Morland, Sir Samuel, Bart.

a man of very considerable celebrity in his day, but whose history has been almost totally neglected where we might have expected an account of him as a machinist, was the son of the rev. Thomas Morland, rector of Sulhamstead in Berkshire, and was born about 1625, as we learn from one of his works, dated 1695, in which he says he had then passed the seventieth year of his age. He was educated at Winchester school, whence he was removed to Cambridge, and, according to Cole, to Magdalen college. He says himself, that, after passing nine or ten years at the university, he was solicited by some friends to take orders; but, not thinking himself “fitly qualified,” he devoted his time to the study of mathematics, which appears, in one shape or other, to have been his first and last pursuit, a few years only of the interval being employed on political affairs. That he was thought qualified for such, appears by his being sent, in 1653, with Whitelock and a retinue of other gentlemen, on the famous embassy to the queen of Sweden, the purpose of which was to conclude an offensive and defensive alliance with that princess. Of their success an ample account may be seen in Whitelocke’s “Journal,” published in 1772 by Dr. Morton, 2 vols. 4to. In this work we are told that few of the ambassador’s train were rewarded as they expected. Morland, however, according to his own account, was recommended, on his return in 1654, as an assistant to secretary Thurloe; and in a few months after was sent by Cromwell to the duke of Savoy on that business which first brought him into public notice, and has principally conveyed his name to posterity.

In the month of May, 1655, an account arrived in England of the barbarous cruelties inflicted on the protestants, or Waldenses, by the duke of Savoy; and, as Morland informs us, it no sooner came to the ears of Cromwell, than he “arose like a lion out of his place,” and by the most pathetic appeals to the protestant princes on the Continent endeavoured to excite their pity and interference. Milton was at this time Cromwell’s Latin secretary, and drew up these remonstrances and letters with uncommon | spirit and elegance. Never indeed did Cromwell or his secretary appear in a more becoming light, as politicians. After appointing a day of fasting and prayer to mark the impression these massacres had made upon the public mind, Cromwell issued an account of the state and sufferings of the Waldenses, and solicited the contributions of the benevolent towards their immediate support. This he began with a subscription from himself of 2000l.; and in a very short time, the city of London taking the lead, the sum of 3l,241l. was collected, equivalent, if we consider the difference in the value of money, to the highest sum ever subscribed for any charitable purpose in our own days. But that more effectual measures might accompany this testimony of good will, Mr. Morland received immediate orders to set off with a message from the English government to the duke of Savoy, beseeching him to recall his murderous edicts, and restore his subjects to their homes and liberties; for it appears that all who had escaped being massacred had fled to the mountains, whence they sent agents to Cromwell for relief. This business Mr. Morland conducted with great address; and although he did not finally prevail in securing their freedom and the exercise of their religion to these poor people, a stop at least was put to the more outrageous acts of persecution. Mr. Morland remained for some time at Geneva, as the English resident, to manage the affairs of the Waldenses with other foreign ministers, to distribute the money contributed by the English nation, and also to prepare minutes, and to procure records, vouchers, and attestations, from which he might compile a correct history of the Waldenses. This was a suggestion of Thurloe’s.

On his return in 1658 he received the thanks of a select committee appointed by Cromwell to inspect into his transactions; and a minute, highly in his praise, was entered on the council books. Having arranged all his papers and vouchers, he published in the same year, in one volume folio, “The History of the Evangelical Churches of the Valleys of Piedmont; containing a most exact geographical description of the place, and a faithful account of the doctrine, life, and persecutions of the ancient inhabitants. Together with a most naked and punctual relation of the late bloody 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 authentic attestations: the true originals of the greatest part whereof are to be seen in their proper languages by all the curious, in the Public Library of the famous University of Cambridge.” These very interesting documents of ecclesiastical history are illustrated, according to the custom of the times, by a set of prints of the sufferings of the poor people; which, says Warton, “operated like Fox’s Book of Martyrs*.” Prefixed is a fine portrait of Morland, engraved by Lombart, from Lely; and an epistle dedicatory to Cromwell, in a higher strain of compliment than agrees with Morland’s subsequent opinion of the usurper. In “Hollis’s Memoirs” we are told that Morland afterwards withdrew this dedication from as many copies of his book as he could see. This may be true; but of many copies which we have seen in libraries and shops, we have never met with one without it.

Mr. Morland informs us that both before and after this publication, particularly from 164-1 to 1656, and some years after, he was admitted into the most intimate affairs of state, and had frequent opportunities of taking a clear view of the proceedings of Cromwell and his agents. Among other intrigues, he tells us that he was an eye and ear-witness of Dr. Hewit’s being trepanned to death by Thurloe and his agents. One Dr. Corker was sent by Thurloe to Dr. Hewit to advise him, and desire him, on behalf of the royalists, to send to Brussels for blank commissions from Charles II. and when the commissions arrived, was ordered to request that he might be employed to disperse part of them in several counties, and keep the rest by him. This done, Hewit was seized, and part of the commissions being found upon him, he was condemned and executed. But the most remarkable plot to which he was privy, was that usually called sir Richard Willis’s plot. The object of it was to entrap king Charles II. and his brothers to land somewhere in Sussex, under pretence of meeting with many supporters, and to put them to death the moment they landed. This plot is said to have formed the subject of a conversation between Cromwell, Thurloe, and Willis, at Thurloe’s office, and was overheard by Morland, who pretended to be asleep at his desk. In “Wel­* Note by Mr. Thomas Warton on Milton’s beautiful sonnet” On ths late Massacre in Piedmont.“Milton’s Poems, edit. 1785, p. 357. | wood’s Memoirs,” it is said that when Cromwell discovered him, he drew his poinard, and would have dispatched him on the spot, if Thurloe had not, with great intreaties, prevailed on him to desist, assuring him that Morland had sat up two nights together, and was certainly asleep. Morland himself gives a somewhat different account of this plot than what appears in Echard, and is copied in the life of Thurloe in the Biog. Brit* but the chief circumstances are the same, and he was the means of discovering it to the king. It also appears to have alienated him from the party with which he had been connected, and from this time he endeavoured to promote the restoration by every means in his power, for which, in “Hollis’s Memoirs,” as may be expected in such a work, he is termed a “dextrous hypo* crite*.

Morland’s own sentiments we shall copy nearly literally: he concludes his account of the plot, with saying, that the horror of this and such like designs, to support an usurped government, and “fearing to have the king’s blood laid another day, inforo divino, to his charge (there being no person but myself, and the contrivers, and the chief of those who were to act it, privy to it), and calling to remembrance Hushai’s behaviour towards Absalom, which I found not at all blamed in holy writ (and yet his was a larger step than mine, I having never taken any kind of oath, or made any formal promise that I ever remember to any of those governments). As likewise seriously reflecting upon those oaths of supremacy and allegiance, which I had taken during the reign of Charles I. at Winchester college, I took at last a firm resolution, to do my native prince and the rightful heir of the crown, all the service that lay in my power.” To this he adds, that avarice could not be his object, as he was at this time living in greater

* In a short letter he wrote to arch- Henry’s which might have been probishop Tenison, intended as a post- duced against him.“It is necessary script to that which contains the ac- to add here, that Harris, in his life of count of his life, he tells his grace that Charles II. speaks of the above plot as” when he discovered the conspiracy to undeserving of credit.and triumphant! j Charles II. it was upon a solemn agree- produces a letter from sir Samuel to ment that he should not be required to sir Richard Willis, dated March 1, be an evidence against auy of them 1660, denying the whole. Where Mr. who should be tried after the restora- Harris got his letter, he does not say. tkm and that when required to ap- We have the direct testimony of sir pear against sir Henry Vane, he claim- Samuel, at a late period of life; and ed the promise made to him, would not the reader may compare the evidence, appear, and burned some papers of sir with that of Clarendon, &c. | plenty than ever he did after the restoration, “having a house well furnished, an establishment of servants, a coach, &c. and 1000l. a year to support all this, with several hundred pounds of ready money, and a beautiful young woman to his wife for a companion.” All this, he adds, he must hazard in serving the king; but he preferred his duty and conscience, and accordingly gave such information as saved the king’s life, and promoted the restoration. For this purpose he at last went to Breda, and made his discoveries to his majesty, who acknowledged the value of his services, with many liberal promises of future preferment*.

These promises, Morland tells us, were not fulfilled, and he supposes that the chancellor Hyde was his enemy, for what reason is not known; as in his History, Hyde seems to do justice to Morland’s discoveries. Morland, however, was created a baronet in 1660, and is described as of Sulhamstead Bannister, although it does not appear very clearly whether he was possessed of the manor, or of any considerable property in the parish. He was also made a gentleman of the privy- chamber but this, he says, was rather expensive than profitable, as he was obliged to spend 450l. in two days on the coronation. He got, indeed, a pension of 500l. on the post-office, but some embarassments in his affairs obliged him to sell it; and after this he returned to his mathematical studies, and endeavoured by various experiments, and the construction of machines, to make up for the loss of that more certain provision he had expected from the new government.

Even in this, however, he encountered many difficulties, owing to the expensive nature of some of his experiments on hydrostatics, or hydraulics. These experiments, he says, pleased the king’s fancy; but when he had spent 500l. or [OQOl. upon them, he received sometimes but half and sometimes only a third of what he had expended; but it would appear, that at length he got some pensions, of what value he does not say, which he enjoyed in 1689, the

* “We think fit to relate here, as a part of the intricate plots of the interthing most remarkable, that on this reign, and likewise the perfidiousness 3^ of May, Mr. Moreland, chief com- of some who owM him, no doubt, the missioner under Mr. Thurloe, who was greatest fidelity in the world. The secretary of state unto Oliver Crom- kingreceiv’d him perfectly well, made well, his chief and most confident mi- him knight, and rendered him this nister of his tyranny, arrived at Breda, public testimony, that he had received where he brought divers letters and most considerable services frfm him. notes of very great importance, foras- for some years past.” Kennel’s Remuch as the king discovered there a gister, p. 135. | time when he wrote an account of his life to archbishop Tenison. Two years before the death of Charles II. that sovereign sent him to France, “about the king’s waterworks;” but here too he appears to have lost more than he gained. On his return, king James restored to him his pensions, which had been, for whatever reason, withdrawn, and likewise granted him the arrears, but not without deducting the expences of the engine which sir Samuel constructed to supply Windsor castle with water. Water-engines of various sorts employed much of his attention and capital; and as far back as 1674, we iind in the “Journals of the House of Commons,” a notice of a bill to enable him to enjoy the sole benefit of certain pumps and waterengines invented by him.

Sk Samuel was twice married to his first wife, during the usurpation but at what precise time, does not appear. In her naturalization-bill, introduced into the House of Commons in 1662, she is called Susanne de Milleville, daughter of Daniel de Milleville, baron of Boessey, and of thq lady Katherine his wife, of Boessey in France. It is probable he married her when abroad. After her death, he was entrapped into a second marriage* with a woman who pretended to be an heiress of 20,000l. This, he says, proved his ruin. She was a woman of abandoned conduct, and probably impaired his property by extravagance; and although he was divorced from her, for adultery, in 1688, the rest of his history is but a melancholy detail of his various disappointments and distresses. In 1689, he wrote a long letter to archbishop Tenison, giving an account of his life, from which we have extracted many of the above particulars, and concluding with a declaration that his only wish was to retire and spend his life “in Christian solitude,” for which he begs the archbishop’s “helping hand to have his condition truly represented to his majesty.” Tenison probably did something for him, for we find a letter of thanks for “favours and acts of charity,” contained

* As sir Samuel, in his own account that in the Journals of the House of

of his life to archbishop Tenison, gives Commons, and her age must certainly

no dates, we advance what is in the be wrong; the other is said to have

text with some degree of hesitation. In died in 1679, aged nineteen, an ags

Westminster abbey, it appears that he quite disproportioned to that of sir

buried two wives; one Carola, who Samuel. If these be the wives of our

died in 1674, aged twenty-three. This sir Samuel, he must have been marwe conceive to have been his first wife, ried thrice, for we are certain he wa

although the name be different from divorced from one in 168$. | in it, dated March 5, 1695. He died Jan. 1696, probably in a weak condition, as he was unable to sign the will, by which he disinherited his only son, or the same name, who was the second and last baronet of the family, and bequeathed his property to Mrs. Zenobia Hough. According to the representation he made of his affairs to archbishop Tenison, this could not have been much. The reason of his disinheriting his son, appears from a passage in his letter to the archbishop, in which he is confessing the sins of iiis past life. “I have been, in my youthful days, very undutiful to my parents, for which God has given me a son, altogether void of filial respect or natural affection.” The errors of sir Samuel’s life were probably considerable, as he speaks of having* been at one time excommunicated, but some of his writings shew that he was a sincere penitent, particularly his “Urim of Conscience,” which he published a little before his death, written, as the titlfc says, “in blindness*


He lost his sight about three years before his death.

and retirement.” It consists of a rhapsody of meditations on the fall of man, the wonderful structure and powers of the human body, with allusions to his machines, cautions to those who are in quest of the perpetual motion, or the philosopher’s stone, and pious advice to men of all ranks and professions.

As a machinist, however, sir Samuel Morland deserves more respect than has hitherto been paid to him. Granger refers to the account of his life in a letter to archbishop Tenison, but had never seen it, else he could not have divided him into two persons, sir Samuel, who wrote the history of the churches of Piedmont, and a son who was master of mechanics to Charles II. yet in this he is followed in our Cyclopædias. They allow, however, that he invented the speaking-trumpet, although Kircher laid claim to it; the fire engine a capstan, to heave up anchors; and two arithmetical machines, of which he published a description, under the title of “The description and use of two Arithmetic Instruments together with a short Treatise, explaining the ordinary operations of Arithmetic, &c. presented to his most excellent majesty, Charles II. by S. Morland, in 1662.” This work, which is exceedingly rare, but of which there is a copy in the Bodleian, which bears date, 1673, 8vo, is illustrated with twelve plates, in which the different parts of the machine are exhibited; and whence | it appears that the four fundamental rules in arithmetic are very readily worked, and, to use the author’s own words, “without charging the memory, disturbing the mind, or exposing the operations to any uncertainty.” That these machines were at the time brought into practice, there seems no reason to doubt, as by an advertisement prefixed to the work, it appears that they were manufactured for sale by Humphry Adanson, who lived with Jonas Moore, esq. in the Tower of London.

But there appears very good reason to give him the merit of an invention of much greater importance, that of the steam-engine; a contrivance which, assisted by modern improvements, is now performing what a century ago would have seemed miraculous or impossible. Yet it appears that he has been hitherto entirely unknown to the world at large. In 1699, captain Savery obtained a paten for this invention; aud he has consequently occupied al the honour of the discovery. But in that noble assemblage of Mss. the Harleian collection, now in the British Museum, the strongest testimony appears that the real inventor was Samuel Morland. That the first hint of the idnd was thrown out by the marquis of Worcester, in his “Century of Inventions,” is allowed; but obscurely, like the rest of his hints. But Morland wrote a book upon the subject; in which he not only shewed the practicability of the plan, but went so far as to calculate the power of different cylinders. This book is now extant in manuscript, in the above collection. It was presented to the French king in 1683, at which time experiments were actually shewn at St. Germain’s. The author dates his invention in 1682; consequently seventeen years prior to Savery’s patent. It seems, however, to have remained obscure both in France and England, till 1699, when Savery, who probably knew more of Morland’s invention than he owned, obtained a patent; and in the very same year, M. Amontons proposed something similar to the French academy, probably as his own.

The manuscript, in which Morland explains his invention, No. 5771 of the Harleian collection, hitherto seems to have been as little noticed as Morland himself. But if he was the real inventor, as these circumstances seem to render almost certain, it is highly proper that his name should in future be recorded, with all the honour which an invention of such utility demands. It is thus described by | the learned gentleman who assisted in the improved catalogue of that valuable collection of Mss.

A thin book upon vellum, entitled “Elevation des Eaux, par toute sorte de machines, reduite a la mesure, au poids, et a la balance. Presentee a-sa majeste tres Chrestienne par le Chevalier Morland, gentilhomme ordinaire de la Chambre privee, et maistre des mechaniques du Roy de la Grande Bretaigne,1683. The whole is preceded by tables of weights, measures, &c. At page 35, begins what seems to be one of the first steps made towards the art of working by steam. It has a separate title, “Les principes de la nouvelle force de feu; inventee par le Chev. Morland Tan 1682, et presentee a sa majeste tres Chrestienne 1683.” The author thus reasons on his principle: “L‘Eau estant evaporee par la force de Feu, ces vapeurs demandent incontinent une plus grand’espace (environ deux mille fois) que l‘eau n’occupoiet (sic) auparavant, et plus tost que d’etre toujours emprisonnées, feroient crever un piece de Canon. Mais estant bien gouverneesselon les regies de la Statique, et par science reduites a la mesure, au poids et a la balance, alors elles portent paisiblement leurs fardeaux (cotnme des bons chevaux) et ainsi servient elles du grand usage au gendre humain, particulierement pour Televations des Eaux.” Then follow a table of weights to be thus raised by cylinders half full of water, according to their diameters.

This book, which contains only thirty-four pages, is written in elegant and ornamented characters; but after this our author printed a book at Paris, with partly the same title, as far as “a la balance” after which it runs thus, “par le moyen d‘un nouveau piston, et corps de pompe, et d’un nouveau movement cyclo-elliptique, &c. avec huit problemes de rnechanique proposez aux plus babiles etaux plus s^avans du siecle, pour le bien public,” 4to. In the dedication to the king of France, he says, that as his majesty was pleased with the models and ocular demonstrations he had the honour to exhibit at St. Germains, he thought himself obliged to present this book as a tribute due 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 on the mysteries of hydrostatics. It begins with a perpetual almanack, shewing the day of the month or week for | the time past, present, and to come, and has various mathematical problems, tables, &c. but nothing respecting the action of fire. In the Phil. Trans, however, vol. IX. (1674), is a paper by him on a new method of raising water, which is not there explained, but was probably effected by some application of stearn similar to that which is described by Bradley in his book on gardening, p. 316. It appears that here also he was followed by Mr. Savery, to whom Bradley attributes the apparatus which he-describes, and illustrates by a plate. It contains evidently the principles of the steam-engine.

How far all this may be conclusive in sir Samuel Morland’s favour, as the inventor of the steam-engine, we must leave to be determined by those who have made the history of inventions their study. It only remains that we notice the titles of such of his works as have not been mentioned already. These are, 1. “The Count of Pagan’s Method of delineating all manner of Fortifications from the exterior Polygon, reduced to English measure, and converted into Hercotectonick lines,” Lond. 1672. 2. te A new and most useful Instrument for Addition and Subtraction, &c. with a perpetual Almanack,“ibid. 1672, 8vo. This appears to have preceded his description of the two arithmetical instruments mentioned above. 3.” The Doctrine of Interest, both simple and compound, explained,“&c. ibid. 1679, 8vo. 4.” Description of the Tuba Stentorophonica,“or speaking trumpet, ibid. 1671, folio. 5.” Hydrostatics, or Instructions concerning Water-works," 1697, 12mo. This appears to have been a posthumous work. By one of his letters, dated July 28, 1688, it appears that he had an intention of publishing the first six books of Euclid, for the use of public schools.

We learn from Mr. Lysons, that in 1675, sir Samuel Morland obtained a lease of Vauxhall house (now a distillery), made it his residence, and considerably improved the premises, every part of which shewed the invention of the owner; the side-table in the dining-room was supplied with a large fountain, and the glasses stood under little streams of water. His coach had a moveable kitchen, with clockwork machinery, with which he could make soup, broil steaks, or roast a joint of meat. About 1684 he purchased a house at Hammersmith, near the water-side; and all the letters we have seen in the Lambeth library or Museum, are dated from this place. He gave a pump and | well, adjoining to his house, for the use of the public, which benefaction was thus recorded upon a tablet fixed in the wall “Sir Samuel Morland’s well, the use of which he freely gives to all persons hoping that none who shall come after him, will adventure to incur God’s displeasure by denying a cup of cold water (provided at another’s cost and not their own) to either neighbour, stranger, passenger, or poor thirsty beggar. July 8, 1695.” This pump has been removed; but the stone tablet is preserved in tha garden belonging to the house, which is now an academy, and known by the name of Walbrough-house, in the tenure of Messrs. Aiken and Bathie. 1


Principally from an account drawn up by sir Samuel, and sent to abp. Tenison, which with other papers relating to his transactions, is among bishop Gibson’s papers, No. 931 of the ms?!, library at Lambeth. See also other papers relating to him in Ayscough’s Cat. of Mss. in the British Museum. We have likewise to acknowledge much valuable information from Mr. archdeacon Nares, who first suggested the probability of sir Samuel’s being the inventor of the steam-engine, and obliged us with what he had collected on the subject.— Cola’s ms Athenae in Brit. Mus. Lysons’s Environs, vol. I. and II. Clarendon’s and Rchard’s Histories. Hawkins’s History of Music, vol. IV. p. 221. Rees’s Cyclopedia. Lysons’s Magna Britannia, Berks, p. 378. Wellwood’s Memoirs, p. 105—106, edit. 1700.