John Hancock had ambitions for this post and was very perturbed when John Adams, with Samuel Adams' concurrence, nominated Washington. Hancock thought himself somewhat of a military man and liked to refer to himself as "Colonel Hancock." He, indeed was appointed as "Captain of the Company of Cadets with the rank of Colonel" in the Massachusetts militia in Boston. This was largely a ceremonial post as the unit was called the "Governor's Guard". The only real military experience Hancock had was to lead the company of cadets on parade through the streets of Boston. Hancock's first act after his appointment was to advertise for two fifers in the Boston papers, presumably to accompany him as he marched through the streets. General Gage revoked this commission shortly after he arrived in Boston in May of 1774. Later in February of 1776 Hancock was appointed a Major-General in the Massachusetts Militia.
Charles Thomson was born in Ireland but emigrated to the colonies as a young boy. He later made his home in Pennsylvania and was referred to by John Adams as the "Samuel Adams of Philadelphia." Thomson served as secretary of the Continental Congress throughout its existence and his name appears, as secretary, on the Declaration of Independence. Thomson's tenure as secretary was not without problems as members sometimes had problems on the manner in which Thomson recorded their remarks. On one occasion, James Searles a delegate and friend of both John Adams and Benjamin Franklin, started a cane fight on the floor of the Congress by attacking Thomson after alleging that Thomson had misquoted him in the Minutes. Both men received slashes to the face. Who says that a secretary's position is without danger?