Morris, Robert (1734–1806), an American patriot, called the “financier of the Revolution.” He was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Morris was born near Liverpool, England, and came to America at the age of 13. He entered a firm of shipping merchants in Philadelphia and became wealthy. In 1775 Morris joined the patriot cause and served in the Pennsylvania Assembly. As a member of the Continental Congress, 1776–78, he at first regarded the Declaration of Independence as premature and refrained from voting. Later, he signed the document. Morris served on two important committees in Congress, one that corresponded with American diplomats abroad and another that procured war supplies.
In 1781 Congress appointed Morris superintendent of finance. In this office, 1781–84, he often had to borrow money on his own credit, but he was ultimately able to put the Treasury Office on a sound fiscal basis. Morris was a member of the convention that drafted the U.S. Constitution (1787). He declined the post of secretary of the treasury, but was a member of the U.S. Senate from Pennsylvania, 1789–95. Morris lost his fortune in land speculation and was imprisoned for debt, 1798–1801.