Page:Dictionary of National Biography, Second Supplement, volume 3.djvu/676

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

for many more he undertook the classes in Greek Testament criticism. In the University of London he was examiner in classics in 1884–6, and in Latin in 1887–90, and in 1894–9. He was highly successful as a popular lecturer on literary subjects in Manchester and in other large towns of Lancashire. He was of much service to education in Manchester outside Owens College, particularly as chairman of the Manchester Independent College, and of the council of the High School for Girls.

As professor, Wilkins proved a highly effective teacher and a valuable and stimulating member of the staff. ‘Within the college he was the unwearied champion of the claims of women to equal educational rights with men,’ and ‘an even more vigorous champion of the establishment of a theological department in the university,’ both of which causes were crowned with success. In 1903, after thirty-four years' tenure of the Latin professorship in Manchester, a weakness of the heart compelled him to resign, but he was appointed to the new and lighter office of professor of classical literature.

On 26 July 1905 he died at the seaside village of Llandrillo-yn-Rhos, in North Wales, and was buried in the cemetery of Colwyn Bay. In 1870 he married Charlotte, the second daughter of W. Field of Bishop Stortford; she survived him with a daughter and three sons. His portrait, painted by the Hon. John Collier, was presented to the University of Manchester by his friends in 1904.

As a writer Wilkins did good service by editing Cicero's rhetorical works and by introducing to English readers the results of German investigations in scholarship, philology, and ancient history. In 1868 he translated Piderit's German notes on ‘Cicero De Oratore,’ lib. i., and with E. B. England, G. Curtius's ‘Principles of Greek Etymology’ and his ‘Greek Verb.’ Wilkins's chief independent work was his full edition of ‘Cicero De Oratore,’ lib. i.–iii. (Oxford, 1879–1892). A critical edition of the text of the whole of Cicero's rhetorical works followed in 1903. He also issued compact and lucid commentaries on Cicero's ‘Speeches against Catiline’ (1871), and the speech ‘De Imperio Gnæi Pompeii’ (1879), and on Horace's ‘Epistles’ (1885); he contributed to Postgate's ‘Corpus Poëtarum Latinorum’ a critical text of the ‘Thebais’ and ‘Achilleis’ of Statius (1904); and he produced compendious primers of ‘Roman Antiquities’ (1877) and ‘Roman Literature’ (1890), the first of which was translated into French, as well as a book on Roman education (Cambridge, 1905). In the ‘Encyclopædia Britannica,’ 9th edit., he wrote on the Greek and Latin languages; in Smith's ‘Dictionary of Antiquities,’ 3rd edit., on Roman antiquities, and in ‘Companion to Greek Studies’ (Cambridge, 1904) on Greek education. He joined H. J. Roby in preparing an Elementary Latin Grammar in 1893. Wilkins dedicated his edition of the ‘De Oratore’ to the University of St. Andrews, which conferred on him an honorary degree in 1882; he received the same distinction at Dublin in 1892, and took the degree of Litt.D. at Cambridge in 1885.

[Obituary notice (with complete bibliography) by the present writer, with full extracts from other notices, in The Eagle, xxvii. (1905), 69–84; see also Miss Sara A. Burstall's The Story of the Manchester High School for Girls, 1871–1911 (1911), pp. 148 seq.]

J. E. S.

WILKINS, WILLIAM HENRY (1860–1905), biographer, born at Compton Martin, Somerset, on 23 Dec. 1860, was son of Charles Wilkins, farmer, of Gurney Court, Somerset, and afterwards of Mann's farm, Mortimer, Berkshire, where Wilkins passed much of his youth. His mother was Mary Ann Keel. After private education, he was employed in a bank at Brighton; entering Clare College, Cambridge, in 1884 with a view to taking holy orders, he graduated B.A. in 1887, and proceeded M.A. in 1899. At the university he developed literary tastes and interested himself in politics. An ardent conservative, he spoke frequently at the Union, of which he was vice-president in 1886. After leaving Cambridge he settled down to a literary career in London. For a time he acted as private secretary to the earl of Dunraven, whose proposals for restricting the immigration of undesirable foreigners Wilkins embodied in ‘The Alien Invasion’ (1892), with introduction by Dr. R. C. Billing, Bishop of Bedford. The Aliens Act of 1905 followed many recommendations of Wilkins's book. In the same year (1892) he edited, in conjunction with Hubert Crackanthorpe, whose acquaintance he had made at Cambridge, a shortlived monthly periodical called the ‘Albemarle’ (9 nos.). He next published four novels (two alone and two in collaboration) under the pseudonym of De Winton. ‘St. Michael's Eve’ (1892; 2nd edit. 1894) was a serious society novel. Then followed ‘The Forbidden Sacrifice’ (1893); ‘John Ellicombe's Temptation,’ 1894 (with the Hon. Julia Chetwynd),