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Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century biographies contain errors and bias. We rely on volunteers to edit the historic biographies on a continual basis. If you would like to edit this biography please submit a rewritten biography in text form . If acceptable, the new biography will be published above the 19th Century Appleton's Cyclopedia Biography citing the volunteer editor

 



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William Scoresby

SCORESBY, William, English explorer, born in Cropton, Yorkshire, 5 October, 1790; died in Torquay, 21 March, 1857. His father, of the same name, was a daring and successful whale-fisher. The son followed the sea, and in 1806 was chief mate on the voyage in which his father reached the highest latitude (81. 12' 42")that had then been attained on sea. During the intervals between voyages, with the sanction of his father, he devoted himself to study, and two of his winters were spent at Edinburgh university. During his voyages he made many observations on the electric phenomena of the arctic regions, and was instrumental in inducing Sir Joseph Banks to send out a series of expeditions for the discovery of the north pole. Young Scoresby continued in the whaling service after his father's death, and, when he had made seventeen voyages to Spitzbergen or Greenland, he published "An Account of the Arctic Regions, with a History and Description of the Northern Whale Fishery" (2 vols., 1820). This work added largely to science in the departments of physical geography, natural history, and magnetic observation. In 1822 he made an exploring voyage along the east coast of Greenland, which was then comparatively unknown, and published the results in a "Journal of a Voyage to the Northern Whale Fishery, including Researches and Discoveries on the Eastern Coast of West Greenland, made in the summer of 1822, in the Ship 'Baffin, ' of Liverpool" (Edinburgh, 1823). On his return to laver-pool he received the intelligence of the death of his wife, and abandoned his seafaring life. In 1824 he was elected a fellow of the Royal society, arid he was subsequently made corresponding member of the Institute of France. When about forty years of age, he deemed it his duty to become a clergyman, and accordingly entered himself at Cambridge, took his degree of B. D. in 1834, and that of D. D. in 1839. He first labored as chaplain of the Mariners' church at Liverpool, then removed to Exeter, and afterward became vicar of Bradford. After several years, his health failing, he resigned his charge and retired to Torquay. but continued his philanthropic efforts, and his physical researches, the latter mainly in regard to terrestrial magnetism and its relation to navigation. For the further and better prosecution of these researches, in 1847 Dr. Scoresby made a voyage to the United States, and in 1853 to Australia in the "Royal Charter." In addition to the works already named, Dr. Scoresby wrote " Discourses to Seamen" (1831) ; " Magnetical Observations" (3 parts, 1839-'52); "American Factories and their Female Operatives" (1848) ; "Lectures on Zoistic Magnetism " (1849);" Sabbaths in the Arctic Regions" (1850) ; "The Franklin Expedition " (1850) ; "My Father: being Records of the Adventurous Life of the late William Scoresby, Esq., of Whitby" (1851) ; and "Voyage to Australia and Round the World for Magnetical Research," edited by Archibald Smith (1859). His life has been written by R. E. Scoresby-Jackson, M. D. (London, 1861).

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