Thomas Hancock (July 17, 1703 – August 1, 1764) was a merchant in colonial Boston. He got his start in the book trade, and expanded into importing and exporting throughout the British Empire. He was also a smuggler, evading the British Navigation Acts by trading with Holland, which was forbidden. Thanks to lucrative contracts with the British government during King George's War and the Seven Years' War, Hancock became one of Boston's wealthiest men. When his health failed, he passed his business and fortune to his nephew John Hancock.