By modern standards there is something unlikeable about John Hancock. His type of patriotism and charity is as obsolete as his brocaded dressing-gowns and jewelled buttons. He was one of those men who curiously go in and out of style. Once they are out they are hard to value. ‘The golden showers of guineas’ that marked his almost royal progress, his big speeches, like ‘burn Boston and make John Hancock a beggar if the public good requires it,’ do not arouse in us the same genuine enthusiasm they did in his contemporaries. Such men as Paul Revere, [Royal Governor Thomas] Hutchinson, Joseph Warren, or Sam Adams never are in style or out. Their personalities exist quite independently from the accident of their birth in the first half of the eighteenth century. This is not quite true of John Hancock.
Signer of the Declaration of Independence from Maryland, senator; 1737—1832.
Philadelphia printer, writer, scientist, inventor, signer of the Declaration of Independence, diplomat to France; 1706—90.
Continental Army general, won the Battles of Saratoga; 1727—1806.
Continental Army general; key to winning the war in the South; 1742—86.
Financier, Continental congressman, U.S. senator; 1741/42—1804.
Lawyer, diplomat, Continental congressman, first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court; 1745—1829.
Lawyer, architect, drafter of the Declaration of Independence, Virginia governor, diplomat, third President, founder of the University of Virginia; 1743—1826.
Merchant, planter, slave trader, president of Continental Congress; 1724—92.
Virginia revolutionary, signer of the Declaration of Independence, senator; 1732—94.
Constitutionalist, congressman, Secretary of State, fourth President; 1751—1836.
Paul Revere & The World He Lived In (1942)