Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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MORGAN, Edwin Dennison, governor of New York, born in Washington, Berkshire County, Massachusetts, 8 February, 1811; died in New York city, 14 February, 1883. At the age of seventeen he removed to Hartford, Connecticut, where he entered the store of his uncle, Nathan Morgan, and became a partner in 1831. He was a member of the city council there in 1832. Removing to New York in 1836, he established himself in business and became a successful merchant. During the cholera epidemic he remained in the city to assist the poor. From 1850 till 1863 he was a member of the state senate, serving at one time as president pro tempore. He was vice-president of the National Republican convention that met in Pittsburg, 22 February, 1856, and from 1856 till 1864 was chairman of the Republican national committee. In 1858 he was elected governor of New York, which office he held until 1862. During his term the state debt was reduced, an increase in canal revenue was made, 223,000 troops were sent from New York to the army, and New York harbor was put in a state of defence. On 28 September, 1861, he was made a major-general of volunteers, the state of New York being created a military department under his command, and for his services under this commission he declined compensation. On the expiration of his term he was elected to the United States senate as a Republican, serving from 4 March, 1863, till 3 March, 1869. He opened the proceedings of the Baltimore convention of 1864, and was a delegate to the Philadelphia loyalists' convention of 1866, but took no part in its action. In 1865 he declined the office of secretary of the United States treasury, which was offered him by President Lincoln. In 1872 he was chairman of the National Republican committee, and conducted the successful campaign that resulted in the second election of General Grant. He was a Republican candidate for United States senator in 1875, and in 1876 for governor of New York. In 1881 President Arthur offered him the portfolio of secretary of the treasury, which he declined, owing to his advanced age. Governor Morgan gave more than $200,000 to the New York union theological seminary and to Williams college library buildings, and $100,000 for a dormitory. His bequests for charitable and religious purposes amounted to $795,000. In 1867 he received the degree of LL.D. from Williams.
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