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-- Manuscript Group 16, Lewis Morris (1671-1746), Royal Governor of New Jersey Papers, 1704-1750


Documents, Manuscripts, Maps, & Photographs

Manuscript Group 16, Lewis Morris (1671-1746), Royal Governor of New Jersey

Papers, 1704-1750, 0.5 linear feet / 103 items

Call Number: MG 16 + folder number


Accounts of money received and paid for the West New Jersey Society, 1704-1730; correspondence with the Board of Trade and Plantations, 1739-1745; correspondence with John Clark, George Clinton, Arthur Forrest, William Gooch, James Hooper, Richard Partridge, William Shirley, Benjamin Smith, Richard Smith, Alexander Spotswood, George Thomas, and Charles Wager.  See Papers of Lewis Morris, Collections of The New Jersey Historical Society, Vol. 4 (New York, 1852).

Gift of Charles s. Boggs and Robert Davidson, 1845, 1849.


Biographical Note:

Lewis Morris was born on October 15, 1671 in New York City.  At the age of twenty, Morris inherited wealthy estates that placed him among the elites of New Jersey and New York.  His fortune was based on these estates which had a labor force of about sixty-six slaves, perhaps making him the greatest slaveholder in the Middle Colonies.  On November 3, 1691 Lewis Morris married Isabella Graham, daughter of James Graham, attorney-general of the province of New York.  With his new wife, Morris established his home at what was then called Tintern, now called Tinton.

As a result of his wealth and elitist status, Morris believed he had the right to be involved in politics.  Morris first served as a member of Governor Cornbury’s Council for the province of New Jersey.  Due to conflict with Cornbury, Morris was removed and, later, elected to the New Jersey Assembly.  Under the administration of Robert Hunter, Morris became chief spokesman for the New York Assembly in 1710 and was appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the province of New York in 1715.  While serving as chief justice, Morris continued to serve on the Governor’s Council under Burnet and Montgomerie.  As a result of a dispute with Governor William Cosby, Morris lost his Chief Justice position and was, once again, elected to the Assembly.  Upon the political split of New Jersey and New York, Morris became Governor of the province of New Jersey in 1738.  Although Morris challenged previous governors, he was staunch against any question of his authority and often quarreled with the Assembly.

Morris was active in the church, serving as a vestryman of Trinity Church from 1697-1700 and becoming the first American member of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts.  Lewis Morris died May 21, 1746 near Trenton.


Provenance Note:

The Lewis Morris papers, 1704-1750, have been an original part of the New Jersey Historical Society’s Manuscript Collection as a gift of Charles S. Boggs and Robert Davidson in 1845.


Scope and Content Note:

The Lewis Morris papers, 1704-1750, contain letters of correspondence either kept by Morris or copied for the purpose of records.  A majority of the papers in the collection are from his service as governor, 1740-1746, and were organized with an index by Charles S. Boggs and Robert Davidson.  There are also personal papers that record meetings, speeches, and Morris’ accounts.

Within this collection there is correspondence between Morris and Governors Clinton and Shirley as well as other important persons of the time.  The subjects of many letters between the governors of the colonial provinces pertain to policies and strategies of the French and Indian War or the Seven Years War.  The joint colonial expedition on the fortress of Louisbourg on Cape Breton Island was the subject most written about in this collection. There are also letters depicting the measures of war against Spain, called the Jenkin’s Ear War, 1739-1743.  Naval strategies against Spain are detailed in Governor Morris’ correspondence with King George II and the Duke of Newcastle.  Morris communicated often with royal officials in England.  Many letters from officials are instructions and inquires made to the events in the provincial New Jersey government.  Morris’ role in exercising royal authority is evident in these letters.  Evidence of Morris’ conflict with the Assembly is shown by his letters asking the Lords of Trade for assistance.  Other officials who corresponded with Morris and had an influence were the Lords Justices and the Admiralty.

This collection consists of eighteen folders in one box with documents dating from 1704 to 1750.  The documents are arranged by type and left in their original arrangement cited in the inventory of papers by Boggs and Davidson.


Related Collections:

Manuscript Group 674, Anthony Walton White (1750-1803) Papers


Container List:

Folder Doc No. Description Dates
1 Inventory of papers n.d.
2 1 Instructions to Gov. Montgomerie regarding the collection of hospital money Feb. 2, 1730
3 2 Letter from the Duke of New Castle to Gov. Morris concerning the loss of vessels in the West Indies at Spanish hands Sept. 5, 1730
3 3 Instructions from Queen Caroline, regarding the introduction of royal family names to the Liturgy (missing) June 1730
3 4 Order to Gov. Casby requiring him to give the reason for removing Lewis Morris from his position as Chief Justice (copy) Jan. 8, 1733
3 5 Instructions from Queen Caroline, regarding an appointment of Joseph Warrill as the Attorney General of N. J. June 10, 1730
3 6, 7 Letter from the Lords of Trade to Gov. Morris inquiring over members in the Council (copy) Nov. 2, 1738
3 8-10 Letter from the Lords of Trade concerning addresses from Parliament requiring returns respecting the value of gold and silver and the amount of Bills of Credit in the plantations (copy) July 5, 1739
3 11 Letter from the Lords of Trade about his differences with the assembly Mar. 7, 1739/40
3 12 Letter from the Lords of Trade requiring information concerning Bills of Credit May 20, 1740
4 13 Letter from the Lords of Trade requiring copies of all laws May 21, 1740
4 14 Letter from the Admiralty authorizing the granting of Letter of Marque or Commission May 28, 1740
4 15 Copies of Northy, Ryder, and Strange in their opinions in respect to the operation of the American Act July 17, 1740
4 16 Letter from the Lords of Trade with the names of Commissioners for setting the boundary between Massachusetts and Rhode Island Aug. 1, 1740
4 17 Instructions from the Lords Justices concerning the value of coin and Bills of Credit in the plantations Aug. 5, 1740
4 18 Draft and instructions by Gov. Morris for the Court of Admiralty to issue a Letter of Marque or Commission 1740
4 19 Draft by Gov. Morris of a Commission to deal with the handling of Spanish vessels 1740
4 20 Letter to King George II inquiring over the terms of war with Spain on the seas 1740
4 21 Instructions to an unknown commander by Gov. Morris on type of naval strategy to pursue with Spanish vessels 1740
4 22 Letter from the Lords of Trade transmitting two acts of Parliament Apr. 17, 1741
4 23 Appointment of Archibald Home to be one of the Council Apr. 29, 1741
4 24 Letters from Commanders of the royal navy stating the difficulties met in procuring seamen 1741-1743
5 25 Letter from the Lords of Trade in disagreement with the Assembly’s policy of meeting in only one place Aug. 20, 1741
5 26 Copy of a Letter of Marque or Commission to Stoop Hemming-Bird Jan. 1742
5 27 Letter from the Lords of Trade concerning the transmission of laws, paper currency, and opposition of the Quakers to the Militia Aug. 3, 1742
5 28 Letter from the King to the Governor in relation to Dutch complaints over harassment of their vessels Apr. 13, 1743
5 29, 30 Copy of letters from the Admiralty in relation to the power possessed Aug. 19, 1743, by Commanders in the colonies Sept. 26, 1743
5 31 Letter from the Lords of Trade approving the Gov.’s actions concerning some bills and advising the purchase of lands from the Indians June 30, 1743
5 32 Letter from the Lords Justices enclosing items 15, 24, 29, and 30 Oct. 1, 1743
5 33 Letter from the Admiralty concerning the French captives Mar. 30,1744
5 34 From the Duke of Newcastle about the distribution of money taken from the Spaniards Apr. 26, 1744
5 35 Letter from the Lords of the Admiralty informing to respect Dutch vessels May 2, 1744
5 36 Letter from Gov. Clinton of New York enclosing a piece from the London Gazette announcing the declaration of war by France May 13, 1744
6 37 Letter from the Royal Prize Commissioners appointed to distribute the Spanish money May 18, 1744
6 38 Letter from Gov. Clinton transmitting copies of the declaration of war between England and France May 21, 1744
6 39 Letter from the Duke of New Castle accompanying item 37 May 20, 1744
6 40 Letter from Gov. Clinton in relation to defense measures May 28, 1744
6 41 Copy of suggestions by the Mass. Commissioners upon defense measures at their meeting in Albany June 21, 1744
6 42 Letter from Gov. Clinton citing current events July 9, 1744
6 43 Copy of an order in Council encouraging settlement on the island of Rattan July 19, 1744
6 44 Letter from Gov. Clinton relating to assembly measures and comments on the N.J. Assembly July 23, 1744
6 45 Letter from the Lords of Trade in agreement with Gov. Morris’ happiness with a new Assembly Aug. 2, 1744
6 46 Letter from the Lords of Trade encouraging settlement of Rattan Aug. 28, 1744
6 47 Enclosed examinations of Seamen assessing French power coming to America Aug. 31, 1744
6 48 Letter from Gov. Clinton with an update and a counterfeit New Jersey Bill of Credit for one shilling Sept. 3, 1744
7 49 Letter from Gov. Clinton wishing Gov. Morris well Nov. 19, 1744
7 50 Copy of an order from the Duke of Newcastle to the governors requiring them to give assistance to Commodore Warren Jan. 3, 1745
7 51 Orders from the King in Council forbidding the ransoming of prices Jan. 3, 1745
7 52 Proceedings of Council and Assembly of Massachusetts authorizing an expedition against Louisbourg-Cape Breton Jan. 25, 1745
7 53 Plan of proposed expedition to Louisbourg Jan. 25-29, 1745
7 54 Letter from Gov. Shirley of Mass. enclosing items 52 and 53 Jan. 29, 1744/45
7 55, 56 Letter from Gov. Shirley relating to the proposed invasion of Cape Jan. 29, 1744/45, Breton Feb. 4, 1744/45
7 57 Letter from Gov. Clinton transmitting item 56 from Gov. Shirley (missing as of April 1936) Feb. 9, 1745
7 58 Letter from Gov. Thomas of Penn. In relation to the proposed expedition to Louisbourg Feb. 12, 1744/45
7 59, 60 Letter from Gov. Clinton transmitting information of the arrival of a French force in the West Indies Apr. 12-13, 1745
8 61 Letter from Commodore Warren at Louisbourg giving information of the progress of the blockade and siege May 12, 1745
8 62 Letter from Gen. Pepperrell to Gov. Shirley on Louisbourg May 12, 1745
8 63 An enclosed letter from Gov. Shirley with an update and call for men and provisions May 18, 1745
8 64 Letter from Gov. Shirley giving information from Louisbourg June 15, 1745
8 65 Letter from John Casherwood, Gov. Clinton’s secretary, recommending an embargo to supply the expedition to Cape Breton June 10, 1745
8 66 Letter from Gov. Clinton transmitting dispatches from Gov. Shirley June 24, 1745
8 67 Letter from Commodore Warren announcing the capture of Louisbourg June 24, 1745
8 68 Letter from the Lords of Trade commenting on the course of Council and Assembly and requests of commercial returns, copies of laws and transmitting, and an act for the suppression of piracy July 3, 1745
8 69 Letter from Gov. Shirley with information on the fall of Louisbourg July 3, 1745
8 70 Letter from Gov. Clinton citing current events July 10, 1745
8 71 Letter from John Casherwood, Gov. Clinton’s secretary with dispatches July 17, 1745
8 72, 73 Letter from Commodore Warren relating to the capture of an East- India ship and the sale of her cargo July 25, 1745
8 74 Proceedings at a meeting of the Commissioners on Indian affairs at a conference in Albany Aug. 9-12, 1745
8 75 Extract of a letter from the Duke of Newcastle concerning the expenses of the Louisbourg expedition Aug. 10, 1745
9 76 Copy of a letter from the Commissioners on Indian affairs Aug. 12,1745
9 77 Letter from Lieut. Gov. Phips of Mass. with an update from Louisbourg Aug. 14, 1745
9 78 Letter from the Lords of Trade making inquiries concerning fees Aug. 15, 1745
9 79 Letter from Gov. Clinton respecting the detection of two "coiners" and the escape of one of them into New Jersey Aug. 19, 1745
9 80 Letter from Gov. Clinton on Indian affairs, transmitting items 74-76 Aug. 24, 1745
9 81 Letter from Gov. Shirley to Lieut. Gov. Phips with an update from Louisbourg (copy) Sept. 6, 1745
9 82 Letter from Capt. Arthur Forrest on board the Wager at Sandy Hook requesting supplies for Louisbourg Sept. 10, 1745
9 83 Letter from Lieut. Gov. Phips in a pledge of loyalty Sept. 10, 1745
9 84 Letter from Lieut. Gov. Phips enclosing item 81 Sept. 23, 1745
9 85 Draft of a dispatch to the Duke of Newcastle from Gov. Morris on public affairs Oct. 22, 1745
9 86 Letter from Commodore Warren to Gov. Morris in relation to the state of affairs at Louisbourg Nov. 26, 1745
9 87 Extract of a letter from Minisink detailing a rumored attack by the French and Indians Dec. 2, 1745
10 88 Letter from Gov. Clinton with an update on recent events Dec.12, 1745
10 89 Letter from Gov. Shirley advising precautionary measures for the defense of Anapolis Royal Jan. 13, 1746
10 90 Directions of the Indian Commissioners at Albany to the Interpreters Jan. 22, 1746
10 91 Letter from Commodore Warren and Gen. Pepperrell at Louisburgh in relation to affairs there Jan. 25, 1746
10 92 Letter from Gov. Clinton suggesting a convention of Commissioners from the different colonies to devise measures of defense Jan. 27, 1746
10 93 Minutes of a meeting of the Indian Commissioners at Albany Feb. 25, 1746
10 94 Gov. Morris’ speech to the Assembly Mar. 4, 1746
10 95 Gov. Clinton to Gov. Morris enclosing item 93 and informing him of the appointment of Commissioners as for item 92 Mar. 31, 1746
10 96 Letter from the Duke of Newcastle informing Gov. Morris of the departure of troops for the reduction of Canada and desiring his cooperation Apr. 9, 1746
10 97 Letter from the Lords of Trade on disapproval of the Assembly’s behavior and comments on the expedition to Cape-Breton   May 15, 1746
11 98 Letterbook of correspondence to Gov. Shirley Feb. 20, 1745
12 99 Letterbook of correspondence to the Duke of Newcastle Jan. 28, 1745
13 100 Extract or a Compendium of the instructions given to Gov. Montgomerie by King George Oct. 20, n.d.
13 101 Copy of Gov. Morris’ letter to James Alexander May 27, 1750
14 Assembly’s address to Gov. Morris Lewis Apr. 1745
15 Dispatches from the Lords of Trade 1741, 1744-45
16 Commission Feb. 2, 1704
17 Account book 1704-30
18 Memorial to the King in Council ca. 1734


Processed by Michael Colman, July 1999 as part of the "Farm to City" project funded by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

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