University Archives

Lot 133

Previous image preload Next image preload


John Hancock Writes Letter for Uncle to Client for Business He Later Inherited 

JOHN HANCOCK, Autograph Letter Signed for “Thomas Hancock & Company,” to Samuel White, June 14, 1763, Boston. 1 p., 7.5? x 9?. General toning; some staining; some tears on folds and edges, affecting inside address; holes in paper, not affecting text; good.

Complete Transcript:

Boston June 14th 1763
We have just Rec’d a Letter from our Friends in London to whom we Sent Mr Cuming’s Bill & his power; but they are not able to obtain the Money of the Gentn in Scotland, owing to a mistake in the power as they say, & Desire a new power may be Forwarded, & as there are Several Oppors for London, beg Mr Cumings would come to Town as soon as he can, & Execute another power, we will Forward, & hope shall be able then to Effect it
We are Sir,
Your most obed Servts
Thos Hancock & Compa
Samuel White Esq

Historical Background:

After John Hancock’s father died in 1742, his paternal uncle Thomas adopted the young boy and raised him. After the younger Hancock graduated from Harvard in 1754, he joined his uncle in the mercantile trade. In this business letter, written a year before his uncle’s death, John Hancock signed as “Thos Hancock & Company.” When his uncle died in 1764, John Hancock inherited the business and became one of Boston’s wealthiest citizens.

John Hancock (1737-1793) was a Boston merchant and leader of the colonial resistance movement. He was born in Braintree, and his paternal uncle, Thomas Hancock, adopted John after his father died in 1742. John Hancock graduated from Harvard College in 1754 and went to work for his uncle, from whom he learned the mercantile trade. The Hancock family engaged in smuggling with the French West Indies in defiance of the Molasses Act. When his uncle died childless in 1764, John Hancock inherited the lucrative mercantile business and became one of the wealthiest men in New England. Named a Boston selectman in 1765, Hancock opposed the Stamp Act, and upon passage of the Townshend Duties in 1767, he resolved to prohibit British customs officials from setting foot on his ships. Hancock served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives and, in 1774, he was elected president of the revolutionary Provincial Congress. He and Samuel Adams were the targets of General Gage’s projected campaign against Lexington and Concord in April 1775. During the war, Hancock served as President of the Continental Congress, 1775-1777, and in that capacity signed the Declaration of Independence in bold script on July 4, 1776. After Shays’ Rebellion embroiled Massachusetts in civil unrest in 1786 and 1787, Hancock’s support of the new Constitution was probably responsible for its ratification, by a narrow margin, by Massachusetts. Under a new Massachusetts constitution, Hancock was overwhelmingly elected governor in 1780 and served until his resignation in January 1785. After Shays’s Rebellion confounded his successor James Bowdoin, Hancock returned to office as governor in 1787 and pardoned the rebels. He won reelection annually for the rest of his life.

Thomas Hancock (1703-1764) was a merchant in Boston who began in the book trade and expanded into importing and exporting throughout the American colonies. He also smuggled cargoes to evade the Navigation Acts by engaging in forbidden trade with the Dutch Republic and its colonies. He became one of Boston’s wealthiest residents, and when his health failed, he passed his business to his nephew John Hancock, whom he had raised from childhood.

Samuel White (1710-1769) was born in Weymouth, Massachusetts, and graduated from Harvard College in 1731. He became a prominent attorney in Taunton, Massachusetts, approximately thirty miles south of Boston.

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.


Online Payments Accepted

Accepted Forms of Payment

American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Money Order / Cashiers Check, Paypal, Personal Check, Visa, Wire Transfer


We do our own in-house worldwide shipping!

Applicable shipping and handling charges will be added to the invoice. We offer several shipping options, and remain one of the few auction houses who proudly provides professional in-house shipping as an option to our clients. All items will ship with signature required, and full insurance. Most items are sent via Federal Express, with P. O. Box addresses being sent through USPS. We insure through Berkley Asset Protection with rates of $.70 per $100 of value, among the lowest insurance rates in the industry. Our shipping department cameras document every package, both outgoing and incoming, for maximum security. In addition, we compare our shipping and handling rates against those of other auction houses, to ensure that our charges are among the lowest in the trade.

Upon winning your item(s), you will receive an invoice with our in-house shipping and handling fees included. ***We will ship to the address as it appears on your invoice, unless you inform us otherwise, immediately upon your receipt of invoice***

International shipments: In order to comply with our insurance provider, all international shipments will be sent via Fed Ex and customs paperwork will show a value of $1.00. International buyers should contact our office directly with any questions regarding this policy.

Third Party Shipping Option: If a third party shipper is preferred, the buyer is responsible for contacting them directly to make shipping arrangements. For your convenience, we have provided some recommended shippers. For your protection, we will require a signed release from you, confirming your authorization for us to release your lots to your specified third party Please copy and paste this following link into your browser: http://universityarchives.com/UserFiles/ShippingInfo.pdf. At that point, our responsibility and insurance coverage for your item(s) ceases. Items picked up by third party shippers are required to pay Connecticut sales tax. Items requiring third party shipping due to being oversized, fragile or bulky will be denoted in the item description.

Please see our full terms and conditions for names of suggested third party shippers.

After payment has been made in full, University Archives will ship your purchase within 5 business days following receipt of full payment for item.

Please remember that the buyer is responsible for all shipping costs from University Archives' offices in Westport, CT to the buyer's door. Please see full Terms and Conditions of Sale.

August 19, 2020 10:30 AM EDT

Westport, CT, US

You agree to pay a buyer's premium of up to 25.0% and any applicable taxes and shipping

View full terms and conditions

From: To: Increments:
$0 $99 $10
$100 $299 $20
$300 $499 $25
$500 $999 $50
$1,000 $1,999 $100
$2,000 $2,999 $200
$3,000 $4,999 $250
$5,000 $9,999 $500
$10,000 $19,999 $1,000
$20,000 $49,999 $2,500
$50,000 + $5,000