Page:Dictionary of National Biography, Second Supplement, volume 3.djvu/114

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Percy
Perkin
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represented continuously till his death. Marked out from the first as a debater of ability, industry, and independence, he soon became conspicuous in a group of conservatives who sometimes adopted a critical attitude towards their leaders, and, in view of his future prospects, few felt surprise when, on Mr. Balfour becoming prime minister in July 1902, Earl Percy (as he had been styled since his father's succession to the dukedom in 1899) was appointed parliamentary under-secretary for India. Approving himself in this office by the immense pains which he took to master matters proper to his department, he passed to foreign affairs as under-secretary of state on the reconstruction of Mr. Balfour's cabinet in October 1903. Since his chief. Lord Lansdowne, was in the upper house. Lord Percy had occasion to appear prominently in the commons and to prove both his capacity and his independence, especially in dealing with Near Eastern matters, which had long engaged his interest, and had induced him once and again to visit Turkish soil.

Travel in the Near East divided his interests with politics. In 1895 he first visited the Ottoman dominions, when he returned with Lord Encombe from Persia though Baghdad and Damascus. He went back to Turkey in 1897 to make with Sir John Stirling Maxwell and Mr. Lionel Holland a journey through Asia Minor to Erzerum, Van, the Nestorian valleys, and the wilder parts of central Kurdistan. He returned by Mosul, Diarbekr, and Aleppo, and published his experiences in 'Notes of a Diary in Asiatic Turkey' (1898), a volume which showed strong but discriminating Turcophilism, sensitiveness to the scenic grandeur of the regions traversed, and growing interest in their history and archaeology. True to the traditions of his family, he began to collect antiques, particularly cylinder seals; and subsequently extending his interest to Egypt, he applied himself to the study of hieroglyphics.

His most important tour in Turkey was undertaken in 1899. He then made his way with his cousin, Mr. Algernon Heber Percy, through Asia Minor and up the course of the southern source of the Euphrates to Bitlis and his Nestorian friends of Hakkiari. Thence he went on into the Alps of Jelu Dagh, traversing a little-known part of Kurdistan near the Turco-Persian border, and passed by Neri to Altin Keupri, whence he descended the Lesser Zab and Tigris on a raft to Baghdad. On his way out he had been received by Sultan Abdul Hamid. His second book, 'The Highlands of Asiatic Turkey' (1901), was inspired by his old sympathy for Turks, but also by a deepened sense of the evils of Hamidism, whose downfall he foresaw. Intolerant equally of Armenian and of Russian aspirations, he advocated agreement with Germany on Ottoman affairs.

He was in Macedonia in 1902, when appointed to office, and returned home through a wild part of North Albania, although not followed by the large Turkish escort which the solicitude of the Porte had prescribed for him. Thereafter parliamentary duties prevented him from making other than short recess tours, during one of which he took a motor-boat up the Nile, to practise for a projected cruise on the Euphrates, which he did not live to achieve. On Macedonian and indeed all Ottoman affairs his authority was acknowledged, although his views were not always welcome to the advocates of the rayah nationalists. An effective and thoughtful though not ambitious or frequent speaker, and a forceful but reserved personality, he had come to be regarded as a future leader in his party, when, to general sorrow, he died of pneumonia on 30 Dec. 1909, while passing through Paris on his way to Normandy. He was unmarried. He became a trustee of the National Portrait Gallery in 1901, and received in 1907 the degree of D.C.L. from the University of Durham.

[The Times, 31 Dec. 1909; private information.]

D. G. H.


PERKIN, Sir WILLIAM HENRY (1838–1907), chemist, born on 12 March 1838 at King David's Lane, Shadwell, was youngest of three sons of George Fowler Perkin (1802-1865), a builder and contractor, by his wife Sarah Cuthbert. With his two brothers and three sisters he inherited a pronounced musical talent from his father. William Henry, after early education at a private school, was sent in 1851 to the City of London school, where his native aptitude for chemical study was effectively encouraged by his master, Thomas Hall. In 1853 he entered the Royal College of Chemistry as a student under Hofmann. By the end of his second year he had, under Hofmann's guidance, carried out his first piece of research, a study of the action of cyanogen chloride on naphthylamine, the results of which he announced in a paper read before the Chemical Society. In 1857 he was appointed an honorary assistant to his professor.

In 1854 he fitted up a laboratory in