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John Hancock Signer of the Declaration of Independence - President of the Continental Congress - 7th President of the United States in Congress Assembled - A Stan Klos Biography

John Hancock
1776 President of the Continental Congress
7th President of the United States
in Congress Assembled
November 23, 1785 to June 6, 1786

Hancock, John statesman and signer of the Declaration of Independence, born in Quincy, Massachusetts, 12 January, 1737; died there, 8 October, 1793, was graduated at Harvard in 1754. On the death of his father he was adopted by his uncle, Thomas, who took him into his counting-house and left him a large fortune, the nephew succeeding to the business.

In 1766 he was chosen to represent Boston in the Massachusetts house of representatives with James Otis, Thomas Cushing, and Samuel Adams, "where," says Eliot, "he blazed a Whig of the first magnitude." The seizure of his sloop, the "Liberty," for an alleged evasion of the laws of trade, caused a riot, the royal commissioners of customs barely escaping with their lives. After the affray known as the "Boston massacre," 5 March, 1770, he was a member of the committee to demand of the royal governor the removal of the troops from the city; and at the funeral of the slain he delivered an address so glowing and fearless in its reprobation of the conduct of the soldiery and their leaders as greatly to offend the governor.

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In 1774 he was elected, with Samuel Adams, a member of the Provincial congress at Concord, Massachusetts, and subsequently became its president. It was to secure the persons of these two patriots that the expedition to Concord in April, 1775, which led to the battle of Lexington, was undertaken by the authorities. It was, however, futile, as they succeeded in making their escape. On 12 June, following, General Gage issued a proclamation offering pardon to all the rebels, excepting Samuel Adams and John Hancock, "whose offences," it was declared, "are of too flagitious a nature to admit of any other consideration than that of condign punishment."

Mr. Hancock was a delegate from Massachusetts to the Continental congress from 1775 till 1780, and from 1785 till 1786, serving as president of that body from May, 25, 1775, till October, 1777. The Declaration of Independence, as first published, bore only his name as president. In 1776 he was commissioned major-general of the Massachusetts militia. In the autumn of 1776 congress gave Washington instructions to destroy Boston if it should be necessary to do so in order to dislodge the enemy. Mr. Hancock then wrote to that officer to the effect that, although probably the largest property-owner in the city, "he was anxious the thing should be done if it would benefit the cause." John Adams said of his character: "Nor were his talents or attainments inconsiderable. They were far superior to many who have been much more celebrated. He had a great deal of political sagacity and insight into men. He was by no means a contemptible scholar or orator. Compared with Washington, Lincoln, or Knox, he was learned."

Address leaf panel free franked "John Hancock" by him at lower left and addressed in his hand "To The Honorable General Ward & General Thomas at Cambridge & Roxbury." The panel measures approximately 4 ¾ by 3 ¼ inches oblong. Undated, but certainly 1775 or 1776 because Ward and Thomas were both commissioned in the spring of 1775; General Thomas left Roxbury on March 22, 1776 and died that June in Canada. This is an unusual John Hancock signature as it lacks the flourish of other letters and documents signed at this crucial time in his presidency of the Congress. --

In August, 1778, commanded the contingent of that state in the expedition against Rhode Island.

John Hancock's Continental Congress Chronology is as follows:

1775 - May 24 Elects John Hancock President of the Continental Congress.
May 26
Resolves to send a second petition to the king and to put "these colonies . . . into a state of defense.”

June 1 Resolves against an "expedition or incursion" into Canada. June 2 Receives Massachusetts proposal to take up civil government. June 7 Resolves to observe July 20 as a Fast Day. June 9 Endorses assumption of civil authority in Massachusetts by the provincial convention. June 10 Resolves to organize a Continental Army. June 15 Appoints George Washington commander in chief of the army. June 22 Resolves to emit $2 million in Continental currency. June 27 Approves invasion of Canada.

July 5 Approves petition to the king. July 6 Approves "Declaration on Taking Arms." July 8 Approves address to inhabitants of Great Britain. July 12 Organizes three departments for Indian affairs. July 21 Ignores Benjamin Franklin's proposed Articles of Confederation. July 27 Resolves to establish a system of military hospitals. July 31 Adopts response to Lord North's Conciliatory Resolution.

August 2 Adjourns to September 5.

September 13 Archives quorum and reconvenes; Georgia fully represented for first time. September 19 Appoints Secret Committee to purchase military supplies abroad. September 22 Appoints committee to consider "the state of the trade of America." September 27 Orders publication of corrected journals of Congress. September 29 Appoints Committee of Conference to confer with General Washington and various New England executives.

October 3 Receives Rhode Island proposal for building an American fleet. October 5 Recommends to General Washington a plan to intercept British supply ships. October 6 Recommends that provincial governments arrest persons deemed a danger to "the liberties of America." October 7 Adopts report on fortification of the Hudson River October 13 Resolves to fit out armed vessels; appoints Naval Committee. October 17 Appoints John Morgan director general of hospitals, replacing Benjamin Church upon his arrest for correspondence with the enemy; appoints committee to estimate damages inflicted by British arms. October 24 Adjourns to attend funeral of Peyton Randolph. October 26 Publishes resolution authorizing exports in exchange for arms. October 30 Increases naval authorization and expands Naval Committee.

November 1 Reaffirms general embargo on exports, extended explicitly to March 1, 1776; commends provincial authorities for ignoring parliamentary trade exemptions designed to undermine American unity. November 2 Appoints Committee to the Northward to confer with General Schuyler; receives report of Committee of Conference. November 3 Recommends formation of new provincial government in New Hampshire. November 4 Adopts resolutions for reconstitution of General Washington's army in Massachusetts, and for defense of South Carolina and Georgia. November 9 Adopts new oath of secrecy; publishes report of king's refusal to receive Olive Branch Petition. November 10 Adopts plan for promoting manufacture of saltpetre; orders enlistment of first two battalions of marines. November 13 Orders publication of new "Rules and Regulations" for Continental Army. November 15 Receives account of capture of St. Johns. November 16 Adopts resolves to improve delegates' attendance in Congress. November 17 Adopts regulations pertaining to prisoners of war. November 22 Authorizes exemptions to ban on exports to Bermuda. November 23 Adopts resolves to improve peaceful relations with the Six Nations. November 25 Adopts regulations pertaining to prize cases. November 28 Adopts "Rules for the Regulation of the Navy of the United Colonies"; adopts measures for the defense of North Carolina. November 29 Appoints Committee of Secret Correspondence; resolves to emit $3,000,000 in Continental currency; receives account of capture of Montreal.

December 2 Sends Benjamin Harrison to Maryland to promote defense of the Chesapeake. December 4 Recommends formation of new provincial government in Virginia; appoints committee to dissuade New Jersey Assembly from separately petitioning king. December 6 Publishes response to king's August 23 proclamation declaring colonies in state of rebellion. December 8 Resolves to confine John Connolly for plotting with Lord Dunmore against western Virginia. December 13 Authorizes construction of 13 ships for Continental Navy. December 14 Appoints Marine Committee. December 15 Receives plan for creation of committee to sit during recess of Congress. December 20 Recommends cessation of hostilities between Connecticut and Pennsylvania settlers in Wyoming Valley. December 22 Authorizes an attack on Boston; appoints Esek Hopkins commander in chief of Continental Navy. December 26 Adopts plan for redemption of Continental bills of credit. December 29 Adopts resolutions for importing and manufacturing salt. December 30 Recommends Secret Committee negotiations with Pierre Penet and Emanuel de Pliarne for European arms and ammunition.

1776 - January 1 Recommends "the reduction of St. Augustine." January 3 Recommends a quarantine of Queens County, N.Y., for refusal to send deputies to the New York Convention. January 6 Adopts regulations for the division of marine prizes. January 8 Orders reinforcements to Canada; receives news of the king's speech from the throne (October 27, 1775) and of the destruction of Norfolk, Va. January 11 Resolves that any person refusing to accept Continental currency "shall be. . . treated as an enemy of his country. " January 16 Limits black recruitment to the reenlistment of "free negroes who have served faithfully in the army at Cambridge. " January 17 Receives news of General Montgomery's defeat at Quebec; appoints a committee to prepare regulations for opening American ports on March 1, 1776. January 19 Orders additional reinforcements to Canada in response to General Montgomery's defeat. January 24 Orders publication of a public statement on the repulse at Quebec and of a new "Letter to the Inhabitants of the Province of Canada." January 25 Orders preparation of a monument and delivery of a funeral oration in tribute to the memory of General Montgomery. January 26 Appoints a committee "to repair to New York, to consult and advise ... respecting the immediate defence of the said city." January 27 Directs the Secret Committee to import goods for use of the commissioners of Indian affairs "in order to preserve the friendship and confidence of the Indians." January 31 Forbids enlistment of prisoners of war.

February 5 Recommends that additional efforts be made to instruct and convert the Indians. February 13 Exempts inter-colonial trade in naval stores from general trade restrictions; tables draft "address to the inhabitants of these Colonies." February 15 Appoints a committee to proceed to Canada to promote support for the American cause. February 17 Appoints the Treasury Committee; resolves to emit additional $4 million; appoints Gen. Charles Lee to the Canadian command. February 23 Appoints committees to promote the manufacture of firearms and the production of salt petre, sulphur, and powder. February 26 Prohibits sailing of vessels loaded for Great Britain, Ireland, or the British West Indies. February 27 Establishes separate military departments for the middle and southern colonies. February 29 Receives General Washington's letter on Lord Drummond's peace mission.

March 1 Appoints Gen. Charles Lee to command of the southern department. March 2 Committee of Secret Correspondence appoints Silas Deane agent to France to transact business "commercial and political." March 4 Removes the sailing ban on vessels loaded for Great Britain, Ireland, or the British West Indies and desiring to import arms and ammunition. March 6 Appoints Gen. John Thomas to the Canadian command. March 9 Appoints a committee to study the "state of the colonies in the southern department"; denies military officers authority to impose test oaths. March 14 Adopts resolves on defending New York and disarming the "notoriously disaffected" in all the colonies. March 16 Declares May 17 "a day of humiliation, fasting, and prayer. " March 20 Adopts instructions for the commissioners appointed to go to Canada. March 23 Adopts a declaration and resolutions on privateering, subjecting British ships to seizure as lawful prizes. March 25 Adopts a report on augmenting the defenses of the southern department. March 27 Attends the funeral of Samuel Ward. April 1 Establishes the Treasury Office.

April 2 Commends General Washington and his troops for conducting the successful siege and forcing the evacuation of Boston. April 3 Adopts "Instructions" for privateers. April 6 Opens the trade of the colonies "to any parts of the world which are not under the dominion of the [King of Great Britain]"; prohibits the importation of slaves. April 11 Delivers a speech to Captain White Eyes of the Delaware Indians. April 15 Urges cultivation of harmony between the Connecticut and Pennsylvania settlers in the Wyoming Valley. April 16 Requests the Maryland Council of Safety to arrest Gov.William Eden. April 23 Appoints Continental "agents for prizes in the several colonies"; instructs the commissioners to Canada "to publish an Address to the people of Canada." April 29 Instructs a committee "to prepare a plan of an expedition against Fort Detroit." April 30 Appoints the Indian Affairs Committee.

May 6 Postpones prescribing procedures for receiving peace commissioners rumored to be en route to America; re solves to raise $10 million "for the purpose of carrying on the war for the current year" and appoints a "ways and means" committee. May 9 Resolves to emit an additional $5 million. May 10 Recommends that the colonies "adopt such government as shall, in the opinion of the representatives of the people, best conduce to the happiness and safety of their constituents." May 15 Adopts a preamble to its May 10 resolution on establishing new governments, asserting the necessity of suppressing "the exercise of every kind of authority" under the British crown. May 16 Requests General Washington's presence in Philadelphia to consult on forthcoming campaign. May 17 Adjourns to observe Fast Day. May 21 Receives news of George III's negotiations for nearly 17,000 German mercenaries to be sent to America. May 22 Adopts measures to bolster American forces in Canada; resolves to emit additional $5 million in bills of credit. May 24 Begins consultations with Generals Washington, Gates, and Mifflin on forthcoming campaign. May 25 Resolves "that it is highly expedient to engage the Indians in the service of the United Colonies." May 27 Holds audience with deputies of the Six Nations; receives instructions directed to the North Carolina and Virginia delegates pertaining to independence.

June 1 Requests 6,000 militia reinforcements for Canada. June 3 Requests nearly 24,000 militia reinforcements for General Washington at New York. June 7 Receives Richard Henry Lee's resolution respecting independence, foreign alliances, and confederation. June 10 Postpones debate on independence resolution; appoints committee to prepare a declaration of independence. June 11 Receives Indian delegation; receives report from commissioners to Canada. June 12 Appoints committees to prepare "the form of a confederation" and "a plan of treaties to be proposed to foreign powers"; creates Board of War and Ordnance. June 14 Recommends "detecting, restraining, and punishing disaffected and dangerous persons" in New York; embargoes salt beef and pork. June 17 Adopts general reform of the forces in Canada. June 19 Recommends seizure and confinement of Gov. William Franklin. June 21 Orders inquiry into the causes of miscarriages in Canada. June 24 Adopts resolves on allegiance and treason and recommends legislation for punishing counterfeiters in the several colonies; suspends enlistment of Mohegan and Stockbridge Indians. June 26 Adopts bounty for three-year enlistments. June 28 Reads draft declaration of independence.

July 2 Declares independence. July 4 Adopts Declaration of Independence; prepares mobilization for the defense of New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. July 8 Clarifies jurisdictions of northern commanders Gates and Schuyler; augments Washington's discretionary powers and commissary general's authority. July 10 Denounces British treatment of prisoners captured at the Cedars in Canada. July 12 Reads and orders printing of draft articles of confederation. July 17 Adopts "rules and orders for the government of this house." July 18 Reads draft "plan of treaties to be entered into with foreign states." July 19 Orders publication of Lord Howe's commission and correspondence to expose false expectations for a negotiated peace. July 20 Commends commanders of the American victory at Charleston. July 22 Adopts procedures for negotiating prisoner exchange; authorizes emission of additional $5 million in bills of credit; opens debate on articles of confederation. July 24 Broadens regulations for confiscating British goods on the high seas. July 26 Orders publication of an account of a conference between General Washington and a representative of Lord Howe. July 30 Recommends southern expedition against Cherokees; adopts sundry resolves in response to report on the miscarriages in Canada.

August 2 Delegates sign engrossed Declaration of Independence; Congress authorizes employment of the Stockbridge Indians. August 6 Proposes general prisoner-of-war exchange. August 8 Orders General Lee to return to Philadelphia from Charleston; concludes three-week debate on articles of confederation. August 12 Holds inquiry into conduct of Commodore Esek Hopkins. August 13 Opens debate on revision of articles of war. August 14 Adopts plan for encouraging desertion of foreign mercenaries. August 15 Rebukes Commodore Esek Hopkins. August 16 Censures Commodore Esek Hopkins. August 19 Orders Commodore Hopkins to resume command of Continental fleet; adopts extensive new instructions for Indian commissioners in middle department. August 20 Reads draft Articles of Confederation and orders them printed in preparation for debate in committee of the whole. August 23 Authorizes additional troops on Continental establishment for frontier defense. August 26 Adopts measures for relief of disabled soldiers and seamen. August 27 Resolves to encourage foreign mercenaries to desert from British army. August 30 Adopts plan to improve postal system.

September 3 Receives Gen. John Sullivan's written report on Lord Howe's proposal for peace conference. September 6 Designates Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Edward Rutledge to meet with Lord Howe. September 9 Revises style of Continental commissions, replacing "United Colonies" with "United States." September 11 Committee meets with Lord Howe on Staten Island. September 16 Adopts new plan for a Continental Army of 88 battalions and system of bounties for recruitment of officers and soldiers. September 17 Adopts Plan of Treaties; receives report of the committee appointed to confer with Lord Howe and orders it published. September 20 Adopts Articles of War. September 22 Sends committee to New York "to enquire into the state of the army." September 25 Resolves to send committee to Ticonderoga to improve administration of northern army. September 26 Appoints Silas Deane, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson as commissioners at Paris. September 28 Adopts "letters of credence" for commissioners at Paris and plan for their maintenance.

October 1 Appoints Thomas Mifflin as quartermaster general to replace Stephen Moylan; appoints committee to bring in plan for military academy. October 2 Refuses to accept Gen. Philip Schuyler's resignation as commander of northern department. October 3 Resolves to borrow $5 million and establishes system of loan offices to transact the business. October 7 Receives Gen. Charles Lee's personal report on southern department and advances $30,000 indemnity to him for loss of property in England. October 9 Appoints John Morgan and William Shippen, Jr., director of military hospitals "on the east side of Hudson's river" and in New Jersey, respectively. October 14 Accepts the report of the committee on the appeal of the libel case Joshua Wentworth v. the Elizabeth from the maritime court of New Hampshire. October 18 Appoints Thaddeus Kosciuszko colonel of engineers in Continental Army. October 22 Appoints Arthur Lee to replace Jefferson as commissioner at Paris; instructs commissioners to pro cure eight line-of-battle ships in France. October 28 Appoints committee to conduct inquiry into monopolizing and engrossing of military supplies. October 30 Rejects Maryland proposal to substitute money for land as an additional bounty; adopts new formula for division of prize money in Continental Navy.

November 2 Resolves to emit additional $5 million. November 6 Resolves to appoint naval board in Philadelphia "to execute the business of the navy, under the direction of the Marine Committee." November 11 Directs Board of War to confer with Pennsylvania Council of Safety on defense of Philadelphia. November 15 Adopts new pay plan for Continental Navy. November 18 Adopts lottery scheme to raise Continental funds. November 20 Resolves to enlarge navy by eight additional ships. November 23 Receives news of evacuation of Fort Lee and British crossing of Hudson River. November 25 Urges Pennsylvania to mobilize militia for six-week emergency.

December 1 Holds emergency Sunday session; authorizes General Washington to order troops from east of Hudson River to west side. December 5 Hears address of Indian delegation. December 8 Holds emergency Sunday session. December 11 Proclaims day of fasting and humiliation; instructs General Washington to contradict report that Congress was preparing to adjourn from Philadelphia. December 12 Adjourns to Baltimore; leaves Gen. Israel Putnam to direct defense of Philadelphia. December 20 Reconvenes in Baltimore; inquires into treatment of Gen. Charles Lee since his recent capture by the British. December 21 Appoints George Clymer, Robert Morris, and George Walton an executive committee of Congress at Philadelphia. December 23 Authorizes commissioners at Paris to borrow "two millions sterling," arm six vessels of war, and seek information on Portugal's hostile actions toward American ships. December 26 Appoints committee to prepare plan "for the better conducting the executive business of Congress, by boards composed of persons, not members of Congress." December 27 Confers extraordinary powers on General Washington for six months. December 30 Approves new instructions for American commissioners abroad and votes to send commissioners to "courts of Vienna, Spain, Prussia and the Grand Duke of Tuscany." December 31 Receives General Washington's announcement of his victory over Hessian garrison at Trenton.

1777 - January 1 Appoints Benjamin Franklin commissioner to the Court of Spain. January 3 Directs General Washington to investigate and protest General Howe's treatment of Congressman Richard Stockton and other American prisoners. January 6 Denounces Howe's treatment of Gen. Charles Lee and threatens retaliation against prisoners falling into American hands. January 8 Authorizes posting continental garrisons for the defense of western Virginia and financing Massachusetts' expedition against Fort Cumberland, Nova Scotia. January 9 Dismisses John Morgan, director general of military hospitals, and Samuel Stringer, director of the northern department hospital. January 14 Adopts proposals to bolster Continental money and recommends state taxation to meet state quotas. January 16 Proposes appointment of a commissary for American prisoners held by the British; orders inquiry into British and Hessian depredations in New York and New Jersey. January 18 Orders distribution of authenticated copies of the Declaration of Independence containing the names of signers. January 24 Provides money for holding an Indian treaty at Easton. Pa. January 28 Appoints committee to study the condition of Georgia. January 29 Directs Joseph Trumbull to conduct an inquiry into activities of his deputy commissary Carpenter Wharton. January 30 Creates standing committee on appeals from state admiralty courts.

February 1 Orders measures for suppressing insurrection in Worcester and Somerset counties, Maryland. February 5 Orders measures for obtaining troops from the Carolinas; instructs Secret Committee on procuring supplies from France. February 6 Directs measures for the defense of Georgia and for securing the friendship of the southern Indians. February 10 Recommends temporary embargo in response to British naval "infestation" of Chesapeake Bay. February 12 Recommends inoculation of Continental troops for smallpox. February 15 Endorses the substance of the recommendations adopted at the December-January New England Conference and recommends the convening of two similar conferences in the middle and southern states. February 17 Endorses General Schuyler's efforts to retain the friend ship of the Six Nations. February 18 Directs General Washington to conduct inquiry into military abilities of foreign officers. February 19 Elects five major generals. February 21 Rejects General Lee's request for a congressional delegation to meet with him to consider British peace overtures; elects 10 brigadier generals. February 22 Resolves to borrow $13 million in loan office certificates. February 25 Adopts measures to curb desertion. February 26 Raises interest on loan office certificates from 4% to 6%. February 27 Cautions Virginia on expeditions against the Indians: adjourns to Philadelphia, to reconvene on March 5.

March 5-11 Fails to attain quorum; on March 11 urges Delaware and New York to dispatch delegates to Congress. March 12 Reconvenes. March 13 Cautions agents abroad against recruiting foreign officers with limited English language skills; appoints committee "to confer with General Gates upon the general state of affairs." March 15 Reprimands General Schuyler for comments "highly derogatory to the honour of Congress." March 17-18 Adjourns for lack of a quorum-only eight states represented. March 19 Appoints committee on applications of foreign officers for military appointments; declines Baron de Kalb's offer of service. March 21 Appoints committee to confer with Gen. Nathanael Greene. March 22 Establishes and specifies the organization and duties of the office of secretary of Congress. March 24 Informs General Washington that Congress never intended him to feel bound by a majority in a council of war contrary to his own judgment. March 25 Urges Virginia to suspend operations planned against her western Indians; directs General Gates to take command of the army at Fort Ticonderoga; appoints William C. Houston deputy secretary of Congress. March 26 Suspends Esek Hopkins from his command of the Continental Navy. March 29 Reaffirms decision not to send a delegation to confer with General Lee.

April 1 Adopts plan for "better regulating the pay of the army." April 4 Adopts commissary reforms recommended by General Greene. April 7 Adopts plan to reorganize the medical department. April 8 Adopts proposals to honor the memory of Generals Joseph Warren and Hugh Mercer. April 10 Orders measures for the defense of the western frontiers and appoints Gen. Edward Hand to the command at Fort Pitt. April 11 Appoints William Shippen, Jr., director general of military hospitals and a new staff of physicians and surgeons general. April 14 Adopts measures to improve recruiting and revises Articles of War. April 16 Urges Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut to attack the British forces at Rhode Island. April 18 Resolves to publish report on depredations; appoints committee to conduct inquiry into General Schuyler's command. April 21 Resumes debate on Articles of Confederation. April 22 Orders William Franklin into close confinement in retaliation for his urging Americans to seek royal pardons. April 25 Orders measures for reinforcing and mobilizing General Washington's army. April 29 Orders measures for the defense of Lake Champlain and Ticonderoga. April 30 Appoints committee to evaluate the consequences of the British raid on Danbury; adopts quartermaster and commissary general reforms.

May 1 Considers possible hostilities against Portugal; appoints Arthur Lee commissioner to Spain. May 3 Exonerates Gen. Philip Schuyler from charges of misusing public funds. May 5 Debates Articles of Confederation. May 7 Appoints Ralph Izard commissioner to Tuscany. May 9 Appoints William Lee commissioner to Berlin and Vienna. May 14 Debates reorganization of the quartermaster department. May 20 Resolves to emit an additional $5 million. May 22 Appoints Gen. Philip Schuyler to command of the northern department. May 29 Considers draft address to the inhabitants of the United States.

June 3 Appoints committee to oversee the defense of Pennsylvania. June 4 Empowers General Washington to offer rewards to encourage British desertions. June 6 Directs Secret Committee and Marine Committee to make an accounting of their proceedings and expenditures. June 10 Reorganizes the commissary department. June 11 Receives committee report on "ways and means for defraying the expence of the current year." June 14 Adopts the United States flag; disciplines Deputy Muster Master Gunning Bedford for issuing a challenge to delegate Jonathan Dickinson Sergeant for remarks made in Congress. June 17 Memorializes Gen. David Wooster for bravery during the defense of Danbury, Conn. June 18 Orders George Morgan to convene an Indian conference at Fort Pitt. June 23 Resumes debate on Articles of Confederation; hears New York complaint against inhabitants of "the New Hampshire Grants." June 30 Rebuffs movement to establish Vermont statehood.

July 1 Adopts instructions for commissioners to Vienna, Berlin, and Tuscany. July 3 Adopts instructions for the commissioner to the United Provinces; dispatches troops to suppress Delaware and Maryland loyalists. July 5 Creates Committee of Commerce to replace the Secret Committee. July 7 Condemns Generals Greene, Knox, and Sullivan for an "attempt to influence" Congress. July 11 Appoints committee to proceed to camp "to make a diligent enquiry into the state of the army." July 14 Receives news of the retreat from Ticonderoga and Mount Independence. July 16 Appoints committee to confer with the French officer du Coudray on his "agreement" with Commissioner Silas Deane. July 23 Dismisses 12 naval officers to make an "example" of "combinations of officers to extort increase of pay and allowances." July 25 Appoints committee to study the defense of the southern frontier; commends Colonels Barton and Meigs for "enterprize and valour" in capturing General Prescott and conducting an expedition on Long Island. July 29 Orders an inquiry into the evacuation of Ticonderoga and Mount Independence. July 31 Commissions the marquis de Lafayette a major general.

August 1 Begins inquiry into Commissioner Silas Deane's contracts with foreign officers. August 4 Appoints Gen. Horatio Gates to replace Gen. Philip Schuyler as commander of the northern department. August 5 Begins consideration of Committee to Camp report on the "state of the army." August 7 Directs General Washington "to negotiate an exchange of prisoners with the enemy." August 8 Records first roll call vote-on motion to promote Brig. Gen. Benedict Arnold. August 11 Directs implementation of General Washington's proposals for defense of the Delaware. August 15 Agrees to accept parole of prominent Pennsylvania dissidents seeking to avoid exile to Virginia. August 20 Directs mustering of the Pennsylvania militia; dispatches New Jersey militia to New York to relieve troops for frontier defense. August 21 Endorses General Washington's proposal to march his main army toward the Hudson River; receives news of American victory at Bennington, Vt. August 22 Learns of British invasion of the Chesapeake; alerts Washington to the British threat to Philadelphia and issues call for the Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia militia. August 26 Requests Pennsylvania and Delaware to apprehend and disarm the "notoriously disaffected" within their states. August 28 Reverses decision to parole prominent Pennsylvania dissidents and orders their removal from the state.

September 1 Orders inquiry into the failure of Gen. John Sullivan's expedition against Staten Island. September 4 Orders further call-up of Pennsylvania and New Jersey militia. September 6 Directs clothier general to provide clothing bounties to troops. September 8 Rebukes Silas Deane for exceeding his authority in negotiating agreements with foreign officers in France. Sept ember 9 Orders General Washington to write Congress at least twice daily "advising the position and movements of the armies." September 10 Adopts "ways and means" motion to pay interest accruing on loan office certificates in bills of exchange on the commissioners at Paris. September 11 Learns of the American defeat at Brandywine Creek. September 12 Directs Gen. Israel Putnam to reinforce Washington's army. September 14 Orders General Sullivan's recall until the inquiry ordered into his conduct is completed; resolves to convene in Lancaster, Pa., if the evacuation of Philadelphia becomes necessary. September 15 Orders investigation of a conspiracy rumored to be impending in Pennsylvania. September 16 Grants General Washington broad powers to punish military officers and to impress supplies for the army; orders removal of supplies from Philadelphia September 18 Evacuates Philadelphia. September 19-26 Delegates in flight to Lancaster, Pa. September 27 Convenes at Lancaster; adjourns to York. September 30 Convenes at York.

October 1 Resolves to meet twice daily. October 2 Authorizes delegates to draw provisions from Continental commissaries. October 4 Commends sundry officers for bravery in defense against General Burgoyne's northern invasion. October 7 Debates "mode of voting" under draft Articles of Confederation. October 8 Adopts penalties for "communicating" with the enemy; commends Washington for the "brave exertions" of his army at Germantown. October 9-14 Debates taxation proposals under draft Articles of Confederation. October 15 Debates powers of Congress under draft Articles of Confederation. October 17 Reorganizes the Board of War. October 20 Exonerates Gen. John Sullivan for failure of Staten Island expedition; learns informally of General Gates' capture of General Burgoyne's army at Saratoga. October 22 Orders inquiry into the conduct of Indian Commissioner George Morgan. October 23-30 Debates and revises draft Articles of Confederation. October 29 President Hancock takes leave of Congress.

He was a member of the Massachusetts constitutional convention of 1780, and was governor of the state from the latter year till 1785.

On 16 Jun 1785 Hancock again was elected to the United States in Congress Assembled, but could not attend the session of Congress in November 1785 due to his illness. However, he was elected President of the United States in Congress Assembled 23rd of November 1785. Presidential duties were performed by the two chairmen – David Ramsay (23 Nov 1785 - 12 May 1786) and Nathaniel Gorham (15 May - 5 Jun 1786). On 29 May 1786, Hancock, who was unable to write himself, had his letter of resignation written. It was presented to the Congress on 5 Jun 1786 and the resignation was accepted. The Chronology of John Hancock's Congress is as follows:

1785 -- November 23 Achieves quorum, seven states represented; elects John Hancock president (in absentia), David Ramsay chairman. November 24 Elects two congressional chaplains. November 25 Receives report on British consul John Temple. November 28-29 Fails to achieve quorum.

December 2 Recognizes John Temple as British consul. December 5-26 Fails to achieve quorum December 27 Receives secretary at war reports.

1786 -- January 2 Receives British complaint on treatment of loyalists. January 4 Receives reports on states' response to appeals to grant Congress authority to raise revenue and regulate trade. January 5 Receives report on Algerian capture of American seamen. January 12 Receives report on settlement of Continental accounts. January 18 Refers Connecticut cession to committee. January 19 Orders report on 1786 fiscal estimates. January 27 Elects Samuel Shaw consul to Canton, China. January 30 Appeals to six unrepresented states to send delegates.

February 1 Removes injunction of secrecy on correspondence concerning "the appointment of Commissioners to treat with the Barbary powers." February 3 Debates states' response to congressional fiscal appeals. February 8 Receives report on French loan interest requirements. February 9 Justifies abolishing salaries of court of appeals judges. February 16-24 Fails to achieve quorum. February 25 Receives reports on Franco-American postal plan and on 1786 fiscal estimates.

March 3 Repeats call to the states for authority to regulate trade. March 7 Appoints committee to confer with New Jersey Assembly on its refusal to comply with 1786 Continental requisition. March 10 Rejects New York appeal for an extension of time for receiving Continental claims from citizens of the state. March 14 Clarifies form of oaths required for Continental officeholders. March 17-18 Fails to achieve quorum. March 21 Receives report on capital punishment in military courts martial. March 22 Receives report of New Jersey's reversal of opposition to 1786 Continental requisition. March 24 Appoints single commissioner to consolidate settlement of accounts of the five great departments (clothier, commissary, hospital, marine, and quartermaster). March 27 Orders arrest of Maj. John Wyllws for execution of army deserters. March 29 Directs secretary for foreign affairs to report on negotiations for British evacuation of frontier posts.

April 5 Receives report on "negotiations, and other measures to be taken with the Barbary powers." April 10 Receives report on Connecticut land cession. April 12 Receives board of treasury report on coinage. April 19 Rejects Massachusetts request for Continental ordnance April 27 Receives translations of French decree on fisheries bounties.

May 2 Holds audience with Cornplanter and other Seneca chiefs. May 5 Holds audiene with Cornplanter and other Seneca chiefs. May 6 Fails to achieve quorum. May 8 Appoints second commissioner for settlement of accounts of the five great departments. May 9 Directs Continental Geographer to proceed with survey of western territory. May 11 Debates Connecticut cession. May 12 Declares navigable waters in the territories forever free to their inhabitants and to the citizens of the United States. May 15 Elects Nathaniel Gorham chairman of Congress to succeed David Ransay. May 17 Ratifies Prussian-American treaty of commerce. May 18 Postpones to September meeting of agents for Georgia-South Carolina boundary dispute. May 22-25 Debates Connecticut cession. May 26 Declares conditional acceptance of Connecticut cession. May 29 Fails to achieve quorum. May 31 Amends rules to war; receives John Jay request for a committee to confer with him on negotiations with Diego de Gardoqui.

June 5 Receives resignation of President John Hancock; receives report on military establishment.

John Hancock recovered and was elected Governor again in 1787 and being re-elected annually served in that capacity until his death in 1793. In the presidential election of 1789, Governor Hancock received four electoral votes.

John Hancock was a man of strong common sense and decision of character, of polished manners, easy address, affable, liberal, and charitable. In his public speeches he displayed a high degree of eloquence. As a presiding officer he was dignified, impartial, quick of apprehension, and always commanded the respect of congress.

He employed his large fortune for useful and benevolent purposes, and was a liberal donor to Harvard college. When the best method of driving the British from Boston was under discussion at a patriotic club in that town, he is said to have declared, "Burn Boston, and make John Hancock a beggar, if the public good requires it."

He received the degree of A.M. from Yale and Princeton in 1769, and that of LL.D. from Brown in 1788, and from Harvard in 1792. The illustration represents the Hancock house, which stood in Beacon street, Boston.

HANCOCK, John, clergyman, born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1671; died in Lexington, Massachusetts, 5 Dec., 1752. He was graduated at Harvard in 1689, studied for the ministry, was called to preach as a candidate by the Congregational church at Lexington, Mass

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