1798: John Richard, Jr. to Benjamin Harrison, Jr.

Robert Morris (1734-1806)

This letter was written by John Richard, Jr. on behalf of his client, Richard Morris (1734-1806) — a signer of the Declaration of Independence who was a merchant and wealthy investor.

John Richard wrote the letter to Benjamin Harrison, Jr. [or VI] (1755-1799], the son of Virginia Governor Benjamin Harrison [V] (1726-1791) who also signed the Declaration of Independence. Benjamin Jr. was an older brother of President William Henry Harrison (1773-1841).

I believe the letter pertains to a long-standing dispute between Robert Morris and the William Alexander Company with whom Morris was a silent financial partner. Apparently, in 1786, Alexander abandoned the contract he entered into with Morris leaving Morris to assume all risk and bear the losses. Meantime, Alexander bought a plantation in Virginia and later, one in Kentucky, where he died in 1819. A settlement was finally reached in 1800 favoring Morris.

Stampless Letter

Addressed to Benjamin Harrison, Junr., Esqr., Richmond, Virginia

Philadelphia [Pennsylvania]
27 May 1798, Sunday Evening

My dear sir,

I have duly received your favor of 18th & 21st instant. On Alexander’s subject, I can only say that I do not remember to have ever heard you say he told you anything about his having purchased or holding any of Robert Morris or John Nicholson’s Notes. I have been with Mr. Morris both today and yesterday, and notwithstanding the very great inconvenience it would be of to me to leave home, have offered to go to Virginia. Have not got his answer yet but do expect he will not wish me to go unless I will pay again my own expenses. Do you mean to come here next month?

Yours sincerely, — John Richard, Jun.

P.S. I have paid to A. Brown $15.75 for you as you will perceive by the enclosed receipt. I happened to be in the office when the man called & knowing G. C. could not with any conscience pay it; to spare his feelings & for your credit, I paid him. Be so obliging as to pay the amount to Wischam for my account. (Turn over)


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