JOHN HANCOCK - AUTOGRAPH LETTER UNSIGNED 03/27/1783 - HFSID 286082
Sale Price $4,462.50
His handwritten March 1783 letter as Governor of Massachusetts, instructing a garrison commander to forbid a ship full of Tories to disembark, requiring them to sail instead for New York (still in British hands)
Autograph Letter, unsigned, 1 page, 7¾x12. Written as Governor. Boston, Massachusetts, 1783 March 27. To William Gordon, Commander of the Garrison in Dartmouth. In full: "I have this moment received your Letter by Express, giving information of the arrival of a Flag with a Number of Persons on board who were desirous of remaining some time at Dartmouth. I have laid the state of this Flag before the Council, & in consequence of their advice you are hereby Directed upon no pretense whatever, to suffer any of the Persons or any of the Effects brought in the Flag to be Landed at Dartmouth, or in any other place, but that you give immediate Directions for the Departure of the Flag with the Persons, & their effects to New York, and that after the Receipt of this Letter you make a point of Embracing the first fair wind to put her under Sail for New York, as no circumstance can possibly induce me to Deviate from this order. I am Sir your very humble servant." Boston merchant John Hancock (1737-1793), Member of the Continental Congress (1775-1778), served as President of the Congress from May 24, 1775 to October 1777 and was the first Signer of the Declaration of Independence. From 1780-1785 and 1787 to his death in 1793, Hancock was Governor of Massachusetts. The port section of Dartmouth, Massachusetts is now the City of New Bedford. The persons refused permission to land at that port were undoubtedly British Loyalists, since they were redirected to New York City, which remained in British hands until November 1783. Preliminary peace negotiations in Paris in 1782 designated New York City one of three places (along with Charleston, S.C., and Savannah, Georgia) from which American colonists loyal to Britain were to be evacuated to Canada or other locations in the British Empire. Britain did not formally recognize American independence until the Treaty of Paris was signed (September 3, 1783), so Massachusetts was still technically in a state of rebellion when Governor Hancock wrote these instructions to the garrison at Dartmouth. Several small areas of ink erosion in text, which remains fully legible. Lightly toned and soiled, with light creases. Tape reinforcements to horizontal folds on verso. Otherwise, fine condition for a document of this age.
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