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An engraved likeness of POMARRE, king of Otaheite.
Remarks upon the subject of Biography generally-Dr. Haweis's
Capt. Wilson becomes acquainted with the author-arguments for
Wilson offers himself for the missionary voyage-goes to London
Capt. Wilson's manner of life-resides in London-health impair-
CAPTAIN JAMES WILSON.
From the Early Youth of the Captain, to his set
tling at Horndean, in Hampshire.
THE representation of truth through the medium of historic fact and biographical incident, has always proved more interesting to a very numerous class of readers, than when presented in an abstract and didactic form.
Biography exhibits principles in operation, and shows the doctrine and its evidence in one view. The reading of it gives scope for the exercise of nearly all the powers of the soul, at the same time. The imagination presents to the mind, the object, place, and occurrence, as though before the eye; the understanding associates ideas, examines and traces causes and effects, and draws its conclusions, while the passions are excited, in a degree proportioned to the interesting nature of the narrative. If its subjects be moral or religious, the conscience
also is employed, and gives a point and personal application to truth, highly beneficial to the reader. Thus biography, while it affords entertainment, is suited to impart instruction, and improve the heart.
It is from the interest the human mind feels in his. toric representation, that dramatic writing obtains such an extensive and almost universal popularity. The religious as well as the fashionable world, has its dramas; and fact and fiction are so blended in some books, as to render it necessary to guard our young people against supposing that all is fiction, It is neither my province nor my intention, to decide on the propriety or impropriety of this mode of writing, but I may
express my fears, lest there should be such a degree of it, as may introduce a levity of character into the most serious part of society, and by the number of such books facilitate the transition from the love of religious to that of fashionable novels. By giving too much employment to the fancy, faith is embarrassed, and the understanding is weakened. Perhaps the best way to prevent a redundancy of this kind of composition, is to present the religious world with authentic narratives of real life; to exhibit facts as they occur, without the aid of an imaginary scenery to increase the interest of the representation.
It it should be thought that these remarks seem like an apology for writing the following Memoir, I would say, it is not denied; but they afford likewise an opportunity to assure the reader, that fiction is in no instance called to aid or embellish the interesting narrative which is here presented of the life of Captain James Wilson.
Dr. Haweis thought the Captain's life so eventful and instructive, that he has appended a well-written, though brief account, of the early part of it, to his three volumes of Church History. This account has been since printed by some booksellers, in a de