Forgotten Patriot: Robert Morris

Forgotten Patriot: Robert Morris

Forgotten Patriot: Robert Morris

Forgotten Patriot: Robert Morris

Excerpt

Today, when America especially needs to renew her faith and to restore her courage, it is profitable to study the lives of those Americans who have exemplified these traits. Chief among our Revolutionary forefathers is one whose unswerving faith sustained the doubters, and whose courageous optimism revived the flagging spirits of his countrymen. Yet for a century and a half his memory has been ignored. Today the name of Robert Morris is virtually unknown by the majority of educated persons in the country that he served so zealously and so ably in its most critical period. In our United States histories a single line is sometimes vouchsafed his distinguished services. In our national capital there is not one memorial to honor him. No stamp issue has made his name and face familiar.

This is the man of whom his earliest biographer, David Gould, wrote: "If our country, in the war of the Revolution, was as much indebted to any other man as she was to her Washington, that man was Robert Morris of Philadelphia. . . . Of the Signers of the Declaration not one contributed so much of property or labour as Robert Morris."

Other early writers also praised him, often extravagantly. In Eminent Philadelphians the author, Henry Simpson, states that Robert Morris deserves to be placed "on the highest pinnacle of Revolutionary fame, next to Washington"; for, as he points out, "without Morris, Washingon could not have carried out his plans." John Kennedy in his two works, Robert Morris and the Holland Purchase and The Genesee Country, has called him "the second great genius of the Revolution," "the opportune Titan," and in most extravagant eulogy, "the most remarkable man that has appeared at any time in any country." "Without the sums raised by Robert Morris," Mr. Kennedy asserts, "even Washington could not have saved the country. . . .

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