Colonial Hall -- Biographies of America's Founding Fathers

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Lewis Morris


   Although thus apparently fitted for the enjoyment of society, Mr. Morris found his greatest pleasure in the endearments of domestic life, and in attention to his agricultural operations. He was early married to a Miss Walton, a lady of fortune and accomplishments, by whom he had a large family of six sons and four daughters.

   The condition of Mr. Morris, at the time the troubles of the colonies began, was singularly felicitous. His fortune was ample; his pursuits in life consonant to his taste; his family and connections eminently respectable, and eminently prosperous. No change was, therefore, likely to occur which would improve his condition, or add to the happiness which he enjoyed. On the contrary, every collision between the royal government and the colonies, was likely to abridge some of his privileges, and might even strip his family of all their domestic comforts, should he participate in the struggle which was likely to ensue.

   These considerations, no doubt, had their influence at times upon the mind of Mr. Morris. He possessed, however, too great a share of patriotism, to surer private fortune, or individual happiness, to come in competition with the interests of his country. He could neither feel indifferent on a subject of so much magnitude, nor could he pursue a course of neutrality. He entered, therefore, with zeal into the growing controversy; he hesitated not to pronounce the measures of the British ministry unconstitutional and tyrannical, and beyond peaceful endurance. As the political condition of the country became more gloomy, and the prospect of a resort to arms increased, his patriotic feeling appeared to gather strength; and although he was desirous that the controversy should be settled without bloodshed, yet he preferred the latter alternative, to the surrender of those rights which the God of nature had given to the American people. About this time, the celebrated congress of 1774 assembled at New York. Of this congress Mr. Morris was not a member. He possessed a spirit too bold and independent, to act with the prudence which the situation of the country seemed to require. The object of this congress was not war, but peace. That object, however, it is well known, failed, notwithstanding that an universal desire pervaded the country, that a compromise might be effected between the colonies and the British government, and was made known to the latter, by a dignified address, both to the king and to the people of Great Britain.

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Last modified January 2, 2004