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The Morris Family

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Descendant Bios - Gouveneur Morris
31 Jan 1751/52 - 6 Nov 1816

Gouveneur Morris

The 20th Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans, Vol.7, p.466
MORRIS, Gouverneur, senator, was born in Morrisania, N.Y., Jan. 31, 1752; son of Lewis and Sarah Gouverneur Morris, and half brother to Lewis Morris the signer. He was graduated from King's college, N.Y., A.B., 1768; A.M., 1771; studied law with Chief-Justice William Smith, and was admitted to the bar in 1771. In 1770 he published a series of anonymous articles against a motion for raising money by the issue of bills of credit then before the state legislature.

He was a delegate to the first provincial congress in 1775, and with John Jay and Robert R. Livingston drafted the constitution of the state of New York. He was a delegate to the Continental congress to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of his father, Lewis Morris, 1777-80. He was a member of the committee appointed to examine with General Washington, the condition of the American army quartered at Valley Forge; and was chairman of the committee to examine and consider the despatches from the American commissioners in Europe, in 1779.

He was thrown from his carriage in May, 1780, and his leg severely crushed, necessitating amputation.

He was appointed by Robert Morris assistant minister of finance and served in that capacity, 1781-85. He purchased the Morrisania estate from his half-brother, Staats Long Morris, in 1786, and subsequently resided there. He was a delegate to the constitutional convention of 1787, and advocated conservative measures. The final draft of the constitution was given to him for revision.

He resided in France, 1788-91; was appointed a confidential agent of the United States to negotiate with the British government concerning some unfulfilled articles of the treaty of peace in 1791; was U.S. minister to France, 1792-94, and upon the arrival of James Monroe to assume the ministry he traveled extensively in Europe, returning to the United States in 1798.

He was U.S. senator, 1800-03, completing the term of Philip Schuyler, who had resigned Jan. 3, 1798, and had been followed successively by John Sloss Hobart, William North and James Wilson resigning in 1800. Senator Morris was chairman of the Erie Canal commission, 1810-13.

He is the author of a series of [p.467] essays signed "An American" in the Pennsylvania Packet (1780); and toward the close of his life he contributed political satires to the New York newspapers. His published works include:Observations on the American Revolution (1779); An Address to the Assembly of Pennsylvania on the Abolition of the Bank of North America (1785); An Address in Celebration of the Delivery of Europe from the Yoke of Military Despotism (1814); and funeral orations on Washington Hamilton and Governor George Clinton.

He died in Morrisania, N.Y., Nov. 6, 1816.

Biographical Directory of the American Congress

ORRIS, Gouverneur (half brother of Lewis Morris and uncle of Lewis Robert Morris), a Delegate and a Senator from New York; born in Morrisania (now a part of New York City), N.Y., January 31, 1752; instructed by private tutors; was graduated from Kings College (now Columbia University), New York, in 1768; studied law; was admitted to the colonial bar in 1771 and commenced practice in New York City.

Member of the New York Provincial Congress 1775-1777; signer of the Articles of Confederation in 1775; lieutenant colonel in the State militia in 1776; member of the committee to prepare a form of government for the State of New York in August 1776; member of the committee to design the great seal of the State of New York in April 1777; member of the first State council of safety in May 1777; member of the first State assembly in 1777 and 1778; Member of the Continental Congress in 1777 and 1778; appointed assistant minister of finance in 1781 and served four years

Member of the convention that framed the Constitution of the United States in 1787; commissioner to England in 1789; Minister Plenipotentiary to France from January 12, 1792, to August 15, 1794; returned to the United States in 1798; elected as a Federalist to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of James Watson and served from April 3, 1800, to March 3, 1803; returned to New York City; chairman of the Erie Canal Commission 1810-1813; author on legal and political subjects.

Died in Morrisania, N.Y., November 6, 1816; interment in St. Anne's Episcopal Churchyard, Bronx, N.Y.


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