THE recent death in New York of Giovanni P. Morosini, the multi-millionaire, and the bequest of the bulk of his estate to Miss Giulia Morosini, his favorite daughter, has served to bring that remarkable young lady into special prominence. Miss Giulia has always been a notable figure in New York society, her striking appearance and her elaborate gowns, drawing attention to her, wherever she appeared, and now that she is in possession of her father’s estate, popular interest in her has been immensely increased.
The daughter of a beautiful FrenchCanadian lady, Miss Morosini inherited both her mother’s good looks and her love of fine clothing. She is credited with spending annually on her wardrobe, two hundred thousand dollars. Her supposed extravagance in dress has been the subject of many a homily, but on hearing these stories her father always smiled indulgently, and on one occasion when told that his daughter had spent $100,000 for her Horse Show gowns he remarked that if she had she had not by any means exceeded her allowance.
He and his daughter were always together in public, and he seemed to find pleasure in seeing her always so fashionably attired. In appearance he was distinguished. His erect form and square shoulders gave him an air of distinction, which was accentuated by his snow white mustache and imperial which he wore after the style of King Victor Emanuel.
Of the early life of Giovanni P. Morosini comparatively little is known. As a matter of fact, he was not born Morosini at all, but his father’s name was Pertegnazza. When he was able to go into the world on his own account he adopted another patronymic, partly, it is said, because he did not get along well with his sire and partly because the name he took, which was that of a distinguished family with which he was connected, was better adapted for faring about the world.
Giovanni P. Morosini was born in Venice
in 1832, and at an early age was attracted by the profession of arms. The story is told of him that as a child he went to see the Austrian soldiers drill and that a captain in passing knocked him down. The boy removed his shoe and threw it full into the officer’s face.
He went to school for a time to Cavallini, who had been a soldier of Napoleon, and listened to stories of adventure and of war. Young Morosini witnessed many thrilling scenes which attended the efforts of his country to escape from the thrall of Austria, and he was at one time a cadet in the Austrian navy. He and some fellow sympathizers fled to Smyrna, and there he met the American Consul, who advised him to go to the United States.
The youth shipped as a sailor before the mast and arrived at Baltimore and subsequently reached New York. Two trips to Havana and back were added to his adventures before his lot was finally cast in the metropolis.
Garibaldi was then living in exile on Staten Island, engaged in the trade of making candles. He and the young sailor became friends, and Morosini accompanied the Liberator on a commercial voyage. He returned to New York finally in 1854 and soon became identified with the city. His entrance into the world of finance was due to a chance meeting.
According to the story which he told in after life he was wandering in the streets of Clifton, Staten Island, when he saw a young boy attacked by a group of youths of larger size. Young Morosini, Who was stalwart of frame, drove away the tormentors and took the boy home. The boy, who was the son of Nathaniel Marsh, told the story of his rescue to his father. Mr. Marsh was then one of the high officials of the Erie Railroad. Tie offered the sailor money, Which was refused.
“All that T wish,” said the Venetian, "is
a chance to work.”
Morosini, with, as he expressed it, the tar still on his hands, became an office boy in
the employ of the Erie. He was then past his majority, active in mind and body and equipped with that native shrewdness which was ever on the alert for an opportunity. His rise in the service of the railroad at a time when there was need of men of force and shrewdness was rapid. He worked with all his energy by day and at night studied English and
mastered the intricacies of finance and bookkeeping. He was within four years general auditor of the Erie, with a salary of $1,000 a month, and when Mr. Marsh died in 1864 Mr. Morosini was one of the strong men in the Erie organization.
It was not until 1869 that he attracted the attention of Jay Gould. There were twublous times in Wall Street and the f/iancier often felt that he was in peril
of life and limb. He was confirmed in this idea one day when Major Selover, who believed that the loss of his money was due entirely to the reigning Wizard of Finance, picked him up and threw him into an area way. Mr. Gould decided that after that he would not appear in the street without the protection of a stronger man.
He found the help he wanted when he
first saw Giovanni P. Morosini, and from that time the fortune of the Italian was assured. Mr. Gould recognized the keenness of his faithful follower and put him in the way of making money. Mr. Morosini learned the Gould methods, he traded in the Gould stocks and he was soon building a substantial bank account.
His progress from that period until the time of his death was attended by un-
broken success. His natural shrewdness was coupled with the daring and the boldness which distinguished the old merchants of Venice. He took long chances sometimes, but he never played the game of Wall Street beyond his means. As a speculator he was bold, and yet he kept himself under perfect control. During all
the years he was a power in Wall Street he never hung out a sign. His trading was done through brokers, and in later years he was associated with Washington E. Connor, at No. 31 Nassau Street.
The Morosinis were naturally interested in Canada and the family spent a great deal of time in the summer in visiting Quebec.
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