Hancock Signs a Lottery Ticket to Help Rebuild Faneuil Hall.
Dubbed the “Cradle of Liberty” by John Adams, Faneuil Hall in Boston was built in 1742 at the expense of Peter Faneuil, a wealthy French merchant, as a gift to the city. It was almost completely destroyed by fire in 1761, but was rebuilt a few years later using funds from a...
Dubbed the “Cradle of Liberty” by John Adams, Faneuil Hall in Boston was built in 1742 at the expense of Peter Faneuil, a wealthy French merchant, as a gift to the city. It was almost completely destroyed by fire in 1761, but was rebuilt a few years later using funds from a series of lotteries that were conducted by the state of Massachusetts. This new structure was the scene of very historic and heated public meetings leading up to the American Revolution. Debates in this hall led to opposition to the Sugar Tax of 1764, the Stamp Act of 1765, and other British political maneuvers.
The first meeting to oppose the tea tax was held there in 1773, and after a vote, it was decided that “the town of Boston, in a full legal meeting, has resolved to do the utmost in its power to prevent the landing of the tea.” A few years later it was the site of many famous speeches by Samuel Adams, James Otis and others, encouraging independence from England. There is a statue of Samuel Adams in front of the Hall which commemorates his negotiations with British Governor Hutchinson to remove British troops from the city following the Boston Massacre in 1770.
The lottery tickets that were issued to raise funds for the re-building of Faneuil Hall bear the unmistakable signature of then-Boston selectman John Hancock. Document Signed, 2 by 3 1/2 inches, 1765, from the fifth round of this state lottery, signed by Hancock, who would later serve as President of the Continental Congress and become the first man to sign the Declaration of Independence. The Faneuil Hall we see today is much the same as the building successfully financed by this lottery.
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