Online Encyclopedia

BASIL HALL (1788-1844)

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V12, Page 845 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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BASIL HALL (1788-1844), British naval officer, traveller and miscellaneous writer, was born at Edinburgh on the 31st of December 1788. His father was Sir James Hall of Dunglass, the geologist. Basil Hall was educated at the High School, Edinburgh, and in 1802 entered the navy, where he rose to the rank of post-captain in 1817, after seeing active service in several fields. By observing the ethnological as well as the physical peculiarities of the countries he visited, he collected the materials for a very large number of scientific papers. In 1816 he commanded the sloop " Lyra," which accompanied Lord Amherst's embassy to China; and he described his cruise in An Account of a Voyage of Discovery to the West Coast of Corea and the Great Loo-choo Island in the Japan Sea (London, 1818). In 1820 he held a command on the Pacific coast of America, and in 1824 published two volumes of Extracts front a Journal written on the Coasts of Chili, Peru and Mexico in the Years 1820–21–22. Retiring on half-pay in 1824, Halt in 1825 married Margaret, daughter of Sir John Hunter, and in her company travelled (1827–1828) through the United States. In 1829 he published his Travels in North America in the Years 1827 and 1828, which was assailed by the American press for its views of American society. Schloss Hainfeld, or a Winter in Lower Styria (1836), is partly a romance, partly a description of a visit paid by the author to the castle of the countess Purgstall. Spain and the Seat of War in Spain appeared in 1837. The Fragments of Voyages and Travels (9 vols.) were issued in three detachments. between 1831 and 1840. Captain Hall was a fellow of the Royal Societies of London and Edinburgh, and of the Royal Astronomical, Royal Geographical and Geological Societies. His last work, a collection of sketches and tales under the name of Patchwork (1841), had not been long published before its author became insane, and he died in Haslar hospital, Ports-mouth, on the rrth of September 1844.
End of Article: BASIL HALL (1788-1844)
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Additional information and Comments

I am currently researching the life of Basil Hall. Hall was a friend of several distinguished writers, including Sir Walter Scott, Charles Dickens, and Maria Edgeworth, and became himself a popular author. On his return journey from the Far East in 1827, he interviewed Napoleon Bonaparte on St. Helena, the record of which was incorporated in Scott's Life of Napoleon.
As at January 2009, as the biographer of Capt. Basil Hall (1788-1844) I am well advanced on the draft of his life. However, I believe there are likely to be letters and his many journals which I have not located and would be pleased to have any information on such sources
Hello, I have four admiralty documents relating to the Royal Navy fleet at Cork Ireland. They are general orders and memos dated 1807 /08/09/and 1810. All orders include the names of all ships of the fleet stationed there and beside each name is the signature of the vessel captain/ master etc. The Endymion appears each aforementioned year is accompanied each time by the signature of Basil Hall. These orders confirm he was,in some capacity, in charge of the Endymion during these years and it concurs with the expedition (he was part of) to Rockall in 1810 aboard the Endymion.
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