William Morgan

Eighteenth-Century Actuary, Mathematician and Radical

Author(s) Nicola Bruton Bennetts

Language: English

Genre(s): Science

Series: Scientists of Wales

  • September 2020 · 272 pages ·216x138mm

  • · Paperback - 9781786836182
  • · eBook - pdf - 9781786836199
  • · eBook - epub - 9781786836205

About The Book

To meet William Morgan is to encounter the eighteenth-century world of finance, science and politics. Born in Bridgend in 1750, his heritage was Welsh but his influence extended far beyond national borders, and the legacy of his work continues to shape life in the twenty-first century. Aged only twenty-five and with no formal training, Morgan became actuary at the Equitable, which was then a fledgling life assurance company. Known today as ‘the father of the actuarial profession’, his pioneering work earned him the Copley Medal, the Royal Society’s most prestigious award. His interests covered a wider scientific field, and his papers on electrical experiments show that he unwittingly constructed the first X-ray tube. Politically radical, Morgan’s outspoken views put him at risk of imprisonment during Pitt’s Reign of Terror. This biography, using unpublished family letters, explores Morgan’s turbulent private life and covers his outstanding public achievements.


‘William spent 56 years at the Equitable Life Assurance Company, where he learnt how to understand and manage financial risk. In 1789, for his work on the mathematics of life assurance, he was awarded the Copley Medal, the Royal Society’s most prestigious decoration. Subsequent generations have hailed him as ‘the father of the actuarial profession’ – recognition of his having established many of the rules and standards on which the science is based.’

Read more about this on page 6 of the Booklaunch https://edition.pagesuite-professional.co.uk/html5/reader/production/default.aspx?pubname=&edid=eacd7c66-df5c-4335-86ee-cad05c826bda


List of Illustrations
William Morgan Family Tree
Chapter 1: Bridgend
Chapter 2: Newington Green
Chapter 3: Blackfriars
Chapter 4: 1780 – Flaming June
Chapter 5: At War
Chapter 6: A Beautiful Green Light
Chapter 7: Risk and Reward
Chapter 8: Verbal Fisticuffs
Chapter 9: Stamford Hill
Chapter 10: A Stupendous Event
Chapter 11: Bunhill Fields
Chapter 12: A Radical Friend
Chapter 13: A Trumpet of Liberty
Chapter 14: Trial for High Treason
Chapter 15: Pitt’s Gagging Acts
Chapter 16: Invasion, Panic and Mutiny
Chapter 17: The Reign of Terror
Chapter 18: Diaspora
Chapter 19: The Price of Success
Chapter 20: Family, Celebrations and Calamities
Chapter 21: A Costly Peace
Chapter 22: Rise, Progress, Misrepresentation
Chapter 23: A Fragment
Chapter 24: Final Years
Chapter 25: Afterwards
Chapter 26: Epilogue

About the Author(s)

Author(s): Nicola Bruton Bennetts

Nicola Bruton Bennetts is an independent scholar with a background in teaching and journalism.

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