That undermined founding father, was John Hancock. Before the American Revolution, before being one of the wealthiest merchants in all of the 13 colonies, and before even having a political profession, Hammock’s journey embarked by working as a clerk in his uncle’s mercantile shipping business. He learned it swiftly, and one day in the year of 1 761, Hancock took a voyage to London to observe how business ran in England. In his travels, Hancock had the pleasure of watching the funeral of George II and the coronation of his future adversary, George Ill.In 1 763, Hancock became an official partner of his Uncle Thomas in the business, which was abruptly ended by the death of his uncle around a year later. With his uncle’s death came his uncle’s will, which granted his 27-year-old nephew control over his entire mercantile shipping business and 50,000 pounds in cash (“President”).
When Hancock returned back to the America, he found that his countrymen were in political and economic turmoil with new taxes such as the Sugar and Stamp Acts.As protests against the Sugar Act and Stamp Act developed, it was more the economic impact rather than the dilemma of a constitutional affair of taxation without representation that was the main focus for the colonists. This focus was brought on by the Seven Years War the colonists fought. Hancock in turn decided to play on his only strength he had at the time, money and his business. “Hancock employed more than 10,000 people, most of them in Boston,” says Thomas R. Addled (37).Hancock could have easily just donated money to the cause of liberty to solve temporary problems and still come off as a generous philanthropist, but instead he decided to tackle he core of the problem and get many Americans much needed jobs, showing just what kind of generous father to this country he really was (Addled 38).
Soon after Hammock’s employment by the thousands, people began to take notice. Because his showing of patriotism and loyalty to his fellow man, he soon got elected selectman in Boston.This would then set the stage for him to further change the outcome of the conflict with the British. John Hammock’s first clash with the British was on May 9, 1768. When Hancock ship, the Liberty, laid anchor in the docks of Boston Harbor around midday, British custom officials searched the vessel for any unpaid cargo tax. The only thing the custom officials found were 25 barrels of wine on which Hancock paid full duties to have. Officials still remained skeptical, as John was a notoriously known as a skilled smuggler, even if he’d never gotten caught.
They came to the conclusion that Hancock was going to unload more wine or other cargo under the cover of night, but they seemed to lack evidence to prove it since two the tides-men that slept overnight in the Liberty reported to seeing nothing be unloaded. Whether Hammock’s cunning and seasoned smuggling skills or whether his wealth played a hand in bribery between the two tides- men, Hancock did not get charged with any smuggling activities until around a month later when Thomas Kirk, one of the tides-men, reported that Hancock was in fact smuggling new cargo.Near sunset, British customhouse agents searched and seized the Liberty, and did in fact find new cargo of 20 barrels of oil and tar. They then pulled Hammock’s ship from the harbor into the sights of the 100 cannon filled man-of-war, Rooney. Hancock lost his ship in the process and was fined around 1 00,000 pounds for evading the British tax (naps. Gob). John could have simply paid the tax on his extra cargo without even remotely damaging the size of his wallet, but instead he followed his principles and beliefs of no taxation without representation and in the back of his mind, Liberty.
John Hammock’s story of the Liberty and his passion for patriotism soon gained notice of yet another group of people. A month after Hammock’s Liberty was captured by the British, the town of Boston chastised he British government for taking The Liberty and coined British actions, “an illegal seizure of a vessel lying wharf (Proctor 653). ” This meant not only did he have the support of the people for illegal activity against England, but he had the government’s as well.After a few years of tending to his business, John finally renewed his old previously gained trust with the American government by taking up an active role in the Boston Tea party. Although some now believe John didn’t even step foot on the dock of Boston Harbor, in is time folklore spoke of him as being the head Indian leading his men onto the ships himself. The British response in 1 774 was the closing Of Boston Harbor and imposing the Intolerable Acts. At the same as the British were carrying out their punishments, John had been elected president of the Continental Congress in May of 1775.
In turn, London placed a price on both John Hancock and his ally Samuel Adams. The following year, John Hancock would have one of the last adventures as a Founding Father he’d ever have. Late in the night, Paul Revere would wake Hancock and Samuel Adams to the famous words of, “The Regulars are coming’ (Addled 39). Knowing their heads would be on George’s silver platter if they didn’t hurry, Hancock and Adams scrambled to get their belongings and get out Lexington and toward Wobble as soon as they could.Before leaving though, Hancock came to the decision to stay and fight with a militia only 200 strong. Only after series of protests and convincing by both his fiancée and Adams, did he get persuaded into leaving for Wobble. The rest Of Hammock’s days were spent ruining his future legacy.
He damaged his relationship with Samuel Adams ND several others for his reaction towards George Washington being selected for Commander in Chief in place of him.Despite still carrying on as an admirable president in the Continental Congress, that action alone rolled the wheels toward his future criticisms by many modern day historians. James Tremulous, a highly credited author of history, claims John Hancock to be “an empty barrel, a man so immersed in his own mediocrity, seeking offices and responsibilities way out of his capabilities (Proctor 654). ” Many people either focus on the fact that John was just another vain wealthy merchant ho was an ostentatious dresser, or that he just merely signed the Declaration of independence.Rarely is there someone who recognizes that he consistently put his life and fortune on the line for the purpose of liberty. Rarely is there someone who recognizes that at one point he was ready to take up arms with a gun in one hand and a sword in the other to defend his city. Rarely is there someone who recognizes that his smuggling wasn’t an act of greed, but an act of defiance against tyranny.
For those that do know, they know that this barrel still had some substance yet still left inside.