Open main menu

Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 50.djvu/248

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

nearly a year at Hamburg, he obtained from the British minister there a passport for England. On his arrival in London, in April 1806, he was placed under arrest, and on 12 May he was sent, at the government's expense, to New York. His family followed him four years later.

Sampson soon attained a high position at the American bar. He acted as legal adviser to Joseph Bonaparte when he arrived in America. Wolfe Tone's son entered his office, and subsequently married his daughter. In 1823 he delivered before the Historical Society of New York a discourse ‘showing the origin, progress, antiquities, curiosities, and nature of the common law,’ which led to much discussion. It was published in 1824, and republished, with additions by Pishey Thompson [q. v.], in 1826. Hoffman (Legal Studies, p. 691) says that Sampson was the great promoter of legal amendment and codification in America. He took a prominent part in all meetings concerning Irish affairs held in America, and in 1831 was invited to Philadelphia to defend some of his countrymen charged with riot. In his last years he vainly endeavoured to obtain leave from the British government to revisit Ireland. He died at New York on 28 Dec. 1836.

Besides various reports of American trials and pamphlets dealing with law reform, Sampson published his ‘Memoirs’ in the form of letters, written partly in France, partly in America (New York, 1807; 2nd edit. 1817; an English edition, with notes by W. C. Taylor, in Whitaker's ‘Autobiography’ series, 1832). He contributed additions, consisting of contemporary history, to an American reprint of W. C. Taylor's ‘History of the Irish Civil Wars.’ Some verses by Sampson are in Madden's ‘Literary Remains of the United Irishmen,’ pp. 122, 177, 179, and in Watty Cox's ‘Irish Magazine’ for 1811.

In 1805 Sampson was described officially as having brown hair and eyebrows, a high forehead, large nose, and oval face. A portrait, engraved by F. Grimbrede from a painting by Jarvis, is prefixed to the second American edition of the ‘Memoirs.’

Sampson married, in 1790, a lady named Clarke, and had several children. Curran stood godfather to a son, born at Belfast in 1795, who received his sponsor's names, and was at his death, on 20 Aug. 1820, at the head of the New Orleans bar.

[An obituary notice by Dr. McNeven appeared in the Truth-Teller (New York) for 27 Jan. 1837. The English edition of Sampson's Memoirs has a valuable introduction and notes by W. C. Taylor, but omits almost all the Appendices given in the American editions, as well as the portrait. Madden's United Irishman, 2nd ser. ii. 335–88, contains much additional matter, supplied by Sampson's daughter. See also Madden's Irish Period. Literature, ii. 226, 234; Rowan's Autobiography, App. ii.; Allibone's Dict. Engl. Lit. ii. 1920–1; Brit. Mus. Cat.; Appleton's Cycl. American Biography; Webb's Compend. Irish Biogr.; O'Donoghue's Poets of Ireland, p. 221.]

G. Le G. N.

SAMS, JOSEPH (1784–1860), orientalist, born in 1784 at Somerton, Somerset, was educated at Ackworth school, Yorkshire, from 1794 to 1798, and became a teacher there in 1804. He left in 1810 to start a school at Darlington, but relinquished it to open a bookseller's shop. Later he travelled over the continent of Europe and elsewhere in search of antiquities. During his many visits to the East he formed a valuable collection of Egyptian papyri, mummies, and sarcophagi. The objects were intelligently collected to show the workmen's method, and included half-finished inscriptions, palettes with the colours prepared, and children's toys. Among the jewellery was said to be the ring presented by Pharaoh to Joseph. In the course of his visits to Palestine, Sams visited every spot mentioned in the New Testament that could be identified.

In 1832 he obtained from a banker in Girgenti 150 Græco-Sicilian vases of much interest, which he exhibited and described. Sams was somewhat eccentric, wore a ‘three-decker’ hat, and secreted the money for which his circular notes were changed in a screw ferrule at the end of a walking-stick. He carried with him religious books and tracts in Italian, Arabic, and other tongues. When granted an interview with Mohammet Ali at Alexandria he gave him a copy of the scriptures, and deposited another in the monastery at the foot of Mount Sinai.

Sams's curiosities were exhibited at 56 Great Queen Street, London, and at Darlington. Many collections were enriched from them. The bulk, which was offered to the British Museum, was purchased by Joseph Mayer [q. v.] about 1850, was exhibited with his own collection in Great Colquith Street, Liverpool, and in 1867 presented to the town by him.

Sams died on 18 March 1860, and was buried at Darlington. He married, in 1807, Mary Brady of Doncaster (d. 1834); by her he had several children. His books, pictures, tapestries, and manuscripts, were sold by Messrs. Puttick & Simpson in London on 2 Nov. 1860.