John Hancock - Autograph Letter Signed - Discusses Abolition Of Slavery In Ma
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John Hancock - Autograph Letter Signed - Discusses Abolition Of Slavery In Ma:
JOHN HANCOCK. John Hancock (1737–1793) was a Massachusetts statesman and patriot who served as the president of the Second Continental Congress and was the first and third Governor of MA. He is best remembered for his large and stylish signature as the first Signer on the Declaration of Independence.
REVOLUTIONARY WAR-DATED AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED BY JOHN HANCOCK WITH HIS TITLE AS, “THE GOVERNOR,” OF MASSACHUSETTS INVITING THE MA SUPREME COURT JUSTICES FOR DINNER LIKELY TO DISCUSS THE ABOLITION OF SLAVERY IN MA
Revolutionary War-dated autograph letter signed by John Hancock with his title as, “The Governor,” of Massachusetts inviting the MA Supreme Judicial Court Justices for dinner at the Governor’s Mansion likely to discuss the abolition of slavery in MA: “The Governor presents his most Respectful Compliments to The Honrble The Judges of the Supreme Judicial Court, and Requests the Honor and pleasure of their Company at Dinner on Saturday next 3/4 past One oClock. Wednesday Februy. 19th. 1783.” In February 1783, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court consisted of Chief Justice William Cushing (term 1777-1789), Increase Sumner (term 1782-1797), Nathaniel Sargent (term 1775-1791), James Sullivan (term 1776-1807), and David Sewall (term 1777-1789). The letter is one page, measures 9.125 by 7.625 inches, and in near fine condition with toning and a few small tears along the folds.
THE GOVERNOR AND THE STATE JUSTICES ALMOST CERTAINLY DISCUSSED THE IMMINENT ABOLITION OF SLAVERY WITH THE JUSTICES APPROVING A PENSION OF AN EX-SLAVE THE VERY DAY THE LETTER WAS SENT AND SLAVERY HAVING BEEN ON THE COURT’S DOCKET CONTINUALLY
While there is no transcript of Hancock’s dinner, the Governor and the state Justices almost certainly discussed the imminent abolition of slavery. Slavery had been on the court’s docket continually, including a case in which the Justices approved a one year pension for an ex-slave named Belinda from the estate of her former owner, Isaac Royal, on February 19, 1783, the same day Hancock invited the Justices to dine. Slavery would be judicially abolished in Massachusetts later that summer on July 8, 1783. In defending the court’s decision, Chief Justice William Cushing cited the 1780 MA Constitution, marking in his trial notes that, “all men are born free and equal.”