Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Somerset, Edward (1601-1667)

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SOMERSET, EDWARD, sixth Earl and second Marquis of Worcester and titular Earl of Glamorgan (1601–1667), born in 1601, was the eldest son of Henry, first marquis of Worcester, by his wife Anne, daughter of John, lord Russell, and granddaughter of Francis, second earl of Bedford [q. v.] His father, second but eldest surviving son of Edward Somerset, fourth earl of Worcester [q. v.], was born in 1577, was summoned to parliament as Baron Herbert of Chepstow on 19 March 1603–4, and succeeded as fifth Earl of Worcester on 3 March 1627–8. He served for many years as lord-lieutenant of Glamorgan and Monmouthshire, and, when the civil war broke out, supplied Charles I with vast sums of money (see Warburton, Rupert, iii. 515–31). The king paid frequent and prolonged visits to Raglan during the war, and created the earl Marquis of Worcester on 2 Nov. 1642, governor and commander-in-chief of Raglan Castle on 20 July 1644, and lieutenant-general of the forces in Monmouthshire on 9 Dec. 1645. The marquis died in December 1646. An engraving of an anonymous portrait is given in Doyle's ‘Official Baronage.’ In 1650 was published ‘Worcester's Apophthegms, or Witty Sayings of the Rt Hon. Henry, late marquis and earl of Worcester,’ with a curious woodcut representing Worcester and Charles I, with a man behind the king holding a drawn sword (London, 12mo).

Edward, who was styled Lord Herbert ‘of Ragland’ from 1628 to 1644, was educated privately and abroad, where he visited Germany, Italy, and France. He was made councillor of Wales on 12 May 1633, and deputy lord-lieutenant of Monmouthshire in November 1635; but his time was mainly devoted to mechanical studies and experiments. On the outbreak of the civil war he was commissioned to levy forces against the Scots in 1640. In June 1642 the king granted him a commission of array in Monmouthshire; but in August he offered to suspend it if parliament would refrain from sending the militia into that county. This offer was refused, and Herbert was made the king's lieutenant-general in South Wales. He raised six regiments and garrisoned Raglan Castle. He also acted as intermediary in the money transactions between his father and Charles I. On 3 Sept. 1642 he was summoned to answer for his conduct before the House of Commons, and, on his non-attendance, was declared an enemy to the realm. Towards the end of October he was surprised by the parliamentarians at Presteign. The town was captured, but Herbert escaped. For the rest of the autumn he was engaged in operations in the Forest of Dean; but they were generally unsuccessful, partly through the strained relations between the Marquis of Hertford and Herbert, who could ill brook Hertford's superior command in counties where his father was almost universal landlord (Webb, Civil War in Herefordshire, i. 30–31 et sqq.; Phillips, Civil War in Wales, pp. 103, 122). His relations with Rupert were not more friendly, and he was suspected because of his Roman catholicism. In February 1642–3 he took part in the unsuccessful siege of Gloucester; but he was defeated at Highnam by Sir William Waller in March, when the killing of six hundred Welshmen, the capture of a thousand more, and Herbert's own death were reported (A Famous Victorie obtained by Sir William Waller, London, 31 March 1643, 4to). On 4 April following he was appointed lieutenant-general, under the Prince of Wales, of the associated counties of Hereford, Monmouth, Glamorgan, Brecknock, and Radnor, and later in the year he is said to have captured Monmouth and won other victories of a somewhat doubtful character (Dircks, pp. 56–63).

In the following year Herbert, having been created Earl of Glamorgan, was selected for a mission of the highest importance. The scheme had been mooted of retrieving Charles I's fortunes in England by calling in the Irish rebels and Roman catholic troops from abroad. Glamorgan was marked out for this delicate and dangerous enterprise by his wealth, by his intimate connection through his second marriage with the Irish nobility, and by his devotion to the Roman catholic religion. The genuineness of the commissions and of the patents on the authority of which he acted—a question involving the character of Charles I—has since been one of the most intricate and fiercely debated points in English history. But, according to the most expert authority, these commissions and patents, though drawn up in a hasty and irregular manner and lacking the necessary official formalities, were genuine (cf. J. H. Round in Academy, 8 Dec. 1883; S. R. Gardiner in English Hist. Rev. ii. 687–708).

On 1 April 1644 Herbert received a patent for his creation as Baron Beaufort of Caldecote and Earl of Glamorgan. On the same day he was also given a commission (printed in Collins, Peerage, 1779, i. 206–7) as generalissimo of three armies—English, Irish, and foreign—and as admiral of a fleet at sea. He was empowered to distribute patents of peerages and baronetcies sealed in blank; his son (afterwards first Duke of Beaufort) was to receive in marriage the king's youngest daughter, Elizabeth, with a portion of 300,000l.; and Glamorgan himself was to have the Garter and dukedom of Somerset. In return he was to raise two armies, each of ten thousand Irish, of which one was to land in North Wales, and the other in South Wales. A third—of six thousand men—was to be raised abroad by the help of the pope and catholic princes, with whom Glamorgan was granted full powers to treat, offering as an inducement the remission of the penal laws against Roman catholics. He was further, on 4 May 1644 (the date was subsequently altered to 1645), granted a patent for the dukedom of Somerset, the original of which is at Badminton, and a copy among the Carte MSS. (cxxix. fol. 349) in the Bodleian library. Owing, however, to the partial success of the royalist arms during 1644, and to Charles's absorption in other schemes, the execution of Glamorgan's commission was delayed. There was, moreover, some hope that Ormonde, the royalist lord-lieutenant, might be able to conclude a treaty with the Irish rebels himself.

On 14 Nov. 1644, however, Ormonde, a firm protestant, disgusted with the concessions he was expected to make to the Roman catholics, asked to be relieved of the lord-lieutenancy. Charles, instead of acceding to this request, despatched Glamorgan to aid Ormonde in the negotiations and relieve him of disagreeable details. In his instructions, dated 2 Jan. 1644–5, Charles declared that as it was necessary to conclude a peace suddenly, he would die a thousand deaths rather than break or disannul ‘whatsoever shall be consented unto by our lieutenant the Marquis of Ormond;’ ‘and if upon necessity anything be to be condiscended unto, and yet the lord marquis not willing to be seen therein, or not fit for us at the present publicly to own, do you endeavour to supply the same.’ Glamorgan received further commissions on 6 and 12 Jan. and on 12 March. The last, which was afterwards the basis of the Glamorgan treaty, authorised him to treat with the confederate Roman catholics in Ireland, and promised to ratify any concessions he might make. Glamorgan interpreted these commissions as authorising him to make any terms he pleased with the confederates without consulting any one, and as such they were interpreted by the papal nuncio and the confederates (Rinucchini, Embassy, pp. 95–6, 103). Charles, however, subsequently maintained that the commissions were to be read with the instructions of 2 Jan., and that Glamorgan was empowered to act only with Ormonde's advice, and to conclude nothing without his authority.

Glamorgan sailed from Carnarvon on 25 March 1645, but was driven by storm on to the Lancashire coast, and took refuge in Skipton Castle, where he remained three months. The reason for this delay was probably that Ormonde had retained the lord-lieutenancy of Ireland, and was continuing his negotiations. In May, however, it became evident that these would fail, and the battle of Naseby (14 June) rendered Charles's position hopeless without external aid. Glamorgan was in consequence hurried to Ireland, starting before 23 June. He was in Dublin during July, and thence set out for Kilkenny, the headquarters of the confederates. There, on 25 Aug., was signed the secret Glamorgan treaty, by which the Roman catholics were granted possession of all the churches they had seized since 23 Oct. 1641, and exemption from the jurisdiction of the protestant clergy (Gilbert, Confederation and War, v. 67–75). In return they promised a force of ten thousand men for England under Glamorgan, who was bound by oath not to lead them into any engagement before the king ratified these terms. At the same time Glamorgan drew up what he called a ‘defeasance,’ declaring that he had no intention of binding the king to any concession ‘other than he himself shall please after he hath received the ten thousand men.’ On 12 Nov. the new nuncio, Giovanni Battista Rinuccini [q. v.], arrived at Kilkenny, and in his hands Glamorgan became as wax. His zeal for the church outran his devotion to the king, and he became anxious to purchase Irish support at any price. On 20 Dec. he signed with Rinuccini what has been called the second Glamorgan treaty. By it Charles was to bind himself never to appoint a protestant lord-lieutenant, to admit Roman catholic bishops to take their seats in the Irish parliament, and to sanction the establishment of a Roman catholic university in Ireland. In return Glamorgan was to receive an advance guard of three thousand Irish to start for the relief of Chester without waiting for the conclusion of the negotiations still proceeding between Ormonde and the confederates. In order to secure Ormonde's consent to his appointment as commander of this force, Glamorgan set out for Dublin, which he reached on 24 Dec.

Meanwhile a copy of the first Glamorgan treaty had been discovered in the baggage of Malachias Quælly [q. v.], archbishop of Tuam, who was killed in an encounter with Sir Charles Coote (afterwards Earl of Mountrath) [q. v.] on 17 Oct. (or 26 Oct. new style). The news of the treaty came as a thunderbolt to the loyalists in Dublin, who at once assumed that Glamorgan had forged his commissions. At Digby's instigation Ormonde ordered Glamorgan's arrest on 26 Dec. On the following day (5 Jan. 1645–6 N.S.), during his examination before the Irish privy council, he maintained that he had done nothing for which he had not the king's warrant. The council remanded him to the castle, and referred the subject to Charles. News of the treaty reached the English parliament on 16 Jan., with the result that some independents at once started a movement for Charles's deposition. On the 29th the king disavowed the treaty; to parliament he declared that he had given Glamorgan no commission to treat of anything without Ormonde's privity; to the Irish privy council he allowed Nicholas to write styling Glamorgan throughout Lord Herbert, and impugning not merely his commissions but the patent creating him earl. To Henrietta Maria, however, he admitted that Glamorgan was guilty of blame only in exceeding his instructions, while he wrote a private letter to Glamorgan giving him that title and assuring him of his favour, and another private letter to Ormonde, directing a suspension of the proceedings against Glamorgan.

On 21 Jan. Glamorgan was released on bail, and on the 24th he was again at Kilkenny, negotiating with Rinuccini, who insisted on the terms granted by Sir Kenelm Digby [q. v.], the queen's envoy to the pope. These went far beyond what even Glamorgan had granted, but on 8 Feb. he wrote urging their acceptance on Ormonde. On 16 Feb. he made a complete submission to the papal nuncio, swearing to obey every one of his commands, and to do nothing contrary to Rinuccini's honour and good pleasure. A little later he wrote to the general of the Jesuits assuring him of his friendship for the society. He still hoped to lead the Irish troops to the relief of Chester, and during February and March was busy at Waterford with preparations for their embarkment. On 8 March, however, he learnt that Chester had fallen, and on the 18th that Charles had publicly disavowed him. In his anger he spoke of entering the French service; he also thought of going abroad to enlist troops there, and of visiting Rome. But some time during the summer he received a commission from Charles as lord-lieutenant of Ireland in case of Ormonde's death or misconduct, and Rinuccini thought him too useful an agent to let go. He was at Limerick during the autumn, and on 28 Sept. took a still more stringent oath of obedience to the nuncio, who, on his side, actively intrigued for Glamorgan's appointment as lord-lieutenant. The Anglo-Irish, however, preferred Ormonde to an ultramontane, and Glamorgan further alienated them by supporting the clerical party in denouncing the peace concluded by Ormonde on 28 March 1645–6, and excommunicating all who adhered to it. In December Glamorgan succeeded as second Marquis of Worcester, and in the following year Rinuccini made him general of the Munster army in succession to Lord Muskerry. But the soldiers declared for their old commander (Gilbert, Confed. and War, vii. 23–5), and in March 1647–8 Worcester left for France in company with George Leyburn [q. v.], with Rinuccini's recommendation to Mazarin.

He remained in Paris for four years. By a resolution of the House of Commons passed on 14 March 1648–9 he was banished and condemned to ‘die without mercy’ if ever he were found within ‘the limits of this nation.’ His estates were sequestered both on account of his delinquency and his recusancy, and his residence in the Strand, Worcester House, was used for state purposes, and was afterwards occupied by Cromwell. The marchioness was granted a tenth of his estate, and a pension of 6l. a week (Cal. Committee for Compounding, pp. 1705–15). In 1652, however, Worcester, worn out by the straits he was put to abroad, returned to England. He was apprehended, and on 28 July the House of Commons committed him to the Tower, and referred the question of his trial to the council of state. There, probably through Cromwell's influence, reasons for mercy prevailed, and no indictment was formulated. Worcester remained in the Tower until 5 Oct. 1654, when the house ordered his release on bail, taking into consideration his age, long imprisonment, ‘and the smallpox then raging under the same roof where he lay. And he had not, as was said, done any actions of hostility, but only as a soldier; and in that capacity had always shown civilities to the English prisoners and protestants’ (Burton, Parl. Diary, vol. i. pp. xlvii–xlviii). On 26 June 1655 he was granted a pension of 3l. a week.

At the Restoration he recovered most of his estates and was relieved of some of his debts (Lords' Journals, passim). He now made an attempt to secure the dukedom of Somerset, for which he held Charles I's irregular patent. On 9 June 1660 he wrote to Clarendon to secure his good offices; on 18 Aug. a committee of the House of Lords was appointed to consider the question, and the lord chief baron and attorney-general were directed to attend (ib. xi. 133–5). There were, however, many obstacles to the recognition of his title. He was himself obnoxious as a Romanist, and to grant the truth of his statements about the patent would be to asperse the memory of the royal martyr. Moreover, there was a more popular claimant to the title in the person of William Seymour, first marquis of Hertford [q. v.], and, besides the doubtful formality of the patent, Worcester himself acknowledged that the condition upon which it was granted—viz. the bringing ten thousand Irish soldiers to England—had never been fulfilled. He therefore resigned his claim to the dukedom of Somerset, and on 30 Sept. it was conferred on Hertford. Similarly his title as Earl of Glamorgan was never formally recognised and did not descend to his children. Except for occasional attendances at the House of Lords and constant worries about his debts, Worcester's closing years were devoted to the mechanical studies and experiments which have been urged as justifying his claim to be the inventor of the steam-engine. Soon after his first marriage in 1628 he had engaged the services of Caspar Kaltoff, a skilled mechanic, and set up a laboratory. One of his inventions was a wheel, fourteen feet in diameter, carrying forty weights of fifty pounds each, which was exhibited to Charles I, probably about 1638–9. It professed to solve the fallacious problem of perpetual motion by providing ‘that all the weights of the descending side of a wheel shall be perpetually further from the centre than those of the mounting side’ (Century of Inventions, No. 56; a diagram and commentary are given in Dircks's Worcester, p. 453). Some time afterwards he established Kaltoff at Vauxhall, in a house which he is said to have designed as ‘a college for artisans’ (Hartlib to Boyle in Dircks, p. 267); and here most of his experiments were carried on. In 1655 he completed his ‘Century of the Names and Scantlings of such Inventions as at present I can call to mind to have tried and perfected.’ This work was first published in 1663, with a dedication to Charles II; subsequent editions appeared in 1746, 1748, 1763, 1767, 1778 (two editions), 1786, 1813 (three editions), 1825 (ed. with biographical memoir by Charles Frederick Partington [q. v.]) and 1843; it has also been reprinted in the ‘Gentleman's Magazine,’ 1789; Tilloch's ‘Philosophical Magazine,’ 1801, xii. 43–57; ‘Repertory of Arts, Manufactures, and Agriculture,’ 1802; ‘Harleian Miscellany,’ 1809, vol. iv.; Olinthus Gregory's ‘Treatise of Mechanics,’ 1815, 3rd ed. vol. ii.; James Smith's ‘Mechanic,’ 1822; ‘The Kaleidoscope,’ 1824; ‘The Mechanics' Magazine,’ 1825, vol. iii.; ‘One Thousand Notable Things,’ 1827; ‘Mechanics' Magazine,’ New York, 1833, vol. i.; Weale's ‘Quarterly Papers on Engineering,’ 1856, vol. v., and with exhaustive notes as an appendix to Dircks's ‘Life of the Marquis of Worcester,’ 1865.

There is little in this famous book to substantiate Worcester's claim to have ‘tried and perfected’ the inventions described in it. For the most part it consists of nebulous ideas without any attempt to work them out in practical detail (cf. Farey, Treatise on the Steam-Engine, Historical, Practical, and Descriptive, p. 89), and the book he promised, in which the means of putting his inventions into execution were to be described, was never written. Some of the devices—e.g. that of shorthand, No. 5—were practicable, and in use before Worcester's time. Others may have suggested inventions subsequently worked out by later mechanics—e.g. the calculating machine, No. 84, which also occupied Morland's attention [see Morland, Sir Samuel]. But many must still be regarded as mere chimeras, such as No. 77, ‘How to make a man fly;’ many ‘are in the style of legerdemain, and others of them absolutely impossible and contrary to all established rules of science’ (Farey, p. 90).

The most notable of Worcester's devices, and that on which his claim as inventor of the steam-engine rests, is his ‘water-commanding engine.’ Before the civil war he made experiments in this direction on the walls of Raglan Castle, but the traces that still remain (see engraving in Dircks, p. 21) are insufficient to ‘point distinctly to precise particulars of arrangement.’ The experiments were, however, renewed at Vauxhall, and there in 1663 Samuel Sorbière saw and described the ‘hydraulic machine which the Marquis of Worcester has invented.’ It was designed for purposes of irrigation, and would ‘raise to the height of forty feet, by the strength of one man and in the space of one minute of time, four large buckets of water.’ Cosmo de' Medici, duke of Tuscany, visited it in 1669, when a similar description was given (Dircks, pp. 264, 302). Robert Hooke [q. v.], however, described it as ‘one of the perpetual motion fallacies.’ This is apparently the machine described in the ‘Century,’ No. 100, and in Addit. MS. 23115, f. 45, as ‘a most admirable and stupendious invention.’ Worcester set great store by it, and in 1663 obtained a monopoly of its profits by act of parliament, granting one tenth to the king. In the same year he issued a folio broadside (reprinted in 1858) containing a description of the engine, the act of parliament, and some verses. He hoped by its means to pay off his debts, and the machine was actually working for seven years. Nothing, however, is really known of Worcester's ‘water-commanding engine’ beyond his own ‘vague and somewhat bombastic description’ (Mr. R. B. Prosser in Engineer, 19 May 1876). Henry Dircks [q. v.] spent much time and money in the endeavour to ascertain the precise mode of construction, and search was even made in the marquis's grave for a model which was said to have been buried there, but without result (ib.) There is, moreover, no mention of either steam or fire in the act of parliament or any of the descriptions, and Worcester's claim as inventor of the steam-engine rests upon the assumption that this machine is identical with that suggested in the ‘Century,’ No. 68, where an admirable and most forcible instrument of propulsion is described, and is credited with the power of ‘driving up water by fire.’ The idea is said to have occurred to him while watching in the Tower the lid of a saucepan rising from the pressure of steam from boiling water; but the supposed identity of the two ‘inventions’ is ‘pure and unwarranted hypothesis’ (Galloway, The Steam-Engine and its Inventors, 1881, p. 57), and there is no conclusive evidence to prove that Worcester ever constructed a steam-engine like that suggested in No. 68 of his ‘Century.’

Worcester died, probably at Lambeth, on 3 April 1667, and was buried in Raglan parish church on the 19th. Portraits of him by Vandyck and Hanneman, belonging to the Duke of Beaufort, are engraved in Dircks's ‘Life’ (cf. Bromley). He married, first, in 1628, Elizabeth, daughter of Sir William Dormer; she died on 31 May 1635, and was buried in Raglan church. Her portrait, painted by Vandyck, is engraved in Dircks's ‘Life,’ p. 16. By her he had one son, Henry, first duke of Beaufort [q. v.], and two daughters: Anne, who married Henry Howard, sixth duke of Norfolk [q. v.], and Elizabeth, who married William Herbert, first marquis and titular duke of Powis [q. v.] His second wife was Margaret, daughter of Henry O'Brien, fifth earl of Thomond [see under O'Brien, Barnabas, sixth Earl of Thomond]. By her, who died 26 July 1681, he had issue one daughter, Mary, who died an infant.

[The Life, Times, and Scientific Labours of the second Marquis of Worcester, by Henry Dircks, civil engineer, 1865, is an elaborate but not quite successful attempt to justify Worcester's proceedings in Ireland, and to establish his claim as founder of the steam-engine. Its chronology is vitiated by a neglect of the distinction between the old and new styles of dating. It was supplemented by Worcesteriana, a Collection of Literary Authorities, &c., 1866, being a bibliography of 260 pages. Worcester's own statement of his services, put in the form of a speech in the House of Lords, is printed in Eliot Warburton's Prince Rupert, vol. iii., App. pp. 515–31. An enormous mass of unpublished materials relating to the Glamorgan treaty is contained in the Carte MSS. in the Bodleian Library, and this part of Worcester's career is believed to have suggested some of the episodes in Mr. J. H. Shorthouse's ‘John Inglesant.’ The account in the text is based mainly on Dr. S. R. Gardiner's articles in the Engl. Hist. Rev. ii. 687–708, iii. 125; see also on this subject Gardiner's Civil War; Gilbert's Hist. of the Confederation and War in Ireland, 7 vols; Gilbert's Cont. Hist. of Affairs, 6 vols.; Embassy of Rinuccini, transl. Hutton; Carte's Original Letters, 2 vols.; Carte's Life of Ormonde, 6 vols.; Birch's Inquiry into … the Transactions of the Earl of Glamorgan, 1747; Clarendon State Papers; Charles I in 1646 (Camden Soc.); Nalson's, Rushworth's, and Thurloe's Collections; Cox's Hibernia Anglicana; Husband's Coll. of Ordinances, 1646; and compare arts. Charles I; Butler, James, first Duke of Ormonde; Rinucchini, Giovanni Battista. For Worcester's inventions, compare arts. Morland, Sir Samuel; Newcomen, Thomas; Papin, Denis; and Savery, Thomas. See also Lords' and Commons' Journals; Cal. State Papers, Dom.; Burton's Diary, ed. Rutt; Warburton's Rupert, 3 vols.; Phillips's Civil War in Wales; Webb's Civil War in Herefordshire; Walpole's Royal and Noble Authors; Hume's Hist. of England; Macaulay's Hist. of England, i. 182; Dugdale's, Collins's, Courthope's, and G. E. C.'s Peerages; Aubrey's Surrey; Manning and Bray's Surrey; J. F. Marsh's Annals of Chepstow Castle, ed. Maclean; Washbourne's Bibl. Gloucestrensis; Lady Theresa Lewis's Contemporaries of Clarendon, iii. 168.]

A. F. P.