This John Hancock letter was written to his fiancee Dorothy Quincy (they would marry in August, 1775) after John's safe arrival in New York after fleeing the British at the Battle of Lexington. Hancock went to New York as a delegate from Massachusetts to the Second Continental Congress. He would be chosen its President soon after he arrived. In the letter Hancock talks about the thousands of people that welcomed he and the other delegates to New York. Some people actually wanted to take the horses from his carriage and pull him into town on their own shoulders. He also mentions the military escorts and wonders about people he knows getting out of Boston.
new York, Sabbath Even'g, May 7, 1775.
my Dear Dolly:
I Arrived well, tho' Fatigued, at King's Bridge at Fifty Minutes after Two o'clock yesterday, where I found the Delegates of Massachusetts and Connect', with a Number of Gentlemen from New York, and a Guard of the Troop. I Din'd and then set out in the Procession for New York, the Carriage of your humble servant of course being first in the Procession. When we Arriv'd within three Miles of the City we were Met by the Grenadier Company and Regiment of the City Militia under Arms, Gentlemen in Carriages and on Horseback, and many Thousand of Persons on Foot, the Roads fill'd with people, and the greatest Cloud of Dust I ever saw. In this Scituation we Entered the City, and passing thro' the Principal Streets of New York amidst the Acclamations of Thousands were set Down at Mr. Francis's. After Entering the House three Huzzas were Given, and the People by Degrees Dispersed.
When I got within a mile of the City my Carriage was stopt, and Persons appearing with proper Harnesses insisted upon Taking out my Horses and Dragging me into and through the City, a Circumstance I would not have had Taken place upon any consideration, not being fond of such Parade.
I Beg'd and Intreated that they would Suspend the Design, and ask'd it as a favour, and the Matter Subsided, but when I got to the Entrance of the City, and the Numbers of Spectators increas'd to perhaps Seven Thousand or more, they Declar'd they would have the Horses out and would Drag me through the City. I repeated my Request, and I was obliged to apply to the Leading Gentlemen in the procession to intercede with them not to Carry their Designs into Execution; as it was very disagreeable to me. They were at last prevail'd upon and I preceded. I was much obliged to them for their good wishes and Opinion, in short no Person could possibly be more notic'd than myself.
After having Rode so fast and so many Miles you may well think I was much Fatigu'd, but no sooner had I got into the Room of the House we were Visited by a great number of Gentlemen of the first Character in the city, who Took up the Evening.
About 10 o'clock I Sat down to Supper of Fried Oysters, &c, at 11 o'clock went to Capt. Sears's (the King's Inn) and Lodg'd. Arose at 5 o'clock, went to the House first mentioned, Breakfasted, Dress'd, and went to Meeting, where I heard a most excellent Sermon by Mr. Livingston, Returned to the same House, a most Elegant Dinner provided.
The Grenadier Company of the City is to Continue under Arms during our stay here, and we have a guard of them Night and Day at our Doors. This is a sad mortification for the Tories, things look well here.
Tomorrow morning propose to Cross the Ferry. We are to have a large Guard in several Boats and a Number of the City Gentlemen will attend us over. I can't think they will Dare attack us.
I beg you will write me. Do acquaint me every Circumstance Relative to that Dear Aunt of Mine; write Lengthy and often. Mr. Nath. Barrett and Mr. Buck are here. People move slowly out, they tell me, from Boston. My best Respects to mr. and Mrs. Burr. My poor Face and Eyes are in a most shocking scituation, burnt up and much swell'd and a little painfull. I don't know how to manage with it.
Is your Father out? As soon as you know, do acquaint me, and send me the letters, and I will then write him. Pray let me hear from you by every Post. God bless you my Dr Girl, and believe me most Sincerly,
Yours most Affectionately,