Page:Dictionary of National Biography, Second Supplement, volume 3.djvu/699

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toum’ (1885; 4th edit. 1886). An attempt was made to saddle Wilson with the responsibility for the failure of the expedition. Charles Williams and other critics urged that he might have been in time to save Gordon, had he not lost three days at Gubat on his way. A complete justification of the delay is given in an anonymous publication, ‘Why Gordon Perished’ (1896), by a war correspondent. Sir Lintorn Simmons, governor of Malta, wrote on 18 June 1885: ‘The true fault lies with those who planned the expedition and started it too late, and, when they did start it, did not take proper measures to facilitate its operations and ensure its success.’ For his services Wilson was created K.C.B., military division, and when a vote of thanks was passed to the officers and men of the Nile expedition, in the House of Commons on 12 Aug. 1885, Lord Hartington refuted the charge against Wilson of unnecessary delay. Afterwards Queen Victoria summoned him to tell her his story. In the spring of 1886 he was made hon. LL.D. of Edinburgh University, and in the autumn addressed the British Association at Birmingham on the ‘History and Anthropology of the Tribes of the Soudan.’

Wilson resumed his ordnance survey work in Ireland on 1 July 1885. In November 1886 he was appointed director-general of the ordnance survey in the United Kingdom, and until 1893 was on that service at Southampton. He was president of the geographical section of the British Association at Bath in 1888. The survey was transferred from the office of works to the board of agriculture in 1890, and in 1891 Wilson received the silver medal from the Society of Arts after an address on the survey's methods and needs. In 1893 he was awarded by Dublin University the honorary degree of master in engineering, and was given the temporary rank, receiving next year the permanent rank, of major-general. From the end of 1892 to 14 March 1898 Sir Charles was director-general of military education at the war office.

In 1899, and again in 1903, Wilson revisited Palestine and devoted much time to the controversy over the sites of Golgotha and the Holy Sepulchre. He rather inclined to conservative tradition. His arguments appeared in the ‘Quarterly Statements of the Palestine Exploration Fund’ (1902 to 1904), and were collected in 1906 as ‘Golgotha and the Holy Sepulchre.’ He died after an operation at Tunbridge Wells, on 25 Oct. 1905, and was buried there.

In addition to works already cited Wilson was author of: 1. ‘Report on the Survey of Jerusalem,’ 1866. 2. ‘Report on the Survey of Sinai,’ 1869. 3. ‘Lord Clive,’ 1890, in the ‘Men of Action’ series. He also contributed to the ‘Encyclopædia Britannica,’ 9th edit., to ‘Smith's Dictionary of the Bible,’ to the Palestine Pilgrims Text Society, to the ‘Quarterly Review,’ and to ‘Blackwood's Magazine.’

Wilson married in London on 22 Jan. 1867, Olivia, daughter of Colonel Adam Duffin of the 2nd Bengal cavalry. She was granted a civil list pension of 100l. in 1905, and died on 19 May 1911. By her he had four sons and a daughter.

[War Office Records; Royal Engineers Records; Porter's History of the Royal Engineers; Life (1909) by Colonel Sir C. M. Watson; Proc. Roy. Soc., 78 A.]

R. H. V.

WILSON, GEORGE FERGUSSON (1822–1902), inventor, born at Wandsworth Common on 25 March 1822, was the sixth son in a family of thirteen children of William Wilson, at one time a merchant in Russia and subsequently founder at Battersea of the candle-making firm known as ‘E. Price & Son.’ His mother was Margaret Nimmo Dickson of Kilbucho and Cultur in Scotland.

After education at Wandsworth, and a short time in a solicitor's office, Wilson in 1840 entered his father's business. Though without training as a chemist, he showed keen interest in the firm's experimental work, and in 1842 patented, in conjunction with W. C. Jones, a process by which cheap malodorous fats could be utilised in the place of tallow for candle-making. The original features of the process were the use of sulphuric acid as a decoloriser and deodoriser of strongly-smelling fats, and their subsequent distillation, when acidified, by the aid of super-heated steam. The invention added materially to the firm's profits, and in 1847, in the midst of a commercial panic, the business was sold for 250,000l.

A new concern, called Price's Patent Candle Company, with a capital of 500,000l., was then formed, George Wilson and an elder brother, James, being appointed managing directors. Both engaged continually in research work which effected repeated changes in the firm's processes of manufacture. George in 1853 introduced moulded coco-stearin lights as ‘New Patent Night Lights,’ and the two together made improvements on a French patent which