John Hancock, Privateer Document Signed


From the Magic Year 1776

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John Hancock signs this Privateer Document only a few months before the Declaration of Independence. The document provides “Instructions to the Commanders of Private Ships of Vessels of War, which shall have Commissions or Letters of Marque and Reprisals, authorizing them to make Captures of British Vessels and Cargoes”.

Despite his attempts to thwart revolution, John Hancock was caught up in Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense” fervor and presided over the Continental Congress who would vote to abolish all ties with Great Britain. 

Among the most notable resolutions to have passed under Hancock’s term as president were: the Declaration of Independence of July 4, 1776; the March 1776 resolution appointing a general day of humiliation, fasting, and prayer; and the issuing of the “Privateering Act” that empowered privateers to harass British shipping.

Very good; large, strong signature. Usual folds; reinforcement on verso to small ½” tear affecting paraph only; ½” lt. wrinkling and soil along lower edge; a few foxing marks.        ‘

Other Noted Events Under “President in Congress” Hancock:


–The Hancock presidency was most eventual in the Continental Congress’ history starting with a July 6, 1775 resolution, “Declaration of the Causes and Necessities of Taking Up Arms,” which, rejected independence but asserted that Americans were ready to die rather than be enslaved. In this resolution that justified it war with Great Britain, the United Colonies Continental Congress openly invoked their Christian God

–On June 17th, 1775 the Continental Congress passed the following resolution appointing George Washington as Commander-In-Chief

–On July 26, 1775 John Hancock’s Continental Congress established the Colonial Post office with Benjamin Franklin as Postmaster General

–In November of 1775 Congress established both the Continental Marines and Navy on the news of Continental Army’s Victory in Montreal.


Hancock, John, (1737-1793; Founding Father; Signer), Printed Broadside Document, signed as President of the Continental Congress [Philadelphia]:  3 April 1776.  Folio; 7-3/4″ by 11-3/4″ 1p. 

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