Wildbore, Charles

, an ingenious mathematician, was born in Nottinghamshire, and educated at the Blue | Coat school of Nottingham. Of his early history we have little information, but it appears that he kept an academy at Bingham, in the above county, for some years, and afterwards was preferred to the living of Sulney, where he died at an advanced age, Oct. 30, 1802. In his latter days he had a remarkably strong and retentive memory, as a proof of which, he told a friend that he made a common practice of solving the most abstruse questions in the mathematics without ever committing a single figure, &c. to paper till finished and, upon its being observed how much pen and paper might assist him!" he replied, “I have to thank God for a most retentive memory and so long as it is enabled to exercise its functions, it shall not have any assistance from art.” When is mind was occupied in close study, he always walked to and fro in an obscure part of his garden, where he could neither see nor be seen of any one, and frequently paced, in this manner, several miles in a day.

Though so skilful in mathematics, he did not favour the world with any separate publication bearing his own name, and often used the signature of Eumenes; but he poured much light upon the regions of science through the medium of those periodical publications which are chietiy devoted to mathematical researches. He contributed a number of valuable articles to Martin’s “Miscellaneous Correspondence,” between the years 1755 and 1763, particularly an excellent paper, in which he made it his business to prove that the moon’s orbit was always concave, with respect to the sun He began his contributions to the “Gentleman’s Diary” in 1759, when that performance was conducted by Mr. T. Peat. In the same year he commenced his communications to the “Ladies’ Diary,” which was edited by professor Simpson, of Woolwich. In 1773 and 1774 hecarried on a spirited but amicable controversy, in Dr Hutton’s “Miscellanea Mathematica,” with Mr. John Dawson, of Sedbergh, a gentleman well known at Cambridge, and the tutor of many pupils who have been senior-wrangiers of that university. The subject of this controversy was “the velocity of water issuing from a vessel when put in motion.” In 1780 his friend Dr. Hutton procured for him the editorship of the “Gentleman’s Diary,” an honour which he had long wished to attain, and he was highly gratified by the circumstance. From that period his valuible communications to this publication always appeared under | the character of Eumenes, and those in the Ladies’ Diary under that of Amicus. The prize-question in the Diary for 1803 is by Mr. Wildbore, and is a very curious and intricate question in the diophantine algebra.

At an early period of life he was a reviewer of the Philosophical Transactions, in which trust, as well as several others committed to his care and inspection, he so well acquitted himself, that he was solicited to become a member of the royal society; but this honour he very modestly declined, in a letter to the then president, remarking, amongst other things, “that his ambition had never led him to visit the metropolis; and if he accepted the honour of being one of that learned society, he should wish, not to be a passive, but an active member; to be which he supposed that it would be necessary for him to come forward in the world, which he had not the least inclination to do, preferring his village retirement infinitely beyond the `busy hum of men,‘ and to be styled `the humble village pastor,’ without the addition of the initials F. R. S.” He was intimately acquainted, by correspondence, with many learned men (for he scarcely ever saw any of them), particularly with Dr. Hutton, for whom he entertained a very high esteem. 1


Gent. Mag. vol. LXXII.