Wilson, Henry Schütz (DNB12)

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WILSON, HENRY SCHÜTZ (1824–1902), author, born in London on 15 Sept. 1824, was son of Effingham Wilson (1783–1868) by his wife, a daughter of Thomas James of The Brownings, Chigwell, Essex. The father, a native of Kirby Ravensworth, Yorkshire, after serving an apprenticeship to his uncle, Dr. Hutchinson, a medical practitioner of Knaresborough, founded at the Royal Exchange, London, a publishing business chiefly of commercial manuals, which is still continued; a zealous politician of radical views, he died in London in July 1868.

After education at a private school at Highgate, Schütz Wilson was for ten years in a commercial house in London and thoroughly mastered French, German, and Italian. Subsequently assistant secretary of the electric telegraph company, he retired on a pension when the business was taken over by the post office in 1870. He edited the ‘Journal of the Society of Telegraph Engineers’ from 1872.

Wilson divided his leisure between foreign travel or mountaineering and study or criticism of foreign literature and history. A profound admirer of Goethe's work, he published ‘Count Egmont as depicted in Fancy, Poetry, and History’ in 1863. In later years he wrote frequently in London magazines, and reissued his articles in ‘Studies and Romances’ (1873), ‘Studies in History, Legend, and Literature’ (1884), and ‘History and Criticism’ (1886). He was an early admirer of Edward FitzGerald's long-neglected translations from the Persian, and FitzGerald welcomed Wilson's encouragement (Letters, ed. Aldis Wright, 1859, i. 481).

Wilson, who was a member of the Alpine Club from 1871 to 1898, ascended the Matterhorn on 26–7 Aug. 1875 with Frederic Morshead and A. D. Prickard, and on 15 Aug. 1876 with Morshead. Melchior Anderegg was one of Wilson's guides, and he wrote on ‘Anderegg as a Sculptor’ in the ‘Alpine Journal’ (November 1873). He collected pleasant descriptions of his experiences in ‘Alpine Ascents and Adventures’ (1878).

Interested in both the English and the German stage, he was popular in literary and artistic society. He was a capable fencer and a zealous volunteer, becoming captain in the artists' corps. He died unmarried at the house of his nephew, Dr. J. Schütz Sharman, 2 Avenue Gate, Norwood, on 7 May 1902. His body was cremated, and the ashes placed in the Sharman vault in Norwood cemetery. His portrait by James Archer, R.S.A., was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1898.

Wilson's three novels, ‘The Three Paths,’ ‘The Voyage of the Lady’ (1860), and ‘Philip Mannington’ (1874), were translated into German.

[Private information; The Times, 19 May 1902; Ann. Register, 1902; Morning Post, 9 May; Works; Brit. Mus. Cat. (Wilson's works incomplete); Allibone's Dict. Engl. Lit. vol. iii. and Suppl.]

G. Le G. N.