William sent letters to dignitaries such as the Duke of Wellington, Earl Grey and the Duke of Northumberland to let them know that “from Northumbria's coast the Christian Philosopher had appeared, steering bravely the helm of the ship of truth” to frighten the Newtonians, “the devil's mad crew”, “the wise men of Gotham, the foolish jack-dandies”, in whose mouths “a cigar” was often seen.
At Carville, near Newcastle, on January 29th 1827, he wrote the following letter…
To His Most Gracious Majesty George the Fourth.
My Lord and King, - May it please your most Excellent Majesty to pardon the liberty I have now taken. I had the Honour to send your Majesty a copy of my Work on Natural Philosophy on the principal of Perpetual Motion, the receipt whereof was duly acknowledged by your Majesty’s Secretary of State. Since that period no person has dared to impeach the work, but because it destroys the system of Sir Isaac Newton, the generality of mankind are unwilling to abandon what they, in their Ignorance, consider to be good authority. As I have no doubt that I am an humble Instrument in the hand of the almighty to accomplish the overthrow of the Newtonian system of philosophy, and feel confident of ultimate success, I crave your Majesty’s gracious permission to patronise me in delivering Lectures on Natural Philosophy, and combat the opinions of those persons who oppose me, as my great end and aim is to promote truth and destroy infidelity. I challenge the whole World to controvert the opinions I have published. That your Majesty may not suppose I am a light, giddy person, I beg to state I am honourably mentioned in the late History of Northumberland, as is also my Brother, John Martin, upon whom your Majesty has been pleased to confer the Honour of Historical Painter to your Majesty. It will not, I trust, be considered too much to observe that my Brother, as a Painter, and myself, as a Philosopher, are two of the most extraordinary Characters of the Age.
May it then please your Majesty to authorise me to lecture upon the New System of Philosophy, that I may, with confidence, go forth and establish it in the minds of the people, in a manner so simple, yet so convening, that my System shall be known over the World, and perpetuated to the end of time.
I have the honour to be,
Your Majesty’s most dutiful Subject and Servant,
His brother Jonathan once said to him, ”William, if thy system of philosophy is from the devil, it will fall to the ground and come to nothing; if from the Spirit of God, the devil and all his disciples will not be able to stop it”.
How to clear the River Tyne of the sand beds, and to quay off Jarrow Slake!
The High Level Bridge from Gateshead to the Castle Garth!
How to make a railway from the Red Sea to the Levant!
How to prevent wood from taking the dry rot!
How to blow up the wreck of the Royal George!
How to make a harpoon gun!
A model of a flying machine!
A boat to go with paddles!
The Grand Desideratum!
The Perpetual Motion!
A patent for shoes!
A life preserver!
The fan ventilators!
A tin pen!
The Mechanical Horse!
The Swan-foot paddle!
The best safety lamp, pirated by George Stephenson!
(Words: William Martin)
from Mad Martins,
releases March 31, 2017
Keith Armstrong - Spoken Word
Iain Petrie - Sound Effects
'Mad Martins' is a unique project by poet Keith Armstrong and songwriter Gary Miller featuring original songs, poetry and
spoken word narration depicting the extraordinary life and times of the notorious Martin brothers, William, Jonathan and John, who were born in the late Eighteenth Century in the South Tyne area of Northumberland....more