Wilson, John (1741-1793) (DNB00)

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search

WILSON, Sir JOHN (1741–1793), judge, born at The How, Applethwaite, in Westmorland, on 6 Aug. 1741, was the son of John Wilson, a man of property in the parish. He was educated at Staveley, near Kendal, and entered Peterhouse, Cambridge, on 29 Jan. 1759, graduating B.A. in 1761 as senior wrangler, and M.A. in 1764, and being elected to a fellowship on 7 July 1764. While still an undergraduate he is said to have made an able reply to the attack on Edward Waring's ‘Miscellanea Analytica’ by William Samuel Powell [q. v.], master of St. John's College (Nichols, Lit. Anecd. ii. 717). He entered the Middle Temple in January 1763, and, after being called to the bar in 1766, he joined the northern circuit in 1767, and soon acquired a considerable practice. He was patronised by John Dunning (afterwards first Baron Ashburton) [q. v.], and in his turn he befriended John Scott (afterwards Lord Eldon) (Twiss, Life of Lord Eldon, 1846, i. 88). On 7 Nov. 1786 he was appointed by Thurlow to fill the vacancy in the court of common pleas occasioned by the death of Sir George Nares [q. v.], and on 15 Nov. he was knighted. On the retirement of Thurlow he was made a commissioner of the great seal on 15 June 1792, and held that office until 28 Jan. 1793, when Lord Loughborough became lord chancellor. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society on 13 March 1782. He died at Kendal on 18 Oct. 1793, and was buried in the church, where a monument was erected to his memory, with an inscription by his friend, Richard Watson (1737–1816) [q. v.], bishop of Llandaff. On 7 April 1788 he married a daughter of James Adair [q. v.], serjeant-at-law. By her he had a son and two daughters.

[Atkinson's Worthies of Westmorland, 1850, ii. 160–8; Gent. Mag. 1792 i. 39, 1793 ii. 965, 1794 ii. 1051; Townsend's Cat. of Knights, 1833; Foss's Judges of England, 1864 viii. 408–9.]

E. I. C.