[from Memoirs of Bishop Hildesley]
SHORT ACCOUNT of the Rev. THOMAS WILSON, D. D. only Son of the venerable Bishop of SODOR and MANN.
He was born Aug. 24, 1703, in the:Parish of Kirk.Michael, in the Isle of Man; and after such an instituton there, as he must hare received under the eye of so excellent a father was entered of Christ church, O:xford, where he took his degree of A. M. Dec. 16, 1727. On the 10th of May, 1739, having ; previously become possessed of his mothers jointure, which devolved to him on her decease, he accumulated the degrees of B. D. and D. D. and went out grand compounder. For many years he was chaplain to king George the Seccond, senior prebendary of Westminster, and minister of St. Margarets there : and upon thee presentation of lord chancellor Hardwicke, he succeeded Dr. Watson in the rectory of St. Stephens,Walbrook which he held forty fix years.
To Dr. Wilson is attributed a pamphlet, intitled " A Review of the Project for building a New Square at Westminster, said to be for the life of WestminsterS chool : by a Sufferer. Part I. 1757." 8vo. The injury here complained of was, it seems, the supposed undervaluation of the doctors prebendal house ; which must have come down, to make way for the project alluded to ; but it was soon dropped.
In 1761, were published, in 4t0, " The Ornaments of Churches considered : with a particular View to the late Decorations in the Parish Church of St. Margaret, Westminster : to which.is subjoined an Appendix ; containing the History of the said Church ; an Account of the Altar Piece, and stained Glass Window over it ; a State of the Prosecutioa it has occasioned ; and other: papers." ~ To the second edition of it was prefixed a View.of the Inside St.Margarets Church, with the late excellent Speaker, Arthur Onslow, in his seat.
This pamphlet has by some been ascribed to a son of Dr. Shebbeare, as published under Dr. Wilsons inspection. The reason for such conjecture is not given, and the fact is therefore doubtful. It has been said that Dr. Wilson was also the author of a pamphlet, intitled, "Distilled Liquors the Bane of the Nation * " and that it was this which recommended him to Sir Joseph Jekyll, then Master of the Rolls, who interested himself in procuring for him the rectory of Walbrook. This, however, if it were so, must have been another benevolent Treatiseupon that horrid subject of dram-drinking, on which Dr. Hales so much and so happily employed his pen.
That elaborate and excellent work of Dr. Lelands, intitled, "A View of the principal Deistical Writers," in two volumes, 8vo. was, as the respectable author informs us, " originally conductd in a Series of Letters, written to his most worthy and much-esteemed Friend Dr. Thomas Wilson, in the form they now appear He died at Alfred House, Bath, April15 1784 in the 81st year of his age ; and on the 27th was interred with great funeral pomp, in his church at Walbrook ; where, during his life-time, he had put up a monumentary tablet, undated.
His tenacity to the cause he once espoused was no less conspicuous in his opposition to the intended building of a square in Westminster, than in his warm patronage of Mrs. Catharine Macaulay, the celebrated historian ; to whom, while she was living, he caused a statue to be erected in Walbrook Church ; which so raised some peoples resentment, that, by authority from the Spiritual Court, it was kept boarded. up from publick view, till her death in June 1791. His friendship toward her continued, till her marriage with Mr. Graham, contrary as should seem to his approbation. Jt is said notwithstanding, that by deed of gift he made over to her his houfe at Bath, with the furniture, library, &c. The. bulk of his fortune he left to his next of kin, Messrs. Macklin and Potter ; of whom the latter has since taken the name and arms of Wilson, in compliance with the doctors will.
" The excellence of bishop Wilsons piety as a parent," says Mr. Cruttwell, his biographer, " did not consist in heaping up riches for his children. He considered. himself as the steward, not as the proprietor of the revenues of his diocese, and to what use they ought, in his opinion, to be. applied. The bishop lived to hear this his surviving child thank him for the paternal blessing he bestowed, more valuable than riches; which, however, his fon enjoyed, not unmindful of his fathers precepts and example, which he. always admired and pursued." This, indeed, Dr. Wilson has very well expressed, by the motto, which he modestly chose for his coat of arms :
SEQUITUR. PATREM, NON PASSIBUS ÆQUIS.
But see the biographical notes at the close of Dr. Haless letter to bishop Hildesley : Appendix No. XVII.