Wilson, Charles Robert (DNB12)

WILSON, CHARLES ROBERT (1863–1904), historian of British India, born at Old Charlton, Kent, on 27 March 1863, was only son of Charles Wilson, army tutor, by his wife Charlotte Woodthorpe Childs. Educated at the City of London School, where he gained the Carpenter scholarship on leaving, he was elected to a scholarship at Wadham College, Oxford, in 1881. He graduated B.A. in 1887, having been placed in the first class in mathematical moderations in 1883 and in the final classical school in 1886. On leaving Oxford he entered the Indian educational service in Bengal, being successively professor at Dacca and at the Presidency College, Calcutta, principal of the Bankipur College, Patna, and inspector of schools. In 1900 he was appointed officer in charge of the records of the government of India, an appointment which carries with it that of assistant secretary in the home department. Soon afterwards his health broke down, and he died unmarried at Clapham on 24 July 1904 and was buried in Streatham cemetery.

Wilson was a devoted student of the early history of the English in Bengal, ransacking the documentary evidence in India, at the India Office, at the British Museum, and wherever else it might be found. He was admitted to the degree of D.Litt. at Oxford in 1902. Apart from several articles in the ‘Journal’ of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, dealing chiefly with the tragedy of the Black Hole, his published works are:

  1. ‘List of Inscriptions on Tombs or Monuments in Bengal possessing Historical Interest,’ Calcutta, 1896.
  2. ‘Descriptive Catalogue of the Paintings, etc., in the Rooms of the Asiatic Society of Bengal,’ Calcutta, 1897.
  3. ‘The Early Annals of the English in Bengal,’ being the Bengal public consultations for the first half of the eighteenth century, vol. i. 1895; vol. ii. pt. i. 1900, and pt. ii. 1911, posthumous.
  4. ‘Old Fort William in Bengal,’ a selection of official documents dealing with its history, 2 vols. 1906, posthumous.

[Memoir by W. Irvine prefixed to vol. ii. pt. ii. of Early Annals.]

J. S. C.