Description

    Robert Morris Autograph Letter Signed "Robt Morris," as the Superintendent of Finance, 1.5 pages, 7.5" x 9.25". Philadelphia, September 11, 1781. To His Excellency John Hancock, Governor of Massachusetts. In full, "This will be delivered you by Tench Francis Esqr a Gentleman of a most active, indefatigueable turn of Mind & Body; a Gentleman of strict Honor and Integrity whom I have employed to go for the money lately arrived at your Port in His Most Christian Majestys Frigate Resolue. I don't know whether you may remember Mr Francis as he is of a peculiar temper & turn of mind that prevents his keeping as much Company as he is by Fortune, Education and Strength of Judgement entitled to, and some little violences of expression, which casses and disappointments drew from him early in our dispute, cast at that tense, insinuations of Forgism on him, which his conduct since has entirely done away. I mention this least any recollection of circumstances of that kind shou'd lead you to think him improperly employed and therefore induce you not to be so forward in assisting him as otherwise you might, but you may rely, he is a zealous Friend to the United States, descended from one of our first Families, a man of great resources and a most punctilious observer of the principles of Honour and integrity. You will therefore oblige me much by affording him every assistance he may stand in need of for the accomplishment of his business." In a postscript, Morris adds "P.S. Mr Francis knows nothing of the Contents of this letter nor would I choose that he should." Docket on verso of integral leaf "Robt. Morris/Sept 1781" possibly in Hancock's hand.

    The French ship Resolue which brought Francis to the Port of Boston was a 32-gun frigate that had captured a British fort in Senegal, Africa, in 1779. Research has not revealed if Governor Hancock obtained employment for Tench Francis. Superintendent of Finance since February 20, 1781, Robert Morris had drawn up the plan for a national bank which was approved by Congress in May. On November 1, 1781, less than two months after Morris wrote this letter, the Bank of North America was organized and a few days later, Tench Francis was elected Cashier, no doubt with Morris's assistance. Francis held this office until his death in 1800. His father, Tench Francis, Sr., was a prominent Philadelphia lawyer and jurist, hence Morris's statement that he is "descended from one of our first Families." Tench, Jr. later headed the commission which laid out the City of Pittsburgh and, in 1795, was appointed by President Washington as the nation's first Purveyor of Public Supplies. On laid paper in fine condition.


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    June, 2008
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