ROBERT MORRIS - STOCK CERTIFICATE SIGNED 08/04/1792 - HFSID 32163
Sale Price $2,125.00
ROBERT MORRIS. Stock Certificate signed: "Robt Morris" as President of Delaware and Schuylkill Canal Navigation and U.S. Senator, 1p, 9¾x8. Philadelphia, 1792 August 4. Certificate No. 1084. In part: "Be it hereby certified, by the President, Managers, and Company of the Delaware and Schuylkill Canal Navigation, That John C Moller of [left blank] is entitled to one Share of Stock, in the said Company, numbered Ten Hundred and Eighty four transferrable (sic) in the presence of the Treasurer, by the said John C Moller or his attorney...." Also signed by the Treasurer of the company. Docketed (unknown hand) on verso, transferring Moller's stock to David Dunbar on January 7, 1793 and to other shareholders in 1793, 1794, 1795 and 1803. In the 1790s, Morris and other Philadelphians promoted the Delaware and Schuylkill Canal Navigation company, which was eventually made unnecessary by the establishment of the Schuylkill Navigational Company and the Schuylkill & Susquehanna Canal Company, the latter being supplanted by the Union Canal Company. The canals had been proposed to transport coal from the Allegheny region to eastern markets. Just six years after signing this stock certificate, Philadelphia merchant and financier Robert Morris (1734-1806) was imprisoned for debt (1798-1801) after being financially ruined by speculative investments. Morris, a delegate to the Continental Congress (1775-1778), had voted against American independence, considering it premature, but he later worked diligently on military procurement, playing a key role in keeping George Washington's army supplied. He was U.S. Superintendent of Finance (1781-1784) under the Articles of Confederation, cutting expenses and raising revenue (often borrowing in his own name) to keep the new government solvent. Also a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, Morris was George Washington's first choice to be Secretary of the Treasury. Morris declined the offer to serve instead in the U.S. Senate (1789-1795). In 1795, three years after signing this certificate, Morris, John Nicholson and James Greenleaf organized the North American Land Company to develop and sell six million acres of land in Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Kentucky. Unfortunately for Morris, the company stock sold slowly and western land values did not increase as predicted. Coupled with financial instability due to the Napoleonic Wars and abuses on the part of Greenleaf, the company collapsed, plunging Morris into bankruptcy. Lightly creased with folds, vertical fold touches the "b" in Robt. 1-inch tear at upper left blank margin, 1-inch separation at upper margin at vertical fold. Shaded at vertical folds, slight show through of docket on verso. Chipped at edges. Overall, fragile condition.
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