A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature
by John W. Cousin
Table of Contents | Introduction | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z | Appendix |
WACE (fl. 1170). Chronicler, b. in Jersey, and ed. at Caen, was influenced by the Chronicle of Geoffrey of Monmouth (q.v.), and based upon it a French metrical romance, Brut. Later, at the command of Henry II., he rewrote with additions a chronicle of the life of William the Conqueror and entitled it Roman de Rou.
WADE, THOMAS (1805-1875). Poet, b. at Woodbridge, pub. poems, dramas, sonnets, and a translation of Dante's Inferno. Among his writings are Tasso and the Sisters (1825), Mundi et Cordis Carmina (1835); Duke Andrea (1828), and The Jew of Arragon (1830), both tragedies, and the Phrenologists (1830), a farce.
WAKEFIELD, GILBERT (1756-1801). Scholar and controversialist, b. at Nottingham, ed. at Camb., took orders, but becoming a Unitarian renounced them and acted as classical tutor in various Unitarian academies. He was a strong defender of the French Revolution, and was imprisoned for two years for writing a seditious pamphlet. He pub. ed. of various classical writers, and among his theological writings are Early Christian Writers on the Person of Christ (1784), An Examination of Paine's Age of Reason (1794), and Silva Critica (1789-95), illustrations of the Scriptures.
WALLACE, LEWIS (1827-1905). Novelist, b. at Brookville, Indiana, served with distinction in the Mexican and Civil Wars, and rose to the rank of General. He was also a politician of some note, and was Governor of Utah and Minister to Turkey. His novel, Ben Hur (1880), dealing with the times of Christ, had great popularity, and was followed by The Fair God, The Prince of India, and other novels, and by a work on the Boyhood of Christ.
WALLER, EDMUND (1606-1687). Poet, b. at Coleshill, Herts, and ed. at Eton and Camb., belonged to an old and wealthy family, and in early childhood inherited the estate of Beaconsfield, Bucks, worth £3500 a year. He was related to John Hampden, and was distantly connected with Oliver Cromwell, his own family, however, being staunch Royalists. He studied law at Lincoln's Inn, and at the age of 16 became a member of Parliament, in which he sat for various constituencies for the greater part of his life, and in which his wit and vivacity, as well as his powers of adapting his principles to the times, enabled him to take a prominent part. In 1631 he added to his fortune by marrying Anne Banks, a London heiress, who d. in 1634, and he then paid assiduous but unsuccessful court to Lady Dorothea Sidney, to whom, under the name of Sacharissa, he addressed much of his best poetry. Though probably really a Royalist in his sympathies, W. supported the popular cause in Parliament, and in 1641 conducted the case against Sir Francis Crawley for his opinion in favour of the legality of ship-money. His speech, which was printed, had an enormous circulation and brought him great fame. Two years later, however, he was detected in a plot for seizing London for the King, was expelled from the House, fined £10,000, and banished. On this occasion he showed cowardice and treachery, humiliating himself in the most abject manner, and betraying all his associates. He went to the Continent, living chiefly in France and Switzerland, and showing hospitality to Royalist exiles. Returning by permission in 1652 he addressed some laudatory verses, among the best he wrote, to Cromwell, on whose death nevertheless he wrote a new poem entitled, On the Death of the late Usurper, O.C. On the Restoration the accommodating poet was ready with a congratulatory address to Charles II., who, pointing out its inferiority as a poem to that addressed to Cromwell, elicited the famous reply, "Poets, Sire, succeed better in fiction than in truth." The poem, however, whatever its demerits, succeeded in its prime object, and the poet became a favourite at Court, and sat in Parliament until his death. In addition to his lighter pieces, on which his fame chiefly rests, W. wrote an epic, The Summer Islands (Bermudas), and a sacred poem, Divine Love. His short poems, such as "On a Girdle," often show fancy and grace of expression, but are frequently frigid and artificial, and exhibit absolute indifference to the charms of Nature. As a man, though agreeable and witty, he was time-serving, selfish, and cowardly. Clarendon has left a very unflattering "character" of him. He m. a second time and had five sons and eight daughters.
WALLER, JOHN FRANCIS (1810-1894). Poet, b. at Limerick, and ed. at Trinity Coll., Dublin, became a contributor to and ultimately ed. of the Dublin University Magazine, usually writing under the pseudonym of "Jonathan Freke Slingsby." His works include Ravenscroft Hall (1852), The Dead Bridal (1856), and Peter Brown (1872).
WALPOLE, HORATIO or HORACE (1717-1797). Miscellaneous writer, third s. of Sir Robert W., the great minister of George II., was b. in London, and ed. at Eton and Camb., after which he travelled on the Continent with Gray , the poet (q.v.). His f. bestowed several lucrative appointments upon him, and he sat in Parliament for various places, but never took any prominent part in public business. By the death of his nephew, the 3rd Earl, he became in 1791 4th Earl of Orford. In 1747 he purchased the villa of Strawberry Hill, Twickenham, the conversion of which into a small Gothic Castle and the collection of the works of art and curios with which it was decorated was the main interest of his subsequent life. His position in society gave him access to the best information on all contemporary subjects of interest, and he was as successful in collecting gossip as curios. He also erected a private press, from which various important works, including Gray's Bard, as well as his own writings, were issued. Among the latter are Letter from Xo Ho to his Friend Lien Chi at Pekin (1757), The Castle of Otranto, the forerunner of the romances of terror of Mrs. Radcliffe and "Monk" Lewis, The Mysterious Mother (1768), a tragedy of considerable power, Catalogue of Royal and Noble Authors, Anecdotes of Painting, Catalogue of Engravers (1763), Essay on Modern Gardening, Memoirs of the Last Ten Years of George II., Memoirs of the Reign of George III., and above all his Letters, 2700 in number, vivacious, interesting, and often brilliant. W. never m.
WALPOLE, SIR SPENCER (1839-1907). Historian, s. of the Right Hon. Spencer W., Home Sec. in the three Derby Cabinets, belonged to the same family as Sir Robert W. Ed. at Eton he became a clerk in the War Office, and was thereafter successively Inspector of Fisheries 1867, Lieutenant-Governor of the Isle of Man 1882, and Sec. to the Post Office, where he made a reputation as an efficient administrator, and was made K.C.B. in 1898. He pub. History of England from 1815 in 6 vols., bringing the story down to 1858, and followed it up with The History of Twenty-five Years. He also wrote Lives of Spencer Percival, Prime Minister 1809-12, who was assassinated in the lobby of the House of Commons in the latter year, and who was his maternal grandfather, and of Earl Russell. His latest book was Studies in Biography. He wrote with much knowledge, and in a clear and sober style.
WALTON, IZAAK (1593-1683). Biographer, and author of The Compleat Angler, s. of a yeoman, was b. at Stafford. Of his earlier years little is known. He carried on business as a hosier in London, in which he made a modest competence, which enabled him to retire at 50, the rest of his long life of 90 years being spent in the simple country pleasures, especially angling, which he so charmingly describes. He was twice m., first to Rachel Floud, a descendant of Archbishop Cranmer, and second to Ann Ken, half-sister of the author of the Evening Hymn. His first book was a Life of Dr. Donne (1640), followed by Lives of Sir Henry Wotton (1651), Richard Hooker (1662), George Herbert (1670), and Bishop Sanderson (1678). All of these, classics in their kind, short, but simple and striking, were coll. into one vol. His masterpiece, however, was The Compleat Angler, the first ed. of which was pub. in 1653. Subsequent ed. were greatly enlarged; a second part was added by Charles Cotton (q.v.). With its dialogues between Piscator (angler), Venator (hunter), and Auceps (falconer), full of wisdom, kindly humour, and charity, its charming pictures of country scenes and pleasures, and its snatches of verse, it is one of the most delightful and care-dispelling books in the language. His long, happy, and innocent life ended in the house of his son-in-law, Dr. Hawkins, Prebendary of Winchester, where in the Cathedral he lies buried.
WARBURTON, BARTHOLOMEW ELIOT GEORGE (1810-1852). Miscellaneous writer, b. in County Galway, travelled in the East, and pub. an account of his experiences, The Crescent and the Cross, which had remarkable success, brought out an historical work, Memoirs of Prince Rupert and the Cavaliers (1849), and ed. Memoirs of Horace Walpole and his Contemporaries. He perished in the burning of the steamer Amazon.
WARBURTON, WILLIAM (1698-1779). Theologian, b. at Newark, where his f. was an attorney. Intended for the law, he was for a few years engaged in its practice, but his intense love of, and capacity for, study led him to enter the Church, and in 1728 he was presented to the Rectory of Brand-Broughton, where he remained for many years. His first important work was The Alliance between Church and State (1736), which brought him into notice. But it was entirely eclipsed by his Divine Legation of Moses, of which the first part appeared in 1737, and the second in 1741. The work, though learned and able, is somewhat paradoxical, and it plunged him into controversies with his numerous critics, and led to his publishing a Vindication. It, however, obtained for him the appointment of chaplain to Frederick, Prince of Wales. In 1739 W. gained the friendship of Pope by publishing a defence of The Essay on Man. Through Pope he became acquainted with most of the men of letters of the time, and he was made by the poet his literary executor, and had the legacy of half his library, and the profits of his posthumous works. On the strength of this he brought out an ed. of Pope's works. He also pub. an ed. of Shakespeare with notes, which was somewhat severely criticised, and his Doctrine of Grace, a polemic against Wesley. He became Dean of Bristol in 1757 and Bishop of Gloucester in 1759. W. was a man of powerful intellect, but his temper was overbearing and arrogant.
"WARD, ARTEMUS", (see BROWN, C.F.).
WARD, ROBERT PLUMER (1765-1846). Novelist and politician, b. in London, ed. at Oxf., and called to the Bar 1790, held various political offices, and wrote some books on the law of nations; also three novels, Tremaine, or the Man of Refinement, full of prolix discussions; De Vere, or the Man of Independence, in which Canning is depicted under the character of Wentworth; and De Clifford, or the Constant Man.
WARD, WILLIAM GEORGE (1812-1882). Theologian, ed. at Winchester and Oxf., and came under the influence of J.H. Newman, whose famous Tract No. XC. he defended, and whom he followed into the Church of Rome. In 1844 he pub. The Ideal of a Christian Church from the Romanist point of view, whence his soubriquet of "Ideal Ward." He was lecturer on Moral Philosophy at St. Edward's Coll., Ware, and wrote various treatises on controversial theology.
WARDLAW, ELIZABETH, LADY (1677-1727). Poetess, dau. of Sir Charles Halkett of Pitfirrane, and wife of Sir Henry Wardlaw of Pitreavie, is believed to have written the pseudo-ancient ballad of "Hardyknute." The ballad of "Sir Patrick Spens" and others have also, but doubtfully, been attributed to her.
WARNER, SUSAN (1819-1885). Writer of tales, b. at New York, and wrote, under the name of "Elizabeth Wetherell," a number of stories, of which The Wide, Wide World (1851) had an extraordinary popularity. Others were Queechy (1852), The Old Helmet (1863), and Melbourne House (1864). They have no particular literary merit or truth to nature, and are rather sentimental and "gushy."
WARNER, WILLIAM (1558-1609). Poet, b. in London or Yorkshire, studied at Oxf., and was an attorney in London. In 1585 he pub. a collection of seven tales in prose entitled Pan his Syrinx, and in 1595 a translation of the Menæchmi of Plautus. His chief work was Albion's England, pub. in 1586 in 13 books of fourteen-syllabled verse, and republished with 3 additional books in 1606. The title is thus explained in the dedication, "This our whole island anciently called Britain, but more anciently Albion, presently containing two kingdoms, England and Scotland, is cause. .. that to distinguish the former, whose only occurrants I abridge from our history, I entitle this my book Albion's England." For about 20 years it was one of the most popular poems of its sizeit contains about 10,000 linesever written, and he and Spenser were called the Homer and Virgil of their age. They must, however, have appealed to quite different classes. The plain-spoken, jolly humour, homely, lively, direct tales, vigorous patriotic feeling, and rough-and-tumble metre of Warner's muse, and its heterogeneous accumulation of materialhistory, tales, theology, antiquitiesmust have appealed to a lower and wider audience than Spenser's charmed verse. The style is clear, spirited, and pointed, but, as has been said, "with all its force and vivacity. .. fancy at times, and graphic descriptive power, it is poetry with as little of high imagination in it as any that was ever written." In his narratives W. allowed himself great latitude of expression, which may partly account for the rapidity with which his book fell into oblivion.
WARREN, SAMUEL (1807-1877). Novelist, b. in Denbighshire, s. of a Nonconformist minister. After studying medicine at Edin. he took up law, and became a barrister, wrote several legal text-books, and in 1852 was made Recorder of Hull. He sat in the House of Commons for Midhurst 1856-59, and was a Master in Lunacy 1859-77. He was the author of Passages from the Diary of a late Physician, which appeared (1832-37) first in Blackwood's Magazine, as did also Ten Thousand a Year (1839). Both attracted considerable attention, and were often reprinted and translated. His last novel, Now and Then, had little success. W. entertained exaggerated ideas as to the importance of his place in literature.
WARTON, JOSEPH (1722-1800). Critic, elder s. of the Rev. Thomas W., Prof. of Poetry at Oxf., was ed. at Basingstoke School, (of which his f. was headmaster), Winchester, and Oxf. He took orders, held various benefices, and became headmaster of Winchester Coll., and Prebendary of Winchester and of St. Paul's. He pub. miscellaneous verses, 2 vols. of Odes (1744 and 1746), in which he displayed a then unusual feeling for nature, and revolted against the critical rules of Pope and his followers. He was a good classical scholar, and made an approved translation of the Eclogues and Georgics of Virgil. He and his brother Thomas (q.v.) were friends of Johnson, and members of the Literary Club. His last work of importance was an Essay on the Writings and Genius of Pope, of which the first vol. appeared in 1757, and the second in 1782, and which gave an impulse to the romantic movement in English literature. He also ed. Pope's works, and had begun an ed. of Dryden when he d.
WARTON, THOMAS (1728-1790). Literary historian and critic, younger s. of Thomas W., Prof. of Poetry at Oxf., and brother of the above, was ed. under his f. at Basingstoke and at Oxf. At the age of 19 he pub. a poem of considerable promise, The Pleasures of Melancholy, and two years later attracted attention by The Triumph of Isis (1749), in praise of Oxf., and in answer to Mason's Isis. After various other poetical excursions he pub. Observations on Spenser's Faery Queen (1754), which greatly increased his reputation, and in 1757 he was made Prof. of Poetry at Oxf., which position he held for 10 years. After bringing out one or two ed. of classics and biographies of college benefactors, he issued, from 1774-81, his great History of English Poetry, which comes down to the end of the Elizabethan age. The research and judgment, and the stores of learning often curious and recondite, which were brought to bear upon its production render this work, though now in various respects superseded, a vast magazine of information, and it did much to restore our older poetry to the place of which it had been unjustly deprived by the classical school. His ed. of Milton's minor poems has been pronounced by competent critics to be the best ever produced. W. was a clergyman, but if the tradition is to be believed that he had only two sermons, one written by his f. and the other printed, and if the love of ease and of ale which he celebrates in some of his verses was other than poetical, he was more in his place as a critic than as a cleric. As a poet he hardly came up to his own standards. He was made Poet Laureate in 1785, and in the same year Camden Prof. of History, and was one of the first to detect the Chatterton forgeries, a task in which his antiquarian lore stood him in good stead.
WATERLAND, DANIEL (1683-1740). Theologian, b. at Waseley Rectory, Lincolnshire, and ed. at Camb., took orders, and obtained various preferments, becoming Master of Magdalene Coll., Camb. 1713, Chancellor of York 1722, and Archdeacon of Middlesex 1730. He was an acute and able controversialist on behalf of the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity, on which he wrote several treatises. He was also the author of a History of the Athanasian Creed (1723).
WATERTON, CHARLES (1782-1865). Naturalist, belonged to an old Roman Catholic family in Yorkshire, and was ed. at Stonyhurst Coll. Sent out in 1804 to look after some family estates in Demerara, he wandered through the wildest parts of Guiana and Brazil, in search of plants and animals for his collections. His adventures were related in his highly-spiced and entertaining Wanderings in South America, etc. (1825), in which he details certain surprising episodes in connection with the capture of serpents, and specially of a cayman, on the back of which he rode. He also wrote an interesting account of his family.
WATSON, JOHN (1850-1907) "IAN MACLAREN". Novelist and theological writer, b. at Manningtree, where his f. was an Inland Revenue official, ed. at Stirling and Edin., and the New Coll. there. He came, after serving in a country charge, to Sefton Park Presbyterian Church, Liverpool, where he was a popular preacher, and took a prominent part in the social and religious life of the city. He wrote, under the name of "Ian Maclaren," several novels belonging to the "Kailyard" school, including Beside the Bonnie Briar Bush and The Days of Auld Lang Syne, which had great popularity both at home and in America. He also wrote religious works, of which The Mind of the Master is the best known.
WATSON, ROBERT (1730-1781). Historian, s. of an apothecary in St. Andrews, where and at Edin. and Glasgow, he was ed. He became Prof. of Logic, and afterwards Principal of St. Salvador's Coll., at St. Andrews, and wrote a History of Philip II. of Spain, and part of a continuation on Philip III., which were long standard works.
WATSON, THOMAS (1557?-1592). Poet, b. in London, was at Oxf., and studied law. He was a scholar, and made translations, one of which was a Latin version of the Antigone of Sophocles. In 1582 he pub. Hecatompathia, or The Passionate Centurie of Love, consisting of 100 eighteen-line poems, which he called sonnets. It was followed by Amyntas (1585) and Teares of Fansie (1593).
WATTS, ALARIC ALEXANDER (1797-1864). Poet, b. in London, had an active career as a journalist. He founded the United Service Gazette, and ed. various newspapers and an annual, the Literary Souvenir. His poems were coll. as Lyrics of the Heart. His numerous journalistic ventures finally resulted in bankruptcy.
WATTS, ISAAC (1674-1748). Poet and theologian, b. at Southampton, where his f. kept a school, and ed. at a Nonconformist academy at Stoke Newington, became minister of an Independent congregation in Mark Lane; but his health proving insufficient for his pastoral duties, he resigned, and gave himself chiefly to literary work, continuing to preach occasionally. For the last 36 years of his life he resided at Theobald's, the house of his friend, Sir Thomas Abney. Among his writings were various educational treatises, including those on Logic and The Improvement of the Mind, and some works on theological subjects. But his fame rests on his sacred poems and his hymns, which number over 500, and with much that is prosaic comprised "There is a Land of Pure Delight," "O God our Help in Ages Past," and "When I survey the Wondrous Cross," which has been called "the most majestic hymn in English speech." His Horæ Lyricæ was pub. in 1706, Hymns (1707), Divine Songs (for children) (1715), Metrical Psalms (1719). Some of his poems, such as his exquisite cradle song, "Hush, my dear, lie still and slumber" have a perfect beauty and tenderness.
WAUGH, EDWIN (1817-1890). Poet, s. of a shoemaker, was b. at Rochdale and, after a little schooling, apprenticed to a printer. He read eagerly, and became assistant sec. to the Lancashire Public School Association. He first attracted attention by his sketches of Lancashire life and character in the Manchester Examiner. He wrote also in prose Factory Folk, Besom Ben Stories, and The Chimney Corner. His best work was, perhaps, his dialect songs, coll. as Poems and Songs (1859), which brought him great local fame. He was possessed of considerable literary gift, and has been called "the Lancashire Burns."
WEBBE, WILLIAM (b. 1550). Critic and translator. Almost nothing is known of him except that he was at Camb. and acted as tutor in certain distinguished families, and was a friend of Spenser. He wrote a Discourse of English Poetrie (1586), in which he discusses metre, rhyme (the use of which he reprehends), and reviews English poetry up to his own day. He also translated the first two of the Eclogues of Virgil in singularly unmelodious hexameters.
WEBSTER, MRS. AUGUSTA (DAVIES) (1837-1894). Poet and translator, dau. of Admiral Davies, m. Mr. Thomas Webster, a solicitor. She wrote a novel, Lesley's Guardians, and several books of poetry of distinguished excellence, including Blanche Lisle, Dramatic Studies (1866), Portraits (1870), A Book of Rhyme (1881), and some dramas, including The Auspicious Day (1874), Disguises, and The Sentence (1887). She also made translations of Prometheus Bound and Medea.
WEBSTER, DANIEL (1782-1852). Orator, s. of a farmer in New Hampshire, was a distinguished advocate in Boston, and afterwards a member of the United States Senate and Sec. of State 1841-43 and 1850-52. He was the greatest orator whom America has produced, and has a place in literature by virtue of his pub. speeches.
WEBSTER, JOHN (1580?-1625?). Dramatist. Though in some respects he came nearest to Shakespeare of any of his contemporaries, almost nothing has come down to us of the life of W. Even the dates of his birth and death are uncertain. He appears to have been the s. of a London tailor, to have been a freeman of the Merchant Taylor's Company, and clerk of the parish of St. Andrews, Holborn. Four plays are known to be his, The White Devil, or the Life and Death of Vittoria Corombona (1612), Appius and Virginia (1654), The Devil's Law Case (1623), and The Duchess of Malfi (1623), and he collaborated with Drayton, Middleton, Heywood, Dekker, etc., in the production of others. He does not appear to have been much regarded in his own day, and it was only in the 19th century that his great powers began to be appreciated and expounded by such critics as Lamb and Hazlitt, and in later days Swinburne. The first says, "To move a horror skilfully, to touch a soul to the quick, to lay upon fear as much as it can bear, to wean and weary a life till it is ready to drop, and then step in with mortal instruments to take its last forfeit, this only a Webster can do." W. revels in the horrible, but the touch of genius saves his work from mere brutality, and evokes pity and sorrow where, without it, there would be only horror and disgust. His work is extremely unequal, and he had no power of construction, but his extraordinary insight into motives and feelings redeem all his failings and give him a place second only to Marlowe and Ben Jonson among the contemporaries of Shakespeare.
WEBSTER, NOAH (1758-1843). Lexicographer, etc., b. at Hartford, Conn., and ed. at Yale. His long life was spent in unremitting diligence as teacher, lawyer, and man of letters. His great work is his American Dictionary of the English Language (1828), for which he prepared himself by 10 years' study of philology. Many abridgments of it have appeared, and in 1866 a new and enlarged ed. was pub. His Elementary Spelling Book is believed to have attained a circulation of 70,000,000 copies. He also pub. A Philosophical and Practical Grammar of the English Language (1807), and many other works.
WELLS, CHARLES JEREMIAH (1800?-1879). Poet, b. in London, where he practised as a solicitor, pub. in 1822 Stories after Nature, written in poetic prose, which attracted no attention, and a biblical drama, Joseph and his Brethren (1824), which had an almost similar fate until D.G. Rossetti called attention to it in 1863, giving it a high meed of praise. In 1874, stung by want of appreciation, he had burned his manuscripts of plays and poems; but on the new interest excited in his Joseph he added some new scenes. In his later years he lived in France. Joseph and his Brethren ed. in the World's Classics, 1909.
WENDOVER, ROGER DE (d. 1236). Chronicler, a monk of St. Albans, became Prior of Belvoir, from which he was deposed for extravagance, but was recalled to St. Albans, where he d. He wrote Flores Historiarum (Flowers of History), a history of the world in 2 books, the first from the creation to the incarnation, the second to the reign of Henry III., his own time. The latter is of value as a contemporary authority, and is an impartial and manly account of his own period.
WESLEY, CHARLES (1707-1788). Hymn-writer, younger brother of John W. (q.v.), was b. at Epworth, and ed. at Westminster School and Oxf. He was all his life closely associated with his elder and greater brother, one of whose most loyal helpers he was, though not agreeing with him in all points. His chief fame is founded upon his hymns, of which he is said to have written the almost incredible number of 6500, many of them among the finest in the language. They include "Jesus, Lover of my Soul," "Love Divine all Loves excelling," "Come, oh Thou Traveller Unknown," "Hark the Herald Angels Sing," and "Come, let us join our Friends above."
WESLEY, JOHN (1703-1791). Theological writer, diarist, and founder of Methodism, was the second surviving s. of the Rev. Samuel W., Rector of Epworth, Lincolnshire. The name was also written Westley and Wellesley, and the family appears to be the same as that to which the Duke of Wellington and his brother the Marquis Wellesley belonged. W. was ed. at the Charterhouse and at Oxf., and was ordained deacon in 1725, and priest in 1728. After assisting his f. for a short time as curate, he returned to Oxf., where he found that his brother Charles, along with G. Whitefield (q.v.) and others, had begun that association for religious improvement from which sprang the great religious movement known as Methodism. About the same time the two brothers came under the influence of William Law (q.v.), author of the Serious Call, and in 1735 John went on a mission to Georgia to preach to the Indians and colonists, and became closely associated with the Moravian Brethren. Difficulties of a personal character, however, led to his return in 1738 to London, where he continued to associate with the Moravians. It was at this time that, hearing Luther's preface to the Epistle to the Romans read at a meeting, he found his religious and ecclesiastical views revolutionised. Hitherto holding strong High Church views in some directions, he now assumed a position which ultimately led to his abandoning the doctrine of Apostolical succession, and ordaining pastors and bishops, and finally creating a separate ecclesiastical organisation. Consequences soon followed; the pulpits of the Church were closed against him, and he began his marvellous career of itinerant and out-of-door preaching, which was continued to the close of his long life. He soon became a mighty power in the land; vast crowds waited on his ministrations, which were instrumental in producing a great revival of religious interest, and improved morality among the people. At the same time violent opposition was aroused, and W. was often in danger of his life from mobs. In the end, however, he lived down this state of things to a large extent, and in his old age was the object of extraordinary general veneration, while in his own communion he exercised a kind of pontifical sway. During the 50 years of his apostolic journeyings he is said to have travelled 250,000 miles in Britain, Ireland, and the Continent; but notwithstanding this phenomenal activity he was able, by extreme economy of time, to write copiously, his works including educational treatises, translations from the classics, histories of Rome and England, a history of the Church, biblical commentaries, manifold controversial treatises and ed. of religious classics. Most of them had an enormous circulation and brought him in £30,000, all of which he expended on philanthropic and religious objects. The work, however, on which his literary fame chiefly rests is his Journal, extending from 1735-90, which is one of the most graphic and interesting records of its kind in existence. He also wrote many hymns, largely translations from the German, and he had a considerable, hand in giving their final form to the almost innumerable hymns of his brother Charles. W. was a man of practical and organising ability of the first order, of intense religious earnestness and sincerity, benevolent feelings, and agreeable manners. At the same time he was of an autocratic temper, and often showed keenness and even intolerance in his controversies, which were largely against the extreme Calvinism of his old friend and fellow-labourer, Whitefield, and Toplady, the author of the hymn "Rock of Ages," himself a bitter polemic. In 1740 he had formally withdrawn from association with the Moravians. W. was m. in 1751 to a widow, Mrs. Vazeille, with whom, however, he did not live happily, and who separated from him in 1776.
WESTALL, WILLIAM (1834-1903). Novelist, was originally in business, but later betook himself to journalism, and also wrote a large number of novels, including The Old Factory, Strange Crimes, Her Ladyship's Secret, etc., which, while healthy in tone and interesting, have no literary distinction.
WHARTON, THOMAS WHARTON, 1ST MARQUIS of (1648-1715). Statesman and writer of "Lillibullero," s. of the 4th Baron W., was one of the most profligate men of his age. He was a supporter of the Exclusion Bill, and consequently obnoxious to James II. His only contribution to literature was the doggerel ballad, "Lillibullero" (1688), which had so powerful a political effect that its author claimed to have sung a King out of three kingdoms. He was generally disliked and distrusted, but held for a short time, from 1708, the Lord Lieutenancy of Ireland, when he had Addison as his chief sec.
WHATELEY, RICHARD (1787-1863). Theologian and economist, s. of the Rev. Dr. Joseph W., b. in London, and ed. at a school in Bristol, and at Oxf., where he became a coll. tutor. Taking orders he became Rector of Halesworth, Suffolk. In 1822 he delivered his Bampton lectures on The Use and Abuse of Party Feeling in Religion. Three years later he was made Principal of St. Alban's Hall, in 1829 Prof. of Political Economy, and in 1831 Archbishop of Dublin. As head of a coll. and as a prelate W. showed great energy and administrative ability. He was a vigorous, clear-headed personality, somewhat largely endowed with contempt for views with which he was not in sympathy, and with a vein of caustic humour, in the use of which he was not sparing. These qualities made him far from universally popular; but his honesty, fairness, and devotion to duty gained for him general respect. He had no sympathy with the Oxf. movement, was strongly anti-Calvinistic, and somewhat Latitudinarian, so that he was exposed to a good deal of theological odium from opposite quarters. He was a voluminous writer, and among his best known works are his treatises on Logic (1826) and Rhetoric (1828), his Historic Doubts relative to Napoleon Buonaparte (1819), intended as a reductio ad absurdum of Hume's contention that no evidence is sufficient to prove a miracle, Essays on some Peculiarities of the Christian Religion (1825), Christian Evidences (1837), and ed. of Bacon's Essays with valuable notes, and of Paley's Evidences.
WHETSTONE, GEORGE (1544?-1587?). Dramatist, one of the early, roistering playwrights who frequented the Court of Elizabeth, later served as a soldier in the Low Countries, accompanied Sir Humphrey Gilbert's expedition to Newfoundland in 1578, and was at the Battle of Zutphen in 1586. He was a trenchant critic of the contemporary drama, contending for greater reality and rationality. His play, Promos and Cassandra, translated from Cinthio's Hecatomithi, was used by Shakespeare in Measure for Measure.
WHEWELL, WILLIAM (1794-1866). Philosopher, theologian and mathematician, s. of a joiner at Lancaster, where he was b., ed. at Camb., where he had a brilliant career. He became Prof. of Mineralogy at Camb. 1828, of Moral Theology 1838, was Master of Trinity from 1841 until his death, and he held the office of Vice-Chancellor of the Univ. in 1843 and 1856. W. was remarkable as the possessor of an encyclopædic fund of knowledge, perhaps unprecedented, and he was the author of a number of works of great importance on a variety of subjects. Among the chief of these may be mentioned his Bridgewater Treatise on Astronomy and General Physics considered with Reference to Natural Theology (1833), History of the Inductive Sciences (1837), The Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences (1840), Essay on Plurality of Worlds (anonymously), Elements of Morality (1845), History of Moral Philosophy in England (1852), and Platonic Dialogues. In addition to these he wrote innumerable articles, reviews, and scientific papers. It was as a co-ordinator of knowledge and the researches of others that W. excelled; he was little of an original observer or discoverer. He is described as a large, strong, erect man with a red face and a loud voice, and he was an overwhelming and somewhat arrogant talker.
WHICHCOTE, BENJAMIN (1609-1683). Divine, belonged to a good Shropshire family, and was at Camb., where he became Provost of King's Coll., of which office he was deprived at the Restoration. He was of liberal views, and is reckoned among the Camb. Platonists, over whom he exercised great influence. His works consist of Discourses and Moral and Religious Aphorisms. In 1668 he was presented to the living of St. Lawrence, Jewry, London, which he held until his death.
WHIPPLE, EDWIN PERCY (1819-1886). Essayist and critic, b. in Massachusetts, was a brilliant and discriminating critic. His works include Character and Characteristic Men, Literature and Life, Success and its Conditions, Literature of the Age of Elizabeth, Literature and Politics, etc.
WHISTON, WILLIAM (1667-1752). Theologian, and man of science, b. at Norton, Leicestershire, and ed. at Camb., where he succeeded Newton as Lucasian Prof. of Mathematics, was a prominent advocate of the Newtonian system, and wrote a Theory of the Earth against the views of Thomas Burnet (q.v.). He also wrote several theological works, Primitive Christianity Revived and the Primitive New Testament. The Arian views promulgated in the former led to his expulsion from the Univ. His best known work was his translation of Josephus. He was a kindly and honest, but eccentric and impracticable man, and an insatiable controversialist.
WHITE, GILBERT (1720-1793). Naturalist, b. at Selborne, Hants, and ed. along with the Wartons (q.v.) at their father's school at Basingstoke, and thereafter at Oxf., entered the Church, and after holding various curacies settled, in 1755, at Selborne. He became the friend and correspondent of Pennant the naturalist (q.v.), and other men of science, and pub. in the form of letters the work which has made him immortal, The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne (1789). He was never m., but was in love with the well-known bluestocking Hester Mulso, afterwards Mrs. Chapone, who rejected him. He had four brothers, all more or less addicted to the study of natural history.
WHITE, HENRY KIRKE (1785-1806). Poet, s. of a butcher at Nottingham. At first assisting his f., next a stocking weaver, he was afterwards placed in the office of an attorney. Some contributions to a newspaper introduced him to the notice of Capel Lofft, a patron of promising youths, by whose help he brought out a vol. of poems, which fell into the hands of Southey, who wrote to him. Thereafter friends raised a fund to send him to Camb., where he gave brilliant promise. Overwork, however, undermined a constitution originally delicate, and he d. at 21. Southey wrote a short memoir of him with some additional poems. His chief poem was the Christiad, a fragment. His best known production is the hymn, "Much in sorrow, oft in Woe."
WHITE, JOSEPH BLANCO (1775-1841). Poet, s. of a merchant, an Irish Roman Catholic resident at Seville, where he was b., became a priest, but lost his religious faith and came to England, where he conducted a Spanish newspaper having for its main object the fanning of the flame of Spanish patriotism against the French invasion, which was subsidised by the English Government. He again embraced Christianity, and entered the Church of England, but latterly became a Unitarian. He wrote, among other works, Internal Evidences against Catholicism (1825), and Second Travels of an Irish Gentleman in search of a Religion, in answer to T. Moore's work, Travels, etc. His most permanent contribution to literature, however, is his single sonnet on "Night", which Coleridge considered "the finest and most grandly conceived" in our language.
WHITE, RICHARD GRANT (1822-1885). Shakespearian scholar, b. in New York State, was long Chief of the Revenue Marine Bureau, and was one of the most acute students and critics of Shakespeare, of whose works he pub. two ed., the first in 1865, and the second (the Riverside) in 1883. He also wrote Words and their Uses, Memoirs of Shakespeare, Studies in Shakespeare, The New Gospel of Peace (a satire), The Fate of Mansfield Humphreys (novel), etc.
WHITEHEAD, CHARLES (1804-1862). Poet, novelist, and dramatist; is specially remembered for three works, all of which met with popular favour: The Solitary (1831), a poem, The Autobiography of Jack Ketch (1834), a novel, and The Cavalier (1836), a play in blank verse. He recommended Dickens for the writing of the letterpress for R. Seymour's drawings, which ultimately developed into The Pickwick Papers.
WHITEHEAD, WILLIAM (1715-1785). Poet, s. of a baker at Camb., and ed. at Winchester School and Camb., became tutor in the family of the Earl of Jersey, and retained the favour of the family through life. In 1757 he succeeded Colley Cibber as Poet Laureate. He wrote plays of only moderate quality, including The Roman Father and Creusa, tragedies, and The School for Lovers, a comedy; also poems, The Enthusiast and Variety. His official productions as Laureate were severely attacked, which drew from him in reply A Charge to the Poets.
WHITMAN, WALTER or WALT (1819-1892). Poet, was b. at Huntingdon, Long Island, New York. His mother was of Dutch descent, and the farm on which he was b. had been in the possession of his father's family since the early settlement. His first education was received at Brooklyn, to which his f. had removed while W. was a young child. At 13 he was in a printing office, at 17 he was teaching and writing for the newspapers, and at 21 was editing one. The next dozen years were passed in desultory work as a printer with occasional literary excursions, but apparently mainly in "loafing" and observing his fellow-creatures. It was not till 1855 that his first really characteristic work, Leaves of Grass, appeared. This first ed. contained only 12 poems. Notwithstanding its startling departures from conventionality both in form and substance it was well received by the leading literary reviews and, with certain reserves to be expected, it was welcomed by Emerson. It did not, however, achieve general acceptance, and was received with strong and not unnatural protest in many quarters. When a later ed. was called for Emerson unsuccessfully endeavoured to persuade the author to suppress the more objectionable parts. On the outbreak of the Civil War W. volunteered as a nurse for the wounded, and rendered much useful service. The results of his experiences and observations were given in verse in Drum Taps and The Wound Dresser, and in prose in Specimen Days. From these scenes he was removed by his appointment to a Government clerkship, from which, however, he was soon dismissed on the ground of having written books of an immoral tendency. This action of the authorities led to a somewhat warm controversy, and after a short interval W. received another Government appointment, which he held until 1873, when he had a paralytic seizure, which rendered his retirement necessary. Other works besides those mentioned are Two Rivulets and Democratic Vistas. In his later years he retired to Camden, New Jersey, where he d. W. is the most unconventional of writers. Revolt against all convention was in fact his self-proclaimed mission. In his versification he discards rhyme almost entirely, and metre as generally understood. And in his treatment of certain passions and appetites, and of unadulterated human nature, he is at war with what he considered the conventions of an effeminate society, in which, however, he adopts a mode of utterance which many people consider equally objectionable, overlooking, as he does, the existence through all the processes of nature of a principle of reserve and concealment. Amid much that is prosaic and rhetorical, however, it remains true that there is real poetic insight and an intense and singularly fresh sense of nature in the best of his writings.
Works, 12 vols., with Life. See Stedman's Poets of America. Monographs by Symonds, Clarke, and Salter.
WHITNEY, WILLIAM DWIGHT (1827-1894). Philologist, b. at Northampton, Mass., was Prof. of Sanskrit, etc., at Yale, and chief ed. of the Century Dictionary. Among his books are Darwinism and Language and The Life and Growth of Language.
WHITTIER, JOHN GREENLEAF (1807-1892). Poet, was b. at Haverhill, Massachusetts, of a Quaker family. In early life he worked on a farm. His later years were occupied partly in journalism, partly in farming, and he seems also to have done a good deal of local political work. He began to write verse at a very early age, and continued to do so until almost his latest days. He was always a champion of the anti-slavery cause, and by his writings both as journalist and poet, did much to stimulate national feeling in the direction of freedom. Among his poetical works are Voices of Freedom (1836), Songs of Labour (1851), Home Ballads (1859), In War Time (1863), Snow Bound (1866), The Tent on the Beach (1867), Ballads of New England (1870), The Pennsylvania Pilgrim (1874). W. had true feeling and was animated by high ideals. Influenced in early life by the poems of Burns, he became a poet of nature, with which his early upbringing brought him into close and sympathetic contact; he was also a poet of faith and the ideal life and of liberty. He, however, lacked concentration and intensity, and his want of early education made him often loose in expression and faulty in form; and probably a comparatively small portion of what he wrote will live.
WHYTE-MELVILLE, GEORGE JOHN (1821-1878). Novelist, s. of a country gentleman of Fife, ed. at Eton, entered the army, and saw service in the Crimea, retiring in 1859 as Major. Thereafter he devoted himself to field sports, in which he was an acknowledged authority, and to literature. He wrote a number of novels, mainly founded on sporting subjects, though a few were historical. They include Kate Coventry, The Queen's Maries, The Gladiators, and Satanella. He also wrote Songs and Verses and The True Cross, a religious poem. He d. from an accident in the hunting-field.
WICLIF, or WYCLIF, JOHN (1320?-1384). Theologian and translator of the Bible, b. near Richmond, Yorkshire, studied at Balliol Coll., Oxf., of which he became in 1361 master, and taking orders, became Vicar of Fillingham, Lincolnshire, when he resigned his mastership, and in 1361 Prebendary of Westbury. By this time he had written a treatise on logic, and had won some position as a man of learning. In 1372 he took the degree of Doctor of Theology, and became Canon of Lincoln, and in 1374 was sent to Bruges as one of a commission to treat with Papal delegates as to certain ecclesiastical matters in dispute, and in the same year he became Rector of Lutterworth, where he remained until his death. His liberal and patriotic views on the questions in dispute between England and the Pope gained for him the favour of John of Gaunt and Lord Percy, who accompanied him when, in 1377, he was summoned before the ecclesiastical authorities at St. Paul's. The Court was broken up by an inroad of the London mob, and no sentence was passed upon him. Another trial at Lambeth in the next year was equally inconclusive. By this time W. had taken up a position definitely antagonistic to the Papal system. He organised his institution of poor preachers, and initiated his great enterprise of translating the Scriptures into English. His own share of the work was the Gospels, probably the whole of the New Testament and possibly part of the Old. The whole work was ed. by John Purvey, an Oxf. friend, who had joined him at Lutterworth, the work being completed by 1400. In 1380 W. openly rejected the doctrine of transubstantiation, and was forbidden to teach at Oxf., where he had obtained great influence. In 1382 a Court was convened by the Archbishop of Canterbury, which passed sentence of condemnation upon his views. It says much for the position which he had attained, and for the power of his supporters, that he was permitted to depart from Oxf. and retire to Lutterworth, where, worn out by his labours and anxieties, he d. of a paralytic seizure on the last day of 1384. His enemies, baffled in their designs against him while living, consoled themselves by disinterring his bones in 1428 and throwing them into the river Swift, of which Thomas Fuller (q.v.) has said, "Thus this brook has conveyed his ashes into Avon, Avon into Severn, Severn into the Narrow Seas, they into the main ocean, and thus the ashes of Wicliffe are the emblem of his doctrine, which now is dispersed all the world over." The works of W. were chiefly controversial or theological and, as literature, have no great importance, but his translation of the Bible had indirectly a great influence not only by tending to fix the language, but in a far greater degree by furthering the moral and intellectual emancipation on which true literature is essentially founded.
WILBERFORCE, WILLIAM (1759-1833). Philanthropist and religious writer, s. of a merchant, was b. at Hull, ed. at Camb., entered Parliament as member for his native town, became the intimate friend of Pitt, and was the leader of the crusade against the slave-trade and slavery. His chief literary work was his Practical View of Christianity, which had remarkable popularity and influence, but he wrote continually and with effect on the religious and philanthropic objects to which he had devoted his life.
WILCOX, CARLES (1794-1827). Poet, b. at Newport, N.H., was a Congregationalist minister. He wrote a poem, The Age of Benevolence, which was left unfinished, and which bears manifest traces of the influence of Cowper.
WILDE, OSCAR O'FLAHERTY (1856-1900). Poet and dramatist, s. of Sir William W., the eminent surgeon, was b. at Dublin, and ed. there at Trinity Coll. and at Oxf. He was one of the founders of the modern cult of the æsthetic. Among his writings are Poems (1881), The Picture of Dorian Gray, a novel, and several plays, including Lady Windermere's Fan, A Woman of no Importance, and The Importance of being Earnest. He was convicted of a serious offence, and after his release from prison went abroad and d. at Paris. Coll. ed. of his works, 12 vols., 1909.
WILKES, JOHN (1727-1797). Politician, s. of a distiller in London, was ed. at Leyden. Witty, resourceful, but unprincipled and profligate, he became from circumstances the representative and champion of important political principles, including that of free representation in Parliament. His writings have nothing of the brilliance and point of his social exhibitions, but his paper, The North Briton, and especially the famous "No. 45," in which he charged George III. with uttering a falsehood in his speech from the throne, caused so much excitement, and led to such important results that they give him a place in literature. He also wrote a highly offensive Essay on Woman. W. was expelled from the House of Commons and outlawed, but such was the strength of the cause which he championed that, notwithstanding the worthlessness of his character, his right to sit in the House was ultimately admitted in 1774, and he continued to sit until 1790. He was also Lord Mayor of London.
WILKIE, WILLIAM (1721-1772). Poet, b.. in Linlithgowshire, s. of a farmer, and ed. at Edin., he entered the Church, and became minister of Ratho, Midlothian, in 1756, and Prof. of Natural Philosophy at St. Andrews in 1759. In 1757 he pub. the Epigoniad, dealing with the Epigoni, sons of the seven heroes who fought against Thebes. He also wrote Moral Fables in Verse.
WILKINS, JOHN (1614-1672). Mathematician and divine, s. of a goldsmith in Oxf., but b. at Daventry and ed. at Oxf., entered the Church, held many preferments, and became Bishop of Chester. He m. a sister of Oliver Cromwell, and being of an easy temper and somewhat accommodating principles, he passed through troublous times and many changes with a minimum of hardship. He was one of the band of learned men whom Charles II. incorporated as the Royal Society. Among his writings are The Discovery of a World in the Moon, Mathematical Magic, and An Essay towards. .. a Philosophical Language.
WILKINSON, SIR JOHN GARDNER (1797-1875). Egyptologist, s. of a Westmoreland clergyman, studied at Oxf. In 1821 he went to Egypt, and remained there and in Nubia exploring, surveying, and studying the hieroglyphical inscriptions, on which he made himself one of the great authorities. He pub. two important works, of great literary as well as scholarly merit, Materia Hieroglyphica (1828) and Manners and Customs of the Ancient Egyptians (6 vols., 1837-41). He wrote various books of travel, and was knighted in 1839.
WILLIAM of MALMESBURY (fl. 12th cent.). Historian, was an inmate of the great monastery at Malmesbury. His name is said to have been Somerset, and he was Norman by one parent and English by the other. The date of his birth is unknown, that of his death has sometimes been fixed as 1142 on the ground that his latest work stops abruptly in that year. His history, written in Latin, falls into two parts, Gesta Regum Anglorum (Acts of the Kings of the English), in five books, bringing the narrative down from the arrival of the Saxons to 1120, and Historia Novella (Modern History), carrying it on to 1142. The work is characterised by a love of truth, much more critical faculty in sifting evidence than was then common, and considerable attention to literary form. It is dedicated to Robert, Earl of Gloucester, the champion of Queen Matilda. Other works by W. are De Gestis Pontificum Anglorum, Lives of the English Bishops, and a history of the Monastery of Glastonbury.
WILLIAM of NEWBURGH, or NEWBURY (1136-1198?). Historian, belonged to the monastery of Newburgh in Yorkshire. His own name is said to have been Little. His work, Historia Rerum Anglicarum (History of English affairs), is written in good Latin, and has some of the same qualities as that of William of Malmesbury (q.v.). He rejects the legend of the Trojan descent of the early Britons, and animadverts severely on what he calls "the impudent and impertinent lies" of Geoffrey of Monmouth (q.v.). His record of contemporary events is careful.
WILLIAMS, SIR CHARLES HANBURY (1708-1759). Diplomatist and satirist, s. of John Hanbury, a Welsh ironmaster, assumed the name of Williams on succeeding to an estate, entered Parliament as a supporter of Walpole, held many diplomatic posts, and was a brilliant wit with a great contemporary reputation for lively and biting satires and lampoons.
WILLIS, BROWNE (1682-1760). Antiquary, ed. at Westminster and Oxf., entered the Inner Temple 1700, sat in the House of Commons 1705-8. He wrote History of the Counties, Cities, and Boroughs of England and Wales (1715), Notitia Parliamentaria, etc.
WILLIS, NATHANIEL PARKER (1806-1867). Poet, b. at Portland, and ed. at Yale, was mainly a journalist, and conducted various magazines, including the American Monthly ; but he also wrote short poems, many of which were popular, of which perhaps the best is "Unseen Spirits," stories, and works of a more or less fugitive character, with such titles as Pencillings by the Way (1835), Inklings of Adventure, Letters from under a Bridge (1839), People I have Met, The Rag-Tag, The Slingsby Papers, etc., some of which were originally contributed to his magazines. He travelled a good deal in Europe, and was attached for a time to the American Embassy in Paris. He was a favourite in society, and enjoyed a wide popularity in uncritical circles, but is now distinctly a spent force.
WILLS, JAMES (1790-1868). Poet and miscellaneous writer, younger s. of a Roscommon squire, was ed. at Trinity Coll., Dublin, and studied law in the Middle Temple. Deprived, however, of the fortune destined for him and the means of pursuing a legal career by the extravagance of his elder brother, he entered the Church, and also wrote largely in Blackwood's Magazine and other periodicals. In 1831 he pub. The Disembodied and other Poems ; The Philosophy of Unbelief (1835) attracted much attention. His largest work was Lives of Illustrious and Distinguished Irishmen, and his latest publication The Idolatress (1868). In all his writings W. gave evidence of a powerful personality. His poems are spirited, and in some cases show considerable dramatic qualities.
WILLS, WILLIAM GORMAN (1828-1891). Dramatist, s. of above, b. in Dublin. After writing a novel, Old Times, in an Irish magazine, he went to London, and for some time wrote for periodicals without any very marked success. He found his true vein in the drama, and produced over 30 plays, many of which, including Medea in Corinth, Eugene Aram, Jane Shore, Buckingham, and Olivia, had great success. Besides these he wrote a poem, Melchior, in blank verse, and many songs. He was also an accomplished artist.
WILSON, ALEXANDER (1766-1813). Poet and ornithologist, b. at Paisley, where he worked as a weaver, afterwards becoming a pedlar. He pub. some poems, of which the best is Watty and Maggie, and in 1794 went to America, where he worked as a pedlar and teacher. His skill in depicting birds led to his becoming an enthusiastic ornithologist, and he induced the publisher of Rees's Cyclopædia, on which he had been employed, to undertake an American ornithology to be written and illustrated by him. Some vols. of the work were completed when, worn out by the labour and exposure entailed by his journeys in search of specimens, he succumbed to a fever. Two additional vols. appeared posthumously. The work, both from a literary and artistic point of view, is of high merit. He also pub. in America another poem, The Foresters.
WILSON, SIR DANIEL (1816-1892). Archæologist and miscellaneous writer, b. and ed. in Edin., and after acting as sec. of the Society of Antiquaries there, went to Toronto as Prof. of History and English Literature. He was the author of Memorials of Edinburgh in the Olden Time, The Archeology and Pre-historic Annals of Scotland (1851), Civilisation in the Old and the New World, a study on "Chatterton," and Caliban, the Missing Link, etc.
WILSON, JOHN ("CHRISTOPHER NORTH") (1785-1854). Poet, essayist, and miscellaneous writer, s. of a wealthy manufacturer in Paisley, where he was b., was ed. at Glas. and Oxf. At the latter he not only displayed great intellectual endowments, but distinguished himself as an athlete. Having succeeded to a fortune of £50,000 he purchased the small estate of Elleray in the Lake District, where he enjoyed the friendship of Wordsworth, Southey, Coleridge, and De Quincey. In 1812 he pub. The Isle of Palms, followed four years later by The City of the Plague, which gained for him a recognised place in literature, though they did not show his most characteristic gifts, and are now almost unread. About this time he lost a large portion of his fortune, had to give up continuous residence at Elleray, came to Edinburgh, and was called to the Scottish Bar, but never practised. The starting of Blackwood's Magazine brought him his opportunity, and to the end of his life his connection with it gave him his main employment and chief fame. In 1820 he became Prof. of Moral Philosophy in the Univ. of Edin. where, though not much of a philosopher in the technical sense, he exercised a highly stimulating influence upon his students by his eloquence and the general vigour of his intellect. The peculiar powers of W., his wealth of ideas, felicity of expression, humour, and animal spirits, found their full development in the famous Noctes Ambrosianæ, a medley of criticism on literature, politics, philosophy, topics of the day and what not. Lights and Shadows of Scottish Life and The Trials of Margaret Lyndsay are contributions to fiction in which there is an occasional tendency to run pathos into rather mawkish sentimentality. In 1851 W. received a Government pension of £300. The following year a paralytic seizure led to his resignation of his professorial chair, and he d. in 1854. He was a man of magnificent physique, of shining rather than profound intellectual powers, and of generous character, though as a critic his strong feelings and prejudices occasionally made him unfair and even savage.
WILSON, JOHN (1804-1875). Missionary and orientalist, b. at Lauder, Berwickshire, and ed. at Edin. for the ministry of the Church of Scotland, went in 1828 to India as a missionary, where, besides his immediate duties, he became a leader in all social reform, such as the abolition of the slave-trade and suttee, and also one of the greatest authorities on the subject of caste, and a trusted adviser of successive Governors-General in regard to all questions affecting the natives. He was in addition a profound Oriental scholar as to languages, history, and religion. He was D.D., F.R.S., and Vice-Chancellor of Bombay Univ. Among his works are The Parsi Religion (1812), The Lands of the Bible (1847), India Three Thousand Years Ago, and Memoirs of the Cave Temples of India.
WILSON, THOMAS (1525?-1581). Scholar and statesman, b. in Lincolnshire, was at Camb., and held various high positions under Queen Elizabeth. He was the author of The Rule of Reason containing the Arte of Logique (1551), and The Arte of Rhetorique (1553), and made translations from Demosthenes. He endeavoured to maintain the purity of the language against the importation of foreign words.
WINGATE, DAVID, (1828-1892). Poet, was employed in the coal-pits near Hamilton from the time he was 9. He pub. Poems and Songs (1862), which was favourably received, and followed by Annie Weir (1866). After this he studied at the Glasgow School of Mines, became a colliery manager, and devoted his increased leisure to study and further literary work. Lily Neil appeared in 1879, followed by Poems and Songs (1883), and Selected Poems (1890). W. was a man of independent character. He was twice m., his second wife being a descendant of Burns.
WINTHROP, THEODORE (1828-1861). Novelist, b. at New Haven, Conn., descended through his f. from Governor W., and through his mother from Jonathan Edwards, ed. at Yale, travelled in Great Britain and on the Continent, and far and wide in his own country. After contributing to periodicals short sketches and stories, which attracted little attention, he enlisted in the Federal Army, in 1861, and was killed in the Battle of Great Bethel. His novels, for which he had failed to find a publisher, appeared posthumously John Brent, founded on his experiences in the far West, Edwin Brothertoft, a story of the Revolution War, and Cecil Dreeme. Other works were The Canoe and Saddle, and Life in the Open Air. Though somewhat spasmodic and crude, his novels had freshness, originality, and power, and with longer life and greater concentration he might have risen high.
WITHER, GEORGE (1588-1667). Poet, b. near Alton, Hampshire, was at Oxf. for a short time, and then studied law at Lincoln's Inn. In 1613 he pub. a bold and pungent satire, Abuses Stript and Whipt, with the result that he was imprisoned for some months in the Marshalsea. While there he wrote The Shepheard's Hunting, a pastoral. Wither's Motto, Nec Habeo, nec Careo, nec Curo (I have not, want not, care not) was written in 1618, and in 1622 he coll. his poems as Juvenilia. The same year he pub. a long poem, Faire Virtue, the Mistress of Philarete, in which appears the famous lyric, "Shall I wasting in despair." Though generally acting with the Puritans he took arms with Charles I. against the Scotch in 1639; but on the outbreak of the Civil War he was on the popular side, and raised a troop of horse. He was taken prisoner by the Royalists, and is said to have owed his life to the intercession of a fellow-poet, Sir John Denham. After the establishment of the Commonwealth he was considerably enriched out of sequestrated estates and other spoils of the defeated party; but on the Restoration was obliged to surrender his gains, was impeached, and committed to the Tower. In his later years he wrote many religious poems and hymns, coll. as Hallelujah. Before his death his poems were already forgotten, and he was referred to by Pope in The Dunciad as "the wretched Withers". He was, however, disinterred by Southey, Lamb, and others, who drew attention to his poetical merits, and he has now an established place among English poets, to which his freshness, fancy, and delicacy of taste well entitle him.
WODROW, ROBERT (1679-1734). Church historian, s. of James W., Prof. of Divinity in Glasgow. Having completed his literary and theological education there, he entered the ministry of the Church of Scotland, and was ordained to the parish of Eastwood, Renfrewshire. Here he carried on the great work of his life, his History of the Sufferings of the Church of Scotland 1660 to 1688. W. wrote when the memory of the persecutions was still fresh, and his work is naturally not free from partisan feeling and credulity. It is, however, thoroughly honest in intention, and is a work of genuine research, and of high value for the period with which it deals. It was pub. in two folio vols. in 1721 and 1722. W. made large collections for other works which, however, were not pub. in his lifetime. The Lives of the Scottish Reformers and Most Eminent Ministers and Analecta, or a History of Remarkable Providences, were printed for the Maitland Club, and 3 vols. of his correspondence in 1841 for the Wodrow Society. The Analecta is a most curious miscellany showing a strong appetite for the marvellous combined with a hesitating doubt in regard to some of the more exacting narratives.
WOLCOT, JOHN (1738-1819). Satirist, b. near Kingsbridge, Devonshire, was ed. by an uncle, and studied medicine. In 1767 he went as physician to Sir William Trelawny, Governor of Jamaica, and whom he induced to present him to a Church in the island then vacant, and was ordained in 1769. Sir William dying in 1772, W. came home and, abandoning the Church, resumed his medical character, and settled in practice at Truro, where he discovered the talents of Opie the painter, and assisted him. In 1780 he went to London, and commenced writing satires. The first objects of his attentions were the members of the Royal Academy, and these attempts being well received, he soon began to fly at higher game, the King and Queen being the most frequent marks for his satirical shafts. In 1786 appeared The Lousiad, a Heroi-Comic Poem, taking its name from a legend that on the King's dinner plate there had appeared a certain insect not usually found in such exalted quarters. Other objects of his attack were Boswell, the biographer of Johnson, and Bruce, the Abyssinian traveller. W., who wrote under the nom-de-guerre of "Peter Pindar," had a remarkable vein of humour and wit, which, while intensely comic to persons not involved, stung its subjects to the quick. He had likewise strong intelligence, and a power of coining effective phrases. In other kinds of composition, as in some ballads which he wrote, an unexpected touch of gentleness and even tenderness appears. Among these are The Beggar Man and Lord Gregory. Much that he wrote has now lost all interest owing to the circumstances referred to being forgotten, but enough still retains its peculiar relish to account for his contemporary reputation.
WOLFE, CHARLES (1791-1823). Poet, s. of a landed gentleman in Kildare, was b. in Dublin, where he completed his ed. at Trinity Coll., having previously been at Winchester. He took orders, and was Rector of Donoughmere, but his health failed, and he d. of consumption at 32. He is remembered for one short, but universally known and admired poem, The Burial of Sir John Moore, which first appeared anonymously in the Newry Telegraph in 1817.
WOOD, or À WOOD, ANTHONY (1632-1695). Antiquary, was b. at Oxf., where he was ed. and spent most of his life. His antiquarian enthusiasm was awakened by the collections of Leland, and he early began to visit and study the antiquities of his native county. This with history, heraldry, genealogies, and music occupied his whole time. By 1669 he had written his History and Antiquities of the University of Oxford, which was translated into Latin not to his satisfaction by the Univ. authorities, and he wrote a fresh English copy which was printed in 1786. His great work was Athenæ Oxonienses; an exact History of all the Writers and Bishops who have had their Education in the University of Oxford, to which are added the Fasti or Annals of the said University (1691-92). For an alleged libel on the Earl of Clarendon in that work the author was expelled in 1694. He also wrote The Ancient and Present State of the City of Oxford, and Modius Salium, a Collection of Pieces of Humour, generally of an ill-natured cast.
WOOD, MRS. ELLEN (PRICE) (1814-1887). Novelist, writing as "Mrs. Henry Wood," was b. at Worcester. She wrote over 30 novels, many of which, especially East Lynne, had remarkable popularity. Though the stories are generally interesting, they have no distinction of style. Among the best known are Danesbury House, Oswald Cray, Mrs. Halliburton's Troubles, The Channings, Lord Oakburn's Daughters, and The Shadow of Ashlydyat. Mrs. W. was for some years proprietor and ed. of the Argosy.
WOOD, JOHN GEORGE (1827-1889). Writer on natural history, s. of a surgeon, b. in London, and ed. at home and at Oxf., where he worked for some time in the anatomical museum. He took orders, and among other benefices which he held was for a time chaplain to St. Bartholomew's Hospital. He was a very prolific writer on natural history, though rather as a populariser than as a scientific investigator, and was in this way very successful. Among his numerous works may be mentioned Illustrated Natural History (1853), Animal Traits and Characteristics (1860), Common Objects of the Sea Shore (1857), Out of Doors (1874), Field Naturalist's Handbook (with T. Wood) (1879-80), books on gymnastics, sport, etc., and an ed. of White's Selborne.
WOOLMAN, JOHN (1720-1772). Quaker diarist, b. at Burlington, New Jersey, began life as a farm labourer, and then became a clerk in a store. He underwent deep religious impressions, and the latter part of his life was devoted to itinerant preaching and doing whatever good came to his hand. To support himself he worked as a tailor. He was one of the first to witness against the evils of slavery, on which he wrote a tract, Some Considerations on the Keeping of Negroes (1753). His Journal "reveals his life and character with rare fidelity" and, though little known compared with some similar works, gained the admiration of, among other writers, Charles Lamb, who says, "Get the writings of John Woolman by heart." In 1772 he went to England, where he d. of smallpox in the same year.
WOOLNER, THOMAS (1826-1892). Sculptor and poet, b. at Hadleigh, attained a high reputation as a sculptor. He belonged to the pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, and contributed poems to their magazine, the Germ. He wrote several vols. of poetry, including My Beautiful Lady (1863), Pygmalion, Silenus, Tiresias, and Nelly Dale. He had a true poetic gift, though better known by his portrait busts.
WORDSWORTH, CHRISTOPHER (1774-1846). Biographer, etc., was a younger brother of the poet, ed. at Camb., took orders, and became Chaplain to the House of Commons, and Master of Trinity Coll., Camb. 1820-41. He was also Vice-Chancellor of the Univ. 1820-21 and 1826-27. He pub. Ecclesiastical Biography (1810), and Who wrote Eikon Basiliké? in which he argued for the authorship of Charles I.
WORDSWORTH, CHRISTOPHER (1807-1885). S. of above, ed. at Camb., took orders and became a Canon of Westminster 1844, and Bishop of Lincoln 1868. He travelled in Greece, and discovered the site of Dodona. His writings include in theology a commentary on the Bible (1856-70), Church History to A.D. 451 (1881-83), and in other fields, Athens and Attica (1836), and Theocritus (1844).
WORDSWORTH, DOROTHY (1771-1855). Diarist, etc., was the only sister of the poet, and his lifelong and sympathetic companion, and endowed in no small degree with the same love of and insight into nature as is evidenced by her Journals. Many of her brother's poems were suggested by scenes and incidents recorded by her, of which that on Daffodils beginning "I wandered lonely as a cloud" is a notable example.
WORDSWORTH, WILLIAM (1770-1850). Poet, s. of John W., attorney and agent to the 1st Lord Lonsdale, was b. at Cockermouth. His boyhood was full of adventure among the hills, and he says of himself that he showed "a stiff, moody, and violent temper." He lost his mother when he was 8, and his f. in 1783 when he was 13. The latter, prematurely cut off, left little for the support of his family of four sons and a dau., Dorothy (afterwards the worthy companion of her illustrious brother), except a claim for £5000 against Lord Lonsdale, which his lordship contested, and which was not settled until his death. With the help, however, of uncles, the family were well ed. and started in life. William received his earlier education at Penrith and Hawkshead in Lancashire; and in 1787 went to St. John's Coll., Camb., where he graduated B.A. in 1791. In the preceding year, 1790, he had taken a walking tour on the Continent, visiting France in the first flush of the Revolution with which, at that stage, he was, like many of the best younger minds of the time, in enthusiastic sympathy. So much was this the case that he nearly involved himself with the Girondists to an extent which might have cost him his life. His funds, however, gave out, and he returned to England shortly before his friends fell under the guillotine. His uncles were desirous that he should enter the Church, but to this he was unconquerably averse; and indeed his marked indisposition to adopt any regular employment led to their taking not unnatural offence. In 1793 his first publication Descriptive Sketches of a Pedestrian Tour in the Alps, and The Evening Walk appeared, but attracted little attention. The beginning of his friendship with Coleridge in 1795 tended to confirm him in his resolution to devote himself to poetry; and a legacy of £900 from a friend put it in his power to do so by making him for a time independent of other employment. He settled with his sister at Racedown, Dorsetshire, and shortly afterwards removed to Alfoxden, in the Quantock Hills, to be near Coleridge, who was then living at Nether Stowey in the same neighbourhood. One result of the intimacy thus established was the planning of a joint work, Lyrical Ballads, to which Coleridge contributed The Ancient Mariner, and W., among other pieces, Tintern Abbey. The first ed. of the work appeared in 1798. With the profits of this he went, accompanied by his sister and Coleridge, to Germany, where he lived chiefly at Goslar, and where he began the Prelude, a poem descriptive of the development of his own mind. After over a year's absence W. returned and settled with Dorothy at Grasmere. In 1800 the second ed. of Lyrical Ballads, containing W.'s contributions alone, with several additions, appeared. In the same year Lord Lonsdale d., and his successor settled the claims already referred to with interest, and the share of the brother and sister enabled them to live in the frugal and simple manner which suited them. Two years later W.'s circumstances enabled him to marry his cousin, Mary Hutchinson, to whom he had been long attached. In 1804 he made a tour in Scotland, and began his friendship with Scott. The year 1807 saw the publication of Poems in Two Volumes, which contains much of his best work, including the "Ode to Duty," "Intimations of Immortality," "Yarrow Unvisited," and the "Solitary Reaper." In 1813 he migrated to Rydal Mount, his home for the rest of his life; and in the same year he received, through the influence of Lord Lonsdale, the appointment of Distributor of Stamps for Westmoreland, with a salary of £400. The next year he made another Scottish tour, when he wrote Yarrow Visited, and he also pub. The Excursion, "being a portion of The Recluse, a Poem." W. had now come to his own, and was regarded by the great majority of the lovers of poetry as, notwithstanding certain limitations and flaws, a truly great and original poet. The rest of his life has few events beyond the publication of his remaining works (which, however, did not materially advance his fame), and tokens of the growing honour in which he was held. The White Doe of Rylstone appeared in 1815, in which year also he made a collection of his poems; Peter Bell and The Waggoner in 1819; The River Duddon and Memorials of a Tour on the Continent in 1820; Ecclesiastical Sonnets 1822; and Yarrow Revisited in 1835. In 1831 he paid his last visit to Scott; in 1838 he received the degree of D.C.L. from Durham, and in 1839 the same from Oxf. Three years later he resigned his office of Distributor of Stamps in favour of his s., and received a civil list pension of £300. The following year, 1843, he succeeded Southey as Poet Laureate. His long, tranquil, and fruitful life ended in 1850. He lies buried in the churchyard of Grasmere. After his death the Prelude, finished in 1805, was pub. It had been kept back because the great projected poem of which it was to have been the preface, and of which The Excursion is a part, was never completed.
The work of W. is singularly unequal. When at his best, as in the "Intimations of Immortality," "Laodamia," some passages in The Excursion, and some of his short pieces, and especially his sonnets, he rises to heights of noble inspiration and splendour of language rarely equalled by any of our poets. But it required his poetic fire to be at fusing point to enable him to burst through his natural tendency to prolixity and even dulness. His extraordinary lack of humour and the, perhaps consequent, imperfect power of self-criticism by which it was accompanied, together with the theory of poetic theme and diction with which he hampered himself, led him into a frequent choice of trivial subjects and childish language which excited not unjust ridicule, and long delayed the general recognition of his genius. He has a marvellous felicity of phrase, an unrivalled power of describing natural appearances and effects, and the most ennobling views of life and duty. But his great distinguishing characteristic is his sense of the mystic relations between man and nature. His influence on contemporary and succeeding thought and literature has been profound and lasting. It should be added that W., like Milton, with whom he had many points in common, was the master of a noble and expressive prose style.
SUMMARY. B. 1770, ed. at Camb., sympathiser with French Revolution in earlier stages, first publication Tour in the Alps and Evening Walk 1793, became acquainted with Coleridge 1795, pub. with him Lyrical Ballads 1798, visits Germany and begins Prelude, returns to England and settles at Grasmere, pub. second ed. of Lyrical Ballads, entirely his own, 1800, m. Mary Hutchinson 1802, visits Scotland 1804 and becomes acquainted with Scott, pub. Poems in Two Volumes 1807, goes to Rydal Mount 1813, appointed Distributor of Stamps, revisits Scotland, writes Yarrow Visited and pub. The Excursion 1814, White Doe and coll. works 1815, Waggoner, Ecclesiastical Sonnets, etc., 1819-35, pensioned 1842, Poet Laureate 1843, d. 1850.
There are numerous good ed. of the poems, including his own by Moxon (1836, 1845, and 1850), and those by Knight (1882-86), Morley (1888), Dowden (1893), Smith (1908). Another by Knight in 16 vols. includes the prose writings and the Journal by Dorothy (1896-97). Lives by Christopher Wordsworth (1857), Myers (1880), and others. See also criticism by W. Raleign (1903).
WOTTON, SIR HENRY (1568-1639). Diplomatist and poet, s. of a Kentish gentleman, was b. at Boughton Park, near Maidstone, and ed. at Winchester and Oxf. After spending 7 years on the Continent, he entered the Middle Temple. In 1595 he became sec. to the Earl of Essex, who employed him abroad, and while at Venice he wrote The State of Christendom or a Most Exact and Curious Discovery of many Secret Passages and Hidden Mysteries of the Times, which was not, however, printed until 1657. Afterwards he held various diplomatic appointments, but Court favour latterly failed him and he was recalled from Venice and made Provost of Eton in 1624, to qualify himself for which he took deacon's orders. Among his other works were Elements of Architecture (1624) and A Survey of Education. His writings in prose and verse were pub. in 1651 as Reliquiæ Wottonianæ. His poems include two which are familiar to all readers of Elizabethan verse, The Character of a Happy Life, "How happy is he born and taught," and On his Mistress, the Queen of Bohemia, beginning "Ye meaner Beauties of the Night." He was the originator of many witty sayings, which have come down.
WRAXALL, SIR NATHANIEL WILLIAM (1751-1831). Historical writer, b. at Bristol, was for a few years in the service of the East India Company, and thereafter employed on diplomatic missions, and sat for some years in the House of Commons. In addition to a book of travels and some historical works relating to the French and other foreign Courts, he wrote Historical Memories of my own Time 1772-84, pub. in 1815. The work was severely criticised by both political parties, and in particular by Macaulay; but W. made a reply which was considered to be on the whole successful. A continuation bringing the narrative down to 1790 was pub. in 1836. The Memoirs are valuable for the light they throw on the period, and especially for the portraits of public men which they give.
WRIGHT, THOMAS (1810-1877). Antiquary, b. near Ludlow, of Quaker parentage, was ed. at Camb. His first work was a History of Essex (1831-36). In 1836 he went to London, and adopted literature as a profession, devoting himself specially to archæology, history, and biography. He held office in various societies such as the "Camden," "Percy," and "Shakespeare," and ed. many works for them. In all he was the author of over 80 publications, of which some of the chief are The Celt, the Roman, and the Saxon, Biographia Britannica Literaria, Queen Elizabeth and her Times, and History of Domestic Manners and Sentiments in England during the Middle Ages. He was superintendent of the excavation of the Roman city at Wroxeter in 1859.
WYATT, SIR THOMAS (1503-1542). Poet, s. of Sir Henry W., a servant of Henry VII., and ed. at St. John's Coll., Camb., came to Court and was frequently employed by Henry VIII. on diplomatic missions. He is said to have been an admirer of Anne Boleyn before her marriage, and on her disgrace was thrown into the Tower for a short time. In 1537 he was knighted, and two years later was against his will sent on a mission to the Emperor Charles V. On the death in 1540 of Thomas Cromwell, to whose party he belonged, W. was accused of misdemeanours during his embassy and again imprisoned in the Tower, where he wrote a defence which resulted in his release. In 1542 he was sent to meet the Spanish Ambassador at Falmouth, and conduct him to London, but on the way caught a chill, of which he d. W. shares with the Earl of Surrey (q.v.) the honour of being the first real successor of Chaucer, and also of introducing the sonnet into England. In addition to his sonnets, which are in a more correct form than those of Surrey, W. wrote many beautiful lyrics; in fact he may be regarded as the reviver of the lyrical spirit in English poetry which, making its appearance in the 13th century, had fallen into abeyance. In the anthology known as Tottel's Miscellany, first pub. in 1557, 96 pieces by W. appear along with 40 by Surrey, and others by different hands. W. has less smoothness and sweetness than Surrey, but his form of the sonnet was much more difficult as well as more correct than that invented by the latter, and afterwards adopted by Shakespeare, and his lyrical gift is more marked.
WYCHERLEY, WILLIAM (1640?-1716). Dramatist, was b. at Clive, near Shrewsbury, where his f. had an estate. He was at the Inner Temple in 1659, and at Oxf. in 1660. Part of his youth had been spent in France, where he became a Roman Catholic, but at the Restoration he returned to Protestantism. He wrote four comedies, Love in a Wood, The Gentleman Dancing Master, The Country Wife, and The Plain Dealer, all produced in the reign of Charles II., and nothing of consequence afterwards, a vol. of poems doing little to add to his reputation. About 1679 he m. the widowed Countess of Drogheda, who d. in 1681, and he entered into a second marriage eleven days before his death. In his later years he formed a friendship with Pope, then a boy of 16. W. was one of the founders of the Comedy of Manners. The merit of his plays lies in smart and witty dialogue rather than in construction. The Plain Dealer, his best, is founded upon Molière's Misanthrope. His plays are notoriously coarse.
WYNTOUN, ANDREW of (1350?-1420?). Chronicler, was a canon of St. Andrews, who became Prior of St. Serf's island in Loch Leven. His work, entitled The Orygynale Cronykil, begins with the creation of angels and men and comes down to 1406. It is poetic in form though rarely so in substance, and is of considerable historical value in its later parts and as regards the see of St. Andrews.
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