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The Scottish Nation

HALL, a border surname, (from a manor-house, or place where courts were held), and common both to England and Scotland.

      A family of this name holds the lands of Dunglass in East Lothian, and possesses a baronetcy, conferred, Oct. 9 1687, on John Hall of Dunglass. This gentleman married, 1st, Anne, daughter of Sir Patrick Hume, 8th baron of Polwarth, without issue; 2dly, Margaret, daughter of George Fleming, Esq., of Kilcouber, with issue. His eldest son, Sir James, 2d baronet, was also twice married, 1st, to Lady Anne Hume, daughter of the earl of Marchmont; and, 2dly, to Margaret, daughter of Sir John Pringle, of Stitchel, baronet; dying in 1742, he left, with other children, a son, Sir John, 3d baronet, who was one of the jury for the trial of the rebels at Edinburgh 1748. On his death July 3, 1776, he was succeeded by his eldest son, Sir James, 4th baronet, distinguished for his writings on architecture and the sciences, of whom a memoir is given below. His eldest son, Sir John, 5th baronet, succeeded June 23, 1832. Of his second son, Captain Basil Hall, R.N., a memoir also follows. Sir John died April 2, 1860, when his son, Sir James, born in 1824, became 6th baronet.

HALL, HENRY, of Haugh-head, a devoted adherent of the Covenant, rendered himself conspicuous after the year 1661, by the countenance which he gave to the persecuted preachers, and by his own zeal for the gospel. His estate lay in the parish of Eckford in Teviotdale, and he hesitated not to give his ground for field-preaching when few else would venture to do so. He had an active part in most of the transactions of the Covenanters, and was one of the commanding officers in their army from the skirmish at Drumclog, to the defeat at Bothwell Bridge, in June 1679. He afterwards escaped to Holland, but soon returned home, and lurked, chiefly in company of Mr. Cargill, in Fifeshire, and in the neighbourhood of Queensferry, where they were surprised by Middleton, governor of Blackness castle, on the 3d June 1680, when his brave resistance secured the escape of Cargill, but he was himself mortally wounded in the struggle that ensued, and died in his way to Edinburgh, a prisoner. Upon him was found a rude draught of an unsubscribed paper, afterwards called the “Queensferry Paper,” from the place where it was seized, which is inserted in the Appendix to Wodrow’s History.

HALL, SIR JAMES, Bart., of Dunglass, eminent for his attainments in geological and chemical science, and author of a popular work on gothic Architecture, was the eldest son of Sir John, the third baronet, by Magdalen, daughter of Sir Robert Pringle of Stitchell, Berwickshire, and was born at Dunglass in East Lothian, January 17, 1761. He succeeded, on his father’s death, to the baronetcy, July 3, 1776. After studying for some years at Christ’s college, Cambridge, he proceeded, with his tutor, on a tour to the Continent, and on his return to Edinburgh, attended some of the classes in the university of that city. In 1782 he again visited the Continent, where he remained for more than three years. At the military academy for young noblemen formerly existing at Brienne in France, he was the fellow-student of the Emperor Napoleon, and as the latter declared to his son, Captain Basil Hall, at St. Helena, he was the first native of Great Britain whom he recollected to have seen. On his return to Scotland, he devoted himself to geological investigations, and particularly distinguished himself by his experiments to illustrate Dr. Hutton’s Theory of the Earth, especially with reference to the fusion of stony substances, whereby he established the identity of the composition of whinstone and lava. He likewise ascertained that carbonate of lime, as common marble, might be fused without decomposition, if subjected to a degree of pressure equal to that of the water of the sea at the depth of about a mile and a half from the surface. The result of his inquiries, which tended to establish the truth of the igneous origin of minerals, and to vindicate the authority of Dr. James Hutton, in opposition to the theory of Werner, he embodied in an elaborate paper, which was read before the Royal Society of Edinburgh, of which he was president, in 1806, and published in their Transactions, as were also several other valuable contributions from his pen.

      In 1808 Sir James was returned to parliament for the borough of St. Michael’s, in Cornwall, but after the dissolution of 1812 he did not again offer himself as a candidate. He died at Edinburgh, after a long illness, June 23, 1832. He married, November 10, 1786, Lady Helena Douglas, second daughter of Dunbar, third earl of Selkirk, by whom he had three sons and three daughters.

      Sir James Hall’s works are:

      Essay on the Origin, Principles, and History of Gothic Architecture. 1813, 4to.; with six plates. On the same, Trans. Soc. Edin. 1796, vol. iv. 3.

      On Whinstone and Lava. Trans. Soc. Edin. 1805. Vol. iv. 3. Ib. Nicholson’s Jour. Ii. P. 185.

      Account of a Series fo Experiments, showing the effects of Compression, in modifying the Action of Heat. Ib. 71. Ib. Nicholson’s Journal, xiii. 328. 1806.

      On the Vertical Position and Convolutions of certain Strata, and their relation to Granite. Ib. 1815. Vol. vii. 79.

      On the Revolutions of the Earth’s Surface. Ib. 139. 169.          

      Experiments on the Effects of Heat, modified by Compression. Nicholson’s Journal, ix. 98. 1804.

HALL, BASIL, Captain, R.N., an eminent traveller and author of various works, second son of the preceding, was born at Edinburgh in 1788. He entered the royal navy in 1802, and in 1808 received his first commission as lieutenant. In 1813, when acting commander of the Theban on the East India station, he accompanied Sir Samuel Hood, the admiral, in a journey over the greater part of the island of Java. The following year he was promoted to the rank of commander, and in 1817 to that of post-captain. Having been appointed to the command of the Lyra, a small gun-brig, he accompanied the expedition which, in the year 1816, took out Lord Amherst as ambassador to China. On this occasion he visited the places of greatest interest in the adjacent seas, and on his return to England, he published ‘A Voyage of Discovery to the Western Coast of Corea and the great Loo-Choo Island in the Japan Sea,’ which, from the interesting nature of its contents, excited great attention. In 1827 it formed the first volume of Constable’s Miscellany; and in this edition Captain Hall gave an interesting account of his interview with the exiled emperor Napoleon at St. Helena, when the conversation chiefly related to Loo-Choo and its inhabitants.

      He was next employed on the South American station in command of the Conway. The Spanish colonies of South America were then in the midst of their struggle for independence; and on his return to England in 1823, he published Extracts from his Journal, written while on that station. Captain Hall omitted no opportunity of ‘taking notes’ wherever he went, with the view of publication. An instance of this practice, somewhat obtrusively displayed, is mentioned in Lockhart’s Life of Scott, on occasion of his visiting Abbotsford at Christmas 1824. “One of the guests,” says Lockhart, “was Captain Basin Hall, always an agreeable one; a traveller and a savant, full of stories and theories, inexhaustible in spirits, curiosity, and enthusiasm. Sir Walter was surprised and a little annoyed on observing that the captain kept a notebook on his knee while at table, but made no remark.” Various extracts from the Journal which he kept at Abbotsford are given in the Life of Scott by his son-in-law. In 1825 he married Margaret, youngest daughter of Sir John Hunter, consul-general for Spain, and in April 1827, he and his wife and child sailed from Liverpool for the Unites States, where they remained above a year, during which period Captain Hall travelled nearly nine thousand miles. The result of his travels he afterwards published. In 1834 he met at Rome the countess Purgstall, a Scotch lady married to an Austrian nobleman, formerly Miss Cranstoun, the sister of Mrs. Dugald Stewart, and of Lord Corehouse, a lord of session. From her he accepted an invitation to visit her schloss or castle, near Gratz in Styria, and his work entitled ‘Schloss Heinfeld, or a Winter in Lower Styria,’ was the result of his notes during his residence there. It was a supposition of his that Die Vernon in Sir Walter Scott’s romance of Rob Roy was sketched from this lady before she left Scotland. He afterwards published an account of a visit to Madame de Purgstall, during the last moments of her life. In the summer of 1831, when Sir Walter Scott’s prostrated strength rendered a cessation of his literary labours necessary, and he was recommended to go to Italy for the improvement of his health, Captain Hall addressed a letter, unknown to him, to Sir James Graham, then first lord of the admiralty, suggesting that a government vessel should be placed at his disposal; and the Barham frigate being ordered for the purpose, Sir Walter embarked on board of her at Portsmouth on the 27th October of that year. In his third series of ‘Fragments of Voyages,’ some interesting details are given of the great novelist’s departure, Captain Hall having gone to Portsmouth to show him all the attention in his power.

      In 1842, Captain Hall was seized with mental aberration, when he was placed in the Royal Hospital, Haslar, Portsmouth, where he died, 11th September 1844, in his 56th year. He was a fellow of the Royal Societies of London and Edinburgh, and a member of the Astronomical Society of London. – His works are:

      A voyage of Discovery to the Western Coast of Corea, and the great Loo-Choo Island in the Japan Sea, with an Appendix, and a Vocabulary of the Loo-Choo Language, by H.J. Clifford. London, 1818, 4to. 2d edition, without Appendix and Vocabulary, 1820; Constable’s Miscellany, 1st vol. Edinburgh, 1827.

      Voyage to China in the Lyra, along with Lord Amherst’s Embassy. London, 1818.

      Extracts from a Journal written on the Coasts of Chili, Peru, and Mexico, in the years 1820, 1821, and 1822; with an Appendix containing a Memoir on the Navigation of the South American Station; also various scientific notices, and a paper ‘On the Duties of Naval Commanders-in-chief on the South American Station before the appointment of Consuls.’ Edin. 1824, 2 vols. 8vo. Constable’s Miscellany, vols. ii. And iii. 1827.

      Travels in North America, in the years 1827 and 1828. Edin. 1829, 3 vols, 12mo.

      Fragments of Voyages and Travels, including Anecdotes of a Naval Life, chiefly for the use of young persons. First Series, Edin, 1831, 3 vols. 16mo. Second Series, Edin. 1832, 3 vols, 16mo. Third Series, Edin, 1833, 3 vols. 16mo. The admiralty directed the ‘Fragments of Voyages,’ with Loo-Choo, and Captain Hall’s work on North America, to be included in the Seamen’s Libraries established on board ships of war.

      Schloss Heinfeld, or a Winter in Lower Styria. Edinb. 1836. 12mo.

      Patchwork. London, 1841, 3 vols. 8vo. This, his last work, consists of detached papers, embracing recollections of foreign travel, incidents worked into short tales, and a few Essays.

      To the Transactions of the Royal Society, he contributed An Account of the Geology of the Table Mountain and other parts of the peninsula of the Cape (1815. Vol. vii. p. 169); Details of Experiments made with an invariable Pendulum in South America, and other Places, for determining the figure of the Earth; and Observations made on a Comet at Valparaiso.

      Among his other Scientific papers are, A Sketch of the Professional and Scientific Objects which might be aimed at in a Voyage of Research; and A Letter on the Trade Winds, in the Appendix to Daniell’s Meteorology; with contributions to Brewster’s Journal, Jameson’s Journal, and the Encyclopedia Britannica.

HALL, ROBERT, an eminent army surgeon, descended from the ancient family of the Halls of Haugh-head in Roxburghshire, was born there in 1873. He received his education at the grammar school of Jedburgh, and having duly qualified himself for the medical department of the navy, he sailed for the West Indies as surgeon’s first mate of the Ruby, 74. At the conclusion of the war he returned to England, acting surgeon on board a frigate. The solicitation of an uncle induced him to quit the service and to repair to Edinburgh, where he took his degree of M.D. He afterwards established his residence in London, and distinguished himself by contributing to several medical periodical works and editing others. He subsequently entered the army as surgeon, in which capacity he served for nearly twelve years; after which he joined the expedition to the Niger, having been appointed to accompany the military division as the medical officer. Unfortunately, an injury he received by an accidental fall into the hold of the vessel, while outward-bound, acted, in conjunction with the unhealthiness of the climate of Senegal, so strongly on his constitution, that, in the course of a few weeks, he was compelled to proceed to Madiera, as the only chance of preserving his life. He afterwards returned to Europe, but his health was never fully re-established. He died in 1824. He was the author of a great variety of medical tracts, with various other papers inserted in the London medical and physical Journal, between the years 1800 and 1810. He likewise left behind him several useful manuscripts, among which are some valuable remarks on the Medical Topography of Senegal.

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