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The Life of Gouverneur Morris

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and made him contented to abandon his plans, or at least to defer the execution of them to a better opportunity.  We hear no more about them, but find him for the three next years closely devoted to his profession, not sitting idly in his office waiting for the tide of accident or the special favor of friends to bring employment within his doors, but in the steady labor of an active and respectable practice.

One of the important causes in which he was engaged was that of a contested election, in Westchester county, where he had Mr. Jay for an opponent.  It involved principles of evidence, questions about the right of suffrage as then exercised, and a complication of facts, local and general, which gave full scope for the display of legal knowledge and forensic skill.  He was also licensed as an attorney in New Jersey.  But the records of a young lawyer's practice afford slender materials for biography.  I shall forbear to analyze, as I have forborne to peruse, the bundles of briefs, notes, references, forms, skeletons of arguments, and fragments of opinions, which afford a monument of his industry and toil, during this period, as no doubt they do of his learning and talents.  The following letter to Mr. Penn, of Philadelphia, and his lady, contains matter of a different cast, and shows that his mind occasionally made excursions beyond the rigid purlieus of the law.

New York, January 7th, 1774.

Dear Sir,

' I am confident you will not attribute my silence to a want of respect or regard, for I am sure you have a better opinion of me than to imagine I should fail in either towards you.  In good truth, I know of nothing worth your attention.  News we have not any, at least not more than the gazettes will promulgate to the listening ear of attentive inquiry.  I beg Mr. Rivingston's[5] pardon for encroaching on his style.  Politics I dislike, and only look on with pity, while the madness of so


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From The Life of Gouverneur Morris: With Selections from His Correspondence and Miscellaneous Papers; Detailing Events in the American Revolution, The French Revolution, and in the Political History of the United States, by Jared Sparks, Volume 1, Boston: Gray & Bowen, 1832, p 20. Some minor edits may have been made, but an attempt has been made to preserve the original spelling. Although some effort has been made to correct the limitations of OCR technology, if you find an error please report it to jvinci@colonialhall.com.

 
 


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Last modified August 20, 2006