A quick comparison of the PHRF ratings of the boats that you mention shows that the two 41s that you mention will be substantially faster than the smaller boats (the Morgan and the Tartan). The Tartan will be easier to handle and may be better built. There are also some older S&S designed Tartan 41s around that may be worth a look. Also you will have more options for gunkholing and shallow harbor entrances with the Tartan due to its shallower draft. As with all things, picking a boat involves a series of tradeoffs.
I can't claim to be an expert, but I think you are on the right track with older C&C's and Newports as I have had good experiences with both. In fact, if you weren't looking for something slightly bigger, I would mention that I have a C&C 36 for sale which is a very good sailing boat, recently awlgripped and sails faster than all but the two 41s that you mentioned.