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Lewis Morris was born at the manor of Morrisania, in the state of New York, in the year 1726. His family was of ancient date; the pedigree of it has been preserved; but it is too extended to admit of a particular notice in these pages. Richard Morris, an ancestor of the family, beyond whom it is unnecessary to trace its genealogy, was an officer of some distinction in the time of Cromwell. At the restoration, however, he left England, and came to New York; soon after which he obtained a grant of several thousand acres of land, in the county of West-Chester, not far from the city. This was erected into a manor, and invested with the privileges, which usually pertain to manorial estates.
Richard Morris died in the year 1673, leaving an infant child by the name of Lewis, who afterwards held the office of chief justice of the province of New York, and became governor of New Jersey. In both these offices be was much respected, and exercised an enviable influence in both these colonies. The sons of Lewis were not less eminent; one being appointed a judge of the court of vice admiralty; another chief justice of New Jersey; and a third lieutenant governor of the state of Pennsylvania.
From one of these sons, Lewis Morris, the subject of the present memoir, was descended. He was the eldest of four brothers. Staats became an officer in the British service, and for some time a member of parliament. Richard and Governeur both settled in the state of New York, and both became men of considerable distinction; the former as judge of the of the vice admiralty court, and chief justice of the state, and the latter as a representative in congress.
The early education of Lewis was respectable. At the age of sixteen he was fitted for college, and was entered at Yale college, the honors of which he received in due course, having acquired the reputation of good scholarship, and a strict morality. Immediately on leaving college, he returned to his father's residence, where he devoted himself to the pursuits of agriculture. As he entered upon manhood, he seems to have possessed every thing which naturally commands the respect, and attracts the admiration of men. His person was of lofty stature, and of fine proportions, imparting to his presence an uncommon dignity, softened, however, by a disposition unusually generous and benevolent, and by a demeanor so graceful, that few could fail to do him homage.
Designed and Edited by John Vinci