Dictionary of National Biography, 1912 supplement/Hall, Fitzedward
HALL, FITZEDWARD (1825–1901), philologist, born at Troy, New York, on 21 March 1825, was eldest in the family of five sons and one daughter of Daniel Hall, lawyer, by his wife Anginetta Fitch. A younger brother, Benjamin Homer Hall, was a barrister and was city chamberlain of New York (1874–7 and 1884–5). After education at his native town, at Walpole, New Hampshire, and Poughkeepsie, Hall took the civil engineer's degree at Troy Rensselaer polytechnic in 1842. He early showed a passion for English words and phrases, which grew with his maturer years. He entered Harvard in 1846, but before his 'commencement' he was sent early in 1846 to Calcutta in pursuit of a runaway brother. Wrecked off the Ganges in September, and compelled for the moment to stay in India, Hall took lessons in Hindustani and Sanskrit, and finally resolved to remain in order to master the languages. After three years in Calcutta (where he studied Hindustani, Persian, Bengalee, and Sanskrit) and five months at Ghazipur, Hall removed to Benares in January 1850. At the government college there Hall was appointed tutor in Feb. 1850 and professor of Sanskrit and English in 1853. In July 1855 he became inspector of public instruction for Ajmere-Merwárá at Rajputana, and in Dec. 1856 for the central provinces at Saugor. There he served as a rifleman for nine months during the Sepoy mutiny. He then spent eighteen months in England, France, and America, and revisiting England in 1860 received the hon. degree of D.C.L. from Oxford University. He finally left India in 1862, and settled in London as professor of Sanskrit, Hindustani, and Indian jurisprudence in King's College, and librarian at the India office. From 1864 till his death he was examiner in Hindustani and Hindi for the civil service commissioners; he was also examiner in Sanskrit in 1880, and in English in 1887.
From his early years in India, Hall devoted himself with exceptional zeal and industry to the study of both Indian and English literature and philology. While at Benares he followed the example of the principal of the college, James Robert Ballantyne [q. v.], in discovering many unknown Sanskrit manuscripts, and in editing and translating several Sanskrit and Hindi works. He was the first American to edit a Sanskrit text, viz. 'The Atmabodha, with its commentary, and the Tattvabodha,' two Vedanta treatises (Mirzapur, 1852). Subsequently he edited and published at Calcutta the 'Sankhyapravachana' (1856) and the 'Sankhyasara' (1862), fourteenth- and sixteenth' century works respectively on the Sankhya materialist system of philosophy ; the 'Suryasiddhanta' (1859), the 'Vasavadatta' (1859), and the 'Das'arupa, with its commentary and four chapters of Bharata's Natyasastra' (1865). He also prepared in 1859 a valuable classified 'Index to the BibUography of Indian Philosophical Systems.' Of works in Hindi, Hall pubhshed 'The Tarkasangraha, translated into Hindi from the Sanskrit and English' (Allahabad, 1850); 'The Rajamti,' a collection of Hindu Apologues (Allahabad, 1854) ; and 'The Siddhantasangraha' (Agra, 1855). He also translated into Hindi Ballantyne's 'Synopsis of Science' (Agra, 1855) and edited his Hindi Grammar (London, 1868), and a Hindi Reader (Hertford, 1870). Other of Hall's works on India were 'Lectures on the Nyaya Philosophy,' in both Sanskrit and Enghsh (Benares, 1862) ; and 'A Rational Refutation of the Hindu Philosophical Systems, translated from the Huidi and Sanskrit' (Calcutta, 1862). He subsequently re-edited and annotated (Sir) Horace Hayman Wilson's translations of the 'Rigvedasamhita' (1866) and of the 'Vishnupurana' (vols. 1-5 pt. 1, 1864-70 ; vol. 5 pt. 2 (mdex), 1877).
While librarian at the India office Hall directed much of his attention to English literature. He edited some books (1864-9) for the Early English Text Society, of which he was an original member of committee. In 1869 he retired from the India office and removed to The Hill House, Marlesford, Suffolk. There he divided his time between his edition of the 'Vishnupurana' and research in English philology. 'Recent Exemplifications of False Philology' (New York, 1872) contained a pungent criticism of Richard Grant White's 'Words and then: Uses' (New York, 1870). 'Modern EngHsh' (1873) and 'On English Adjectives in able' (1877) contained much that was new and valuable. From 1878, when Dr. (afterwards Sir) James A. H. Murray became editor of the 'New English Dictionary,' Hall rendered the undertaking material aid. 'As a voluntary and gratituous service to the history of the English language, [he] devoted four hours daily to a critical examination of the proof sheets, and the filling up of deficiencies, whether in the vocabulary or the quotations' (Preface to New Eng. Dict. Oxford, 1888). During the same period Hall contributed down to M some 2200 words and expressions in the Suffolk dialect, which he had heard and noted, to Prof. Wright's 'Dialect Dictionary.' He left at his death hundreds of long lists of quotations for Sir James Murray's use.
Hall died at his home at Marlesford, Suffolk, on 1 Feb. 1901. His ashes after cremation were interred in Oakwood in cemetery, Troy, New York. He married at Delhi in 1854 Ameha Warde (d. 1910), daughter of Lieut.-colonel Arthur Shuldham of the East India Company's service. Of five children of the marriage, three died young ; a son and daughter survived him. There is a brass tablet to Hall's memory in Marlesford church. He received in 1895 the hon. degree of LL.D. from Harvard, to which during his lifetime he gave some thousand Oriental manuscripts, many of them unique.
[New York Nation, 14 Feb. 1901 (memoir by Wendell Philhps Garrison) ; Modern Language Notes, Brooklyn, March 1901 ; Bookman, New York, xiii. 516, July 1901 (with portrait taken in 1893) ; Appleton's Cycl. of American Biogr. 1887 ; The Times, 15 Feb. 1901 ; information from Sir J. A. H. Murray, and from son, Mr. Richard D. HaU.]