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RICHARD MORRIS, the great-grandfather of Gouverneur, and the first of his ancestors who emigrated to America, left England in the time of Cromwell, and settled in the West Indies, from whence he removed to New York, as early as the year 1670. Here he became possessed of an estate, containing more than three thousand acres of land, situated about ten miles from the city, and near the town of Harlem. Subsequently this domain was invested with manorial privileges, and received the name of Morrisania. In 1672 Richard Morris, and Sarah his wife, died, leaving a son called Lewis, about six months old, entirely in the hands of strangers, who were appointed by the government to take care of him.* After the surrender of New York to the English, by the peace of 1674, his uncle, Captain Lewis Morris, t emigrated from the island of Barbadoes to America, and, settling at Morrisania, took him under his care, and finally made him heir to his fortune.
The youth of Lewis Morris, the nephew, was wild and frivolous. Smith, the colonial historian of New York, records an incident of his early career. “Hugh Copperthwait, a Quaker zealot, was young Morris's preceptor; the pupil taking advantage of his enthusiasm, hid himself in a hollow tree, and calling to him, ordered him to preach the gospel among the Mohawks. The credulous Quaker took it for a miraculous call, and was upon the point of setting out, when the cheat was discovered."
Endued with strong passions, young Morris gave frequent offence to his uncle, and, on one of those occasions, through fear of his resentment, “strolled away into Virginia, and thence to Jamaica, in the West Indies, where, to support himself, he set up for a scrivener.” Some time after, tired of a life of dissipation and dependence, he returned to his uncle's roof, where he was received with joy and kindness. Possessed of solid natural powers and ambitious of preferment, ne soon entered upon public life, in which he afterward exerted the greatest influence. He was one of the Council of the Province of New Jersey, and, in 1692, a judge of the Supreme Court
• History of New York, by William Dunlap, vol. 1, page 272.
+ The Morris family were originally of Welsh extraction. It was represented in 1635 by three brothers, Lewis, William, and Richard Morris. Lewis, who inherited the paternal estate of Tintern, raised a troop of horse in support of the Parliament, for which Charles the First confiscated his estates in Monmouthshire. In return for his losses, Oliver Cromwell subsequently indemnified him. At the attack upon Chepstow Castle, which was defended by Sir Nicholas Kemish, tho king's general, Lewis Morris was the second in command. After an obstinate resistance the garrison was reduced, by cutting off the supply of water which ran through the estate of Pearcefield, then owned by Colonel Morris's son-in-law, John Walters, and setting fire to the castle. From this circumstance, the family assumed as their crest a castle in flames, with the following motto: "Tandem vincitor"-at length he is conquered! In 1654 he was despatched by Cromwell to the Spanish West Indies, with orders to make himself master of those seas. In this undertaking he was aided by his nephew, Captain John Morris, who had been long settled on the Island of Barbadoes.
While in this service, Captain Lewis Morris purchased a largo estate in that island. When the Protector sent forces to attack Hispaniola, under Admirals Perin and Venables, he forwarded a vacant regiment and a colonel's commission to him, with the instructions that the forces were to land as directed by Colonel Morris. The failure of the expedition is said to have been owing, in a great measure, to a non-compliance with his directions. In the attack upon the Island of Jamaica, Lewis was second in command. On the restoration of King Charles the Second, Colonel Morris deemed it prudent not to return to England, where his family had played so bold a part. In 1663 he, with others, purchased the Island of St. Lucia of Amiwatta Baba, chief proprietor of the Carribee Islands, and in 1674 he emigrated to America. --Bolton's History of Westchester County, vol. 2, page 285.