The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Ainsworth, William

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AINSWORTH. I. William Francis, an English traveller, geologist, and physician, born in Exeter, Nov. 9, 1807. After having studied medicine at Edinburgh, he made geological excursions into Auvergne and the Pyrenees. In 1828 he took charge of the Edinburgh "Journal of Natural and Geographical Science," and delivered lectures on geology. He was attached to a cholera hospital in London in 1832, and afterward to various hospitals in Ireland. In 1835 he was appointed surgeon and geologist to Col. Chesney's expedition to explore the Euphrates and the route from that river to the Mediterranean, and in 1838 he was sent with Rassam and Theodore Russell, by the geological and Bible societies of London, to trace the course of the river Kizil-Irmak (the ancient Halys), and to visit the Nestorian Christians of Kurdistan. He has published "Researches in Assyria, Babylonia, and Chaldea" (1838); "Travels and Researches in Asia Minor, Mesopotamia, Chaldea, and Armenia" (2 vols., 1842); "The Claims of the Christian Aborigines in the East"; "Travels in the Track of the 10,000 Greeks" (1844); the "Illustrated Universal Gazetteer" (1861-'3), &c. II. William Harrison, an English novelist, cousin of the preceding, born in Manchester, Feb. 4, 1805. His father was an attorney, and he was intended for the law, but from an early age he exhibited a strong taste for literature. A novel, "Sir John Cheverton," which he produced in 1825, was shown to Sir Walter Scott, whose praises encouraged Ainsworth to pursue the course he had thus commenced. In 1834 his "Rookwood" appeared, founded on the adventures of the noted highwayman Dick Turpin; and the popularity of this novel induced him to bring out "Jack Sheppard." The robber school of romance having fixed Mr. Ainsworth's celebrity, he turned to a more wholesome style of literature, and produced various novels of local interest, in which historical characters are introduced and very freely dealt with. Such are his "Tower of London," "Guy Fawkes," "Old St. Paul's," "Windsor Castle," "The Constable of the Tower," and "Cardinal Pole." In 1845 he became proprietor of Colburn's "New Monthly," which he still conducts (1872); and for a few years he also edited a second periodical called "Ainsworth's Magazine." His most recent novels are "The Miser's Daughter" (1869), "Hilary St. Ives"(1870), and "Boscobel, or the Royal Oak "(1872).