DescriptionJohn Hancock Partly Printed Ship's Bill of Lading Filled out Entirely in His Hand, Including his Handwritten Surname, "Hancock". One disbound page, 9" x 4.5", Boston, June 9, 1762. This handsome document identifies the cargo aboard Thomas Hancock's ship, the Charming Molly. John Hancock, then working at his uncle's mercantile firm, lists (in his holograph) the cargo on board: "...Thirty Thousand of Bricks, Ten Thousand feet of Boards, Twenty Three Hogsheads of Corn, Five Hogsheads of Bran, One Hogshead of Sand, Two Carts Compleat, One pair Trucks Compleat, One Boat, Sails & Oars Compleat, Thirty Three bundles of Hay & Two Horses . . . to be deliver'd [printed] . . . unto William Jeffray Esq.r, storekeeper to the Hon'l Board of Ordinance."
Thomas Hancock was the uncle of American patriot John Hancock. As a merchant in colonial Boston, Thomas Hancock got his start in the book trade, later expanding into importing and exporting throughout the British Empire. He was also a smuggler, evading the British Navigation Acts by trading with Holland, which was forbidden at the time. Thanks to lucrative contracts with the British government during King George's War and the Seven Years' War, Hancock became one of Boston's wealthiest men. John Hancock began working for his upon his graduation from Harvard in 1755.
This particular bill of lading includes a handwritten notation invoking the name of Sir Jeffery Amherst, who was at the time the first Governor General of British North America. Two years later, Hancock's health failed and he passed his business and fortune to his nephew John, who used his power and wealth to further the cause of independence from Great Britain. Document is moderately age toned with a rough left edge, but is quite attractive and in very fine condition.
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