Sunday, November 5, 2023

In Praise of Robert Morris Sr.


Robert Morris Sr. was the father of Robert Morris, the founding father who was the "Financier of the Revolution." Marianne and I came upon the elder Morris's grave in Whitemarsh Cemetery during the course of our perambulations and have dutifully copied the words of praise inscribed upon his stone:

In memory of

 ROBERT MORRIS  a Native of Liverpool

In Great Britain

Late a Merchant at Oxford

In this Province

        Punctual Integrity influenced his Dealings

        Principles of Honor governed his Actions

        With an uncommon Degree of Sincerity

        He despised Artifice and Dissimulation

        His friendship was firm, candid and valuable

        His charity frequent, secret and well adapted

        His Zeal for the Public Good active and useful

        His hospitality was enhanced by his Conversation

        Seasoned with cheerful Wit and a sound Judgment

Which about says it all. Save only that he also, though the stone does not admit to this fact, owned many human beings, whom he held enslaved. That fact should be entered into the ledger of Eternity as well.

Oh, and here's an odd moment in history . . .

In 1747, three years before his death by accident, Morris imported 106 indentured Scottish soldiers captured at the Battle of Culloden to work the tobacco fields of Oxford.


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