Page images

This Monument

covers the Remains of
Alexander Wilson,

Author of the


He was born in Renfrewshire, Scotland,
on the 6th of July, 1766;
Emigrated to the United States

in the Year 1794;
and died in Philadelphia,
of the Dysentery,
on the 23d of August, 1813,
Aged 47.

The reader, perhaps, has already formed an impression of Wilson's character, from the incidents of his history; but some few particulars remain to be mentioned, In his personal appearance he was tall and handsome, rather slender than athletic in his form. His countenance was expressive and thoughtful, his eye powerful and intelligent. Mr. Ord speaks as if the first impression made by his appearance on a stranger was not very prepossessing. But so far as one might judge from his portrait, taken in his twentysecond year, his face was intellectual and pleasing. The unfavorable impression may have been produced by his manners. He was not accustomed to polished society in his earlier days; and, as he was conscious of possessing powers, greatly superior to those of the laborers with whom he associated, his manner, like that of

Burns, probably became somewhat impatient and overbearing. His conversation was remarkable for quickness and originality; his whole deportment was that of a man of uncommon intellectual resources, who was perfectly conscious of possessing them.

But if his manners in general were not engaging, and in this he resembled most other men who are deeply concerned in pursuits, which command little sympathy in the world around them, his character was certainly amiable; he was warm-hearted and generous in his affections; from first to last he displayed an unfaltering attachment to his friends, after many years of separation; and there is evidence enough in the preceding narrative to show, that he felt the full weight of obligation, which every relation in life brought with it, and discharged it to the best of his power. Men of great force and energy are not, in general, remarkable for tenderness of feeling; but in his character there were many fine and beautiful traits, which show that strength and delicacy were united, each in its just measure, in his heart.

There are few examples to be found in literary history of resolution equal to that of Wilson. Though he was made fully aware, both by his friends and his own reflections, of the difficulty of the enterprise in which he engaged, his heart

never for a moment failed him. By his agreement with his publisher, he bound himself to furnish the drawings and descriptions for the work, indeed every thing, except the mechanical execution. To procure the materials, he was obliged to encounter heavy expenses; and the money which he received for coloring the plates, was the only revenue from which he defrayed them. It is easy to imagine the difficulties which he must have encountered; but his success was complete; and though he did not live to enjoy, he certainly anticipated, what has come to pass; that his work would always be regarded as a subject of pride by his adopted country, and would secure immortal honor for him whose name it bears.

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