Wilson, Alexander, 1766-1813. / American ornithology; or The natural history of the birds of the United States
Sketch of the author's life, pp. [ix]-cxcix ff.
SKETCH THE AUTHOR'S LIFE. ALEXANDER WILSON was born in the town of Paisley, in the west of Scotland, on the sixth day of July, 1766. His fa- ther, who was also named Alexander, followed the distilling business; an humble occupation, which neither allowed him much time for the improvement of his mind, nor yielded him. much more than the necessaries of life. He was illiterate and poor; and died on the 5th June, 1816, at the age of eighty- tight. His mother was a native of Jura, one of the Hebrides or Western Islands of Scotland. She is said to have been a woman of delicate health, but of good understanding; and pas- sionately fond of Scotch music, a taste for which she early in- culcated on her son; who, in his riper years, cultivated it as one of the principal amusements of his life. She died when Alexander was about ten years old, leaving him, and two sis- ters, to mourn their irreparable loss; a loss which her affec- tionate son never ceased to deplore, as it deprived him of his best friend; one who had fostered his infant mind; and who had looked forward, with fond expectation, to that day, "When, clad in sable gown, with solemn air. "The walls of God's own house should echo back his prayer:" for it appears to have been her wish that he should be edut cated for the ministry. At a school in Paisley, Wilson was taught the common ru- diments of learning. But what proficiency he made, whether lhe was distinguished from his scboolmate-s or not' mnv memo- QOLJ I.-I
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