Morland, Samuel (DNB00)

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search


MORLAND, Sir SAMUEL (1625–1695), diplomatist, mathematician, and inventor, born in 1625 at Sulhampstead-Bannister, Berkshire, was son of Thomas Morland, rector of that parish. He entered Winchester School in 1638 (Kirby, Winchester Scholars, p. 178); and in May 1644, at the age of nineteen, entered as a sizar at Magdalene College, Cambridge, where he became acquainted with Bishop Cumberland (Payne, Life of Cumberland, p. 5). He was elected a fellow of the society on 30 Nov. 1649, and his name figures as tutor on the entry of Samuel Pepys at the college on 1 Oct. 1650 (information kindly supplied by A. G. Peskett, esq., Pepys librarian at Magdalene College). In his manuscript autobiography, preserved in the library at Lambeth Palace (No. 931), he states that' after passing nine or ten years at the university, where he took no degree, he was solicited by some friends to enter into holy orders, but, not deeming himself 'fitly qualified,' he devoted his time to mathematical studies, which were the leading pursuit of his life. His last signature in the college books is dated 1653.

He was a zealous supporter of the parliamentarian party, and from 1647 onwards took part in public affairs. In 1653 he was sent in Whitelocke's retinue on the embassy to the queen of Sweden for the purpose of concluding an offensive and a defensive alliance (Whitelocke, Journal, 1772). Whitelocke describes him as 'a very civil man and an excellent scholar; modest and respectful: perfect in the Latin tongue: an ingenious mechanist,' Morland, according to his own account, was recommended on his return in 1654 as an assistant to Secretary Thurloe, and in May 1655 he was sent by Cromwell to the Duke of Savoy to remonstrate with him on cruelties inflicted by him upon the sect of Waldenses or Vaudois, which had strongly excited the English public. Morland carried a message to the duke beseeching him to rescind his persecuting edicts. He remained for some time at Geneva as the English resident, and he assisted the Rev. Dr. John Pell, resident ambassador with the Swiss cantons, in distributing the remittances sent by the charitable in England for the relief of the Waldenses. In August 1655 Morland was authorised to announce that the duke, at the request of the king of France, had granted an amnesty to the Waldenses, and confirmed their ancient privileges; and that the natives of the valleys, protestant and catholic, had met, embraced one another with tears, and sworn to live in perpetual amity together. During his residence in Geneva, Morland, at Thurloe's suggestion, prepared minutes, and procured records, vouchers, and attestations from which he might compile a correct history of the Waldenses (Vaughan, Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell, ii. 507). He arrived at Whitehall 18 Dec. 1656, and shortly afterwards received the thanks of a select committee appointed by Cromwell to inquire into his proceedings.

Two years later he published 'The History of the Evangelical Churches of the Valleys of Piemont. Together with a most naked and punctual relation of the late Bloudy Massacre, 1655. And a narrative of all the following transactions to the year of our Lord 1658. All which are justified, partly by divers ancient manuscripts written many hundred years before Calvin or Luther, and partly by the most authentick attestations : the true originals of the greatest part whereof are to be seen in their proper languages, by all the curious, in the Publick Library of the famous University of Cambridge,' London, 1658, fol. This volume, which was illustrated with sensational prints of the supposed sufferings of the Waldenses, 'operated like Fox's Book of Martyrs' (cf. Thomas Warton's note on Milton's sonnet 'On the late Massacre in Piemont,' in Milton's Poems, 1785, p. 357). Prefixed to the book is a fine portrait of Morland, engraved by P. Lombart, from a painting by Sir P. Lely, and an epistle dedicatory to Cromwell, couched in a strain of extreme adulation. In Hollis's 'Memoirs' it is stated that Morland afterwards withdrew this dedication from all the copies he could lay hands on.

Most of the Waldensian manuscripts brought to England and partly published by Morland were said by him to exhibit the date 1120, and they have been often quoted to prove the fabulous antiquity of the sect, which was falsely alleged to have existed long before the time of Peter Waldensis. Morland's documents have since been proved, however, to be forgeries of moderate skill and ingenuity. Morland was probably misled by incorrect statements of the Waldensian minister, Jean Leger, master of an academy at Geneva, whose 'Histoire Generale des Eglises Evangeliques de Piemont,' published at Amsterdam in 1680, may be regarded as an enlarged edition of Morland's book. Six of the most important manuscript volumes brought over by Morland were long supposed to have mysteriously disappeared from the Cambridge University Library, and it was generally believed that they had been abstracted by the puritans; but they were all discovered by Mr. Henry Bradshaw in 1862, in their proper places, where they had probably remained undisturbed for centuries (Cambridge Antiquarian Communications, ii. 203; Athenæum, 20 May 1865, p. 684; Todd, Books of the Vaudois, 1865; Melia, Origin . . . of the Waldenses, 1870; Cat. of MSS. in Univ. Libr. Cambr. i. 81-9, 548-52, v. 589).

Morland now became intimately associated with the government of the Commonwealth, and he admits that he was an eye and ear witness of Dr. Hewitt's being 'trepanned to death' by Thurloe and his agents. The most remarkable intrigue, however, which came to his knowledge was that usually called Sir Richard Willis's plot. Its object was to induce Charles II and his brother to effect a landing on the Sussex coast, under pretence of meeting many adherents, and to put them both to death the moment they disembarked. This plot is said to have formed the subject of a conference between Cromwell, Thurloe, and Willis at Thurloe's office, and the conversation was overheard by Morland, who pretended to be asleep at his desk. Welwood relates that when Cromwell discovered Morland's presence he drew his poniard, and would have killed him on the spot but for Thurloe's solemn assurance that his secretary had sat up two nights in succession, and was certainly fast asleep (Welwood, Memoirs, ed. 1820, p. 98). From this time Morland endeavoured to promote the Restoration. In justifying to himself the abandonment of his former principles and associates, he observes that avarice could not be his object, as he was at this time living in greater plenty than he ever did after the Restoration, 'having a house well furnished, an establishment of servants, a coach, &c., and 1,000l. a year to support all this, with several hundred pounds of ready money, and a beautiful young woman to his wife for a companion.' In order to save the king's life and promote the Restoration, he eventually went to Breda, where he arrived on 6-16 May 1660, bringing with him letters and notes of importance. The king welcomed him graciously, and publicly acknowledged the services he had rendered for some years past (Lower, Charles II's Voiage and Residence in Holland, 1660, p. 12; Kennett, Register and Chronicle, p. 135).

Grave charges of various kinds were brought against him by Sir Richard Willis, when he was pleading for a full pardon in 1661, but they do not seem to have received much credit. Among other statements was one to the effect that Morland boasted that he had 'poisoned Cromwell in a posset, and that Thurloe had a lick of it, which laid him up for a great while' (State Papers, Dom. 1661, p. 232). Pepys originally conceived a low opinion of Morland from the adverse rumours that were circulated about him ; but when he heard his own account of his transactions with Thurloe and Willis 'began to think he was not so much a fool' as he had taken him to be.

The king made him liberal promises of future preferment, but these were for the most part unfulfilled, in consequence, as Morland supposed, of the enmity of Lord-chancellor Hyde. However, he was on 18 July 1660 created a baronet, being described as of Sulhampstead-Bannister, although it does not appear very clearly whether he was in possession of the manor or of any considerable property in the parish (Burke, Extinct Baronetcies, 1844, p. 371). He was also made a gentleman of the privy chamber; but this appointment, he says, was rather expensive than profitable, as he was obliged to spend 450l. in two days on the ceremonies attending the coronation. He obtained, indeed, a pension of 500l. on the post-office (State Papers, Dom. 1661-2, pp. 64, 69), but his embarrassments obliged him to sell it, and, returning to his mathematical studies, he endeavoured by various experiments and the construction of machines to earn a livelihood. In 1666 he obtained, in conjunction with Richard Wigmore, Robert Lindsey, and Thomas Culpeper, a probably remunerative patent 'for making metal fire-hearths' (ib. 1666, pp. 434, 588). From a correspondence between Morland and Dr. Pell it appears that about this same time (1666) the former had intended to publish a work 'On the Quadrature of Curvilinear Spaces,' and had actually proceeded to print part of it, but was happily persuaded by Pell to lay it aside {Birch MS. 4279 ; cf. Lansd. MS. 751, f. 399).

In carrying out his experiments in hydrostatics and hydraulics he encountered many difficulties in consequence of their expense. On 12 Dec. 1672 the king granted to him the sum of 2501. to defray the charges of about five hundred looking-glasses 'to be by him provided and sett up in Ollive wood frames for our special use and service,' as well as an annuity of 300l., 'in considerac'ion of his keepinge and mainteyneing in constant repaire a certain private printing presse . . . which by our Especial Order and Appointment he hath lately erected and sett up' (Gent. Mag. April 1850, p. 394).

In 1677 he took a lease for twenty-one years of a house at Vauxhall, on the site subsequently occupied by Vauxhall Gardens. On the top of this house was a Punchinello holding a dial (Aubrey, Surrey, i. 12). In 1681 he was appointed 'magister mechanicorum' to the king, who in recognition of his ingenuity presented him with a medallion portrait of himself, set in diamonds, together with a medal as 'an honorable badge of his signal loyalty' (Evelyn, Numismata, p. 141). In October 1684 the king advanced him 200l., and a year later Morland received a similar sum by way of 'bounty' (Ackerman, Secret Services of Charles II and James II, Camd. Soc., pp. 91, 112). About 1684 he removed to a house near the waterside at Hammersmith, which was afterwards tenanted by Dr. Bathie, and was known in 1813 as Walbrough House. According to his own account, his mechanical experiments pleased the king's fancy ; but when he had spent 500l. or 1,000l. upon them, he received sometimes only half, and sometimes only a third, of the cost.

In 1682 Charles II sent him to France 'about the king's waterworks,' but there also he seems to have lost more than he gained. On his return James II restored to him his pensions, which had been for some reason withdrawn, and likewise granted him part of the arrears, but Morland was never repaid the expenses of the engine which he had constructed for bringing water from Blackmore Park, near Winkfield, to the top of Windsor Castle. During 1686 Morland was corresponding with Pepys about the new naval gun-carriages. In 1687 his pension was paid down to Ladyday 1689 (ib. p. 178).

In 1689 be addressed a long letter to Archbishop Tenison, giving an account of his life, and concluding with a declaration that his only wish was to retire and spend his life 'in Christian solitude;' and he begs the primate's 'helping hand to have his condition truly represented to his Majesty.' Tenison probably did something for him, as there is a letter of thanks for 'favours and acts of charity,' dated 5 March 1695. The errors of his life were probably considerable, as he speaks of having been at one time excommunicated ; but some of his writings show that he was a sincere penitent, particularly 'The Urim of Conscience,' London, 1695, 8vo, written, as the title says, 'in blindness and retirement.' He lost his sight about three years before his death. Evelyn, in his 'Diary' (25 Oct. 1695), gives an interesting glimpse of him : 'The archbishop and myself went to Hammersmith to visit Sir Samuel Morland, who was entirely blind ; a very mortifying sight. He showed us his invention of writing, which was very ingenious; also his wooden calendar, which instructed him all by feeling, and other pretty and useful inventions of mills, pumps, &c., and the pump he had erected that serves water to his garden and to passengers, with an inscription, and brings from a filthy part of the Thames near it a most perfect and pure water. He had newly buried 200l. worth of music books, being, as he said, love songs and vanity. He plays himself psalms and religious hymns on the Theorbo ' (cf. Faulkner, Fulham, p. 161). He died on 30 Dec. 1695, and was buried in Hammersmith Chapel on 6 Jan. 1695-6. He must have been in an extremely weak condition, as he was unable to sign his will. By it he disinherited his only son, Samuel, who was the second and last baronet of the family, and bequeathed his property to Mrs. Zenobia Hough.

He married, first, in 1657, Susanne, daughter of Daniel de Milleville, baron of Boissay in Normandy, and of the Lady Catherine, his wife; secondly, on 26 Oct. 1670, in Westminster Abbey, Carola, daughter of Sir Roger Harsnett, knight (she died on 10 Oct. 1674, aged 22); thirdly, on 16 Nov. 1676, in Westminster Abbey, Anne, third daughter of George Feilding of Solihull, Warwickshire, by May, second daughter of Sir Thomas Shirley, knight, of Wiston, Sussex (she died on 20 Feb. 1679–80, aged 18); fourthly, at Knightsbridge Chapel, Middlesex, on 1 Feb. 1686-7, Mary Aylif, a woman of low origin and infamous character, from whom he obtained a divorce on 16 July following, and who subsequently became the second wife of Sir Gilbert-Cosins Gerard (Chester, Registers of Westminster Abbey, p. 593; cf. Pepys, v. 323, 329).

Morland was one of the chief mechanicians of his time. Aubrey credits him with the invention of 'drum cap-stands for weighing heavy anchors.' It is admitted that he invented the speaking-trumpet though Kircher disputed his claim and two arithmetical machines, of which he published a description under the following title: 'The Description and Use of two Arithmetick Instruments, together with a short treatise explaining and demonstrating the ordinary operations of arithmetick; as likewise, a perpetual almanack and several useful tables,' 4 parts, London, 1673, 16mo. The perpetual almanack is reprinted in Playford's 'Vade Mecum,' 1679, and in Falgate's 'Interest in Epitome,' 1725. The arithmetical machines, originally presented to Charles II in 1662, were manufactured for sale by Humphry Adanson, who lived with Jonas Moore, esq., in the Tower of London. By means of them the four fundamental rules of arithmetic were readily worked 'without charging the memory, disturbing the mind, or exposing the operations to any uncertainty.' This calculating machine appears to have been a modification of one constructed by Blaise Pascal about 1642. (For the subsequent development of the instrument, the prototype of the arithmometer of M. Thomas of Colmar, which is at present in extensive use, see the article 'Calculating Machines 'in Walford's 'Insurance Cyclopædia,' i. 41 3; see also articles John Napier of Merchiston and Charles Babbage.) One of Morland's machines is now at South Kensington. Pepys characterised one that he saw as very pretty but not very useful. A similar instrument seems to be indicated by No. 84 of the Marquis of Worcester's 'Century of Inventions.' Morland's treatise on the speaking-trumpet is entitled : 'Tuba Stentoro-Phonica, an Instrument of excellent use, as well at Sea, as at Land. Invented, and variously experimented in ... 1670,' London, 1671, fpl.; 2nd edit. London, 1672, fol. An advertisement states that the instruments of all sizes and dimensions were made and sold by Simon Beal, one of his majesty's trumpeters, in Suffolk Street. The tubes are stated in a French edition of the treatise published in London (1671) to be on sale by Moses Pitt for 21. 5s. each. One is still preserved at Cambridge (see an account of the instrument in Phil. Trans. Abridged, i. 670; cf. Notes and Queries, 6th ser. ix. 423).

Morland's most important discoveries were in connection with hydrostatics, although the statement that he invented the fire-engine is untrue; he was only an improver of that machine [see under Lucar, Cyprian, and Greatorex, Ralph]. The problems connected with raising water to a height by mechanical means were receiving a great amount of attention during the middle of the seventeenth century, and to the discoveries made in this field (in which Morland bore an important part) are largely attributable the subsequent rapid development of the steam-engine and the accelerated rate of evolution in mechanical science generally. Morland may have had his attention drawn more particularly to this subject by Pascal's researches, which were then attracting attention in France, though Pascal's celebrated treatise 'Sur l'Equilibre des Liqueurs' was not published until 1663. It is certain that from Morland's return to England in 1660 water-engines of various kinds occupied the bulk of his time and capital. On 11 Dec. 1661 a royal warrant was issued for a grant to Morland of the sole use during fourteen years of his invention for raising 'water out of pits to any reasonable height by the force of aire and powder conjointly' (Publ. Rec. Office Warrant Book, v. 85; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1661-2, pp. 175, 199). The method employed seems to have been as follows. An air-tight box or cistern was fixed at a height above the level of the water to be raised. A charge of gunpowder was exploded within this cistern, and the air expelled by means of valves; a (partial) vacuum being thus formed, the water is driven up from the reservoir below by the atmospheric pressure. The simple apparatus used was subsequently developed by Jean de Hauteville and by Huyghens (1679). In February 1674 a bill to enable Morland 'to enjoy the sole benefit of certain pumps and water-engines by him invented' was read a second time in the House of Commons (Commons' Journals, ix. 300, 308, 314). The introduction of the bill elicited 'Reasons offered against the passing of Sir Samuel Morland's Bill touching Water-Engines,' in which it was urged that the inventor should have recourse to the ordinary letters patent for fourteen years. Morland published an 'Answer,' stating that he had expended twenty years' study and some thousands of pounds on his experiments. The measure, however, failed to pass, as did a similar bill in 1677 (ib. ix.403, 412), and he had to be content with a patent (No. 175, dated 14 March 1674). The pump in question, referred to as 'raising great quantities of water with farre less proportion of strength than can be performed by an Chayne or other Pumpe,' was apparently what is known as the 'plunger-pump,' the most important new feature in which is the gland and stuffing-box. This important contrivance, with which James Watt has often been wrongly credited, was undoubtedly the invention of Morland (cf. Pole, Treatise on the Cornish Pumping-Engine, 1844; P. R. Björling, Pumps, historically, theoretically, and practically considered, 1890, p. 11). With a cast-iron perpendicular-action pump of this nature it is stated that Morland in 1675 raised water from the Thames sixty feet above the top of Windsor Castle at the rate of sixty barrels per hour by eight men (cf. Philosoph. Trans. 1674, ix. 25). Elsewhere Morland states he raised twelve barrels of water 140 feet high in one hour by the force of one man. An interesting schedule of his prices, with other papers concerning his inventions, is among the 'British Museum Tracts' (816, m. 10). For a brass force-pump suitable for raising water from a deep well he charged 60l., and for an 'engine to quench fire or wet the sails of a ship' from 23l. upwards.

Another very interesting and important evidence of Morland's inventive genius is supplied by a manuscript in the Harleian collection at the British Museum (No. 5771). This manuscript is a thin book upon vellum, written in elegant and ornamental characters, and entitled 'Elevation des Eaux, par toutesorte de machines, reduite à la mesure, au poids, et à la balance,' 1683. At page 35 is an account of what seems to be one of the first steps made towards the art of working by steam. It has this separate title : 'Les principes de la nouvelle force de feu; inventée par le Chev. Morland l'an 1682, et presentee à sa majesté tres Chrestienne, 1683.' The author thus reasons on his principle : 'L'Eau estant evaporée par la force de Feu, ces vapeurs demandent incontinent une plus grand espace (environ deux mille fois) que 1'eau n'occupoiet [sic] auparavant, et plus tost que d'etre toujours emprisonnées, feroient crever un piece de Canon. Mais estant bieu gouvernées selon les regies de la Statique, et par science reduites a la mesure, au pöids et a la balance, alors elles portent paisiblement leurs fardeaux (comme des bons chevaux) et ainsi servient elles du grand usage au gendre humain, particulierement pour Felevation des Eaux.' Then follows a table of weights to be thus raised by cylinders half full of water, according to their diameters. Subsequently Morland printed a book at Paris, with the same title, from 'Elevation des Eaux' to 'à la balance,' after which it runs thus : 'par le moyen d'un nouveau piston, et corps de pompe, et d'un nouveau mouvement cyclo-elliptique, en rejettant 1'usage de toute sorte de Manivelles ordinaires : avec huit problemes de mechanique proposez aux plus habiles et aux plus scavans du siecle, pour le bien public,' Paris, 1685, 4to. In the dedication to the king of France Morland says that as his majesty was pleased with the models and ocular demonstrations he had the honour to exhibit at Saint-Germain, he thought himself obliged to present his book as a tribute to so great a monarch. He states that it contains an abridged account of the best experiments he had made for the last thirty years respecting the raising of water, with figures in profile and perspective, calculated to throw light upon the mysteries of hydrostatics. It begins with a perpetual almanac, showing the day of the month or week for the time past, present, and to come, and it contains various mathematical problems and tables. This suggestion for the employment of high-pressed steam to raise water (probably by means of Morland's own force-pump) was doubtless brought forward in connection with the many schemes suggested for supplying Versailles with water from the Seine. There is no exact description of the engine proposed by Morland, but the project is of the highest interest as one of the first to demonstrate the practical utility of steam-power. Morland's experiments must have been conducted with great care and skill, his estimate that at the temperature of boiling water steam was about two thousand times more bulky than water being substantially confirmed by Watt after careful investigation some hundred years later (cf. paper by Mr. E. H. Cooper in Transactions of the Institute of Civil Engineers, January 1884; Muirhead, Life of Watt, 2nd ed. p. 76 ; Elijah Galloway, History of the Steam Engine, 1831, p. 26 ; R. L. Galloway, Steam Engine, pp. 108, 141 : and cf. art. Somerset, Edward, second Marquis of Worcester). From one of the several medals that were struck in Morland's honour and are now preserved in the British Museum, it would appear that he had also seriously considered the possibility of employing steam as a prime mover in the propulsion of vessels. The medal in question represents a conical-shaped vessel on a square wooden base, floating upon the sea. In the side is inserted a long pipe or arm, and from the top issues steam. In the distance is a ship in full sail, and the legend is 'Concordes . ignibvs . undæ.' (Hawkins, Medallic Illust. p. 596; and art. {sc|Hulls, Jonathan}}).

Morland's other works are: 1. 'A New Method of Criptography,' 1666, fol. 2. 'Four Diagrams of Fortifications ' [1670 ?], fol. ; attributed to him in the British Museum Catalogue. 3. 'The Count of Pagan's Method of delineating all manner of Fortifications from the exterior Polygone, reduced to English measure, and converted into Hereotectonick Lines,' London, 1672. 4. 'A new and most useful Instrument for Addition and Subtraction, &c., with a perpetual Almanack,' London, 1672, 8vo. 5. 'The Doctrine of Interest, both simple and compound, explained . . . discovering the errors of the ordinary Tables of Rebate for Annuities, at simple interest, and containing tables for the interest and rebate of money,' London, 1679, 8vo. 6. 'The Poor Man's Dyal, with an Instrument to set it. Made applicable to any place in England, Scotland, Ireland, &c.,' London, 1689, 4to, pp. 5. This tract, giving directions for the construction of a simple sun-dial, was reprinted in facsimile by Mr. Richard B. Prosser [London, 1886], 4to, from a copy, probably unique, in the library at Lambeth. 7. ' Hydrostatics, or Instructions concerning Water-works,' London, 1697, 12mo ; a posthumous work, edited by his son, Joseph Morland, and containing an account of various methods of raising-water and tables of square and cube roots. It appears from the preface that a number of mathematical papers, left by Morland, were then in his son's possession.

Besides Lely's portrait mentioned above, there is a portrait in a wig prefixed to the 'Description and Use of two Arithmetical Instruments,' and a portrait after a drawing in the Pepysian collection is reproduced in the third volume of Mr. Wheatley's edition of Pepys's Diary.' A miniature of Morland belonged to Bennet Woodcroft of the Patent Office.

[Addit. MSS. 5825 f. 145 b, 5876 f. 43 ; Birch MS. 4279; Bradshaw's Essays ; Chalmers's Biog. Dict.; Clarendon's Hist, of the Rebellion, vi. 667, 668, 670 ; Dircks's Life of the Second Marquis of Worcester, pp. 353, 365, 512 ; Manning and Bray's Surrey, iii. 489, 901, 991, and App. cv. ; Leupold's Theatrum Machinarum Hydraulicorum, Leipzig, 1725 ; Faulkner's Fulham, pp. 161, 357; Gent. Mag. 1818, ii. 12; Granger's Biog. Hist, of Engl. 5th ed. iii. 357 ; Gwillim's Heraldry (1724), p. 200 ; J. 0. Halliwell's Life of Morland, privately printed, Cambridge, 1838, 8vo ; Histoire de 1'Acad. Roy. des Sciences, Paris, 1733, i. 448 ; Hollis's Memoirs, i. 142, 428, ii. 586-8 ; North's Life of Lord Keeper North, 1808, ii. 251 ; Hatton Correspondence (Camd. Soc.), ii. 70 ; Lowndes's Bibl. Man. (Bohn), p. 1614; Nalson's Heraclitus Ridens (1 713), p. 41 ; Nichols's Illustr. Lit. vi. 621 ; Pole's Windsor Castle; Rees's Cyclopædia ; Stuart's Anecdotes of Steam Engines, i. 71-6 ; Tighe and Davis's Annals of Windsor, iii. 388-91 ; Walpole's Anecd. of Painting, iii. 88; D'Israeli's Curiosities of Literature, 1841, p. 480; Watt's Bibl. Brit.; Welwood's Memoirs (1700), p. 111.]

T. C.