season is very precarious, should hold good, I de 
termine to put her to sea at farthest by 2o th Instant, and had it not 
been for the unlucky accident of the Small Pox, she would have 
been on her way to you by this. I should be glad the masters 
would be carefull, who they take on board as passengers, for this 
misfortune of the Smallpox, on board the Brig, was wholly owing 
to a Negro Servant of Mr. Williams, who had just recovered of 
that disorder; this will at least create us an Expence of ^50. stg. 1 
You will please to order Insurance to be made on Cargo, of Brig, 
Lydia, James Scott Master, as & from Boston to London viz. on 
oyl, Bone & Freight, ^3400 sterlg. in thirds, with you, Folger & 
Gardner & myself, at least you will insure my third & F & G. 
Your own you will order as you think proper. You will also 
please to insure ^800. stg. on vessel!, at least you will insure my 
proportion of her at that rate. You will act your pleasure as to 
your part. ... I am now determined not to hold any Concerns, 
nor carry on the whole of other peoples business, with my Money. 
I have long enough done that. I am sorry that the Boston Packett 
is under such an incumbrance. I would willingly take J. F. s third 
even at the first cost. I am really ashamed to have so many own 
ers. I wish to have her wholly between you & I, and is what I 
shall attempt in the spring. You are not sensible the trouble I 
have. I have paid every farthing Cash for the whole cargo of Boston 
Packett, and had it all to provide as much as if J. F. had no con 
nection with her, and not one Cask of oyl from him on board her, 
which I think is hard fate, and what I can t submit to, for I can t no 
way advance my own money and give others the advantage of it, 
and this is not a sudden determination of my own but was what 
my late uncle was freely bent on, even if he had sold the Boston 
Packett and built another. . . . 

1 When ordering negroes for domestic service, Boston merchants were 
careful to get those who had recovered from the small-pox. In 1739 
Peter Faneuil sent the following order to his London agent : 

" Please to buy from a sale of fish, for me, for the use of my house, as likely a 
straight negro lad as possibly you can, about the age of from 12 to 15 years, and 
if to be done one that has had the small-pox, who being for my service, I must 
request the favor you will let him be one of as tractable disposition as you can 


I will write you fully by Scott, if Goods arc shipt to order. I 
beg you will let me know who they are for, as it will prevent much 
trouble. I would also just mention that many things shipt on board 
Boston Packett to Newbury, Salem, &c. especially little things are 
a loss to the Ship as that freight is seldom obtained, that the fewer 
of these the better. I also wonder that Rotch others should have 
Hemp on board the Brig Lydia, and mine omitted, but I will say 
no more of this. I have opened my mind, & hope in future I shall 
not be neglected for the sake of transient customers. 

My best Comps attend you & I am with sincere esteem, 

Your most obed. Servt. 


BOSTON, Deer. 7, 1764. 

GENT N : I have just now receiv d your favour by Capt. Doggett, 
and am obliged to you for your Expression of Condolence therein. 

Whenever I have occasion for any supplies from your place you 
may rely I shall apply to you, as the Experiences my late uncle I 
had of your fidelity & equity in the Transaction of your Business will 
induce me thereto. At present I am in want of only a few articles, 
for which I now inclose you Invoice, and you will please to send 
them by first Conveyance in the Spring, let them be well chosen & 
best of their kind marked I. & H. & charged to my account for 
which you shall have a punctual payment. 

I should be glad of any occasion to render You service and when 
I may be useful I beg you will freely Command. 


Your most obedt. servt. 

The dullness of trade ye year past, owing to the Small pox has 
left me a Stock of Goods for some time. 


The postscript with which the above concludes fur 
nishes a sidelight by which we catch a glimpse of the 
condition of the town during the year 1 764. Small-pox 
was so prevalent that it was a time of general depres 
sion. No adequate system had been adopted for controll 
ing the scourge. Inoculation had not become general ; 


in fact, Governor Bernard, in January, issued a proclama 
tion forbidding it until all other means for controlling 
the disease should have failed. Merchants and traders 
removed their goods out of town, and set up business 


"Gilbert Deblois 
did not stop short of 
Weston,with his large 
stock of hardware, 
and had a commodi 
ous shop and store 
adjoining the house of 
Mr. Josiah Smith, inn- 
holder, on the Great 
Road to Worcester, 
at the sign of the 
Half Moon, near the 
meeting-house. He 
had New England 
rum by the hogshead, 
barrel, or less quan 
tity, W. I. goods, etc." 
The General Court 
met at Cambridge in 
stead of in Boston ; 
and while there the 
fire occurred that de 
stroyed Harvard Hall, with the library, etc. Subse 
quent letters will show us that the Hancocks were 
liberal in making up the loss. 

On Dec. 9, 1764, with orders to his London agents 
in regard to insurance to be placed on the brig Fly, he 
says : 



I should be much obliged if your G. H. would be so kind as to 
ask Mr. Brookbank if he has not lost my measure, to make me a 
dozen pairs of very neat shoes, which you will please to send me & 
pray pay the cost, which charge my acct. 

Doubtless the shoes were for special occasions, as 
Mr. Hancock had a shoemaker in Boston. In a letter 
of Dec. 19, 1764, he writes to London agents thus : - 

You have a little mem of Leather &c. from my shoemaker, which 
I would be glad you would send & charge to my account, consigned 
to me, it may be charged in my Invoice only let the che k of this 
particular be mentioned in the Bill of Lading. Mark the Package 
H. R. 

Other orders under same date are : 

10 Tons best Petersburg Braak Hemp in half bundles, not to 
be broke if I pay more freight. Talliers on each Bundle, 
strongly tied & pray Your orders to Scott that they be kept 
whole & not broke on any Consideration. 
100 p s best and stout Russia Duck. 

If freight are Scarce You may send me twenty or thirty chal 
dron of Sea Coals, if low. 
6 chests of best Bohea Tea, besides what I wrote for to come in 

20 chests of best Lisbon Lemons, to come between Decks, to be 

well chosen & pack d. 
10 pt of very best Hyson Tea in Canisters for family use, pray let 

it be good. 
6 chests very best Florence oyl meal. 

I must close as I am determined to push Scott away, shall write 
you by Blake in about 15 days. I hope soon to hear from you, & 

am with sincere Esteem 


Your most-obed. servt- 

Mr. Hancock made a specialty of " sea-coals " in his 
retail trade, which may be inferred from his advertise- 



ment of Dec. 25, 1764. \Ye also learn that he had a 
store nearer the business centre than his wharf The 
location and merchandise are described as follows: 

" Store No. 4, at the east end of Faneuil Hall Market, a general 
assortment of English and India Goods, also choice Newcastle 
Coals, and Irish Butter, cheap for Cash. Said Hancock desires those 
persons who are still indebted to the estate of the late Hon. Thomas 
Hancock, Esq., deceased, to be speedy in paying their respective 
balances to prevent trouble." 


(Copper kettle made for Hancock by Paul Revere, having " P. R. 
stamped inside the cover.) 




THE determined opposition to the course of the gov 
ernment had a ruinous effect on the business of Boston 
and vicinity. Of this Mr. Hancock writes to his Lon 
don agents : 

BOSTON, Jan" 1 ) 1 21, 1765. 

GENT N : The great uneasiness and Losses here owing to the fail 
ure of some Persons of note, say Nathl. Wheelwright Esq., John 
Scollay, Joseph Scott & some others has put us all into great anx 
iety, as trade lias met with a most prodigious shock & the greatest 
losses to some people thro 1 Mr. Wheelwright s failure ever known 
in this part of the world. I am entirely clear except the Bill I sent 
you of Scollay s which beg you would get paid. I would advise 
you to be care full who you trust, times are very bad & precarious 
here & take my word, my good Friends, the times will be worse 
here, in short such is the situation of things here that we do not 
know who is and who not safe. I hope it will stop but there s no 
judging under the present circumstances of tilings. I am very sorry 
I have wrote for any goods, at least for so many, but I must do the 
best I can. I hardly know who to trust. 

1 am particularly led to write you now on this subject, by an Ap 
plication from a neighbor of mine, Mr. Thomas Symmes, who is 
largely concerned in a Contract with Mr. Wheelwright and a French 
gentleman at Bourcleaux, the particular circumstances I refer you to 
Mr. Symmes Letter it is for a cargo of Fish sold them, and the 
Cash to be remitted you by the French Gen from Bordeaux, /or 


Symmes acco* the vessell is upon Symmes acco", the Event of this 
depends upon the Circumstances and Honour of the French Gent : 
Mr. Symmes writes you on this Subject, & as I take him to be an 
Honest, industrious man, I am to beg you will interest yourself in 
this affair for him spare no pains to Endeavour to obtain Satisfac 
tion agreeable to Contract. I am confident you can be serviceable 
and hope you will be able to recover it for him, as he is greatly dis 
tressed and is a large concern to him. I apprehend Exclusive of 
this contract affair Mr. Symmes is safe, at least he has that Charac 
ter, he is very active and industrious. I recommend his affairs to 
you and beg you will serve him all you can. In any concerns of 
yours this way you may rely on any service in my power, being with 
esteem Gent. 

Your most obecU Servt. 

The affair of Wheelwright s failure with such aggravated Circum 
stances is the greatest shock to trade that ever happened here. 

John Hancock had occasion, in the settlement of his 
uncle s estate, to write to Lady Warren. 

BOSTON, January 5, 1765. 

MADAM : You have undoubtedly before this heard of the mel 
ancholy event of the death of my late Uncle Thomas Hancock Esq. 
This circumstance has devolved the Settlement of his affairs upon 
me and occasions my writing you on the Subject of your connections 
with him. The Bond & Mortgages of the late S^- Peter Warren, 
left in his hands, the multiplicity of affairs I am concerned in puts 
it out of my power to undertake the Settlement of those matters. 
That I am to request you wili be pleased to give orders to some 
Persons to receive the Bonds &c. of me, & at same time impower the 
same Gent" to settle the account with me, & give me a discharge. 
I now inclose you the account as it stands on my late Uncle s Books. 
Ballance due to you ,47. 19. 4 sterlg. which I am ready to pay to 
your order. I should think some Gent" of the Law here would be 
most like to forward the settlement of them, Robert Auchmuty Esq. 
or James Otis Esq. are noted Gent" of the Law, either of them I 
believe would undertake it & think you may rely on their Integrity. 

You will please to take this matter under your consideration & 
let me hear from you on the subject. 

I am Madam 

Honbie Lady Warren Your most obed*- servt- 

Cavendish Square, London. 

PETE It WAltltEN 63 

Sir Peter Warren, to whom the reader has been pre 
viously introduced, was the naval hero of Louisburg. 
He came to Boston in 1746 with General Pepperell (Sir 
William). He was a friend and business correspondent 
of Thomas Hancock, whose hospitality he had fully 
enjoyed. At the time of his death in England there 
was unsettled business in Boston, which was intrusted 
to Thomas Hancock, as the letters have revealed. A 
descendant of Sir Peter was General Joseph Warren, 
killed at the battle of Bunker Hill. 

On Feb. 7, 1765, in a letter to Barnards & Harrison, 
Mr. Hancock says : 

I shall be glad you will take the trouble to overlook some late 
Letters be explicit in your answers, as hitherto we have had 
no reply & desire your Consideration thereon particularly on the 
charge of a double commission on the affair of the Provisions from 
Ireland, & several other matters, referr d to your determination to 
all which I Entreat you will make some reply. 

I recVl the things you shipd- me by Hatch tho some of them 
much out of time, say the cheese, & oyl, which were to have come 
in the Brig 1 the cheese I lose money by, Having sold it for less 
than the first cost & think it Extreme high charged at least much 
higher than others had it in the same ship. Mr. Caleb Blanchard 
had a parcell at the same time from Champion & Haley @, 33 / & you 
charged mine 40 /. The difference is a good profit. I think I have 
a right to Expect my Goods on as good terms as any one what 
ever, & unless I can have them so, its not worth my attention. You 
must not let other houses out do you, why should there be such a 
difference in that Article from your two houses? Do think of it & 
if its a mistake give credit for the over charge. 

I am preparing all our N Eng d accounts to be transmitted to 
you, as also the accounts of Sewall Lewis, which shall be sent 
by next Packett when I shall write you fully. Pray dispatch Mar 
shall as quick as possible & you may rely on my best Endeavours 
to return him to you. Times are very precarious here you must 
make the most of your remittances as Money is Extremely Scarce & 
trade very dull. If we are not reliev d at home we must live upon 


our own produce & manufactures. We are terribly burthen d, our 
Trade will decay, we are really worth a Saving. I shall soon write 
you again & am with great respect 


your most obedt. servt., 


Trusts, corners, and kindred terms may be regarded 
as modern devices in trade ; but the wire-puller of to-day 
had his progenitor in Provincial Boston. Mr. Rotch, 
the Nantucket merchant, had a purpose when he dropped 
in to chat with John Hancock ; and the object of Han 
cock s extending to his brother merchant an invitation 
to dine with him was that they might, under more fa 
vorable circumstances, come to an agreement in order to 
control the trade in oil. Witness this letter : 

BOSTON, April ^ 1765, 

I duly note what you say of oyl and the Conversation you had 
with Buxton, Symes & Enderby. I wish their and your determina- 


tion as to a limitation in the price of oyl could take effect. You do 
not so well know the disposition of some of their connections here 
as I do, having had frequent conferences on the Same Subject, but 
to no Effect. You do not consider the number of oyl Buyers here 
who, not Considering the consequences, Give any price for oyl for 
the sake of getting their Ships away, tho 1 1 am full in the belief that 
the number of ships in the London trade must soon be Lesen d. I 
should be very fond of keeping the price down, but if others will 


give a greater price I must not have my hands tied. I must either 
sell my vessels or keep them running. I shall, however, be better 
able to write you more frtlly by next opportunity as I can know 
more of Mr. Rotch s plans and designs and whether he is inclined 
to be on amicable terms, tho he this day called upon me, and men 
tioned what his Friends wrote and. that he was disposed to Effect 
their plan, and desired we might confer together on the Subject, 
and I appointed a day for him to din? with me, and no one else, 
when we shall talk matters over, after which I will acquaint you the 
Result. The West India oyl is now coming in. I really don^t 
know how to act, it will not do for me to be idle and let others (and 


R h) buy up, which you may depend will be the case notwithstand 
ing all your attempts and plans, and even the promise of some here, 
but I shall do my best, at the same time I imagine Rotch must 
load Deverson and Calef, even if oyl be much higher than ^14, & I 
much Question whether it will be so low. But if the price should 
break higher I must purchase sufficient to load Marshall at least, 
for it is not worth while to keep a ship to make but one voyage a 
year however this you may rely. I will purchase on as good terms 
as anyone, for you could never intend that I should not purchase at 
any other price than your Limits, that would be giving the whole 
advantage to others and Establishing their vessels in the Trade, 
but I can better write the state of things after I have conferred with 
Mr. Rotch. 

Capt. William Doble of this place who is Connected in the New 
foundland trade, and is now going thither applied to me to mention 
him to your house, he has long been connected with Lane & Booth, 
but has taken some disgust at their conduct, he is largely con 
nected in the Fish trade, and is a man of Interest in the Land, he 
writes you, to whose Letters I refer. You may depend on his En 
gagements & I believe you will find him a profitable and agreeable 
Correspondent on his Branch. You will please to acquaint him 
with your connections in Spain & Portugal as he ships several 
cargoes thither yearly. 

I shall soon forward all my accounts. I have been much con 
fined in the course of the winter which has prevented my closing 
those accounts. Do write me particularly as often as you can the 
state of things with you. 

I shall soon look for Marshall, am glad you are like to return 
Scott with a full freight as soon as the price of oyl Breaks. I shall 
then act what I think most for the Interest of the whole. 

I shall soon write you again & am with Esteem, 

Your most hble servt- 

Our Provincial history scarcely affords an instance 
where two prominent people, more unlike in habits and 
tastes, sit at meat together. William Rotch was a non- 
resistant Quaker merchant of Nantucket, and extensive 
ship-owner, having nothing in common with John Han 
cock in the line of patriotism. The Nantucket of 
1898 holds exalted traditions of William Rotch as the 


soul of mercantile honor. Mis store, built in 1772, is 
standing, owned by the Pacific Club (retired whalemen), 
and is in part occupied for a custom-house and signal- 
station. There hangs in the club building a picture of 
the " Boston Packet " fitted as a whale-ship. 

The financial condition of the Province is well set 
forth in a letter from Mr. Hancock to Barnards & 

April 1 8, 1765. 

GENT : Last night only I received your favour of 7 th January 
by the Pacquett, and duly note the Contents observe all the Bills I 
remitted you hitherto advised of are paid ; wish to hear Scollay s 
Bill is paid. I am much obliged to you for honouring my Bill, as 
also those from Philad* could I be so successful here as to collect 
only one Quarter of my debts, I need not draw any Bills, but such 
is the scarcity of that article the Poverty of this country, that I 
cannot place any dependence on monies here, and suppose shall be 
forced to draw farther Bills, for Marshall & Scott s Cargo unless I 
should take my money out of the Treasury, which would be hard 
fate. I shall however draw as little as I possibly can, in which case 
you will please to honour such my Bills which shall be confined 
as much as possible to your connections. I duly note the several 
insurances You have made. I am sorry MarshaH had so long a 
passage to you. The despatch given him here was great and had 
not the Easterly winds with you sett in just as they did he would 
have had a very quick passage, but its all for the best. 

The impressions formed by Mr. Hancock at the little 
dinner party could not have been very gratifying, for 
he soon writes to his agents : 

I have had a long Conference with Mr. Rotch agreeable to 
your desire, Respecting oyl trade. He appears to be disposed to 
be upon amicable terms and to be aiding & tells me he will strictly 
abide by the instructions he has received from Buxton Symes & 
Enderby, how farr : Time can only discover. You are not so well 
acquainted with that Gent as I am ; but ! will for once try him, 
which but for your desire, I should never have even had a thought 
of doing. I shall be as circumspect as possible as to the oyl. I 


may purchase for Marshall & Scott give him all the despatch I 
can, tho I don t imagine he can depart hence till the latter end of 
June from the present prospect. I sometime past wrote vcu that I 
had used my Endeavours with Jona. Burnell and Paul Bunker of 
Nantuckett both wealthy men, to enter their Connections with you, 
which they then consented to do, and find by your Letter it took 
effect. You may depend I shall not be wanting to do your house 
all the kind offices I can, and when an opening of that kind, and 
I am confident you are safe, I shall not fail recommending your 

I observe the Adventure is coming to me as yet have no act o f 
her. She must be in soon. I shall give Edwards all the dispatch 
I can. I am sorry you ship cl the Articles of Lemons and Sallad 
oyl, the former the town is at present full of and the latter will not 
fetch the first cost. I have not been able to sell the six chests you 
shipd me in Hatch it comes so much cheaper in another channel, 
that you will be well off even to get the first cost, however I will do 
the best I can, and push them off immediately at the best price, as 
to the Coals, it is not the season to dispose of them, that unless I 
can get a tolerable price for them, it would be best to store them, 
but I shall be better able to determine that matter after they are 
arrived, at present no markett for them I shall however dispose of 
all the other articles directly agreeable to your order, at the highest 
price. Capt. Blake is no doubt with you long ago. 

I am obliged to you for paying the Ransom of Dav d - M c Cloud. 
I wish to have the whole charge as soon as possible as Mr. Timothy 
Fitch is to reimburse me the whole amount. 

In addition to the cares of his own business, John 
Hancock had the added responsibility of being one of 
the Selectmen of Boston. He was chosen on that board 
at the town-meeting of March, 1765. His lamented 
uncle had occupied that position for many years, and 
the honor was most gratefully transferred to the young 
man. The town early placed the name of Thomas 
Hancock with that of Peter Faneuil, for he had by his 
last will made provision for an asylum for the insane. 
While encomiums of praise for the noble acts of the de 
ceased merchant were being sounded in the ears of his 


nephew, who was carrying out his requests, there came 
to the busy man rumors of a Stamp Act. Merchant ves 
sels often brought items of news from over the ocean 
long before any official announcement was made. But 
people were credulous of such reports, whether welcome 
or otherwise. The Stamp Act was passed on March 22, 
1765, and early in April we find John Hancock writing 
to Barnards & Harrison, agents in London, thus : 

1 hear the stamp act is like to take place, it is very cruel, we 
were before much burthened, \ve shall not be able much longer to 
support trade, and in the end Great Britain must feel the ill effects 
of it. I wonder the merchants and friends to America don t make 
some stir for us. 

Some of the fortunes of a merchant are touched upon 
in the following letter to the London agents : 

In the course of my connections in Trade here, I have been 
obliged to take a new ship of about 200 Tons, she is now ready to 
Launch & every thing ready to fit her away immediately Henry 
Smith master. I propose her to South Carolina & London to 
your address, when I shall either order her to be sold or proceed 
to New Castle for Coals, at present am undetermin d which, tho 1 
rather think the former. I shall soon write you further respecfg 
her & as to Insurance. 

If the Plan of the Brig with Barker and us goes on I propose to 
call her the Harrison to which imagine you will not object. 

I beg you will give me the earliest advice as to price of oyl, 
Whale Bone, Pott ashes &c. for my government, and do write me 
by all oppy. Your frequent advice as to those articles will always 
be of Service. 

You may rely I shall use my Endeavour after Marshall & Scotts 
arrival to give them the best dispatch and on the most easy terms I 
can, tho I fear from the number of ships in the London trade & of 
Consequence a number of purchasers that oyl will not be so low as 
you expect. In the course of another year, I shall be at a better 
certainty with respect to oyl having concerns in general whaling 
vessels, with persons at Nantuckett and Martha s Vineyard, that 


with Common Success I may meet a large Supply out of my own 
vessels. I have now four vessels and believe another year shall 
increase y e number. 

I shall soon write you again, pray write me by all oppy> & for 
ward me all our acotts. My best Compl ts - attend you believe me 
with perfect Esteem. 


Your most obed. & most faithful serv 1 - 

J. H. best respects to his particular friend Mr. Harrison, begs 
his excuse for not writing him by this, hopes he is well, & will write 
him a long Letter. 

Mr. Hancock writes a business letter to London 
agents, in part as follows : 

BOSTON, May 13, 1765. 

GF.XT* : I cannot enlarge having money matters to attend to just 
now, shall soon write you largely. I am ashamed that I have not 
wrote your J. B., with the State of Sewall & Lewis affairs, two things 
have prevented, one is hurry and the other a want of receiving the 
rents, I have a promise of it when I will remit it him. it requires 
more attention, as it was wholly conducted by my late uncle, and 
the matter is not so clear to me. 

I will soon as possible send you all N. Engd matters, till time 
will admit you must Excuse me. I am heartily sorry for the great 
Burthen laid upon us, we are not able to bear all things, but must 
submit to higher powers, these Taxes will greatly effect us, our 
Trade will be ruined, and as it is, its very dull My best respects 
to you and Connections. I am very truly 

Gent 11 - Your most faithful hble. servt- 


From what we have thus far seen of John Hancock s 
letters, we must be convinced that a commercial busi 
ness was conducted largely by correspondence. Many 
, clerks were kept busy making copies of original letters, 
there being no labor-saving device then in use. The 
exact date of sailing of a vessel was not at all times 
easily determined, and letters were prepared and depos- 


1 (34% 

I A K|t 

V d>. 


ited, and several were frequently sent in the same vessel 
to one agent. 

Under date of May 17, 1765, John Hancock writes : - 

I have already wrote you by this opportunity since which I have 
the pleasure to acquaint you that Capt. Edwards in the ship Ad 
venture is arrived in a Passage of Five weeks from Cowe.s. No 
Acco u of Marshall, hope he will be in soon. 1 am sorry to tell you 
that the prospect of the sale of the Adventures Cargo is very Indif 
ferent. 1 will however do my utmost to obtain the best price, but 
believe I must Dispose of the Lemmons oyl, Bottles & junk at pub- 
lick Auction : the Coals I may get a Tolerable price for. This Ves- 
sell just upon sailing cant enlarge, but that I will use my utmost 
Endeavour for your Interest, & Dispatch the Ship to So. Carolina 
as quick as possible. The ship must have a new Foremast as her 
old one is entirely gone. 

I shall soon write you again till when I am, 

Your Very 

Four days later, to same agents, Mr. Hancock 
writes : 

The foregoing confirm copy of my last, since which I have re 
ceived your favours, by the Capt. Marshall Jarvis & Davis, duly 
note their contents. It was very unlucky that Marshall was so long 
delayed but there is no help for it. Scott was entirely unloaded 
before Marshall arrived. He is now Floored with tar, waiting for 
Oyl on which subj ct I canH say any more at present, not having any 
advices from Nant ct , since my last to you. I shall as soon as possible 
dispatch both him and Marshall on the best Terms I can in which 
I shall be very cautious. 

The Brig Fly, Capt. Farrah in a Gale of wind put away for the 
West Indies, and arrived at Antigua, and heard she left that place 
for London on the last of Feby. that suppose she is with you. I fear 
I shall be a great Loser by her. You must do the best you can for 
me, acted quite right with the oyl men, you Contracted with, much 
better than to enter into the Law. 

Your Lemons by Edwards came in very bad order. I fear they 
will not fetch the first cost, I shall dispose of them as also all the 
other articles to the best advantage and Endeavor to act most for 
your Interest in all respects, which has ever been my Study. 


I am much obliged for Your Trouble in sending me the man 
Servant, and for the little articles for my own use, tlu man appears 
to be a Sober man ; and the articles very agreeable, partic y, my 
Silk Cloths, a choice of my own could not have pleased me better, 
you omitted six pair black Silk Hose which would be glad you would 
send me. 

The servant sent over to Mr. Hancock was doubtless 
a colored man, and was particularly for his own service, 
as Mrs. Thomas Hancock had a retinue of negroes willed 
to her by her husband. We are obliged, however, to 
conclude that the New England climate did not agree 
with this servant, for we read in the Granary Burying 
Ground, on a moss-covered slab : " Frank, servant of 
John Hancock, Esq., lies interred here, who died 23d of 
Jan., 17/1." We infer that this servant must have been 
faithful to his master to have merited and received this 
memorial stone, so uncommon at the graves of that class 
of menials. " No. 16, Tomb of Hancock," was all that 
marked the merchant s grave until a very recent date. 

I am not a little surprized that you lay so much stress on my not 
sending You the Bill I mentioned on Mr. Woodford, and that it 
was a disappointment to you. I kept a regular calculation between 
all the Bills I drew on You, and the Bills and other Remittances 
sent you which at only first cost of the several cargoes here, after 
you had paid all my Bills would leave with you at least 2000^ ster 
ling, and if any Profits on the cargoes, a much larger Sum, that I 
much wonder you should write mz for remittance. I look upon it I 
am Entitled to as long credit for my Goods as any Gentleman in this 
place, and am at a loss why I cannot carry on my Business on as good 
footing as others. It is a Universal Rule here to draw Bills when 
Cargo is shipped, even for the whole amount which was not the case 
with me, for I left a considerable Sum in your hands and I look 
upon it, Considering the Extent of my Business that there is no 
Market in England, but would thank me for my Business and pay 
all my Bills, even if a little in advance. I am not fond of any un 
necessary disputes, my disposition to serve Your house is sincere & 


I think I have somewhat conducted thereto and I shall ever study 
to cultivate our Friendship and promote Your Interests, but really 
Gentlemen when I find I am wrote to in a manner I think I do not 
deserve, and in Terms that I judge you do not write your other cor 
respondents, I can t help being uneasy, for I will venture to say no 
one Person makes larger or more timely remittances than I do. 
This matter I referr to you, & beg to know why I can t have as much 
indulgence and Credit, as others, for I look upon it that I left Suffi 
cient in Your hands even to discharge the cost of the whole Goods 
by Marshall. 

However to avoid any reflections I now inclose You Harrison 
Gray s Bill of Exche on Jasper Mauduct, Esq. dated 2ist May No. 
238. in my favour, value Two Thousand Pounds sterling, When 
paid You will please to Credit my acco". therefor, after which I 
beg I may know the state of my acco"- and that my acco". currt 
may be sent including every Charge. If you would send my ac 
count oftener I could better judge & I desire my accott. may come 
every six or nine months. I do not want to put any one to the 
Inconvenience of advancing money for me. 

I would not have you think that I am disposed to enter into any 
disputes, farr otherwise, but should be glad to establish myself a 
little better than I think I am at present. 

I hope soon to hear from you. I shall write you again shortly 
when I hope to be able to be more explicit as to oyl. I will dis 
patch Marshall and Scott as soon as I can. 

Whenever I may be usefull I beg you improve me. You may 
rely on my best Services. My Sincere wishes attend you, & believe 
me with great Truth, 

Your real & Faithful Friend & Servant. 

The above, like others, seems to be a continuous letter, 
sent in instalments. In it we find that Mr. Hancock 
has been obliged to draw on his deposit with Harrison 
Gray, the Province treasurer. 

While John Hancock was struggling to keep peace 
with his agents in England, and safely conduct his ex 
tensive business through the precarious times, the one 
subject of discussion in the town was the arbitrary, 
unconstitutional innovations of Parliament. 



The town at length adopted a letter of instructions 
to their representatives in General Court, in which they 
spoke of the distress 
of the trade of the 
Province, etc. 

On June 7 Mr. 
Hancock writes 
again to Barnards & 
Harrison, tells them 
of the loss of the 
lemons, poor sale of 
oil and bottles, and 
of a more fortunate 
disposal of the coals. 
He concludes thus : 

(From Copley. Died 1794, Aged 84.) 
Banished during the Revolution. 

I should be glad you 
would give me some ad 
vice respecting the Char 
acter of Parson Griffith 
in whose favor You drew a Bill on me. He came over with Scott, 
he has conducted badly, been detected in stealing, so that I hear 
he is in Gaol. I shall soon write you again being now much hur 
ried, can t add but that I am, 

Your very hble Serv-t- 

On the 2/th inst. Mr. Hancock writes to London 
agents, saying : 

I am amazed you could send me a Trunk of such silks & 
charge to my account without my order. I opened them, and they 
are such colours as would not Sell here to the end of time. I can t 
think you chose them, or ever saw them they are such kinds of silks 
as we never dealt in, and under the present situation of things dont 
intend to be concerned in, besides their cost with the additional 
duty on each piece here is more than they would fetch. They are 
very ill chosen, extreme bad colours, very high charged, and article 


in no demand here. I have therefore come to a resolution to return 
them to you by Marshall. 

The ship Adventure, Capt. Edwards will depart for So. Carolina 
in two days. 

The ship Boston Packett, Capt. Marshall will, I hope, depart for 
London in eight days. 

The brig Lydia will soon follow Marshall. Her oyl is engaged. 




THE rivalry between Hancock and Rotch comes to 
light in a letter of July 6, 1765, in which Mr. Hancock 
writes to his London agents : 

GENT N : The foregoing confirm Copy of my last since which I 
have none of your favours this I hope you will receive hy the Ship 
Boston Packett John Marshall Commr. who has been detained here 
Contrary to my Expectations, but I have done the utmost I possibly 
could and considering the Situation of things have succeeded toler 
ably well for the whole of Mr. Retch s Vessells say Deverson & 
Calef are detained for want of oyl & they with a Vessell of K. 
Quincys 3d were up for London before Marshall arrived here. . . . 

I must beg you will Excuse me at this Juncture that I have 
drawn on you as at first it is what I did not intend, but really Gent. 
I could no way avoid it and desire you will please to honour all my 
Bills, out of all my debts & many dependencies to a large amount 
I can collect no money am reduc d to this method of drawing to 
raise Cash unless I should take money out of the Treasury which 
would be hard Fate I doubt not but you will readily answer them. 
I shall get Scott away as soon as possible, when I shall remit you 
some Bills if not disappointed, however I am always ready to make 
Satisfaction for any advances, it is an advantage to each of us in 
the End, as the keeping a Stock of Cash ready Commands a prefer- 


ence as to purchases, and this I cannot always Effect without occa 
sionally drawing, almost the whole of those bills rest with you. 

The custom of using the Province treasury as a bank 
of deposit comes out more clearly in a letter of July 6, 

I am now to acknowledge the receipt of yours of 14 Nov. & 12 
Jany. and agreeable to your desire now inclose you the State of the 
Treasurer s note you left in the care of my late Uncle. I also inclose 
your account as it stands on his Books, by which you will see you 
have Credit for the Cash received of Mr- Wallace, and as my late 
Uncle wrote you he could not get it into the Treasury, it has lain 
ever since for your order. You will observe that the whole of the 
note becomes due next June, after which time I don t think it can 
be .continued, as the Province is in no want of Cash, and they 
have offer of the loan of any sum at five pr cent. I should think 
it would be most for your Interest to order it home, as I could not 
advise you to put it into the hands of people here. I should judge 
it too precarious. This, I submit to you, and what ever Resolutions 
you may take respect g it, you may depend on a punctual & cheer 
ful compliance from me. The Prize in the New London Lottery, I 
fear will never be recover d. 

You will please to let me know your determination about your 
monies & your orders shall be Executed. 

My best wishes attend you. I am with Tender of my best 


Your most obed*- h^e Servt- 

Treasurers Notes belonging to Capt. David Allen left by him in 
the Care of the late Thomas Hancock Esq. which are now in the 
hands of John Hancock & lay on acco" & Risq. of sd- Capt. Allen, 

One Note dated 1 6* h Feby. 1763 pay* 20 June 1766 ^445 
One do " 20 June 1764 " 10 " 1766 140 
One do " 30 Mar 1763 " 20 " 1766 123 
One do " 6 July 1763 " 20 " 1766 134 

Inst. on above notes Due from the Dates. Capt. David Allen of 
the Royal. Under Cover to S r - Tho. Willson Dean Street, So Lo. 


On July 21, 1765, Mr. Hancock writes to London 
agents thus : - 

Do send me by Marshall six pounds best Hyson Tea in Canisters 
i Doz. bottles best Lavender Water. 

Again on the same date he writes : 

Since the foregoing agreeable to a former promise I have been 
obliged to draw on you of this date in favour of the Honble. Thomas 
Flucker Esq. 1 No. 1 1, for ^250. stg. which you will please to honour 
and charge to my account. 

I now inclose you Harrison Gray Esqr. 2 Bill on Jasper Mauduct 
Esq. of the date No! 38. in my favour for ^1500 stg. 

On the following day, in a letter to some agents, Mr. 
Hancock writes : 

McLoud returned here by way of West Indies. I am much 
obliged to you for pay g his ransom the whole account of which I 
beg you will forward me immediately. If you will please to look 
over our late Co. Letters of 19^ Uecr 1763, you will find we there 
desired you to remitt sdMcQoud at Brest, Five Pounds Sterling 
and to charge to our account, if I am not mistaken You wrote us 
you had ordered it him, but to my great Surprize when I asked the 

1 Hon. Thomas Flucker was secretary of the Province under Governor 
Ilutchinson, and continued to serve under Governor Gage. He lived in 
Milk Street. His daughter Lucy became the wife of General Knox. Mrs. 
Knox shared with the General the privations of camp-life during the war, 
wherever duty called him. She was a lovely and highly accomplished 
woman, contributing greatly to the little female circle around American 
headquarters. DRAKE. 

2 Harrison Gray was treasurer of the Province. He belonged to a family 
celebrated as rope-makers of Boston. He adhered to the king, went away 
with the Loyalists to Halifax, and later to London, where his house was 
the resort of refugees. The rhymester of the time did not omit him : 

" What Puritan could ever pray 
In Godlier tones than Treasurer Gray ! 
Or at town meetings, speechifying, 
Could utter more melodious whine, 
And shut his eyes and vent his moan, 
Like owl afflicted in the sun ! " 


Young man before his Father, whether he had receiv d it, he told 
me he had not, and that he never heard from you till Your Letter 
to him respecting his ransom. I then asked him why he took pas 
sage to West Indias he told me he had not wherewith to carry 
him to London. You wrote me you had ordered him a supply for 
that purpose, he says he tarried at Penzance five weeks, wrote 
you three Letters but had no answer nor no Supply. 

I was greatly surprized at it, & it really reflected great Careless 
ness upon me. I as fully depended you had sent the ^5. as also 
the supplies, at Penzance as that the ransom was paid. I am heart 
ily sorry for it, & should be glad to know the truth of it. I had 
rather lost more money out of my pocket than it should have so 
happened as I undertook it out of Compassion to the old people & 
to serve them but suppose it could not be helped. 
I am in haste, 

Gent Your Real Friend. 

The following letter introduces the reader to a firm at 
Madeira that becomes of interest as the correspondence 

advances : 

BOSTON, July 23, 1765. 

GENT* : The long Correspondence that Subsisted between your 
house and my late Uncle (of whose sudden death you have undoubt 
edly per this time heard), induces me to apply to you for my supply 
of wine from your place not doubting but you will use the same 
judgment in your choice of it as for my late uncle who had a high 
opinion of your Fidelity. 

I am now, therefore, to desire you will please to send me by the 
return of this Vessell on the first good opportunity to this place two 
pipes of the very best Madeira for my own Table. I don t stand at 
any price, let it be good, I like a rich wine. I need say no more to 
you but that they are for my own use for their cost you will please 
to draw Bills on Mess. Barnards & Harrison, Merchts, in London 
at Thirty days 1 Sight, which will be duly honour d mark them H. & 
I should be glad you would put some private mark on the pipes ac 
quainting me of the same in your Letter as there is danger of their 
being chang d among a Cargo. I wish you health and happiness 

and am 


Your most obed t hble Serv t. 



In a letter of Aug. 16, 1765, is seen the record of 
naming the vessel which stands out so prominently in 
the history of the opening Revolution : 

I wrote you sometime ago that I had been obliged in the course 
of my business to take a new ship and that I proposed her for South 
Carolina. I have since determined to load her for London, and she 
is now loading fast. She is called the Liberty, Henry Smith, Mas 
ter, and hope will sail in 20 days to you7~address. Just as Scott 
was fitted up, the oyl got in from the River and I thought it best to 
ship some early by which means am in hopes to obtain a tolerable 
price therefor. You shall be interested one-half if you please, this 
ship shall propose to you to be sold and if she will fetch a good 
price, if not to proceed to New Castle of which more by her. 
Whalebone is at 3 j m at present. I am no purchaser. 

As I am loading Smith, oyl ready Money. I have drawn a few 
Bills on You as at bottom which you will please to honour. 

In a letter of Aug. 22, 1765, to his London agents, 
the undercurrent of Mr. Hancock s feelings bursts forth 
in the following manner : 

I refer you to the Newspapers for an account of the proceed gs 
here by which you will see the General disatisfaction here on ac 
count of the Stamp Act, which I pray may never be carried into 
Execution, it is a Cruel hardship upon us unless we are Redressd 
we must be Ruin d, our Stamp officer has resigned. I hope the 
same Spirit will prevail throughout the whole Continent, do Exert 
yourselves for us and promote our Interest with the Body of Mer 
chants the fatal Effects of these Grievances you will very Sensibly 
feel ; our Trade must decay & indeed already is very indifferent. I 
cant therefore but hope that we shall be considered, & that some 
will rise up to exert themselves for us we are worth saving but un 
less speedily reliev d we shall be past remedy. Do think of us. 

It is an interesting fact that on the first voyage of the 
ship Liberty such a message should be taken to London. 

In case you should send the Liberty to Lisbon or New Castle, 
I beg you would not fail to keep her insur d as & from the several 
ports to this place, at least ^1500 Stg. on the Ship, this do note. 


I have been so Excessively Busy since Scott sailed that I must 
once more & for the last time on this account, ask your pardon that 
I am not now more Explicit. I shall now sit myself down as fast as 
I can to Compleat our accounts, & forward by Jacobson who will 
sail in 14 days, you must Excuse me till then. 

The following articles please to send mark H. S. 

jibs, deepest Prussian blue. 
Slljs. best U. D. Vermillion. 
s - white Copperas. 
. umber. 

softest Spanish white. 
2 Gro. s i z vi Pencils. 

I am with unfeigned regard 


Your most faith full obliged 
hbl e serv 1 - 

The state of excitement in Boston is indicated in a 
letter from Mr. Hancock as follows : 

BOSTON, Sept. n, 1765. 

GEN T : I have only Time to tell you this, I have drawn on you 
two Bills viz. 

Ann Colvill, No. 22, 65 

Roger Hale, Esq. " 23, 100 

which von will please to honour. 

I cannot write now, we are terribly confus d here, if the Stamp 
Act takes place we are a gone people, do help us all you can. if 
the ship stays will write you further, have just received yours by 
Davcrson, with inclosures, not time to examine. 
I am in great haste, 


Your hble servant. 

News was received in Boston in July that a quantity 
of stamped paper had been shipped for America, and 
early in August a list was published of those who had 
been appointed to distribute stamps in the colonies. 



The name of Andrew Oliver for Massachusetts was 
among them. 

As the arrival of the famous 
stamps was an event of great 
moment in the Province, so the 
letter which records the fact 
cannot fail of enlisting the at 
tention of readers : 

BOSTON, Sept. 30, 1765. 

GENTN : Since my last I have re- 
ceiv d your favour by Capt. Hulme 
who is arrived here with the most dis 
agreeable Commodity (say Stamps) 

that were ever imported into this Country & what it carry d into 
Execution will entirely Stagnate Trade here, for it is universally 
determined here never to submit to it and the principal merch ts here 
will by no means carry on Business under a Stamp, we are in the 
utmost Confusion here and shall be more so after the first of No 
vember & nothing, but the repeal of the act will righten, the Conse 
quence of its taking place here will be bad, & attended with many 
troubles, & I believe may say more fatal to you than us. for God s 
Sake use your Interest to relieve us. I dread the Event. 

I have now a call to sett out immediately to the Southward where 
I shall be some time gone on my return will do the needfull. 

I have now only time to inclose you B Gerrish"s Bill on Channy 
Townsend in my favour for ^339. 14. 5 stlg. when paid Credit my 
amount therefor I have not yet had time to Examine the acct. in- 
closVl. My best wishes attend you & I am in hast. 

Your Real Friend. 


With this spirit, which is breathed forth in every 
letter penned to his agents abroad, we find this young 
man in the town-meeting of Sept. 12, when there is 
considered in Faneuil Hall the article, " To confer upon 
such measures as shall appear necessary to be taken in 
consequence of the Stamp Act and other matters of 


Grievance, and to determine whether Instructions shall 
be given to the Representatives of the Town in General 
Assembly for their Conduct at this very alarming Cricis." 
It was voted that instructions be given, and John Han 
cock, as a selectman, was one of the committee for that 
purpose ; this work was faithfully done, and our young 
friend was full of the spirit of the lengthy document. 
They also chose a committee to draw up an:l transmit a 
vote of thanks to those members of Parliament who had 
labored in opposition to the Stamp Act. 

At a town-meeting on the 2/th inst., to choose a rep 
resentative to the General Court, in place of Oxenbridge 
Thatcher, a prominent lawyer, deceased, John Hancock 
received several votes ; but his friend Samuel Adams 
was elected. It was at this court, in session in June, 
that steps were taken which resulted in the Continen 
tal Congress. There was great unrest throughout this 
and the other Provinces. On the i/jth of August there 
had been a decided outbreak in Boston. The stamp- 
officer, Oliver, was hanged in effigy, A company of 
patriots assembled, burned the effigy, and destroyed a 
building in Kilby Street, supposed to be intended for 
a stamp-office. They then proceeded to vent their ill- 
directed patriotism by destroying the property of Hon. 
Andrew Oliver. This was followed on another occa 
sion by attacking the house of Lieutenant-Governor 
Hutchinson, who was also chief justice. In the mean 
time, the governor, Francis Bernard, and the council, 
on Aug. 14, offered a reward for the conviction of the 
offenders. The town, in open meeting, put itself on 
record as entirely against any such demonstrations. 
John Hancock was aware, officially and otherwise, of all 
this trouble ; and he retired to the seclusion of his office, 


and wrote to his agents, Barnards & Harrison. The 
letter was dated Oct. 14, 1765, and, after dwelling at 
some length upon their running accounts, continued by 
saying : 



*, u/vt^^^ ^ 

nxi <mu 


isin^rnijlon .f.<ie/r ha f 6v>?uL/. 

t/n, onu 

V c/ 

The new Brigt I set up in thirds with you Barker & Burnell & 
myself, which I have called the Harrison, I have at length Dis- 
patch d. She sail d for Nantuckett nth Ins* compleatly fitted for 
the sea, and as pretty a Vessell & as well Executed as I ever saw a 
Vessell & I think tolerable Dispatch. I have Recommended to Bar 
ker & Burnell to give her the greatest Dispatch in Load g & as 
soon as I hear from them Respecting the Cost of the Cargo I shall 
write you for Insurance. 

This Vessell I suppose you will Load back to me in the Spring 
if possible, wch tho 1 I question & this Leads me to the most mate 
rial Subject I have Touch cl upon to you, I need not Tell you I 
mean the Stamp act, The Ruin of this people must be the Conse 
quence of this act s Taking place. Our Trade here will entirely 
Stagnate, for it is the united Resolution & Determination of the 
people here not to Carry on Business under a Stamp, we shall be in 
the utmost Confusion, here after the 1st Novr & nothing but the 
Repeal of the act can retrieve our Trade again, Persons who have 
Vessells here may now Clear them out before the ist Novr but those 
that may arrive after, must lay up till the Resolutions of Parliam t be 
known, if not Repeal d you may bid Adieu to Remittances for the 
past Goods, and Trade in future, your Debts cannot be Recovered 
here for we shall have no Courts of Justice after the ist Novr & I 
now Tell you, & you will find it come to pass that the people of 
this Country will never Suffer themselves to be made slaves of by a 
Submission to that D - d act But I shall now open to you my own 


If Marshal & Scott or cither of them (wd is not very probable), 
should arrive here before the ist of Novr I can clear them out Loaded 
or not Loaded, & \v cl I will do, but if they arrive here after that 
date, I shall unload them, & Haul them up so we shall have no 
Stamp masr. nor Stamps Suffered to be Distributed wd I pray God 
may ever be the case my & every Vessell is liable to be Seiz d, be 
sides it is my invariable opinion that this Act is unconstitutional & 
cruel the Expense of which we are not able to Support ; that I have 
come to a Serious Resolution not to send one Ship more to Sea nor 
to have any kind of Connection in Business under a Stamp ; that 
you must not have even the Least Expectation of seeing Marshall 
or Scott Return to you this Fall. I have oylc now by me, & the 
Cash p d for it sufficient to Load Marshall but I will sooner close the 
whole than Submit to Take a Stamp nay, I would sooner subject 
myself to the hardest Labour for a maintenance, than carry on the 
Business I now do under so great a Burthen, I am Determin d as 
soon as I know that they are Resolv d to insist on this act to Sell 
my Stock in Trade Shut up my Warehouse Doors Thus much I 
told our Govr the other day, & is what I am absolutely Determin d 
to abide by, without some very cxtraordr intervention, indeed, wcl> 
is not likely I am very sorry for this occasion of writing so boldly, 
& of being obliged to come to such Resolutions, but the Safety of 
myself & the Country I have the honor to be a Native of require 
some Resolutions, I am free & Determin d to be so I will not will 
ingly & quietly Subject myself to Slavery. 

We are a people worth a saveing our trade so much to your ad 
vantage worth keeping that it merits the notice of those on yr side 
who have the Conduct of it but to find nothing urg d by the merchts 
on your side in our favour Really is extraordinary, what I have men 
tioned seems at present to be the opinion of all here, indeed must 
unavoidably be the Case if they don t submit to this Cruel act, 
w^ 1 I now tell you the whole Continent is so Rous d that they will 
never suffer any one to Distribute the Stamps a Thousand Guineas, 
nay a much Larger sum, would be no Temptation to me to be the 
first that should apply for a Stamp, for such is the aversion of the 
people to the Stamps, that I should be sure to Lose my property if 
not my Life, that Trade must of Course Stagnate, & indeed all 
kinds of Business and Navigation must cease, unless some Expedi 
ent be thought on wd I Can t See can Take place so as to Remove 
the Difficulty, Thus much I thought to mention to you to let you 
see some of the ill Consequences of this act, and they are What will 


greatly affect Great Britian in the End, and Trade once lost is not 
easily Retrieved, you will not mention my name particularly in those 
matters, I write thus much & pray you will use your Influence for us 
to Extricate us out of our present State I should now have Sent 
my Demand for a Spring Supply of Goods to Come in the Brigt 
Harrison, but upon mature Deliberation I am Resolv d at least for 
the present, not to send another Inv to London, or Carry on any 
Business in that way, as under this additional Burthen of the Stamp 
Act I cannot carry it on to any profit and we were before CrampYl 
in our Trade & sufficiently Buithen d, that any farther Taxes must 
Ruin us. . . . 

I shall shortly Expect Marshall here, I could wish he might ar 
rive before the ist Nov when I can clear him out, but otherwise 
he must lay by, I will Sell you my proportion of Ship & Brig 1 & 
others if you can get any one may Conduct them, for I \vill not be 
made a slave of without my own Consent. 

I shall soon write you again & it must be soon, with what papers 
I can get Ready for after the ist Nov I suppose I shall not be able 
to iret a Letter to vou, as we shall have no Vessell Sail for London 

O * 

after that Time. 

I am in great Haste, with Respect 

Your Sincere Friend but an enemy to the Stamps. 


This Letter I propose to remain in my Letter Book as a Stand 
ing monument to posterity & my children in particular, that I by 
no means consented to a Submission to this Cruel Act, & that my 
best Representations were not wantg. in the matter. 

Mr. Drake, in " History of Boston," says of John 
Hancock, " He was early secured to the patriot side ; 
and, once having taken that elevated and enviable stand, 
he ever maintained it without wavering." 

The tone of the foregoing letters would lead to the 
conclusion that John Hancock was never wavering in 
his convictions of duty r , regardless of his great wealth 
which was at stake. 






THE stamps came ; but as there was no one having 
commission to receive them, they were landed, by order 
of the Governor, at the Castle. The General Court 
took no action for distributing the stamps, and it was 
generally understood that the Act should be defeated 
by refusing to use stamped paper, etc. Merchants and 
traders agreed to recall all unconditional English orders 
except for sea-coal, and a few other bulky articles, and 
to order none only on condition of the repeal of the 
Stamp Act. 

We must suppose that John Hancock was in this 
movement. Let us see what he writes on Oct. 21 to 
his agents, Barnards & Harrison : 

I hope Scott & Smith are safe with you. I know not what you 
will do with them. I refer them to you and hope you will be able 
to find some Employ for them or they must be sold. I have wrote 
you my mind fully respecting our Situation and what will be the 
consequence of the Stamp Acts taking place, in short, Gentlemen, 
we are now groaning under Load of Debts the consequence of our 


great exertions in the Late warr, a Debt I know not when we shall 
discharge, and to comfort us we must have the heavy Burthen of a 
Stamp Act to grapple with ; we are amazingly tax d here. 1 be 
lieve I may Venture to say that not a man in England in proportion 
to estate pays the Tax that I do. What would a Merchant in 
London think of paying ^400 Stlg aim. which my late uncle paid to 
this Province county; his Taxes from the year 1757 to 1763 
amotd. to ^2600 Stg., and I now pay yearly to this Province & 
county near ^300 Sterlg., besides all duties, Imposts, Ministers 
many other which are additional Taxes., and pray do you think we 
ought to be further Taxed or that we are able to Support the Griev 
ous Burthen of the Stamp Act. No, Gentlemen, there is not cash 
enough here to support it, and pray where are we when our Cash is 
gone or indeed where will you obtain your remittances, certainly if 
our Interest will not arouse the people on your Side, your own I trust 
will, and once stop our Trade, you must fail of your remittances. 

Next week the first of November comes, the consequences of 
which will be an entire stagnation of trade. Navigation must 
cease, and I hope eternally will, rather than submit to so cruel, 
Grievous and inhuman act. I speak for myself. I never will carry 
on Business under such great disadvantages & Burthen. I will not 
be a slave. I have a Right to the Libcrtys & Privileges of the 
English Constitution, & I as an Englishman will enjoy them. We 
shall be in a most shocking situation after the ist of November, & 
our state entire confusion, and nothing will reinstate us but the 
repeal of this act. 

You cannot expect any orders for the goods in the spring, at 
least not many; for my part I shudder for the consequences. I 
cannot, however, but have SOITVJ hopes that the Parliament will re 
lieve us &give us a free trade which will enable us to pay our Debts 
to Great Britian, where in short all our money centres. But with 
out Trade we nor no Community can submit. Do exert yourselves 
for us. It is your own Interest as much as ours. I hope Marshall 
will arrive before the ist of November, otherwise he cannot return 
to you. I have the Oyl by me. I will sooner suffer the loss of it 
than be a slave. 

I shall write you fully by the going ship. Coffin in the schooner 
is not arriv d. by him Expect to hear from you. 

I am in much haste, can t now add but that I am w l> perfect Es 
teem Gen 1 - Your faithful hble Serv*- 



The term "slave" so freely used by Mr. Hancock, 
was a common expression of the time. In the town s 
instructions to their Representatives in General Court, 
we read, " If taxes are laid upon us in any shape, with 
out our having a legal representation where they are 
made, are we not reduced from the character of free 
subjects to the miserable state of tributary slaves?" 

Negro slavery was a custom which prevailed at this 
time very generally among the more wealthy families of 
the colony, especially in Boston. Several attempts were 
made to put a stop to it, but to no avail. A Tory wri 
ter of the time said there were two thousand slaves in 

The condition of these negro menials may have oc 
casioned the expression to which reference is made. 

In the instructions to their Representatives the town 
further proposed that, "As the Province still lies under 
a very grievous burthen of debt, occasioned by the war 
with France, frugality should be strongly recommended 
as one means of lessening the public debt, and that the 
necessity of continuing garrisons on the eastern frontier 
should be inquired into." 

As we have seen, Mr. Hancock was furnishing the 
supplies for these garrisons, but personal benefit was 
set aside for the promotion of the public good. 

On Oct. 28, 1765, Mr. Hancock writes to his London 
agents, saying : 

I could wish Marshall might he here before the I st Nov- tlio" I 
a little doubt it, If he should be so lucky I believe I could succeed 
in Clearing him out before he was Loaded. I have a sufficiency of 
Oyle to Dispatch him, but I am Confident after the I s Nov. there 
must be an Entire Stagnation of Navigation &c. which will throw 
us into amazing Confusion, & will Continue unless this cruel Act 
be Repealed wd> if not Effected, we are a Ruined people, all our 


Cash must go to answer the Expenses of the Act, wch in two or 
three Years will fall of itself, as there will be no money left to De 
fray the Expenses of its further Continuance. But with Respect to 
myself, I will be the last man that will submit to Take one, 1 how 
ever hope things will not be carried to such an ill judg d extremity 
as to Enforce the Act, as the fatal Consequences of it will be as 
much felt in the End, by Great Britain, as by us; you can never 
expect to Receive your Remittances from hence, & you may depend 
we shall be obliged to Live without your Manufactures w ch strictly 
speaking we can do without. You must exert yourselves for us & 
I hope soon to hear that the Parliament will Listen to our Decent 
Remonstrances, not only Repeal this Act but Redress many other 
Grievances we Labour under w ch we are not able to support. 

Pray send us good Tidings, we are shall be a very Distressed 
people, but Beg we may be Reliev cl. 

I am Gent" 

Your Faithfull Friend. 


It is a relief to the reader, as it must have been to 
John Hancock, to find another subject besides that of 
the Stamp Act occupying his mind. It appears in a 
letter dated Oct. 28, i 765, to Thomas Longman : 

It is some time since I heard from you with the Magazines &c. wch 
Beg in future you will please to be Regular in sending. I cannot 
tell the state of my acco" with you. I desire you will please to call 
on Mess. Barnards & Harrison & Receive of them whatever Ballance 
may be due to you. Give them your Rect. & send me your acco lt 

I now inclose you a large Inv 1 of Books, which I desire you will 
please to send me, packed in the best manner and marked I. H. I 
must Recommend to you to be very careful 1 in the collect of these 
Books, that they be the best Editions & well Bound, & that you be 
particular in sending every Book mentioned in the Inclosed Inv. if 
to be had at any price. I must also further Recommend to you that 
each every book be neatly Lettered & as there are several Pam 
phlets, wrote for in this Inv> I desire instead of their Coming in 
pamphlets, w^ are apt to be soon Defaced by use, that you will be 
mindful to Bind as many together as will make a neat volume & let 


them be all sent in that way. Lettering on the Back, that they may 
be known. Upon the whole, I Recommend to you that the whole 
of these Books be very neat, well chosen, Charged at the Lowest 
prices, as the whole of these Books are a present from me to our 
College Library in Cambridge. 

These Books, I shall hope you will be able to send me in the 
Spring. When ever they are ready to ship, I desire you will apply 
to Mess. Barnards & Harrison, who will give you Directions to Ship 
them, in a Vessel of mine. . . . These Books you will pack in 
Trunks & consign them to me. Send me Inv of Cost, write me 
the Terms of Credit & you may Rely I shall make you a punctual 
Remittance, therefore, if it does not suit you to put up these Books, 
you will please to Give this letter & Inv> to Barnards & Harrison 
who will send them to me. 

I shall be glad of all opportunities to render you or your Friends 
any services here, & am with Compliments to you & Mrs. Long 
man, Sir 

Your most obed. Hum We Serv-t- 

You will acknowledge the Rcc*- of this & pray use your Endeav 
ours that the Books may be sent in the Spring. 

By a vote of the President and Fellows of Harvard 
College, taken on July 15, 1767, Commencement Day, 
we find that this plan was carried out. John Hancock 
fulfilled a promise of his deceased uncle by giving books 
to the amount of ,500 sterling, and also gave a large 
collection in his own name. The college also received 
the sum of ,1000 sterling by the will of Thomas Han 
cock to endow a professorship of the Oriental languages. 
The Hancock collection, consisting of 1,098 volumes, is 
the outcome of the above-quoted letter. 

In this country, where business firms are frequently 
changing, it is of interest to note the continuous exis 
tence of the Longman House in Paternoster Row, Lon 
don. It was established by Thomas Longman in 1724, 
and consequently had been in existence about forty 
years when John Hancock ordered the books for Har- 


vard College ; and has continued until the present time, 
the firm name being at present Longmans, Green, & Co., 
their London address being the same as it was one 
hundred and seventy-two years ago Paternoster Row. 

The sign of the ship has been in continuous use as a 
trade-mark of the firm since it served as a sign under 
which the first Thomas Longman did business, and 
furnished books to the dealers in Provincial Boston. 
(Appendix I.) 

The second letter to this firm is under date of Nov. 
1 6, 1768. In this Mr. Hancock informs Thomas Long 
man that George Haley, his London agent, will settle 
his account with interest, "which is just, as the bill has 
been due for an unreasonably long time." 

With the many cares of private and public nature 
engrossing John Hancock, he finds time to attend to 
business for Thomas Longman. It appears in the fol 
lowing letter : 

BOSTON, May i8th, 1770. 

SIR : Your favours of Dec. 2 d 1769, & Jany 3 tl 1770 are now be 
fore me, duly note the Contents. In Consequence of the Rec - 
of the former, as Mr. Mein was absent, I immediately attached 
everything I could find of his Effects for the benefit of you Wright 
Gill the matter is now in the Law. The Effects are in the 
Hands of the Sheriff, and as soon as it has gone thro 1 the Law, 
the Effects turn d into money, the neat proceeds shall be remitted 
you, and you will determine the settlement between you and Messrs. 
Wright & Gill. Tho 1 I fear even the Whole of his Effects will fall 
vastly short of the Debts, but I have got all & could have no more. 

You will please, as I am now greatly hurried, to present my re 
spects to Mess Wright Gill & acquaint them. I will render 
them every service in my power & will write them by next opportu 
nity. Cannot You get further Security of Mr. Mein in London. 
You may rely I will do all in my power for your Interest in this or 
any other matter. 

I am with Great Respect Sir, 

M R - THOMAS LONGMAN. Your most obed* Servt- 

MR. JOHN- ME IN. 95 

Mr. John Mcin, above mentioned, was an extensive 
bookseller of the time in Boston. His place was known 
as the London Bookstore, and he claimed to carry a 
stock of ten thousand volumes. He is credited with 
having established the first circulating-library in the 
town. Drake says his shop was on the north corner of 
what is now Franklin and Washington Streets, where, 
in addition to books, he sold Irish linens, etc. John Mein 
was connected with the publication of the Boston CJironi- 
clc, the first semi-weekly in New Kn gland. This was an 
organ of the Loyalists, soon became unpopular, and was 
suspended in 1770. Mein was not in sympathy with 
the patriots, and so conducted himself as to become 
very obnoxious. The rhymester of the time, aroused 
by the acts of this bookseller, wrote the following : 

Mean is the man, M n is his name, 

Enough he s spread his hellish fame ; 

Infernal Furies hurl his soul 

Nine million times from Pole to Pole. 

We may infer that John Hancock did not hesitate to 
act for his London friends in applying the law to this 
Tory. On Nov. 19, 1770, Mr. Hancock wrote to Thomas 
Longman thus : 

I received Your Letter, respecting Your action with Mr. John 
Mein, and am now to inform you that by a law of the Province, 
when an Action is brought against a man who is out of the Province, 
the Action must be continued in the inferior court six months. This 
was the reason why the action against Mr. Mein was continued at 
first & when the six months were expired, Mr. Kent, the lawyer, 
appeared for Mr. Mein at the request of Mr. Fleming 1 who had a 
power of attorney from Mein, & moved in Court that these actions 
might be continued three months longer, because he said Mr. Mein 
had since been arrested in London for the same debt & was a pris- 

1 John Flemming, connected with John Moin in publishing. DRAKE. 


oner in the King s Bench for them. . . . Mr. Mein had no real 
estate here, my attachments were on the Shop, Books & the ma 
terials in the printing office which are small. What the amount of 
these attachments will be it is impossible to determine, until they 
are sold, which can not be until the Law has had its course. Books 
are very dull sale here. 

On Dec. 3, 1770, Mr. Hancock sends to Mr. Thomas 
Longman for more books for himself, and in April, 1771, 
writes the following : 

SIR: Your favr by Capt. Scott, I duly Rec d with the Box of 
Books in good order, as also my acco tl > which I shall soon order 
you payment of. I note what you say Respecting Mr. Mein. His 
conduct towards you is insufferable, & I am inform d, he with his 
associates have taken great Liberties with me, but I Despise them, 
being confident that their case and false representations can do me 
no Injury. I wish I could see a copy of Mein s affidavit and hope 
you will be able to obtain it. I think you have acted very right 
towards Mein. You have an undoubted claim to Security & you 
will find on the settlement of the matter here, it will fall vastly short 
of their Expectation & manifest their suggestion to be utterly 

Nothing has occurred in Mein s affairs since my last to you on 
that subject. I am in hopes soon to Receive your answer thereto 
with the necessary Inclosures, as soon as I am possess d of them 
you may Rely I will prosecute the affair to the end. 

I am with Tender s of Service Respects, to you & Mrs. Long 
man, Sir 

Your very humb le Serv*. 


Mr. Hancock reports progress from time to time, and 
on Jan. 31, 1772, writes : 

I am now to Acquaint you that I have Recover d final Judg 
ment in your & Mess. Wright & Gill case, against Mein & Execu 
tion is levied upon the Books &c. & the Appraisers will finish the 
appraisement this Day, after which I will take the most prudent 
steps to convert the whole into money & as soon as Realized shall 
be remitted to you. I am confident the whole of Mr. Mein\s Effects 
will fall vastly short of your Demands & this I mentioned to you 



long ago & Evinces the propriety of your Conduct in arresting him 

in England. The Gent" appraisers 

are Mr. Edwards, Mr. Knox, Mr. 

Langdon, all whom I believe you 

know, have been very faithfull. I 

shall advise you as I go on & send 

you the Catalogue of the Books & 

everything relative to this matter. 




The Hancock letters to Long 
man furnish us with evidence 
of more ways in which the po 
litical state of affairs had its 
demoralizing effect. Mein, as 
a poor debtor, perhaps made so 
by his stand on public matters, 
fled to London, where he vent 
ed his wrath against Hancock and the leading patriots. 

He was but one among the 
many sufferers who left the 
country, although with- less 
means of support than many 
of the Loyalists possessed. 

The Hancock books are 
found in the different depart 
ments of the college library 
at Cambridge. In those which 
constitute the last gift may 
be read 




RECORDED JAN. 31, 1774. 

On Nov. 4, 1765, Mr. Hancock writes to Devonshire 
& Reeves : 


GEXT N : I wrote you some time ago for a few articles w ch no 
doubt you will send. Those Articles I fear, will be the last I shall 
import as our Grievances are so heavy & I may say cruel, that Trade 
here must Stagnate. I flatter myself, considering the Amazing 
Taxes we pay here for the support of Governmt, that the Parliam* 
of Great Britian would have been rather induced to have relieved 
us, than to have added to our Burthens. I think I may Venture to 
say that not a man in England, in proportion to estate pays so great 
a Tax as I do & people in general here pay heavier Taxes in pro 
portion than the people of England. We can very ill support so 
cruel an act as the Stamp Act. in short there is not a sufficiency 
of money among us to support it three years, & what will become 
of us when our Trade and money is gone? It is such an act as I 
hope in God will never be executed here ; for my own part, upon 
Serious and mature consideration, I am invariably Determined not 
to carry on business under a stamp, nor ever subject myself to be 
a slave without my own Consent. It seems to be the United Reso 
lutions of the whole Continent not to submit to this cruel Act. The 
consequence of its taking place must be the Ruin of us. I think 
we are a people worth saving & our Trade so advantageous to those 
who Conduct it on your side worth keeping, I however hope the 
Parliament from the Remonstrances they may Receive will Relieve 
us & I hope soon to hear a Repeal of the act. if not we are a gone 
people. Our Trade must cease & Great Britian will finally f6el the 
Bad effects. We shall not be able to take of your Manufactures & 
we can do without them for my part under such Burthens. I will 
never Import a single manufacture of Great Britain nor carry on 
my Business under a Stamp to enrich I know not who. I beg you 
with the other merchts would use your Influence to extricate us & 
I doubt not on such Representation we shall be Relieved. ... If 
at any time I may render you or your friends any service here, I 
beg you freely to Command me. 

I am with sincere esteem 

Gent"- Your faithful obed. servt. 

The foregoing letter was written while there was fresh 
in the mind of John Hancock the great demonstration of 
Nov. i, when more effigies were hanged, and when bells 
were tolled, while vessels in the harbor displayed their 
colors at half-mast. Hancock, with other merchants who 


were getting vessels ready for sea, took out their papers 
before Nov. i, regardless of the date of use, thereby 
avoiding stamped clearances. On Nov. 8, Governor 
Bernard prorogued the General Court to Jan. I 5. But 
a bill for the relief of the people was in the hands of a 
committee when the court rose. The following explains 
how a vessel went to sea from Hancock wharf : 

BOSTON, Dec. 21, 1765. 

GENTS : This I hope you will receive by the ship Boston Packet, 
John Marshall, conimar., which is now fully loaded with oyl, & 
have cleared him out at the Custom house, the officers certifying 
that no Stamps are to be had, which is actually the case, & you may 
rely the people on the Continent will never consent to the Grievous 
imposition of the Stamp Act. Our Custom house is now open as 
usual & clearance taken without stamps. That I apprehend there 
will be no risque on your side, here. I am under no apprehensions. 
Should there be any Difficulty in London as to Marshalls clearance, 
You will please to represent the circumstances that no stamps could 
be obtained and we cannot obtain a more Regular Clearance. In 
which case I think I am to be justified, & am not liable to a seizure, 
or even run any risque at all, as I have taken the Step of the Law, 
& made application for clearance, & can get no other. I refer the 
matter to you. if any Difficulty You will please to make proper 
Representations, & I have no doubt we shall be justified. The Cus 
tom houses to the Southward are open & vessells clear as usual, 
the officers certifying that no stamps are to be had. I was a little 
disappointed that you make no mention however matters were taken 
on your side, & what was yours & the general opinion as to the 
Stamp Act, whether it would be repealed, pray exert yourself for 
us, & give us the good tidings, should the repeal of the act take 
place. It will afford more joy to America than any Circumstance 
that has or can happen. God grant us the clesir d event, or we 
are a gone people. . . . 

I heartily wish you all happiness, for the good of the whole 
I as heartily wish to hear the Repeal of the Stamp act. 

I am For Self, Folger & Starbuck 

Gent. Your faithful Friend & obed. 



The above letter was written soon after the public 
demonstration of Dec. 17, when Andrew Oliver was 
made to appear under the Liberty-tree, at the corner of 
Essex and Washington Streets, and take his oath that 
" he had never taken any measures to act in the office 
of stamp-master, and that he would never do so, directly 
or indirectly." In the company of officials who wit 
nessed the act was John Hancock. 

This episode at the Liberty-tree was but one of many 
experiences that occurred to hinder the young merchant 
in preparing letters before the sailing of the Boston 
Packet. A warrant had just been posted at the Town 
House, calling a town-meeting ; and the selectmen 
dropped in after business hours to the Hancock counting- 
house to discuss the all-absorbing topic, embodied in an 
article of the warrant. It was late in the afternoon of 
that December day ; and as they drew around the open 
fire, who should enter but Samuel Adams. The com 
pany drew back ; and the circle was enlarged to admit 
another chair, placed by the servant, to which the new 
comer was conducted. It needed but the light of the 
candle to reveal to all that the last caller had serious 
purposes in mind, for his lips were never more firmly 
set than at this moment. The young merchant did not 
fail to extend a cordial greeting to Mr. Adams, although 
he had been the successful candidate over him in the 
recent election of representatives to the General Court. 
The excitement of the hour was not so great as to 
cause the merchants to forget the ordinary courtesies 
of society ; and they all took a pinch from Hancock s 
gold souvenir box, and snuffed to the contempt of 
George III. 

" If we pass that memorial to-morrow," said Mr. 


Adams, " we must choose a committee of our best legal 
men to present and enforce it. It is useless to petition 
the Governor and Council unless we have some emphasis 
behind it." 

This met with a ready approval on the part of each 
of the selectmen and other gentlemen present. The 
memorial, roughly drawn, was already in the side pocket 
of Mr. Adams s snuff -brown seedy waistcoat. It was 
freely discussed before the company left the merchant 
to conclude his half-written letters. 

No private business deterred Mr. Hancock from a 
prompt appearance at Faneuil Hall the next morning. 
The memorial was passed after a hot discussion on the 
floor of that famous building. It set forth that the 
Courts of Law had been shut up, for which "no just 
and legal reason could be assigned." The petitioners 
" humbly " requested " that his Excellency in Council, 
with whom the executive power was constitutionally 
lodged, would give direction to the several courts and 
their officers, so that under no pretence whatever they 
might any longer be deprived of that invaluable bless 
ing." They also requested to be heard " by their coun 
cil, learned in the Law." As might have been expected, 
Samuel Adams was placed at the head of the committee 
to prepare the memorial. Others were John Rowe, 
Thomas dishing, John Hancock, John Ruddock, Sam 
uel Sewall, Joshua Henshaw, and Benjamin Kent. The 
proposition of Samuel Adams to have counsel was read 
ily adopted ; and Jeremiah Gridley and James Otis, with 
John Adams, constituted the legal force. There were 
not wanting those who, with a spirit of satisfaction, 
shook their heads and said, " You brought these things 
on yourselves, and now you complain of them." During 


the two days of adjournment, John Hancock applied 
himself to his letters. 
To London : 

I am now to acquaint you that I am one-half owner of the Brig 
Industry, with Paul Bunker, gone to your address, Hezekiah Bun 
ker master, and you will please to credit my account with you for 
one-half the freight she may make, as also credit my account for 
one-half the produce of Tar, Pitch, Oyl, and Staves, &c, shipped 
by Paul Bunker on board sd. brig. Since the foregoing was wrote, 

1 have the pleasure to acquaint you that the brig Lydia, Captain 
Scott, arrived here the i$th instant, the only vessel from London 
since Marshall. No account of Bruce, Davis, Jenkins, Daverson 
nor Jarvis, who sailed before Scott. Our brig Lydia is certainly a 
fine sailing vessel & very Lucky. By the Lydia I am favored with 
yours of 23d of October, inclosing Bill of Lading & Invoice for my 
goods on board him. I am extremely sorry you did not ship my 
Lemons on Marshall, as I should then have got 60 stg. & Box 
whereas, now you have sent them in Scott, they will not fetch me 

2 per cent. I wish you would be so good as always to ship me the 
whole of my orders as I have always a reason for my conduct and 
order which is only known to myself. 

I note that my Ship Liberty was safe arrived with you, & am 
glad her cargo was like to meet so good a sale. I wish you may 
be able to get a freight for the Liberty to some port or other, & 
I should be glad for this place, tho 1 I see no great prospect. I 
wish I had ordered Fifty Tons of Hemp in her but I doubt not you 
will do your utmost for my Interest. 

I have heretofore wrote you so largely & expressed my Senti 
ments so freely on the Subject of the Stamp Act that I think I need 
not add more to convince you that it is highly disagreeable to the 
whole continent, nay further that they will never submit to it. You 
can well judge from the account you have long e er this Received 
from America how we are circumstanced and should have been glad 
of your opinion on the Subject. Pray write me by all ways & oppor 
tunities how thins are like to turn. 

: letters give us a glimpse into the cares of John 
Handock. -rfWd;seei Somowhat of the extent of his for 
eign utfade,.:whichj fwibhni hist i domestic business, must 


have been very extensive ; and no stenographer sat at 
his left hand to catch his dictations between calls, but 
very many of his letters must have been penned with 
his own hand, although an assistant may have mended 
the pens. 

Leaving his letters still open, John Hancock makes 
haste to Faneuil Hall to attend the adjourned meeting, 
when the report of the legal committee is presented 
and voted unsatisfactory, and the meeting adjourned to 
Dec. 26. The merchant had time to complete his let 
ters. With the heat of the town-meeting discussion 
upon him, and the gibes of those who opposed the 
action of the town to goad him, he takes his pen and 
writes : 

I can only further say that I pray your best influence for us. 
Nothing will quiet and re-instate us hut the entire repeal of this 
cruel Stamp Act, and pray God grant us that relief. 

Later he writes : 

You have my Invoice for my Spring supply of goods under the 
following limitations, which I insist that you strictly comply with, 
viz. In case there is a repeal of the Stamp Act, you will please to 
send me by Marshall the several articles in the inclosed Invoice. 
Let them be well chosen, well packed, & charged at the lowest 
prices, send every article, if the Stamp Act be repealed, but in 
case the Stamp Act is not repealed, my orders are that you will not 
upon any consideration ship me one article. I have wrote for this 
in consideration of the United Resolves of not only the Principal 
Merchants & Traders of this Town but of those of the other trading 
towns of this Province, & which I am determined to abide by. I 
will not import one single manufacture of Great Britain unless this 
grievous Burthen be removed, and I have further to pray the favor 
that if this act be not repealed, you make out and send me all my 
account & what ever Balance may be due to you I will endeavor to 
remit as soon as possible, as under the Burthen of the Stamp Act 


I cannot carry on my business to any advantage & I cannot be a 
Slave to enrich Placemen. 1 

It is not the telephone that has occasioned the appar 
ent repetitions in the foregoing letter, but the calls of 
such men as Samuel Adams, who only make the writer 
more determined ; and he adds sentences for emphasis 
after each retires. Who that has compassion for a 
nervous, overworked merchant of these days, during the 
uncertainty of tariff legislation, can fail to sympathize 
with this young merchant, as in those early months of 
his entire dependence upon his own judgment, his uncle 
being dead, he faces the manifold cares of the Hancock 
business ? 

In addition to all that we have thus far seen was the 
care of the real estate and the great home. There was 
solicitude for his honored aunt, so suddenly bereaved of 
her noble husband ; the negro slaves willed to her were 
quick to know that " Massa Hancock " was no more. 
The stock of cattle that grazed over the pasture on 
Beacon Hill needed the oversight of an interested eye, 
or they would rapidly depreciate in value. Who could 
have thought of envy as he watched the Hancock char 
iot roll out of town, conveying the honored widow and 
her overworked nephew to Lexington to get a little rest 
with Parson Clark and Mrs. Jonas Clark at the family 

1 Placemen, those who hold positions under the government. In this 
case the officers sent over from England to enforce revenue laws. 




JOHN HANCOCK, in the midst of all his burdens, was 
ever ready to aid deserving young men who showed a 
talent for business. By the Briton he sends to Bar- 
nards & Harrison the following : - 

By Captain Scott, as I have not time now, I shall send you an 
Invoice of Goods to be put up and sent by Marshall for the supply 
of a shop to a person I am going to put into that Branch, and of 
which more by Scott. I mean to be sent if the Stamp Act be re 
pealed. This Invoice will be nearly like Mr. Jenkin s, that you 
mav make some Provisions. The Bill I have drawn on you in 
favour of Clement Jackson was partly to engage his Correspondence 
& Concerns to you ; he applied to me for advice with respect to the 
house & at home. I strongly recommend him to you. This Mr. 
Jackson s father is a man of Estate, tho 1 I can t say he makes him 
self liable. He writes you by this oppy. for a parcel of goods, 
much more than the amount of the Bill. You will act your pleas 
ure as to sending them, but from what I can collect from Mr. Jack 
son, he is well disposed & believe will use his Endeavor to be 
punctual in his remittances. I think you may make trial of him 
without any great risque, but do as you judge best. He is young 
and in course of time may make an agreeable correspondent. 

You cannot be sensible what a state of confusion this Stamp Act 
has brought on us. 


John Hancock has the added annoyance of being fre 
quently reminded by his agents abroad that he is be 
hind in his accounts, and that remittances are overdue. 
In reply to one such he says : 

I have been for some time past engaged in public matters with 
respect to the Redress of our present Grievances. So that I am 
prevented fulfilling my promise of sending all accounts by this. 
They shall be sent by Scott and Bunker. Our Custom House is 
now open without the use of Stamps, & we are in hopes the Courts 
of Justice will be opened shortly and things go on the usual way. 
I hope there will be no difficulty with respect to the Marshall clear 
ance. If the Stamp Act should be laid aside, You will send all my 
goods, & pray let them be of the best kind. 

Inclosed you have Mary Baker s Certificate for four months Pen 
sion, 6. 13.4, when paid you will please to pass to my credit. 

By the foregoing it is seen that Mr. Hancock inter 
ested himself in securing from government a pension 
for the widow Mary Baker. 

The following affords a glimpse of that famous lawyer, 
James Otis, as he enters the counting-room at Han 
cock s store, and presents his bill for legal services, 
Mr. Hancock having employed his friend and neighbor, 
Otis, to attend to some business for a friend in Lon 
don : 

In our Company Letter of 28* h Oct. 1763, we Inclosed you Mr. 
Otis Receipt for cash pd. him Expences etc. for account of Arthur 
Jones, and desired you to receive it of Mr. Jones, and Credit our 
account but on looking over Your acco" I find no credit for it, & as 
I have not included it in Mr. Jones 1 account now sent him, I in 
close you my Bill on Mr. Jones for 4. Stg. amt. of cash pd. Mr. 
Otis, which you will please to get paid and credit my account for the 

You must Excuse me that I cannot send you all accounts by 
this, I have not been able, we have been terribly confus d here, but 
hope we shall soon be redress d. I have not yet had time to exam 
ine the accounts you sent, but shall finish all matters to go by Scott. 


Other men call in time to secure Hancock s attention 
to other business before the sailing of the vessel, wit- 
nesseth the following : 

Inclos d is a power of attorney to your G. H. from Sam 1 & 
Eb r Brown of this Town, as also a Note of hand due from T. Ja s 
Gruchy of Gurnsey for ^53. 17. 8. Lawfull money. I take the Lib 
erty to pray the favour of your G. H. to obtain payment thereof, 
which will much oblige the persons. I shall esteem a favour, when 
reed, You will please to pass the aint. to my credit and send me 
advice of it with the Charges, attending that I may pay the Browns. 

My best wishes attend you & I am with unfeigned Truth, 

Your real Friend & obedt Servt- 

The appended paragraph affords a suggestion of the 
extent of John Hancock s business, and recalls the 
names of merchants and firms who constituted the busi 
ness element of Boston at the close of 1765, or as 
English merchants were allied with those of Boston. 

Bills drawn on you, not before advis d of, & which you will 
please to honour 


Edward Wigglesworth NO. 24 25 

Arthur Jones & Co. 25 437. 2. 2 

John Apple-ton 26 100 

Ion a Clarke 27 TOO 

Sanil Eliot 28 200 

Abigl Whitney & daughter 29 300 

B. Gerrish Esq. (my order) Dec. 5 40 

Kichd Gary 30 150 

\Vharton & Bowes 31 120 

Susannah Brimmer 32 100 

Nathl Appleton 33 100 

John Appleton 34 200 

Saml Fletcher 35 100 

Clemt. Jackson 36 500 [ stroye 

Caleb Blanchard 37 1000 

John Marshall 38 90 

3562. 2. 2 


I think I should not be charg d ty C r on all the Bills, as one 
half is for purchase here for your acco"- 

Edward Wigglesworth was an importer of British and 
India goods, and kept in Marlboro Street. 

Others have appeared in this correspondence, and 
subsequent allusions are made to several of them. 

Under the date of Dec. 21, 1765, Hancock writes to 
Devonshire & Reeves thus : 

I have sent you so fully my sentiments on the subject of the 
Stamp Act that I think I need not add more to convince you that it s 
highly disagreeable to the whole Continent, & I have strong hopes 
that the Parliament will relieve us. 

Inclos d I send you small order for Goods to be sent me by the 
first Spring Ship in case the Stamp Act is repealed, but if the act be 
not repeal d, I must desire you will not send me one article in the In 
voice, this is in consequence of the United Resolutions of the Mer 
chants here & the other Trading Towns, & I have wrote to all my 
Correspondents in London to the same Effect, if the Stamp Act is 
repealed do let the goods be well put up & charg d at the lowest price 
for which I will make you a punctual remittance. 

I wish you health & happiness & am 


Your most obed 1 - Servt- 

The adjourned town-meeting of Dec. 26 was held, 
and its action, with others, had a great effect ; and the 
final result was, that the courts did proceed without 
stamps, excepting the Probate Court at Boston, of which 
Lieutenant-Governor Hutchinson was judge. He soon 
resigned ; and Governor Bernard, after some delay, ap 
pointed Foster Hutchinson. He was ready to comply 
with the sentiments of the patriots. "Hancock and his 
crew," as they were derisively called in England and 
among the Loyalists on this side of the water, had a 



powerful influence at this time of the Revolutionary 
period. No more trying winter can be imagined than 
this of 1765-1766. Business was largely suspended, 
and all was uncertainty ; no goods were ordered from 
abroad unless accompanied with the one proviso, the re 
peal of the Stamp Act. There were foes from within 
as well as from without. There were not wanting many 
wealthy, honored people, who sincerely believed that the 
so-called patriots were wrong, and were bringing ruin 
upon a happy and 
prosperous class of 
the subjects of the 
king. Honored 
pastors denounced 
these bold acts from 
their pulpits, and 
fervently prayed for 
God s mercy upon 
the misguided peo 
ple, while they lost 
no opportunity to 
pray, " God save 
the king." 

When we consider that Boston, the leading town in 
this rebellion, had only about i 5,000 inhabitants, and 
the whole colony not over 240,000 souls, we can but 
pause and with bated breath wonder at the results. 
Ships now went to sea as before, but each went out 
with great uncertainty. In the midst of this depres 
sion Hancock was not so cast down as to lose all hope 
for the future. While he was prepared for the worst, 
he was ready to avail himself of the more favorable 



On Jan. 22, 1766, he writes to his London agents : 

I wish you would give me the earliest notice in the Spring how 
you think the Price of oyl Bone will Govern next Summer as 
also Pott Ashes, & \\c\i Sort of Oyl You would advise to be largest 
Concern d in, as I am determined the Coming Year (please God I 
live) to be more largely Concerned in oyl, Bone & Pottash than 
ever, If you can Advise the least prospect it may answer, I shall 
however abide by Your Advices, but am Determined to push in 
these Concerns & not have it in so many hands & should be glad to 
know Your inclinations as to a concern. I suppose You would be 
fond of, and in the half: I shall ship none in Comp a with Folger, 
except what goes in the Boston Packett of w c!l You will duly 
advise me. Uo Just as You please, but I would not have You open 
Concerns with any others in that Branch, as it will hurt the whole, 
& I will Venture to say no man here can command more oyl or so 
much as myself & You may rely I shall always purchase on the best 
Terms, as I pay my Cash on the Delivery & that will always Com 
mand the Markett. I am sorry to tell you that I had the misfor 
tune to have a Load of Oyl cast away on the Back of Cape Codd. 
Vessell entirely lost, but had the good luck to save almost all the 
Ovl, -which was put on Board another vessell, but the wind being at 
this season to the No. West, She is not yet up, but hope she may 
soon be here. I only wait for that oyl to Dispatch Scott w cl > will be 
up the first Southerly wind. The vessel that brought up part of the 
oyl on b d Marshall was Cast ashore on Cape Codd, but luckily got 
off without much Damage. 

Agreeable to a former promise, I have been obliged to draw on 
You a few Bills, as at Bottom in favr \V Phillips for Mr. Brom- 
field who was a passenger in Marshall, & in fav" Mr. W m Gardiner, 
who is passenger in this vessell, as they Rest with You I must beg 
You will duly honor them. 

Mr. Henry Bromfield, above mentioned, was later 
known as Colonel Bromfield. He was a prominent 
merchant of the time, and made frequent trips to Eng 
land in the interests of his business. He was connected 
with the Fayerweather family by an early marriage, and 
later with the Clark family through marriage with a 
daughter of Richard Clark, a merchant of distinction 

I I 

in Boston. The Chirks had a store in King (State) 
Street. Richard Clark was one of the consignees of the 
" obnoxous tea," and was obliged to retire for safety to 
the Castle at the time of the tea-party. Bromfield, to 
escape trouble, which he plainly saw was inevitable, pur 
chased an estate in Harvard, and retired to it soon after 
the opening of the Revolution. lie never gave up the 
Continental costume, but always adhered to his large 
powdered wig, square brown coat and vest, with broad 
pockets and lapels, black small-clothes or breeches, nice 
silk stockings, silver knee and shoe buckles, and carried 
a gold-headed cane. He commanded the respect of the 
people of the retired town of Harvard, where he is still 
pleasantly remembered. When he left the society of 
John Hancock and other merchants of the day, he took 
with him a negro body servant, Othello, or " Thurlo " 
as he was better known. This slave formed a very 
strong attachment 
for his master ; but 
he evidently did 
not understand the 
occasion of his 
master s seclusion, 
regarding it as a 
sort of punish 
ment. Othello was 
once heard address 
ing an unruly cow 
thus : - 

" You are cross, you are ugly ; you ll have to eat alone 
same as Massa does." 

Colonel Brom field, like John Hancock, had a strong 
attachment for his slave ; and in the old burying-ground 



at Harvard may be read, on a well-kept stone at an 
isolated grave, the following : 




DIED 1813, AGED ABOUT 73. 

Colonel Bromfield s grave is in King s Chapel Bury- 
ing-ground, Boston. The family monument is, like that 
of the Hancock family, at Lexington. 

John Hancock finds it difficult to collect the bills be 
longing to the estate of his deceased uncle; and in this 
letter of Jan. 2, 1766, he writes to his agents : 

I should be very glad you would endeavor to obtain payment 
of the Bills sent you by my late Uncle long ago say Shirley s, 
Gorhams, & many others, I can t but think the Government would 
pay Shirley s Bill if applied to. Do use Your Endeavours for me, 
for vvch I shall be much oblig d, it is hard I should lose them. 

I am in great hopes to despatch Scott in ten days ; in short, we 
are in such an unsettled state & in so much confusion that it is im - 
possible to sit down quietly to do Business. But I sincerely hope 
we shall soon be re-instated in our former Situation by the Repeal 

or setting aside that unconstitutional, cruel & D d Stamp Act, 

wch has done the Colonies more Injury than will be Recovered in 
many years, pray use your Influence for us. By Scott I shall send 
you an Invo. of goods for the full supply of a shop to come, if the 
Stamp Act be repealed. 

I wish you the compliments of the season & am with the most 
perfect esteem, 

Gentm., Your Real friend & most faithful Humble servt. 

The adjourned town-meeting was much more quiet 
and peaceful. It was voted that the representatives of 
the town in General Assembly use their influence that 
justice be duly administered in the counties throughout 
the Province, and also use their influence that proper 


inquiry be made into the conduct of any who have aided 
the Stamp Act. The meeting then dissolved. This re 
lieved the selectmen, and John Hancock had more time 
to devote to his own affairs. Ever ready for any hope 
ful business venture, he continued a line pursued by his 
lamented uncle. It appears in the following letter : 

BOSTON, Janry i6th, 1766. 

The delay of the Returns of the Survey of the Provisions at 
Chignecto & Annapolis and of sending to me the Condemned Pro 
vision, before w cl1 I could not have completed Your accounts, has 
been the occasion that I have not till now wrote & Transmitted 
your accts. w<* circumstance I hope will plead my excuse with You. 
... I also enclose your acct. of supplies for your contract of 500 
men in Nova Scotia and charges attending it to June 25th. I en 
close Your acct. Ballance due me .1340, 3-8. sterling for \\ch sum 
I have drawn a set of Bills of Exchange on You in favor of Messrs. 
Barnards & Harrison, merchts., in London, which you will please to 
honor and balance the commissions authorized between us. I have 
supplied provisions to the Garrison to carry on your contract, on the 
new agreement & shall continue it, till one of us gives the notice 
Specified in the article for an alteration, and I am now to acquaint 
You that I strictly adhere to my proposals made & Your agreement 
to my Taking Your contract at Four pence half penny sterl g pr. 
man pr. Day, with the addition of ^160 pay to Commissioner & look 
upon it that my Letters are as equally Binding and my Intention is 
that they should be, under the several Limitations in the Articles 
Bond Sent me, as if they had been sign d & properly Executed 25th 
June last, the Day I Took the contract, & mean to continue my 
Supplies in future under the same Restrictions & on the same Foot 
ing as mentioned in the articles ; & hope I shall ever Transact it to 
the entire satisfaction of all concern d. 

I am with great Respect, 

Sir, Your most obed 1 Humble Serv 1 - 





IN a letter of Jan. 18 to Barnards & Harrison, he says 
he has purchased a large quantity of naval stores for 
the garrison at Nova Scotia, and adds : 

I hope the Brig, will arrive safe & meet a good market, pray 
obtain the best price for the whalebone, it is very good. I have 
had it by me for some time, I hope it will net a good profit. ... I 
also enclose Your acct. of amt. of Boston Packetfs last cargo, in 
thirds with you Folger Starbuck & myself amt. to ^3820, 2. 7. 
Lawfull money, one third the produce of w<= h you will pass to the 
Credit of my acct. ,955, o. j\ sterl g being cash paid by me for 
your third cost of Boston Packetts Cargo in Boston. 

He notes the purchase of the brig Lydia "at .982 
13^. 9^., with charges of 61 12s. 9^., making the 
whole cost complete for the seas ^1044 6s. 6*/." Of 
another plan to start a young man in business, he 
writes : 

Inclosed you have an Invoice of Goods to be put up & sent me 
in the spring as early as You can, if the Stamp act be Repealed, 
other ways not. These goods, I beg may be well chosen & Packed 
& charged at the lowest Rates. My design being to put them in a 
shop for Retail in which I shall place a young man who has been 
with me since my late uncle s death as my brother s leaving the 


store occasioned my wanting more help just at that juncture, as I 
had a multiplicity of affairs to attend to. Of whose abilities I have 
a high opinion shall now make tryall as well for his advantage as 
my own & if it answers I shall order the goods after these to be 
charged to his accn t. 

As another apology for seeming neglect he writes : 

I have wrote you so fully on the subject of our Grievances & 
Burthens that I shall not add on that Head, only say that if we are 
not Relieved our Trade is gone . we a Ruined people. I shall 
at once drop all Connections with Business, for I am so- much of 
an Englishman that no power shall force me to carry on Business, 
the Profits of which to be applied to Place men, who we should be 
much better without than with them, neither is, nor shall my Prop 
erty be at the Controll & Service of any one that pleases to demand 
it, w* I am sorry to say there is too great a probability of its being 
the case. But I am invariably Determined to support my Liberty 
and Property at ye expense of every thing else & will be free in a 
free Country under a free Government. I have a Right to it & 
no man a Right to Deprive me of it. You may depend that by- 
next opportunity I will close & send you all accounts of Vessels & 
sales, etc. 

Notwithstanding the unrest and uncertainty of affairs, 
John Hancock endeavored to put himself in good stand 
ing with a business-house which was connected with his 
uncle. Of this he writes : 

I have it in my power, I think, to Transact all matters as well as 
any man in this country & w<=h shall always be Executed in the best 
manner, & shall hope for your Commands in preference to others. 
My scituation, ever since my Uncle s death, has been a scene of 
Hurry & our Confused State here has really prevented my closing 
matters as I could have wished to have done, but Beg Your Excuse, 
w ch I am Confident you will Readily grant, considering all Circum 
stances. I imagine if the Stamp Act be repealed that you will be at 
no loss to freight Marshall Scott & Doubt not but you will give 
them all the Despatch in yr. power. I desire you will send me by 
Scott Ten Tons of best Hemp, besides what I have wrote for to 
come in Marshall. 


We now notice Mr. Hancock s first intimation of 
aiding his relatives. William Bowes, hereafter men 
tioned, was a cousin 
of the merchant ; 
he was one of that 
flock of children 
of the Bedford par 
sonage, cousins of 
John Hancock, who 
took such delight 
in the visits of the 
finely dressed boy 
who came out from 
Boston with his 


uncle and aunt to 
get the country air. He writes : 

My particular friend & Relation, Mr. William Bowes, is Passen 
ger in Captain Scott, he proposes spending six or eight months in 
England. I take the freedom to recommend him to your Particular 
Notice & Civilities, w ch I doubt not you will cheerfully afford him & 
which I shall Esteem a favor. He is a gentn. of good mind, Sober, 
Honest & Industrious, & very Deserving, & one I have a high opin 
ion of. I wish him a happy sight of you. I Refer you to him for 
all matters stirring here & hope his Visit to you will Establish an 
agreeable Correspondence with you. I beg the favr. of yor. best 
advice & assistance & that you will in all Respects grant him yor. 
Countenance. Should Mr. Bowes have occasion for money at any 
Time, I pray you will please to supply with what sum or sums 
he may apply to you for even to the amt. of one Thousand or Fif 
teen hundred pounds sterling, wch Charge to my acct. advising me 
thereof. I shall by next opportunity Transmit you some Remit 
tance, as I would not by any means put you to the inconvenience of 
advancing for me, when I can possibly avoid it. Tho 1 it will some 
times happen so, & when it does I am ever Disposed to make every 
satisfaction; but Considering the extent of my Business I hope you 
will think I do pretty well. I must Refer to my next, being now 


Reduced to the evening to finish my Letters, & am Determined 
Scott shall sail early in the morning. Shall soon write you again 
when you may Rely I will close send all accts. between us. My 
sincere wishes attend you for Health, Success and every kind of 
Felicity & believe with greatest Truth 

Gentn., Your Real friend most faithful humble servt. 

Under the same date Mr. Hancock writes : 

Should the Stamp Act be repealed our Grievances Removed 
I shall Extend my Business in all my demands from your place 
wholly apply to your house, and having the highest opinion of your 
Fidelity Integrity, I purpose next season to Build a vessell of 
about no Tons to keep Running between this Bristol, having 
a person to put in her who has long been in my Employ. 

John Hancock was not spoiled by coming suddenly 
into possession of a great business and fortune. It 
seemed to be his ambition to maintain the good repu 
tation which his uncle, Thomas Hancock, enjoyed, and 
also to increase the business. If vanity was at times 
seen in his dress and habits, the only wonder is that his 
circumstances did not make him more so. His aim to 
extend his business is seen in the following extract : 

I am sensible of your connections concerns this way with Re 
spect to your Particular Business in Navigation c. I suppose your 
intentions are to continue them, at least you will if they have been 
advantageous, as I imagine they have. I know not what alterations 
the melancholy event of Mr. Griffin s death may occasion in your 
concerns here, or perhaps you may have already placed them else 
where. I mean not to interfere with your connections, but I beg 
leave to say that if at any time an opportunity may offer, when you 
can agreeable to yourselves place any concerns with me you may 
depend on the utmost Dispatch, Fidelity punctuality that in 
any commands you may please to favr. me with you may rely on 
the greatest attention to your Interests in all Respects. I think I 
may venture to say no man here can better serve your Interests 
than myself. You will excuse my mentioning thus much. I heart- 


ily wish you every kind of Felicity & whenever I may be useful I 
beg you freely command 


Your most faithful & obedt. Humble Servt. 

On the same date he writes to recommend Edward 
Jackson, a brazier, to the firm of Barnards & Harrison 
for credit. On Jan. 25, 1766, he writes to Barnards & 
Harrison : 

Captain Freeman arrived here last night, but not a line from you 
I should be heartily glad to hear from you on the subject of our 
American affairs. If we are not relieved our trade is gone, for it is 
the United Resolution of this Continent not to submit to the Stamp 
Act, as we look upon it as unconstitutional. Am very glad that 
you begin to feel the ill consequences of the Stamp Act, & I look 
upon it that the Stoppage of Importing goods & the failure of Re- 


mittances, wch must fail if our Trade be gone, will have as good an 
Effect as we can Desire, & I pray you will exert yourselves for us, 
as to the Rashness your G. H. mentions, we have been guilty of 
I look upon it that no such rash measures have been taken in what 
particularly respects the Stamp Act. The Injury that has been 
done the Lieut. GovY. was quite a different affair, & was not done 
by this Town & is what I abhor & Detest as much as any man 
breathing, and would go great lengths in Repairing his Loss but an 
opposition to the Stamp Act is highly commendable, when I say 
that, I don t mean that every step that has been taken is so, but as 


a people & a wide extended Country the general Dislike & opposi 
tion to the act is commendable. But I have said enough to con 
vince you of my Dislike to it & I pray we may be relieved. . . . 
My friend Wm. Bowes went in Scott. I Beg your particular notice 
of him & pray my hearty Love to him. Do write me often, pray 
send me by Capt. Marshall a peck of steel filings to use instead of 
Black sand. 


Hancock s sentiments written to foreign agents lacked 
none of the spirit of some utterances published in the 
papers of the time. They boldly denounced the Stamp 
Act as unconstitutional, and said, " Shall we not, then, 
all, as one man, join in opposing it, and spill the last 
drop of our blood, if necessary, rather than live to see 
it take place in America ? " 

It was at this time, Feb. 20, that there was a cere 
mony by the Sons of Liberty, who caused to be placed 
on Liberty-Tree 1 the following : 



There was also a public burning of stamped papers 
sent up from Halifax with blood-red stamps on each. 

With this public demonstration in mind, Hancock re 
tires to his counting-room, and writes, on Feb. 26 : 

I am very glad you have interested yourselves for us & wish your 
application may produce the Desired Effect. I am sure it is as 

1 The tree was cut down in 1775 y the British and Tories. One 
of the company was killed by the falling of a limb. A liberty-pole was 
erected and maintained on the spot for a long time. 


much for the interest of Great Britain as ourselves to Ease our 
trade & in the case of the Stamp Act, there seems a necessity of 
Repealing it for almost to a man throughout the Continent, they 
are determined to oppose it, but I hope very soon to hear some 
good acct. from you. Do give me the earliest notice that the Par 
liament determines. I imagine the Brig Harrison will be the first 
Vessel here if the Stamp Act be repealed. You will have goods 
enough to load Marshall & Scott. Tho. they will be here late, I 
will Endeavor to have Oyl ready for them. I have now several 
whaling vessels of my own & in about three weeks shall fit them 
out, that with common success I shall have a large quantity of Oyl 
& Bone. I propose being pretty largely concerned the coming year 
in purchasing Oyl. I beg your opinion as early as possible as to 
oyl & bone. ... I think I can venture to say that no man here 
can better consult your Interest in all Respects than myself. I hope 
soon to hear from you, my best wishes attend you for all Kind 
of Felicity, I am with best Compliments sincere Professions of 


Your Faithfull mos 1 obed* 

Humble Servt 

The annual town-meeting of March brought added 
cares to the busy merchant. Besides a re-election as 
one of the selectmen, he was chosen on a committee 
with Samuel Adams to draw up a letter of thanks to 
the town of Plymouth, in recognition of one from that 
town addressed "To the Respectable Inhabitants of the 
Town of Boston," in which was expressed most hearty 
concurrence in all their recent acts. What part John 
Hancock had in the preparation of this letter is not 
known, but it stands on the records as a memorial of 
the sentiments of the town and of the committee. It 
concludes thus : 

"That the spirit of our venerable forefathers may 
revive and be diffused through every community in this 


Land ; that Liberty, Civil and Religious, the grand Ob 
ject of their View, may still be felt, enjoyed and vindi 
cated by the present Generation, and the fair Inheritance 
transmitted to our latest Posterity, is the fervent wish of 
the metropolis." 




ON March 18 the Stamp Act was repealed, but it 
was two months before a copy of the act of repeal was 
received in Boston. It was expected, however, as is 
seen by the following letter to Devonshire & Reeves : 

BOSTON, March 27, 1766. 

I hope soon to hear of the Repeal of the Stamp Act. It is such 
an oppressive & unconstitutional act that I am persuaded the Parlia 
ment upon consideration will Relieve us. I am much obliged to 
your good office in this matter, & hope your Representation will 
meet success. Please to send 100 Doz. Pins No. 4. ; 10 Doz short 

On the same day to Barnards & Harrison he writes : 

I have wrote to Messrs. Devonshire & Reeves of Bristol to Draw 
on you for Balance of my acct. When their bill appears I pray the 
fav r. You will please duly to honor it & charge its amt. to my 
acct. We are just beginning to fit out our whalemen & hope shall 
have good success. I have no acct. of Liberty, Capt. Smith. Hope 
he will soon arrive. I shall make no saving by her. I shall dispose 
of her next voyage. Messrs. Barker & Burnell of Nantucket & my 
self have entered a concern on a Brig, to be employed this season in 
the Straights on a Whaling voyage & if she meet with success is to 
proceed with her oyle & Bone direct from the Straights to London. 
She will go to Your address, by w ch we shall make a considerable 


saving, having made such arrangement with the crew as if she meets 
success, will be agreeable to our advantage of w cl > more hereafter. 

The best wishes attend for all Happiness & believe me very sin 
cerely Genfn 

Your most faithful & obliged Humble servt. 

The Hancock home for many years had been one to 
which the officials and men of dignity had freely gone. 
Thomas Pownal, who preceded Francis Bernard as gov 
ernor, was a warm friend of Thomas Hancock and wife, 
and had become much attached to their nephew. He 
looked after the young man when in England, and was 
still in correspondence with the merchant. To this 
man of distinction John Hancock writes on March 27, 

I am favored with Your Letter of Dec. I , last, & note the con 
tents. I observe what you mention with Respect to your money 
matters & the prospect of getting it home by means of General 
Gage s Bills on the Treasury & that he was to draw on me for the 
money. I have reed., a letter from General Gage on this subject, 
copy of wch I now Inclose You, by wch You will see he expects I send 
the Money to New York w ch is impracticable, at least, untill I have 
your orders therefor, as it will be attended with some Risque, & 
that I could not take upon myself. I have wrote General Gage 1 
that I could no way send the money to York without yor order, & 
indeed it seems not to be your intention by Your Letter. I likewise 
wrote him that I should Remitt the money to You from hence, this 
Spring. I am now to acquaint You that as soon as I possibly can 
procure Bills, I shall remitt the money & Lodge it in the hands of 
my Friends, Mess. Barnards & Harrison, Merch ts in London & as 
soon as Effected shall order them to pay you the full Am of the 
notes, with Interest in my hands : state of w ch I shall send you as 
soon as I can procure the Bills & shall advise you of such my orders 
to those Gent n when you will please to give them a Rec 1 - in full of 
all monies lod g d in my late Uncle s hands. 

My aunt has been long confined, but thank God is upon the 

1 General Gage was then commander-in-chief of His Majesty s forces 
in North America. 


Recovery. She begs her particular respects to you & your Lady 
& congratulates you on your connection with so agreeable a Lady & 
wishes you every kind of felicity. I hope soon to hear the Result 
of Parliament with Respect to our American affairs & am persuaded 
that upon Consideration that most unconstitutional & oppressive 
Stamp Act will be Repealed. It is a Grievance that the Colonies 
cannot submit to. Our trade must be Ruined & think it much for 
the Interests of Great Britain to give us a free & extensive Trade. 
I shall be always glad of the honor of a Line from you. I heartily 
wish you Health, happiness & am with unfeigned esteem sir. 

Your most obliged & most faithful Humble servt. 

On April i the inhabitants of Boston met in Faneuil 
Hall. The occasion, as stated by the moderator, James 
Otis, was the expectation of hearing an authentic ac 
count of the repeal of the Stamp Act. The selectmen 
were chosen as a committee to make plans for a season 
of rejoicing, and give the inhabitants seasonable notice 
in such manner as they shall think best. 

While plans for the public demonstration are being 
carefully made by the committee, who doubtless meet 
in Hancock s counting-room, the merchant turns to his 
desk, takes his quill, and writes to London agents : 

We momentarily expect to hear from England. We have had 
several accts. that the Stamp Act is repealed & hope very soon to 
have a confirmation of it. 

My Best wishes attend You, I cant add but that I am 

Your very Humble servt- 


On April 30, in another letter to his London agents, 
he speaks of the arrival of Captain Jacobson, who has 
brought news of the repeal, and says : 

I hope the next vessel will bring us the entire repeal of it. You 
may rest assured that the people in this country will exert them 
selves to show their Loyalty & attachment to Great Britain. 


On May 27 he writes to the same persons : - 

Our Brig Harrison Capt. Shubael Coffin brought us the first ac 
count of the Repeal of the Stamp Act, which gave us great Joy 
has given a new face to things. Our rejoicing has been conducted 
in a very Decent, Reputable manner, & I hope now peace & har 
mony will prevail. My best Influence endeavors to that purpose 
shall be used. I doubt not but the colonies will make all the grate 
ful Returns in their power. 

The Express sent off by your Merch ts we just hear is arrived at 
Virginia. Letters not yet come, that with the former Letter will be 
answered immediately after the Rec f of the Letter by the Express. 

Capt. Marshall arriv d here in a fine passage of 31 days from 
London, he is now unloading I shall use my best endeavours to 
get him away as soon as possible, th oyl is not yet come in. The 
Brig Harrison is gone to Nantuckett & hope she will be soon Dis 
patched. I cannot now make a particular Reply to your favrs but 
will by Smith who will sail in about Fourteen days. 
Your Real friend 

Obliged Humble Serv*- 


With a light heart and a hopeful, cheerful manner, 
John Hancock, as all the merchants, start in for spring 

It was on May 16 that a copy of the Act of Repeal 
was received in Boston. 

It was an occasion of peculiar pride to Hancock that 
a vessel in which he was a part owner should have 
brought the official announcement of the repeal of the 
Stamp Act. Letters of gratitude were sent to the mem 
bers of Parliament who espoused the cause of the colo 
nies ; and their replies were laid before the people, who 
ordered them spread upon the records. 

The public demonstration, so carefully planned by the 
town s committee, is one of interest to all who have 
entered into the spirit of the burden so long distressing 
the people. The plans and rejoicing, declared by Han- 



cock to be " Decent and Reputable" was described more 
fully in the papers of the time, thus : 

April 28, 1766. Monday last, The Freeholders and other In 
habitants of the Town of Boston, met at Faneuil Hall, where they 
were well pleased with the accounts which had been received from 
Home, in regard to the progress of the repeal of the Stamp Act ; 
whereupon they voted the methods to exhibit their joy, when the 

account shall arrive of the Bill 
for a Repeal has passed the 
whole Legislature voted unan 
imously that the magistrates of 
the Town, the Selectmen, Fire- 
wards, Constables and Engi 
neers, be desired to use their 
utmost endeavours, to prevent 
any Bonfire being made in any 
part of the Town, also the 
throwing of Rockets, Squibs, 
and other Fireworks, in any of 
the streets of said Town, except 
the time that shall be appointed 
for general Rejoicings ; and that 
the inhabitants be desired for the 
present to restrain their children 
and servants from going abroad 

on evenings. 


The Sons of Liberty 
voted, May 17 : 

That their exhibition of joy on the repeal of the Stamp Act be 
on the Common. 

That fireworks be played off from a stage to be erected near the 
Work-House Gates. 

That there be an advertisement published on Monday next, of 
the intended exhibition ; the place where, and the time when it will 
end. I do therefore notify the friends of liberty, that an authentic 
account of the Repeal of the Stamp Act is arrived, and the gentle 
men, Selectmen of Boston have fixed upon this evening, for the 
public rejoicing, at whose desires will be exhibited on the Common, 


an Obelisk, engraved by Mr. Paul Revere. The signal of its end 
ing will be by firing a horizontal wheel on the top of the Obelisk, 
when it is desired the assembly will retire. 
By order of the Com. 

(Signed) M. Y. Secretary. 
May 19, 1766. 

On May 26 appeared the following : 

Friday se nnight, to the inexpressible joy of all were received by 
Capt. Coffin, the important news of the repeal of the Stamp Act, 
which was signed by His Majesty the i8 th March last ; upon which 
the bells in the town were set a ringing, the ships in the harbour 
displayed their colours, guns were discharged in different parts of 
the town, and in the evening were several bonfires. According to 
a previous vote of the town, the Selectmen met in the afternoon at 
Faneuil Hall, and appointed Monday last for a day of general rejoi 
cing on the happy occasion. 

The morning was ushered in with music, ringing of bells, and 
the discharge of cannon, the ships in the harbour and many of the 
houses in town being adorned with colours, joy smiled in every 
countenance, benevolence, gratitude and content seemed the com 
panions of all. By the generosity of some gentlemen remarkable 
for their humanity and patriotism, our gaol was freed of debtors, 
at one o clock the castle and batteries, and train of artillery fired a 
royal salute ; and the afternoon was spent in mirth and jollity. In 
the evening the whole town was beautifully illuminated ; on the 
Common the sons of liberty erected a Magnificent pyramid, illu 
minated with 280 lamps ; the four upper stories of which were orna 
mented with the figures of their Majesties, and fourteen of the 
worthy patriots who have distinguished themselves by their love of 
liberty. The following lines were on the four sides of the next 
apartment, which referred to the emblematical figures on the lower 
story, the whole supported by a large base of the doric order. 

On the first side : 

O thou whom next to heav n we most revere, 

Fair Liberty ! thou lovely goddess hear ! 

Have we not woo d thee, won thee, held thee long, 

Laid in thy lap, and melted on thy tongue, 

Thr deaths and dangers rugged paths pursu d, 

And led thee smiling to this solitude; 


. Hid thee within our hearts most golden cell, 

And brav d the powers of earth and powers of hell, 
Goddess! we cannot part, thou must not fly 
Be slaves ! we dare to scorn it dare to die. 

On the second side : 

While clanging chains and curses shall salute 
Thine ears remorseless G le, thine O B e 
To you blest patriots, we our cause submit, 
Illustrious (Camden) Britain s guardian, Pitt ! 
Recede not, frown not, rather let us be 
Deprived of being, than of Liberty. 
Let fraud or malice blacken all our crimes, 
No disaffection stains these peaceful climes; 
O save us, shield us from impending woes, 
The foes of Britain only are our foes. 

On the third side : 

Boast foul oppression ! boast thy transient reign, 

While honest freedom struggles with her chain, 

But know the sons of virtue, hardy, brave, 

Disdain to lose thro mean despair to save. 

Arous d in thunder, awful they appear 

With proud deliverance stalking in their rear. 

While tyrant foes their pallid fears betray, 

Shrink from their arms, and give their vengeance way, 

See in th unequal war oppressors fall, 

The hate, contempt and endless curse of all. 

On the fourth side : 

Our faith approv d, our Liberty restored, 

Our hearts bend gratefully to our sov r gn Lord; 

Hail darling Monarch! by this act endear d 

Our firm affections are thy best reward. 

Sh d Britain s self, against herself divide, 

And hostile armies frown on either side, 

Sh d hosts rebellious, shake our Brunswick s throne, 

And as they dar d thy parent, dare the son, 

To this asylum stretch thine happy wing, 

And we ll contend, who best shall love our King. 

On the top of the pyramid was fixed a round box of fireworks 
horizontally, About one hundred yards from the pyramid the sons 

s - 


I ! 

Q C 

8 ^ 
S s 

o ^ 


of liberty erected a stage for the exhibition of their fireworks, near 
the workhouse, in the lower room of which they entertained the 
gentlemen of the town. John Hancock, Esq., who gave a grand 
and elegant entertainment to the genteel part of the town, and 
treated the populace with a pipe of Madeira wine, erected at the 
front of his house, which was magnificently illuminated, a stage for 
the exhibition of fireworks, which was to answer those of the sons 
of liberty ! At dusk the scene opened by the discharge of twelve 
rockets from each stage; after which the figures on the pyramid 
were uncovered, making a beautiful appearance. To give a descrip 
tion of the great variety of fireworks exhibited from this time till 
eleven o clock would be endless the air was filled with rockets 
the ground with beehives and serpents and the two stages with 
wheels of fireworks of various sorts. 

Mr. Otis and some other gentlemen who lived near the Com 
mon kept open house, the whole evening, which was very pleasant ; 
the multitude of gentlemen and ladies, who were continually pass 
ing from one place to another, added much to the brilliancy of the 
night. At eleven o clock, the signal being given by a discharge of 
21 rockets, the horizontal wheel on the top of the pyramid or obe 
lisk was played off, ending in the discharge of 16 dozen of serpents 
in the air, which concluded the show. To the honor of the sons 
of liberty we can with pleasure inform the world that everything 
was conducted with the utmost decency and good order, not a reflec 
tion cast on any character, nor the least disorder during the whole 

John Hancock was chosen one of four representatives 
to the General Court for 1766-1767. This brought 
added burdens and responsibility upon the merchant. 
It also afforded him an opportunity for proving the sin- 

1 By the foregoing account it is seen that fireworks were used as a 
means of public expression of joy long before the Declaration of Indepen 
dence. It was recorded by Rev. Mr. Bridge of Chelrnsford, Mass., on 
Oct. 25, 1759, that "a half doz. Sky Rockets were exploded" upon the 
receipt of the intelligence " of the reduction of Quebec." 

John Hancock, in a letter of Nov. 18, 1767, to George Haley, says, 
" Please to send me The Art of making Artificial fireworks wth the method 
of Extracting Saltpetre &c by Robert Jones, Lieut, of Artillery, first pub 
lished by subscription, 1766, octavo wth cults." 


cerity of his letter to his London agents, in which he de 
nounced the Stamp-act riot. At this General Court there 
was passed an act for collecting a tax on imports. This 
materially affected John Hancock ; but it was a tax of 
their own laying, and aroused no serious opposition. 
The spring was now fully upon him ; never before did 
June days seem to afford such pleasure. The oppres 
sion of the Stamp Act had been averted, and merchants 
felt that the future was secure. With all this to exhil 
arate John Hancock, he took his quill, and resumed 
business activity : 

BOSTON, JiDie 6th, 1766. 

GENL. : I wrote you by Jarvis, when I acknowledged the Rect. 
of your fav rs by Coffin, Blake, Shard & Marshall, since wch have 
none of yo r fav rs. I must beg your further excuse, as I cannot by 
this ship make a particular reply to yo r Letter, being very much 
engaged. I duly observe the contents & with regard to the Boston 
Packett, shall as soon as I hear from Folger, Determine that matter 
as you desire of w ch shall write. 

This I hope you will Rec e by the ship Liberty, Henry Smith, 
Mas r., who I have Loaded on my own accott and now Inclose you 
Invo. & Bill of Lading of cargo on board the Liberty for my accott. 
Say Oyl, Tar, Turpentine, Pottashes, Logwood Staves to your 
address w ch I wish may arrive safe & meet a tolerable market. I 
doubt not your best Endeavours to obtain the best prices & Recom 
mend your Disposing of it as soon as you can on the best terms 
that you may be in cash, the Neat proceeds of wc i you will please 
to pass to my credit with B & H unless you have settled that accott ; 
that Ballance to your accott & pray you will as soon as you can send 
sales of this cargo with all charges attending the ship & also send 
the accott. of the Liberty, the former voyage. . . 

This ship Liberty I should be fond of selling Recommend to 
you to use your best Endeavours for that purpose I would not give 
her away, but if she will fetch a ^1000 sterlg. I should be glad to 
part with her & she is Really worth that, upon the whole I Leave 
her with you to do what you judge most for my interest. I should 
prefer Disposing of her to any tolerable price. . . . But if on the 
whole you cannot dispose of the ship, I pray the favr. you will en- 


deavour to obtain some employ for her, & if after strict enquiry 
nothing better offers a freight to Lisbon can be had, you will 
please to order to that place, & then take in a Load of Salt for 
this place, tho. I should much rather the ship was sold, I 
must renew my desire to you on that Head. I have drawn on 
you of this date No. 51, in fav r Mrs. Abigail Whitney and 
daughter for ^300 st rl g, wd you will please to honour & charge 
to my accott. My bills are under the same directions to your late 
Co. I have been so hurried have not altered them. Yet this you 
will excuse. 

I should be very glad, if not already done, that you will plan to 
close my accott. with the late com p. of Barnards & Harrison that 
the Balla. either may be carried to accott. with you, pray include 
all remittances. 

I cannot determine when I shall get Marshall away. Oyl is not 
yet at markett, but you may depend I shall use the greatest Dis 
patch in Loading her. I am not able to say anything as to the 
price of Oyl at present, but fear it will be rather high, but what I 
purchase shall be on the best Terms & shall endeavour that the 
price be as low as possible. I duly note what you say of whale Bone 
shall be mindfull to purchase what I can that is good & shall 
advise you as I go on. 

My best wishes attend for every kind of Felicity believe me 
with great truth affection Gent n. 

Your most obedt. servt. 


Hancock next writes to his London agents, express 
ing gratitude for courtesies shown to Mr. Bowes, and 
says : 

I shall be glad of your advice to him in all Respects. I think it 
best to embrace the first good opportunity to Return. I am much 
hurried, you may depend on every service in my power to promote 
the Interests of your house. 

On June 30, in addressing Harrisons & Barnards, he 
mentions having received a letter from merchants in 
London, and that it led to the calling a meeting of 
Boston merchants. 


I laid the Letters before them for their consideration. We are 
much obliged to you for your Exertions & Endeavors to remove 
our grievances doubt not but the Colonies will ever show great 
gratitude to their Benefactors, such certainly is the disposition of 
the people of this province. 

I am with much esteem. 

Gent n, Yr. Most Humble Servt. 




A LETTER of July 28, 1766, affords light on the finan 
cial management of business : 

I have Drawn a few Bills on you as at Bottom hereof. I could 
not avoid it, you will please to honour & Charge to my accosts. I 
shall hope soon to Rec e my acco tt Curr tt. I know not how my 
Acco tt stands with yo r late Co. I want to have that acco tt Settled. 
I hope by this my Ship Liberty is safe with you, I wish you may 
be able to Dispose of her to my advantage pray do the best you can 
for me. 

You must Excuse my adding being very unwell & Scott waits only 
for my Dispatches, that I must Close, shall soon write you again. 

My best wishes attend you for every Felicity & I am with perfect 
esteem Gent n, 

Your most obed t Humble Serv t. 
Bills drawn, viz. : 

To S. Whitney & daughter . v. 52 26th July ^300 
Jos. & Danl. Waldo ... 53 do 300 for Pottash 

Jno. Cunningham .... 54 28th July 200 
Wharton & Bowes . . . . 55 do 170 

do. .... 56 do. 105 

Clement Jackson .... 57 do. 400 


I could not avoid, as I must keep some money by me ready for 
Bone & oyl as it comes in. Inclos d you have Duplicate of Inv o 
for fall goods. 


The session of the General Court which began May 
28 was a stormy one, and Hancock was soon reported 
too ill to attend to all that demanded his attention. 

In a letter of Oct. 7, 1766, he speaks of illness. It 
seems to be the alarm-signal of an overtaxed physical 
and mental system. On Oct. I 5 he sends to London 
for four pieces of very best Bay Holland and two of 
best cambric " for my own use. Pray let them be the 
very best & well chosen." He asks for directions about 
disposing of a trunk of silks shipped some time before. 
He says, "They lay in my store. I can never sell them, 
& wait your directions." He writes that Lane, Benson, 
& Co., of Cork, have some demands against him, and 
adds : - 

They have but an indifferent opinion of me, but I can t help it. 
I could wish it had been otherwise. I hope my friend Bowes will 
come in ship Thames, and that he has conducted himself in Lon 
don so as to merit your esteem and approbation. 

He fails to realize that sudden improvement in busi 
ness which he anticipated. He says : 

Our trade is very dull, money very scarce and but an indifferent 
prospect of carrying on Business to any advantage. Out of all my 
connections and debts I can t raise cash enough for a Load of Oyle 
without drawing my own Bills. 

By Nov. 8 his spirits have revived, and he is evidently 
exulting because of some advantage obtained over his 
commercial competitor, Mr. Rotch. He says: 

I have now so well established in those concerns in the Whale 
Fishery that I can have the refusal of almost all their oyl & I think 


Mr. R h has had small success in purchasing & by far the great 
est quantity ot oyl will be in your hands which is my aim. 

1 am now fitting up the ship Thomas, Wm. Davis mastr. with 
oyl. My view in this is to prevent their purchasing and to hinder 
what oyl I can going into other hands, as by large quantities cen 
tering with you, you will be better able to command a price & I 
hope you will approve this. I believe I may say 1 have purchased 
the greater quantity of what oyl has been caught this season & after 
the ships Freeman Daverson are gone I know not of any oyl but 
what I have got. That I can t but think you will have it in your 
power almost to obtain your own price for it. I doubt not but you 
will exert yourself in the Disposition of it. 

On Nov. 10 he writes to his London agents. The 
burden of his letter seems to be complaints of a charge 
for interest on his unsettled account with them. He 
mentions that he has two thousand barrels of oil to 
ship. He also lets them know that other business firms 
are soliciting his patronage, thus : 

I hear Messrs. Kilby & Symes are setting up a House to be con 
nected here. I believe they will not succeed here, persons are not 
fond of forsaking old friends for new ones, for my part, I am not. 
I think already there are Houses enough established to transact 
what Business may be carried on to advantage. Mr. Willim. But 
ters has also wrote me on this subject, but I wave my connection 
with others, having the strictest Dependence on you both in point 
of Honor & friendship. I shall soon write you again. I have been 
& still am so excessively hurried that I have scarcely time to sleep, 
what with attending court in the House of Assembly, my own store 
& ships in & out. Whalemen fitting out for the West Indies & all 
my oyle men with open mouths gaping for money. I have enough 
to do, but you & I love hurry which will be my lot while I live. 

I am with perfect Esteem Gent" 

Your affectionate Friend oblig d 

Humble Servt- 


There is appended to this letter a list of bills drawn 
on the London house to the amount of ,4,524. Han- 


cock s business "taffy," as it would be termed in mod 
ern parlance, did not accomplish what it was expected to 
effect. He writes to the same agents on Dec. 3, 

To be open & honest, I now tell you I will never excede to it 
otherways really Gent n. it is making a mere fool of me. I am 
not as void of common sense, as to give way in this, contrary to my 
own judgment, but I wave expressing fully my sentiments as to your 
transactions in this matter, but will only say that I expect you will 
credit my acct. for the ,300 & interest charged upon it, which if I 
have not an acct. from you of its being done in the first letter I re 
ceive from you after this reaches you, I will upon my Honor & 
Reputation send a single writ down to Casco Bay & take Savage & 
secure myself for the ^300 with Interest. 1 will strictly abide by 
all my letters, but this treatment really vexes me & I see so much 
of the world that I am almost tempted to say I will not concern 
myself in trade any longer. I beg your attention to these matters 
that I may hear from you by the very first oppory, for 1 will not 
loose the ,300. I will as things are circumstanced obtain it if it be 
to be had above ground. I can t but think myself very severely 
dealt with, better Treatment Gent n. I think without vanity I mer- 
itt. Tho I must say I see no Difference between me & the most 
insignificant correspondent you have. In short Gent n. you seem 
of late to try to put me out of Temper & express so very little satis 
faction in my conduct, that I am almost tired. No man can have 
a higher opinion of you than myself; nor has anyone strove more 
to promote your Interests here than myself. I cannot live in con 
stant Disputes. I will live as agreeable & easy as I can & unless I 
can carry on Business without being Involved in so many perplexi 
ties as of late, I will either leave it off or carry it on in another 
manner. But I hope you will redress me. 

He follows by saying, " send me no more unless you 
can give me one year s credit, as I have to give the 
same here." In the same pouch he sends an order 
for goods for William Palfrey, whom he is aiding to 
start in business. With other things for himself he 
orders : 


i Box very best Tobacco pipes that can be purchased in London 
for use of Gent n. in my own family. This article has been repeat 
edly wrote for, but not so lucky as to engage your attention. 

Who cannot fancy an evening at the Hancock man 
sion, when the merchant entertains his relatives and 
such guests as James Otis, Samuel Adams, John Adams, 
John Rowe, William Phillips, Joshua Henshaw, and 
other notables of that day, who gather with the proud 
owner about the grate of flaming coals. If dress had 
been considered, Samuel Adams would not have been 
admitted ; for his snuff-brown coat, glistening with the 
effects of long service, was in striking contrast to the 
scarlet velvet and elaborate embroidery of his enter 
tainer. But the republican simplicity of the man made 
him a welcome guest among all genuine patriots. Cir 
cumstances had brought Hancock and Adams together 
much of late. They had served on various committees 
chosen to prepare letters and resolutions of importance. 
If Adams wrote the letters, Hancock furnished the 
quills. What one lacked the other supplied, making a 
most effective combination. In addition to the pipes, 
Mr. Hancock ordered at the same time " 4 Doz. very 
best India Handkers, for my own use. 2 Doz. of them 
blue ground & 2 chocolate ground, pray let them be 
very best." On Dec. 15, 1776, he writes to introduce 
William Breck, who is just entering into business. Han 
cock writes : 

He served his time with Mr. Timo. Newell ; from the knowledge 
I have of the Simplicity & Integrity of this young man, I could not 
help recommending him to you for what few goods he may want. 
I shall have an eye over him myself. 

On Jan. 12, 1767, he writes hastily to " Wm. Reeves, 
Esq.," as follows : 


I shall start Scott as quick as possible. No man can or shall 
give greater Despatch to ships than myself, neither shall any man 
here Transact any Business on better terms than I will & any com 
mand you may have for, you may rely on the utmost Fidelity, Dis 
patch & Punctuality. 

His later explanation of a delay is that the harbor 
has been frozen up, and he could not get Scott away. 
He at same time sends to his agents for- 

A neat silver watch of about 8 Guineas ; 2 yds of Green Vel 
vet of a deep lively green at abt. 10 per yard; 4 yds green silk, 
being for a cushion for a church Desk. 

Mr. Hancock s book shows that he shipped to Lon 
don in six months oil to the amount of .16,307 Ss. On 
April 22, 1767, he writes to Harrisons, Barnards, & 

Please to send me a bell for a church of the best kind, about 
300 Ibs. 

This was probably a gift to the church at Jamaica 
Plain, where he had a summer home. In May, 1767, 
he complains bitterly of the condition of business. 

I shall stop importing goods for some time, they have been 
sold so low that nothing can be got by the business. 

On July 29, 1767, he orders 

100 weight best moulded tallow candles, 200 weight best dipt, 
tallow candles, all for my own use & don t fail sending them. 

He adds, in vindication of former transactions : 

I a little wonder at what you mention respect g the affair of 
M r Arthur Savage. I cannot give a better answer to it than by 
Begging you to refer to my two Letters of Nov-r 17, 1764, by which 
you will see I advis d you not to credit him, rather than anything 
encouraging, & the Sincere Dictates of my conscience are that I am 


no more accountable than the most indifferent person, that as you 
have rec d from him the ^300 I limited his Credit to, it is of course, 
cancell d. 

He further adds: - 

The scituation of our trade & the scarcity of money is such that 
I have almost come to a Resolution to suspend the Importation of 
Goods for a year or two, till matters take a Better turn, & then shall 
have time to close all my accts. Then I shall know whether I can 
realize anything or not, for times are very precarious. You ship 
goods to any & everybody, send for sales here the articles we import, 
and employ persons to purchase up here our Exporting commodi 
ties that I know not how we shall make remittances for our goods 
already imported. That I don t think is right, for besides raising 
the prices it must put us in Difficulty in remitting & you must wait 
with patience. 

W T hat merchant has not passed through such seasons 
of depression, and does not have in his bosom a fellow- 
feeling for John Hancock in his fits of despondency of 
more than a century ago? What wonder that he closes 
his letter to Harrisons & Barnards thus : - 

I am now very much engaged, having been lately in a bad 
state of Health & am not able to add much more at present ; don t 
forget the candles. 

Mr. Hancock was much absorbed in the business of 
the General Court, where he ably served as chairman 
of committees, maturing measures of the House. He 
became more and more positive in his policy of resist 
ance, as the conflict between the governor and the 
House became more vehement. In fact, he used much 
time for the public good which might well have been 
spent in conducting his own business. 

On Aug. 25 and 26 he writes to agents, pleading the 
multiplicity of business as an apology for neglect of 


To Harrison, Barnard, & Sprag he says : 

The great and unreasonable Extent of your connections here 
and the Many and frequent Credits you give, wth the Decline of our 
Trade has brought me to a Resolution of stopp g, at least for a few 
years the Importation of English goods, & seeing all my acco u 
closed, among which yours is the greatest, for if I can meet with 
no more Indulgence in the Course of my Business with you than 
the man who perhaps does not import more than ^1000 a year, & 
the advantage of his Business to you accrues only on your Exports 
of goods, whereas mine the year throughout is not only outward 
but more on the importation from me. I say if I can be only on 
a footing, it is time for me to close, & establish my Concern on a 
more equitable basis, w ch I think is but Reasonable. 

His consignments of whale-oil have not been giving 
satisfaction in London and other markets, and there has 
come to him a polite suggestion that there be sent over 
from London a man to inspect the oil, etc., before it is 
shipped. This does not meet with a very pleasant re 
ception on the part of Hancock, who in a reply of Sept. 
2, 1767, to his London agents, says: 

I note particularly what you say at waiting my answer to a pro 
posal you have made, by the instigation of Messrs. Moor & Smith, 
to send me over a man to inspect Oyl that I may purchase. What 
you mean, Gentln., I am at a loss to know. When I am in want of 
a Guardian our laws will appoint one. Really I know not what you 
think. I am a Judge for myself, & if you do not think me a Judge 
for you, I pray you would not employ me, for I will never submit to 
have a man sent over to inspect my business, to make me the ridi 
cule of the merchts., neither do I Choose that the Oyle I send home 
should be put into the hands of those Gent" on the terms you have 
contracted with them. 

On Sept. 3 Hancock writes a letter which shows his 
power of resentment to its fullest extent : 


Your treatment of me has been such as to render you unworthy 
of my notice, even by my letters. But I shall not take up my time 


to inveigh against you. Shall only say that you have deviated from 
as solemn engagement as words could form. My Reliance upon 
your honor has been the means of my losing at least ^500 stg. 
Your taking the advantage of me, because our agreement was not 
committed to writing, as we were upon honor, I must tell you is 
beneath the character of a gentleman what no man would have 
been guilty of that had the best notions of honor. I forbear men 
tioning the circumstance of the affair, as it is very disagreeable to 
me. I greatly reflect upon myself that I should submit to your Re 
peated solicitations to form a connection. It was contrary to the 
advice of my friends who knew you 
better than I did. The goods you 
consigned me on your return to Bris 
tol you may order out of my hands 
when you please, for you can t ex 
pect that I should be accountable 
when you have broke the terms on 
which they were sent. I now utterly HANCOCK SUN-DIAL. 

forbid you ever to ship me a single (Lexington Library.) 

article again & desire you will never 

more solicit me on that head. I Despise you for your conduct 
towards me & desire no connection with you. You have greatly 
deceived me, but it shall be the last time. As soon as the ship 
is sold & her accts. settled & I know what I loose by her I shall 
then take advice as to Recovering it of you. 

I am for form sake, Your Humble Servt. 

A letter to William Reeves explains the unsettled 
condition of trade at this time : 

It is surprising to me that so many attempts are made on yr. 
side to cramp our Trade. New Duties every day, increasing, in 
short we are in a fair way of being Ruined, We have nothing to 
do but unite & come under a solemn agreement to stop importing 
any goods from England, at least for a year. This, I am deter 
mined to promote, all in my power, & as to myself, I am resolved, 
till I see affairs on a better footing not to import any kind of goods 
from England & will effect it with others, as far as my influence will 
prevail. The articles of Glass, etc., I find has a new duty fixed 
upon it. I will sooner shut up my windows or undergo many in 
conveniences before I will Import a single Box. 


Hancock writes to his London agents, advising them 
to employ, as their attorney here, James Otis, who, he 
says, since the death of Mr. Gridley, is the first of the 
profession. He offers to receive and remit any moneys 
that Otis may collect for him. In the same letters he 
again strongly objects to the suggestion to send over 
an inspector of oil, and concludes his long letter thus : 

You never make any mention to me of public matters. Your 
hints on that .subject would be very agreeable. Could you be 
brought to Realize that the salvation of Great Britain & America 
are connected, I am sure you would not be so silent. I observe 
what you say of Marshall. 1 think he ought to wait, or any other 
vessel, for freight. We had much better dispose of our vessels than 
sink so much money. She had better bring stones than coals. I 
pray you would not send any more, they are cheaper here than in 

The indignation of Hancock seen in previous letters 
was aroused through his interest in the welfare of his 
country, while the following letter shows the same spirit 
aroused through alleged personal injury. It marks the 
beginning of the end of a long and extensive business 
correspondence between the Hancock firm and that of 
Barnard & Harrison. 

I received your Letter of I5th July which I heartily wish had got 
here in a tolerable passage, as if it had Gent n. suffer me to tell you, 
it would from the Contents have much altered my plan of Business 
this Fall ; such a Letter I despise, & is what no man who had any 
knowledge of me would have dar d to address to me. for God s sake 
Gent n. what can be your intentions, if your aim is to injure my 
reputation you will fail in your attempt, neither is it in your or any 
man s power to hurt my Credit in this part of the world, but it ap 
pears to me you are injuring yourselves. I mean as to connections 
in Business & tho 1 by experience I find I have no influence with you, 
let me tell you, I am one of no small influence here, & am greatly 
offended at the liberties you take with me in your Letters is what 


I should have disdained to have wrote a man of much less Conse 
quence than myself. 

You can be at no loss to determine what particular passages in 
your Letter I refer to, but will in the first place mention your Letter 
to Mr. Palfrey upon the same subject with the Paragraph in yours 
respecting that Genfn. You say you received his letter & pay a 
propper Respect to him & my recommendation, but as you are de 
termined to retrench your trade, you must beg to be excused, send 
ing his goods. In your letter to me you say, " We have wrote Mr 
Palfrey by this opportunity acquainting him that we must decline his 
orders, we have the highest opinion of your good intention towards 
us, & you will we doubt not excuse us. 1 

How Repugnant is your conduct to your expression in your Let 
ters to say you have the highest opinion of my good intentions & 
to act so contrary, nay openly & in Effect, to say that I am not of 
Reputation & Credit enough to answer for the Goods. You say you 
want to retrench your Trade. Why Gent n. am I the first object of 
your Trial? I should not have expected this from those with whom 
the whole extent of my Business, centrs, that I should be one of the 
first to be Refused Goods is truly very astonishing to me, that an 
Invoice sent home to you for a few goods to stock my own shop 
under the direction of Mr. Palfrey should be refused is as high an 
affront as I can receive & what I shall not very readily put up with. 
I look d upon my recommendation & Credit to be of some weight 
with you, but I find it otherwise, if 500 shop keepers were recom 
mended by some they would be instantly supplied & if I can t be on 
at least the same footing with them it is time to withdraw my con 
nections in Business & retire. I could have wished you had not 
ship d my Goods. You might with equal propriety have refus d in 
this instance as well as the other, & your conduct towards me 
Gent n. is unaccountable. I am really much troubled & look upon 
myself extremely ill used. I can not see how you can reconcile it. 

Another instance of your extraordinary conduct is In the refusal 
of the Goods to Mess. Cazneaus who I strongly recommended to 
you with this additional agravation that They sent you my bill of 
^200, in part pay for the goods, is not this conduct a very great 
slight upon me & paying a very little Credit to my Recommenda 
tion or my Bill. It is in effect protesting my Bill. I am amazed & 
it wholly divests me of all manner of patience. I am now to desire 
you will please to order my whole accott. to be got out & sent me 
& if after examination they appear to be right, I will instantly order 


you the full balance, with as many thanks for your many services 

But I must add Genf n. from the treatment I have had that un 
less matters can be better Reconciled I must wave my Connections. 
I stand ready at an hours warning to pay every debt I owe in the 
world but as I can t be thought by you to be Responsible for ^500 
I must apply to those who have a better opinion of me than you 

I always chuse Gentn. to be open and explicit. I have wrote 
Mr. Haley by this opportunity on the subject of connection in Busi 
ness, & proposed opening a Correspondence with him at least till I 
can have an explanation from you. I look on myself a man of Cap 
ital & am not to be put on a footing with every two penny Shop 
keeper that addresses You. I am greatly amaz d at your conduct. 
I think I am very poorly treated, & I suppose the only instance in 
town. I doubt not when Scott arrives he will bring Goods for 
every Shop Keeper that deals with you, & to refuse me Goods 
Gentn. is what I can t bear. I am ready to pay you every farthing 
I owe you. You have effected me in the tenderest point. 

I have determined to sending Invoice to Mr. Haley for a spring 
supply, let me tell you you are oblig d to me for some of your 
best Correspondents, who would naturally be induced to deal with 
the man I engage with, & will follow me, and although my business 
is not worth your attention, Yet it may be an object of the accept 
ance of many a man in England, with thanks besides, & I believe 
Mr. Haley will think so. 

Mr. Cazneau, whom you disappointed in his Goods, is going to 
England, to whom I shall give a more extensive credit than I did 
before, & dare say Mr. Haley will readily accept his Commission, 
as to Mr. Palfrey s goods, I shall write for them myself to Mr. 
Haley, & am in no doubt he will readily oblige me in sending them. 

I have many more things to say but time fails me as I keep this 
vessell wholly for my Letters, all my Friends & Connections are 
amaz d at your Conduct, but I suspend adding till next opp y, till 
when I am Gent n 

Your humble Servant. 


Mr. William Palfrey, whose order was refused by the 
London merchants, seems to have been a friend, and at 
times confidential clerk, of Hancock s. Cazneau was a 

merchant of standing in Boston at the same time. Pal 
frey and Cazneau were both losers by the great fire of 
1760, the same fire by which many of Hancock s tene 
ments were destroyed. When the homeless tenants 
gathered around their landlord, and expressed sympathy 
at his loss, he remarked that they were the greatest suf 
ferers, and passed about a quantity of guineas among 

Having closed his letters to Harrison, Barnard, & 
Sprag, the indignant merchant writes to George Haley, 
Esq., under the same date, Oct. 16, 1767 : 

SIR : I imagine you are no stranger to me or my connections. 
If you recollect you may remember seeing me in England in the year 
1760, when I had the pleasure of being at your house. Tho. I have 
no greater intimacy, I take the Liberty to address you on the sub 
ject of Business, which, as you well know my former connections, 
may perhaps be a little surprising to you, but I will be as explicit 
as the time will admit, this vessel being kept solely for my letters, 
partly to oblige me. My late uncle Thomas Hancock for many 
years dealt with the house of Kilby & Barnard, & I in partnership 
with him, after my return from London dealt with the House of Bar 
nard & Harrison, & by myself since the decease of my late uncle, 
till now have dealt with the same house, to a very large extent. But 
by Capt. Daverson, who arrived yesterday, I Received letters from 
them which have given me much disgust & I have come to a Reso 
lution to alter my connections, the first person that occurred to my 
mind was you, Sir ; upon which I conversed with Mr. Thomas Gray 
on the subject, who seemed of opinion you would with pleasure un 
dertake my concerns, & who I believe will write you on the same 


subject. In Confidence Sir, that such a connection would be 
agreeable to you, I now address you tendering you the conducting 
of all my affairs that lay in your way, at same time acquainting you 
that I expect to be on a footing even with the very best of your cor 
respondents, & as I am largely concerned in navigation you will 
have Spring & Fall from me, many consignments. I have now large 
parcels of Oyle, whale fins & Potashes to ship waiting the arrival of 
Scott, Marshall & Smith from your place, whom I shall despatch, 
loaded to your address, not doubting but you will concern yourself 
for my interest as you do for others. 

Marshall & Scott are partly owned by the House of Harrison, 
Barnard & Sprag. Those vessels on their arrival back to you, I 
shall order to be sold shall desire you to purchase for me, of 
which more hereafter. I have a new Brig which I expect in every 
hour, whose loading is already in store on my wharf, say Oyle, Pott- 
ashes &c., which I shall despatch to your address, the vessel to be 
sold. I have not time to be as explicit as I could wish, but will by 

My character situation in Life, you may be acquainted with 
from any person from this part of the world, from Harrison & Co., 
from Mr. Trecothick, Mr. Lane & many others, but really I address 
you Sir, as a man on whom you may depend, & a man of capital & 
in whom I have the vanity to say, you may confide. 

The vessel by whom this goes, I have loaded with Oyle &c., to 
the address of Harrison & Co. My letters were all finished & deliv 
ered before Daverson arrived, otherwise I should have consigned 
this to you. I have wrote Messrs. H. & Co. very explicitly by this 
opprty, as I have kept the vessel on purpose. In consequence of 
this consignment I have drawn Bills on them perhaps to the amt of 
,3000 stg. Should they from my openness in addressing them be 
induced to protest my Bills by way of Resentment, which I have 
no suspicion of, I must take the liberty to ask the favor of you to 
take them up for my honor, will immediately on notice order you 
the amount with any satisfaction for such. . . . By next opportu 
nity I shall write you more explicitly & shall forward you my Invoice 
for a spring supply of goods, which from the General decline of 
Trade will be smaller than usual, but hope hereafter things will take 
a more favorable turn. I shall be glad of a letter from you as soon 
as possible & should be glad to know something of your connections, 
& whether you cannot give my vessels a freight Spring Fall. I 
dou^t not but you will help me all you can. Your determination on 


these points, as soon as may will be agreeable. I ask pardon for 
the Liberty I have taken & in confidence it shall be to mutual 
advantage. I am with Esteem 


Your most obedt. humble servt. 

The disadvantage of being obliged to wait many 
weeks for the reply of acceptance from Mr. Haley did 
not prevent Mr. Hancock from sending goods, assuming 
that his proposition would be accepted by Haley. Han 
cock sends several cargoes before he is fully assured 
that he has a new agency established in London. 

Mr. Hancock makes frequent complaints of his ill 
health, and says on October 30 : 

I have the misfortune to be confined to my Room by Indisposi 
tion, but am in hopes soon to recover. 

Nov. 2, 1767, he addresses his former agents at Lon 
don with bitter complaints of their treatment, and 
says : 

I will never again have it said that anyone is connected with 
me in shipping. 

On Nov. 6 he sends to Haley a cargo, with orders to 
have the vessel proceed with coal for ballast to Madeira. 
He orders at the same time, 

Two pieces of the very best English Damask, exactly of color 
of enclosed pattern, which is only to show the color. As they are 
for my mother and family, I beg they may be good. 

This is the only intimation of the mother of John 
Hancock afforded by the letter-book. But we have no 
reason to think that the boy s affections were all centred 
in those who had opened their luxuriant home to the 
youth. The widow of Rev. John Hancock of Braintree 
had long before this date become the wife of Rev. Daniel 



Perkins of Bridgewater. 1 In fact, John addressed his 
stepfather when he was in England under date of March 
2, 1761. He said : 

I shall with satisfaction bid adieu to this grand place with all 
its pleasurable enjoyments and tempting scenes, for more substan 
tial pleasure which I promise myself in the enjoyment of my friends 
in America. 

There was a twofold interest in the Perkins family. 

A son of the Bridgewater minister mar- 

m^^ I ried Mary, sister of John Hancock ; and 

their posterity are found interested in 

subsequent history of the Hancock fam- 




(Old State House 
Collection ) 

On Nov. 2 the Brig Lydia, James 
Scott, master, sailed with a cargo, con 
signed to Mr. George Haley. A letter 
of the same date concludes with the fol 
lowing : 

I have sent you by Capt. Scott, A Coop with 
It, at first contained six pair, some have died, 

some wood Ducks. 

but hope some will get safe to you. 

i Quintal dun Table Fish, 
i Cag of Pickled Peppers. 

of which I beg your acceptance, if there be anything in this part of 
the world that would be agreeable to you do let me know it & I will 
gladly send it you. I am with Esteem Sir, 

Your most hble Servant. 

In the same vessel he sends directions to his former 
agents to have the brig in which they have joint inter 
ests sold, and says : 

1 Mrs. John Hancock, mother of the patriot, was Mary Hawks, and 
thrice married, first to Mr. Samuel Thaxter of Hingham. 


I am determined to deal for Cash only and to keep one vessel 
running just to bring my own Goods, I should be glad to hear from 
you & know the reason why I am so freely and extraordinarily dealt 
with. I have gent, the highest friendship for you, but I can t bear 
to be so treated. I am above using others so, & dont expect it my 
self. I however hope to come to some amicable accommodation, 
but my navigation I am determined to dispose of, & now particu 
larly say, that hereafter if I should live I will never be concerned 
with any one man again in Navigation, for I can afford to own myself 
& will never after this have it said that any one is connected with me 
in shipping. I will accept in the case of the Thames Capt Watt. 
I am content to hold my part of her if agreeable to you if not 
agreeable to you, I am content to sell my ^ of her to you. 

I am now so hurried cant add and but will write you largely soon, 

& am 

Your real friend. 

On Nov. 12, 1767, he sends to Madeira for 

Four pipes of the very best Madeira Wine that you can possibly 
procure for my own table. I don t stand for price, If it be good, I 
like a Rich wine. & if you can ship a Pipe of Right Sterling old Ma 
deira, Pale & Good, you will add it. I like pale wine, but I need 
say no more than that they are for my own use, & I beg they may be 
the very best that can be purchased. Mark them I * H. I pray 
distinguish them from any other on board, by some private mark, 
acquainting me thereof in your letter. I am also to desire you will 
please to ship me by the same vessel six pipes of good salable Ma 
deira wine for our market. I would have them good & such as will 
answer for our Public houses here, where the best company resorts, 
these you will mark HK, and do let them be good, of their kind. I 
would not have them of too Inferior quality, for the cost of these 
wines you will please to draw Bill for my acct. on George Haley 
Esq. Mercht in London at thirty days sight, to whom I have wrote 
to pay due honor to such, Your Bill. 

You will also ship by my sloop Two pipes more of the best Ma 
deira, consigned to me, in separate Memo. & Bill of Invoice Mark 
them to H. G. T. They are for the Treasurer of our Province & 
you will please to let them be good, & draw for their cost with the 

If you or your friends have any wine or freight to ship this way, 


I should be oblig d to you to give my vessell the preference. She 
is really a good strong vessel well found and a good master. 

I shall be much obliged to you to dispatch my sloop with the 
wines as soon as you possibly can, as I shall not only want the 
wines but the sloop, and you will please to receive this as a stand 
ing order to ship me an annual pipe of the very best Maderia wine 
until counter manded drawing for its cost on Mr. Haley. You will 
please to give the master of my sloop any service or assistance, Re 
specting his vessell he may stand in need of. I am with much 
respect, Gent. 

Your most obedt. servt. 


Six days later he adds a letter in which he says : 

I have not to add, but to desire that the wine, I have wrote for 
my own use may be of the very best and that those for sale may be 
good palatable wines. Please send me one bushel of your walnuts, 
and draw for the cost with the wine. 

Nov. 21, 1767, is the date of a letter to George 
Haley, in which Mr. Hancock says : 

I am to Desire the favr. you will please to order to be made & 
sent me, as neat a Mahogany Cabinet as can be made in London, 
suitable for a Lady s chamber, rather convenient than Remarkable 
for any outward Decorations. I would have it very neat & Respect 
able as it is for my Aunt, widow of my late Uncle, with whom I 
now Reside, a Lady for whom I have the highest affection & 

Under date of Dec. 15, 1767, Hancock writes to 
George Haley thus : 

I am sorry to say that I think too great encouragement is given 
by your Gentn Merchts to persons here of no capital. I am quite 
confident finally you must be great loosers. One gentn who has 
lately had an extensive credit from you has been a great hurt to 
trade here. Such credits, not only hurt your best friends here, but 
finally yourselves. I just hint this. You know who I mean, I be 
lieve Mr. Thomas Gray has lately been especial with you, on this 
subject, that I need say no more, only that if such persons are put 


on a footing with men of Capital, it is not worth my while to be 
concerned in trade. You will please to excuse my mentioning this 

He sends in some orders as follows : 

100 squares of best London glass 18 by ni for the use of my 
own House w cl) , I pray may be the very best. 

It is apparent by Mr. Hancock s letters, as well as 
by the proceedings of the Boston town-meetings, that 
the restraint which the people had voluntarily imposed 
upon themselves in regard to superfluities was thrown 
off after the repeal of the Stamp Act. They evidently 
thought that all things were to be as they were before 
the beginning of Stamp-act agitation. But they soon 
saw their mistake. In the town-meeting of Dec. 22, 
1767, the question was freely discussed, and instructions 
were given their representatives in General Court. " It 
is with concern," say the committee, "we are obliged 
to say, that under all this difficulty our private debts to 
the British merchants have been increasing ; and our 
importations even of superfluities, as well as other arti 
cles, have been so much beyond the bounds of prudence, 
that our utmost efforts, it is to be feared, will not save 
us from impending ruin. We warmly recommend to 
you, gentlemen, to exert yourselves in promoting every 
prudent measure which may be proposed to put a stop 
to that profusion of luxury, so threatening to the coun 
try, to encourage a spirit of industry and frugality 
among the people, and to establish manufactures in the 
Province." The instructions also urged upon the atten 
tion of the representatives the necessity of restraining 
the excessive use and consumption of spirituous liquors 
among the people, as destructive to the morals as well 
as the health and substance of the people. 


John Hancock was one of the town s representatives 
to receive and apply these instructions. It is at this 
point that he has been charged with inconsistency. 
But we must bear in mind that several months elapsed 
between ordering wines from Madeira for his own table 
and the arrival of the ship which brought the goods, 
and during this time the people have reached the con 
clusion above stated. Again, it should be remembered 
that John Hancock was the most wealthy man in the 
Province ; and then, as now, what was regarded as 
great deprivation on the part of the wealthy was rated 
as luxury by those who were in more limited circum 

John Hancock had everything to lose and nothing to 
gain. During all these years of agitation, political 
honors could not have tempted him ; for there was no 
prospect of anything more for him at the hands of his 
friends than he was freely enjoying. On the contrary, 
some of his associate agitators had everything to gain, 
and nothing to lose. 




THE year 1768 opens with but very slight prospects 
of revival of trade, and Hancock is greatly annoyed. He 
is too much engaged in public affairs to allow his private 
business to depress him. With others, he takes every 
step possible to suppress any movements tending to de 
prive the people of their just privileges. When deposi 
tions, ordered by the governor in regard to a search for 
smuggled goods, were taken, to be sent to England, with 
out any record of them being made at home, Mr. Han 
cock and others called a town-meeting, and had the 
matter investigated. His services as one of the town s 
representatives in the General Court had been so satis 
factory that in the spring of 1767 he was re-elected. 
This time he received the entire vote, 618, while Samuel 
Adams received 574, Hon. Thomas dishing had 557, and 
Hon. James Otis 575. The four constituted a strong 
force in favor of the colonies. 

Hancock s letter of April 13, 1768, expresses the 
sentiment of the merchants at that time. 

It is to William Reeves, Mercht., Bristol : 


Our trade is under such Embarrassments & Impositions that we 
have come to a Resolution not to Import any more goods for some 
time unless we are Relieved & these Acts Repealed. We must in 
evitably be ruined. Our trade is not worth a man s pursuit ; pray 
appear for us, for sure I am, can our trade be free & we at liberty 
to prosecute our Business as heretofore, it will redound much to the 
advantage of Great Britain, for my own part it is not worth my at 
tentions to procure trade at present if not altered I must decline it. 

This renewed resolution to suspend importation was 
occasioned by the passage of the Revenue Acts of 1 767. 
These required new movements on the part of the pa 
triots. The popular leaders, among whom John Hancock 
was prominent, profiting by past experiences, strove to 
prevent excesses, and labored to advance their cause 
through the growth of an intelligent public opinion. 
They were vigilant and active in preventing overt acts 
when the newly created Board of Commissioners of Cus 
toms appeared in Boston. 

They had no sympathy with mobs and riots, but acted 
not only in a spirit of fidelity to liberty, but also endeav 
ored to promote law and order. Their movements were 
indorsed throughout the colonies, whence came in this 
extremity the message : 

" The liberties of a common country are again in dan 
ger, kindle the sacred flame that shall warm and illu 
minate the continent." 

It was because of the part taken by the patriot leaders 
that Boston was said by the Loyalists to be under the 
rule of a trained mob, of which James Otis and Samuel 
Adams were the two consuls, Joseph Warren one of 
the chiefs, and John Hancock, having great wealth and 
social and commercial influence, which he brought to 
bear upon their desired ends. 

A century s changes cannot blind us to the fact that 


there was not unanimity among the patriots, as to the 
best manner of procedure in opposing the Revenue Acts ; 
but we must infer that these men in private council 
made plans that controlled the clubs, and that they had 
to do with government, they controlled the town-meet 
ings ; and the town-meetings controlled the legislature, 
and these controlled the Province. 

Thus John Hancock s declaration to abandon trade 
worked itself out to a practical conclusion. 

In the same letter to William Reeves, he notes the 
arrival of a " Peacock & Hen & two hampers of Beer," 
gifts from Mr. Haley. He later adds that " the Damask 
& Cabinet have arrived." These gifts and purchases 
added materially to the good appearance and comfort 
of the Hancock home on Beacon Hill. In the same 
freight he sends by Captain Scott to Mr. Haley " a view 
of this town of Boston taken from our Castle, of which 
I beg your acceptance if agreeable to you." 

His aunt s watch failed to keep good time ; and he 
sends it by Captain Scott to England, to be cleaned and 
regulated. On April 16, 1768, Hancock directs Haley 
to honor a draft in favor of Nicholas Bowes of ^200, 
and one of .175. This Bowes is another of the cousins 
from Bedford, who seems to be having kind attentions 
from the merchant. On May 18 he sends to Haley for 
"a right good bell of seven hundred weight for a church, 
& pray let it be one of the best sort. Its cost charge 
to my acct." It seems that Hancock is doing all in his 
power to have the towns well equipped with bells to 
swell the sounds of joy for liberty, already in the air. 
The merchant, not to be outdone in complimentary gifts, 
sent to Mr. Haley, in May, a huge turtle as a specimen 
of the animal production of the Province. A dressing- 


table soon follows from the London agent. Of this 
Hancock notes, " It is very neat, and you have my 
warmest thanks for it." 

Hancock, who is still one of the selectmen, has 
enough to occupy him in the discharge of ordinary pub 
lic duties ; but a new trouble arises. The frigate Rom- 
ney, of fifty guns, arrived from Halifax. The merchants 
believed it was there to enforce revenue laws. While 
this was agitating the minds of the people, Hancock s 
ship Liberty arrived, with a cargo of wine from Madeira, 
including the order of seven months ago for that extra 
quality for the Hancock house, and also a subsequent 
order. When lying at Hancock s wharf, on June 10, 
the tide-waiter, Thomas Kirk, went on board, and was 
followed by Captain James Marshall, who sailed for 
Hancock, with other of the friends and employees of the 
house. They confined Kirk below, until the wine was 
taken out, and no entry made of it at the custom-house 
or naval office. An entry was made the next morning, 
but was not credited by the officials, and it was resolved 
to seize the sloop. This was done amid much excite 
ment, and she was removed to within range of the guns 
of the Romney. A mob assembled, and there was much 
destruction of property. The collector s boat was 
dragged to the Common and burned. But the saddest 
of all was the death of Captain Marshall, occasioned, no 
doubt, by the excitement of the seizure. 

This was extremely .trying to Hancock. The prop 
erty was for him and the treasurer, and this trouble had 
seemed to be in their interest. Whether they ever en 
joyed that wine which they had anticipated for months 
his letters do not tell, and the legal proceedings did not 
reveal the secret. It may have gone to excite the brains 



v - 

of the angry mob, or been poured into the harbor. 
Hutchinson, an avowed enemy to Hancock, wrote that 
it was carted off in the night. 

The selectmen called a town-meeting at once, and on 
June 14 there was such a crowd at Faneuil Hall that 
the meeting adjourned 
to the South Meeting i 

House. A committee 
of twenty-one was 
chosen to wait on his 
excellency to request 
him to order the re 
moval of the Romney. 
A sub-committee of 
three, one being John 
Hancock, went to see 
when the governor 
would be ready to hear 
them ; but, being at 

his country-seat, the meeting adjourned to give the 
committee time. They made the journey to Jamaica 
Plain in eleven chaises, and were politely received. 

The General Court, of which Hancock was a repre 
sentative, was then in session ; but it could conduct no 
business to the satisfaction of the governor, Francis Ber 
nard. He ordered the recalling of circular notices issued 
by the General Court of the previous year, providing for 
a convention of delegates to consider what should be 
done for the safety of the colonies. The people had 
taken the government into their own hands, and he pro 
rogued the court. It was while in this state of excite 
ment that John Hancock retired to his office, and wrote 
to " George Haley, Esq." : 



Under the present Burthen on trade no goods will be imported, 
for people here are determined to be more frugal. I am heartily 
sorry for the appearance of things, we have been grossly mis-rep 
resented. I wish matters were properly understood on your side & 
a candid attention given to them. I am sure this people would 
stand in a quite different light for I may say that we are as loyal as 
any in the King s Domain. We have now two Regiments, part of 
a third & a train of Artillery in this town ordered here, it is said, in 
consequence of advice reed, in England from hence, that there was 
a necessity for them. Such Representation must be made by those 
who are inimical to us & wish to see us in confusion. The Report 
of the Troops coming here alarmed the people much & more espe 
cially as we were patiently waiting & in hopes of soon finding the 
good effects of our petition to his majesty, but unused as we are to 
troops & notwithstanding the apprehensions of people & such a 
number of troops in this Town, the people are quiet and peacea 
ble and net the least Disturbance has taken place. 

It is a great grief to this people that they are Deprived of the 
Benefits of a General Assembly, more especially at this time, when 
there is need of the wisdom of the whole Province to conduct our 
Public affairs. Under these circumstances a large number of towns 
appointed severally their committees to meet consult & advise to 
the most prudent measures that might be taken at this time of Gen 
eral Distress & accordingly they met & after many consultations & 
advisings to that which they judged would most promote the good 
of the whole, they Retired. A state of the whole is laid before the 
Public & I am confident the Convention of these Committees had a 
happy Effect, to quiet the minds of the people, but notwithstanding 
the good intentions of these Committees I dare say they will be 
much misrepresented. All I can say is that everything here has 
been conducted with the greatest order, on the part of the people, 
and I can t but hope that when things are really Known in England, 
we shall be relieved. I pray & I doubt not of Your Influence for 
us, and I wish soon to hear some good acct. from England. I 
begin now to look for Capt. White, but under the present circum 
stances our navigation & Trade must fail. The people are deter 
mined to stop Importing English goods, for really trade is so 
embarrassed & our Burthens so great that it is not worth a man s 
pursuit. I know not what to do with the Lydia, but that she return 
to Boston, in which case you will please to let her be Balasted with 
coals. I hope Capt. Folger is with you by this. If things do not 


soon take a more favorable Turn I am determined to Contract my 
Business sell my Navigation for I cannot carry on Business under 
the present circumstances of trade. 

The convention referred to by Hancock was held in 
Faneuil Hall on Sept. 22, called by a committee acting 
for the town of Boston, of which John Hancock was one. 
The governor warned and threatened them, but they 
continued in session until the 29th. 

The troops referred to by Hancock in the above let 
ters were ordered to Boston at an interesting period of 
the American struggle. The movement against the 
Stamp Act, commendable as it was in the main, had 
phases that were much regretted by the patriots. 
Hancock, we have seen in his correspondence, posi 
tively declared himself against them, and against all 
riots, which, though common in England, were in vio 
lation of that reverence for law thoroughly ingrained in 
the American character. 

Though Governor Bernard had long regarded a mili 
tary force necessary to sustain the new measures, he 
did not make a requisition for it. He expected the 
Government would send troops to Boston in the time 
of the Stamp Act, and anticipated trouble on their 
arrival. But no troops were ordered to the port at that 

But at length the positive acts of the patriots sup 
plied zealous Loyalists with ample material to pervert 
into fresh arguments for the necessity of troops to keep 
the people in order. It was promptly seized upon. The 
commissioners described the Boston affairs as the open 
ing of a rebellion that had begun its course over the 
continent. They not only sent to England, but to Gen 
eral Gage, then commander-in-chief, whose head-quar- 


ters were at New York, requesting troops, and to 
Commodore Hood at Halifax, asking for more ships. 

General Gage was surprised at not receiving a re 
quest from the governor, but at once tendered Gover 
nor Bernard, at Boston, all the forces that he might 
need to preserve the public peace. But the governor 
said he did not want troops to quell a riot, but regarded 
them essential to the good of his country. He there 
showed the folly of trying to serve two masters. 

The ships were sent by Commodore Hood, and moored 
near Castle William ; but the governor was disappointed 
when he learned that his movements had only resulted 
in putting the troops in readiness to proceed to Boston 
on his requisition, which he did not give, but wrote, 
" The crisis awaits the arrival of the troops, and I now 
learn they are not coming." 

He laid the offer of the commanding general before 
the Council, when it was seen that the members were 
unanimously against having troops sent to the port. In 
his despair Governor Bernard wrote to Lord Barrington 
that he could " no longer depend upon the Council for 
the support of the small remains of royal and parlia 
mentary power now left, the whole of which had been 
gradually impeached, arraigned, and condemned under 
his eye." He also declared that " Boston had been left 
under a trained mob from Aug. 14, 1765, to this present 
July 23, 1768." 

At length the die as to Massachusetts and Boston 
had been cast in the British Cabinet. It was decided to 
place a military force at the command of the governor ; 
and General Gage at New York was notified to place 
troops at Castle William, and to station a detachment 
in Boston, and to keep a naval force in the harbor. 


The governor claimed to be ignorant of this action, 
but did mention to one of the Council that he had a 
private notice that troops were ordered to Boston. This 
was enough to excite the people, who were at once noti 
fied of it, and petitioned Hancock and other selectmen 
to call a meeting. It was held on the following Mon 
day ; " thus openly and before all men, not covertly like 
a body of conspirators, the leading men of Boston pre 
pared for the inevitable." 

At length two regiments were brought to Boston by 
fifteen British men-of-war. It was on Sept. 29 that 
they took a well-chosen fighting-position around the 
north end of the quiet but glorious town. 

The scene in the harbor on that first night was grand ; 
and despite the forebodings of evil, many Boston men 
put out in their boats from their wharves to get a near 
view of the ships, while the many in their homes and 
sightly places witnessed the brilliant display of rockets 
shot off from the decks. 

The landing of the troops was an occasion dreaded 
by both parties. But there was no hostile preparation 
on the part of the patriots ; and the governor having 
retired to Jamaica Plain, there were no cordial executive 
greetings prepared. The preparation on the part of 
the king s army was of a most decided warlike nature. 
Sixteen rounds of powder and ball were served out to the 
troops when they entered the boats and made their way 
to Long Wharf. Lieutenant-Colonel Dalrymple, the com 
mander of the land force, had privately made a visit to 
the town, and learned that the situation was different 
from what he had expected. The Fourteenth Regiment, 
under the colonel, landed, and having formed, marched, 
with drums beating, fifes playing, and colors flying, up 


King Street (now State Street), to the Town House, 
where it halted until joined by the Twenty-ninth, when 
they marched to the Common. They were later joined 
by the Fifty-ninth Regiment and a train of artillery 
with two field-pieces. 

It is difficult to imagine the feelings of the people 
when these troops were landed. It is no wonder they 
were received as unwelcome intruders, and the selectmen 
absolutely refused to grant them quarters. Although 
Boston Common was a cow-pasture, the people resented 
the use of it for the camp of one of these regiments. 

The public indignation was at its height when Faneuil 
Hall was taken as quarters for one of the regiments, 
and no better feelings were engendered when Governor 
Bernard ordered the State House in King Street to be 
opened for their reception. 

While the town was in this state of excitement, an 
attempt was made to injure the reputation of Hancock. 
He was on the Board of Selectmen who objected to the 
quartering of troops in the public buildings. He was a 
representative in the General Court, and in May previ 
ous had been chosen a member of His Majesty s Coun 
cil, though negatived by Governor Bernard. While thus 
enjoying the confidence of the people, he was charged 
as endeavoring to secure from General Gage the con 
tract to supply these unwelcome troops. Having learned 
from the Letter-book that Hancock had in former years 
corresponded with Colonel Dalrymple in regard to the 
supplies for the garrisons at Nova Scotia, which he was 
still supplying, it is not difficult to see how such a report 
was put in circulation by the Tory element of the Prov 
ince. But Hancock s letter of Nov. 12 settles the mat 
ter : 



I observe in your last paper a piece signed Veritas, the writer of 
which says he had it from good authority, that a letter under my 
hand was published in a coffee-house at New York, requesting His 
Excellency Gen. Gage that I might supply the troops then expected, 
and which have arrived in this town. If such a letter has been pro 
duced there, or anywhere else, I declare it to be a forgery ; for I 
have never made application to any for the supply of said troops, 
nor did I ever desire any person to do it for me. The person who 
produced the letter could have no other design but to injure my 
reputation, and abuse the gentlemen of New York. I therefore 
desire you would give this a place in your next, in which you will 
oblige Your humble servant, 


BOSTON, Nov. 12, 1768. 

Under date of Aug. 24, 1768, Hancock writes a letter 
to George Haley in which he says, 

Our trade is so burthened & our difficulties increasing so fast, 
that upon a meeting of our mercies it was thought prudent to stop 
the Importation of Goods, at least for one year, & this Resolution 
was generally adopted, that there will, of course, be no freights in 
the Spring, with respect to the Ship, I must refer it to you, if you 
could help me with a little freight directly back to Boston, I should 
be glad, or if a prospect of any by waiting I would have her kept, 
but if you have no prospect of giving her a freight, I think it would 
be best to send the Ship back as soon as possible, as she will lay at 
a much easier expence here than in London. 

Hancock returns one of the compliments of Mr. 
Haley by sending " Two wild Geese of which I ask your 

On Nov. 1 6 Mr. Hancock writes to Thomas Pow- 

I have now only time to inclose you my Bill on George Haley 
Esq. Mercht in London of this Date, No. 90, for three thousand 
pounds sterlg. in part of the monies left by you in the hands of my 
late Uncle for which I am accountable to you, & when paid you will 
please to credit my acco" there for By Capt. Daverson who will sail 


in a week I shall Transmit! you your whole acco" & send you an 
order for the full Ballance of that acco" when you will please to 
give up the Receipts my late Uncle gave you for the monies left in 
his hands. 

My Aunt joins me in best compliments to you & I am with much 
esteem Sir, Your most obed { humb 1 * serv<- 


Hancock s recorded communications for the winter 
are but lamentations of the same nature, words, per 
haps, unconsciously penned from the burden of his own 
personal trials, as well as public concerns. The king s 
ships were in the bay, and his troops were in possession 
of the town ; and the selectmen needed to be on the 
alert to protect the interests of the citizens. The town 
being considered in control of the army, the detested 
commissioners of customs returned, and the Romney 
again appeared in the bay. The case of the sloop Lib 
erty was brought up, and Hancock was arrested. He 
employed John Adams as his counsel. The merchant 
had the sympathy of the patriotic people, and was re- 
elected as selectman in March, 1769. The legal pro 
ceedings against him increased his popularity ; and in 
May he was re-elected a representative to the General 
Court, receiving the highest number of votes, even two 
more than Samuel Adams. On April 13, 1769, Han 
cock writes to Haley & Hopkins : 

We are in daily expectation of hearing from London the result 
of Petitions on our affairs. We have been basely misrepresented 
& can t but think they will be convinced of it finally matters 
settled to the satisfaction of all. 

The sincere desire on the part of the merchant doubt 
less gave rise to his expressed hopes, which must have 
been without any prospects to warrant them. Early in 


May the town indorsed the proceedings of the merchants 
respecting the non-importation agreement, and recom 
mended to the inhabitants not to purchase any goods of 
persons who had imported in vessels, lately arrived from 
Great Britain, not allowed by the agreement. When 
we consider that no man in the colony had so much at 
stake as Hancock, we almost wonder that his letters do 
not give some evidence of his relenting ; but nothing of 
the kind appears. He labored assiduously to have Gov 
ernor Bernard remove the troops from the town. At 
the session of the General Court, convened on the last 
Wednesday of May, nothing could be accomplished. 
There was a demand upon the Province for funds to 
pay for quartering the troops in Boston. The spirit of 
Hancock and his associate representatives from Boston 
was never more fully aroused. 1 To be asked to tax them 
selves to pay for an army which had destroyed their 
trade was too much. The General Court would not 
proceed to business while the troops were in the town ; 
and the governor, to get around the objections of the 
court, adjourned it to Cambridge. Of this John Han 
cock writes on July 1 1 to his London agents : 

GENTN : Our General Assembly being adjourned out of town, my 
attendance on which engages all my time, that I can only say I am 
loading my Brig Lydia, Capt. Hood. I hope she will sail in ten 
days as our assembly will rise in a few days, I shall by my Brig, 
write you fully to which beg leave to refer you. 

On Sept. 6, 1769, he writes to Haley & Hopkins, 
concluding thus : 

1 It was when this excitement was at its height that James Otis, that 
brilliant lawyer and patriot, friend of John Hancock, was assaulted by 
John Robinson, one of the commissioners of the customs, and was so 
badly injured that he disappeared from public life, and died at Andover 
in 1783. 


The merchants of this town having come into a new agreement 
not to suffer any freight to be taken on board their vessels, I beg 
you would note the same, & prevent any of it except Coals, Hemp, 
Duck & Grindstones being put on board any of my vessels. You 
will please to inform my ship masters that they may conform them 
selves accordingly. 

On Nov. 4 he adds : 

If the Revenue Acts are Repealed, I am hopeful you will be able 
to give Scott some freight. 

He orders of Haley & Hopkins " 50 barrels of very 
best pistol powder." Hancock was now placed in a 
most trying position. As a citizen, patriot, and town 
officer, he was doing all in his power to bring about de 
sired ends by preventing importation. As a merchant, 
he was obliged to see these acts destroy what little busi 
ness he had left, and he was bringing trouble upon his 
foreign agents and fast friends. 

The embarrassment of John Hancock, when it came 
to a practical application of the non-importation agree 
ment, can best be realized by the following letters. 

Under the same date to Haley & Hopkins Mr. Han 
cock writes : 

I cannot now make a particular reply to your letter as I am 
wholly engaged in the accommodation of the late Importations, 
made here by Several Persons of this Town, which circumstances 
taking place at the only important moment that it should have been 
avoided, I must say Reflects great on the Importers. After many 
considerations of the Trade on this subject, the final Resolution was 
that nothing less would atone and be satisfactory than the Refusing 
the goods to London. The owners consented & this ship Scott h as 
all the goods on board & I wish them a safe Landing in London. 
It gives me great uneasiness on your acct. that almost the whole of 
the goods that have arrived have been shipped by you and the 
trade were determined to pass Resolves which I was apprehensive 
would operate to your Disadvantage. I however was influential in 
abating the Resentment & actually made offer of the crates to carry 


home what goods Scott could not take & in this I really judged I 
was most essentially promoting your interests. But Scott takes the 
whole of the goods, so theres an end of it. However it is a most 
unlucky thing you shipped those goods out. Only consider what 
a Difference it makes as to the trade & conditions of Individuals. 
You build some up upon the fall & Ruin of others. We ought also 
to be on a footing & hope soon to see an Establishment of our trade 
on a solid foundation. With respect to this ship of mine, to ac 
commodate the matter of Importation, I offered my ship, freight 
free, as she brought some of the goods you shipt the most fiom 
friendship to you my own honor, I was induced to make the offer. 
I only mention this. I don t mean to desire anything contrary to 
your transactions, but if you should think well of it, as in the con 
sequence, you will be more benefited than myself. As the offer I 
made established you whether it would not be reasonable that the 
expense be borne between us. These Returned goods are regu 
larly cleared our Custom House & I can t think there can be the 
Least Difficulty in entering the ship in London. Should any arise, 
Trusting your Interposition to accommodate matters. 

The massacre of March 5, 1770, resulted in the re 
moval of the troops from Boston, Samuel Adams, with 
John Hancock and others of a committee, persisting 
until the desired removal was secured. These troops 
already described were ever after called by Lord North 
" Sam Adams s Two Regiments." Governor Bernard 
having been recalled by the king, Lieutenant-Governor 
Hutchinson was in power. But a few days later the 
General Court assembled at Cambridge. The demands 
upon John Hancock were so great that for the first 
time he delegated his correspondence to another : 

June 13, 1770. 

GENTN : The removal of the General Court to Cambridge obliges 
Mr. Hancock to be often there. He has directed me in his absence 
to acquaint you that he has chartered the ship Pratt for a voyage to 
South Carolina. WM. PALFREY. l 


1 Probably son of Col. William Palfrey, and Susanna, daughter of Paix 


On June 29, 1/70, Hancock addresses Harrison & 
Ansley thus : 

I hope e er long matters will be so settled as that trade may 
revive,. do convince your noble gentlemen at Helm of the ill conse 
quences of a perseverance in their present measures, we are a people 
worth saving & deserving their notice and indulgence, as all we can 
possibly obtain centres on your side. We sincerely feel the griev 
ance and are seeking redress. We can t always submit. It is a 
true saying " Oppression will make a wise man mad. 1 Do stir for 
us. I know your disposition and that you will help us all you can. 
I have to express my grateful acknowledgements to your Air. John 
Harrison for his very genteel present of the table cloth & napkins, 
which Mr. G. H. delivered me. They are excessive genteel and by 
far the best in the Country. I wish I may have it in my power to 
retaliate. 1 must wait long before I can hope a manufacture of this 
country to return, but you must take the will for the deed. My 
Aunt joins me in her Compliments to you & connection particularly 
to the Lady of Mr. G. H. with every wish in her favor. I am with 
respect, Gentn, 

Your assured friend & 

Obligd. humble servt. 

On the same date he acknowledges a gift of cheese 
and beer, " which has come to hand in good order." On 
the same date to Haley & Hopkins he says, " Inclosed 
you have a small mem of allowed articles which you 
will please to send by the return of the Lydia." On 
Nov. 5 he writes to Haley & Hopkins, arid speaks of 
having been absent six weeks, and neglected corre 
spondence, which he resumes. On Nov. 27 he sends to 
Haley & Hopkins for " i hogsd Loaf sugar, single 
refined ; i Bbl. double refined," for his own use. He 
has had a letter from George Haley in regard to the 
refusal of the cargo, which was returned with a long 
explanation and apology. He replies to it on Dec. 27, 
1770, thus : 


I shall not dwell on the subject which particularly occasioned 
your private letter to me. Only say, what I can strictly and sol 
emnly declare that in the whole of my conduct during the late 
struggle here I was actuated solely by a principle of effecting the 
good of my Country, and sincerely thought a strenuous persever 
ance in the non-importation would have that effect, and indeed it is 
still my opinion, had there been a general attention to that object, 
it would have worked out at least some good for us ; but as things 
have turned out, I hope all will be for the best, and I am disposed 
to acquiesce and heartily wish a perfect Harmony and reconciliation 
may take place. I am much obliged to you for your very generous 
offers in regard to the freight of the returned goods by Scott, and 
upon mature consideration I most desire you will think no more of 
it. I believe upon my own plan I should bear it, and I am willing 
to bear it, especially as my sole motive was the prospect of happy 
consequence resulting from it to my town and Country ; however, 
sir, I acknowledge my great obligation to you in that Instance, as 
also for your strict attention to my interests in all my concerns, and 
hope our correspondence may continue for a long time to mutual 
satisfaction. In the matter of non-importation I individually have 
been most fully, freely and cruelly used, but the particulars I forbear 
troubling you with in a letter, but refer you to Mr. William Palfry, 
who is a passenger in my Brig and on whose account I shall trouble 
your house with a Line ; he can acquaint you with everything pass 
ing here. I must also beg Your pardon that I, in my hurry, omitted 
to acquaint you that I had received the first dividend, etc. 

My Aunt desires to join me in our Sincere respects to good Mrs. 
Haley, the Young Ladies, and with my best wishes for their and 
Your health and Happiness, 

Believing me to be Dear Sir, 

Your, obliged and faithful humble servt. 

Foreign trade was not entirely abandoned, as appears 
by a letter of Dec. 27, 1770, to Haley & Hopkins, as 
follows : 

GENTN : Since my last I am favored with yours by Dixey of 8th 
of October, who arrived here on Christmas day. Am glad to find 
you had disposed of all my Oyl & Pottashes, with regard to the 
whalebone, you will please to exercise your own judgment as to the 


sale, in which at all times I am disposed to acquiesce, being fully 
convinced of your attention to my interests. . . . 

I fear you will think me rather guilty of Intrusion with my navi 
gation, having so often occasion to request your favour with respect 
to freight for my vessels. In the case of the Taoli, beg to say that 
if without interfering with your more particular connections, you 
could give the Taoli a freight back to Boston, I should take it a 
singular favour, but upon the whole, if a freight back cannot be had 
& Brig will not fetch ,800 sterling or more, I must ask the favr. of 
you to send her to Lisbon for a load of salt to bring to Boston, 
which you will please to conduct for me. I give Capt. Hall orders 
accordingly, and in case of a war, please to Insure ^800 on the Brig 
the whole voyage, as also the amount of the Salt Cargo, and if a 
war, please to keep my navigation fully insured, Goods and freight ; 
this you will please to note. Since my last I have disposed of my 
ship John & her West India cargo, having met with an offer that 
pleased me. I have a new ship of 200 tons built in this town which 
I shall fix in her room & shall Despatch her to you the first of the 
Spring. In her Mr. Gilbert Harrison returns to England. 

He sends an order for goods for a shop to be set up. 
He is apparently actively engaged through the spring 
months of 1771, and interests himself in behalf of sev 
eral men who wish to set up business in shops. On 
Oct. 11, 1771, he says in a letter to his agents at Lon 
don : " I have not been able to attend to any business 
since April last." He complains of poor trade, and 
declares that he will not import to a town so stocked 
that things are sold many times under the cost. In 
closing he says: 

I am not without a prospect of seeing you & my friends in Lon 
don, with the Leave of Indulgent Providence, by the middle of 
June next, having nearly Determined with Mr. Bowes & your G. 
H. s friend Brattle to embark on board Scott, on his return next 

Hancock had set up his brother Ebenezer in business ; 
but he had met the fate of many others, and failed. 


Hancock, however, determines to venture again. He 
says : 

These goods are for my brother, whom I am determined to estab 
lish in Business again in hopes he may better succeed, over whom 
I shall be careful to keep a watchful eye. 

It is gratifying to note this kindly interest which 
John Hancock manifested in the business career of his 
only brother, Ebenezer. It lasted through the life of 
the more wealthy merchant. We find that the Conti 
nental Congress, of which John Hancock was president, 
on June 12, 1776, made choice of Ebenezer Hancock as 
deputy paymaster-general for the eastern department, 
and his headquarters were in Boston. 




IN a letter of Nov. 14, 1771, we learn why Mr. Han 
cock has relaxed in business activity. It is to Haley 
& Hopkins : 

" I readily confess there needs an apology to be made to you for 
my want of Punctuality in Replying to your Repeated Esteem d 
favrs. which I have RecYl in the course of the Summer past, but 
when I tell you that since last April, I have not had a real well day 
till within ten days & my Indisposition such as to incapacitate me 
for attention to Business, I know you will readily excuse me & now 
thro the indulgence of a kind Providence I am so surprisingly Re- 
cover d that I have plunged myself in the Business of Life again & 
if my health continues shall be as punctual as possible in my replies 
to your Letters & all my other Concerns with You." 

Thomas Hutchinson has been commissioned as chief 
executive, and John Hancock is still a representative 
from Boston in the General Court. Hancock writes : 

BOSTON, July 7, 1772. 

GENTN : Your favr by Lydia I duly reed. & note the Contents. I 
have been for some time past and still am so engaged in our Gen 
eral Assembly that I cannot now particularly Reply to your last 
favr. but shall by next; I have only time to Inclose you Invo & 


Bill Ladg. of Tar & Staves by the Lyclia, Captain Hall, to your 
address, which you will please to dispose of credit me the pro 
ceeds. You have Inclosed a Naval Store Bill. This is a poor 
Cargo, but what little oyl has been at market has been held so high 
say ^32. sterlg, that I dar d not to purchase, but thought it most 
Eligible to wait the Event of the fall Fishing, tho indeed there has 
been but a Trifle at market. I have delivered to Capt. Hall the Size 
of Glass with directions for a New Meeting house Building in this 
town. I have directed Capt. Hall to deliver to you I am to desire 
You will please to order it of the best quality, well packed & exactly 
conformable to the pattern & directed to ship to me by Scott or one 
of my vessels, Boxes marked I H K, charged to my accott, with 
separate Invoice Your humble servt> 


The order of glass was for the Brattle-street Church, 
to which Hancock was giving liberally, the society being 
that with which Madam Hancock and her family wor 
shipped. The corner-stone had already been laid, and 
the name of Hon. John Hancock had been chiselled on 
it. This was evidently in recognition of his gift, the 
largest contributed. It amounted to ,1,000. In the 
gift he reserved the right to build a mahogany pulpit 
with its full furniture, a mahogany deacons seat, and 
communion-table, and to provide for the accommodation 
of the poor widows and others belonging to the society 
" who are reputable persons and unable to furnish them 
selves with seats/ This furniture had been in use but 
a few months when the British occupied the new meet 
ing-house for barracks. John Hancock is also pleas 
antly remembered to this day by a gift of comparative 
insignificance to the town of Lunenburg. In the pulpit 
Bible of a church now extinct is read: "The gift of the 
Hon. John Hancock, Esq., of Boston. To the Church 
and Congregation in Lunenburg. July 26th, Anno 
Domini, 1772." It is interesting to note that this gift 


was made in the same month with that to the Brattle- 
street Church. 

In the adjoining town of Shirley there is a similar 
treasure, used still in the pulpit of the Unitarian Church, 
and held as a memorial of Madam Lydia Hancock, her 
name being duly inscribed upon it. The occasion of 
the gift was the opening of the new meeting-house in 
that town, the wife of Rev. Phineas Whitney, the min 
ister, being Lydia Bowes of Bedford, niece and name 
sake of Madam Lydia (Henchman) Hancock. What 
an inspiration it must have been to those sturdy people 
at the dedication service to have the Hancock coach 
roll up to the door, and the honored widow conducted 
into their presence, followed by a colored slave, who 
bore the great Bible for the new pulpit ! What wonder 
that the first son of the parsonage should be named 
in honor of the lamented merchant of Boston, to whose 
honor Thomas W 7 hitney and his descendants have re 
flected much credit. 

Hancock s popularity was recognized in the remotest 
settlements of New England. A section in Berkshire 
County, Mass., first called Jericho, from the natural walls 
on either side, was named Hancock when incorporated 
in 1776, at the time of John Hancock s presidency of 
the Continental Congress. 

A settlement in southern New Hampshire, begun 
about the same time, of which John Hancock was one 
of the proprietors, was incorporated as Hancock in 1779. 

A section of Addison County, Vt., settled in 1778, 
was given the name of Hancock. 

Another way in which John Hancock manifested his 
regard for the town of Boston during the year 1772 was 
by the gift of a fire-engine, which he imported for that 

g I 

2 2 

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I I 

O o 

UJ "o 

S -o 


1 ^ 


purpose. This was ordered to be kept near Hancock s 

A letter of July 7, 1772, affords a hint of the condi 
tion of business and of the engagements of Hancock : 

By next oppory, I shall send you accott. of sales of Your Sugar 
& Beer. I am now prevented as I have been for some time & 
still am so engaged in our General Assembly that I must beg you 
excuse me that I cannot be more particular but by next will be 
explicit & particularly reply to your favr. 

I am sorry to tell you I have no prospect of a sale of Your 
Linens &c I cannot Get the sterlg cost of these they will not raise 
the money unless sold at auction w c must be attended with a great 
loss. The Town is so full of Goods that they are sold to loss, do 
give me directions what to do with them, Tho I will strive the Fall 
Season to Dispose of them without Loss I shall write you fully in 
a few days. 

I am with Esteem Sir Your very humble servt. 


On Nov. 4, 1772, Hancock pauses in his official busi 
ness long enough to attend to an outgoing vessel. He 
sends orders as follows : 

You will please send me by Scott for my acct., marked J. H. : 
50 prs. Russia Duck. 20 pcs. Ravens Duck. 
15 Tons Best Petersburg Brack Hemp, if low, if not low only 
half the quantity. 

1 HogshVl single Refined sugar. 
10 Hampers best Bottled porter. 

40 half Barrels Powder, pray let it be good. 

2 Tons of best Cheshire cheese. 

10 Boxes Lemons. 2 Casks of Poland & 10 casks of Common 


Goods are at present sold here so excessively low that I do not 
import any for my own store, but when there is an alteration I shall 
apply to you. If you please, when you are in cash for me, I desire 
you would pay Mr. Charles Hurst ^323 17^. ^d. I have directed 
him to apply to you for the same. 


On May 17, 1773, Palfrey writes because of the ab 
sence of John Hancock. 

The letter to Haley & Hopkins shows that Mr. Han 
cock is still supplying the garrison at Nova Scotia. He 
has been elected to the command of the Independent 
Cadets, well known as the governor s guard. The pub 
lic announcement was as follows : 

" His Excellency, the Captain-General has been pleased to com- 
missionate John Hancock Esq., to be Captain of the Company of 
Cadets with the rank of Colonel." 

He enters upon the duties of the office regardless of 
health, and advertises as follows : 

"Wanted. Immediately For His Excellency s Company of 
Cadets. Two Fifers that understand Playing. Those that are 
masters of musick, and are inclined to engage with the Company, 
are desired to apply to Col. John Hancock. 1 

In Hancock s absence William Palfrey writes : 

BOSTON, i ;th J/.7J, 1773. 

GENT. : I wrote you the 5 th inst pr. Calif acquainting You of 
Coll Hancock s intention to send Scott out with a load of Naval 
Stores, with which the Haley is now loaded, and Inclos d You have 
Inv & Bill of Lading for 1462 barrell of Tar, also a Naval Store 
I Jill. You will doubtless dispose of this Cargo for Mr. Hancocks 
best Interest & when sold please to Credit him for the net proceeds. 

The Coll has left no directions with me respecting the sale of 
the Ship, in case a saving price should offer. I therefore beg leave 
to refer You to his former Letters on that subject by which you will 
please to govern yourselves. I know he thinks her too large for the 
Trade, although she has hitherto been pretty successful, this has 
been greatly owing to Your kindness. 

Madam Hancock desires her best compliments to your Ladies 
& Families, with her sincere wishes for the recovery of Miss Haley s 
health, in which she is heartily joined by 

Gent Your obliged & most 

Obedt servt W. P. 



Under the same date, to Harrison & Ansley, Mr. Pal 
frey writes : 

Coll Hancock has lately been so greatly indisposed that he has 
not been able to reply to your several favors. 

He is now on a journey to Connecticut as well for the recovery 
of his health as to transact some public business relative to the par 
tition Line between this Province and New York. 

I take the Liberty, in his absence, to inclose you a memoranda 
for a few goods for the mark H. P., which you will please to 
compleat & send out by the Return of the Haley. He begs your 
particular attention to the Quality & price of each article, that in 
the sale we may be at least upon a footing with our neighbors. We 
expect Mr. Hancock back in a few days, and if his Health will per 
mit he purposes to write you particularly by the first opportunity. 
Madam Hancock desires her best respects to your G. H. & Lady & 
to your Gent 1 !!, respectively. My compliments to your J. H., Mr. 
Tho. Harrison & Mr. Ansley, Mr. G. H. & Lady & all friends. 

I am with great esteem, 

Gent n., your most obed t. serv t., 

\V. P. 

In December, 1773, Hancock writes to Haley & Hop 
kins : 

I shall be much obliged to you to send the Bell wrote for by 
Capt. Scott, as also the Pulpit furniture & curtains, which please to 
order of the best Silk Crimson Damask. The size of Bell & Di 
mensions of the Curtains, etc., you have in my letter by Hood. 

These were gifts to Brattle-street Church. The bell 
weighed 3,220 pounds. The motto inscribed upon it 

is : 

I to the church the living call, 
And to the grave I summon all. 

The bell did not reach Boston until September, 1774. 
The port being then blockaded, Captain Scott was 
obliged to go into port at Salem, Sept. 20. He also 
brought a quantity of powder, which Hancock had or 
dered. This was welcomed by the patriots, for there 


had not been a pound to be procured in Boston for 
many weeks. The bell was rung for the first time Oct. 
28, 1774. 

On Dec. 21, 1773, he writes to his London agents : 

We have been much agitated in consequence of the arrival of 
the Tea Ships by the East India Comp., and after every effort was 
made to Induce the consignees to return it from whence it came & 
all proving ineffectual, in a very few Hours the whole of the Tea on 
Board Bruce, Coffin & Hall 1 was thrown into the salt water. The 
particulars I must refer you to Capt. Scott for; indeed I am not 
acquainted with them myself, so as to give a Detail. Capt. Loring 
in a Brig with the remainder of the Tea is cast on shore at the back 
of Cape Codd. Philadelphia York are Determined the Tea shall 
not land. I enclose you an extract of a letter I Rec d. from Phila., 
by which you will see the spirit of that people. No one circum 
stance could possibly have taken place more effectively to unite the 
Colonies than this manouvre of the Tea. It is Universally Resented 
here & people of all ranks detest the measure. Our papers & Dr. 
Williamson, who is passenger in Scott, will inform you many cir 
cumstances. I Determine if my Oyle gets up tomorrow my Brigt. 
Lydia shall depart in six days. I shall recommend her to be sold. 

The information which Mr. Hancock, in the above 
letter, says he received from Philadelphia, was doubtless 
brought by his trusted agent, William Palfrey. 

While Hancock is silent at this point, his friend An 
drews writes, under Dec. i : 

Having just returned from fire club, and am now, in company 
with the two Miss Masons and Mr. Williams of your place [Phila 
delphia], at Sam. Eliot s, who have been dining with him at Colo- 
Hancock s, and acquaints me that Mr. Palfrey sets off Express for 
New York and Philadelphia at five o clock to-morrow morning to 
communicate ye transactions of this town respecting the tea. 

1 The "Tea-ships" were Dartmouth, Eleanor, and Beaver. Francis 
Rotch. owned the Dartmouth, the first to arrive in Boston, with James 
Hall as captain; James Bruce was captain of the Eleanor, and Hezekiah 
Coffin of the Beaver. It is probable that William Rotch, brother to Fran- 


Of the arrival of the tea-ships he says : 

It has caus d ye most spirited and firm conduct to be observed 
that ever was .known, the regularity and particulars of which pro 
ceedings Mr. Palfrey will be able to tell you. The consignees have 
all taken their residence at the Castle, as they still persist in their 
refusal to take the tea back. Its not only ye town but the country 
are unanimous against the landing it, and at the Monday and Tues 
day meetings, they attended to the number of some hundreds from 
all the neighboring towns within a dozen miles, twould puzzle 

any person to purchase a pair of p Is in town, as they are all 

bought up, with a full determination to repell force to force. 

The above letter, penned by John Andrews, and be 
fore published, shows the quiet and expeditious manner 
in which John Hancock exerted himself for the public 
good at this important time. He must have had a deep 
personal interest in the tea trouble, but is silent upon 
his private interests ; he puts his strength into the wel 
fare of the public. 

As we have no letter of John Hancock s in regard to 
this, one written by his friend Andrews is inserted : l 

However precarious our situation may be, such is the present 
calm composure of the people that a stranger would hardly think 
that ten thousand pounds sterling of the East India Company s tea 
was destroy d the night, or rather evening before last, yet it is a 
serious truth ; and if your s, together with ye other Southern prov 
inces, should rest satisfied with this quota being stor d, poor Boston 
will feel the whole weight of ministerial vengeance. However it is 
the opinion of most people that we stand an equal chance now, 
whether troops are sent in consequence of it or not, whereas, had 
it been stor d we should inevitably have had em, to enforce the 
sale of it. 

The affair was transacted with the greatest regularity and de- 

cis, and John Hancock were owners in part of the other ships, which had 
taken oil to London, and were chartered to take the tea in returning. 

1 From Proceedings of Massachusetts Historical Society of 1864 and 


spatch. Mr. Rotch finding he exposed himself not only to the loss 
of his ship for ye value of the tea in case he sent her back with it, 
without a clearance from the custom house, as y e Admiral kept a 
ship in readiness to make a seizure of it whenever it should sail 
under those circumstances ; therefore declined complying with his 
former promises, and absolutely declared his vessel should not carry 
it, without a proper clearance could be procur d or he to be indem 
nified for the value of her, when a general muster was assembled, 
from this and all y e neighbouring towns, to the number of five or 
six thousand, at 10 o clock Thursday morning in the Old South 
Meeting house, where they pass d a unanimous vote that the tea 
should go out of the harbor that afternoon, and sent a committee 
with Mr. Rotch to ye custom house to demand a clearance, which 
the collector told em was not in his power to give, without the 
duties being first paid. They then sent Mr. Rotch to Milton, to 
ask a pass from ye Governor, who sent for answer, that " consistent 
with the rules of Government " and his duty to the King he could 
not grant one without they produced " a previous clearance from the 
office." By the time he returned with this message the candles 
were light in (the) house, and upon reading it, such prodigious 
shouts were made, that induc d me, while drinking tea at home, to 
go out and know the cause of it. 

The house was so crowded I could get no farther than ye porch, 
when I found the moderator was just declaring the meeting to be 
dissolved, which caused another general shout, out doors and in, 
and three cheers. What with that, and the consequent noise of 
breaking up of the meeting, you d thought that the inhabitants 
of the infernal regions had broke loose. For my part I went con 
tentedly home and finished my tea, but was soon inform d what was 
going forward ; but still not crediting it without ocular demonstra 
tion, I went and was satisfied. They muster d, I m told, upon 
Fort Hill, to the number of about two hundred, and proceeded, two 
by two, to Griffin s wharf, where Hall, Bruce and Coffin lay, each 
with 114 chests of the ill fated article on board, the two former 
with only that article, but ye latter arriv d at ye wharf only ye 
day before, was freighted with a large quantity of other goods, 
which they took the greatest care not to injure in the least, and 
before nine o clock in ye evening, every chest from on board the 
three vessels was knocked to pieces and flung over ye sides. 
They say the actors were Indians from Narragansett. Whether 
they were or not, to a transient observer they appear d as such, 


being cloth d in Blankets with the heads muffled, and copper color d 
countenances being each arm d with a hatchet or axe, and pair 
pistols, nor was their dialect different from what I conceived these 
geniusses to speak, as their Jargon was unintelligible to all but them 
selves. Not the least insult was offered to any person, save one 
Captain Conner, a letter of horses in this place, not many years 
since remov d from dear Ireland, who had ript up the lining of his 
coat and waist coat under the arms, and watching his opportunity 
had nearly fill d ? em with tea, but being detected was handled pretty 
roughly. They not only stripped him of his clothes, but gave him 
a coat of mud, with a severe bruising into the bargain ; and noth 
ing but their utter aversion to make any disturbance prevented his 
being tar d and feather d. 

On the i Qth of December Mr. Andrews writes to 
his friend at Philadelphia : 

I give you joy of your easy riddance of the baneful herb ; being 
just inform d by ye arrival of the post that its gone from whence it 

came. You may bless your stars that you have not a H n and 

board of commissioners resident with you. I forgot to acquaint 
you last evening that Loring in a brig belonging to Clark, one of 
ye consignees, is on shore at ye back of Cape Cod, drove thither by 
a storm last Fryday week, who has the last quota of Tea for this 
place, being 58 chests, which compleats the 400. 

There were many poetical effusions occasioned by 
the tea episode. One that appeared in Thomas s Spy is 
as follows : 

Farewell the tea-board, with its equipage 

Of cups and saucers, cream bucket and sugar-tongs; 

The pretty tea-chest, also, lately stored 

With hyson, congo, and best double fine. 

Full many a joyous moment have I sat by you, 

Hearing the girls tattle, the old maids talk scandal. 

And the spruce coxcomb laugh at may be nothing. 

No more shall I dish out the once loved liquor, 

Though now detestable. 

Because I am taught, and I believe it true, 

Its use will fasten slavish chains upon my country; 

And Liberty s the goddess I would choose 

To reign triumphant in America ! 





THE year 1774 opens when John Hancock is suffer 
ing from disease, and the public demands so much of 
his time that his business correspondence is delegated 
to his friend Palfrey. 1 He writes on Jan. 10, 1774: 

Mr. Hancock intended to have wrote you fully by this opportu 
nity but is prevented by indisposition & is at present confined to 
his bed. I have therefore to inclose you Invoice & Bill of Lading 
for Oyle, Tar & Staves on Board the Brig Lydia, Adam Winthrop, 
master, to your address, which you will please to dispose of & credit 
him with the net proceeds. 

This Brig Mr. Hancock would be glad to sell provided she will 
fetch ^500 stg. If not, you will please to return her as soon as 
possible with what freight you can procure. If none should offer, 

1 William Palfrey, the friend and confidential clerk to John Hancock, 
was aid-de-camp to Washington when he was in command of the Conti 
nental army at Cambridge, and accompanied the chief to New York after 
the evacuation. 


be kind enough to ship Twenty Tons of good Hemp Forty chal 
drons of Coals, also Fifty pieces of Russia Duck. If his Health will 
permit he intends to write you himself by a vessell which will sail 
from hence in a few days. 

I am Gent. Your most hble Servt- 


Jan. 26, 1774, was the date of the opening of the ses 
sion of the General Court of which John Hancock was a 
member from Boston, having received all but two of 419 
votes cast. It was a critical time, and the duties were 
exhausting ; but Mr. Hancock is found assuming the 
added responsibility of presiding at the town-meeting, 
and of delivering the massacre oration of March 5, 1774. 
His bold utterances at this time gave great offence to 
the executive, and more especially to the officers of the 
standing army. A copy of the oration was requested of 
Mr. Hancock for publication. (See Appendix II.) 

There was taken at this time a collection for Mr. 
Christopher Monk, " a young man now languishing tin 
der a wound rec d in his lungs, by a shot from Preston s 
Bloody Party of Soldiers on 5th March, 1770." This 
collection amounted to ^319. 13. 3. old tenor, and the 
same was left with the selectmen for the use of the said 
Monk. Five days later Mr. Hancock was chosen as 
moderator of a town-meeting, but was too ill to attend ; 
but he was elected as one of the Board of Selectmen 
for the year 1774-1775. He was also chosen one of 
the firewards, but at a later meeting was excused. He 
was active in the movement at this time for lighting the 
streets, believing that darkness was favorable to evil 

This busy man turns from public affairs to place his 
well-known signature upon papers relating to his pri- 


vate business, as witnesseth the following document, in 
possession of Mr. John M. Graham of Boston. 

On Wednesday, May 10, Mr. Hancock experienced 
the renewal of the confidence of the voters of the town 
by a unanimous re-election to the General Court ; his 
associates being Thomas Gushing, Samuel Adams, and 
William Phillips. 

It was at an adjourned session of this meeting that 
the town took action in regard to the " Edict of a Brit 
ish Parliament for Blocking up the Harbor of Boston 
and annihilating the trade of this town." 

John Hancock now sees the ruin which he has so often 
predicted about to visit the town. But there is a glim 
mer of hope in the departure of Governor Hutchinson, 
and the arrival of Governor Gage ; yet it soon goes out 
in despair. 

It was the duty of Colonel Hancock and his company 
to receive and escort His Majesty s representative to the 
State House. He landed at Long Wharf on May 19, 
and received due honor at the hands of Colonel Hancock 
and the Cadets. 


Gage was proclaimed governor amid the acclamations 
of the people. They all partook of a bountiful enter 
tainment at Faneuil Hall, when the new governor ex 
pressed himself as aware of the unwelcome errand he 
came upon, but said, as he was a servant of the Crown, 
he was obliged to see the Act put in execution. His 
words were carefully followed by John Hancock and the 
leaders in the patriotic movements, who also watched 
each subsequent act of official authority. 

Although the Letter-book affords us no light upon the 
movements of Hancock at this critical time, the blank 
pages are forcible reminders of the man too much en 
grossed to place his thoughts upon paper. No more 
important subjects ever agitated the minds of the men 
of Boston than those discussed in John Hancock s count 
ing-room and other patriot headquarters. 

We can imagine the indignation of the Cadets when, 
in August, Governor Gage notified Colonel Hancock by 
the hand of his secretary, Flucker, that he had no further 
occasion for his services as the commander. 

The corps at once disbanded, and sent a committee to 
the governor with the standard which His Excellency 
had presented them. Colonel Hancock received a very 
encouraging message from the disbanded company, to 
which he replied : " I am ever ready to appear in a pub 
lic station, when the honor or the interest of the com 
munity calls me ; but shall always prefer retirement in 
a private station to being a tool in the hand of power to 
oppress my countrymen." 

We now follow the footsteps of John Hancock to the 
Old State House, where the General Court convened on 
May 25, by virtue of writs issued by Governor Hutch- 


Governor Gage met the assembly, and informed them 
that he had "the king s particular commands for hold 
ing the General Court at Salem ; " accordingly he ad 
journed the Legislature to Salem, there to meet on 
Tuesday, the 7th of June. This was because of the en 
forcement of the Port Bill, which took effect before the 
Legislature came together again. But Hancock and 
other representatives had not been idle ; and when they 
reassembled at Salem they made it their first business 
to protest against this adjournment, and prepared their 
answer to the governor s speech. This session, noted 
for lack of harmony, continued until the i/th of June, 
and was then dissolved by the governor s proclamation, 
read on the stairs of the Representative Chamber by 
Secretary Flucker, the door having been closed against 
him. But this act of His Excellency was not until after 
the representatives had passed resolutions, appointing 
John Hancock and others as delegates to the Continental 
Congress at Philadelphia, and made appropriation to de 
fray their expenses. 

John Hancock consequently acted in the last legisla 
tive assembly regularly convened in Massachusetts un 
der writs issued by a governor appointed by the Crown. 

The distress of the summer months was made doubly 
trying by the fears of the winter on the part of the poor. 
The merchants were obliged to see their ships idle at 
the wharf and their warehouses vacant. But Hancock 
was fully occupied as one of the selectmen in attending 
the meetings of the Board held from week to week to 
settle the many new questions arising in the town. He 
was conspicuous by his absence at the meeting of Aug. 
13, called by request of Governor Gage, when His Excel 
lency notified the Board "that he had received from 

en ra 
O 8 


England the two Acts of Parliament lately passed in 
which was inserted a clause forbidding the calling of 
town-meetings without special license from the gover 
nor." But this did not disturb those far-seeing selectmen, 
who had two town-meetings now alive by adjournment. 

Hancock s vigilance, as a selectman, in the public in 
terests, only slackened when he was called to duty as a 

Governor Gage s order for the General Court to con 
vene on the 5th of October, although subsequently coun 
termanded, resulted in an assembly of ninety of the 
representatives. These resolved themselves into the 
Provincial Congress, of which John Hancock was made 
chairman, and Benjamin Lincoln was chosen clerk. 

They then adjourned to meet at Concord on the fol 
lowing Tuesday. When reassembled, the chairman and 
clerk were made president and secretary respectively. 
A committee was soon appointed to take into consider 
ation the state of the Province, and report. Of this 
committee John Hancock was chairman ; and when their 
report was accepted, and sent as a message to the gov 
ernor, it was attested by John Hancock, the president of 
the Provincial Congress. 

When they assembled, by adjournment, at Cambridge 
on the i/th inst., Mr. Hancock had the governor s an 
swer to read to the Congress. It was at the third ses 
sion of this First Provincial Congress, and on Oct. 22, 
that the question of the annual Thanksgiving was dis 
cussed ; and it was decided that the appointment should 
be made by this body of men, and Thursday, the fif 
teenth day of December, was selected for the autumnal 
festival. The proclamation issued was the first on which 
the "king" was not recognized. (See Appendix III.) 



Thus they went on step by step until the record of 
the First Provincial Congress was completed on Dec. 
10, 1774. 

The interim between this adjournment and the as 
sembling of the Second Congress afforded Mr. Hancock 
no rest. He appears immediately with the selectmen 
devising plans for the control of the small-pox, which 
the army brought to the town. 


(Where John Hancock lived when at Provincial Congress.) 

So urgent was this duty that they met on Sunday, 
and prepared a notice for print in the papers of the fol 
lowing morning, in order that the townspeople might be 
relieved of their anxiety. But the disease was not 
easily suppressed ; and the selectmen were in session 
daily, and Hancock is recorded as being in attendance. 

During these weeks of anxious care, there were 
strange scenes in the vicinity of the Hancock mansion ; 
for the king s army was in camp on the Common, and 


its movements by day or night were easily detected by 
the occupants of that famous dwelling. Among the 
frequent guests of Madam Hancock, during that memo 
rable winter of 1774-1775, was Dorothy Quincy, who in 
her old age, as Madam Scott, said she well remembered 
hearing Earl Percy s voice when drilling the regulars 
near the Hancock mansion. 

The Second Provincial Congress opened at Cam 
bridge on Feb. i, 1775 ; and John Hancock was there 
in the service of Boston. He was unanimously elected 
as the president of that body, and one of a committee 
to consider and report "the state and circumstances of 
the Province." On the fourth day of that session we 
find John Hancock putting the motion " that the secre 
tary be directed to write Col. Roberson, desiring him to 
deliver the four brass field pieces, and the two brass 
mortars now in his hands, the property of the Province, 
to the order of the Committee of Safety." But there 
was another party in authority, Governor Gage, 
who was looking after arms and military stores in the 
interest of the king. We can readily imagine the sur 
prise of his officers when going to look for the Province 
guns and finding only the carriages, and seem to hear 
their exclamation, " They are gone ; these fellows will 
steal the teeth out of your head while you are keeping 
guard ! " 

Their search did not reveal the guns ; an unbroken 
cobweb convinced them they could not have been taken 
out the gateway ; and as the only other possible pas 
sage-way was through a schoolhouse, they proceeded to 
search there. With what intensity of feeling the boys 
in their seats and Mr. Holbrook, the schoolmaster, 
watched the officers. But the box on which Master 


Holbrook s lame foot was carefully placed, was the one 
hiding-place undisturbed. Hence schoolmaster, boys, 
and other patriots had the satisfaction of knowing that 
they had acted an important part in saving two of the 
guns, and in carrying into execution the resolve of the 
Provincial Congress ; for those guns were in service 
through the whole war, and are now seen on the wall 
inside of the top of Bunker Hill Monument, known as 
the Hancock and Adams. 



This is one of four cannon which constituted the whole 
train of Field Artillery possessed by the British colo 
nies of North America at the commencement 
of the war on the 19^ of April, 1775. 


and its fellow, belonging to a number of citizens of Boston, 

were used in many engagements during the war. The 

other two, the property of the Government of 

Massachusetts, were taken by the enemy. 

By order of the United States, in Congress 
assembled May 19, 1788. 

These two guns were used many years in the " An 
cient and Honorable Artillery," and by them the 
Adams was burst in firing a salute. 

It was in this session of the Provincial Congress that 
John Hancock and his associates, chosen by the former 
Congress as delegates to the Continental Congress, 
"were authorized and empowered, with the delegates 
from the other American Colonies, to adjourn from 
time to time, and place to place, as they shall judge 
necessary, and to continue as delegates until the end of 

55 2f 











1 8 
u. 1 

t i 
1/5 I 


the year." The first session adjourned on Feb. 16 ; and 
we find its president, John Hancock, back in Boston on 
duty with the selectmen. On March 9 he was with 
those officials in their meeting " to examine into the 
affair of this morning when a countryman was tar d and 
feathered and carried thro the Streets of this Town by 
a large Party of Soldiers of the 47. Regiment headed 
by Coll Nesbit." * 

At the meeting of March 11, Hancock was in atten 
dance when Ditson s case was freely discussed, and a 
letter ordered to be sent to the selectmen of Billerica. 
But he was absent on the I4th, when the officials of 
that town appeared before the Boston authorities. 

On the i 5th and i8th he was in the sessions. We 
almost wonder at this ; for, on the previous evening, 
" Col. Hancock s elegant seat, situated near the Com 
mon, was attacked by a number of officers, who with 
their swords, cut and hacked the fence before his house 
in a most scandalous manner and behaved very abusively, 
by breaking people s windows, and insulting every per 
son they met." With these scenes fresh in his mind, 
we may imagine with what intensity of feeling on the 
1 8th John Hancock discussed the letter sent up to Bos 
ton by the selectmen of Middleboro, Plympton, and Hali 
fax " relating to the ill behaviour of some of the Troops 
sent to Marshfield by General Gage." 

On the following night, iQth, Hancock was again 
annoyed by the soldiers, who entered his enclosure, and 
refused to retire after his requesting them to do so, 
telling him that his house and stable would soon be 
theirs, and then they would do as they pleased. 

We may well imagine that John Hancock presented 

1 Thomas Uitson of Billerica. 


an anxious face at Concord on the morning of the 22cl, 
when the second session of the Provincial Congress 
assembled. But with an unfaltering purpose he entered 
upon the duties of the president of the Assembly, and 
was faithful at his post until the adjournment on the 
i 5th of April. 

Knowing the condition of affairs in Boston, we con 
clude that Hancock did not return to his home during 
the intermissions of the session, but that he went to 
the Lexington parsonage, where his cousins, Rev. and 
Mrs. Jonas Clark, gladly welcomed him and his associate. 

Turning again to the Hancock mansion, we are not 
surprised to find Madam Lydia Hancock anxious, espe 
cially now that her nephew, the master of the house, is 
absent, and serving as president of the Provincial Con 
gress, making plans to thwart the king s army. The 
modest parsonage at Lexington offers a safe retreat for 
her ; and in company with her young friend, Miss 
Ouincy, she is driven in her coach to the home of her 
niece, where the family are once more together. John 
Hancock was on familiar ground when at this Lexington 
home ; for, as we have seen in the introduction, he 
spent much of his time in childhood with his grand 
parents at this place. Upon the adjournment of the 
Congress at Concord he went immediately to Lexing 
ton ; and Paul Revere has told us that he carried a mes 
sage from Dr. Warren to Hancock and Adams on the 
following Sunday, whom he found at the home of Rev. 
Jonas Clark. 

I have sat in that old parsonage until I have seen in 
fancy the notable group of that April night, as they 
gathered about the time-honored hearthstone. 

The last rays of the setting sun have left the dampness 


of the meadows to gather about the home ; and each 
guest and family occupant has gladly taken seats within 
the house, while Mrs. Jonas Clark has closed the shut 
ters, added a new fore-log, and fanned the embers to a 
cheerful flame. Although the venerable widow is par 
tially hidden in the shadow, the flickering candle reveals 
the sadness of her countenance when the condition of 
affairs in Boston is discussed. But the shadow is dis 
pelled for a time as Madam Hancock tells her nephew 
and other guests of the visit that day from her pastor, 
Rev. Dr. Cooper, who fled from Boston on the i6th of 
April, and went out to Weston, and had taken a trip 
to the Lexington parsonage, and dined there with her 
and Rev. and Mrs. Clark. The stern and inflexible 
Samuel Adams hears it all, and declares his purpose 
with undaunted zeal, finding in Rev. Jonas Clark one of 
a kindred spirit. The young couple whom Madam Han 
cock has studiously brought together exchange sympa 
thetic glances as they take part in the conversation. 
Hancock and Adams are among patriot friends. They 
know that many a flame has been kindled from the Lex 
ington altar; and they do not hesitate to tell of the action 
of the Provincial Congress, and speak of the gathering 
cloud so near to bursting. The hours wear away, and 
the candles are snuffed once more ; and before they 
burn into the brass sockets all have retired, not without 
apprehensions of approaching trouble, but with little 
thought that the king s strong arm of military authority 
is already extended toward that room where the Con 
gressmen have pillowed their weary heads. 
Leaving the immortal Longfellow to tell, - 

It was one by the village clock, 
When he galloped into Lexington, 


we trace John Hancock, as with Samuel Adams and 
Miss Quincy, he is driven over to Woburn Precinct, 
Burlington, where the company are welcomed by Madam 
Jones at the Precinct Parsonage. But Hancock was not 
permitted to remain there long. An excited messenger 
brought a false alarm ; and when about to sit down to a 
bountiful meal, the two patriots were conducted by Cuff, 
the parsonage negro slave, away through the woods to 
the home of Amos Wyman, 1 in an obscure corner of the 
town of Billerica, just at Bedford line. How Hancock s 
scarlet cloak must have aroused the songsters of that 
April morning, as his graceful figure glided through the 
forest ! and how welcome must have been the sight of 
that rude home as they approached the door, which 
swung open as Cuff pulled the latch-string, and proudly 
ushered in the noted men ! The early start, bracing 
April breeze, and savory smell of promised food at the 
parsonage, conspired to arouse an appetite in these men 
that could not be longer suppressed. The modest 
housewife gave her unaccustomed guests the best she 
had. Cold boiled salt pork, cold potatoes, and brown 
bread were strange viands for Hancock ; but he ate 
them with a relish that was not forgotten when he was 
again master of his own home. 

1 The Wyman estate of 1 775 is now owned by Mr. George Bennett of 
Burlington. Through his permission, patriotic citizens of Billerica have 
taken steps to add to the natural and historical attractions of the place. 
The old well has been restored to its former usefulness; and a bowlder, 
near the old hearth-stone, bears the following inscription : 






How long John Hancock and his companion remained 
in seclusion is not known ; but wisely directed caution 
must have kept them beyond the possible reach of Gen 
eral Gage, who was bent on their arrest, to be sent to 
England for trial. 




THE third session of the Second Provincial Congress 
convened at Concord on April 22, and immediately ad 
journed to Watertown. But as Hancock was a delegate 
to the Continental Congress, to convene at Philadelphia 
on May 10, he did not again appear in that body. 

His next appearance is told by the following letter to 
the Committee of Safety : 

[From New England Magazine.] 

WORCESTER, April 24, 1775. 
Monday Evening. 

GENTLEMEN: Mr. S. Adams and myself, just arrived here, find 
no intelligence from you, and no guard. We just hear an express 
has just passed through this place to you, from New York, inform 
ing that administration is bent upon pushing matters ; and that four 
regiments are expected there. How are we to proceed? Where 
are our brethren? Surely, we ought to be supported. I had rather 
be with you ; and, at present, am fully determined to be with you, 
before I proceed. I beg, by the return of this express, to hear from 
you, and pray, furnish us with depositions of the conduct of the 
troops, the certainty of their firing first, and every circumstance 
relative to the conduct of the troops from the 19^ instant, to this 
time, that we may be able to give some account of matters as we 
proceed, especially at Philadelphia, also, I beg you would order 
your secretary to make out an account of your proceedings since 
what has taken place ; what your plan is ; what prisoners we have, 


and what they have of ours ; who of note was killed, on both sides ; 
who commands our forces, c. 

Are our men in good spirits? For God s sake do not suffer the 
spirit to subside, until they have perfected the reduction of our ene 
mies. Boston must be entered ; the troops must be sent away, 
. . . Our friends are valuable, but our country must be saved. 
I have an interest in that town. What can be the enjoyment of that 
town, if I am obliged to hold it at the will of Gen. Gage or any one 
else? I doubt not your vigilance, your fortitude, and resolution. 
Do let us know how you proceed. We must have the Castle. 
The ships must be ... Stop up the harbor against large vessels 
coming. You know better what to do than I can point out. Where 
is Mr. Gushing. 1 Are Mr. Paine 2 and Mr. John Adams to be with 
us? What are we to depend upon? We travel rather as deserters, 
which I will not submit to. I will return and join you, if I cannot 
detain this man, as I want much to hear from you. How goes on 
theGongress? \Vho is your president ? Are the members hearty? 
Pray remember Mr. S. Adams and myself to all friends. God be 
with you. 

I am, gentlemen, your faithful and hearty countryman 



The above letter leads to the conclusion that Han 
cock and his companion, soon after their frugal meal at 
Amos Wyman s in Billerica, set out on their journey 
to Philadelphia. It was but five days after the flight 
from Lexington that Hancock penned the letter from 
Worcester. Anxiety is detected in its tone. Let us look 
for the occasion of it. The Province of Massachusetts 
had risen in her own defence, and bravely had she main 
tained her ground ; but her garments were wet with the 
blood of her sons mingled with that of the loyal subjects 
of the king. How were the other Provinces to regard 
this precipitation ? Connecticut and New Hampshire 
had sustained them ; and their sons had responded to 

1 Thomas Gushing. 2 Robert Treat Paine. 


the Lexington alarm, and were ready to share in the 
perils of the time. But how would the rest of the 
country regard the movement ? Would they stand by 
Massachusetts in this extremity ? It was such questions 
that disturbed the minds of these delegates to the Sec 
ond Continental Congress. They were sure of New 
England ; and as the Hancock coach rolled along through 
Connecticut, the occupants felt perfectly safe, but the 
attitude of New York was yet to be learned. 

Hancock s letter to Miss Quincy supplies the infor 
mation : 

[From " Family Memorials," by Edward E. Salisbury.] 

NEW YORK, Sabbath Even g, May 7, 1775. 

I Arrived well, tho 1 Fatigued, at King s Bridge at Fifty Minutes 
after Two o clock yesterday, where I found the Delegates of Massa 
chusetts and Connect 1 , with a Number of Gentlemen from New 
York, and a Guard of the Troop. I Din d and then set out in Pro 
cession for New York, the Carriage of your humble servant of course 
being first in the Procession. When we Arrived within three Miles 
of the City we were Met by the Grenadier Company and Regiment 
of the City Militia under Arms, Gentlemen in Carriages and on 
Horseback, and many Thousand of Persons on Foot, the Roads 
fill ? d with people, and the greatest Cloud of Dust I ever saw. In 
this Scituation we Entered the City, and passing thro 1 the Principal 
Streets of New York amidst the Acclamations of Thousands were 
set Down at Mr. Francis s. After Entering the House three Huzzas 
were Given, and the People by Degrees Dispers d. 

When I got within a mile of the City my Carriage was stopt, 
and Persons appearing with proper Harnesses insisted upon Taking 
out my Horses and Dragging me into and through the City, a Cir 
cumstance I would not have had Taken place upon any considera 
tion, not being fond of such Parade. 

I BegVl and Intreated that they would Suspend the Design, and 
ask d it as a favour, and the Matter Subsided, but when I got to 
the Entrance of the City, and the Numbers of Spectators increas d 
to perhaps Seven Thousand or more, they Declared they would 
have the Horses out and would Drag me themselves thro 1 the City. 


I Repeated my Request, and I was oblig d to apply to the Leading 
Gentlemen in the procession to intercede with them not to Carry 
their Designs into Execution ; as it was very disagreeable to me. 
They were at last prevailed upon and I preceded. I was much 
oblig d to them for their good wishes and Opinion, in short no 
Person could possibly be more notic d than myself. 

After having Rode so fast and so many Miles you may well 
think I was much Fatigu d, but no sooner had I got into the Room 
of the House we were Visited by a great number of Gentlemen of 
the first Character in the city, who Took up the Evening. 

About 10 o clock I Sat down to Supper of Fried Oysters, &c., 
at ii o clock went to Capt. Sears s (the King Inn) and Lodg d. 
Arose at 5 o clock, went to the House first mentioned, Breakfasted, 
Dress d and went to Meeting, where I heard a most excellent Ser 
mon by Mr. Livingston, Returned to the same House, a most 
Elegant Dinner provided. 

Went to Meeting, heard Dr. Rogers, a fine preacher. To 
morrow Morning propose to Cross the Ferry. We are to have a 
large Guard in several Boats and a Number of the City Gentlemen 
will attend us over. I can t think they will Dare attack us. 

The Grenadier Company of the City is to Continue under Arms 
during our stay here, and we have a Guard of them Night and Day 
at our Doors. This is a sad mortification for the Tories, things 
look well here. 

The travelling company now consisted of John Han 
cock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Thomas dishing, 
Robert Treat Paine, Roger Sherman, and Silas Deane. 

I Beg you will write me ; do acquaint me every Circumstance 
Relative to that Dear Aunt of Mine ; write Lengthy and often. Mr. 
Nath. Barrett and Mr. Buck are here. People move slowly out, 
they tell me, from Boston. My best Respects to Mr. & Mrs. Burr. 
My poor Face and Eyes are in a most shocking scituation, burnt up 
and much swell d and a little painfull. I don t know how to man 
age with it. 

Is your Father out? As soon as you know, do acquaint me, 
and send me the Letters, and I will then write him. Pray let me 
hear from you by every Post. God Bless you my Dr Girl, and be 
lieve me most Sincerely 

Yours most Affectionately, 



It is -apparent that Hancock s ideas, when at Worces 
ter, of the duty of the Provincial Congress, were exactly 
those of that body left by him ; for, as soon as the Con 
tinental Congress assembled, a packet was received from 
Massachusetts Congress, containing copies of the depo 
sitions sent to London, of the address to the inhabitants 
of Great Britain, and a letter to Benjamin Franklin, Esq. 

As we have been interested in the noted men shown 
by the Letter-book to have been in touch with Hancock 
at Boston, so we cannot fail to have an interest in those 
with whom he came in contact through the opening and 
progress of the Second Continental Congress at Phila 
delphia. There was George Washington from Virginia, 
whom Hancock had met in Boston in the year 1756. 
Richard Henry Lee, a close companion of Colonel 
Washington, was early introduced to Hancock by John 
Adams, who had made the acquaintance of the Virginian 
at the former Congress. Peyton Randolph, the presi 
dent of the former Congress, and also the one chosen 
to the honored seat for the Second Congress, was early 
presented to Hancock, the man who almost alone of the 
wealthy, aristocratic merchants of Boston had early es 
poused the side of opposition to Great Britain. Others 
from Virginia were Edmund Pendleton, Benjamin Har 
rison, and Richard Bland. Benjamin Eranklin and Han 
cock met before the Congress assembled. They were 
both Massachusetts born, and now, as regards age and 
experience, stood in the relation of father and son. 
George Clinton and Robert Livingston from New York 
were soon on friendly relations with Hancock. 

The late coming of Thomas Jefferson in place of 
Peyton Randolph, who was obliged to return to his 
home, brought another man to the side of Hancock. 

o = 

< . 

O M 


Southern delegates were not averse to him as they were 
to the more radical Adamses; for Hancock, represent 
ing a different class of society, was more conciliatory 
in his presence. 

It was during the early part of this Congress that 
General Gage at Boston issued a proclamation offering 
pardon to all the rebels except Samuel Adams and John 
Hancock, " whose offences are of too flagitious a nature 
to admit of any other consideration than that of condign 
punishment." It was a proscribed rebel who was se 
lected by this notable assembly as their president when 
Peyton Randolph retired. Benjamin Harrison con 
ducted John Hancock to the president s chair, remark- 
in <r as he went, " We will show Britain how much we 


value her proscriptions." 

Hancock s ability as a presiding officer had been de 
tected in the Boston town-meetings, and in this exalted 
position he merited much credit. It was when Han 
cock was in the chair that Washington was nominated 
by John Adams as commander-in-chief of the Conti 
nental army. Thus Virginia and Massachusetts were 
strengthening their early alliance. It was at this nom 
ination that John Adams is credited with having de 
tected in the countenance of Hancock jealousy and 
resentment. Without questioning the power of John 
Adams to penetrate to the feelings of a silent man, we 
can but accord credit to the one who was disappointed, 
for having so mastered his ambitions as to write to 
General Washington, on July 10, 1775, as follows: 

I must beg the favor that you will reserve some berth for me, in 
such department as you may judge most proper ; for I am deter 
mined to act under you, if it be to take a firelock and join the ranks 
as volunteer. 


It does not appear that Hancock joined the army 
under Washington, but the letter speaks for itself. 
Other and later evidence of Hancock s friendly regard 
for Washington is seen in the naming of his son John 
George Washington Hancock. 

In May, Congress directed reprisals to be made, both 
by public and private armed vessels, against the ships 
and goods of the mother country, found on the high 
seas. By this act, known as privateering, Hancock saw 
that the Congress were in sympathy with him and other 
merchants who had for years been declaring that the 
commercial question was the one of great importance. 

As the overburdened merchant, banker, or politician 
leaves his office, and seeks relief in the quiet of domes 
tic comforts, so we find the president of the Continental 
Congress, with mind distracted by private and public 
cares, turn for relief to the most common, trifling con 
cerns of domestic life. 

Lest we lose sight of that charming young lady last 
seen at the parsonage at Woburn Precinct, let us leave 
the arena of government, and follow her to Fairfield, 
Conn., where she is the guest at the house of Thaddeus 
Burr, and there receives a letter from her lover, John 

[From New England Magazine^ 

PHILAD A, loth June, 1775. 

MY DR. DOLLY : I am almost prevailed on to think that my let 
ters to my Aunt & you are not read, for I cannot obtain a reply, I 
have ask d million questions & not an answer to one, I beg d you to 
let me know what things my Aunt wanted & you, and many other 
matters I wanted to know, but not one word in answer. I Really 
Take it extreme unkind, pray my D r - use not so much Ceremony & 
Reservedness, why can t you use freedom in writing, be not afraid 
of me, I want long Letters. I am glad the little things I sent you 
were agreeable. Why did you not write me of the top of the Um- 


brella. I am so sorry it was spoiled, but I will send you another by 
my Express wc h will go in a few days. How did my Aunt like her 
gown, & do let me know if the Stockings suited her ; she had better 
send a pattern shoe & stocking, I warrant I will suit her. The In- 
clos d letter for your Father you will read, & seal & forward him, 
you will observe I mention in it your writing your Sister Katy about 
a few necessaries for Katy Sewall, what you think Right let her 
have & Roy James, this only between you and I ; do write your 
Father I should be glad to hear from him, & I Beg, my Dear Dolly, 
you will write me often & long Letters, I will forgive the past if you 
will mend in future. Do ask my Aunt to make me up & send me a 
Watch String, & do you make up another send me, I wear them 
out fast. I want some little thing of your doing. 

Remember me to all Friends with you as if nam d. I am call d 
upon & must obey. 

I have sent you by Doc r Church in a paper Box Directed to you, 
the following things, for your acceptance, & which I do insist you 
wear, if you do not, I shall think the Donor is the objection : 

2 pair white silk | stockings which 

4 pr. white thread ) I think will fit you 

i pr. Black Satin | shoes, the other 

i p. Black Calem Co. ) Shall be sent when done. 

I very pretty light Hat 

1 neat Airy Summer Cloak. (I ask Docr. Church) 

2 caps 

i Fann 

I wish these may please you, I shall be gratified if they do, pray 
write me, I will attend to all your Commands. 

Adieu my D" Girl, and believe me to be with great Esteem & 

Yours without Reserve, 

Remember me to Katy Brackett. 

It is to be hoped that the heart of John Hancock was 
soothed by a note from Miss " Dolly," and that he was 
comforted by receiving the simple testimonial, a watch- 
string, for which he expressed a wish. 

As may well be supposed, Hancock s shrewd, design- 


ing Aunt Lyclia was a guest with Miss Ouincy at the 
home of Thaddeus Burr ; and had it not been for her 
presence, family history might have taken a different 

A nephew of their host, Aaron Burr, came as a guest 
to the home ; and his magnetic influence soon had an 
effect upon the beautiful young lady guest. But the 
watchful aunt prevented the charmer from thwarting 
the Hancock family plans, and on the 28th day of the 
following August there was a great wedding at Fairfield. 
John Hancock, the President of the Continental Con 
gress, and Miss Dorothy Quincy were joined in marriage 
in style befitting the family situation. 

The noted couple went at once to Philadelphia, and 
took up their abode, thus providing a retreat for the 
weary president when he daily retired from the duties 
of Congress. 

While it was not prudent for Hancock to return to 
Boston during the siege, he kept in touch with the 
patriots who were there, communication being kept up 
by the hand of his servant. See letter of John Adams 
to his wife : 

PHILADELPHIA, 29 May, 1775. 

Our amiable friend Hancock, who, by the way, is our President, 
is to send his servant to-morrow to Cambridge. I am to send a 
few lines by him. If his man should come to you, to deliver this 
letter, treat him very kindly, because he is a kind, humane, clever 

President of Continental Congress. 






ALTHOUGH Hancock had a new-found treasure with 
him at Philadelphia, he turned at times with solicitude 
to Boston, where his property was at the mercy of the 
enemy. He thought of that army besieging the town, 
but he knew their leader was friendly ; and to Wash 
ington, located in the beautiful home on "Tory Row," 
Cambridge, Hancock wrote on Dec. 22, 1775 : 

For your future proceedings, I must beg leave to refer you to 
the inclosed resolutions. I would just inform you that the last re 
solve, relative to an attack upon Boston, passed after a most serious 
debate in a committee of the whole house. You are now left to the 
dictates of prudence and your own judgment. May God crown 
your attempt with success. I most heartily wish it, though, individ 
ually, I may be the greatest sufferer. 

To the inhabitants of Canada Hancock says : 

Let it be the pride of those whose souls are warmed and illu 
minated by the sacred flames of freedom, to be discouraged by no 


check, and to surmount every obstacle that may be interposed be 
tween them and the darling object of their wishes. We anticipate, 
in our pleased imaginations, the happy period when the standard of 
tyranny shall find no place in North America. 

In addressing General Philip Schuyler, after the sur 
render of Montreal, Hancock writes : 

You have hitherto risen superior to a thousand difficulties, in 
giving freedom to a great and an oppressed people. You have 
already reaped many laurels, but a plentiful harvest still invites you. 
Proceed, therefore, and let the footsteps of victory open a way for 
the blessings of liberty, and the happiness of a well-ordered govern 
ment to visit that extensive domain. Consider that the road to 
glory is seldom strewed with flowers ; and that, when the black and 
bloody standard of tyranny is erected in 
a land possessed by freemen, patriots 
cease to remain inactive spectators of 
their country s fall. 

In a letter to General Mont 
gomery, in regard to the surren 
der of Montreal, Hancock writes : 

The Congress, utterly abhorrent from 
every species of cruelty to prisoners, and 
GENERAL GEORGE determined to adhere to this benevolent 

WASHINGTON. maxim till the conduct of their enemies 

renders a deviation from it indispensably 

necessary, will ever applaud their officers for beautifully blending 
the Christian with the conqueror, and never, in endeavoring to 
acquire the character of the hero, to lose that of the man. 

Remembering that on March 17, 1776, General Gage, 
with the British army and a thousand or more Loyalists 
(Tories), abandoned Boston, and that Washington en 
tered the evacuated town at once, we are curious to 
know how the good news affected the absent Boston 
merchant, John Hancock. 


This we find in a letter of eight days later to the 
commander-iii-chief : 

SIR : I had the honor of receiving yesterday yours of the I9 tll > 
containing the agreeable information of the ministerial troops hav 
ing abandoned Boston, the partial victory we have obtained over 
them in that quarter, I hope, will turn out a happy presage of a 
more general one. Whatever place may he the object of their des 
tination, it must certainly give a sincere pleasure to every friend 
of the country to see the most diligent preparations everywhere 
making to receive them. What may be their views, it is, indeed, 
impossible to tell with any degree of exactness. We have all the 
reason, however, from the rage of disappointment and revenge, to 
expect the worst. Nor have I any doubt that, as far as their power 
extends, they will inflict every species of calamity upon us. The 
same Providence that has baffled their attempt against the Province 
of Massachusetts Bay will, I trust, defeat the deep-laid scheme, 
they are now meditating against some other part of our country. 

The intelligence that our army had got possession of Boston, 
you will readily suppose, gave me heartfelt pleasure. I beg sir, you 
will be pleased to accept my warmest thanks for the attention 
you Jiave showed to my property in that town. I have only to 
request that Capt. Cazneau will continue to look after and take care 
that it be no ways destroyed or damaged. This success of our 
arms naturally calls upon me to congratulate you, sir, to whose wis 
dom and conduct it has been owing. Permit me to add, that if a 
constant discharge of the most important duties, and the fame 
attending thereon, can afford genuine satisfaction, the pleasure you 
feel must be the most rational and exalted. 

[Letter from "Book of the Signers."] 

PHILADELPHIA, 2ist March, 1776. 

Thursday Evening. 

SIR : I am this moment honor d with your favV of I3th by 
Express which I shall lay before Congress in the morning. I 
expect immediately to be order d to Dispatch the first Fessenden to 
you when I shall have the honour to write you very particularly. 
This is only to inform you that I have sent Two hundred and fifty 
Thousand Dollars for the use of the army under your command. In 
the care of Thomas Hanson, John Donaldson & Moses Franks, 
Esqrs, gentlemen of character, who I am confident will meet your 


notice. I am with the fullest sentiments of Esteem. Sir Your very 
humble servt, 



On Public Service 


Commander in Chief of the Army of the United Colonies, &=<;. 

at Cambridge. 

JOHN HANCOCK, by Mr. Hanson. 

The official letter, with congratulations from Con 
gress, under date of April 2, bears the signature of 
John Hancock. 

Hancock s private letter to Washington furnishes an 
intimation of the facts which the reader, interested in 
the Hancock mansion, must desire to know. 

The conduct of Gage s troops about the premises, 
before the family vacated, made the members the more 
anxious in their absence. The property was intrusted 
to Captain Cazneau, 1 one of John Hancock s sailing- 
masters, who had no employment when the blockade 
went into effect. How far his vigilance may have been 
helpful, cannot be known ; but the mansion was spared, 
although not without signs of the rough treatment of 
the officers who enjoyed its luxuriant furnishings, as a 
.subsequent letter reveals. 

This mansion was occupied soon after April 19, 1775, 
by Earl Percy, who took possession by order of General 
Gage. General Clinton was located there for a time. 
Both house and stables were in part occupied by the 

1 Captain Isaac Cazneau, of Huguenot descent, nephew of 1 aix Cnz- 
neau, who kept the Sun Tavern of Boston. 


wounded brought over to Boston on the night succeed 
ing the Battle of Bunker Hill. 1 

Hancock says on April 30, 1776:- 

The unprepared state of the colonies, on the commencement 
of the war, and the almost total want of everything necessary to 
carry it on, are the true sources from whence all our difficulties have 
proceeded. This fact, however, furnishes a proof most striking of 
the weakness or wickedness of those who charge them with an origi 
nal intention of withdrawing from the government of Great Britain, 
and erecting an independent empire. Had such a scheme been 
formed, the most warlike preparations would have been necessary 
to effect it. 

This truthful analysis of the situation tallied with 
Franklin s statement to Lord Chatham just before April 
!9 I 775 "I never heard from any person the least 
expression of a wish for separation ; " also with Washing 
ton s words in the previous October, " No such thing as 
independence is desired by any thinking man in Amer 
ica ;" and with Jefferson s statement, "Before the iQth 
of April, 1775, I never heard a whisper of a disposi 
tion to separate from Great Britain." John Adams s 
statement, published a month before open hostilities, 
breathes the same. It is, "That there are any who pant 
after independence is the greatest slander in the Prov 

The removal of the seat of war from New England 
gave occasion for the commander-in-chief to proceed to 
New York, where he made his headquarters. But the 

1 The town, although it has suffered greatly, is not in so bad a state 
as I expected to find it; and I have a particular pleasure in being able to 
inform you, sir, that your house has received no damage worth mention 
ing. Your furniture is in tolerable order, and the family pictures are all 
left entire and untouched. WASHINGTON TO HANCOCK. 

Tuesday, March 9. 


Continental Congress, on May 16, passed a resolution 
calling Washington to Philadelphia, in order to advise 
with them as to future movements. The expected visit 
gave Hancock an opportunity to express his kindly feel 
ing towards Washington, which is seen in the following 
letter : - 

I reside in an airy, open part of the city, in Arch Street and 
Fourth Street. Your favor of the 2o* h inst. I received this morning, 
and cannot help expressing the very great pleasure it would afford 
Mrs. Hancock and myself to have the happiness of accommodating 
you during Your stay in this city. As the house I live in is large 
and roomy, it will be entirely in Your power to live in that manner 
you should wish. Mrs. Washington may be as retired as she pleases, 
while under inoculation, 1 and Mrs. Hancock will esteem it an honor 
to have Mrs. Washington inoculated in her house ; and as I am in 
formed Mr. Randolph has not any lady about his house to take the 
necessary care of Mrs. Washington, I flatter myself she will be as 
well attended in my family. 

In short, sir, I must take the freedom to repeat my wish, that 
You will be pleased to condescend to dwell under my roof. I assure 
you, sir, I will do all in my power to render your stay agreeable, 
and my house shall be entirely at your disposal. I must, however, 
submit this to your determination and only add that you will pecu 
liarly gratify Mrs. H. and myself, in affording me an opportunity of 
convincing you of this truth, that I am, with every sentiment of re 
gard for you and your connections, and with much esteem, dear sir, 
Your faithful and most obedient humble servant. 

The result of the deliberations of Congress is learned 
from the following letter of July 6, 1/76, to Washing 
ton : 

The Congress, for some days past, have had their attention oc 
cupied by one of the most interesting and important subjects that 
could possibly come before them, or any other assembly of men. 

1 Having had the small-pox when a young man, at Barbadoes, Wash 
ington felt safe in the presence of that dreaded malady, which caused so 
much trouble during the war ; but he was anxious for Mrs. Washington to 
be inoculated, as the means of prevention adopted at that time. 


Although it is not possible to foresee consequences of human ac 
tions, yet it is, nevertheless, a duty we owe ourselves and posterity, 
in all our public counsels, to decide in the best manner we are able, 
and to trust the event to that Being, who controls both causes and 
events, to bring about his own determinations. Impressed with 
this sentiment, and at the same time fully convinced that our affairs 
may take a more favorable turn, the Congress have judged it neces 
sary to dissolve all connections between Great Britain and the 
American Colonies, and to declare them free and independent States, 
as you will perceive by the enclosed Declaration, which I am di 
rected by Congress to transmit to you, and to request you will have 
proclaimed at the head of the army, in the way you shall think most 

It was to this Declaration that John Hancock was 
first to affix his signature, saying, " I write so that George 
the Third may read without his spectacles." 1 

While the patriots of the various towns had, by their 
votes, encouraged their representatives to declare the 
country s independence, there were not wanting those 
who believed and said that John Hancock and all who 
had put their names on that document had signed their 

Among those who urged the president to this bold 
act was his father-in-law, Edmund Quincy, who in a let 
ter, under date of March 25, 1776, said : 

Truly I think that the member of the House of Commons, who, 
in a ludicrous manner, inquired at what time the Americans were 
emancipated might have saved himself the trouble by looking into 
Sir William Blackstone s " Commentaries," vol. i., p. 233, upon the 
duties of kings, where he would have found it to be a maxim of 
common law: " When protection ceaseth, allegiance ceaseth to be 
the duty of subjects." Mass. Historical Society, 1858-1860. 

1 The signature of the President of the Continental Congress, seen upon 
the Declaration of Independence, has been characterized as evidence of 
egotism, but will be seen to appear in very similar style in private letters 
to Mrs. Hancock, penned for no other eyes than those of his beloved wife. 


People may disagree as to the inherent and acquired 
ability of Hancock. There may be varied opinions as 
to the motives of his declarations, oral and written, and 
one overt act may be allowed to outweigh scores of cred 
itable ones ; but his name is immortal, and to be read 
upon the Declaration of Independence " without specta 
cles " by every lover of liberty and by every would-be 
tyrant. (See Frontispiece?) 

We may imagine that Hancock took peculiar pride in 
his communication to General Artemas Ward, 1 under the 
same date as that to Washington ; for it was to the peo 
ple of Boston and the entire Province of Massachusetts. 

PHILADELPHIA, July 6, 1776. 

SIR : The enclosed Declaration of Independence, I am directed 
to transmit to you with a request that you will have it proclaimed at 
the head of the troops under your command in the way you shall 
think most proper. I have only time to add, that the importance 
of it will naturally suggest the Propriety of proclaiming it in such a 
manner, as that the whole army may be fully appraised of it. 
I have the honor to be, sir, 

Your most obed. and very h ble sevX 


In an eloquent appeal to the thirteen United States, 
dated at Philadelphia, Sept. 24, 1776, Hancock says : 

Let us convince our enemies that, as we are entered into the 
present contest for the defence of our liberties, so we are resolved, 
with the firmest reliance on Heaven for the justice of our cause, 
never to relinquish it, but rather to perish in the ruins of it. If we 
do but remain firm, if we are not dismayed at the little shocks of 
fortune, and are determined, at all hazards, that we will be free, 
I am persuaded under the gracious smiles of Providence, assisted by 
our own most strenuous endeavors, we shall finally succeed, agreea- 

1 Aitemas Ward kept a general store at Shrewsbury, purchasing 
broadcloth, etc., of John Hancock. OLD TIMES IN SHREWSBURY, by 
Miss Elizabeth Ward. 



bly to our wishes, and thereby establish the independence, the hap 
piness, and the glory of the United States of America. 

In a letter to several States dated Philadelphia, Oct. 
9, 1 776, Hancock writes : 

The Congress, for very obvious reasons, are extremely anxious 
to keep the army together. The dangerous consequences of their 
breaking up, and the difficulty of forming a new one, are inconceiv 
able. Were this barrier once removed, military power would quickly 
spread desolation and ruin over the face of our country. The im 
portance, and, indeed, the absolute necessity, of filling up the army, 
of providing for the troops, and engaging them to serve during the 
war, is so apparent, and has been so frequently urged, that I shall 
only request your attention to the resolve of Congress on this sub 
ject ; and beseech you by that love you have for your country, her 
rights and liberties, to exert yourselves to carry them Speedily and 
effectually, as the only means of preserving her in this her critical 
and alarming situation. 

The next letter at our command was written from 
Baltimore. The occasion of the change of location was 
the unpleasant nearness of the British army. Washing 
ton plainly saw, after his retreat through the Jerseys, 
that the enemy intended to take possession of Philadel 
phia as soon as the Delaware River should be frozen 
over ; and that city seemed to be inevitably lost. For 
greater safety, Congress changed their place of meeting 
from Philadelphia to Baltimore. It was Dec. 12, 1776, 
when the members gathered up their papers, and made 
haste to their new quarters. Not one of the noted men 
had more occasion for anxiety at this critical period than 
the president. 

There was soon added to his family an infant daugh 
ter, who was given the name of the honored aunt, Lydia 
Henchman. The child and its mother were objects of 
Hancock s tenderest solicitude, and not until he saw 


them comfortably located at the home of Mr. Samuel 
Purviance in Baltimore could he turn his attention to the 
protection of the infant republic. 

It was on Dec. 25, 1776, that Hancock wrote to New 
England thus : 

It is needless to use arguments on this occasion, or to paint the 
dreadful consequences, to gentlemen already fully acquainted with 
them, of leaving the back settlements of the New England States 
open to the ravages of our merciless foes. If anything can add to 
your exertions, at this time, it must be the reflection that your own 
most immediate safety calls upon you to strain every nerve. Should 
we heedlessly abandon the post of Ticonderoga, we give up incon 
ceivable advantages. Should we resolutely maintain it, and it is 
extremely capable of defence, we may bid defiance to Gen. Carleton, 
and the northern army under his command. But our exertions for 
this purpose must be immediate, or they will not avail anything. 




So successful was Washington, the commander-in-chief, 
when vested with unlimited power, and the danger that 
threatened Philadelphia so far removed, that Congress 
returned in the following February. Hancock person 
ally made the change of residence with little difficulty ; 
but it was not so easy to remove his family and re-estab 
lish his home. His heart yearned for his wife and babe, 
and two letters written on succeeding days afford much 
intelligence. By them we arc forcibly reminded of the 
inconvenience of travel at the time ; that Hancock re 
ceived family supplies from Boston ; that he did not for- 
fet those who befriended him in trouble, even though 


he had nothing more than codfish, a staple of Massachu 
setts, to offer in reward. He had experienced some diffi 
culty at one of the taverns on the route, and wisely 
warned Mrs. Hancock against it. While he would have 
the travelling company enjoy a " genteel dinner," he 
was particular that it was at his expense. Burdened 
with cares and short of money, he hopes relief may 
come with his family. 

An artist could give no more vivid picture of the 
president than is afforded by his own words when he 


pauses in his duties to eat a plate of " minc d veal " 
brought in by his servant "Jo." 

[Letter in possession of Mrs. William Wales.] 

PHILADELPHIA loth Marcn 1777. 

10 o clock evening. 

MY DEAR DEAR DOLLY : My Detention at the Ferry & the bad 
ness of the Roads prevented my arriving here untill Friday Evening. 

I put my things into Mr. Williams 1 house, and went in pursuit 
of Lodgings. Neither Mrs. Yard nor Lucy could accommodate me. 
I then went to Smith s & borrowed Two Blankets & returned to my 
own house ; soon after which, Mrs. Smith sent me up a very hand 
some supper, with a Table cloth, Knives & forks, plates, salt, a 
print of Butter, Tea, double refined Sugar, a Bowl of Cream, a Loaf 
of Bread &c. &c. & here I have remained & shall do so waiting your 
arrival. Indeed Mrs. Smith oblig d me much. I however lead a 
doleful lonesome life. Tho on Saturday, I dined at Dr. Shippins . 
He desires his Regds. he is as lonesome as I. On Saturday I sat 
clown to Dinner at the little table with Folger on a piece of Roast 
Beef with Potatoes. We drank your health with all our Baltimore 
friends. Last night Miss Lucy came to see me, & this morning, 
while I was at Breakfast on Tea with a pewter tea-spoon, Mrs. 
Yard came in. she could not stay to Breakfast with me. I spend 
my evenings at home, snuff my candles with a pair of scissors, 
which Lucy seeing, sent me a pair of snuffers, & dipping the gravy 
out of the Dish with my pewter tea spoon, she sent me a large silver 
spoon, and two silver tea spoons that I am now quite rich. 

I shall make out as well as I can, but I assure you, my Dear 
Soul, I long to have you here, & I know you will be as expeditious 
as you can. When I part from you again it must be a very extraor 
dinary occasion. I have sent everywhere to get a gold or silver 
rattle for the child with a coral to send, but cannot get one. I will 
have one if possible on yr. coming. I have sent a sash for her 
& two little papers of pins for you. If you do not want them you 
can give them away. 

However unsettled things may be I could not help sending for 
you as I cannot live in this way. We have an abundance of lies. 
The current report is General Howe is bent on coming here, an 
other report is that the Mercht s at New York are packing their goods 
& putting them on board ships & that the troops are going away, 
neither of which do I believe. We must, however take our chances, 


this you may depend on, that you will be ever the object of my 
utmost care & attention. 

I have been exceedingly busy, since I have been here, tho 1 have 
not yet made a Congress, are waiting for the South Carolina gentle 
men. If Capt. Hammond is arriv d with any things from Boston, 
You will have them put in the waggons & brought here. If she 
should not be arriv d leave the Receipt with Mr. S. Purviance & 
desire him to receive the things & send them to me. The inclosed 
Letter give to Mr. Newhouse, one of the Waggoners, Send for him 
& Let him know when You will be ready. I hope you will be able 
to pack up all your things quickly have them on the way, & that 
you will soon follow, be careful in packing & do not leave anything 
behind. Let Harry see that every thing is safely stored in the 
waggons. I send Mr. McClosky, he will be very useful. I am 
confident Mr. & Mrs. Hilligas will assist you, pray my best Regds. 
to them. I have not had a moments time to go to their house, but 
intend it today shall write Mr. Hilligas by the Post. Young Mr. 
Hilligas got here on Saturday, he is well, he delivered me your 
letter & one from his father. I was exceeding glad to hear from 
you & hope soon to receive another Letter. I know you will set off 
as soon as You can. endeavor to make good stages. You may 
easily lodge at Mr. Steles 1 at Bush the first night. It is a good 
house. However I must leave those matters to you as the Road, 
must in a great measure determine your Stages. I do not imagine 
there is any danger of the small-pox on the Road. Wilmington is 
the most dangerous, but perhaps you can order your stage so as not 
to lodge at Wilmington, but go on to Chester. I want to get 
somebody cleaver to accompany you. I hope to send one to you, 
but if I should not be able, you must make out as well as you can. 

ii Jfarc/i. 

I will write you by the Post tomorrow. I can t add as I am now 
calTd on. Take good care of Lydia. I hope no accident will 
happen. Inclosed you have a few memo, as to pack g, &c. which I 
submit to your perusal. 

My best regd s to Mr. & Mrs. Purviance Capt Nicholson & Lady, 
Mr. Luce & family & indeed all friends. My love to Miss Katy, 
tell her to Ransack the house & leave nothing behind. The Wag 
goners will attend you at all times. Remember me to all in the 
family. May every blessing of an Indulgent providence attend you. 
I most sincerely wish you a good journey hope I shall soon, very 


soon, have the happiness of seeing you with the utmost affection 
and Love. My Dear Dolly, 

I am yours forever JOHN HANCOCK. 

Doctor Bond call d on me, Desir d his compliments. He will 
inoculate the child as soon as it comes. 

Mrs. Washington got here on Saturday. I went to see her. 
She told me she Drank tea with you. 

Let Harry take the Continental Horse, Saddle & Bridle, that I 
left at Mr. Purviance s & tell Mr. Purviance to charge his keeping 
in his public credit. If Capt. Hardy returns the Horse I lent him 
with the Saddle & Bridle he must also come. Get the heavy wag 
gon off as soon as you can, that they may be here as early as pos 
sible, as we shall much want the things after you get here. I have 
got your bundle safe with the Petticoat, Table Cloth, I have not 
sent it as I thought you would not want it. 

After one hundred and twenty-one years, these two 
letters, written by John Hancock to his wife on suc 
cessive days, are brought together. The former, given 
to Mrs. William Wales by Mrs. Hancock, has never be 
fore been published ; the latter has been published in 
the New England Magazine. 

PHILADELPHIA, nth March, 1777. 

9 o clock Evening. 

MY DEAREST DOLLY: No Congress to-day, and I have been as 
busily employ d as you can conceive ; quite lonesome in a domes- 
tick scituation that ought to be Relieved as speedily as possible, 
this Relief depends upon you, and the greater Dispatch you make 
& the Sooner you arrive here, the more speedy will be my relief. 
I dispatched Harry, McClosky & Dennis this morning with Horses 
& a Waggon as winged Messengers to bring you along. God grant 
you a speedy and safe Journey to me. Mr. Pluckrose the Bearer 
of this going for Mrs. Morris, I have engaged him to proceed on to 
Baltimore to deliver you this ; I wrote you this morning to bring all 
the things that came from Boston to this place, but should they be 
landed before you leave Baltimore, I could wish you would present 
One Quintal of the Salt Fish, & three or four Loaves of the Sugar 
to Mr. Sam 1 ! Purviance, or in case they should not be landed, leave 
directions to have those articles taken out & presented to Mr. P. 


with our Compliments. I forget what other things there are, but 
if you choose to make presents of any of them, I pray you to do it. 
If in the prosecution of your Journey you can avoid lodging at the 
head of Elk, I wish you would, it is not so good as the other houses, 
but this must depend on Circumstances ; I wish to make yor journey 
as agreeable as possible. Should any Gentlemen & Ladies accom 
pany you out of Town do send McClosky forward to order a hand 
some Dinner and I beg you will pay every Expence, order McClosky 
to direct the Landlord not to Receive a single farthing from any 
one but by your Direction, & order a genteel Dinner ; plenty 

If Mr. Thomson cannot be Ready with his Waggons as soon as 
you are, do not wait, but part of the Guard with an Officer must 
attend yours, & part be left to guard his, I only wish to have you 
here, and if you cannot readily attend to the Return of the things 
borrowed of Mr. Dugan, leave them in the Care of some trusty 
person to deliver them and pay him for his trouble. Am I not to 
have another letter from you, surely I must. I shall send off Mr. 
Rush a Tailor to-morrow or next day to meet you. I wish I could 
do better for you, but we must Ruff it ; I am so harassed with ap 
plications, & have been sending off Expresses to Call all the Mem 
bers here, that I have as much as I can Turn my hands to ; I don t 
get down to dinner, Catch a Bit, I write, & then at it again . . . 
[the writing is illegible here] ... if it promotes the cause I am 
happy, do beg Mr. Hillegas to send some money by my Waggons, 
or I shall be worn out with applications, pray him to Take pity on 
me, I have lent my own Stock already to stop some mouths. 

My respects to Mr. & Mrs. Hilligas, they must excuse my not 
writing now, I have not seen their son since he deliver d me your 
Letter, I asked him to Call, but I suppose he is so engaged with 
his Connections, he has not had time, I could wish to have it in my 
power to do him any Service for the great regard I bear to his 
worthy Parents, I assure you I really love them, I wish they were 
Coming with you, I could then have a Family where I could with 
pleasure go, & ask them a hundred Questions, & take a thousand 
Liberties with them, that I cannot do in any Family now here, I 
shall Regret their absence, but I am Determin d to make a point of 
having them up, for I cannot attend to the applications that are 
made to me in consequence of the Treasurer s absence ; he must 
come, I shall come if I have any Influence. 

Lucy & Nancy call d on me, I was busy over papers, we drank 
a glass together to our Baltimore Friends, I waited on them home, 


& return d to my Cottage ; Jo comes in with a plate of mincM Veal, 
that I must stop, I shall take the plate in one hand, the knife in the 
other, without cloath, or any Comfort, & Eat a little then to 
writing, for I have not Room on the Table to put a plate, I am up 
to the eyes in papers. Adieu for the present. 

The Inclosed Letter Lucy just sent me for you. Supper is over, 
no Relish, nor shall I till I have you here, & I wish Mr. & Mrs. Hil- 
ligas to join us at Supper on Tuesday Eveng, when I shall expect 
you. I shall have Fires made & everything ready for yo r Recep 
tion, tho I don t mean to hurry you beyond measure, do as you 
like, don t fatigue yourself in Travelling too fast. I keep Jos h on 
trial, he promises Reformation, he knows fully his fate. My best 
Regards to Mr. & Mrs. Purviance, to Mr. Lay & Family, Capt. 
Nicholson wife, Mr. Stewart & wife & all Friends. Tell Mr. 
Purviance Capt. Nicholson I shall write them fully in a day or 
two and Determine all matters to their satisfaction, I am so worried 
that I cannot even steal time to write them now. Tell Mr. Purvi 
ance I Rec d his Letter by Post and will forward the Letters he 
Inclos d me to Boston & Newbury to-morrow. Pray let Dr. Wisen- 
hall know that I Rec d his Letter, & am much obliged for his atten 
tion to the Child, & that I will do everything in my power for the 
Gentleman who he mentions in his Letter, you will Recompense 
him for Calling to see the Child. 

Remember me to all in the Family. If Nancy inclines to come 
in the Waggon, you like it she may Come, do as you like in every 
instance, my love to Miss Katy, tell her if anything is left behind, 
I shall have at her, for she Ransack d when we left Philad a. & she 
must do the same now 

The Opinion of some seems to be that the Troops will leave 
New York, where bound none yet know ; one thing I know that 
they can t at present come here, perhaps they are going to Boston, 
or up North River. Time will discover. Never fear, we shall get 
the day finally with the smiles of heaven. 

Do Take precious Care of our dear little Lydia. 

Adieu. I long to see You ; Take Care of Yourself; I am, 
my Dear Girl 

Yours most affectionately 


Do let Harry Buy & bring I or 2 Bushells of Parsnips. Bring 
all the wine, none to be got here. 


John Hancock continued in Philadelphia, with an oc 
casional change, through the summer and in the autumn 
of the year 1777; but all the time he was struggling 
with the increasing cares of Congress, and fighting 
against his physical infirmities, aggravated by the un- 
healthful atmosphere of the locality. But it is evident 
that Mrs. Hancock visited Massachusetts during the 
summer, and that Mr. Hancock wrote several letters to 
her without a reply. One directed "to Mrs. Hancock 
at Worcester or Bostdn " was published in the N. E. 
Historical Register \\\ 1858. It is given here with due 
credit to its source, as it fills a vacancy at this point, 
and tells of the determination of the President to resign 

his position. 

YORK TOWN, October i8ti 1777. 

I am now at this Date not a line from you. Nor a single word 
have I heard from you since your Letter by Dodd, immediately upon 
your arrival at Worcester, which you may judge affects me not a 
little, but I must submit & will only say that I expected oftener to 
have been the object of your attention. 

This is my sixth Letter to you. The former ones I hope you 
have Rec d, by the Completion of those Letters you will I dare say, 
be apprehensive that my stay here was nearly Determined for the 
winter & that I had thoughts of soliciting your Return to me. My 
thoughts on that subject were for a season serious, but various 
reasons have occurred to induce me to alter my Resolutions, and I 
am now to inform you that I have come to a fixed Determination to 
Return to Boston for a short time, & I have notified Congress in 
form of my Intentions. You will therefore please immediately 
on Receipt of this to tell Mr. Sprigs to prepare the Light Carriage 
Four Horses & himself to be ready to proceed on to Hartford or 
Fairfield, as I shall hereafter direct to meet me on the Road. If 
my old Black Horses are not able to perform the journey he must 
hire Two. The particular time of my setting out & when, (I would 
have Sprigs come forward) you shall know by Dodd, the Express 
who I shall Dispatch tomorrow morning. My present Intention is 
to leave Congress in eight day, but more particulars in my next, 


I shall hope & must Desire that you will take a Seat in the carriage 
& meet me on the Road, which will much advance your health, & 
you may be assurd will be highly satisfactory to me, & I have De 
sired Mr. Bant to accompany you in the carriage & when we meet 
he can take my sulkey and I return with you in the carriage to town. 
Mr. Bant must hire or borrow a Servant to attend you on Horse 
back, as Harry Ned are both with me, & Joe is not suitable. My 
dear, I hope your health will admit of your coming with Mr. Bant. 
I long to see you. I shall close all my Business in three Days & 
indeed have already nearly finished, & when once I set out shall 
travel with great speed. Nothing will prevent my seeing you soon, 
with the leave of providence ; but a prevention of passing the North 
River, I shall push hard to get over, even if I go as far as Albany. 
I need not tell you there will be no occasion of your writing me 
after the Receipt of this. My best wishes attend you for every 
good. I have much to say, which I leave to a Cheerful Evening 
with you in person. 

God Bless you my Dear Dolly 

I am 

Yours most affectionately 


The next letter from Hancock to his wife is treasured 
by Mrs. William Wales of Dorchester, and reads thus : 


Saturday i of Clock, 

8 Xov. 1777. 

MY DEAR : I am thus far on my journey to meet you, thank 
Luck for it. I have gone thro 1 many Difficulties on the Road, but 
that I shall not mind. The Remembrance of these Difficulties will 
vanish when I have the happiness of seeing You. I am still obliged 
to have my foot wrapp d up in Baize, but I brave all these things. 
I hire this person to carry You this letter in Confidence it will meet 
You at Hartford. I shall get along as fast as I can, but having a 
party of Light horse with me and a waggon I do not travel so fast 
as I otherwise should. What if you should on Monday morning 
set out to meet me, on the Litchfield Road & then if I am not able 
to reach Hartford that day, I shall have the satisfaction of seeing 
You on the Road. If you think the ride will be too much I would 
not have you undertake it, but I hope You will not ride many miles 
before we shall meet, as I trust Mr. Bant is with You. my Regd s 


to him, my best wishes attend him. Remember me to Mrs. Collier, 
for I suppose you are there. I am sorry I can not take Fairfield in 
my way, but I crossed so high up it was not possible. I have much 
to say, but refer all to the happy time when I shall be with you. 
God bless you my dear girl, and believe me with sincere affection. 
Yours forever, 


Mrs. McDagle this moment comes in to the Tavern is going 
to dine with us. 

For the farewell to Congress see Appendix IV. 

It necessarily required some time for Hancock to ar 
range his affairs so as to start for Boston ; but his plans 
were well executed, and the returning ex-president was 
gratified by meeting Mrs. Hancock, and having her 
company through Connecticut and into Boston. 

A Hartford journal of Nov. 19 gives us a glimpse of 
them as they journey : 

On Friday last passed through this town, escorted by a party 
of light dragoons, the Hon. John Hancock, President of the Ameri 
can Congress, with his lady, on his way to Boston, after an absence, 
on public business, of more than two and a half years. 

Happily New England was rid of the enemy, and the 
old family mansion was standing, to which Hancock 
longed to conduct his family. Alas for the happy par 
ents, that bud of promise had been early blighted, and 
they made their way to Boston with mingled joy and 
sorrow. 1 

We may well imagine the reception extended to this 
notable couple as they returned to Boston. 

"JoJin Hancock is at Jwme" were the words reported 
from house to house ; and many an old neighbor donned 
his cocked hat, and made haste to grasp the hand of the 
long-absent man. Honored before, he was doubly hon- 

1 Lydia Henchman Hancock died in infancy. 


ored now, and happy in having a noble wife to share in 
all the demonstrations of the town. With a conscious 
ness of duty well performed, John Hancock must have 
gone about the town, halting to express regret, as wan 
ton destruction appeared to view, and again to rejoice 
that Faneuil Hall, the State House, and South Meeting 
House were left in as good condition as they were. 
When the long-absent ones gathered once more in the 
family pew in Brattle-street Church, prayers of thanks 
giving went up from many hearts. It was this house 
which received the bell, a gift from Hancock, that, ar 
riving after the blockade, was brought to Boston by way 
of Salem. The name of John Hancock, chiselled on a 
corner-stone of this new meeting-house, had been re 
moved by the angry hands of Gage s soldiers as an ex 
pression of contempt for the merchant who had turned 
against the king. The impression in the front wall, 
made from a cannon-ball from the Patriot army, was none 
the less a reminder of the situation than if it had been 
a scar made by the enemy, as were many that left traces 
of the occupancy of this new and costly house by the 
British army. 

It was but a few days after the return of John Han 
cock to Boston that a town-meeting was held, Dec. 8, 
1777 ; and the record of the day says : - 

The inhabitants having brought in their votes, for a Modera 
tor : upon sorting them it appeared that the Honble John Hancock, 
Esq., was unanimously chosen Moderator of this meeting. 

It was voted at this meeting that the thanks of the 
town be extended to Hancock for the donation of one 
hundred and fifty cords of wood to the poor of the town 
in the time of distress. Seven days later, at another 


town-meeting, Hancock received the entire vote for 

On Jan. 20, with Hancock in the chair, began the 
discussion on Articles of Confederation and perpetual 
union between the United States of America, lately 
formed and proposed by the Continental Congress. 

On March 5, at the meeting for the delivery of the 
massacre oration, Hancock was in the chair. We may 
imagine that his heart burned within him as he presided 
in Faneuil Hall, walked to Old Brick Meeting House, 
and there listened to his successor, Jonathan William 
Austin, in the delivery of that annual oration. He 
must have derived satisfaction from the revival of the 
confidence of his townsmen, when he took the chair to 
preside at the annual election of officers on March 9. 
But at an adjourned meeting on the following day he 
was absent because of a more important duty in the 
House of Representatives. On the 2/th instant he was 
again on duty, and no time seems to have been left 
when he could attend to his private business. 

On May 27 the voters assembled for the choice of 
seven men to represent the town in the General Court. 
Of the seven John Hancock received the -largest vote, 
being three hundred and thirty-five. 

Hancock is now missed for a few weeks from the 
town-meetings. It might reasonably be supposed that 
his power of endurance had become exhausted, but the 
following letter explains the cause : 

YORK TOWN, June 23rd, 1778. 

MY DEAREST DOLLY : Mr. Taylor having agreeably to his 
wish been Charged with some Dispatches for our Commissioners in 
France, sets off for Boston immediately, & to Sail from thence as 
Soon as the Packett is ready, by him I embrace the oppor y of writ 
ing you, altho I wrote you Two Letters the Day before yesterday, & 


this is my Seventh Letter, & not one word have I heard from you 
since your departure from Boston. I am as well as the peculiar scit- 
uation of this place will admit, but I can by no means in Justice to 
myself continue long under such disagreeable Circumstances, I mean 
in point of Living, the mode is so very different from what I have 
been always accustom d to, that to continue it long would prejudice 
my health exceedingly. This moment the Post arriv d, and to my 
very great Surprise & Disappointment not a single line from Boston ; 
I am not much dispos d to Resent, but it feels exceedingly hard to 
be slighted and neglect d by those from whom I have a degree of 
Right to expect different Conduct ; I would have hir d any one to 
have sent a few Lines just to let me know the State of your health, 
but I must Endeavor not to be so Anxious be as easy as some 
others seem to be. I will expect no letters nor write any, then 
there will be no Disappointment ; So much for that. To be seri 
ous, I shall write no more till I hear from you, this is agreeable to 
my former promise. It really is not kind, when you must be sensi 
ble that I must have been very anxious about you the little one. 
Devote a little time to write me, it will please me much to hear of 
you, I am sure you are dispos d to oblige me, & I pray I may not be 
disappointed in my opinion of your Disposition. 

I hope this will meet you tolerably Recover d from your late 
Confinement, I wish to hear of your being below Stairs & able to 
take the care of our Dear little one. I am much concerned about 
your improving the fine Season in Riding. I am sorry I did not 
take hir d horses & leave you mine, but I beg you spare no Cost in 
Riding for the Establishment and Continuance of your health, hire 
horses whenever you are dispos d to Ride, be as frugal & prudent in 
other matters as is consistent with our Scituation ; I wish to know 
every Occurrence since my departure, pray be particular as to your 
health in your Letters & give me an exact state of little John. Does 
Mrs. Brackett intend continuing with you? I beg she may at least 
until my Return. My love to her, pray her to take great care of the 
little fellow. As soon as the City of Philada is cleansed, I judge 
Congress will remove thither, as soon as we have got over the 
important Business now before Congress I shall solicit leave to Re 
turn home, as it will not be necessary for so many of our Members 
to be here, but of this more hereafter. 

As I have wrote so many Letters & see no Returns, & as I am 
called to attend Congress, I must Refer you to Mr. Taylor for every 
particular relative to our Scituation. 


My regards to Mr. & Mrs. Bant, my Brother & Sister, & indeed 
to all Friends as if nam d. Remember me to Sprigs and Harry, & 
all in the Family. 

Do let me have frequent Letters, you will oblige me much. My 
best wishes ever attend you for the highest Felicity, & I am with 
the utmost Affection and Love. 

Yours for ever, 


By this letter it appears that a little stranger had been 
welcomed to the Hancock mansion during these busy 
months. When the seal of baptism was placed upon 
the fair brow, his name was declared to be John 
George Washington. 

On Aug. 6 Hancock was back in Boston, and mode 
rator of the meeting when action was taken in regard to 
the return of the Loyalists. 

The sentiment expressed by the voters was decidedly 
against it ; and John Hancock was made chairman of a 
committee to consider* the subject, and report. 

On the following day Hancock set out on different 
service. He was appointed on Feb. 8, by the General 
Court, major-general of the Massachusetts Militia, by 
virtue of which he now started at the head of the Cadet 
Company, with other forces, to go to headquarters, to 
engage in an enterprise in co-operation with the fleet of 
the French admiral, the Count D Estaing, against New 
port, 1 R.I. This enterprise, for various reasons, was 
not successful, and Hancock was back in Boston in time 
to prevent the count from having a cool reception ; 
which because of misunderstanding would have been an 

1 When Hancock was at Newport a letter was received from Edmund 
Quincy by his daughter, Dorothy Hancock, in which the grandfather says, 
" Pray kiss my little Washington for me. I hope he may enjoy the fruits 
of his parents patriotism." 


unfortunate circumstance, and would have dampened the 
ardor of " our French allies." 

At this time efforts were being made in the town to 
have people curtail in the supplies for their table, be 
cause of the scarcity of food and poverty surrounding 
them, and it was unreasonable to suppose that the town 
could honor herself in entertaining these guests ; but 
Hancock entertained about forty officers of the fleet at 
his home each day. One morning an unexpected com 
pany arrived at the mansion to partake of the Colonel s 
viands, when, in the language of Madam Hancock, " the 
Common was bedizened with lace." The cooks were 
driven to despair; and the exigency was only met by 
sending the servants to milk the cows on the Common, 
regardless of their owners. 

The following letter was doubtless written to Mr. 
Purviance at Baltimore at the time of the reception in 
honor of the officers of the Frendh fleet : - 

[From " Family Memorials," by Edward E. Salisbury.] 

MONDAY NOON, 30 Angst, 1779. 

DEAR SIR : The Philistines are coming upon me on Wednesday 
next at Dinner. To he Serious, the Ambassador &c., &c., c., are 
to Dine with me on Wednesday, and I have nothing to give them, 
nor from the present prospect of our Market do I see that I shall 
be able to get any thing in Town ; I must beg the favr of you to 
Recommend to my Man Harry where he can get some Chickens, 
Ducks, Geese, Hams, Partridges, Mutton, or any thing that will 
save my Reputation in a Dinner, and by all means some Butter ; 
Be so good as to help me, and you will much oblige me; is there 
any good Mellons or Peaches, or any good fruit, near you? Your 
advice to Harry will much oblige me ; Excuse me, I am very trou 
blesome ; Can I get a good Turkey ; I walkd in Town to-day ; I 
dine on board the French Frigate to-morrow ; so you see how I 
have Recovered. 

God bless you ; if you see any thing good at Providence, do Buy 
it for me. I am Your Real friend JOHN HANCOCK. 


The banquet given in Faneuil Hall to about five hun 
dred of the French allies was to the credit of Boston, 
but the expense was borne by John Hancock. 

On Tuesday, the 29th, there was another town-meet 
ing ; and it is not strange that Hancock was reported as 
too lame to attend. 




IN the weeks and months that followed, John Han 
cock was active in the General Court, and frequently 
appeared in the chair at town-meeting. Being in the two 
positions, he knew what the people expected of him, and 
could exert his influence in carrying out their requests. 

He was much engaged in considering applications of 
absentees to be allowed to return to the town and Com 

While there is fresh in our mind the general forgive 
ness exercised towards the offenders in other wars, it is 
hard to understand the acts of the successful party of 
the Revolution. 

They record themselves as follows : 

Resolved that the Inhabitants of this Town will exert them 
selves to the utmost in supporting the Civil Magistrate in the exe 
cution of this Law, that those professed Enemies to our Rights and 
Liberties, the first fomenters of our present Troubles, who have left 
this Country and aided the British Tyrant in his worse than savage 
measures, to deprive Americans of every thing that ought to be held 
dear and sacred by any People, may not return and enjoy in com 
mon, the fruits of what our immortal Patriots, have toiPd and bled 
to procure us, and in some future time to be again the base and 


cursed Instruments of British Seducers, in involving a happy Peo 
ple in confusion and bloodshed, in order to realize the reward, and 
private advantages held out to such Traitors by the enemies of 

In 1780 Hancock was elected a member of the con 
vention that framed the Constitution, and upon its adop 
tion was elected governor. He took the oath of office 
in the Old State House ; and then the General Court 
went to the Old Brick Meeting House, and listened to 
the "Election Sermon." It was fitting that it should 
be delivered by the governor s pastor, Rev. Dr. Samuel 

Hancock continued by annual re-elections until 1785, 
and after an interim of two years was re-elected, serving 
from 1787 till his death, Oct. 8, 1793. 

This is a period replete with material for the biogra 
pher, and a time when Hancock devoted himself largely 
to public business. (For Inaugural see Appendix V.) 

Under date of Sept. 24, 1781, he wrote from Phila 
delphia to Hon. Robert Morris, financier, saying : 

Pray my friend, when will be the properest time for me to be 
considered for my expenses, while President of Congress? They 
wrote me on the subject some two years ago, but I waived troubling 
them, knowing the delicacy of their situation. Indeed, I kept no 
account of my expenses ; nor had I time for it, as you well know 
how my time was engrossed, and the labors and fatigue I under 
went, and the expenses I must have necessarily incurred. I can 
speak plain to you; confident I am that fifteen hundred pounds 
sterling would not amount to the expenses I incurred as president. 

In this I think I merit consideration, more especially as grants 
have been made to all my successors. 

There is no evidence that Hancock ever received any 
compensation for his services in the important position 
of President of the Continental Congress. 


We now return to the Letter-book, from which we 
have wandered to gather up some of the missing links 
with which to make a connection, and make clear a 
letter of 1783. In this is seen an attempt at a renewal 
of friendship silent for nearly ten years. In the midst 
of his public cares his infirmities have increased, until, 
at times, life is a burden. We see that Gage s soldiers 
did not spare his business-house, although they did not 
destroy his dwelling. It is apparent by this letter that 
he had already learned the truth of Swift s utterance, 
" Censure is the tax a man pays to the public for being 
eminent." The letter affords an intimation of the sev 
ering of family ties by the departure of that class of 
people derisively called Tories. William Bowes, Han 
cock s cousin and trusted friend, left the country in 
debt to his faithful friend and creditor ; but friendship 
did not incline the merchant to forgiveness. 

Mr. Hoskins, to whom the reader is introduced, was 
a business-man of Boston, employed to adjust the many 

accounts brought suddenly to a close at the opening of 
the war. He was a Mason in St. Andrews, and also 
the Grand Lodge ; and as secretary of that sent out the 
notices for the funeral of General Warren (says Eleanor 
Hoskins Waitt, a lineal descendant). 

Hancock proudly announces to his friend Scott that 
he has a little boy. But while we read his cheerful 
words, we can but glance forward to the winter of 1787, 


when that fond hope was blasted by the sudden death 
of the boy, caused by an accident while skating. 

BOSTON, Nov. 14, 1783. 

DEAR SCOTT: I have been favored with your letter accompanied 
with an Hamper of Porter & Two cheeses, for which I thank you 
very kindly. They were excellent. I should have much sooner 
wrote you had not ill health my public associations prevented, but, 
thank God, I am now much recruited. I am rebuilding my store 
upon the Dock which the Brittons burned to ashes when they were 
in possession of Boston. I shall compleat it early in the spring 
when I purpose to enter the Commercial Line upon the same plan 
that I have pursued. 

1 have for ten years past devoted myself to the concern of the 
Public. I have not the vanity to think that I have been of very ex 
tensive service in our late unhappy contest, but one thing I can 
truly Boast, I sat out upon honest Principles & strictly adhered to 
them to the close of the contest, and this I defy malice itself to con 
trovert. I have lost many thousand sterlg, but, thank God, my 
country is saved and by the smile of Heaven I am a free & Inde 
pendent man, and now my friend I can pleasantly congratulate you 
on the return of Peace which gives a countenance to retire from 
Public Life & enjoy the sweets of Calm, Domestic Retirement & 
Pursue Business merely for my own amusement. 

I intended that Mr. Hoskins, a gentleman Conversant in Busi 
ness & who for eighteen months past has been engaged in the set 
tlement of my former Books, should have taken passage with Mr. 
Foster, but I could not get ready. I purpose him to go by the next 
opportunity which will be in about three weeks. He will take my 
Invoices, and I mean him to examine accts. in England that have 
been settled, for I rather think I shall be a gainer. Certain I am 
many commissions will be discovered that ought to have been car 
ried to my credit. I mean by Mr. Hoskins to include you in gen 
eral power of attorney. The ship Thames, that I was 3-16 Invested 
in, I have not heard a single line about. I have a Bill of ^500 that 
I drew for her last cargo that has never been paid & many other 
Bills that have not been paid, now laying with Barnards, Harrison 
& Co., & the late Mr. Haley, that as Mr. Hoskins will be a stranger 
in London, I must desire your assistance to him for which you shall 
be satisfied. I mean one part of my plan of Business to be one 
ship & one only, provided you can meet with one to your mind in 


the River you to take the Command of her. I had rather you 
would take a concern in her. I mean this vessel to bring out my 
goods in the spring & to be kept running, if this is agreeable to 
you. I wish you would be upon the lookout till Hoskins arrives 
and you may pass upon one if you see it. I would not have one 
above 130 or 140 tons. I however leave it to you. I am at a loss 
who Hoskins should apply to in London. I have a great respect 
for Mr. Harrison, tho 1 we differ in Principles. Does he carry on 
Business? I have no favors to ask, but I confess I should like you 
should drop a hint to him on the subject. If any vessel should be 
sailing for this place after you receive this, do give me your opinion. 

I shall get Mr. Hoskins away as speedily as possible. & the in 
closed Letter to Mrs. Haley, I request you will be kind enough to 
deliver with your own hand, with my best Requests to wait till she 
reads it. Having heard that she proposes a visit to America in the 
Spring I have in my Letter, Solicited her acceptance of apartments 
in my house, during her pleasure. You can inform her of my Situ 
ation ; perhaps it is nearly as pleasant as any in town. Do urge 
her acceptance, she shall be as unceremonious as she pleases, you 
know me. I have Carriages & Servants at her service, in my power. 
Perhaps if you should succeed in a vessel she might approve of the 
opportunity of taking passage with you. I have mentioned to Mrs. 
Haley that I have requested you to ask her opinion & advice as to a 
few things I have wrote you for family use, & enclosed you have a 
memo., which after taking every necessary advice, I could wish you 
would put in hand ; do consult Mrs. Scott & Mr. William Foster as 
to the Post Chariot. I have not time to write Mr. Eliot, but will by 
Mr. Hoskins, as I am now busily employed in settling up my pub 
lic concerns. I am determined in the course of this month to re 
sign my command of this Commonwealth & return to private life, 
after the many fatigues I have gone thro . Do ask Mr. Samuel 
Eliot if he does not really approve my Determination, as I leave the 
Government under the public Conviction that a much better man be 
my successor & I am really worn out with public business. 

I shall defer what I have farther to say until Mr. Hoskins 1 de 
parture, by him I shall send money or Bills ; give me the earliest 
notice of your intentions, whether you consent to go into the old 
line or not, because my plans will be materially effected. Write me 
by various opportunities. I shall make Mr. Harrison the offer of 
my Business. It is at his pleasure to accept or reject. My pay will 
be acceptable to others if not to him. I do not mean to court, but 


I have a friendship for him, & if it is agreeable to him it will be to 

I mean even to close my acct. once a year & when I cannot do 
that, I will quit. I wish to lay aside all diversity of sentiment for 
with me that circumstance, neither in my public Line nor private 
situation has occasioned a Breach of friendship. 

God bless you, my good friend, my regard to your worthy family, 
in which Mrs. Hancock joins me. I have a fine little boy, pray 
what has become of that ungrateful, ungentlemanly base fellow of a 
William Bowes? There is no Balm in Gilead for him. I would not 
thus write of any one else, & I pray God however to forgive him. I 
wish him no ill in the other world. I shall have my Recompense 
for what he Rob d me of, out of what he left here. I am 
Your real friend 

J. H. 

By the enclosed letter to Mrs. Haley it is learned that 
George Haley, Hancock s agent at the opening of the 
war, has died, and his widow has forwarded the unset 
tled account. 

November 14, 1783. 

My public associations added to my ill state of health, have until 
the present moment prevented my replying to your very polite let 
ter of the i gth April last, which I have had the Honor to Receive. 
I feel myself greatly obliged to your generous & truly noble ex 
pression, and do with a sincere warm heart congratulate you upon 
the happy return of Peace. In your letter was inclosed my acct. 
with the late George Haley Esq. The final settlement of the acct. 
I shall direct Mr. Hoskins upon his arrival to wait upon you to Ef 
fect ; he is a gentleman who has been some time engaged in the 
settlement of my affairs, previous to the Introduction of our un 
happy Contest, & I fully intended to have been ready for his depar 
ture in this Ship, but fear shall be obliged to defer it until the next, 
which will be soon, by whom I shall write you again. In conse 
quence of your letter, I have drawn upon you the following bills, 
which you will please to honor. . . . 

I have RecM. great satisfaction upon perusing a Letter from you 
that Judge Wendall was so obliging as to communicate to me, as I 
found it was your intention to visit America upon the return of the 


pleasant season. I do assure you Madam, I shall be happy to 
receive you here, and give me leave, with the utmost sincerity to re 
quest that you will be so obliging, as upon your arrival here, to per 
mit me to conduct you to my Home, where you may rely you shall 
meet from Mrs. Hancock myself an unceremonious and cheerful 
reception, and where your abode, during your pleasure shall be 
made as agreeable as any in Town, of which Capt. Scott or any 
gentleman from this way can inform you, and I kindly hope you will 
gratify me in my Request, at least until you meet with a more agree 
ably accommodated scituation. I inclose this to Capt. Scott, whom 
I have requested to deliver it to you. I have wrote to Scott upon 
the subject of purchasing a vessel for me, and he to take the com 
mand, as I propose again, engaging in Business & wish to have 
Scott in a running vessel & perhaps if Scott succeeds that opportu 
nity might not be unfavorable to your wishes as to a passage, he is 
really an excellent Ship master & a gentleman I have a great regard 
for. I have taken the freedom to ask Scott to apply to you for 
your opinion & advice in a few articles I want for my family use. I 
know your goodness will pardon the Liberty. 

It will afford me at all times much pleasure to have it in my 
power to render you or your Connections any Service, and I beg you 
will believe me with Sentiments of Real Regard Esteem 
Dear Madam 

Your much obed t. & humble serv t. 

J. H. 


Memo, of Sundry articles that Mr. Hancock is in want of for his 
own use of service which he wishes Capt. Scott would put in 
hand after advising with Mrs. Haley and Mrs. Harrison Mrs. 
Sam 1 Eliot. In case Mr. Hoskins should not be arrived timely for 


the things to be prepared so as Mr. HancocK may receive them in 
the spring. A very neat & light Post Chaise or Chariot. Elegantly 
neat, not made expensive by external Tawdry ornaments. The 
coachman s seat to unship and ship, with a Pole & fills, so as occa 
sionally to have the servants on the seat, or to ride Postilion ; the 
box inside of the carriage to draw out, a good Lock & key to it, a 
Lamp at each side of the carriage. A handsome travelling trunk, 
made exactly to fit, with Leather straps to fasten it, a strong Lock 
& key. To be Lined with Crimson Velvet, if not thought too heavy. 
However Mr. Hancock submits to better taste than his own in Mrs. 
Haley s and others. Capt. Scott will find Inclosed Mr. Hancock s 
arms, which he would have neatly Introduced on the carriage, with 
the crest on the other part of the carriage & the motto subjoined. 
The ground paint work of the carriage to be stone yellow, that being 
the color all his carriages bear. In short Mr. Hancock wants to 
have executed a very neat little carriage. Elegant not fine. A set 
of Spare Glasses, a set of spare springs. Blinds set with glass. A 
set of Best Pewter, if Mr. Ellis is living, I beg he may make them. 
6 Doz. very best Pewter Plates, with their proportion of proper 
sizes, oval or long dishes for Saturday s Salt Fish. You know how it 
used to be. My crest to be engraved in each Dish and Plate. Mr. 
Hancock thinks Capt. Scott, Mr. Harrison Mr. Samuel Eliot 
must have a perfect recollection of his large Parlor. 

The furniture has stood from the finishing of the Room to the 
present moment, but is now much worn & stands in need of a 
Recruit, at least Mr. Hancock s son will want it, he therefore In 
closes you the dimensions of the Room, windows, &c. requests 
Capt. Scott will consult with Mrs. Haley, as to the Kind of Furni 
ture that is most fashionable. I would not have it Yellow as my 
chamber over that room is furnished with that Color. I think a 
silk worsted furniture will be good enough. The window curtains 
to be made to draw up. The window cushions of the same, and 
twelve neat stuff back chairs to be covered with the same & a 
sophia of the same. I wish the room to be tolerably decent, in its 
furniture, but not extravagantly so. I leave it with my friends to 
determine. You have also inclosed the dimensions of two Bed 
Chambers for each of which I want Wilton carpets ; do let them be 
neat. The British Officers who possessed my house totally defaced 
& Ruined all my carpets. I must submit. I wish to have a hand 
some silver tea urn, whether wrought or unwrought. I beg the favor 
of Mrs. Haley s advice. 




THE supplies ordered from England, in connection 
with the concluding letter to Capt. Scott, naturally call 
the reader s attention to the Hancock mansion ; and 
without pausing to lament because of its destruction, we 
content ourselves with what others have written of the 
house and contents. (Appendix VI.) 

The building was of stone, built in the substantial 
manner favored by the wealthier Bostonians. The 
walls were massive ; a balcony projected over the en 
trance-door, upon which opened a large window of the 
second story. The corners and window openings were 
ornamented with Braintree stone, and the tiled roof was 
surmounted by a balustrade. Dormer windows jutted 
out from the roof, from which might be obtained a beau 
tiful and extensive view. A low stone wall, on which 
was placed a light wooden fence, enclosed the grounds. 
The gate-posts were also of stone. A paved walk and 
a dozen stone steps conducted to the mansion, situated 
on rising ground at a little distance back from the street. 
Before the door was a wide stone slab, worn by the feet 


of the distinguished owner and his illustrious guests. 
A hall of wood, sixty feet in length, designed for festive 
occasions, was joined to the northern wing. At the 
right of the entrance to the governor s mansion was the 
reception-room, with furniture of bird s-eye maple cov 
ered with rich damask. Out of this opened the dining- 
hall referred to, in which Hancock gave the famous 
breakfast to Admiral D Estaing and his officers. Oppo 
site this was a smaller apartment, the usual dining-room 
of the family. Next adjoining was the china-room and 
offices, with coach-house and barn behind. At the left 
of the entrance was a second saloon, or family drawing- 
room, the walls covered with crimson paper. The upper 
and lower halls were hung with pictures of game, hunt 
ing-scenes, and other subjects. Most of the furniture, 
wall-papers, and draperies were imported from England 
by Thomas Hancock. Passing through the hall, a flight 
of steps led through the garden to a small summer- 
house near Mt. Vernon Street. The grounds were laid 
out in ornamental flower-beds, bordered with box. There 
were box-trees of large size, with a great variety of 
fruit-trees ; among these were several immense mulberry- 
trees. Thomas Hancock, with others of his time, was 
interested in the culture of the silk-worm. The trees 
and shrubs of his garden were imported by him, and 
frequently replenished by John Hancock, whose first 
order for garden-seeds and trees by Marshall was on 
Nov. 17, 1764. 

To this attractive home John Hancock conducted his 
bride, Dorothy Quincy, when returning from Philadel 
phia. The former mistress of the mansion, Madame 
Lydia Hancock, who left it in 1775, died the following 
year ; and we doubt not her successor was the one whom 


she had selected for the place. 1 Mrs. John Hancock 
proved herself well fitted for the position, and through 
her native grace and dignity performed well her part 
at the reception of D Estaing, Lafayette, Washington, 
Brissot, Lords Stanley and Wortley, and other noted 

We have seen by the Letter-book that John Hancock 
enjoyed good table furnishings ; he took peculiar pride 
in the gift of a table-cloth and napkins, " the most gen 
teel in the country." The six dozen pewter plates bear 
ing the family crest were much to his liking ; and it was 
the duty of his household to see that this pewter was 
kept at the highest point of brightness, and used every 
day, to the exclusion of the valuable India cbina-set also 
owned by him. He preferred to use the pewter, because 
as he said, " the contents of the plates were not so 
apt to slide off," and the use of them caused no clatter 
in contact with knives and forks. He had a large quan 
tity of silver, much of which bore the tower stamp of 
England. He had four dozen silver forks, matched with 

1 Mrs. Lydia Hancock left her home during the siege, and never re 
turned to enjoy it. The following embodies the facts, read on a tomb 
stone in the old burying-ground at Fair field, Conn. : 






whose Remains lie here interred, having retired to this town from 

the calamities of war, during the Blockade of her native 

city in 1775. Just on her return to the reenjoy- 

ment of an ample fortune. 

ON APRIL 15"* A.D. 1776 

She was seized with apoplexy and closed a life of 

unaffected piety, universal benevolence 

and extensive charity. 


the same number of silver spoons, also several tankards 
of different sizes ; one, holding a gallon or more, he 
devoted exclusively to hot punch. This tankard he 
called Solomon Townsend, in honor of a friend. He 
also had a large silver porter-cup, holding two quarts or 
more, with two massive handles, intended probably to 
be passed from guest to guest, that each might quaff in 
turn from the same cup. Much of the silver and china 
was ornamented with the Hancock coat -of -arms. His 
mother-of-pearl whist counters were also similarly en 
graved. Even the best furnished dining-table of these 
days would not surpass Hancock s when glistening with 
four elaborate silver chafing-dishes, four silver butter 
boats, asparagus-tongs, and six heavy silver candlesticks, 
with snuffers and tray to match. Silver finger-bowls 
and salvers of the same material were at command. The 
viands were in keeping with the table-ware ; and to the 
hot punch may be attributed much of the suffering which 
racked the body of not only John Hancock, but his hon 
ored uncle Thomas, the founder of the fortune so freely 
used for others. 

Hancock kept the annual spring Fast on codfish. He 
had a peculiar ambition to secure the first salmon of the 
season, for which he paid a guinea. The salt-fish din 
ners served every Saturday on the pewter platters were 
peculiar to the house, and free to all who saw fit to 
come and partake. We have seen that when in Phila 
delphia Hancock would have his Boston codfish, and 
counted it an honor to contribute some to his enter 
tainer at Baltimore. 

The Letter-book has afforded us hints of the costume 
of the family, particularly of the master of the house ; 
but nothing was denied Mrs. Hancock, yet she refused 



a dress from the piece of crimson velvet of which his 
coat and vest were made, it being too heavy for her 
slight figure. His white silk embroidered waistcoat 
constrasted well with the scarlet garment, while the 

silk stockings and handkerchiefs 
from London added to the im 
maculate dress of the merchant- 

Mrs. Hancock s wedding-fan 
from Paris was of white kid, 
painted with appropriate de 
signs ; but it did not create the 
envy of the Boston belles, for 
its first appearance was in the 
Connecticut home where the 
nuptials were celebrated. We 
may well imagine that Boston 
afforded nothing rich enough 
for the babes, Lydia and John, 
when they made their advent 
to the family. The christening- 
robe from England was of embroidered India muslin, 
with stomacher and trimmings of thread lace. Mrs. 
Hancock sent at the same time for a hat of lavender- 
colored silk, trimmed with flowers, and a mantilla of 
muslin lined with silk to match the hat. She gave six 
dollars a yard for a piece of muslin in India before it was 
cut from the loom. Fragments of these fabrics, with 
the tailor s scraps of the scarlet coat, are still treasured 
by Mrs. William Wales, a grandniece of Mrs. Hancock. 
Viewed from the present standpoint of society, the 
Hancocks would not be alone in their elegant apparel ; 
and the fine dinners of the house, whether of venison 



(Seen in Old State House.) 


or codfish, served on pewter or silver, were but a little 
in advance of modern Boston. 

The post-chaise, or chariot, with its appointments so 
carefully ordered from London, which caused the many 
to halt as it rolled through the narrow streets of Boston 
town, is more than matched by many carriages that roll 
daily over the very ground where Hancock reigned su 
preme when this republic had its birth. All this splen 
dor and luxury could not disguise the fact that John 
Hancock was a debtor to nature; in fact, it hastened 
the settlement of the account, which occurred on Oct. 
8, 1793. 

[From " Lives of American Merchants."] 

To him, among others, we owe our independence, our liberty, 
our prosperity, and our national greatness, and the high rank we 
hold among the nations of the earth. We are indebted to him for 
the aid which in our Revolutionary struggle was derived from the 
arms and influence of France; for it was his generosity that fur 
nished the means, when our country was utterly destitute of money 
or credit, to fit out the Alliance frigate to carry Colonel Laurens, 
our first accredited diplomatic agent, to the court of the French 
king, through whose influence and exertions during the darkest 
period of our Revolutionary history, the co-operation of France 
was secured, and her assistance extended to help us break the 
chains of that political slavery with which we were bound. 

The funeral service was attended with pomp and 
ceremony, as may be inferred from the announcement 
in regard to the order of procession which is given on 
the following page. 

After the funeral demonstration of that autumn day, 
1793, it seems strange that a full century should elapse 
before the State of Massachusetts should pay her debt 
of gratitude by placing a fitting memorial at the grave 
of her first governor. 




jFuneral of tlje late o&crnor 

Under the Command of Brigadier-General Hull. 

OFFICERS OF THE MILITIA with side arms. 







Quartermaster. His HONOR Secretary. 


A id-de-camp 

The pall 



six of the 

A id-de-camp 

to the 





to the 






















The Procession will move from the Mansion House of the late 
Governor Hancock, across the Common and down Frog Lane to 
Liberty Pole, through the Main Street, and round the State House, 
up Court Street and from thence to the place of interrment. 
Colonel Tyler will superintend the forming of the Procession of 
Officers which precede the Corpse, and Colonel Waters that of the 
other citizens who follow. 

It is desired that the Procession may move four a breast when 

October 14, 1793. 

It detracts from the honor displayed by this pageant 
to learn that the funeral charges were paid from the 
estate of the deceased. 

On Feb. 3, 1894, the Legislature of Massachusetts 
passed the following : - 

Resolved, that there be allowed and paid out of the treasury of 
the Commonwealth a sum not exceeding three thousand dollars, 
to be expended under the direction of the Governor and Council, 
for the purpose of erecting a suitable memorial over the grave of 
Gov. John Hancock in the Granary burying-ground in Boston. 

The work having been completed, there was a public 
service of dedication on Sept. 10, 1896. There being 
no direct descendant of John Hancock, the honor of un 
veiling the monument was conferred upon a great-grand- 
niece, Miss Mary Elizabeth Wood, who was conducted 
for the purpose to the Hancock tomb by Governor 
Roger Wolcott. The exercises were concluded in Park- 
street Church, because of the falling rain of that after 
noon. Governor Wolcott said : 

It has long been a matter of comment, and possibly of regret 
to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, that the grave of her first 
governor, a man who played so large a part in the Revolutionary 
period, remained in the heart of the principal city of the Common 
wealth unmarked by any enduring monument. 


(Erected by the State of Massachusetts to her first Governor.) 

This monument will be one of those spots to which 
the feet of pilgrims will be directed. It will be one of the 
memories which those who visit us from other States or 
other countries will bear away with them from historic 
Boston and historic Massachusetts, and as the hurrying 
crowd passes by the sidewalk, I hope that it will speak 
eloquently for all years to come of patriotic and loyal ser 
vice to the Commonwealth. GOVERNOR WOLCOTT. 

Ill accepting the monument in behalf of the Com 
monwealth, the Governor further said : 

" As we look back upon that period of revolution, to the events 
that led up to it, there is one figure, among others, that stands with 
peculiar significance to the public mind. That figure is John Han 
cock. A man of dignity of presence, fond of elaborate ceremonial, 


elegant in his attire, courtly in his manner, a man of education and 
great wealth for that time, and a man who threw himself heart and 
soul into the patriotic duties of the hour. 1 think we especially 
connect his name and memory with three acts. In the first place, 
we remember that in the proclamation of amnesty there were two 
names exceptecl ; one was that of John Hancock, the other that of 
Samuel Adams. We remember that when Paul Revere rode out 
into Middlesex County to warn the farmers of the approach of 
British troops, John Hancock and Samuel Adams were slumbering 
quietly in the little village of Lexington, and that their capture was 
accounted as important to the British cause as the capture or de 
struction of the ammunition which they were sent out to seize. 

We especially remember John Hancock again as President of 
the Continental Congress, and as the first to sign, in his bold, fine 
signature, his name to that immortal declaration, in which those 
who signed it pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred 
honor to the cause of liberty. 

As it was through the Letter-book that the reader 
was introduced to the sailing-master James Scott, he 
has a right to an answer to the natural inquiry, What 
of the family friend whose faithful service contributed 
so much to the advantage of John Hancork, and to 
whom he penned his last recorded letter of the volume ? 

Bereft of his companion, James Scott found a sympa 
thizer in the high-bred, courtly woman who, while in her 
prime, had been left a widow; and on July 28, 1796, 
they were joined in marriage by Rev. Peter Thacher, 
D.D., pastor of Brattle-street Church. She outlived her 
second husband many years, resided for a time at Ports 
mouth, N. H., and later on Federal Street in Boston. 
As Madam Scott she delighted the people by her unfail 
ing memory and brilliant powers of conversation. Hos 
pitality was a characteristic of hers at her Federal-street 
home. Her table was always laid with an extra plate 
for any one who might call, and four-score years did 



not rob her of her native dignity. Says Mrs. William 
Wales, " I often ran into Aunt Dorothy s from school 
at noon intermission, when the extra plate was at my 

service, and the vener 
able woman ready to 
greet me with a smile." 
In her advanced years 
Madam Scott received 
a call from Lafayette 
when in this country. 
Those who witnessed 
the hearty interview 
spoke of it with ad 
miration. The once 
youthful chevalier and 
the unrivalled belle 
met as if only a sum 
mer had passed since 
they had enjoyed so 
cial interviews during the perils of the Revolution. 

An incident confusing to the genealogist is found in 
the Scott family register. Betsey, daughter of James 
Scott and Mary Richardson, marries John Hancock, 
nephew of the patriot, son of Ebenezer and Elizabeth 

MADAM SCOTT. (Mrs. John Hancock.) 




NEARLY a century and a half had passed since the 
settlement of Plymouth, but there was not a bank in the 
country, and trade was little removed from its primitive 
form of barter in the rural districts ; and at the seaport 
of Boston there was a great scarcity of money. 

Generation after generation had come upon the stage, 
each living very much as that which had preceded it. 
There were busy brains and willing hands, forests of 
valuable timber, boundless stretches of fertile soil, seas 
teeming with fish, and mines of fabulous riches. The 
people realized keenly that the development of the natu 
ral resources of their country was hampered, and its 
industrial growth retarded, by the lack of available funds. 
Doubtful currency schemes found ready acceptance, and 
caused much suffering. The raw material was here, 
but the capital to turn it to account was not at hand. 
While it may be difficult to appreciate the situation 
from the standpoint of our advanced methods, somewhat 
of the same conditions exist in the newer sections of 
our country, where may be detected a similar unrest and 

Even men of consequence, to use the language of 
Hancock, were compelled, through the scarcity of 
money, to resort to expedients not altogether pleasant. 
Hancock frequently apologized to Messrs. Barnards & 


Harrison for drawing on them at the time of making 
his shipments. In order to be able to pay for goods on 
this side, which he had purchased and was about to ship, 
he was frequently compelled to draw immediately, thus 
giving his London agent little or no time to dispose of 
the goods before he was called upon for the money. 

To-day this difficulty might be obviated by drawing 
time drafts, payable two or three months hence, which 
would be discounted at some bank, and when nearly 
due forwarded for collection. 

As many of the battles of the Revolutionary period 
were financial rather than sanguinary, the financier of 
the present can but realize that he was represented in 
that complex chapter of our American history. There 
was no safe deposit vault in Provincial Boston ; hence 
Hancock, Bromfield, Rotch, and their associates, in 
scarlet cloaks, bag-wigs, and cocked hats, were obliged 
to deposit their guineas in the wrought-iron chest with 
massive hinge and clumsy lock. As the old-time mer 
chants paced up and down King Street, or gathered in 
Hancock s counting-room to discuss the prospect of the 
market, their inseparable pocket companions were the 
gold snuff-box and the key to the iron locker. 

The Hancock repository was sufficient for all demands 
until D Estaing arrived with the sacks of coin from 
France to relieve our distressed country, when the only 
safe place for King Louis s " crowns " was the home of 
the deputy paymaster, Ebenezer Hancock, with a guard 
of soldiers surrounding it. 

These richly attired merchants were the bankers of 
the time, and to them and their strongholds men of less 
"consequence" resorted for financial accommodation. 
In December, 1767, Oliver Wendell comes to John Han- 


cock, and purchases goods for his family by giving in 
exchange his personal note for one year. Then comes 
Madam Warren with her pension certificate, which Han 
cock readily takes, and in exchange for it passes out 
guineas from his iron locker. He then forwards the 
certificate to London by his next ship for collection. 

Money was lent to the Province treasury for periods 
ranging from one to three years, Hancock acting as fis 
cal agent for his foreign correspondents in negotiating 
such loans. There were investments in mortgages on 
real estate. In this business also Hancock was helpful 
to his clients. The system of credits, which we are in 
clined to regard as a modern institution, we find to have 
been highly developed. Thus John Hancock kept a 
regular account with the house of Barnards & Har 
rison of London. When goods were shipped abroad, 
we find the letter of advice accompanying the consign 
ment, if it were to this firm, simply requested that the 
" neat " proceeds be credited to the Hancock account. 
If the goods were consigned to some other firm, they 
were accompanied by a letter of advice stating that a 
draft had been drawn upon the house to which they 
were consigned, through the house of Barnards & 

Very little coin changed hands between America and 
England. When Hancock ordered goods from a port 
other than London, the purchasing-agent was directed 
to collect of Barnards & Harrison of London, as wit- 
nesseth the case of the wine shipped from Madeira in 
the famous Liberty. 

When it was desired to transfer property from Amer 
ica to England, as in the settlement of the estate of a 
government official on this side, Hancock, as adminis- 


trator, or under power of attorney, sold the property, 
and purchased bills of exchange on London, which were 
then forwarded. General Gage s exchequer bills were 
used for this purpose. 

Hancock bought exchange, that is, cashed or gave 
credit for drafts on London to those who fortunately 
had funds in England. 

The young officers of the king s army were frequent 
callers on John Hancock, who accommodated them when 
they were in need of funds from home. As the English 
visitor of to-day steps into the office of Messrs. Brown 
Brothers, or Kidder, Peabody, and Co., with his letter of 
credit, or draft on England, so his predecessor called at 
Hancock s in Provincial days. 

John Hancock and other far-seeing merchants of the 
time detected the impending ruin of the country when 
the Stamp Act was passed. It was aimed directly at 
commerce, in which lay the key to the situation ; and it 
was to them and their correspondents in London that 
more credit was due for the repeal of that Act than was 
due to those who made the recorded speeches. 

This required the most positive decision, which the 
letters show Hancock to have exercised ; and in the 
quiet of his counting-room he penned his most fervent 
appeals to the merchants abroad to use their influence 
upon Parliament. His actions were those of one who 
believed, "The pen is mightier than the sword." While 
he often resorted to strong language, he never lost all 
hope in the power of appeal until hostilities were actu 
ally begun ; and then he was ready to resort to arms. 
He would have made his way from the parsonage to 
Lexington Common, on the morning of April 19, i/75> 
and shown his ability to handle the firelock, had he not 


been prevented by his associates, who believed he had 
a more important mission. 

The opening of the war closed the books of these 
merchants. Hancock had many running accounts with 
foreign merchants, but they could not be settled until 
peace was restored ; and it was nearly ten years before 
Hancock undertook to adjust his accounts. Then he 
was so burdened with public service that he employed 
William Hoskins to act for him, both in this country 
and abroad. 

There had been great changes during the period of 
the war, and he was honest in his statement that he had 
lost thousands of pounds sterling ; but he did not regret 
it, as long as his country had been saved from a tyrant s 

The foregoing are some of the obscure facts revealed 
by the Letter-book, which, viewed with an unprejudiced 
eye, must convince the reader that the patriot merchants 
of the Revolutionary period fought as truly as the men 
of military affairs ; and their names should be honored 
to-day with a place upon the immortal scroll of the heroes 
of the Revolution. 


THE following history of the Longman Publishing House 
was obtained from London after the body of this volume 
had passed through the press. 

THOMAS LONGMAN, the founder of the firm, was born in Bristol 
in 1699. On the ninth day of June, 1716, eight years after the 
death of his father, Ezekiel Longman, Thomas Longman was ap 
prenticed for the term of seven years to John Osborn, stationer and 
bookseller, "At the Oxford Arms," Lombard Street, London. 

The firm of Osborn is known to have been highly respected and 
prosperous, though but little other information is obtainable. One 
of their earliest books, it may be well noted, was a volume of 
"I siilms and Hymns and Spiritual Songs of tJie Old and New 
Testament for the use, edification, and comfort of the Saints in pub- 
lick and private, especially in New England," indicating, perhaps, 
one of the earliest connections in the bookselling way with the 
American Colonies. 

JOHN OSBORN had two children, a son, John, and a daughter, 
Mary, whom Thomas Longman married in 1723. In Paternoster 
Row, at this time, had for some years been established the business 
of one William Taylor, stationer and bookseller, soon to become 
famous as the publisher of Robinson Crusoe ; and over his door hung 
the "Sign of the Ship. 1 In the next house was the shop of the 
brothers Churchill at the " Sign of the Black Swan. 11 

TAYLOR purchased the latter business in 1719, and the consolida 
tion was known as " The Sign of the Ship and Black Swan in 
Paternoster Row." Upon the death of Mr. Taylor, in August, 1724, 
\V. Innys and John Osborn, " as executors of W. Taylor, on their 
part, sold to Thomas Longman, on his part, all of the household 
goods and books, bound and in sheets, of Mr. Taylor in Paternoster 
Row. 1 Thomas Longman thus became owner of the business, 
which has remained in the hands of his family from that date. In 



1725 the firms of Osborn and Longman were united; and in 1726 
they as partners published their first book, the first edition of Sher 
lock* s Voyages. This was soon followed by many works of educa 
tional and scientific interest. The death of the Osborns, father and 
son, soon followed. In 1754 Thomas Longman took into partner 
ship his namesake, Thomas, the son of his brother Henry; and for 
many years afterward the imprint was " Printed for T. & T. Long 
man. 1 Thomas Longman (ist) died June 18, 1755. 

THOMAS LONGMAN (2d) was twenty-four years of age when he 
became a partner of his uncle, and for forty-three years he carried 
on the business. Under his management many valuable copyrights 
were secured, and the business increased until it included important 
connections with the Colonies and America. 

Thomas Longman (2d) had three sons, one of whom, T. Norton 
Longman, born in 1771, became in 1792 partner with his father. 
In 1792 Mr. Thomas Brown, whose father had been for some years 
in the house, was admitted to partnership, and Mr. Owen Rees en 
tered the firm, in which for forty years he continued in active inter 
est. Thomas Longman (2d) died in 1797. The years from 1797 
to the death of Thomas Norton Longman, in 1842, saw the publi 
cation by the house of Lindley Murray s Grammar, Wordsworth s, 
Southey s, Coleridge s, and Moore s poems, the reconstructed Cham- 
bers s Cyclopaedia, called Rees s New Cyclopaedia, for many years 
the standard, and of several of the Waverley Novels. Partners at 
this time were Messrs. Orme, Hurst, and later B. E. Green. In 
1839 ^ r - Thomas Longman (b. 1804) and Mr. William Longman 
(b. 1813), sons of Thomas Norton Longman, entered the firm, and 
directed the business until the death of the latter in 1877 and of the 
former in 1879. It was during Mr. Thomas Longman s manage 
ment that Macaulay s works were published. 

The present members of the firm in London are Messrs. Thomas 
Norton Longman and George Longman (sons of Mr. Thomas Long 
man), and Messrs. Charles J. Longman and Hubert H. Longman 
(sons of Mr. William Longman), and Mr. W. E. Green. 




I HAVE, from the earliest recollections of youth, rejoiced 
in the felicity of my fellow-men ; and have considered it as 
the indispensable duty of every member of society to pro 
mote, as far as in him lies, the prosperity of every individual 
of his species, but more especially of the community to which 
he belongs; and also, as a faithful subject of the state, to 
use his utmost endeavours to detect and defeat every traitor 
ous plot which its enemies may devise for its destruction. 

Security to the persons and property of the governed, is 
so obviously the design and end of civil government, that to 
attempt a logical demonstration of it, would be like burning 
tapers at noon day, to assist the sun in enlightening the world; 
and it cannot be either virtuous or honourable to attempt to 
support institutions of which this is not-the great and princi 
pal basis. 

Some boast of being friends of government; I am a friend 
to righteous government, to a government founded upon the 
principles of reason and justice; but I glory in publicly avow 
ing my eternal enmity to tyranny; and here suffer me to ask 
what tenderness, what regard have the rulers of Great Brit 
ain manifested in their late transactions, for the security of 
the persons or property of the inhabitants of these colonies ? 
or rather, what have they omitted doing to destroy that se 
curity ? They have usurped the right of ruling us, in all 
cases whatever, by arbitrary laws; they have exercised this 
pretended right by imposing a tax upon us without our con- 


258 APPENDIX // 

sent ; and lest we should show some reluctance at parting 
with our property, their fleets and armies are sent to enforce 
their mad and tyrannical pretensions. The town of Boston, 
ever faithful to the British crown, has been invested by a 
British fleet ; the troops of George the Third have crossed 
the Atlantic, not to engage an enemy, but to assist a band 
of traitors in trampling on the rights and liberties of his most 
loyal subjects ; those rights and liberties which, as a father, 
he ought ever to regard, and as a king, he is bound, in hon 
our, to defend from violation, even at the risk of his own life. 

These troops, upon their first arrival, took possession of 
our senate house, pointed their cannon against the judgment 
hall, and even continued them there whilst the supreme 
court of the province was actually sitting to decide upon the 
lives and fortunes of the king s subjects. 

Our streets nightly resounded with the noise of riot and 
debauchery ; our peaceful citizens were hourly exposed to 
shameful insult, and often felt the effects of their violence 
and outrage. 

But this was not all; as though they thought it not enough 
to violate our civil rights, they endeavoured to deprive us of 
the enjoyment of our religious privileges ; to vitiate our mor 
als, and thereby render us deserving of destruction. Hence 
the rude din of arms which broke in upon your solemn devo 
tions in your temples, on that day hallowed by Heaven ; and 
set apart by God himself for his peculiar worship. Hence, 
impious oaths and blasphemies, so often tortured your un 
accustomed ear. Hence, all the arts which idleness and 
luxury could invent, were used, to betray our youth of one sex 
into extravagance and effeminacy, and of the other to in 
famy and ruin. And did they not succeed but too well ? 
did not our infants almost learn to lisp out curses before 
they knew their horrid import ? did not our youth forget 
they were Americans ; and regardless of the admonitions of 
the wise and aged, copy with a servile imitation the frivol 
ity and vices of their tyrants ? and must I be compelled to 
acknowledge that even the noblest, fairest part of all the 

APPENDIX 11 259 

lower creation did not entirely escape the cursed snare ? or 
why have I seen an honest father clothed with shame, or 
why a virtuous mother drowned in tears ? 

But I forbear, and come reluctantly to the transactions of 
that dismal night, when in such quick succession we felt the 
extremes of grief, astonishment, and rage ; when heaven in 
anger, for a dreadful moment, suffered hell to take the reins ; 
when Satan with his chosen band opened the sluices of New 
England s blood, and sacrilegiously polluted our land with 
the dead bodies of her guiltless sons. 

Let this sad tale of death never be told without a tear ; let 
not the heaving bosom cease to burn with a manly indigna 
tion at the relation of it through the long tracts of future 
time ; let every parent tell the shameful story to listening 
children, till tears of pity glisten in their eyes, or boiling 
passion shakes their tender frames. 

Dark and designing knaves, murderers, parricides ! how 
dare you tread upon the earth which has drunk the blood of 
slaughtered innocence shed by your hands ? how dare you 
breathe this air which wafted to the ear of Heaven the oroans 


of those who fell a sacrifice to your accursed ambition ? 
But if the labouring earth doth not expand her jaws ; if the 
air you breathe is not commissioned to be the minister of 
death ; yet, hear it, and tremble ; the eye of Heaven pene 
trates the darkest chambers of the soul ; and you, though 
screened from human observation, must be arraigned, must 
lift up your hands, red with the blood of those whose death 
you have procured, at the tremendous bar of God. 

But I gladly quit the theme of death I would not 
dwell too long upon the horrid effects which have already 
followed from quartering regular troops in this town ; let our 
misfortunes instruct posterity to guard against these evils. 
Standing armies are sometimes (I would by no means say 
generally, much less universally) composed of persons who. 
have rendered themselves unfit to live in civil society; who 
are equally indifferent to the glory of a George or a Louis ; 
who, for the addition of one penny a day to their wages, 


would desert from the Christian Cross, and fight under the 
Crescent of the Turkish Sultan ; from such men as these, 
what has not a state to fear ? with such as these, usurping 
Caesar passed the Rubicon ; with such as these, he humbled 
mighty Rome and forced the mistress of the world to own a 
master in a traitor. These are the men whom sceptred rob 
bers now employ to frustrate the designs of God, and render 
vain the bounties which his gracious hand pours indiscrimi 
nately upon his creatures. 


THE last proclamation for the annual Thanksgiving which 
invoked a blessing upon the king was issued in 1773, by 
Thomas Hutchinson, Esq., governor. 

Governor Hutchinson was recalled. Thomas Gage came 
out with his appointment as royal governor of the excited 
Province in the year 1774. He issued repeated proclama 
tions of a special nature, such as to dissolve the General 
Court ; against the " Solemn League and Covenant ; " to " en 
courage piety and virtue ; " to prevent the meeting of the 
General Court ; "and concerning the proceedings of the Pro 
vincial Congress." 

To each of these is appended the time-honored legend of 
the loyal subjects of the crown, "God save the king." 

But it was useless for this unfortunate representative of 
vanishing royalty to issue a proclamation to the patriot peo 
ple for the annual Thanksgiving, as his predecessors had 
been wont to do ; in fact, the " rebellious clergy " of Boston 
had banded themselves together in a resolve not to read 
any proclamation that Governor Gage might issue. 

It was the first Provincial Congress, assembled at Cam 
bridge, which took this, as other matters, in hand ; and it 
issued a proclamation for the 1774 Thanksgiving. 

This broadside is notable for its simplicity, but yet it 
breathes the spirit of the times. 

"MASSACHUSETTS BAY A proclamation for public Thanksgiving: 
From a consideration of the continuance of the gospel among us, and the 
smiles of divine Providence upon us, with regard to the season of the year 
and the general health which has been enjoyed, and in particular from 
consideration of the union which so remarkably prevails, not only in this 



province, but throughout the continent, at this alarming crisis, it is resolved 
as the sense of this congress, that it is highly proper that a day of public 
Thanksgiving should be observed, etc. . . . 

That God may be pleased to continue to us the blessings we enjoy, 
and remove the tokens of his displeasure by causing harmony and union 
to be restored between Great Britain and these colonies, that we may re 
joice in the smiles of our sovereign, and in possession of those privileges 
which have been transmitted to us, and have the hopeful prospect that they 
shall be handed down entire to posterity under the Protestant succession 
of the illustrious house of Hanover." 

Done at Council Chamber in Cambridge tJiis Twenty-Second dav of 
October , One Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy- J : our. 



The third Provincial Congress, when in session at Water- 
town, and busy in making arrangements for supplying the 
army, appointing and commissioning officers, issuing or 
ders for paper currency, etc., paused to proclaim the annual 
Thanksgiving. In the midst of manifold burdens and dis 
tress they found something to be thankful for. 

This proclamation concluded as follows : 

nil Scrfoilc ILabour is jForbi titJrn on tfjc Sai 

Given under our hands at the Council Chamber in \\fatertount Ihe Fourth 
Day of November in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hun 
dred and Seventy-five. 


PEREZ MORTON, Defy. Secry. 





GOD fave the PEOPLE. 

Printed in the Neiv England Chronicle or Essex Gazette from Thursday, 

Nov. Q*k, to Thursday, A\n>. /6 k, /77J. 
Printed by Samuel and Ebenezer Hall at their office in Sloughton Hall, 

Harvard College. 

/// 263 

When the broadside reached the hands of the ministers, 
the majority were delighted, but to others it brought sorrow 
and contempt. Some Loyalists in pulpits refused to read it; 
and others read it, but added their sentiment in the time- 
honored cry, " God save the king," despite the protests of 
the congregations. 

Here we see the revolution! In 1773, "God save the 
king;" in 1774, still praying for "the smiles of their sov 
ereign," but ominously omitting the traditional prayer for 
his salvation ; in 1775, " God save the people ! " 

The die was cast, and the bridges burned behind the pa 
triots who boldly uttered this ringing cry for the people. 

The proclamation next year, 1776, bore this simple head 
ing : 




We have thought fit, with the advice of the Council and at the desire 
of the House of Representatives, to appoint and hereby do appoint 
Thursday, the I2th day of December, to be kept as a day of public thanks 
giving and prayer throughout the STATE, calling upon ministers and 
people of every denomination then to convene and with grateful devotion 
to offer solemn praises to the all gracious author of every good, for the 
various invaluable benefits conferred on and continued to this State in 
particular and to the UNITED STATES IN GENERAL, especially that 
whilst British avarice openly claims and. British tyranny vigorously endeav 
ors to wrest from us the free exercise of those rights which Heaven alike 
bestowed on all mankind, and without which human life is less a favor than 
the grave, has given these Slates a just sense of their worth and of the 
impossibility of resigning those rights to man, without the guilt of rebellion 
against God, treason to the present and treachery to all future generations. 

Given at the Council Chamber in Boston , on This Sixteenth Day of No 
vember in the Year of Our Lord One Thousand Seven Httndred and 
Seventy- Six. 

The above was signed by the major part of the council, 

26 4 


as in 1775 ; but there was no concluding prayer attached to 
this extremely simple document. 

In 1780 the Thanksgiving proclamation jirst presented 
the symbolic Indian in the coat-of-arms of the Common 
wealth, now so familiar to all. 


of Maflachufetts 



Governour and Commander-in-chief in and over the Commonwealth of 

A Proclamation, 


The concluding part of this 1780 proclamation was as 
follows : 
C I VEX at the COUNCIL CHAMBER, in BOSTON this Eight Day of 

November, in the year of our LORD, One Thoufand feven Hundred 

and Eighty and in the Fifth Year of the INDEPENDENCE of the 

United States of AMERICA. 


7>V his Excellency s Command, 

With the Advice and Confent of the Council, 
JOHN AVERY, jun., Secretary. 


It was not until 1785 that the proclamation as we know 
it in these days was evolved, and "God save the Common 
wealth of Massachusetts" first rang forth from the State 
House and the pulpits. 


JOHN HANCOCK, the president, takes leave of the Con 
tinental Congress : 

GENTLEMEN : Friday last completed two years & five months since 
you did me the honor of electing me to fill this chair. As I could 
never flatter myself your choice proceeded from any idea of my abil 
ities, but rather from a partial opinion of my attachment to the lib 
erties of America, I felt myself under the strongest obligations to 
discharge the duties of the office, and I accepted the appointment 
with the firmest resolutions to go through the business annexed 
toit in the best manner I was able. Every argument conspired to 
make me exert myself, and I endeavored by industry and attention 
to make up for every other deficiency. 

As to my conduct both in & out of Congress, in the execution of 
your business, it is improper for me to say anything. You are the 
best judges. But I think I shall be forgiven if I say I have spared 
no pains, expense, or labor, to gratify Your wishes, and to accom 
plish the views of Congress. My health being much impaired I find 
some relaxation absolutely necessary after such constant application. 
I must therefore request Your Indulgence for leave of absence for two 
months. But I cannot take my departure, gentlemen, without ex 
pressing my thanks for the civility & politeness I have experienced 
from you. It is impossible to maintain this without a heartfelt pleas 
ure. If any expressions have dropped from my lips which have 
given offence to any member during the long period that I have had 
the honor to fill this chair, I hope they will be passed over, for they 
were prompted by no unkind motive. 

May every happiness, gentlemen, attend you, both as members of 
this house and as individuals, and I pray Heaven that unanimity & 
perseverance may go hand in hand in this house, and that every 
thing which may tend to distract or divide your councils be forever 



ON Oct. 25, 1780, John Hancock was inaugurated as the 
first governor under the Constitution of the State of Massa 
chusetts. A committee of the House and Senate conducted 
his Excellency to the State House. They were preceded by 
the Independent Company. "The honorable members of 
both houses being assembled in the Council Chamber, his 
Excellency addressed them as follows previous to his 
taking the oaths required of him, viz., 

Honorable Gentlemen, 

It would have ill become me at so early a moment after being notified 
of my appointment by the respectable committee of this honorable assem 
bly, to appear here to comply with the qualifying requisitions of the Consti 
tution, had not the circumstances of the returns made the choice a matter of 
public notoriety some weeks past, and receiving it from such authority as 
confirmed its reality, led me to contemplate the subject; and, although 
fully sensible of my inability to the important purposes of the appointment, 
yet having, in the early stage of this contest, determined to devote my 
whole time and services to be employed in my country s cause to the utter 
exclusion of all private business, even to the end of the war, and being 
ever ready to obey the call of my country, I venture to offer myself; 
ready to comply with the requisitions of the Constitution, and regularly 
and punctually attend to the duties of the department in which my country 
has been pleased to place me." 

After the oath was taken, the Secretary declared his Ex 
cellency, John Hancock, Esq., Governor of this Common 
wealth, from the balcony of the State House, repeated by 
the Sheriff of the County of Suffolk. 

Condensed from report in Independent Chronicle of Nov. 
4, 1780. 



Inaugural address of John Hancock as Governor of 
Massachusetts, 1780 : 

Gentlemen of the Senate, and Gentlemen of the House of Representa 

With a sincere and warm heart I congratulate you and my country on 
the singular favor of heaven in the peaceable and auspicious settlement 
of our government upon a Constitution formed by the wisdom, and sancti 
fied by the solemn choice of the people who are to live under it. May 
the Supreme Ruler of the world be pleased to establish and perpetuate these 
new foundations of liberty and glory. 

Finding myself placed at the head of this Commonwealth by the free 
suffrages of its citizens, while 1 most sensibly feel the distinction they have 
conferred upon me in this election, I am at a loss to express the sentiments 
of gratitude with which it has impressed me. In addition to my natural 
affection for them, and the obligations they have before laid upon me, I 
have now a new and irresistible motive, ever to consider their happiness 
as my greatest interest, and their freedom my highest honor. 

Deeply impressed with a sense of the important duties to which my 
country now calls me, while I obey the call, I most ardently wish my 
self adequate to these duties; but can only promise, in concurrence with 
you, Gentlemen, a faithful and unremitting attention to them, supported 
as I am by the advice and assistance of the Council happily provided by 
the Constitution, to whose judgment I shall always pay the greatest re 
spect, and on whose wisdom and integrity I shall ever rely. May unanim 
ity among the several branches of this new government consolidate its 
force, and establish such measures as shall most effectually advance the 
interest and reputation of the Commonwealth. This can never be done 
but by a strict adherence in every point to the principles of our excellent 
Constitution, which on my own part I engage most sacredly to preserve. 

Gentlemen, Of all the weighty business that lies before you, a point 
of the first importance and most pressing necessity is the establishment of 
the army in such consistency and force, and with such seasonable and 
competent supplies, as may render it, in conjunction with the respectable 
forces sent to our assistance by our powerful and generous ally, an ef 
fectual defence to the free Constitutions and independence of the United 

You cannot give too early or too serious an attention to that proportion 
of this business that falls to the share of this Commonwealth. The mode 
we have too long practised of re-enforcing the army by enlistments for a 
short time, has been found to be at once greatly ineffectual and extremely 
burthensomc. The commander-in-chief, in whose abilities and integrity 


we justly repose the highest confidence, has repeatedly stated to us the 
great disadvantages arising from it; and the necessity of an army engaged 
for the whole war, and well provided, is now universally felt and ac 
knowledged. Nor should a moment of time be lost in prosecuting every 
measure for establishing an object so essential to the preservation of our 
liberties and all that is dear to us. Care at the same time ought to be 
taken that the necessary supplies be committed to men on whose princi 
ples and affection to our great cause, as well as capacity for such a ser 
vice, we may safely depend. 

The support of the public faith stands in close connection with this 
measure of defence, and, indeed, is absolutely necessary to it, and to the 
whole interest and honor of the State. No expedient should be unex 
plored, no necessary measure unattempted, no nerve in government or the 
community unexerted, to maintain our credit and remove all just ground of 
complaint from the army that protects us, or from those who have in any 
instances relied on the public engagements. What friend to his country 
would not cheerfully bear his full proportion of the expense necessary for 
this purpose ? And I doubt not you will take all possible care that no 
more than such a proportion be laid upon any man or any class of men. 
This is not only a clear point of justice from which no government can 
in any instance recede without injuring and dishonoring itself, but is of 
particular importance to the internal peace and good temper, and conse 
quently the safety, of the Commonwealth. Doth not this safety also 
require a stricter attention than I fear has been paid to the methods and 
purposes of an intercourse with Great Britain, and that more effectual 
measures may be taken to prevent flags of truce from conveying intelli 
gence or improper persons to those who are prosecuting a war against us 
with great insidiousness as well as cruelty, to cut off a correspondence be 
tween our secret enemies at home and our declared ones abroad, and to 
restrain prisoners of war from being at large among us, without prudent 
checks, especially in our seaports. In all such cases, your vigilance will 
discern, and your fidelity provide where it may be needed, a proper guard 
to the public safety. The present situation of the eastern part of the State, 
and the protection of our seacoasts, navigation, and commerce, in all which 
not only the interest of this and the United States, but that of our allies, 
is deeply concerned, are important objects that require particular atten 

If we look to the westward, we see recent incursions and ravages of 
the enemy, so that from every quarter we are loudly called upon to 
employ the most speedy and strenuous efforts for providing funds that may 
be depended on, and establishing an army sufficient, by the blessing of 
Heaven, for the complete deliverance of our country. Its resources, im 
proved with judgment and spirit, are adequate to such a purpose. Nor 


can I forbear to observe that \ve may enter upon this business immediately 
with less expense and greater advantages than in any future time. 

You are fully sensible, Gentlemen, that the separation which the Con 
stitution has made between the legislative and judicial powers, and that 
just degree of independence it has given to the latter, is one of the surest 
guards to the person, property, and liberties of the subjects of this Com 
monwealth, and accordingly you are, I am thoroughly persuaded, heartily 
disposed to support this independence, and the honor and vigor, of the 
supreme judicial department in its whole constitutional extent. 

Sensible of the importance of Christian piety and virtue to the order 
and happiness of a state, I cannot but earnestly commend to you every 
measure for their support and encouragement that shall not infringe the 
rights of conscience, which I rejoice to see established by the Constitu 
tion on so broad a basis ; and if anything can be further done on the same 
basis for the relief of the public teachers of religion and morality, an order 
of men greatly useful to their country, and who have particularly suf 
fered in the defence of its rights by the depreciation of currency ; as also 
for the relief of widows and orphans, many of whom have been distressed 
in the same way, and who are particularly committed by Heaven to the 
protection of civil rulers, I shall most readily concur with you in every 
such measure. 

A due observation of the Lord s Day is not only important to internal 
religion, but greatly conducive to the order and benefit of civil society. 
It speaks to the senses of mankind, and, by a solemn cessation from their 
common affairs, reminds them of a Deity and their accountableness to the 
great Lord of all. Whatever may be necessary to the support of such 
an institution, in consistence with a reasonable personal liberty, deserves 
the attention of civil government. 

Manners, by which not only the freedom, but the very existence of the 
republics, are greatly affected, depend much upon the public institutions 
of religion and the good education of youth ; in both these instances our 
fathers laid wise foundations, for which their posterity have had reason to 
bless their memory. The public schools, and our university at Cambridge, 
very early founded by them, have been no small support to the cause of 
liberty, and given no dishonorable distinction to our country. The ad 
vantages they are still capable of affording to the present and future 
generations are unspeakable. I cannot, therefore, omit warmly to com 
mend them to your care and patronage. 

The laws will now require to be accurately revised, and particularly that 
which regulates the militia, on which the safety of the Commonwealth 
naturally rests. This revision you cannot fail to attend to as early as cir 
cumstances will allow, which will lead you not only to adapt the laws in the 
most perfect manner possible to the defence of the State, but also for the 


suppression of idleness, dissipation, extravagancy, and all those vices that 
are peculiarly inimical to free republics, and for the encouragement of those 
apposite virtues that are particularly friendly to such a form of govern 

In such measures as I have now mentioned, and in every other tending 
to promote the public welfare, you may always depend on my cheerful 
concurrence with you, and giving every despatch in rny power to the public 
business. And I shall from time to time seasonably communicate to you 
such informations and proposals of business as may be proper to lay be 
fore you. 

May the new government diffuse a new animation through the whole 
political body ; the people expect much from it, perhaps more in some 
points than circumstances will allow it to perform; but, standing as we do 
upon their choice and affections, and strenuously exerting ourselves as we 
ought for their interest, they may find it happily advanced. 

May Heaven assist us to set out well, to brighten the auspices of our 
Constitution, to render it still more beloved and admired by the citizens of 
this Commonwealth, and to recommend it to the whole world by a wise 
and impartial, a firm and vigorous, administration of it. 



THE last effort to save the Hancock Mansion was in June, 
1863. A broadside printed in red ink and in a most con 
spicuous form was posted. 




It is a question of some perplexity to decide how far it is 
wise or proper for the city government or for individuals to 
interfere to prevent the act of modern vandalism which de 
mands the destruction of this precious relic; for that it is 
destroyed in effect, if removed, we conceive admits of no 
question. Will it or will it not be a mitigation of the public 
disgrace to establish the house itself elsewhere, as a per 
petual monument of the proceeding ? 

Without wishing in the least degree to discourage the 
public spirit and the patriotism of those gentlemen in the 
city council, who are seeking at this moment to do the best 
they can for the preservation of the house, we still think it 
right that one preliminary appeal should be made to the 
present owners. They are gentlemen of wealth, they have 
made an honest purchase, and of course may plead that they 
have a right to do what they will with their own. It is with 
full recognition of their rights in this respect ; and, withal 
in the utmost kindness to them, that we should admonish 
them how dearly is purchased any good thing which costs 



sacrifice of public associations so dear and so noble as those 
that cluster around the Hancock House. 

These purchasers must at any rate be prepared to hear 
during the whole of their lives, and that of their remotest 
posterity, so long as any of them may live in the elegant 
modern palaces which supplant the ancient structure, the 
frequent expression of public discontent. 

Argument may show them blameless ; but sentiment will 
ever condemn the proceeding in which theirs will be, per 
haps the most innocent, but nevertheless the most permanent 
part. It is not often that an opportunity is given to men 
of wealth to earn a title to public gratitude, by an act of 
simple self-denial. Such an opportunity falls to the lot of 
the purchasers of this estate. Stay the destroying hand, and 
in less than one year the money can be raised by subscrip 
tion, or an overwhelming vote be had from the city empower 
ing the city fathers to purchase it. 

There is patriotism and reverence for antiquity enough in 
Boston to save this house, only let it be waked up. 

BOSTON, June 6, 1863. 

(From copy in N. E. Historic Genealogical Society.) 

While .the effort to save this house did not avail, and must 
be forever an occasion for regret, it is gratifying that the 
Hancock house at Lexington has been saved, although re 
moved from its original site. 




There were in Boston senior and junior. 


Selectman, lived opposite Garden 


Lived in Richmond Street. 


Pew in Christ Church. 


Lived in Williams Court, burned out 
in 1762. 


Of Nantucket. 


Of tea-party. 



Eminetit Hoston merchant, Loyalist, 
died in London, 1798. 


Family seat in School Street. 


Of Salem, grandson of Gov. Unmet; 
colonel of militia ; judge of Su 
preme Court ; banished, 1778. 



Warden of Christ Church, 1747. 


Torv. went to Halifax. 





Colonel of artillery. 



Of Portsmouth. 





Architect of Brattle-street Church. 


A baker. Thomas Hutchinson found 
refuge at his house from the mob. 


One of the most eminent merchants of 
America; grandfather of Hon. Rob 
ert C. Winthrop. 



Master of ship Olive of Nantucket. 


Of firm of Edes & Gill. 


Built first house on south side of Pearl 


Of ropewalk fame. 


Of Harvard College, prominent Tory. 


Captain of mast ship. 


Engineer at Bunker Hill. 


Commander of ship Dartmouth. Ban 


Commissioner of Customs. Tory. 
Left in 1776. 


Commissioner of Customs. Ordered 
Hancock s sloop Liberty seized. 
Banished. Returned, and died in 
Maine, 1818. 


Son of Benjamin. 


Tax collector, 1770. 


( )n committee to demand removal of 


One of the 58 Boston merchants of 
1760. Banished. 


Ancestor of Edward Everett. 


Owned land on Beacon Hill, 


Was a captain ; his apprentice was John 
Clark, wounded at the massacre. 




Shipjoiner, lived in Charter Street. 


A ropemaker connected with Bunker 
family, prominent in stamp trouble. 


Member of tea-party. 


See Scots Charitable Society, Sun 



Pilot on sloop Liberty, Nantucket. 


Captain of the Columbia. 



General in Revolution. First collec 
tor of customs of United States at 


Had a warehouse in 1754 on Minot s 
T, a wharf on the northerly side of 
Long Wharf. 


Burnt out in 1760. 




Set out the Paddock Kims. Coach- 
builder. Violent Tory. 




A leading business-man in 1760. 


A merchant at Concord, Mass. 


Wife of Tilley. 


Founder of McLean Asylum. 


Property confiscated and sold in 1780. 


Boston merchant ; gave Athe 
naeum building. 

Pico, JOSHUA. 

Connected with the guard-house 
trouble of 1768. 


Colonel of Cadets in 1745. 


Of tea-party. 




Judge, born 1703, married Klizaboth 
Wendell. He was son of Kdmund 
Quincy and Dorothy Flint.,a- 
beth Wendell was daughter of Abra 
ham, brother of Jacob. 

2 7 6 



A Commissioner of Customs, who as 
saulted James Otis, Sept. 5, 1760, 
and caused a fatal injury to the bril 
liant young lawyer. 


A director in Old U. S. Hank. 



A business-man of 1 760. 


Son of Daniel, opulent merchant in 
Boston ; married Ann, daughter of 
John Winthrop, Esq. They were 
parents of Hon. David Sears. 


Pastor of Old South Church, died 
June 27, 1769. 



In patriot service, 1776. 



Mother of " Master Johnny " (Porter). 


Admiral, 1771. 


Wife of Thomas. 

Son of Moses. 



Active in non -importation, 1769. 


A founder of Hollis-street Church. 


A founder of Hollis-street Church. 


A founder of the Royal Arch Chapter, 
F. A. M. 


Prominent man of I5oston ; Colonel of 
Boston Regiment, 1745. 


Grandfather of O. W. Holmes. 


APPKNDJX I ll 2 77 




On committee to convey thanks ot 

WHITE, JOHN. tuwn to Peter Kaneuil for market. 

Merchant at Concord, Mass. WlNTHROI , ANDREW. 






Nan tucket. 






Nantucket. WlIIPPLE & WllEATON. 




AHBOTT, Samuel, 48. 

Adams, John, 3, 101, 137, 164, 197, 
199, 200, 201, 204, 209. 

Adams, Samuel, 55, 84, 100, 101, 
104, 120, 137, 153, 154, 164, 
167, 184, 193, 194, 197, 199, 
201, 247. 

Adventure, ship, 72, 76. 

Allen, Captain David, 78. 

Amory, Thomas, 48. 

Amsterdam, 13, 1 8. 

Andover, 165. 

Andrews, John, 179. 

Annapolis, 9, 15, 16, 17, 113; 
Fort, 29. 

Antigua, 72. 

Apthorp, Rev. East, 19. 

Apthorp & Hancock, 41. 

Appleton, John, 49, 107 ; Nathan 
iel, 49, 107. 

Assistance, writs of, 33. 

Assembly, General, 112, 158, 172, 


Auchmuty, Robert, Esq., 35, 39, 62. 
Austin, Jonathan William, 225. 

Baker, Mary, 106. 

Baltimore, 213, 214, 241. 

Bant, Mr., 222, 227. 

Barnard, Jonathan, Esq., 9 ; & 
Co., letter to, u, 12, 14, 15, 17, 
21, 22, 23, 25, 26, 27, 28, 30, 
33 35 3 6 > 37, 42. 

Barnard & Harrison, 43, 47, 48, 49, 
51, 54, 57, 63, 67, 69. 

Barnards & Harrison, letter to, 70, 
90, 92, 108, 117, 119, 120, 124, 
131, 233, 249, 251. 

Barnards & Harrison, 75,80, 83, 85, 
89, 92, 113, 114, 122, 123, 142. 

Barker & Burnell, 86, 122. 

Barrington, Lord, 160." 

Bastide, Major General, 26, 28. 

Bastide, Mr., 28 ; Mrs., 28. 

Beaver, tea-ship, 178. 

Bedford parsonage, 4, 5, 13 

Bedford line, 194. 

Bennett, George, 194. 

Bernard, Governor, 58, 84, 99, 108, 
123, 159, 160, 162, 165, 167. 

Beth, William, 12, 13, 18, 35. 

Bethune, Nathaniel, 39. 

Billerica, 191, 194. 

Birkbeck, Benjamin, 26. 

Blake, Captain, 68. 

Blanchard & Hancock, 51, 54 ; 
Caleb, 64, 107. 

Bland, Richard, 200. 

Bond, Doctor, 218. 

Bordeaux, 61. 

Boscowen, ship, 27, 30. 

Boston, 13, 116, 158, 160, 161, 
163, 172, 177, 178, 189, 191, 
200, 205 ; blockaded, 184; Com 
mon, 126, 127, 162 ; evacuated, 
206 ; harbor, 138 ; massacre, 




167 ; population, 109 ; troops 

in, 159, 161, 165 ; troops out, 

167, 205 ; town-meeting, 151 ; 

tea-party, 181. 
Bowes, William, 13, 48, 116, 119, 

232, 235 ; Rev. Nicholas, 13 ; 

Nicholas, 155; Lucy Hancock, 13. 
Bowes, Mr., 131, 170 ; Lyclia, 174; 

friend, 134. 
Braintree, 147. 
Brest, 46, 79. 
Bridge, Rev. Mr., 129. 
Bridgewater, 148. 
Brattle-street Church, 173, 177, 

224, 247 ; family, 19. 
Brimmer, Susannah, 107. 
Breck, William, 137. 
Bristol, 122. 

Brookbank, shoemaker, 59. 
Brown, Samuel and Ebenezer, 107; 

brothers, 252. 
Bromfield, Colonel Henry, 110, 

ill, 250. 

Bruce, Captain James, 178. 
Bulkley, Captain Peter, 32. 
Bunker, Hezekiah, 102 ; Paul, 68, 

Bunker Hill, 53, 63 ; battle of, 


Burdened by taxes, 90. 
Burr, Aaron, 204 ; Eunice, 240 ; 

Thaddeus, 202, 204, 240. 
Burlington, 194. 
Butters, William, 135. 
Burnell & Barker, 48. 
Burnell, Jona, 68 ; Mary, 32. 
Buxton & Symmes, 46, 47 ; and 

Enderby, 64, 67. 

Cahill, Mr., 25. 

Calef, ship, 66. 

Cambridge, 167, 187, 189, 205. 

Campbell, Captain, 27. 

Castle William, 160. 

Carleton, General, 214. 

Cazneau, Captain, 207, 208 ; Isaac, 

144, 145 ; Paix, 167. 
Champion & Haley, 46, 47, 48, 64. 
Chatham, Lord, 209. 
Chignecto, 9, 15, 17, 29, 113. 
Choate, Rufus, 2. 
Clark, Benjamin, 48 ; Christopher, 

48; Jonas, 107; Richard no. 
Clinton, George, 200. 
Codfish, 215, 241. 
Coffin, Captain, 127 ; Nathaniel, 

33; Hezekiah, 178; Mr., 39; 

Shubael, 125 ; ship, 127. 
Collier, Mrs., 223. 
Commissioners of customs, 154. 
Concord, 187, 192, 196. 
Congress, Continental, 171, 198, 

200, 213, 215, 221, 225, 247 ; 

Provincial, 188, 189, 190, 193, 

196, 200 ; Massachusetts, 200. 
Connecticut, State, 198. 

Cook, Rev. Samuel, 13. 
Cooper, Rev. Dr., 28, 193, 231. 
Cork, 134. 

Costumes, Colonial, 36, 37. 
Covenhoven, Captain, 35. 
Crowes, Miss, 21. 
Cruger, Henry, 175. 
Cunningham, John, 48, 133. 
Gushing, Thomas, 101, 153, 184, 

197, 199. 

Dalrymple, Lieut. -Colonel, 161, 

Daverson, Captain, 135, 145, 146, 

Dartmouth, ship, 43, 178 ; town, 


Davis, William, 135. 
Deane, Silas, 199. 
Deblois, Gilbert, 58. 


Delaware River, 213. 

D Estaing, Count, 227, 239, 240, 


Delancy, Mr., 38. 
Devonshire, ship, 24. 
Devonshire and Reeves, 54, 97, 

122; letter to, 13, 24, 57, 108, 


Diney, Captain, 49. 
Doble, Captain William, 66. 
Dogclt, Captain, 57. 
Donaldson, John, 207. 
Dorchester, 6. 
Dyson, Mr., 15. 

East India Company, 178, 179. 

Edes& Gill, 163. 

Edwards, Captain, 72, 76. 

Eleanor, tea-ship, 178. 

Eliot, Samuel, 48, 107, 178, 234 ; 
Mrs., 236. 

Elizabeth, ship, 46. 

England, n, 20, 50, 123, 148, 158, 
159, 238, 251. 

Fairfield, Conn., 202, 221, 240. 

Faneuil Hall, 83, 101, 103, 124, 
126, 127, 157, 159, 162, 185, 
224, 225, 229 ; market, 60. 

Faneuil, Peter, 56, 68. 

Farr, Captain, 28. 

Far rah, Captain, 72. 

Fleming, John, 95. 

Fletcher, Samuel, 107. 

Flucker, lion. Thomas, 79; secre 
tary, 185, 1 86. 

Fitch, Mr. Timothy, 39, 46, 47, 68. 

Fly, brig, 58. 

Folger, 1 10. 

Folger, Captain, 23, 39 ; Mr., 23, 
24, 25. 

Folger & Gardiner, 26, 30, 33, 42. 

Folger & Starbuck, 99, 114. 

Fort 1 1 ill, I So. 

Foster, William, 234. 
Franklin, Benjamin, 200. 
Franks, Moses, 207. 
Freeman, Captain, 118. 
Funeral customs, 44, 45. 

Gage, General, 123, 159, 162, 163, 
191, 195, 197, 201, 206, 208, 

Gage, Governor, 79, 184, 185, 186, 

Gardiner, William, no. 

Gerrish, Mr., 15, 16, 29 ; Ben 
jamin, Esq., 35, 38, 107. 

Gray, Harrison, treasurer, 74, 79, 

Gray, Thomas, 145? !5 O > William, 


Graham, John M., 184. 
Granary Burying-Ground, 2, 73. 
Great Britain, 69, 120, 124, 154, 

165, 209. 
Green, Rufus, 49. 
Greenwood, Miles, 15. 
Gridley, Jeremiah, 101 ; Mr., 142. 
Griffin s Wharf, 180 ; Mr., 117. 
Griffith, Parson, 75. 

Haley, George, 94, 129, 145, 147, 
148, 149, 150, 155, 157, 163, 
168, 235 ; Mr., 144, 233 ; Mrs., 
234, 236 ; Mrs. Mary, 235. 

Haley & Hopkins, 164, 165, 166, 
168, 169, 172, 176; letters to, 
167, 173, 176, 177, 183. 

Halfmoon, sign, 58. 

Hall, Captain James, 178. 

Halifax, N. S., 15, 38, 43, 119, 
156 ; Mass., 191. 

Hancock, John, I, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 
M, 17. 34, 37. 43 45. 54, 55.62, 
66, 77, 84, 89, 93, 96, 98, 101, 

IO2, IO6, IO7, III, 112, 113, 



115, 116, 117, 120, 123, 125, 

129, 130, 136, 139, 147, 154, 

!55> 156, 157, 164, 165, i 66, 

167, 171, 172, 179, 184, 185, 

191, 194, 195, 196, 199, 201, 

2O2, 203, 2O6, 211, 215, 2 1 8, 
220, 221, 223, 225, 228, 229, 
236, 239, 241, 247, 251, 252. 

Hancock, Hon. John, 173, 223 ; 
colonel, 176, 184, 185, 191 ; 
major-general, 227. 

Hancock, John, ability, 212 ; 
adopted, 4 ; aids others, 105, 
116; "and his crew," 108 ; 
apologizes, 115 ; counting-house, 
loo, 124, 185 ; daughter, 213 ; 
dress, 242 ; arrested, 164 ; broth 
erly love, 170, 171 ; benevolent, 
173, 174, 177 ; coach, 104, 198 ; 
town-meeting, 153 ; moderator of 
town-meeting, 183, 224 ; select 
man, 68,84, l6l > l62 > l8 3> 186, 
187, 188; sentiments, 119 ; Gen 
eral Court, 129, 152, 162, 164, 
165, 172, 183, 184, 187, 230; 
illness, 134, 147, 182, 222 ; gifts, 
224 ; indignation, 136, 142, 143 ; 
massacre orator, 183 ; tenants, 
145 ; mother, 147 ; name in cor 
ner-stone, 224 ; memorial, 194 ; 
marriage, 204 ; names son, 202 ; 
Continental Congress, 186, 190, 
2O2, 207, 247 ; Provincial Con 
gress, 187, 189, 192 ; reception 
in New York, 198 ; Worcester, 
200 ; son dies, 233 ; signs Dec 
laration of Independence, 21 1 ; 
resigns as president, 221 ; re 
ception in Boston, 223 ; reviews 
destruction by British army, 224 ; 
thanked, 224 ; paid bills for 
public, 229 ; never paid, 231 ; 
business-house destroyed, 232 ; 

death, 243 ; funeral, 244 ; grave, 
245 ; monument, 246 ; in Con 
stitutional Convention, 231 ; gov 
ernor, 231 ; major-general, 227. 

Hancock, Rev. John, 3, 13, 147. 

Hancock, John, nephew of patriot, 

Hancock & Adams, 192, 193. 

Hancock, Ebenezer, 4, 54, 170, 
171, 248, 250. 

Hancock, Madam, 7, 173, 176, 177, 
189, 193 ; Lydia, 174, 192, 239, 

Hancock, Mrs., 21, 28, 32, 39, 210, 
215, 218, 221, 223, 235, 236, 
241, 242. 

Hancock, Mrs. John, 240 ; Lydia 
Henchman, 213, 223. 

Hancock, Lucy, 5, 13. 

Hancock, Mrs. Dorothy, 6, 227 ; 
marries James Scott, 247. 

Hancock, Mary. 4, 148. 

Hancock, Thomas, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 
9, 13, 15, 16, 17, 18, 27, 30, 35, 
36, 38, 41 ; death, 44; estate, 60, 
68, 78, 123, 145, 239. 

Hancock s Letters 
To his aunt, 7. 

General Washington, 201,205, 

207, 210. 
Dolly, his wife, 216, 218-220, 

221, 222, 225. 

General Ward, 212. 

General Schuyler, 206. 

General Montgomery, 206. 

The thirteen States, 212, 213. 

New England, 214. 

Mr. Purviance, 228. 

Robert Morris, 231. 

James Scott, 233. 
Hancock home, 123, 156. 
Hancock mansion, 9, 137, 188, 192, 
208, 227, 238. 



Hancock s store, 60, 106. 

Hancock s wharf, 8, 99, 156, 175. 

Hanson, Thomas, 207. 

Harris, Mr., 34. 

Harrison & Ansley, 168, 177. 

Harrison, brig, 120, 125. 

Harrison, Mr., 36. 

Harrison, ship, 69, 86. 

Harrison, Gilbert, 170. 

Harrisons & Barnard, letter to, 125, 

I3I> 134, 135, 138, 139- 

Harrison, Barnard, & Sprag, 140, 
145, 146, 149. 

Hartford, Conn., 221. 

Harvard College, 5; hall, 58 ; li 
brary, 93 ; town, 1 1 1. 

Hawks, Mary, 148. 

Henchman, house, 5- 

Henshaw, Joshua, 101, 137. 

Hill, Lamar & Bissett, 150. 

Hillegas, Mr., 219. 

Hingham, 148. 

Holbrook, schoolmaster, 189. 

Honnog, John, 25, 26. 

Hood, Captain, 165. 

Hood, Commodore, 1 60. 

Hoskins William, 232, 233, 234, 
236, 253. 

Howe, General, 216 ; Mrs. Ed 
ward, 41. 

Huline, Captain, 83. 

Hunter, Captain, 24. 

Hutchinson, Foster, 108. 

Ilutchinson, Gov., 79, 157, 184, 
185 ; Lieut. -Gov., 84, 108, 167. 

Hutchinson, Thomas, 172. 

Independence, Declaration of, 8, 

129, 211, 212. 
Ireland, 37, 64. 

Jackson, Clement, 105, 107, 133. 
Jackson, Edward, 118. 

Jamaica Plain, 138, 157, 161. 
Jacobson, Capt. Howard, 27, 28, 

30, 124. 
Jefferson, Thomas, 200 ; statement, 


Jenkins, Mr. Arthur, 54. 
Jones, Mr., 38. 
Jones, Arthur, 106. 
Jones & Co., 107. 
Jones, Madam, 194. 
Jones, Robert, 129. 
Jones, William, 54, 140. 

Kent, Benjamin, 101. 

Kidder, Peabody, & Co., 252. 

Kilby & Barnard, 145. 

Kilby & Symmes, 135. 

Kilby, Barnard, & Parker, 10, 40. 

Kilby, Christopher, Esq., 32. 

King s army, 161. 

King s Bridge, N.V., 198. 

King George III., 211. 

Kirk, Thomas, 156. 

Knowles, Admiral, 51. 

Knox, General, 79. 

Lafayette, 240, 248. 

Lamar, Hill, & Bissett, 80. 

Lane, Mr., 146. 

Lane & Booth, 66. 

Lane, Benson, & Co., 134. 

Lechmere family, 19. 

Lee, Richard Henry, 200. 

Lepley, Mr., 23. 

Lesley, Andrew, 36. 

Lewis, Mr., 40. 

Lexington, 3, 5, 13, 192. 

Lexington alarm, 198. 

Lexington common, 252. 

Lexington parsonage, 192, 193, 252. 

Liberty, sloop, 102, 122, 130, 133, 

156, 164; Sons of, 119, 126, 127; 

tree, 100, 119; pole, 119. 



Lincoln, Benjamin, 187. 

Lisbon, 81. 

Livingston, Robert, 200. 

Lockman, Major, 38. 

Lord North, 167. 

Louisburg, C.B., II, 63. 

Lowell, Elizabeth, 248. 

Loring, Captain, 178. 

London, 6, 42, 106, 113, 122, 124, 

130, 131, 134, 135, 145, 163, 

164, 170, 200. 
London merchants, 123, 140, 223, 

243> 251. 

Longman, Thomas, 92, 93, 94, 95. 
Long Wharf, 184. 
Loyalists, 97, 108, 154, 159, 206, 

227, 230. 
Luce, Mr., 217. 
Lunenburg, 173. 
Lydia, brig, 42, 43, 46, 47, 56, 57, 

76, 102, 114, 148, 158, 165, 168, 


Madeira, 80, 147, 149, 156, 251 ; 

wine, 129, 149, 152. 
Marion, Joseph, 50. 
Marshall, Captain John, 53, 76, 99, 

103, 107, 119; Captain James, 


Mackellar, Major Patrick, 27, 28. 
Martha s Vineyard, 69. 
Marshfield, 191. 
Mary, ship, 25. 
Massachusetts, State of, 201.; stand 

by it, 198 ; staple of, 215. 
Mauduct, Jasper, 74, 79. 
McCloud, David, 39, 46, 68, 79. 
Mein, John, 94, 95. 
Merchants agreement, 89. 
Middleboro, 191. 
Milton, 180. 
Moor& Smith, 140. 
Morris, Hon. Robert, 231. 

Monk, Christopher, 183. 
Montgomery, General, 206. 
Montreal, 206. 

Nantucket, 39, 43, 46, 69, 86, 122, 

Negro slavery in Boston, 55, 91 ; 

Othello, in ; Cuff, 194. 
New Bedford, 43. 
Newbury, 34, 57. 
New Castle, 44, 81. 
Newell, Timothy, 137. 
Newfoundland, 10, II. 
Newport, R.I., 227. 
New York, 123, 160, 163, 196, 198, 

200, 209, 2l6, 220. 

Nicholson, Captain, 217, 220. 
Non-Importation, 45. 
Nova Scotia, 9, 16, 41, 47, 113, 
114, 162, 176. 

Old Brick Meeting-house, 225, 231. 
Old South Meeting-house, 157, 180, 

Oliver, Andrew, 83, 100 ; effigy 

of, 84. 
Otis, James, 33, 34, 35, 39, 62, 

101, 106, 124, 129, 137, 142, 

! 53> J 54 > assaulted, 165. 

Pacific Club, Nantucket, 67. 

Paine, Robert Treat, 197, 199. 

Palfrey, William, 136, 145, 167, 
169, 178, 183. 

Palfrey, Mr., 143, 176, 179. 

Palfrey, Colonel William, 167. 

Packet Boston, 23, 33, 36, 37, 39, 
42, 44, 46, 47, 49, 57, 76 ; pic 
ture of, 67, 100, 114, 130. 

Park-street Church, 245. 

Pendleton, Edmund, 200. 

Penzance, 80. 

Pepperell, Sjr William, 63. 

1\ DEX 


Percy, Earl, 189, 208. 
Perkins, Rev. Daniel, 148. 
Phillips, William, no, 137, 184. 
Philadelphia, 29, 30, 178, 181, 

186, 196, 200, 204, 205, 213, 

220, 221, 231, 239, 241. 
I hips family, 19. 
Pluckrose, Mr., 218. 
Plymouth, 120, 249. 
Port Bill, 186. 

Porter, Rev. Edward G., 16. 
Pownall, Thomas, 6, 163, 164 ; 

Governor, 124. 
Precinct Parsonage, 194. 
Privateering authorized, 202. 
Province Treasury, 78. 
Purviance, Samuel, 214, 217, 218 ; 

Mr., 218, 220; Mrs., 217, 220. 

Quarantine laws, 55. 
Quincy, Dorothy, 189, 239. 
Quincy, Miss, 192, 194, 198, 203 ; 

at Fairfield, Conn., 202. 
Quincy, Edmund, letter to J. II., 

21 1 ; to Mrs. J. II., 227. 

Randolph, Peyton, 200, 201. 

Randolph, Mr., 210. 

Ransom money, 47. 

Revere, Paul, 127, 192, 247. 

Reeves, William, 137, 153, 155. 

Revenue Acts, 154, 155, 166. 

Robson, Thomas, 49. 

Rotch, Francis, 42, 43, 178. 

Rotch, Mr., 42, 1 80. 

Rotch, Joseph, 43. 

Rotch, William, 42, 43, 57, 64, 65, 

66, 77, 178, 250. 
Rowe, John, 55, 101. 
Romney, frigate, 156, 157, 164. 
Royall, Mr., 23. 
Ruddock, John, 101. 
Ruskin, 2. 

Salem, 57, 186. 
Salisbury, Edward E., 198. 
Savage, Mr. Arthur, 54, 138. 
Schuyler, General Philip, 206. 
Scott, James, 24, 25, 33, 42, 43, 

44, 56, 102, 105, 116, 148, 155, 

1 77, 232, 236, 237, 238, 247, 248. 
Scott, Joseph, 61. 
Scott, Madam, 189, 247, 248. 
Scollay, John, 61. 
Sewall & Lewis, 63, 70. 
Sewall, Katy, 203 ; Samuel, 101. 
Sherman, Roger, 199. 
Shirley, Governor William, 51, 112; 

town, 174. 

Small-pox, 56, 57, 188. 
Smith, Josiah, 58 ; Henry, 81, 130; 

Captain, 122. 
Stamp Act, 69, 81, 84, 86, 87, 92, 

103, 105, 112, 118, 122, 124, 

125, 126, 130 ; stamps arrive, 

83? 89 ; paper, 82. 
Stamp Act, expenses of, 92. 
State House, Old, 44, 162, 184, 

185, 224, 231. 

Stockton, Captain Robert, 1 1. 
Symmes, Thomas, 61. 

Taoli, ship, 170. 

Tea-ships arrive, 178. 

Thatcher, Oxenbridge, Esq., 35 ; 

died, 84 ; Rev. Peter, 247. 
Thaxter, Samuel, 148. 
Thanksgiving, annual, 187. 
Tories, 1 19. 
Tory Row, 19, 205. 
Town-meetings forbidden, 187, 
Townsend, Mr., 29 ; Channy, 83 ; 

Solomon, 241. 
Trafford & Elms, 10. 
Tricothick & Co., 34 ; Mr., 146. 
Ticonderoga, 214. 
Tuton, ship, 49. 



Tyler, Royal, 48. 
Virginia, 201. 

Waitt, Eleanor Hoskins, 232. 

Ward, General Artemas, 212; Eliza 
beth, 212. 

Wales, Mrs. William, 6, 216, 218, 
222, 242, 248. 

Water town, 196. 

Waldo, J.&D., 49, 133. 

Warren, Dr., 192. 

Warren, General, 52, 232. 

Warren, Joseph, 63, 154. 

Warren, Lady, 18, 38, 39, 62. 

Warren, Sir Peter, 18, 62. 

Washington, George, 200, 205, 206, 
240; words of, 209; Col., 51, 200. 

Washington, Mrs., 210, 218. 

Washington, letter to Hancock, 
209; nominated, 201 ; called to 
Philadelphia, 210 ; commander- 
in-chief, 215. 

Wendell, John, 9, 13; Edmund, 


Wendell & Hancock, 12. 
Wendell, Judge, 235 ; Oliver, 250. 
Weston, 58, 193. 
West Indies, 135. 
Wharton & Bowes, 107, 133. 
Wheelwright, Nathaniel, 39, 61. 
Whitney, Abigail, 107, 131 ; S., 

and daughter, 133; Thomas, 174; 

Rev. Phineas, 174. 
Whittemore, General, n, 27, 28 ; 

Captain Edward, II, 27, 28. 
Wigglesworth, Edward, 107. 
Williams, Mr., 29. 
Williamson, Dr., 178. 
Wilmington, Dela., 217. 
Winthrop, Adam, 182. 
Wisenhall, Dr., 220. 
Wolcott, Governor Roger, 245, 246. 
Worcester, 221. 
Wright & Gill, 54, 94, 96. 
Wyman, Amos, 194. 

TO* 202 Main Library 








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