Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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MORRILL, Anson Peaslee, statesman, born in Belgrade, Kennebec County, Maine, 10 June, 1803; died in Augusta, Maine, 4 July, 1887. He received a common-school education and devoted himself to mercanthe pursuits in his native town. He soon bought an interest in a woollen-mill, and subsequently became connected with several extensive manufactories. In 1833 he was elected as a Democrat to the legislature, in 1839 he was made sheriff of Somerset county, and in 1850 he became land-agent. In 1853, when the Democratic convention decided to oppose prohibition, he cut loose from that party, and was a candidate for governor on the Free-soil and Prohibition tickets, but was defeated. The following year he was again a candidate, and, although there was no choice by the people, he was elected by the legislature, being the first Republican governor of Maine. He was an unsuccessful candidate for re-election, being de-rented in the legislature through a coalition between the Whigs and Democrats. The party that Governor Morrill had formed served as the nucleus for the movement in 1856 when the National Republican party first took the field, and he was a delegate to the convention that nominated John C. Fremont for president. He was elected to congress in 1860, and served from 4 July, 1861, till 3 March, 1863. Declining a re-election, he became largely interested in railroads in his native state, and remained out of politics until 1881, when he was sent to the legislature. He removed to Augusta in 1876.-His brother, Lot Myrick, secretary of the treasury, born in Belgrade, Kennebec County, Maine, 3 May, 1813; died in Augusta, Maine, 10 January, 1883, entered Waterville college (now Colby university) in 1835, but did not remain through the year. He then studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1839. He removed to Augusta, established himself in practice, and was an active member of the Democratic party in Maine. In 1854 he was elected to the legislature, and on his re-election in 1856 he was chosen president of the senate Subsequently Mr. Morrill denounced the course of his party on the question of slavery in Kansas, severed his connection with his former associates, was nominated in 1857 by the Republicans for governor, and elected by over 15,000 majority. He was twice reelected. In 1860 Governor Morrill was chosen to the United States senate to fill the vacancy caused by Hannibal Hamlin's election to the vice-presidency. He entered the senate, 17 January, 1861, was placed on important committees, and attended the Peace conference of that year. During the two that followed he took an active part in public affairs, and in 1863 was elected senator for the term that ended in 1869. In the Republican caucus for a successor, Mr. Morrill was defeated by a single vote: but, as William P. Fessenden died in 1869, Morrill was appointed to serve out the remainder of Fessenden's term. In 1871 he was again elected senator, and in the discharge of his duties devoted much attention to financial questions. He opposed the bill for inflating the currency, which was vetoed by President Grant, and was in favor of the resumption act of 1875. He was noted as being a hard worker in committee-rooms, and was especially familiar with naval and Indian affairs. On Sec. William W. Belknap's resignation, President Grant asked Senator Morrill to take a seat in the cabinet, but he declined. In June, 18'76, he was made secretary of the treasury. In November, 1876, he made an address to the moneyed men of New York from the steps of the sub-treasury department, and in his annual report in December he urged immediate and yet gradual contraction of the currency, and declared that specie payments could be resumed in 1879. When Mr. Hayes became president in 1877 he offered Mr. Morrill a foreign mission, but it was declined. He was appointed in March collector of customs for Portland district, Maine, which post he held at the time of his death.
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