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Finding Aid for the Sir John Bowring Papers, 1839-1857
722  
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Description
Sir John Bowring (1792-1872) undertook commercial missions on behalf of the government, examining the accounting and financial systems of other governments, which led to a change in the English Exchequer. In 1824, his friend Jeremy Bentham founded the Westminster Review, and Bowring became one of the first editors. He served as a member of Parliament intermittently between 1835-47 and worked vigorously for the repeal of the corn laws. Also served as British consul at Canton, 1847-54, and from 1854-60 he served as plenipotentiary to China, governor, commander-in-chief and vice-admiral of Hong Kong. He established diplomatic relations with Siam in 1855. He authored many books on travels and politics. The collection consists of correspondence, manuscripts, and related printed material comprising a portion of the official and semi-official records of Sir John Bowring's diplomatic missions in China.
Background
Bowring was born on October 17, 1792 in Exeter, England; after school in Exeter, he spent four years in a merchant's house where he learned a variety of languages; in 1811 he became clerk in the London house of Milford & Company, subsequently going into business on his own; later undertook commercial missions on behalf of the government, examining the accounting and financial systems of other governments, which led to a change in the English Exchequer; in 1824 his friend Jeremy Bentham founded the Westminster Review, and Bowring became one of the first editors; served as a member of Parliament intermittently between 1835-47; was closely connected with Richard Cobden, and worked vigorously for the repeal of the corn laws; served as British consul at Canton, 1847-54; from 1854-60 he served as plenipotentiary to China, and governor, commander-in-chief, and vice-admiral of Hong Kong; established diplomatic relations with Siam in 1855; author of many books on travels and politics; he died on November 23, 1872.John Bowring, English diplomat, linguist, writer, and traveller was born at Exeter, October 17, 1792, and was the eldest son of Charles Bowring of Lakebeare. Bowring received his education in Exeter, and upon leaving school entered a merchant's house there. During the four years that he remained with this firm, he laid the foundations for his linguistic attainments, becoming farmiliar with the French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, German, and Dutch languages. Later he acquired sufficient knowledge of Swedish, Danish, Russian, Servian, Polish, Arabic, Magyar, Bohemian, and Chinese to enable him to translate works in those languages.
Extent
5 boxes (2.5 linear ft.)
Availability
COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Advance notice required for access.