MORRIS, Robert

MORRIS, Robert
Library of Congress
1734–1806

Biography

MORRIS, Robert, (father of Thomas Morris [1771–1849]), a Delegate and a Senator from Pennsylvania; born in Liverpool, England, January 20, 1734; immigrated to the United States in 1747 and settled in Oxford, Md.; attended school in Philadelphia; became a merchant in Philadelphia in 1748; signed the non-importation agreement of 1765; member of the Pennsylvania Council of Safety 1775; Member of the Continental Congress 1775-1778; signer of the Declaration of Independence; settled upon the Manheim estate; member, State assembly 1778-1781; national superintendent of finance 1781-1784; established the Bank of North America; member, State assembly 1785-1787; delegate to the Federal Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787 and one of the signers of the Constitution; elected to the United States Senate and served from March 4, 1789, to March 3, 1795; declined to be a candidate for renomination; declined the position of Secretary of the Treasury in the Cabinet of President George Washington; known as the "financier of the American Revolution" and one of the richest men in America, Morris became involved in unsuccessful land speculations, which caused him to be imprisoned for debt from 1798 to 1801; died in Philadelphia, Pa., May 8, 1806; interment in the family vault of William White in the churchyard of Christ Church.

View Record in the Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

[ Top ]

External Research Collections

Albany Institute of History and Art

Albany, NY
Papers: Correspondence in Henry Manning Sage collection, 1697-1830.

American Philosophical Society

Philadelphia, PA
Papers: Correspondence in Bache papers-Castle collection, 1766-1946; Fox family legal papers, 1686-1881; Henry O'Reilly selections from papers relating to the Six Nations, 1789-1820, on 1 microfilm reel of originals at New-York Historical Society; on subscription list (1793) for proposed exploration of the American West by Andre Michaux; in Shippen family papers, 1733-1878; Richard Gimbel collection of Thomas Paine papers, 1692-1921; 1 item (June 29, 1789) in Franklin papers; and in North American Land Company ledger, 1795-1805.

Boston Public Library

Boston, MA
Papers: 15 items.

Columbia University
Rare Book and Manuscript Library

New York, NY
Papers: Correspondence in Gouverneur Morris papers, 1768-1816, available on 5 microfilm reels; 1 item (April 20, 1789) in Iselin Jay papers; and in Alfred C. Berol American Revolutionary letters and documents, 1650-1830, on 1 microfilm reel.

Connecticut Historical Society

Hartford, CT
Papers: Ca. 94 items (1776-1797) in various collections; and correspondence in Silas Deane papers, 1740-1842. Available on microfilm. Finding aid.

Connecticut State Library

Hartford, CT
Papers: 1 item (July 9, 1789) in Perry collection; 1 item (October 26, 1789) in Governor Joseph Trumbull collection; and 1 item (June 17, 1789).

Cornell University Libraries
Rare Books and Manuscript Collections

Ithaca, NY
Papers: Letter (March 3, 1755) and portrait in Washington Irving's Life of George Washington, Volume I, Miscellany, 1745-1856; letter (April 8, 1781) and portrait in Volume VI, Miscellany, 1774-1807); letter (June 29, 1793) and portrait in Volume XI, Miscellany, 1755-1835; and 3 items (March 4, 1789-December 10, 1789) in Rare Book Room collection.

Dickinson College Library

Carlisle, PA
Papers: 1796-1799. 13 letters and documents.

Georgia Historical Society

Savannah, GA
Papers: Correspondence in Eighteenth Century Governors of Georgia collection, 1754-1901.

Hagley Museum and Library

Greenville, DE
Papers: In United States District Court, New York: Southern District equity dockets and case files, 1791-1846, on 23 microfilm reels; and United States District Court, Pennsylvania: Eastern District equity dockets and case files, 1790-1847, on 23 microfilm reels of originals at National Archives and Records Administration; discussed in Thomas Pym Cope diaries, 1800-1851, on 2 microfilm reels of originals at Haverford College Library; in John Nicholson papers, 1772-1819, on 27 microfilm reels of originals at Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission; and in Lehigh Coal Mine Company records, 1792-1829.

Harvard University
Graduate School of Business Administration Baker Library

Boston, MA
Papers: Letters (1789-1799) concerning the North American Land Company in Records relating to estate, real estate, and private investment management, 1765-1945.

Harvard University
Houghton Library

Cambridge, MA
Papers: In Arthur Lee papers, 1741-1882 (bulk 1766-1787); and 1 item (March 24, 1789) in Dearborn collection. Finding aid.

Haverford College

Haverford, PA
Papers: 1 item (May 2, 1789) in Charles Roberts autograph collecton.

Henry E. Huntington Library

San Marino, CA
Papers: 1774-1837. 320 items. Personal and business correspondence, together with papers relating to litigation involving his estate. Finding aid.

Historical Society of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA
Papers: 1769-1836. 250 items. Business papers including bill book (1795-1798); journals (1791-1801); ledger (1794-1801); wastebook (1792-1797); correspondence, agreements, and notes (1769-1803); abstract, "In the Case of Robert Morris a bankrupt, extract from the examination before the commission, 1790-1798;" and miscellaneous correspondence, accounts, bonds. Also 273 items (1756-1782) in Russel T. Levis Robert Morris collection including correspondence and material relating to public career.
Additional Papers: In John Ross account books and ledgers, 1758-1791; Charles Willing and Son letterbook, 1754-1761; 6 items (March 23 1789-May 2, 1791) in Simon Gratz collection, 1754-1824; letters (1777-1799) in Ferdinand Julius Dreer collection, 1703-1900; deeds in Bank of North American records, 1780-1923; in Henry Pleasants collection, 1693-1825; North American Land company records, 1793-1898 (bulk 1798-1810); manuscript of unpublished book "He Financed the War: a Life of Robert Morris" by John Thomson Faris; Asylum company minutes, 1794-1804; letters in Jonah Thompson collection, 1683-1854; accounts (1793-1803) in Thompson family papers; letters in Reed and Forde papers, 1759-1823; in John Nicholson letterbooks, 1795-1798; Robert Restalrig Logan collection, 1671-1863; John Hatkinson ledger, 1748-1758; contract to supply rations to Revolutionary army in James Gibson papers, 1712-1846; Conaroe Autograph collection, 1643-1882; papers relating to litigation in Carter Braxton papers, 1780-1811; correspondence in Coxe family papers, 1638-1897 (bulk 1776-1879); in James Hamilton collection, 1750-1899; and John Irwin papers, 1778-1820; 1 item (November 19, 1790) in Staufer collection; 1 item (October 10, 1790) in Logan papers; 1 item (October 23, 1789) in Wayne manuscripts; 2 items (July 3, August 15, 1789) in Hopkins papers; 4 items (August 9-September 25, 1789) in Peters papers; 1 item (May 2, 1789) in Chaloner and White collection; 2 items (July 11, August 23, 1789) in Henry S. Drinker papers; 1 item (August 29, 1789) in Levi Hollingsworth papers; 19 items (June 3, 1789-August 22, 1790) in Tench Coxe papers; and portraits.

Independence Seaport Museum
J.Welles Henderson Archives and Library

Philadelphia, PA
Papers: Francis A. Lewis Papers on Robert Morris (1790-1932). Records related to the repayment of Robert Morris' creditors and to the administration and liquidation of lands placed in trust to protect his equity. Correspondence, indentures, deeds, receipts, and other records documenting the sale and sub-division of lands and lands taxationon. Items of note include a copy of a deed for land conveyed to Mary Jemison by the Seneca Indian nation and a certified copy of a bill from the New York legislature guaranteeing Jemison's title to the land.
Papers: 2 items. 1786, 1789. Letter, Sept. 3, 1786, Robert Morris to Robert Gilmore & Co., Baltimore regarding prices and sales of tobacco and the arrangements for chartering ships to transport it. Letter, April 9, 1789, New York, Morris to Alexander Donald, Esq. about the loss of the ship Clementine and her cargo, and about other shipments of tobacco.

Knox College
Seymour Library

Galesburg, IL
Papers: 1 letter (October 9, 1787) in Bookfellow Foundation autograph collection, 1705-1940.

Library Company of Philadelphia

Philadelphia, PA
Papers: 2 items (July 25, September 13, 1789) in Read family papers.

Library of Congress
Manuscript Division

Washington, DC
Papers: 1734-1839. 4.4 linear feet. Correspondence, official and personal letterbooks, journals and proceedings of the Continental Congress, accounts, and other papers. Most public papers relate to financing the American government and its forces during the Revolution. Available on 12 microfilm reels.
Additional Papers: In Croxall-Morris family papers; Nathanael Greene letterbooks, 1781-1782; United States Department of Treasury records, 1781-1803, on 1 microfilm reel; Alexander Hamilton papers, 1760-1830, available on 46 microfilm reels; 2 items (April 6, 1789; May 3, 1790) in George Washington papers; 2 items ( March 1789) in Maclay's Journal; 5 items (February 7-August 8, 1790) in Stone papers; correspondence in Pierre Eugene Du Simitiere papers, 1774-1784; John Nicholson family papers, 1786-1868; and John Fitch papers, 1783-1854.

Maryland Historical Society

Baltimore, MD
Papers: Correspondence with Benjamin Harwood, receiver of Continental taxes at Annapolis, MD, and financial papers in the Morris-Harwood papers, 1782-1786, 75 items; 1 item (March 1, 1789) in Otho H. Williams collection; and 3 items (April 19, 1789-April 11, 1790) in Thomas Sim Lee papers.

Massachusetts Historical Society

Boston, MA
Papers: Ca. 75 items (1768-1802) in various collections.

National Archives and Records Administration

Washington, DC
Papers: 3 items (February 6-May 1, 1790) in State Department miscellaneous letters.

New Hampshire Historical Society

Concord, NH
Papers: 1 item (September 21, 1790) and miscellaneous items (1780-1800) in Morris-Stark papers.

New Jersey Historical Society

Newark, NJ
Papers: Correspondence in Anthony Walton White papers, 1752-1841; De Zeng family papers, 1729-1925; autographs in Louis Bamberger autograph collection, 1683-1929; and in Edwin A. Sly autograph collection, 1663-1890.

New York Historical Society

New York, NY
Papers: 1 item (August 27, 1789) and miscellaneous items in Robert Morris miscellaneous manuscripts collection.

New York Public Library

New York, NY
Papers: 1751-1802. 1 linear foot. Correspondence, financial and legal papers, and auction catalogs of collections pertaining to Morris. Correspondence relates chiefly to business affairs, and also his Revolutionary War activities, service as finance minister, and personal matters. Available on microfilm.
Additional Papers: Correspondence in Conewago Canal Company records, 1788-1820; 1 item (April 22, 1790) in Bancroft papers; 2 items (December 8, 1789; October 7, 1790) in Clymer-Meredith-Read papers; and 3 items (September 8-November 16, 1790) in Horatio Gates manuscripts; and in William Livingston papers, 1778-1780.

New York State Library
Manuscripts and Special Collections

Albany, NY
Papers: 1779-1819. 14 items. Chiefly correspondence concerning the purchase of western New York land.
Additional Papers: Statement concerning the disputed George Clinton-John Jay gubernatorial election of 1792 in Melancton Smith papers, 1786-1792, available on microfilm; correspondence in Alexander Hamilton papers, 1760-1830, on 46 microfilm reels of originals at Library of Congress; in Phelps and Gorham Company records, 1776-1892; and certified copy (May 14, 1828) of United States Department of State, Treaties, Seneca Indians and Robert Morris, September 15, 1798.

Ohio Historical Society

Columbus, OH
Papers: Correspondence in Arthur St. Clair papers, 1763-1870.

Ontario County Historical Society

Canandaigua, NY
Papers: 1791-1851 (bulk 1791-1816). 35 items. Letters, and financial and business papers chiefly concerning the purchase and resale of lands in the Phelps and Gorham Purchase.

Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission

Harrisburg, PA
Papers: 185 items (1775-1786, 1789, 1792-1795, 1798), correspondence contained in various collections. Finding aid.

Pierpont Morgan Library

New York, NY
Papers: 1776-1794. 13 items.

Princeton University
Seeley G. Mudd Library

Princeton, NJ
Papers: Ca. 50 letters, chiefly in the Andre de Coppet collection.

Rosenbach Museum and Library

Philadelphia, PA
Papers: 1775, 1776, 1777, 1778, 1781, 1782, 1783, 1786, 1787, 1793, 1794, 1797, 1798. 38 items. Finding aid.

Smithsonian Institution
National Museum of American History

Washington, DC
Papers: 1 item (July 28, 1789) in Hull collection of letters regarding the Adams family.

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA
Papers: 1780. 1 item.

University of Virginia
Alderman Library

Charlottesville, VA
Papers: Correspondence in various collections. Finding aid.

Virginia Historical Society

Richmond, VA
Papers: 3 items (December 7, 1788-January 9, 1790) in Mary Ober Boykin Gatewood papers and numerous items in various collections. Finding aid.

Washington and Jefferson College

Washington, PA
Papers: Miscellaneous items, including land deeds.

Yale University Libraries
Manuscripts and Archives

New Haven, CT
Papers: In Lee family papers, 1740-1795, on 8 microfilm reels of originals at University of Virginia Library; correspondence in Samuel Blachley Webb papers, 1756-1819; and business papers in Southard Hay autograph collection, 1750-1885.

Research Libraries Information Network In addition to the institutions listed above, items are also cataloged in collections at: Brown University, Providence, RI; Columbia University, Teachers College, Milbank Memorial Library, New York, NY; Johns Hopkins University, John Work Garrett Library, Baltimore, MD; New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, MA; New-York Historical Society, New York, NY; Rochland County Historical Society, New City, NY; Rutgers University Libraries, New Brunswick, NJ; Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, CA; University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library, Ann Arbor, MI; and University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.
[ Top ]

Bibliography / Further Reading

Chernow, Barbara Ann. "Robert Morris: Genesee Land Speculator." New York History 58 (April 1977): 195-220.

___. Robert Morris, Land Speculator, 1790-1801. New York: Arno Press, 1978.

Ferguson, E. James, John Catanzariti, Elizabeth M. Nuxoll, Mary A.Y. Gallagher, et al, eds. The Papers of Robert Morris, 1781-1784. 9 vols. to date. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1973-.

Loftin, T.L. Contest for a Capital: George Washington, Robert Morris, and Congress, 1783-1791, Contenders: Dramatized Events of America's Founding Years. Washington: T. Loftin, 1989.

Morris, Robert. The Confidential Correspondence of Robert Morris. Philadelphia: S.V. Henkles, 1917.

Oberholtzer, Ellis Paxton. Robert Morris: Patriot and Financier. 1903. Reprint. New York: B. Franklin, 1968.

Rappleye, Charles. Robert Morris: Financier of the American Revolution. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2010.

Sumner, William Graham. The Financier and the Finances of the American Revolution. 2 vols. 1891. Reprint. New York: B. Franklin, 1970.

Ver Steeg, Clarence L. Robert Morris, Revolutionary Financier, With an Analysis of His Earlier Career. New York: Octagon Books, 1972.

Wagner, Frederick. Robert Morris, Audacious Patriot. New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1976.

Young, Eleanor May. Forgotten Patriot. New York: Macmillan Co., 1950.

[ Top ]