Now don’t misunderstand this John Hancock with the one of the movie Hancock, although they might have the same name, one is Will Smith acting as a superhero, but the other one is a prominent statemen and merchant of the city of Boston and an actual hero of the American Revolution.

John Hancock was probably one of the wealthiest man that lived during those times in the colonies. Although his father died when he was young boy, Hancock was adopted by his aunt; and uncle and from them he inherited a shipping business that provided him with a lovable amount of profit. But don’t think of Hancock as a rich boy who had slaves and servants do all the work for him. Although he did had slaves, Hancock had an iniciative to prove himself a worthy man. He graduated from the Boston Latin School and later enrolled on the Harvard College where he received his bachelors degree.

Hancock was, by this times, very oriented to business, he didn’t cared that much for politics since, they didn’t concern him; but as tension among Britain and the colonies, began to appear after the Seven Year War. He started to take roll in politics affairs, starting with the  approval of the Sugar, Stamp and Townshend Acts, he soon started to use his funds to finance the colonial cause against these taxation without representation, since these taxes started to harm his profit and the colony of Massachusetts itself.

After a while, Hancock started to get used to this taxes, but many other merchants refused to pay them, and soon started to smuggle imported merchandise from the dutch or the swedes into the colonies in order to avoid these taxes. Knowing these duties officers in Boston are vigilant and have their eyes opened in case they see a posible smuggler’s shipment.  On May 9, 1768 these officers spot the boat “Liberty” , which is John Hamcock’s property. They notice the ship contains a cargo of Madeira wine, 25 pipes of it to be exact, and started to get suspicious since the ship had a cargo that needed only 1/4 of its carrying capacity. They assumed that John Hancock had only paid taxes for those 25 pipes, but he had hidden many more on a secret compartment on the ship and was planning to unload them in the night, without paying the duty taxes for it. They didn’t have any proof of this, but they forboded to unload the “Liberty” and accused John Hancock as a criminal smuggler.

He was sent to two trials, at the first trial he lost the case, and the ship “Liberty” was confiscated and used to enforce trade regulations, although it didn’t took long before some angry colonists burned it down in Rhode island, one year after confiscation. And on the second trial, having John Adams as his lawyer, he faced the charges of having unloaded 100 pipes of wine, illegaly without paying duties for them. If Hancock was sentenced guilty, he would have to pay a fine that tripled the value of these wine shipment, and these added up to £9,000! Luckily for Hancock after 5 months of proceeding these trials, charges were dropped for unknown reasons and John Hancock was left alone for a while.

Many colonists got really angered for this incident, and saw Hancock as a martyr to the cause of the Patriots. They instantly, took the first opportunity they found to take revenge for that, and the Boston Tea Party occured. But on the other hand, loyalists and the British crown saw Hancock as a smuggler, a thief, a man with no honor who was swimming on dirty money, he was even named “King of the Colonial Smugglers” and was thought to be the head of all smuggling operations. But historians have not found any proof of him being a smuggler of any kind, and that the mayority of his money was earned with honest work and trade.

Now going a big further in time, John Hancock was hated by the British for being such an important member of the Revolution in the colonies. He became the president of the Second Continental Congress and during the War for Independence he was the first and third Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and maybe his most remembered and significant action was to be the first, of all representatives to sign the Act of Independence of the United States of America. His large and stylish signature was the first one to be on a document, that would change the world forever.

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