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Edwin D. Morgan Letters

An inventory of his letters at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Morgan, Edwin D. (Edwin Dennison), 1811-1883.
Title: Edwin D. Morgan Letters
Inclusive Dates: 1839-1880
Quantity: 19 letters (SC)
Abstract: Papers of the New York State governor, U.S. Senator. Eighteen outgoing letters and 1 incoming item concerning such topics as the impeachment trial of Andrew Johnson and the commercial prospects for American-Chinese trade. Letters to James T. Brady, John Brainard, Ezra Cornell, Elliot C. Cowdin, William A. Graham, L. Bradford Prince, Edwin A. Studwell, and Gideon Welles.
Language: English
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

Edwin Denison Morgan (1811-1883) was an American politician and merchant who served as a New York State Governor (1859-1862) and U.S. Senator (1863-1869).

1811 Born in Washington, Massachusetts on February 8th
1832 Member of the Hartford city council
1849 Alderman of New York City
1850-1855 Member of the New York State Senate
1855-1858 New York State Commissioner of Immigration
1856-1864 Chairman of the Republican National Committee
1859-1862 New York State Governor
1861-1863 Major General of Volunteers in the Union Army
1863-1869 United States Senator
1872-1876 Chairman of the Republican National Committee
1881 Declined nomination for Secretary of the Treasury by President Chester A. Arthur
1883 Died in New York City on February 14th

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Edwin D. Morgan Letters are a collection of 19 chiefly outgoing letters written between 1839 and 1880 by a successful merchant, New York State Governor, and U.S. Senator. The earliest letter in the collection outlines the terms of a business transaction, and Morgan's interest in financial matters is further reflected in letters to Charles H. Russell about the national debt and L. Bradford Prince concerning the politics of fiscal responsibility (17 Jun 1868): "We should be in no haste to appoint Democrats to important revenue offices." With commercial interests never too distant from Morgan's mind, he regretfully declines an invitation from Elliot C. Cowdin, chairman of the committee for arrangements of the New England Society of the City of New York, for a dinner given for Anson Burlingame and his associates from the Chinese Embassy (20 Jun 1868):

We welcome the embassy at a transformation period. Their advent, in itself one of the weightiest evidences of a new order of international relationships, occurs at a juncture most opportune to us. Sectional interests have become merged, internal improvements are reaching greater usefulness, our broadest rivers are being bridged, and our lines of telegraph and railway are soon to connect all parts of the country with ports and places most easily reached from China and eastern Asia.
To commerce the visit is auspicious. We shall not overrate its importance however high our estimate. Intercourse with China will also afford broader standards for population and productive industry; and our rapid growth must soon force us to contemplate certain economic features peculiar to that country, as, in compactness and extent of habitable territory, favorableness of climate and capacity to sustain a vast population, no nation so much resembles that great empire as the United States...
China produces great staples which we need. We, in turn, supply largely of what they lack. They are not maritime people. We are. They are a trading people. So is the United States. Enlarged intercourse therefore must promote the prosperity of both, and we may lay deep the foundations of this rising commerce. Nature has forced this in many ways. True, an ocean lies between the two countries, but it is an ocean singularly free of perils and will become a medium at once of ready and cheap intercommunication. Toward fostering this intercourse I need not say that you, sir, and these whom you represent on this occasion, have an important duty to perform.

Other topics of discussion in the letters include the impeachment trial of Andrew Johnson and the nominations of James Garfield and Chester Arthur as standard bearers for the Republican Party.

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Arrangement of the Collection

The collection contains one series, Correspondence, which is arranged chronologically. In addition, there is an alphabetical Index to the Correspondence located at the end of the finding aid.

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Access Restrictions

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

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Subject Headings


Brady, James T. (James Topham), 1815-1869.
Brainard, John (Reverend)
Cornell, Ezra, 1807-1874.
Cowdin, Elliot C. (Elliot Christopher), 1819-1880.
Graham, William A. (William Alexander), 1804-1875.
Morgan, Edwin D. (Edwin Dennison), 1811-1883.
Prince, L. Bradford (Le Baron Bradford), 1840-1922.
Studwell, Edwin A.
Welles, Gideon, 1802-1878.

Corporate Bodies

Republican Party (U.S. : 1854- )


Governors -- New York (State)
Legislators -- United States.
United States -- History -- 1865-1898.
United States -- Politics and government -- 1865-1877.

Genres and Forms

Letters (correspondence)



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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Edwin D. Morgan Letters
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Finding Aid Information

Created by: KM
Date: Mar 1989
Revision history: 08 Dec 2008 - converted to EAD (LDC) ; 5 Jan 2017 - index code fixed (MRC)

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SC 81 [General] 1839-1840 (2 outgoing letters)
SC 81 [General] 1857-1860 (4 outgoing letters)
SC 81 [General] 1862-1864 (3 outgoing letters; 1 incoming letter)
SC 81 [General] 1868-1869 (6 outgoing letters)
SC 81 [General] 1872-1873 (2 outgoing letters)
SC 81 [General] 1880 (1 outgoing letter)

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Selected Index to Correspondence

  • Brady, James Topham : 18 Oct 1862 (incoming), with supporting statement from Richard Busteed
  • Brainard, John : 10 Oct 1869
  • Clarke, Charles C. : 09 Dec 1858; 10 Oct 1872
  • Cornell, Ezra : 14 Mar 1864
  • Cowdin, Elliot Christopher : 20 Jun 1868
  • Gales & Seaton : 07 Dec 1840
  • Graham, William Alexander : 16 Jul 1857
  • Hayes, Wingate : 03 Feb 1860
  • Merriam, E. : 11 Jun 1857
  • Morris, John : 17 Jun 1868
  • Newton, James W. : 12 Jun 1839
  • Prince, Le Baron Bradford : 17 Jun 1868
  • Russell, Charles H. : 13 Apr 1868; 21 Apr 1868
  • Studwell, Edwin A. : 11 Jun 1880
  • Welles, Gideon : 25 Sep 1863

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