the quartet orchestrating the second american revolution 1783 1789.pdf

These dealings were clandestine and exposed morris to

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these dealings were clandestine and exposed Morris to the charge (groundless, it turned out) of profiteering at the public expense. He was a big man in all senses—physically, economically, and socially in Philadelphia—and so was a conspicuous target for newspaper editorials questioning his integrity as a merchant whose profits came at public expense. 13 Benjamin Franklin knew firsthand that all the accusations were misguided, that in fact Morris had actually used his own credit to underwrite loans that rescued the Continental Army from starvation in the early years of the war, probably losing more money than he made in the process. Writing from Paris,
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Franklin urged Morris to assume the responsibility for directing American fiscal policy, all the while realizing that no matter how well Morris performed, his decisions would be criticized and his very character vilified: “You are sure to be censured by malevolent Criticks and Bug Writers, who will abuse you while you are serving them, and wound your Character in nameless Pamphlets, thereby resembling those little dirty stinking Insects that attack us only in the dark, disturbing our Repose, molesting and wounding us while our Sweat and Blood is contributing to their Subsistence.” No good deed, in short, would go unpunished. 14 Morris brooded for four months before accepting the job of superintendent of finance in May 1781. “Pressed by all my friends, acquaintances, and fellow citizens,” he explained, “and still more by the necessity , the absolute necessity of a change in our moneyed system, I have yielded and taken a load to my shoulder.” He knew what he was up against because he possessed a clear vision of what was needed to restore public credit, and an equally clear recognition that what needed to be done collided head-on with the state-based political structure of the Articles. The majority of delegates in the Congress initially welcomed Morris as the Messiah and granted him unprecedented powers to deliver them from the financial abyss. Morris realized from the start that he would need to lead them in a direction that most delegates, and most Americans, were unprepared to go. 15 Much like Franklin’s, Morris’s biography has an opening scene in which a teenage boy arrives in Philadelphia with little more than his wits and the clothes on his back and twenty years later has become the most prominent—in Morris’s case, the wealthiest—citizen of the city. A century before the Horatio Alger story of rag to riches took hold in American mythology, Morris lived that story to perfection. 16 Unlike Franklin, Morris was an immigrant, born in Liverpool in 1734, the son of a merchant and a woman, Elizabeth Murphet, who disappeared from his life soon after delivering him into this world. His father migrated to the Eastern Shore of Maryland soon thereafter, pursuing his vocation as a tobacco merchant. In 1747 he brought his son over to join him, but parental duties apparently bored him, or
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