Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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HALL, Basil, author, born in Edinburgh, Scotland, 31 December, 1788; died in Portsmouth, England, 11 September, 1844. He was the son of Sir James Hall of Dunglass, a writer on architecture and geology; his mother was the daughter of the fourth Earl of Selkirk. He entered the navy in 1802, and in 1816 commanded the brig "Lyra," which accompanied Lord Amherst to China. He was made post-captain in 1817, and from 1820 till 1822 was stationed on the Pacific coast of America. In 1827-'8 he travelled in the United States and Canada, and afterward visited various parts of Europe. In the latter part of his life his mind became impaired, and he died insane. Besides contributions to scientific periodicals and to, he "Encyclopwdia Britannica," and minor works of travel, he published "A Voyage of Discovery to the Western Coast of Corea and the Great Loo Choo Island" (1818); "Extracts from a Journal written in 1820-'22 on the Coasts of Chili, Peru, and Mexico" (2 vols., 1823-'4); "Travels in North America" (3 vols., 1829); "Fragments of Voyages and Travels " (9 vols., 1831-'40); "Schloss Hainfield, or A Winter in Lower Styria" (1836); "Spain and the Seat of War in Spain" (1837); "Voyages and Travels in Conjunction with Ellis and Pringle" (1840); and "Patchwork: Travels in Stories" (3 vols.), and "Travels in South America" (1841). "Fragments" is generally considered his best work. His book on America aroused great indignation in this country by the partial and hostile character of its criticisms.
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