81
81
Hancock, John, as Governor of Massachusetts
Estimate
40,00060,000
LOT SOLD. 25,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT
81
Hancock, John, as Governor of Massachusetts
Estimate
40,00060,000
LOT SOLD. 25,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

The JAMES S. COPLEY LIBRARY: MAGNIFICENT AMERICAN HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS: FIRST SELECTION

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New York

Hancock, John, as Governor of Massachusetts
Autograph letter signed ("John Hancock"), 2 pages (12 x 7 1/4 in.; 307 x 184 mm) on a bifolium (watermarked English arms), Boston, 6 May 1782, to John Brown ("now bound to Philadelphia"), autograph address panel and lengthy reception docket on verso of second leaf; silked, with some miniscule losses due to ink erosion, seal repair. Half blue morocco portfolio.
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Catalogue Note

"I want only to be made whole, I never expected nor desired to make money by the contest": Hancock seeks the aid of another wealthy and influential merchant in recovering his expenses from his term as President of the Continental Congress.

John Brown was a Rhode Island merchant much involved with the development of the American navy during the Revolution. Hancock here takes advantage of Brown's travelling to Philadelphia to ask him to engage the assistance of William Morris in settling Hancock's accounts with Congress.

"In the course of this week I shall address Congress on the subject of reimbursing me for my expenses as President of Congress, they wrote me a long time past to exhibit my acct. but considering the State of their Finances, I thought best to defer the application and indeed from the constant course of business I was ever involved in, & without the aid of Publick offices, or even a Secretary for a long time, I had not time in the least degree to attend to the keeping any particular account of Expenses, or even noticing the internal concerns of my Family, that I am of course necessitated to leave it entirely to Congress to make such a Decision as from information they shall judge equitable. My worthy friend Wm. Morris, who was very conversant with the state of business when I was President, can give competent satisfaction on the subject, and whom I request the fav. of you to apply to and desire him when the matter is debated, to give the real state of my attention to, & protecting business, & the real unavailable expenses I was opposed to. I want only to be made whole, I never expected nor desired to make money by the contest, but think I should not be out of Pocket by my attending to the business of the United States in Congress, separate from the particular business I was delegated to by my own State; if you will attend to this wish ... you will oblige me."

Hancock presses Brown to use his influence with any other members of Congress that  he might speak to, "You, my Friend, are not unacquainted with my Services there, as well in Congress, as on the Marine Committee, that leads me to request you will be so obliging as to mention to such members of Congress who were not of that Body, at that time, such circumstances as you are intimately knowing to, & can with propriety speak of, I do not mean to exaggerate, nor have I a wish to avail myself of a farthing more than my real services merit. ... My friend Charles Thomson can give you a just account of my attendance & conduct in Business, please to give my best respects to him, & desire him to see that I have Justice done me."

Before closing, Hancock requests two more favors: that Brown see if he can find any employment for his brother, and that he report on Hancock's charitable expenditures in support of the children of Joseph Warren, who was killed at Bunker Hill. "Should any circumstances of business in the line of Mr. Morris occur to be transacted in this place, that you & he think my brother is capacitated to perform, I should take it as a very particular favor if he might be thought of, it would much oblige me.

"I shall send by Mr. Lowell the account of expenses for the support of the late Major General Warren's children, I have paid the amount & wish your good officer with Congress, & Wm. Morris to order me the money."

The JAMES S. COPLEY LIBRARY: MAGNIFICENT AMERICAN HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS: FIRST SELECTION

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New York