count of the Four Brothers and one Sister.’ Prefixed is a portrait after Henry Perlee Parker [q. v.] , and the British Museum copy contains a number of manuscript additions by the author. In 1837 he exhibited in Newcastle an ingenious mail carriage to be propelled upon rails by means of a winch and toothed wheel. He was at this time residing at Wallsend, whence he issued periodically his lucubrations with the signature ‘Wm. Martin, Nat. Phil. and Poet.’ He affected extreme singularity of attire, and hawked his books or exhibited his inventions among the Northumbrian miners. His later mechanical efforts—some undoubtedly both useful and ingenious—included models for a lifeboat and a lifebuoy, a self-acting railway gate, and a design for a high-level bridge over the Tyne. His last days were passed in comfort at his brother John's house at Chelsea, where he died on 9 Feb. 1851.
Martin's chief printed works—all published at Newcastle—are, exclusive of single sheets and minor pamphlets:
- ‘Harlequin's Invasion, a new Pantomine [sic] engraved and published by W. M.,’ 1811, 8vo.
- ‘A New Philosophical Song or Poem Book, called the Northumberland Bard, or the Downfall of all False Philosophy,’ 1827, 8vo.
- ‘W. M.'s Challenge to the whole Terrestrial Globe as a Philosopher and Critic, and Poet and Prophet, showing the Travels of his Mind, the quick Motion of the Soul,’ &c. (verse) , 8vo; 2nd edit. 1829.
- ‘The Christian Philosopher's Explanation of the General Deluge, and the Proper Cause of all the Different Strata,’ 1834, 8vo.
- ‘The Thunder Storm of Dreadful Forked Lightning; God's Judgement against all False Teachers. … Including an Account of the Railway Phenomenon, the Wonder of the World!’ 1837.
- ‘The Defeat of the Eighth Scientific Meeting of the British Association of Asses, which we may properly call the Rich Folks' Hopping, or the False Philosophers in an Uproar’ , 8vo.
- ‘Light and Truth, M.'s Invention for Destroying all Foul Air and Fire Damps in Coal Pits, [proving also] the Scriptures to be right which learned Men are mystifying, and proving the Orang-outang or Monkey, the most unlikely thing under the Sun to be the Serpent that Beguiled our First Parents,’ 1838, 8vo.
- ‘An Exposure of a New System of Irreligion … called the New Moral World, promulgated by R. Owen, Esq., whose Doctrine proves him a Child of the Devil,’ 1839, 8vo.
- ‘W. Martin, Christian Philosopher. The Exposure of Dr. Nichol, the Impostor and Mock Astronomer of Glasgow College’ , 8vo.
- ‘W. Martin, Philosophical Conqueror of all Nations. Also a Challenge for all College Professors to prove this Wrong, and themselves Right, and that Air is not the first great Cause of all Things Animate and Inanimate,’ verse , 8vo.
[Gent. Mag. 1851 i. 327–8 1854, i. 433; Richardson's Table Book, iii. 137–8, iv. 366; Sykes's Local Records, ii. 241; Latimer's Local Records, p. 292; Notes and Queries, 4th ser. vol. xii. passim; Martin's Short Account and Works in British Museum Library.]
MARTIN, WILLIAM (1801–1867), writer and editor of books for young folks, born at Woodbridge, Suffolk, in 1801, was an illegitimate son of Jane Martin, laundress to the officers of the garrison stationed at Woodbridge during the French war. His putative father was Sir Benjamin Blomfield. After attending a dame's school at Woodbridge, he became in 1815 assistant to Thomas Howe, woollendraper at Battersea. Howe's wife was an intimate friend of the quakeress, Mrs. Fry, and under the guidance of these ladies Martin improved his education sufficiently to obtain a mastership in a school at Uxbridge. There he remained till 1836, when he returned to Woodbridge and gained his livelihood by delivering lectures and writing articles for the magazines. One of Martin's earliest literary ventures was ‘Peter Parley's Annual,’ which was first issued in 1840. The series, which was continued till Martin's death, was designed in imitation of one successfully begun under the same title in America in 1838 by Samuel Goodrich, with the assistance of Nathaniel Hawthorne and other writers. Besides the ‘Annual,’ Martin wrote a number of simple instructive books under the same pseudonym, a series of ‘Household Tracts for the People’ under that of ‘Chatty Cheerful,’ and not a few under his own name. It is difficult, in the absence of direct evidence, to ascertain his full share in the ‘Peter Parley’ literature of the period, for there were at least six other writers who adopted the pseudonym (cf. George Mogridge, Sergeant Bell and his Paree Show by Peter Parley, 1842); Messrs. Darton, Martin's publishers, in especial, ‘used to prefix the name to all sorts of children's books without reference to their actual authorship’ (Bookseller, October 1889). Martin died at his residence, Holly Lodge, Woodbridge, on 22 Oct. 1867, and was buried in the cemetery there. He married thrice; his third wife and two sons survived him. Despite the instructive lessons of his ‘Household Tracts,’ the dissipated habits and loose morals of his later years seem to have caused his friends some anxiety.
The following is a chronological list of the