Monday, July 2, 2012

JOHN HANCOCK, The First Signer

July 02, 1899.  "JOHN HANCOCK, THE FIRST SIGNER.  Who Wrote His Name So That All Men May Behold It, and Where Time Could Not Efface It.  This Patriotic Figure Will Stand Alone, and Remain a Memento of the Fourth, If Cut Out According to Directions."  "John Hancock, first signer of the Declaration of Independence, and first governor of Massachusetts was born at Quincy, Jan. 23, 1737, and was graduated from Harvard in 1754.  He was clerk in his uncle's counting house, and went to England in 1760, seeing the funeral of George II, and the coronation of George III.  At 29 he represented Boston in the general assembly of the province, and in 1774 was elected president of the Massachusetts provincial congress.  By this time he was the wealthiest man in Boston.  In 1775 General Gage offered pardons to all rebels but Samuel Adams and Hancock.  He was a delegate to the continental congress in Philadelphia, and was its first president, serving from May 1775, until October 1777.  When it was proposed to destroy Boston during its occupation by the British,  Hancock said that although he was the largest property holder in the town he was anxious it should be burned "if it would benefit the cause".  His autograph was the first affixed to the declaration of independence, and written large so that "the king may see it without putting on his specs."  The document was first published with only Hancock's name affixed as president.  The other names were added afterwards.  In August, 1778, he commanded Massachusetts troops in the Rhode Island campaign.  He was governor of Massachusetts from 1780 until 1785, elected again in 1787, and was annually re-elected until his death, October 08, 1793."

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