Page:Cousins's Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature.djvu/420
408 Dictionary of English Literature
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 Philo sophical Language.
WILKINSON, SIR JOHN GARDNER (1797-1875). Egypto logist, s. of a Westmoreland clergyman, studied at Oxf. In 1821 he went to Egypt, and remained there and in Nubia exploring, survey ing, 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 (ft. i2th 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 His tory), 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). Diplo matist and satirist, s. of John Hanbury, a Welsh ironmaster, as sumed the name of Williams on succeeding to an estate, entered^