1 full page, 4to, boldly penned, verso addressed and with recipient's docket, a few very insignificant stains. In good condition." /> MORRIS, Robert. Autograph letter signed ("Robt. Morris") to Jonathan Nicholson, n.p., [Prune Street debtor's prison, Philadelphia], 24 September 1798. <I>1 full page, 4to, boldly penned, verso addressed and with recipient's docket, a few very insignificant stains</I>. In good condition. | Christie's
  • Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 2011

    Fine Printed Books and Manuscripts Including Americana

    12 June 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 52

    MORRIS, Robert. Autograph letter signed ("Robt. Morris") to Jonathan Nicholson, n.p., [Prune Street debtor's prison, Philadelphia], 24 September 1798. 1 full page, 4to, boldly penned, verso addressed and with recipient's docket, a few very insignificant stains. In good condition.

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    MORRIS, Robert. Autograph letter signed ("Robt. Morris") to Jonathan Nicholson, n.p., [Prune Street debtor's prison, Philadelphia], 24 September 1798. 1 full page, 4to, boldly penned, verso addressed and with recipient's docket, a few very insignificant stains. In good condition.

    FROM DEBTOR'S PRISON, A FAILED FINANCIER TRIES TO STAVE OFF THE COLLAPSE OF HIS EMPIRE. A poignant letter, with more than a hint of desperation in its tone, written from the Philadelphia prison used for debtors. Under pressure from his many creditors, Morris had been incarcerated there since February. His mortification at his condition is reflected in the absence of any note as to his residence, in the heading of this letter to his closest partner. "Yours...was delivered to me on Saturday and as I think your business with the Harrison & Wycoff is important, you were right to go after it. I shall be glad to hear that you have succeeded. I wanted to have seen you Yesterday as Mt. Blackledge from North Carolina, was here. He says they are selling lands for Taxes without feeling or Mercy and that ours will inevitably go unless we provide money & pay. I suppose these are Sam Wallis's there also and that these sales are founded in Villainy under the Sanction of Law. We have this morning two sick men under this roof. One drinks freely the other [is] a very sober man. The Doctor is sent for and preparations making for their removal to the Hospital if the Doctr gives the word. Can you point out means to pay the North Carolina Taxes for the NALD [North American Land] Company...."

    Ironically, Nicholson too would prove unable to salvage the wreck of what had been the North American Land Company, and he too was consigned to debtor's prison, where he died in 1806. Morris, with the intercession of influential friends, was released in 1801 after three and a half years confinement. Thanks to the generosity of well-to-do family members, he lived in much reduced circumstances until his death in 1806.


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