1902 Encyclopedia > Robert Morris

Robert Morris
American statesman

ROBERT MORRIS, (1734-1806), American statesman, was born at Liverpool, England, on 20tli January 1734. At the age of thirteen he accompanied his father to America, and after serving in a counting-house at Philadelphia he became in 1754 partner in the business. From 1776 to 1778 he was delegate to the Continental Congress, and he was one of those who signed the Declaration of Independence. During the war he served on the committee of ways and means, and freely placed his immense wealth at the disposal of his country, his personal credit being at one time pledged to the amount of $1,400,000. He also in 1780 established the Bank of North America, and until 1784 acted as superintendent of finance. In 1786 he became a member of the Pennsylvania legislature, and he was one of the convention which framed the Federal constitution in 1787. From 1786 to 1795 he was United States senator. On account of the disastrous result of some of his financial speculations Morris passed the later years of his life in a debt prison. He died at Philadelphia, 8th May 1806. Robert Morris had as his assistant-superintendent of finance Gouverneur Morris (1752-1816), with whom he engaged also in several mercantile enterprises. Gouverneur Morris, who rose to some eminence as a statesman and orator, was more fortunate in his speculations than his colleague, and latterly became celebrated for the munificence of his hospitality. He was the author of a series of essays on currency and finance, which are included in the Life, Correspondence, and Writings of Gouverneur Morris, 3 vols., edited by Jared Sparks, 1832.

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