John Hancock, an American statesman, born in Quiney, Mass., Jan. 12,1737, died there, Oct. 8, 1793. He graduated at Harvard college in 1754, and shortly after entered the counting house of an uncle, on whose death in 1764 he received a large fortune, and soon became a prominent merchant. In 1766 he was chosen to the Massachusetts house of representatives from Boston. The seizure of his sloop, the Liberty, occasioned a riot in 1768, when the royal commissioners of customs narrowly es-caped with their lives. After the affray known as the "Boston massacre," in 1770, he was a member of the committee to demand of the royal governor the removal of the troops from the city; and at the funeral of the slain he delivered an address so glowing and fearless in its reprobation of the conduct of the soldiery and their leaders, as greatly to offend the governor, who eventually endeavored to seize Hancock and Samuel Adams, both of whom in 1774 became members, and the former president, of the provincial congress at Concord. This was one of the objects of the expedition to Concord in April, 1775, which led to the first battle of the revolution, after which Gov. Gage offered pardon to all the rebels except these two, "whose offences," he adds, " are of too flagitious a nature to admit of any other consideration but that of condign punishment." In the same year Mr. Hancock was chosen president of the continental congress, and in 1776 signed the Declaration of Independence. Leaving congress in 1777, on account of ill health, he returned to Massachusetts, where he was a member of the convention for framing a constitution for the state, and under that constitution was in 1780 chosen first governor; to which office, with an interval of two years, he was annually reelected till his death.

He was a man of strong common sense and decision of character, of polished manners, easy address, affable, liberal, and charitable. In his public speeches he displayed a high degree of eloquence. As a presiding officer he was dignified, impartial, quick of apprehension, and always commanded the respect of congress. He employed his large fortune for useful and benevolent purposes, and was a liberal donor to Harvard college.