This is part one of my Patriotic Posts Series (Currently writing on the signers of the Declaration of Independence)
John Hancock was the first of fifty- six men to sign the Declaration of Independence. His signature being first was at the top and it was also the biggest and boldest of them all. He made quite the exclamation and after penning his now famous name, he said, “There, I guess King George will be able to read that.”
Signing and supporting this declaration was a monumental moment for the signers, the United States of America, and all future generations. John Hancock and those that followed pledged their lives, fortunes and sacred honor.
So what was really on the line when John Hancock dipped his quill pen into the jet-black ink well to sign over his LIFE, FORTUNE, and SACRED HONOR?
A year prior to signing he was honored by being elected president of the Continental Congress. Shortly after being elected he married the love of his life, Dorothy “Dolly” Quincy and they were expecting their first child (Lydia) in October of 1776. John had also inherited a staggering fortune after the passing of his uncle.
John Hancock was born January 23, 1737 in Braintree Massachusetts to his father, Reverend John Hancock, and his mother Mary. John had deep roots in the Christian faith; both his father and grandfather were Congregationalist ministers and graduates of Harvard’s ministerial school.
John would have been a minister of the faith as well if his father had not passed away when he was 7 years old. His life took a different course than expected but he never gave up his faith. When John was 13 his childless aunt and uncle adopted him and raised him. His uncle Thomas Hancock was one of the wealthiest men in New England. He established and owned an importing and exporting business to Britain and acquired great wealth from it.
John had graduated from Harvard and had since worked for his uncle. When his uncle passed in 1764, John inherited the business becoming known as, “King Hancock”. Since, he became heavily involved in politics rising up as one of the most well known patriots while fighting for America’s liberties during the Revolutionary War and beyond. He passed in 1793 and was remember as a generous man willing to lay down all he had for the freedom of America.
John Adams later wrote of him to Jedidiah Morse, 1818.
Of Mr. Hancock’s life, character, generous nature, great and distinguished sacrifices and important services, if I had forces, I should be glad to write a volume. But this I hope will be done by some younger and abler hand.
Reverend Dr. Thatcher, John Hancock’s pastor at Brattle, giving his eulogy said,
“His reverence for religion was never lost. He was interested in every thing that related to the house of God. He exceeded his worthy ancestors in his liberality to this society and proved his real attachment to our peace and happiness. It might have been said of him as of the centurion by the Jews,’He loved our nation and hath built us a synagogue.'”
John Hancock was a great man and I want to continue to highlight his Christian faith. Being a framer and founder of our constitution I think it is important to remember him for the man of God that he was.
The following is copied from HERE
John Hancock was a lifelong member of the Brattle Street Congregationalist Church. His name was inscribed on the cornerstone of the church for the 1,000 pounds he gave when the church was built. He also bought the church’s bell. He also gave a Bible to a church in Lunenberg and bought another bell for a church in Jamaica Plain.
He made frequent appeals to God in his role as President of the Continental Congress and Governor of Massachusetts. In these public positions, he made many statements of praise and thanks to God for His blessings in the fight for independence, made public requests for prayer and repentance and asserted that God was in control of America’s destiny. Hancock also advocated state support of religious institutions.
Some statements revealing his religious faith from some of his public statements and proclamations include:
- In a letter to the Continental Army in March 1776, Hancock proclaimed that the same God who had foiled British efforts to conquer Massachusetts would defeat their “deep-laid scheme” against the other colonies as well.
- In an appeal to all the colonies in September 1776, he stated that members of Congress relied “on Heaven for the justice of our cause.”
- He also said, “I am persuaded under the gracious smiles of Providence, assisted by our own most strenuous endeavors, we shall finally succeed.”
- From his inaugural address as governor in 1780, Hancock thanked God for “the peaceable and auspicious” adoption of the new state constitution.
- In 1782 Hancock reassured members of the Massachusetts legislature that “the favor of heaven” would eventually establish America’s righteous claims.
- Hancock’s Thanksgiving proclamation the following year encouraged citizens to express their gratitude for God’s numerous blessings and to recognize that their “entire Dependence” was on “His Goodness and Bounty.”
Here are some other well known quotes from him.
“Resistance to tyranny becomes the Christian and social duty of each individual. … Continue steadfast and, with a proper sense of your dependence on God, nobly defend those rights which heaven gave, and no man ought to take from us.”
—History of the United States of America, Vol. II, p. 229.
And in his Boston Massacre oration he stated,
I have the most animating confidence that the present noble struggle for liberty will terminate gloriously for America. And let us play the man for our God, and for the cities of our God; while we are using the means in our power, let us humbly commit our righteous cause to the great Lord of the Universe, who loveth righteousness and hateth iniquity. And having secured the approbation of our hearts, by a faithful and unwearied discharge of our duty to our country, let us joyfully leave our concerns in the hands of him who raiseth up and pulleth down the empires and kingdoms of the world as he pleases; and with cheerful submission to his sovereign will, devoutly say: “Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labor of the olive shall fail, and the field shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls; yet we will rejoice in the Lord, we will joy in the God of our salvation.”
Let us not forget the great faith and sacrifice of our founding fathers. I believe that the LORD is still looking for those with great faith to lay down their lives, fortunes, and honor not just for the freedoms of this nation but most of all for His Kingdom.
NEXT POST: Samuel Adams