Oliphant to Oxford
Oliphant, Mrs. Margaret Oliphant (Wilson) (1828-1897).Novelist and miscellaneous writer, was born
near Musselburgh. Her literary output began when she was little more than a girl, and was continued
almost up to the end of her life. Her first novel, Mrs. Margaret Maitland, appeared in 1849, and its humour,
pathos, and insight into character gave the author an immediate position in literature. It was followed
by an endless succession, of which the best were the series of The Chronicles of Carlingford (1861-
65), including Salem Chapel, The Perpetual Curate, and Miss Marjoribanks, all of which, as well as
much of her other work, appeared in Blackwoods Magazine, with which she had a lifelong connection.
Others of some note were The Primrose Path, Madonna Mary (1866), The Wizards Son, and A Beleaguered
City. She did not, however, confine herself to fiction, but wrote many books of history and biography,
including Sketches of the Reign of George II. (1869), The Makers of Florence (1876), Literary History
of England 1790-1825, Royal Edinburgh (1890), and Lives of St. Francis of Assisi, Edward Irving, and
Principal Tulloch. Her generosity in supporting and educating the family of a brother as well as her own
two sons rendered necessary a rate of production which was fatal to the permanence of her work. She
was negligent as to style, and often wrote on subjects to which her intellectual equipment and knowledge
did not enable her to do proper justice. She had, however, considerable power of painting character, and
a vein of humour, and showed untiring industry in getting up her subjects.
Opie, Mrs. Amelia (Alderson) (1769-1853).Novelist, daughter of a medical man, was born at Norwich.
In 1798 she married John Opie, the painter. Her first acknowledged work was Father and Daughter
(1801), which had a favourable reception, and was followed by Adeline Mowbray (1804), Temper (1812),
Tales from Real Life (1831), and others, all having the same aim of developing the virtuous affections,
the same merit of natural and vivid painting of character and passions, and the same fault of a too great
preponderance of the pathetic. They were soon superseded by the more powerful genius of Scott and
Miss Edgeworth. In 1825 she became a Quaker. After this she wrote Illustrations of Lying (1825), and
Detraction Displayed (1828). Her later years, which were singularly cheerful, were largely devoted to
Ordericus Vitalis (1075-1143?).Chronicler, born near Shrewsbury, was in childhood put into the monastery
of St. Evroult, in Normandy, where the rest of his life was passed. He is the author of a chronicle, Ecclesiastical
History of England and Normandy (circa 1142) in 13 books. Those from the seventh to the thirteenth
are invaluable as giving a trustworthy, though not very clear, record of contemporary events in England
and Normandy. It was translated into English in 1853-55.
Orm, Or Ormin (flourished 1200).was an Augustinian canon of Mercia, who wrote the Ormulum in
transition English. It is a kind of mediæval Christian Year, containing a metrical portion of the Gospel for
each day, followed by a metrical homily, largely borrowed from Ælfric and Bede. Its title is thus accounted
for, This boc iss nemmed the Ormulum, forthi that Orm it wrohhte.
Orme, Robert (1728-1801).Historian, son of an Indian army doctor, born at Travancore, and after
being at Harrow, entered the service of the East India Company. Owing to failure of health he had to
return home in 1760, and then wrote his History of the Military Transactions of the British Nation in
Indostan from 1745 (1763-78), a well-written and accurate work, showing great research. He also published
Historical Fragments of the Mogul Empire, the Morattoes and English Concerns in Indostan from 1659
(1782). His collections relating to India are preserved at the India Office.
Orrery, Roger Boyle, 1st Earl of (1621-1679).Statesman and dramatist, third son of the Earl of Cork,
was educated at Trinity College, Dublin. After having fought on the Royalist side he was, on the death
of the King, induced by Cromwell to support him in his Irish wars and otherwise. After the death of the
Protector he secured Ireland for Charles II., and at the Restoration was raised to the peerage. He wrote
a romance in 6 vols., entitled Parthenissa, some plays, and a treatise on the Art of War. He has the
distinction of being the first to introduce rhymed tragedies.
Oshaughnessy, Arthur William Edgar (1844-1881). Poet, born in London, entered the library of the
British Museum, afterwards being transferred to the natural history department, where he became an