MASTER JOHNNY TURNS ESQUIRE
HAVING BRACED the House of Hancock against the vicissitudes of the future, as he thought, by installing his promising foster son and intended heir on the ground floor, Thomas Hancock turned his attention to making it secure for the present. Characteristically, however, he not only prepared it to weather the approaching French and Indian War by disposing of his shipping interests and reducing his European trade to a minimum, but rehabilitated those parts of his business structure which would enable him to capitalize to the limit on what promised to be the best of all possible wars.
By this time Hancock and his distasteful but indispensable partner, Apthorp, were so generally recognized as the military provisioners of the British government in America that they no longer had to dicker for contracts. Long before the formal fighting broke out in 1756 Charles Lawrence, who had succeeded Hopson as governor of Nova Scotia, sought out Thomas and offered him the monopoly which Cornwallis had so bitterly opposed. The ubiquitous Kilby, who had been appointed agent for Lawrence's province as well as for Massachusetts, probably had something to do with the windfall.
This boon, however, was not an outright gift. Hancock was to finance, though at a low interest rate, a projected sneak attack upon Fort Beauséjour, which commanded the isthmus between Nova Scotia and Canada, by an expedition including 2,000 New England volunteers. Since the merchant prince did not have the necessary funds, he was compelled to call in Apthorp once more on a partnership basis. In return for a huge outlay of cash and the extension of unlimited credit they were to have all the business stemming from the impending hostilities.
With his nostrils distended by the provocative odor from 600 half
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Publication information: Book title: John Hancock: Patriot in Purple. Contributors: Herbert S. Allan - Author. Publisher: Macmillan. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1948. Page number: 61.
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