Morier, John Philip (DNB00)

MORIER, JOHN PHILIP (1776–1853), diplomatist, was the eldest of the four sons of Isaac Morier [q. v.], and was born at Smyrna 9 Nov. 1776. He was attached to the embassy at Constantinople 5 April 1799, where he acted as private secretary to the ambassador, the seventh Earl of Elgin, best known for his acquisition of the 'Elgin marbles.' Morier was despatched on 22 Dec. 1799 on special service of observation to Egypt, to accompany the grand vezir in the Turkish expedition against General Kléber, whom Napoleon had left to hold the country. Morier joined the Turkish army at El-'Arish, on the Egyptian frontier, 31 Jan. 1800, and remained with it until July. He published an admirable account of the campaign, under the title of 'Memoir of a Campaign with the Ottoman Army in Egypt from February to July 1800' (London, 8vo, 1801). According to the 'Nouvelle Biographie' he was taken prisoner by the French, but in spite of his character as the representative of a hostile power, entrusted, moreover, with a secret mission to co-operate diplomatically with the Turks with a view to the expulsion of the French from Egypt, he was set at liberty, with a warning that should he again be found in Egypt he would meet the fate of a spy. No authority, however, is adduced for this story, which is unsupported by any public or private evidence. In December 1803 Morier was appointed consul-general in Albania, where the policy of 'Ali Pasha of Jannina, the most powerful of the semi-independent vassals of the Porte, was for many years a subject of solicitude both to English and French diplomacy (Lane-Poole, Life of Stratford Canning, i. 104). In April 1810 he was promoted to be secretary of legation at Washington, and in October 1811 was gazetted a commissioner in Spanish America. On his return to England he became for a while acting under-secretary of state for foreign affairs in August 1815. In the following year, 5 Feb., he was appointed envoy extraordinary to the court of Saxony at Dresden, which post he held till his retirement, on pension, 5 Jan. 1825. He died in London 20 Aug. 1853. He had married, 3 Dec. 1814, Horatia Maria Frances (who survived him only six days), eldest daughter of Lord Hugh Seymour, youngest son of the first Marquis of Hertford, by whom he had seven daughters, one of whom married the last Duke of Somerset.

[Foreign Office List, 1854; London Gazette, 1 Oct. 1811; Ann. Reg. 1853; information from Sir E. Hertslet; private information.]

S. L-P.