The New Student's Reference Work/Morris, Robert

Morris, Robert, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, was born in Lancashire, England, Jan. 20, 1734. He came to America when 13 and entered a counting-house at Philadelphia, becoming a partner finally. He opposed the Stamp-Act and was elected to the Congress of 1775. He voted at first against the Declaration of Independence, but signed it when it was adopted. He was again in Congress in 1777, and chiefly managed the finances of the country. In 1781 he was elected superintendent of finance, and had almost entire control of the money operations of the new government. He established the Bank of North America in 1782, and in supplying the army in 1781 issued his own notes for over $1,000,000, which were finally repaid. He resigned in 1784, declining in 1788, when senator, the secretaryship of the treasury offered him by Washington. From 1789 to 1795 he represented Pennsylvania in the United States senate. He, with Gouverneur Morris, sent the first American vessel to Canton in 1784. He lost his fortune by speculation, and was confined in prison for debt during the last years of his life. He died at Philadelphia, May 8, 1806.