In circumstances as dark as these, it becomes us, as Men and Christians, to reflect that whilst every prudent measure should be taken to ward off the impending judgments…at the same time all confidence must be withheld from the means we use; and reposed only on that God rules in the armies of Heaven, and without His whole blessing, the best human counsels are but foolishness… Resolved; …Thursday the 11th of May…to humble themselves before God under the heavy judgments felt and feared, to confess the sins that have deserved them, to implore the Forgiveness of all our transgressions, and a spirit of repentance and reformation …and a Blessing on the … Union of the American Colonies in Defense of their Rights [for which hitherto we desire to thank Almighty God]…That the people of Great Britain and their rulers may have their eyes opened to discern the things that shall make for the peace of the nation…for the redress of America’s many grievances, the restoration of all her invaded liberties, and their security to the latest generations.
– A Day of Public Humiliation, Fasting, and Prayer (The Provincial Congress of Massachusetts, April 15, 1775.)
John Hancock (1737-1793) was an American merchant and statesman, and in many ways, one of the major underwriters (if not the primary financier) of the American Revolution. He served as president of the Second Continental Congress and first (and third) governor of Massachusetts after its admission into the union that became the United States. Besides his integral role in founding the nation, Hancock is also known for his signature – perhaps one of the most famous in the world — as it appears most prominently on the Declaration of Independence. In fact, because of this fact, his name has become a synonym for the word “signature.”