1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Morton, Levi Parsons

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MORTON, LEVI PARSONS (1824- ), American banker and politician, was born at Shoreham, Vermont, on the 16th of May 1824.[1] He was in business at Hanover, New Hampshire, in 1843-1849 and in Boston in 1849-1854. He then became a partner in a New York dry-goods house. He established in 1863 the banking house of L. P. Morton & Company (dissolved 1899), with a London branch which had Sir John Rose (1820-1888) as its principal member. The American firm assisted in funding the national debt at the time of the resumption of specie payments, and the London house were fiscal agents of the United States government in 1873-1884, and as such received the $15,500,000 awarded by the Geneva Arbitration Court in settlement of the “Alabama Claims” against Great Britain. In 1899 Morton became president of the Morton Trust Company in New York City. He was a Republican representative in Congress in 1879-1881, United States minister to France in 1881-1885, vice-president of the United States during the presidency of Benjamin Harrison in 1889-1893, and in 1895-1896 was governor of New York, signing as such the “Greater New York” bill and the liquor-tax measure known as the “Raines law.” In 1896 he was a candidate for the presidential nomination in the Republican national convention.


  1. His earliest ancestor in America was George Mourt, or Morton (d. 1624), a merchant of York, England, who seems to have been in London in 1621-1622 as financial agent for the Plymouth colonists. He published Mourt's Relation, or Journal of the Beginning and Proceedings of the English Plantation at Plimoth (1622), apparently written by William Bradford and Edward Winslow, and went to Plymouth, Mass., in the “Anno” in 1623.