JOHN HANCOCK - MANUSCRIPT LETTER SIGNED 09/28/1788 - HFSID 350545
Sale Price $10,625.00
Hancock handwrote, dated, and placed his “John Hancock” on this 1788 letter of introduction to Winthrop Sargent - Revolutionary War veteran and deputy to the first Governor of the Northwest Territory, the same year Hancock persuaded Massachusetts to approve the Constitution by 19 votes. This letter introduced Hancock's friend Nathaniel Balch, known as "the Governor's Jester," to Sargent.
Manuscript letter signed "John Hancock" as Governor of Massachusetts. 1 page, 8x10, matted and framed to an overall size of 30 x 20. Boston, Massachusetts, Sept. 28, 1788. Noted at upper edge as "Volume 1, No. 06".) To Major Winthrop Sargent, in full: "I take the liberty to recommend to your notice Mr. William Balch, a Son of Mr. Nathaniel Balch of this town, a friend of mine, and a gentleman that I have a very great esteem for. He is about to take up his residence & settlement at Muskingum, & I trust that his abilities & integrity will be acceptable to you & beneficial to your new settlement. & any advice or assistance you may afford him will be gratefully acknowledged & shall be happy to return your friendship to any Gentleman you may recommend to me. I am, Sir, With great Esteem, Your very humble Servant". Matted and framed with the letter are 3 accompanying items: 1) an unsigned printed reproduction of a painting of Hancock with quill pen in hand (color, 5½x7); 2) a metallic plaque transcribing the letter, black with gold embossed lettering and frame (4½x6½); 3) a similar embossed plaque (5½x3¾) bearing caption: "John Hancock/1737-1793/Signer of The/Declaration of Independence". Fine condition. Framed by the Gallery of History. Frame is chipped at upper left corner and paint has been retouched at upper left.
JOHN HANCOCK, a wealthy Boston merchant, risked his life and fortune to support the American Revolution. Active in the protest against Britain's Stamp Act (1765), Hancock became a popular hero when he was successfully defended by John Adams against prosecution for customs violations (1768). President of the Massachusetts Provincial Congress (1774), he was selected to the Second Continental Congress (1776) and, as its President, was the first to sign the Declaration of Independence, with his famous flourish. He served nine 1-year terms as Governor of Massachusetts between 1780 and 1793. In 1788, he presided over the Commonwealth's convention called to ratify the US Constitution. Undecided whether to support the document, Hancock at first pronounced himself too ill to attend. Persuaded by Federalists that he might become Vice President, or even President if Washington declined the office, Hancock became a strong supporter of ratification. His support proved crucial. On February 6, 1788, Massachusetts became the sixth of the required nine states to approve the Constitution, by the narrow vote of 187-168. In its declaration of acceptance, Massachusetts became the first state to recommend a series of amendments which would become our Bill of Rights. That same year, the first town in the newly opened Northwest Territory of the U.S. was established as Marietta, at the confluence of the Muskingum and Ohio Rivers in what is now Ohio. Major WINTHROP SARGENT, who had wintered with General Washington at Valley Forge and fought in Washington's early battles, was named deputy to the first Governor of the Northwest Territory and moved to Marietta in 1788. He was Acting Governor for a time and would later become the first Governor of the Mississippi Territory (1798-1800). By the end of 1788, the Muskingum settlement had 137 residents. While no information is available on the prospective settler William Balch, his father NATHANIEL BALCH is mentioned in many accounts of the time as a close friend of John Hancock. A hatmaker and a noted wit, he was a frequent guest at the Governor's table, and was known as "the Governor's Jester."
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