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Deed, 21st December, 1742.
the act of 31 Feb. 1735-6, the death of the trustees naAnthony Morris
med in that act, before the deed executed; and that the For the lot No.11.
premises with the exception of the two corner lots, on William Allen.
which the court houses are erected, might be effectually From the preceding documents it appears that of the secured to the use of the province, and the legal estate lots described in the act of assembly of 1735-6, those vested in trustees, for the uses and purposes therein afwhich are designated by the letters WA and AH in plan ter mentioned, &c: it was enacted that the state house, No. III. were originally purchased by, and conveyed to buildings and lot of ground purchased before that time, Andrew Hamilton and William Allen, in their own rights, (except the two corner lots before mentioned) and all but the preamble of the act declares, that the purchases the immunities, improvements, appurtenances, and the were made by direction of the legislature. Those estate, interest, &c. of Andrew Hamilton in his life time, marked E. and F. are not included in any of the prece- and his heirs since his death, and of William Allen, ding deeds. The lots No. 9 and 10 were not conveyed should be thenceforth vested in Isaac Norris, Thomas to the trustees until after the passing of the law, and Leach, Joseph Fox, Samuel Rhoads, Joseph Galloway, therefore could not be included within its provisions, John Baynton and Edward Pennington, freed and disunless purchased or agreed for before. No conveyances charged from the uses, intents and purposes, mentioned were made during the life time of Andrew Hamilton, and contained in the before recited act of assembly, and pursuant to the direction of this law, but by his will he from all claim and demands of the former trustees-But authorized his son James, and William Allen to convey nevertheless, upon the trusts, and to and for the ends, to the trustees, appointed by the act of 1735, the lots, intents and purposes, and subject to the following uses, &c. which had been agreed for by him, for the use of viz. for the use of the legislature, and to and for such the province.
other uses, intents and purposes as they at any time afDeed, 24 July, 1760, Book H: vol. 10, p. 635. ter should direct and appoint. William Allen
Provided "always, and it is hereby declared to be the to
For the lot No 11. true intent and meaning hereof, that no part of said Isaac Norris, Thos. Leach, Jos. Fox.
ground, lying to the southward of the state house, withTo have and to hold, &c. to such and the same use, in the wall as it is now built, be made use of for erecting intent and purposes, as are mentioned or intended, in any sort of buildings thereon, but that the same shail and by the act of assembly of 27th Feb. 1735.6.
be and remain a public green and walk forever.” The Deed, 16th Sept. 1761, Book H. vol. 15, p. 29,&c.
trustees to suffer actions to be brought in their names William Allen
and to execute deeds, &c. for the premises “to the uses For the lots, No. 1, 2, 3, and the
aforesaid,” in such a manner as the legislature should diIsaac Norris, Thomas Leach, Joseph ) ground rents pay
rect, &c. This act then repeals that of 1735-6. Fox.
able by Paglar,
The 3d section recites, that the two lots one at the Dowlin, Davis and
corner of Fifth, the other on Sixth street had been pur. Morris. (ante.)
chased by Andrew Hamilton, with the intent that they
should be conveyed to the trustees, for the use of the Reciting the act of 21st February, 1735-6, in which city and county, respectively, and that they might be there is a proviso to the effect "following,” for the ma- settled accordingly, the trustees were directed on pay. king conveyances of the lands, &c. to such uses as the ment of the sum of 501. for each lot, (being as the milegislature should at any time direct and appoint. The nutes of the assembly recite at the same rate or price assembly then sitting considering that most of the trus. for which the whole of the ground had been purchased,) tees were dead, and that others were absent, and infirm, to convey the said lots to the city and county, with no directed the said Isaac Norris the speaker, Thomas other restriction than that the buildings should be of Leach and Joseph Fox two of their members, to be like outward form of structure and dimensions, On the trustees of the lots, &c. intended to be granted pursu- 18th of July 1764, the trustees executed deeds to the ant to the act of 1735-6, and the condition thereof, "To city and county respectively, who paid the consideration have and to hold, &c. the said lots and rent charges in required of them. trust, and to such and the same use or uses, intents and
From the preceding documents it is evident that the purposes, as they are mentioned and intended in and by lots purchased prior to the 17th Sept. 1762, were cona ihe said act, and to and for no other use, intent or pur- veyed to the trustees on the part of the province, for pose whatsoever.”
the uses and purposes particularly specified in the act Deed, 17th Sept. 1761, Book H. vol. 15, p. 112. of 21 Feb. 1735-6, in which there is an express provision James Hamilton, William Allen
For the lots No. that no part of the ground shall be made use of for Isaac Norris, Thomas Leach, and Sió.
4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, erecting any kind of buildings but that the same should
remain a public green and walk forever, which restricJoseph Fox.
tion extends to all the ground described in that act.Reciting the act of assembly of the 21 Feb. 1735-6,“in There is therefore, not only a solemn legislative declawhich there is a proviso to the effect following,” viz. ration, made in the years 1735 and 1762 of the uses for for the making conveyances of the lands and tenements, which the whole ground was to be appropriated, but to such uses as the legis'ature should at any time or times also as to the greater part of it, the acceptance of conappoint and direct. The assembly then sitting, consi- veyances subjecting it expressly to the same uses. dering that most of the trustees were dead, that others were absent and infirm, directed the said Isaac Norris, Act of Assembly, 14th May, 1762, vol. 1. p. 254. the speaker, Thomas Leach, and Joseph Fox, two of Reciting, that whereas it was thought necessary for their members, pursuant to the act of 1735.6 and the public convenience to purchase certain lots of ground condition thereof, and the survivor of them, to be trus- adjoining that on which the state house is erected, for tees of the lots intended to be granted “to have and to the same uses intents and purposes to which the house hold the lots, &c. in trust, and to such and the same use and its appurtenances was before appropriated; thereor uses, intents and purposes, as are mentioned and in- fore the trustees of the loan office were directed to retended, in and by the said act, and to and for no other tain out of the monies, by a previous act directed to be use, intent or purpose whatsoever.”
burnt, sunk and destroyed, the sum of 500Cl. subject to Act of Assembly, 17th February, 1762, vol. 1, p. 242. the orders of the trustees of the state house, which sum
Reciting that Andrew Hamilton and william Allen, or so much thereof as should be necessary, they were by directions of the legislature, had purchased the lots directed to apply towards the purchasing of all or any described in the act of 1735-6, that William Allen bad of the lots between Chesnut and Walnut and Fifth and since purchased lot No. 1!, the erection of the buildings, sixth streets, for the uses following viz. That the same
should be vested in the trustees for the same purposes would add to the improvement of the public walks if the and subject to the same uses for which the state house south wall was also lowered, then authorizing the coun. and its appurtenances was by the act of the 17th Feb. cils at the expense of the city to remove the south wall 1762, appropriated and for no other uses intents and also, with a proviso that nothing contained in the act purposes whatsoever.
should be taken to impair the title of the commonwealth Deed, 10th July, 1762, Book H. vol. 16, p. 111, &c.
to the state house, and the lot appertaining thereto. Thomas Gordon and Wife
In consequence of the power derived from these acts,
For the lot No.12. the corporation have expended a very considerable sum Isaac Norris and others, Trustees na
of money on “the improvement, and in the embellishmed in the acts of 1762.
ment of the public walks.” Deed, 10th Sept. 1762, Book H. vol. 16, p. 374.
From the documents referred to, it results that the Robert Tempest and Wife
lots, No. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 & 11, in the plan No. to
For the lot No.13.
II, were conveyed to the trustees appointed by the leIsaac Norris and others, Trustees,&c.
gislature in the year 1761, in trust for the uses, declared
by the act of 1735-6, which contains a proviso "that nr Deed, 13th Oct. 1762, Book I. vol. 6. p. 173. part of the ground lying to the southward of the state Joseph Shippen, Junior
house should be converted into, or made use of for erecting
For the lot No.14. buildings, but that the same should be an open public green Isaac Norris & others, Trustees, &c.
and walk forever.” The same trust with a similar restric. Deed 26th May, 1767, Book I, vol. 6, p. 179. tion is again repeated and declared in the two acts of John Chappel
1762. The lots, No. 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 & 17, were purto
For the lot No 15. chased agreeably to the directions of the act of 14th of Isaac Norris & others, Trustees, &c.
May 1762, and were conveyed to the trustees for the Deed, 6th Feb. 1769, Book 1, vol. 6, p. 203.
uses declared by the act of 17 Feb. in the same year, David Erwin and Wife
and for no other use whatsoever. For the lots No. 18 to
For the lot No 16. and 19 no conveyance can be found at present, they are Joseph Fox & others, Trustees, &c.
however included in the description of the ground, as Deed, 6th Feb. 1769, Book I, vol. 6, p. 207.
given in the act of 1780, which again recognizes, reCharles Townsend and Wife
peats, and declares the uses, trusts, dispositions and dito
For the lot No 17. rections for which the whole lot had been at different Joseph Fox & others, Trustees, &c.
periods of time appointed and limited by previous acts,
and the conveyances made in pursuance thereof. All the deeds subsequent to the act of 14th May,1762,
Aů of which is respectfully submitted. contain a recital that the purchases were respectively
JOSEPH REED, made pursuant to the direction thereof, and the convey- Philad. Dec. 1, 1813. ances are in “trust for the uses intents and purposes de.
(See Profiles in the adjoining page.] clared in the act of 17 Feb. 1762. "and to and for no other use intent and purpose whatsoever.”
NORTH-EAST SQUARE. Act of Assembly, 28th Feb. 1780, vol. 1, p. 485. Information relative to the title of the Corporation to Reciting, that on account of the difficulty of securing the North-Fast Public Square, reported by the Re. the real estate of the late province, then state of Penn- corder, in pursuance of a resolution of the thirteenth sylvania, the same was vested in trustees, that some of of April, 1797. the trustees were dead and it might be difficult to ascer. No. i. A plan of the city of Philadelphia. tain the person to whom the estate had descended if No. 2. A small book called "An explanation of suits should be necessary for the conservation thereof the map of the city and suburbs of Philadelphia," It was enacted that the state house, together with the published by John Reid, pages, (No. 10, 11, and adjoining lot, bounded by Chesnut, Fifth, Walnut and 13,) 1774. Sixth streets, and the court houses, gaols, &c. together Sixteenth of August, 1683.-In a letter from the prowith the lots of lands whereon they are erected, or which prietor, (William Penn) to the free society of Traders, are appurtenant to them of the several counties as they he says, “I say little of the town itself, because a platwere then vested in trustees, should be vested in the form will be shown you by my agent, in which, those commonwealth, discharged and exempted from all claims who are purchasers of me will find their names and inte. and demands of the trustees, and of their heirs, subject rests.” however, to the several uses, trusts, disposition and di- No. 3.- Thomas Holme's description of the city of rection for which the same had been before appointed Philadelphia. "The model of the city appears by a and limited, and to none other, saving and always re- small draught thereof now made, and because there is serving to every person and persons, bodies politic and not room to express the purchasers' names in the corporate, &c. other than the trustees, all such estate, draught, I have therefore drawn directions of reference right, title, and interest to the premises which before by way of numbers, whereby may be known each man's the passing of the act might have had.
lot and place in the city.". Act of Assembly, 30th Sept. 1791, Dallas's ed. p. 144. “The city, as the model shows, consists of a large
Reciting, that it would contribute to the embellish Pront street to each river, and a High street near the ment of the public walks in the State House garden, and middle, from river to river, of one hundred feet broad,
and a Broad street in the middle of the city from side to conduce to the health of the citizens by admitting a freer circulation of air, if the east and west walls were
side, of the like breadth. In the center of the city is a lowered and palisadoes placed thereon. Therefore, be square often acres, at each angle to build houses for it enacted, &c. that the corporation, at the expense of public affairs, there is also in each quarter of the city a the citizens, shall have power to take down the wall on Square of eight acres to be for the like uses as Moor-fields the east and west side, within three feet of the pave- street, that run from river to river or front to front.
in London, and eight streets besides the said High ment, and to crect thereon palisadoes of iron, fixed on a stone capping, to be placed on the wall.
There is a copy of a return of survey for a lot in the
city, signed by Thomas Holmes, Surveyor-General, Act of Assembly, 10th March, 1812.
twenty-fifth, Fourth month, 1684-it should be rememReciting, that the corporation of the city in pursuance bered, that the editor of this book does not inform of the authority given by the act of the 30th Sept. 1791, where the original letters above referred to may be had lowered the walls on the east and west sides of the seen. state house yard, and placed palisadoes thereon, that it
(See page 234.)
396 CHEŞNUT STREET.
398 : 11 CHESNUT STREET. 50
No. 4.--Twenty-ninth of January, 1706. Recorded ther, I believe this old plan has remained time immemoin the Rolls Office, Philadelphia. Patent book A. vol. rial in the office of the Surveyor General, and has always 3, page 361.
been referred to as an authentic paper. Patent from Edward Shippen, Griffith Owen, Thomas No. 4.—This patent is now in my possession, and I Story, and James Logan, Proprietary Commissioners to consider it as the most powerful evidence of the city's the Mayor and Commonalty of the city of Philadelphia. title to the public squares; it bears date more than nine. Reciting, “That whereas upon an application made ty years ago, when William Penn the founder of the from the Mayor and Commonalty of the city of Phila- province was alive. It is to be considered in a legal delphia in the said province, to my present Commis point of view, as the declaration of William Penn, sioners of property or the proprietary deputies herein (contained in one of his most solemn acts of authority, after named, that they would grant some convenient to wit, a patent under the great seal) that at the original piece of ground for a common and public burying plotting of the city, there were certain squares intended place for all strangers or others who might not so con- for public use, and that the square described in the pa. veniently be laid in any of the particular inclosures ap- tent was one of them. propriated by certain religious societies for that purpose- It was my intention to have taken time and made My said commissioners, by their warrant under their greater researches in the several public offices; but unbands and seal of the province, bearing date the twenty- derstanding from some Members of the Common Couneighth day of the eleventh month last past, required the cil, that they were desirous of acting upon the subject, Surveyor to the said city, to lay out for the use afore. I can only add to the foregoing statement, that I believe said, a certain square therein mentioned, “ being one of several very ancient surveys may be found, calling for those squares which at the original plotting of the said city the public square in the centre of the city as a boundary; were intended for public uses,” which accordingly was but I have not yet found that there are any such surveys surveyed and laid out the fifth day of the Fourth month referring in the same manner to either of the squares on last past, under the bounds and limits here following, the north or south sides. that is to say, a certain square of ground, being in I am of opinion, that the right of the city to the northbreadth five hundred foot, and in length also five hun. east and other squares is good, and may be established dred foot, bounded on the north with Walnut street, on in a Court of Justice. The documents above referred the east with Sixth street from the river Delaware, on to, make a sufficient foundation whereon a jury at this the south with a street forty foot in breadth, and on the day (upon legal principles) ought to presume, thať west with another street likewise of the said breadth of there was an ancient proprietary grant for those squares forty foot. And whereas the said Mayor and Common to the usd of the citizens of Philadelphia, which; from alty have requested I would confirm the same to them the accidents of time, is now lost. And the same docuby patent, know ye, that I, favoring the said request, ments, I think, will amount to a covenant or agreement and for better accommodating the said city as aforesaid, on the part of the first proprietor, to stand seised of I have thought fit to grant, and do by these presents for those squares for the use of the citizens of Philadelphia. me, my heirs and successors, give, grant, release and The commonwealth, as it now represents the propriconfirm to the Mayor and Commonasty now being and etary rights, must (if the legal estate to those squares is to their successors for ever, all that, the said piece or vested in it,) hold the same for the use of the citizens, square of ground, bounded and limited as above ex- as the proprietors did. pressed, together with all ways, waters, casements, li- I give this opinion, with the exception as to that part berties, profits, commodities, and appurtenances to the of the north-east square within the limits of the patent said piece or square of ground or to any part or parcel from John Penn of the fourteenth of December, 1763. thereof belonging, or in any wise appertaining, to have If the patentees can show that they are fair purchasers, and to hold the said piece of ground and premises here for a valuable consideration, without notice of the by granted, with the appurtenances, to the said Mayor rights of the citizens; for such part it may be very and Commonalty, and their successors for ever, to the doubtful whether or not the possession can be recover: only uses herein after following, and to no other use edufrom them. whatsoever; that is to say, for a common and public bu
ALEXANDER WILCOCKS, Recorder. rying place for the service of the city of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, June 5th, 1797. for interring thc bodies of all manner of deceased persons whatsoever, whom there shall be occasion to lay SKETCH OF THE LIFE OF ROBERT MORRIS. therein, and for the further improvement of the said bu
BY JAMES MEASE, M. D. rying place, I do hereby grant full and free
liberty to Published originally in the Philadelphia edition of the the Mayor and Commonalty and their successors, to inclose, fence, plant, build, or by any other ways or means
Edinburg Encyclopædia. whatsoever, to improve the aforesaid piece of ground Robert Morris was the son of a respectable merchant hereby granted and premises as the said Mayor and of Liverpool, who had for some years been extensively Commonalty or their successors from time to time shall concerned in the American trade; and while a boy, he see convenient."
was brought by his father to this country, in which it apOBSERVATIONS.
pears he intended to settle. During the time that he Nos. 1, 2, 3.—This plan of the city has been generally was pursuing his education in Philadelphia, he unfortu. considered as the work of Thomas Holme, and has been nately lost his father, in consequence of a wound receivreceived as evidence in the Supreme Court on several ed from the wad of a gun, which was discharged as a trials. Thomas Holme was the first Surveyor-General compliment by the captain of a ship consigned to him, in Pennsylvania, and arrived here, probably from Eng- that had just arrived at Oxford, the place of his residence, land, in the summer, 1683.
on the eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay; and he This plan of the city wherein five public squares are was thus left an orphan at the age of fifteen years. In laid down, may be considered as an authentic document, conformity with the intentions of his parent, he was bred and the most ancient (known) piece of evidence of to commerce, and served a regular apprenticeship in the the city's right the squares. This plan must have counting house of the late Mr. Charles Willing, at that been made by Thomas Holme, Surveyor-General, from time one of the first merchants of Philadelphia. A year an actual survey of thc city previously made by him; and or two after the expiration of the term for which he had that it was made by the order of William Penn, the evi- engaged himself, he entered into partnership with Mr. dence is very strong, as it appears from the letter above Thomas Willing. This connection, which was formed referred to and other evidence, that he was then in this in 1754, continued for the long period of thirty-nine country, and in his letter refers to a Plan, which, in all years, not having been dissolved until 1793. Previously human probability, was the one now spoken of. Fur-Ito the commencement of the American war, it was, with
out doubt, more extensively engaged in commerce, than During the rapid march of Cornwallis through New any other house in Philadelphia.
Jersey, in pursuit of the American 'army, Congress, as a of the events of his youth we know little. The facted Mr. Morris to remain as long as possible in Philadel
measure of security, removed to Baltimore, and requestjust mentioned proves, that althougli early deprived of the benefit of parental counsel, he acted with fidelity, I phia, to forward expresses to them from General Washiand gained the good will of a discerning and wealthy ington. The daily expectation of the arrival of the young friend, the son of his master. The following anec-enemy in the city, induced Mr. Morris to remove his fadote will show his early activity in business, and anxiety mily to the country; while lie took up bis abode with an to promote the interests of his friend. During the ab- intimate friend, who had made up his mind to stay in sence of Mr. Willing at his country place near Frank- the city at every hazard. At this time, December 1976,
he received a letter from General Washington, who then ford, a vessel arrived at Philadelphia, either consigned to him, or that brought letters, giving intelligence of the lay with his army at the place now called New Hope; sudden rise of four at the port she had left. Mr. Mor- above Trenton, expressing the utmost anxiety for the ris instantly engaged all that he could contract for, on
supply of specie, to enable him to obtain such intelliaccount of Mr. Willing, who, on his return to the city lion of the enemy on the opposite shore, as would au
gence of the movements, and precise position and situanext day, had to defend his young friend from the com- thorise him to act offensively. The importance of the plaints of some merchants, that he had raised the price occasion induced the General to send the letter by a conof four. An appeal, however, from Mr. Willing to their fidential messenger.* The case was almost hopeless own probable line of conduct, in case of their having from the general Aight of the citizens: but a trial must first received the news, silenced their complaints.
be made, and Mr. M. luckily procured the cash as a perFew men in the American colonies were more alive to sonal loan, from a member of the Society of Friends, the gradual encroachment of the British goverriment whom he met, when in the greatest possible anxiety of upon the liberties of the people, and none more ready to mind, he was walking about the city, reflecting on the remonstrate against them, than Mr. Morris. His signa- most likely means or person, by which, or from whom ture on the part of his mercantile house to the non-im- it was to be obtained. This prompt and timely compliportation agreement, as respected England, which was ance with the demand, enabled General Washington to entered into by the merchants of Philadelphia in the gain the signal victory at Trenton over the savage Hesyear 1765, while it evinced the consistency of his prin- sians; a victory which, exclusively of the benefits dericiples and conduct, at the same time was expressive of ved from its diminishing the numerical force of the enea willingness to unite with them in showing their deter- my by nearly one thousand, was signally important in mination to prefer a sacrifice of private interest to the its influence, by encouraging the patriots, and checking continua nce of an intercourse, which would add to the the hopes of the enemies of our cause; and by destroyrevenue of the government that oppressed them. The ing the impression which the reputed prowess of the extensive mercantile concerns with England of Mr. Mor- conquered foe, and the experience of their ferocity over ris's house, and the large importations of her manufac- the unprotected and defenceless, bad made upon the tures and colonial produce by it, must have made this people. Upon another occasion, he became responsi. sacrifice considerable. His uniform conduct on the sub- ble for a quantity of lead, which had been most urgently ject of the relative connexion between England and the required for the army, and which most providentially Colonies, his high standing in society, and general intel arrived at the time when greatly wanted.f. At a more ligence, naturally pointed him out as a fit representative advanced stage of the war, when pressing distress in the of Pennsylvania in the national councils, assembled on army had driven congress and the commander in chief the approach of the political storm; and he was accord almost to desperation, and a part of the troops to mutia ingly appointed by the legislature of Pennsylvania, in ny; he supplied the army with four or five thousand bar. November 1775, one of the delegates to the second con- rels of four, upon his private credit; and on a promise gress that met at Philadelphia. A few weeks after he to that effect, persuaded a member to withdraw an inhad taken his seat, he was added to the secret commit- tended motion to sanction a procedure which, although tee of that body, which had been formed by a resolve of common in Europe, would have had a very injurious ef the preceding congress and whose duty was to contract fect upon the cause of the country: this was to author: for the importation of arms, ammunition, sulphur, and ize General Washington to seize all the provisions that salt petre, and to export produce on the public accour:t could be found within a circle of twenty miles of his to pay for the same.” He was also appointed a member camp. While U. S. financier, his notes constituted, of the committee for fitting out a naval armament, and for large transactions, part of the circulating medium. specially commissioned to negociate bills of exchange Many other similar instances occurred of this patriotic for congress; to borrow money for the marine commit. interposition of his own personal responsibility for suptee, and to manage the fiscal concerns of congress upon plies, which could not otherwise have been obtained. other occasions. Independently of his enthusiastic zeal In the first year in which he served as a representain the cause of his country, of his capacity for business, tive in congress, he signed the memorable parchment and knowledge of the subjects committed to him, or his containing the Declaration that forever separated us from talents for managing pecuniary concerns, he was parti. England, and thus pledged himself to join heart and cularly fitted for such services; as the commercial credit hand with the destinies of his country, while some of he had established among his fellow citizens probably his colleagues, who possessed less firmness, drew back stood higher than that of any other man in the commu- and retired from the contest. Ile was thrice successively nity, and of this he did not hesitate to avail himself elected to Congress, in 1776, 77, and '78. whenever the public necessities required such an evi- The exertion of bis talents in the public councils, the dence of his patriotism. These occasions were neither use of his credit in procuring supplies at home, of his few nor trifling. One of the few remaining prominent personal labour as special agent, or congressional commen of the revolution, and who filled an important and mittee-man, and of those in his pay, in procuring others most confidential station in the department of war, bears from abroad, were not the only means employed by him testimony that Mr. Morris frequently obtained pecuniary in aiding the cause in which he had embarked. The and other supplies,
which were most pressingly required free and public expression of his sentiments upon all for the service, on his own responsibility, and apparently upon his own account, when, from the known state of The messenger was captain Howell, afterwards for the public treasury, they could not have been procured several years Governor of New Jersey. for the government.
+ See particulars related by Judge Peters, in Garden. Among several facts in point, the following may be Debates on the renewal of the charter of the Bank
of North America, p. 49. Philadelphia, 1786. Vol. II.