The Columbia Democrat. (Bloomsburg, Pa.) 1837-1850, July 08, 1837, Image 1

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    LIMMA MHOim.
I have feVvorh u'lto'n tho Altar of God, eternal hostility to every form of Tyranny over the Mlntt of IIan.ThomiU Jcflcmdri.
Volume I
is a subject of such thrilling
the mcmorv of most men. in
every ago and. nation, who nave rendered
tlmsclvcs eminent, cither in the cause of
fertile or vice, glory or infamy, has been
handed down on the pnges of history. K
-S5ong tho unlettered natidns? of the earth,
$K?5find the exploits of their heroes and sa-
jgea recorded in hieroglyphics, in wild and
fMlantic tabids of mysterious tradition,
icri graced with truth and impartiality,
subject is not only interesting, but cal
tbdtd improve our minds, by producing
.afUCsire to emulate the examples of the
.groat and good, arid by pointing out lb us
fthc paths of error that lead us to disgrace
fe'tntl ruiii. Tho interest felt in the history
ofjan individual depends much upon the
iftanncr the biographer performs his im
portant and icasonablc duty, but more,
upon the sphere of action, and tho magni
tudes of the cause in which the individual
iaa been engaged. The cause in which
Sohn Hancock, the subject of this brief
sketch, was engaged, is one ever httcrcst-
ng to every philanthropist, and more es
pecially td every American bosom. It was
thg cause of humanity and equal rights, op
posed to cruelty and oppression; the cause
bfjAmcrican Independence, opposed to Bri-
tyranny. The part he acted, was a-
fllike creditable to his head and heart; his
jfamc is enrolled on the bright list of the il
lustrious patriots of the revolution.
lie was a native of Massachusetts, born
near Qiiincy, in 1737. Ills father, of the
same name was a clergyman, eminent for
his piety, and highly esteemed by the par-
shloncrs under his chafgc4 He died during
the infancy of his son, and left hint under
Tf thb guardianship of his paternal uncle, who
treated hint with all the tenderness of a
jaHief, and continued him at school until he
graduated at Howard College in 1754.
"tylis uncle was a merchant of immense
allh, and on the completion of his studies,
placed him in his counting house, that he
add to his science a knowledge of
Ij'mcss, of man, and of things. In 1700,
visited England, saw the mortal remains
George II. laid in the silent tomb, and
s head of his successor. He continued
the business of his uncle until the age df
enty-scven, when his patron and benc
tof died, leaving him his vast estate,
pposcd to be tho largest of any in the
He was, for many years, dad of the sc
tmcn of Boston; and, in 1700, w'aselcct
a mcmbor of tho General Assembly of
issachusctts. He hero exhibited talents
a superior order, which attracted tho at
ition, excited the admiration, and gained
) esteem of his colleagues. It also excited
to jealousy and irony of his enemies, who
on put hint in the crucible of slander and
irsccution; but after a long trial, he came
mout like gold seven tried; he was woighed
n the scales of Justice, and not found want-
As a proof of the high estimation in which
was held when in the assembly, he was
Jmlaced on tho most important committee of
that body, and was uniformly chairman.
He was also eloctcd spcaljer, but the gover
nor, who was jealous of his liberal princi
ples, put his veto upon his election.
His intelligence had led him to investi
gate the laws of nature, of God, and man;
lie arrived at the conclusion, that mc"n dro
endowed bv their Creator, with n.nrinl n in.
liferent privileges, that they are born equal,
find they of right are and should, be free.
le drank deep from the fountain of liberal
principles, and was among the first to repel
tlie blind and cttel policy of the mother
country, and rouse! his iellow men to a
fcceno of impending danger.
; ,! Although deeply interested in commer
cial business, and more exposed to the
Jvrath of kingly power than any individual
Tn tho province, ho bodily placod himself
fct tho head of associations for prohibiting
flhe importation of goods from G. Britain,
'MntSrcst. that
The other provinces caught fire from these
examples; and, to these associations, lnay
be traced tho preliminaries of the tragic
scene, that resulted in the emancipation of
the enslaved colonies of the pilgrim fathers.
As an evidence that vTohli Hancock was a
leading patriot at that lime, tho first seizure
that was made by the revenue officers, un
der pretence of some trivial violntion of tho
laws, was that of one of his vessels. The
excitement produced by this transaction was
so grcatj thut a large number collected to
resCUd the rbpdrly. ft was moved under
the guns of an armed ship, ready to repel
any attack. But the popular fury rose like
a thunder gust from tho western horizon;
they rushed to the onset) brought away the
vessel, razed to the ground some of the
houses occupied by the custom house offi
cers; and burnt, in triumph, the boat of the
collectorsi This fire was, for a time, smoth
ered by the mantle of authority, but it was
tho fire of Liberty. It only required to be
fanned by the impolitic oppression, that
eventually blew it Into curling flames.
To prevent tho recurrence of a similar
scene, several regiments of British troops,
with all their loathsome vices fresh upon
them, were quartered amongst tho inhabi
tants. This was like pouring pitch on a
fire to extinguish it. The stubborn and
independent spirits of Boston were not to
be awed into subjectidrt. The consequen
ces were tragical. On tho evening of the
5th of Marcht 1770, a party of these sol
diers fired Upon, and killed a number of the
citizens, who had collected td manifest their
indignation against those they hated more
than they feared, Had an earthquake shook
the town to its very centre, the agitation
cquld not have beet! greater. Had it been
smelting before devouring flames, the com
motion could ndthavc been increased.
The tolling of bells, the groans of the
wounded and dying) the shrieks of wi
dows! mothers and orphans; the flight of
soldiers: the rush of the inhabitants; the
cry of vengeance, urged on by popular fury;
all combined to render it a scene of confu
sion and horror, upon which imagination
dwells and sickens; belteath which, descrip
tion quails and trembles; at tho sight of
which humanity bleeds at dvCYy pore. It
is a commentary, strong and eloquent, upon
the Impropriety of quartering soldiers a-
mongst citizens, of maintaining civil law by
military force, and of intruding upon tho
sanctum sanctorum of privato and domestic
On the following day, a meeting of in-
habitans was held; a committoe was nppoin'
ted, at the head of which was Hancock, in.
structcd to request the governor to remove
the troops from the town. He at first re
fused, but finding, under existing circum
stances, that discretion was the better part
of valor, ho ordered their removal. This,
with promises that the offenders should be
brought to condign puuishmont, prevented
further" hostility at that time.
'J ho awful and imposing solemnities of
interring those who were killed, was then
attended to. Their bodies were deposited
m the same tomb; tears of sorrow, sympa
thy, ahd a just indignation, were mingled
with tho clouds as they descended upon
the butchered victims; and the event was,
for many years annually commemorated,
with deep and mournful solemnity. A To
Dcuin and Requiem Was chaiintcd to their
memory, and tho torch of liberty was re
plenished at their tomb.
At one of these celebrations, in tho midst
of the revolution, Joint Haiieock delivered
the address. A. few brief extracts will give
the reader some idea of the feelings and sen
timents that pervaded his bosom, and of his
powers as an orator and a statesman.
"Security td thd persons and property of
tho governed is so evidently tho design and
end of civil govermont, that to attempt a
logical demonstration of it, would be like
burning a taper at noon day, to assist tho
sun enlightening the world. It cannot bo
either virtuous or honorable to attempt to
support institutions, which this is not the
great and principal basis,"
"Some boast of being friends to govern
ment'; I also am a friohd to government, to a
righteous government, founded upon the
principles of reason and justice; but 1 glorv
in avowing my eternal enmity to tyranny."
Ho then proceeds to pourtray in vivid
colours, the wrongs inflicted by tho mother
country, and urging his fellow cithens to
vindicate their injured rights.
In spcaklllg of the Boston massacre, his
language speaks the emotions of his hdaving
bosoln, tho feelings of his indignant soul.
"I come reluctantly to the Impactions
of that dismal night, where in such quick
succession, wo felt the extremes of grief,
astonishment and rage; where heaven, in
angers suffered hell to take the reins; when
Satan, with his chosen band, opened the
sluices of New Ellglaitds blood, and sacri
legiously polluted her land with the bodies
of her guiltless sons.
"Let this sad talc never bo told without
a tear, let not the heaving bosom cease to
burn with a manly indignation at the rela
tion of it through the loilg tracts df future
time; let every parent tell the story to his
listening children, till tears of pity glisten
in their eyes, or boiling passion shakes their
tender frames.
"Dark and designing knaves, murderous
parricides! how dare you tread upon tho
earth which has drunk the blood df slaugh
tered innocence shed by your hands?
How dare you breathe that air, which
wafted to the car of heaven, the groans of
those who fell a sacrifice to your accursed
ambition? But if the laboring cartii doth not
expand her laws; if the aif you breathe is
not commissioned to be the minister of death;
yet, hear it and tremble ! the eye of heaven
penetrates the darkest chambers of the soul,
and you, though screened from human
observation, must bb arraigned, must lift
your hands, red with the blood of those
whose death, you have procured, at the tre
mendous bar of God."
His boldness greatly exasperated the ad
herents of the crown, and every artifice was
put m requisition to injure his growing pop
ularity. Amongst them, was his nomina.
tion by the governor, who had unifofmly
been his enemy, to the council, hoping by
this stratagem, that he would, by his accep
tance, turn the populace againstlilm. By a
prompt refusal, ho defeated the intrigue of
his enemies, and riveted himself more strong
ly on the affections tif those who favored
liberal principles, and rendered himself more
obnoxious to the king's officers. He was
at this time'eaptain of the governor's guard,
and was immediately removed, and as a tes
timony of respect to him, his company
composed of tho first citizens of Boston, dis
solved themselves at once.
The tocsin of the revolution Was now
sounded from the heights of Lexincton;
American blood had again been shed by the
British soldiers; the people sounded the
dread clarion of the revolution ; thousands
rushed to the rescue ; the hireling troops
fled ; in their flight, they found the mcssen
gers of death stationed on their whole route ;
retribution met them at every corner ; the
trees and fences were illumined by streams
of fire from the rusty muskets of the native
yeomanry and many of Britain's proud
sons slumbered in the arms of death on that
memorable, that eventful day.
The goven.or, on the rccoption of this
news, issued his proclamation In tho name
of his most Christian Majesty, George the
III., declaring the province in a stato of
rebellion, but graciously offering pardon to
all returning penitents, excepting John Han
cock, fc Samuel Adams, who had also ren
dered himself obnoxious by his patriotic
and independent course. A secret attempt
was made to arrest them, but was foiled'
These two philanthropists were preserved
to aid in tho glorious cause they had bold
ly and nobly espoused, and to becomo shi
ning lights in the blue arch of liberty, and
bright examples of patriotism to future gen
erations. Their proscription by the gover
nor only served to endear them still more
to their friends and their bleeding country.
In 1771, John Hancock was unanimously
elected president of tho provincial Congress
of Massachusetts, and in 1775 hd was dalled
to preside over the Constitutional Congress.
He accepted this appointment with diffi
dence, thefo being many of its number
much his senior, and of eminent talents.
He however succeeded in discharging the
arduous duties assigned him with fidelity
and great ability) to the satisfaction of his
colleagues and his country.
His was the only name affixed to the
Declaration of Independence, when it was
first published and presented to the gazing
patriots for their approval and it stands first
in relieve, on a thousand fac similids, scat
tered through the world. It stands at the
head of a list of sagds, whose names are
enrolled in unfading glory, and will bo hand
ed down to the remotest ages of time, un"
sullied attd Untarnished.
Impaired in his health and worn ddwn
by a fatigue, Mr. Hancock resigned his
station in Congress in October, 1777, having
presided, over that august body for two
years add a half, with a credit to hlntself,
gratifying to his friends and advantageous
to the cause of human rights.
Soon after he returned home, he was
elected to a convention of his native Btatc,
to form a constitution for its government
His experience and talents were of great
service in producing a truly republican in
strumcnt. tn 1780, he was elected the
first governor under tho new constitution,
and continued to fill the gubernatorial chair
for five years, he was again elected, and
continued to fill that station, with dignity
and usefulness, during the remainder of his
life. During his administration over the
destinies of his dear native state, there were
many difficulties to overcome, niany evils
to suppress. The devastations of the war
hadparalized every kind of business; reduc
ed thousands from aflluenco to poverty
polluted the morals of society; and left a
heavy debt for them to liquidate. Many
conflicting interests were to be subdued;
and many visionary theories were to be ex.
plodcd. Insubordination, arrayed in a
faction of 12000 inen, threatening to an
nihilatd tlie government, was the most pro
minent evil to be subdued. Abuses and ri
ots were disregarded; and it was .'bund ne
ccssary to call out thd militia td preserve
order. By tho prudent management of
Governor Hancock, these difficulties were
adjusted, the clamor of tho people hushed,
their complaints silenced, order restored,
and but few lives sacrificed at the shrine of
For a time, the Governor, by his firm
and determined course, incurred the dis
plcasufd arid enmity of many prominent
men; and when reason resumed her station,
and prosperity began to alleviate the bur
dens that had been so strongly felt, their
ire was appeased, thesour feelings of party
spiiit lost their rancor, and admiration and
esteem for his sterling virtues and talents,
and the long and arduous services he had
rendered his country and his state, disarm
ed his enemies of their resentment, and
produced uniform love and esteem.
Ho used his best exertions in favor of the
adoption of the federal constitution, and to
cap the climax of his well earned fame, he
left a sick bed on tho last week of tho ses
sion of the Assembly of his State, and, by
his vote and influence, induced them to ac
cept and sanction that important instrument
of confederation, that has thus far held us
in the bonds of union, strength and pow
Governor Hancock now had the satisfac
tion of seeing prosperity spread Its benign
influence over the whole infant republic,
& her institutions, laws, trade, manufactures,
commerce and agriculture, based on the
firm pillars of freedom and eternal justice.
His long nursed vision was reduced to a
happy reality; he felt that he could die in
peace; and, on the 8th of October, l"f03,
his spirit took its flight suddenly and unex
pectedly, to join the kindred spirits that
had gone before, td enter upon1 tho retired
scenes of the eternal world. He continued
to serve his country to the last, and, if a
particle of malice against him lingered in
the dark bosom of arty man it was buried
with him in the tomb. Governor Hancock
was airtiable in privatd character; hiehlv
honorable in his feelings ; gentlemanly ill
Ins deportment; fashionable in his style of
living i foitd of innocent, amusements, bdt
free from corrupting vices ; liberal and char
itable ; a friend to the poor, tho oppressed,
and the distressed ; diligent in business :
open and frank in his disposition ; a faithful
companion ; a public spirited citizen, and a
consistent man.
Eriancs'cerice of property It is well for
both rich and poor to be often reminded of
the extreme changcablcncss of their condi
tion in this country. Judgd Story remark
ed with great justice as well as force, in his
speech in theJMassachusdtts Convention:
"In our country, the highest mart is not
above the people; the humblest is not below
the people. If the rich may be said to havd
additional protection, they have not addition
at power. Nor does wealth here form a
permanent distinction of families. Thosd
who are wealthy to-day pass to the tomb,
and their childrdn divide their estates. Pro
perty tltiis is divided quite as fast as it ac
cumulates. No family can, without its own
exertions, stand erect for a longtime under
our statute of descents and distributions,
the only true legitimate agrarian law. if
silendyand quietly dissoivds the mass heap
ed up by tho toil and diligence of a long life
of enterprise and industry. Property is
continually changing like the waves of the"
sea. One wave rises and is sooh swallow
ed up in the vast abyss and fie'en no more
Another rises, and having readied its des
tined limits, falls gently awayf and is suc
ceeded by yet another which, in its turn
breaks and dies away silently on the shore.
The richest maii among us may be brought
down to the humblest level; and the child
with scarcely clothes to cover his nakedness,
may rise to the highest office in our govern'-'
ment. And the poor man, whife he rocks
his infant on his knees, may justly indulge"
the consolation, that if he possesses talents
and virtue, there is nO office beyond the'
reach of his honorable ambition. It is a
mistaken theory, that gdvernraent is founded
fdr one object only. It is organized for the'
protection of life, liberty and property, and
all the comforts of society to enable us to
Indulge in our domestic affections, and qui
etly to enjoy our hdmCs and our firesides.'
People may talk as they please about
the happiness of the rich, but after all, the
worklngman, who" is out of debt, and has
plenty to do, has the greatest cause to b'e
contented. Happy in the company of his'
wife and children, and free from all anxiety,
lie goes to hfs daily toil with the satisfac
tion of knowing that the day's labor will
bring with it enough to satisfy his wants,
and what further can he desire'. He only
knows what a notary is by hearsay, and as
for 3 o'clock, tho sooner it comes tho near
er he will be to the end of his daily toil;
The only notes he thinks about are bank
notCSf aitd provided tiiat on Saturday night
he has enough to lay in his 6toro for the
ensuing week, it is immaterial to hiiri
whether the Banks grant discounts or not.
Ho has no insurance to watch after, nor"
docs he care for tho rates of exchange. Td
him the present is every thing, nor does hd
trouble himself about speculations as to the'
future, for he knows that the same kind
Providence that has cherished and protected
him and his in by-gono days, will continue
his fostering care in those' to come
The Hit palpable. A few oa'vs since, a
traveller stepped into u bank located in a
village in the neighborhood of this citw-
and immediately after his entrance pulled
off his hat, coat and cravat ;' this done ho'
cast a look at tho cashier, who was seated
in a corner "calm as a summer's morning,"
and with a ddmmanding shako of his head,
said, "Sir, had1 ne you belter be gittin that
are water heatedP" Tho Teller informed
him that ho was in tho wrong "shop."
"You are iri a Bank, sir, not in a barber's
shop." "A bank, eh!" ejaculated tho stran
gor; "dang me, they told me itwasasiiK
vi so shop?' Western Hemispheres