From Gouverneur Morris1
Morrisania [New York] 31 Aug. 1802
My dear Sir
Enclosed you have a Letter for you I have this Instant received from Leray.2 I must add a word respecting that same Bill of Exchange. I have agreed to pay to Mr. Tillier3 whatever the Company shall owe him and Thereby confirm what I have said to you upon that Subject but it is upon the express Condition that the Bill in Question be deposited, in your Hands if you please, so that I may be possest of it eventually as Assets of the Company. I am fully convinced that they can owe Nothing to Mr. Tillier but in any and every Case that Bill must come at last into my Hands. Leray will be here on Saturday Morning and will expect to meet you and receive from you the field Books of No. four.4 I wish you could contrive to come over early in the Day so as to a Business I will mention and which he did not because it was not then matur’d and he is obliged to leave this on Sunday Morning. It relates to our friend who is now with me.5
LC, Gouverneur Morris Papers, Library of Congress.
2. The letter from James Donatien Le Ray de Chaumont has not been found.
3. Rodolphe Tillier.
4. For the field notes for the survey of this tract, see Mix, Catalogue: Maps and Surveys description begins David E. E. Mix, ed., Catalogue: Maps and Surveys in the Offices of the Secretary of State, State Engineer and Surveyor, and Comptroller, and the New York State Library (Albany, 1859). description ends , 297.
5. This is the first mention of Gouverneur Morris’s efforts to provide an annuity for Robert and Mary Morris.
By the time that Robert Morris was released from debtors’ prison on August 31, 1801, the Holland Land Company had agreed to pay an annuity of fifteen hundred dollars to Mary Morris in return for Gouverneur Morris’s surrender of any conflicting claims to the company’s title to the one-and-one-half-million-acre tract of land in New York’s Genesee country originally owned by Robert Morris (David A. Ogden to Paul Busti, April 16, 1800, April 10, 1801; Busti to P. and C. Van Eeghen, January 28, 1801 [ALS, Gemeentearchief Amsterdam, Holland Land Company. These documents were transferred in 1964 from the Nederlandsch Economisch-Historisch Archief, Amsterdam]). For the Holland Land Company’s purchase of this tract from Robert Morris, see H to Robert Morris, March 18, 1795, note 29; H to Théophile Cazenove, October 14, 1797. This annuity, however, was apparently never paid, and in 1802, H and Gouverneur Morris arranged for a second annuity of sixteen hundred dollars which was to be paid by Le Ray de Chaumont and secured against land in St. Lawrence County, New York.
On April 19, 1802, Robert Morris wrote to his son Thomas: “[A]s to money I will not trouble you if I can help it, I am meditating on a business which if I can bring to bear will afford me sufficient supplies of that necessary Article not only for current use but to lay by annually something for the support of your Mother after my death …” (ALS, Robert Morris Papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California). During the summer of 1802, Robert and Mary Morris visited Gouverneur Morris at Morrisania, his home in the Bronx. On August 22, 1802, Gouverneur Morris wrote in his diary: “Leray [and the Chevalier] d’orleans and Hamilton dined with us. Last Evening spoke to R.M. about his Situation and recommended an Annuity to which he agreed, Spoke to Leray on the Subject of granting one for a present value of $1500. It is to be arranged between them” (AD, Gouverneur Morris Papers, Library of Congress). On September 29, 1802, Robert Morris again wrote to his son Thomas: “Mr G Morris has settled that affair of business respecting your mother to her satisfaction in a way that I will explain to you when we meet …” (ALS, Robert Morris Papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California). On January 14, 1803, Gouverneur Morris wrote concerning Robert Morris to John Parish, an English merchant who had served as United States vice consul and consul to Hamburg in the early seventeen-nineties: “He came to me lean, low spirited, and as poor as a commission of bankruptcy can make a man, whose effects will, it is said, not pay a shilling on the pound. Indeed the assignees will not take the trouble of looking after them. I sent him home fat, sleek, in good spirits, and possessed of the means of living comfortably for the rest of his days” (LC, Gouverneur Morris Papers, Library of Congress).