Governor Lot Morrill
As found in REPRESENTATIVE MEN OF MAINE
A Collection of Biographical Sketches of all the Governors since the formation of the State.
Prepaired under the direction of Henry Chase
Portland, ME.
The Lakeside Press, Publisher
1893

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LOT MYRICK MORRILL, a son of Peasley and Nancy Macomber Morrill, was born in Belgrade, Me. , May 3, 1813. His father, in 1797, was enrolled as a citizen of Hallowell, which then included the territory now comprising the City of Augusta, and it was in this portion of the town that the father resided. Afterwards he removed to a farm in Belgrade, where he raised his family of seven sons and seven daughters.

Lot attended the district schools of the town, as was customary in those days, devoting his time out of school to working in a saw-mill and tending a small country store. He early formed a determination to become a lawyer and devoted himself to this end. He availed himself of every opportunity to study. To defray the expenses of obtaining an education, he began at sixteen years of age to teach school, continuing to teach and attend school until he was nineteen years old, when he entered Waterville College. To supply the necessary funds for his college course, he became Principal of a select school in the northern part of New York State, where he remained one year. Becoming impatient to engage in the study of the law. he quit college before graduation day came around, and entered actively upon the work of preparing himself for his chosen profession in the office of Judge Edward Fuller of Readfield. In this office was another student named Timothy Howe.

In 1837, when twenty-four years of age, Mr. Morrill was admitted to the Bar, and started in practice in the town of Readfield, forming a co-partnership with his fellow-student, Timothy Howe. Here he remained until 1841, when he concluded to seek a wider field for professional work. He removed to Augusta and soon entered into a partnership with Hon. James W. Bradbury, which continued many years and which proved very congenial to both parties. The office for a long time enjoyed as large a business, perhaps, as any other law office in the State. He handled many large cases in Kennebec County and other counties. in addition to which the firm had a very extensive practice before the legislative committees at every session of the Legislature. This work was attended to mainly by Mr. Morrill, which gave him an opportunity to show his skill and ability as a lawyer, and also a wide acquaintance with the leading men of the day in both business and official life.

In early life Mr. Morrill was a Democrat. He was always opposed to the extension of slavery and was a strong temperance man. Before he left Readfield he was an active politician and was frequently engaged in discussing the political questions of the day. In 1853 he was elected a member of the Legislature from Augusta. and at the election of a United States Senator by that body, at its session in 1854, he received quite a vote against William Pitt Fessenden. Mr. Morrill was elected to the next Legislature and to the State Senate in 1855, presiding over the deliberations of the session beginning January 2. 1856. An attempt was made to repeal the prohibitory law, known as the Maine law, and to remove Judge Davis from the Bench by address. Mr. Morrill opposed both of the measures in vigorous speeches, which gave him a wide reputation through the State. A resolution was introduced at this session pledging the Maine I)emocracy to further concessions on the question of slavery in the Territories. Mr. Morrill made a very strong speech in opposition to this resolution, declaring, in effect, that he would sever his allegiance to his party rather than support such a measure. Notwithstanding these efforts he was put upon the Democratic State Committee, but after the Cincinnati Convention. in 1856, which nominated Mr. Buchanan, he refused to act with the Committee. In a letter to E. Wilder Farley be wrote: "The candidate is a good one, but the platform is a flagrant outrage upon the country and an insult to the North." * * * "There are many people at the North who will go for all this, with their eyes open, for the sake of political power; there are many who will not."

Thus terminated Mr. Monill's connection with the Democratic party. He then allied himself to the new party, made up of dissenting Democrats, Whigs, and Free Soilers, which had been christened the Republican party, and which elected Mr. Hamlin Governor in 1856. In 1857 he was elected Governor, and again re-elected in 1858 and in 1859, defeating Manassah H Smith, the Democratic candidate, at each election. On June 10, 1861, he was made United States Senator to fill ihe vacancy caused by the resignation of Mr. Hamlin to accept the Vice-Presidency. In 1863 he was elected for the full term of Six years, which expired in 1869. It was at this time that the memorable Hamlin-Morrill senatorial contest took place, in whIch Mr. Hamlin won by a narrow margin. A vacancy, however, soon occurred in the Senate, caused l)y the death of Mr. Fessenden, September 8, 1869, and Mr. Morrill again entered the Senate, filling out the unexpired term, which ended in 1871. Having done this, he was elected for the full term of six years, but he resigned July 7, 1876, to accept, at the urgent request of President Grant, the Treasury portfolio, which office he filled with distinction until the close of that administration. He had previously been invited by President Grant to accept tile War portfolio, but he declined.

So highly regarded was Mr. Morrill, and so greatly appreciated were the services he had rendered, that tile incoming administration, President Hayes, offered him any position he might select, either at home or abroad. In 1870 his health was broken down by overwork. A severe illness with nervous prostration followed, from which he recovered very slowly. In fact, lie never fully recovered his health. Therefore he indicated the Collectorship of the Port of Portland as being more congenial to him, and Mr. Hayes promptly appointed him to that position. It is worthy of note that his bond of $25o.xx was made and ready for filling without his knowledge, showing the regard in which he was held by tile leading business men of Portland. This was Mr. Morrili's last public office. He died in Augusta, January 10, 1883.

Mr. Morrill's private and public life was pure and spotless. He was as thoroughly honest in political and official affairs as he was upright and just in his own personal matters. His nature was warm-hearted and generous to the last degree, while his kind and forgiving spirit was the admération of all who knew him. No duty was left undone by him while his strength lasted, and when it failed it was his sad regret that he could do no more. He was a noble man and a faithful public official.



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