John Daniel Morell was born in Little Baddow, Essex on 18 June 1816 and died in Hampstead on 1 April 1891. His father was a Congregationalist minister and John resolved at first to follow in his footsteps, enrolling at seventeen for Homerton College. Poor health, however, inclined him to what he believed to be a less arduous career and he won a bursary to Glasgow University, where he aimed to qualify as a tutor. He there distinguished himself in philosophy, graduating BA with honours in 1840 and MA in 1841. Afterwards he went to study theology and philosophy at Bonn and came under the influence of Immanuel Hermann Fichte, whose lectures on modern German metaphysics he attended. Morell was ordained in 1842 and became a minister in Gosport, but gave up in 1845, finding a more academic life better suited to his speculative temper, and preferring to represent what he saw as the cause of reason to that of religious authority. He moved to London, where he acted as a tutor to students at University College.
From The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy in Oxford Reference.