DescriptionRobert Morris Document Signed. Two pages, 7.5" x 9", Philadelphia, April 25, 1796. Morris, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and the U.S. Constitution, signs this affidavit of complaint regarding funds owed by Messrs. Arthur Cromond & Co. of London to Jonathan Nicholson since November 11, 1794. Nicholson was in turn apparently indebted to Robert Morris and had the outstanding Cromond payments transferred to Morris.
The first page, handwritten as a "Copy" of one of two original bills of exchange, reads, "£450 Sterling. On the 1st January 1796 pay this form of Exchange. Second third and fourth not paid to Mr John Nicholson at order. Four hundred and fifty pounds Sterling value received which place to occupy as per advice to Messrs Arthur Cromond Ltd, Robt Morris. London. Endorst: Jno Nicholson, Thos. Piety Simons, Joshua B. Bond, Henry V. Boggs. Another Bill particulars in all as above. No 2 £550."
The verso, dated January 4, 1796, reads in part: "[A]t the request of Messrs Geo. Stotsby & Sons of London, Merchants, I William Gibson, Notary Publick by Royal Authority duly admitted and sworn dwelling in London, did Exhibit the two Original Bills of Exchange whereof a true Copy of one and particulars of the other is on the other side written to a Clerk at the Counting house of Messrs Arthur Cromond & Co on whom the same are drawn and demanding payment of their Contracts where unto he gave for answer that the said Messrs Arthur Cromond & Co would not pay the said two Bills for want of funds." Upon receipt, Morris docketed the paperwork by affixing his bold signature on page four: "April 25th, 1796. Robt. Morris."
Morris was a Pennsylvania statesman who, fifteen years before signing this document, served successfully as the superintendent of finance for the new U.S. government. Mishandling of his own finances, however, bankrupted him in 1798 and put him in debtors prison. This document bears a London notary publick blind-embossed paper seal at lower left corner of the first page, and shows light to moderate toning with some separation and weakness at folds. Ink smudges on final page does not affect Morris' handsome signature.
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