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    Letter to John Hancock confirming his appointment to the Continental Congress in 1776

    [John Hancock] Perez Morton Autograph Letter Signed to John Hancock, one page, 7.25" x 8", Council Chambers, January 19, 1776. Morton pens in full: "Sir J, Agreeable to the direction of the inclosed [sic] Resolution, I am to acquaint you, that by a joint ballot of both House of Assembly for the Colony of Massachusetts Bay, You are elected one of the Delegates to represent that Colony in American Congress, until the first Day of January AD 1777- And the inclosed Resolve You are to make the general Rule of your conduct. By order of the General Court -Perez Morton." Hancock had served as president of the Continental Congress since May of 1775, and this letter confirms his re-appointment to serve as the state's representative for the historic year of 1776. As president of the Congress, Hancock would serve during some of the darkest days of the Revolution. As president he had little authority and the post was limited to that of a presiding officer. Although the Congress had no explicit legal authority, it took over all functions of a national government including taking charge if the war against Britain. Hancock's prowess as a businessman served well in efforts to fund and furbish the army.

    As Congress moved forward in declaring independence from England, the delegates (including Hancock) lacked authority from the states that had appointed them to take any action. In May of 1776, Congress passed a resolution recommending (since it had no real authority to impose) that any colony without a proper government should create one. This would set the wheels in motion culminating in the Declaration of Independence which would be approved on July 4, 1776. This historic letter serves to notify Hancock of his place in Congress for this period. Letter has been silked trimmed, with tiny bits of paper loss restored. Light soiling otherwise very good to near fine.

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    Auction Dates
    October, 2008
    16th-18th Thursday-Saturday
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