Open main menu

Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 21.djvu/363

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
Gill
Gillan
357

S. into the hill country by Wádi Mijinin, then E. to Homs upon the coast, and back along the coast by Lebda to the capital. From Tripoli he went to Benghazi, and hoped to travel through the Cyrenaica to Egypt, but, stopped by the Turkish authorities, he returned to England viâ Constantinople, arriving in London on 16 June 1882.

On the 21st of the following month he started on his last expedition. He went to Egypt on special service with the rank of deputy-assistant adjutant-general. During the short time he was at home he had been employed in collecting information for the admiralty regarding the Bedouin tribes adjoining the Suez Canal, and in arranging with Professor Palmer for the despatch of the latter to the desert. On the outbreak of hostilities Gill was directed to join Admiral Hoskins at Port Said, as an officer of the intelligence department. The task of cutting the telegraph wire from Cairo, which crossed the desert to El Arish and Syria and so to Constantinople, by which Arabi obtained information and support from Constantinople, devolved upon Gill. He went to Suez (6 Aug.), where he met Professor Palmer and Lieutenant Charrington (the flag-lieutenant of the admiral commanding), and they went together into the desert, Palmer and Charrington to proceed to Nakhl to meet a sheikh from whom they were to purchase camels, and Gill accompanying them with the view of cutting the telegraph. Professor Palmer, who had with him 3,000l. in English sovereigns, had engaged the services of Meter Abu Sofieh, who had falsely represented himself as a head sheikh, to conduct them. The fact that the party had money was known not only to Meter but to others, and there can be no doubt that Meter deliberately plotted to rob if not to murder them. On their arrival in Wady Sudr they were attacked by Bedouins, made prisoners, and murdered in cold blood the next day, 11 Aug. The knowledge of what took place after they entered the desert, the punishment of the murderers, and the recovery of the fragmentary remains of the murdered men were due to Colonel Sir Charles Warren, R.E., who, accompanied by Lieutenants A. E. Haynes and E. M. Burton, R.E., were sent out by the government on a special mission for this purpose. The remains were sent to England and solemnly laid to rest in the crypt of St. Paul's Cathedral at a special funeral service on 6 April 1883. A stained glass window has been placed in Rochester Cathedral to the memory of Captain Gill by his brother officers of the corps of royal engineers.

[Corps Records; R. Eng. Journ. vol. xii.; Parl. Blue-book C. 3494, 1883.]

R. H. V.

GILLAN, ROBERT (1800–1879), Scotch divine, was born at Hawick, Roxburghshire, in 1800. His father, the Rev. Robert Gillan, son of another minister of the same name, was appointed minister of Ettrick, 11 May 1787, and transferred to Hawick 30 Dec. 1789. He retired from the ministry of his church 7 May 1800, and died at Edinburgh 7 May 1824, aged 63, having married, 4 April 1798, Marion, daughter of the Rev. William Campbell. He was the author of ‘An Account of the Parish of Hawick’ in Sir John Sinclair's ‘Statistical Account of Scotland,’ 1791, vol. viii.; ‘Abridgments of the Acts of the General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland,’ 1803, other editions in 1811 and 1821; ‘View of Modern Astronomy, Geography, &c.;’ ‘A Compendium of Ancient and Modern Geography,’ 1823; and he edited ‘The Scottish Pulpit, a Collection of Sermons,’ 1823. Robert Gillan, the third of that name, studied at the high school and university of Edinburgh, where he was early noted for his extensive scholarship and impressive oratory. On 7 July 1829 he was licensed to preach the gospel by the presbytery of Selkirk, and ordained minister to the congregation at Stamfordham, Northumberland, in October 1830. He removed to the church at South Shields in October 1833, succeeding to Holytown, Lanarkshire, in 1837, where he continued to 1842. After being at Wishaw in the same county for six months, he accepted the parish of Abbotshall, Fifeshire, on the secession of the non-intrusion ministers in May 1843, and from that place was brought to St. John's, Glasgow, on 25 Feb. 1847. Here he remained during a long period, became very popular, and preached to large congregations. He took an active interest in all religious or social movements, and was an early opponent of the law of patronage. The university of Glasgow conferred on him the degree of D.D. in 1853. The incessant activity of the Glasgow charge at length told on his health, and on 10 Jan. 1861 he accepted charge of the small church of Inchinnan, Renfrewshire. He was, however, still able to work, and being appointed one of the first two lecturers on pastoral theology, he prepared an admirable course of lectures, which were on two separate occasions delivered at the four Scottish universities. On 11 Oct. 1870 he was publicly entertained in Glasgow, and presented with his portrait. He was devotedly attached to the established church of Scotland, and as moderator presided over the general assembly of 1873. He died at the manse, Inchinnan, 1 Nov. 1879. His wife died 23 Jan. 1847. By her he had a son, the Rev. George Green Gillan, a chaplain in the