Philip Marett

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Philip Marett (1792-1869), a merchant and banker in New England, was the son of Captain Philip Marett, of Boston USA, and Elizabeth Cunningham, and grandson of Philippe, third son of Pierre Maret of La Haule.


Philippe, the grandfather, emigrated to New England, but returned to Jersey, where he died in 1760. His son went back to Boston, but corresponded regularly with his Jersey cousins. The third Philip was born in Boston on 25 September 1792. He was intended for the Law, but entered business at an early age, and as partner in the firm of Plympton, Marett, and Dorr and as president of the New England Bank, amassed a large fortune.

As Portuguese Vice-consul for Massachusetts and New Hampshire he became involved in a famous Admiralty case, A Portuguese merchantman and a US schooner each mistook the other for a pirate. Shots were exchanged, and a prize crew took the Portuguese vessel into Boston. Marett, in the name of the Portuguese Government, sued the Admiralty for damages, and was awarded 20,000 dollars.

Appeal was made to the Circuit Court and then to the Supreme Court. Extremely intricate questions of international law were involved, and the leading attorneys in America were briefed on one side or the other. Eventually the damages were disallowed.

Marett was a prominent member of the National Republican Party, which opposed President Jackson's administration.

On retiring from business he settled in New Haven, where he died 22 March 1860.


He married Martha, daughter of Josiah Knapp of Boston, and had one daughter, Ellen Martha, who married Arthur N Gifford of New York. He left a life interest in his fortune of 700,000 dollars to his wife and daughter, and on the death of the latter in 1890 it was divided by his direction into six parts to be used for the New Haven Hospital, the aged poor, the care of the feebleminded, the Orphan Asylums, Yale College, and the foundation of a Free Library.

The archway leading to St Aubin's Church was erected by his trustees in his memory, and they also gave the two small windows at the west end of the Church.  

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