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Morley, Samuel

MORLEY, SAMUEL (1809-1886), English manufacturer and politician, was born at Homerton, not then a part of London, on the 15th of October 1809, the youngest son of a Nottingham hosier. His father, John, and his uncle, Richard, were the founders of the already prosperous Nottingham firm of I. & R. Morley, dealers in hosiery made in the cottages of the local knitters, and as early as 1797 they had opened a London warehouse, in the counting-room of which Samuel Morley began his career at sixteen. On his father's retirement in 1840 he became practical head of the London concern, and when his brothers retired in 1855 sole owner. In 1860 he was sole owner also of the Nottingham business. Under excellent management the business grew rapidly into the largest of the kind in the world, with huge mills at Nottingham and in Leicestershire and Derbyshire employing thousands of hands. In 1865 Morley was elected M.P. for Nottingham, and from 1868-1885 he sat for one of the Bristol divisions. He was a strong Liberal and a whole-hearted supporter of Gladstone, who in 1885 offered him a peerage. He was one of the principal proprietors of the London Daily News, the chief Liberal organ of the period, and it was owing to him that its price was reduced from 3d. to id. and its losses turned to great gains. Morley was a deeply religious man. Like his father before him, he was a Dissenter, and for many years he strongly opposed every scheme of state interference with education. He was keenly interested in the temperance movement, and during the closing years of his life his public energies were chiefly confined to its promotion. His philanthropy was active, his charity widespread and munificent, and he was a model employer. He died on the 5th of September 1886. His son, Arnold Morley (b. 1849), was Liberal M.P. for Nottingham from 1880-1885, and for East Nottingham from 1885-1895. From 1886-1892 he was chief Liberal whip, and from 1892-1895 postmaster-general.

See Edwin Hocder, Life of Samuel Morley (1887); Frederic M. Thomas, /. & R. Morley: a Record of a Hundred Years (1900).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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