Finding Aid for the Sir John Bowring Papers, 1839-1857

Processed by Manuscripts Division staff; machine-readable finding aid created by Caroline Cubé and edited by Josh Fiala.
UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections
Manuscripts Division
Room A1713, Charles E. Young Research Library
Box 951575
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1575
Email: spec-coll@library.ucla.edu
URL: http://www.library.ucla.edu/libraries/special/scweb/
© 2001
The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.


Descriptive Summary

Title: Sir John Bowring Papers,
Date (inclusive): 1839-1857
Collection number: 722
Creator: Bowring, John, Sir, 1792-1872
Extent: 5 boxes (2.5 linear ft.)
Abstract: 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.
Repository: University of California, Los Angeles. Library. Department of Special Collections.
Los Angeles, California 90095-1575
Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on Access

COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Advance notice required for access.

Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

Property rights to the physical object belong to the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Sir John Bowring Papers (Collection 722). Department of Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.

Biography

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.

Biographical Narrative

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.
In 1811 Bowring became a clerk in the London house of Milford & Company and subsequently went into business on his own, travelling abroad extensively for commercial purposes. This experience qualified him for the various commercial missions he later undertook on behalf of his government. These were in the nature of examining the accounting and financial systems of other countries. Reports of these missions, particularly that of the commission to examine the accounts of the United Kingdom, of which Bowring was secretary, led to a complete change in the English exchequer, and was the foundation of all improvements which have since been made.
Jeremy Bentham, intimate friend and advisor of Bowring, founded the Westminster Review in 1824, and Bowring became one of its first editors, writing political as well as linguistic articles for the journal. His political views also found expression in Parliament, where he served as a member from the Clyde burghs and other districts intermittently between 1835 and 1847. He was closely connected with Richard Cobden and others in the establishment of the Anti-Corn Law League in 1838 and worked vigorously in Parliament for the repeal of the corn laws.

Scope and Content

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. Correspondents include Charles John Canning, George Frederich Villiers (4th Earl of Clarendon), Sir Thomas Wade, Sir James Stirling, and William Miller.

Organization and Arrangement

Arranged in the following series:
  1. Letters to Bowring (Box 1).
  2. Letters from Bowring (Box 2).
  3. Letters to and from others than Bowring (Box 3).
  4. Miscellaneous papers, newspaper clippings and related printed material (Boxes 3-4).
  5. Boards and covers originally around Bowring papers (Box 5).

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.

Subjects

Bowring, John, Sir, 1792-1872--Archives.
Governors general--China--Hong Kong--Archival resources.
Great Britain--Foreign relations--China.

Alphabetical List of Correspondents

Abbot, Joll, 1793-1855: Box 3, folder 6 (subject).
Alcock, Sir Rutherford, 1809-1897: Box 3, folder 2 (letter to).
Aulick, John H., 1789-1973: Box 3, folder 1 (letter to).
Balfour, Sir George, 1809-1894: Box 2, folders 5b & 9.
Bazley, Sir Thomas Box 1, folder 4.
Bradley, Charles William, 1807-1865: Box 1, folder 7.
Brown, Sir William, 1784-1864: Box 1, folders 11 & 14; Box 2, folder 5b.
Canning, Charles John Canning, Earl, 1812-1862: Box 2, folder 14.
Capern, Edward, 1819-1894: Box 1, folder 14.
Cobden, Richard, 1804-1865: Box 2, folder 5.
Clarendon, George William Frederich Villiers, 4th Earl of, 1800-1870: Box 1, folder 7; Box 2, folder 2-4; Box 3, folder 2.
Dalhousie, James Andrew Broun Ramsay, 1st Marquess of, 1812-1860: Box 1, folders 5-6; Box 2, folders 5, 5a, 5c, 5d, 5e & 6.
Davis, Sir John Francis, 1795-1890: Box 2, folder 5b.
Davis, Joseph Barnard, 1801-1881: Box 2, folder 5b.
Edmonstone, Sir George Frederick, 1813-1864: Box 2, folder 5.
Ellice, Edward, 1781-1863: Box 2, folders 7-14.
Ellis, Sir Henry, 1777-1869: Box 1, folders 7.
Galloway, Richard H.: Box 1, folders 10, 12, 15 & 16; Box 2, folders 5 & 5a.
Granville, George Levenson-Gower, 2nd Earl of, 1815-1891: Box 2, folder 7.
Gillis, John Pritchet, 1803-1873: Box 1, folder 3.
Hammond, Edmund, Baron of Hammond, 1802-1890: Box 2, folders 14.
Hill, Sir Rowland, 1795-1879: Box 2, folder 5b.
Hodgkin, Thomas, 1798-1866: Box 2, folder 5b.
Hooker, Sir William Jackson, 1785-1865: Box 1, folder 5; Box 2, folder 5b.
Lindley, John, 1799-1865: Box 2, folder 5b.
MacLane, Robert Milligan, 1815-1898: Box 1, folder 4; Box 2, folders 5b, 6 & 14.
Massie, Thomas Leeke, 1802-1898: Box 1, folder 10.
Medhurst, Sir Walter Henry, 1822-1885: Box 3, folder 1 (letter to).
Miller, William, 1795-1861: Box 1, folders 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 13 & 15; Box 2, folders 5, 5e, 10, 12 & 13; Box 3, folder 2 (letter to).
Parker, Peter, 1804-1888: Box 1, folders 16-18; Box 2, folders 5, 5a & 7.
Parkes, Sir Harry Smith, 1828-1885: Box 1, folder 5; Box 2, folder 5c; Box 3, folder 4.
Preble, George Henry, 1816-1885: Box 1, folders 6 & 14.
Seymour, Sir Michael, 1802-1887: Box 1, folder 17.
Smith, John Abel, 1801-1871: Box 2, folders 5 & 7.
Staunton, Sir George Thomas, 1781-1859: Box 1, folder 6; Box 2, folder 5e & 11.
Stirling, Sir James, 1791-1865: Box 1, folders 5-6; Box 2, folders 5, 5a, 5b, 5c, 5d & 9.
Tennent, Sir James Emerson, 1804-1869: Box 2, folder 5e & 9; Box 3, folder 2 (letter to).
Thompson, Thomas Perronet, 1783-1869: Box 1, folders 9, 11, 14 & 17; Box 2, folders 5e & 8.
Wade, Sir Thomas Francis, 1818-1895: Bxs.1-2, scattered letters from and to; Box 3, folders 1 (letter from) & 6.
Walker, Robert,John, 1801-1869: Box 2, folders 5 & 5a.
Walker, William S., 1793-1863: Box 3, folder 1 (letter from).
Walmsby, Sir Joshua, 1794-1871: Box 1, folder 12; Box 2, folder 6.
Ward, Sir Henry George, 1797-1860: Box 1, folders 7, 12 & 13; Box 2, folders 6, 10 & 13; Box 4, folder 3.
Washington, John, 1800-1863: Box 2, folder 9.
Weir, William, 1802-1858: Box 2, folder 6.
Weld, Charles Richard, 1813-1869: Box 1, folder 11.
Wickham, Henry Lewis, 1789-1864: Box 1, folder 16; Box 2, folder 11.
Wilson, Horace Hayman, 1786-1860: Box 2, folders 5b, 10 & 11.

Container List

box  [1]

Letters to Sir John Bowring from Various Persons, 1849-1857

Box 1, Folder 1

1849.

Physical Description: (11 items).
Box 1, Folder 2

1852.

Physical Description: (3 items).
Box 1, Folder 3

1853.

Physical Description: (10 items).

Scope and Content Note

Including letters from John P. Gillis.
Box 1, Folder 4

1854.

Physical Description: (13 items).

Scope and Content Note

Including letters from Robert McLane, and Sir Thomas Bazley.
Box 1, Folder 5

January-August 1855.

Physical Description: (47 items).

Scope and Content Note

Letters from Sir William Hooker, Sir Harry Parkes and William Miller.
Box 1, Folder 6

September-October 1855.

Physical Description: (17 items).

Scope and Content Note

Letters from Herman Brockhaus, George Preble, Sir James Ramsey and Sir James Stirling.
Included is a copy of the Macao Gazette.
Box 1, Folder 7

November-December 1855.

Physical Description: (13 items).

Scope and Content Note

Correspondents include Sir Henry Ward, Sir Henry Ellis, William Miller and Charles Bradley.
Box 1, Folder 8

January-March 1856.

Physical Description: (11 items).

Scope and Content Note

Letters from William Miller.
Box 1, Folder 9

April 1856.

Physical Description: (7 items).

Scope and Content Note

Letters from William Miller.
Box 1, Folder 10

May 1856.

Physical Description: (11 items).

Scope and Content Note

Letters from Thomas Massie and William Miller.
Box 1, Folder 11

June 1856.

Physical Description: (8 items).

Scope and Content Note

Letters from Charles Weld and Sir William Brown.
Box 1, Folder 12

July 1856.

Physical Description: (7 items).

Scope and Content Note

Letters from Sir Joshua Walmsby, Sir George H. Ward and Richard Galloway.
Box 1, Folder 13

August 1856.

Physical Description: (7 items).

Scope and Content Note

Letters from William Miller and Sir Henry Ward.
Box 1, Folder 14

September-October 1856.

Physical Description: (14 items).

Scope and Content Note

Letters from Thomas Perronet Thompson, Edward Capern, George Preble, Sir William Brown.
Box 1, Folder 15

November 1856.

Physical Description: (15 items).

Scope and Content Note

Letters from William Miller and Richard H. Galloway.
Box 1, Folder 16

December 1856.

Physical Description: (12 items).

Scope and Content Note

Letters from Henry Wickham, Richard H. Galloway, Count de Couvey and Peter Parker.
Box 1, Folder 17

January 1-15, 1857.

Physical Description: (14 items).

Scope and Content Note

Letters from Thomas P. Thompson, Sir Michael Seymour and Count de Couvey.
Box 1, Folder 18

January 16-27, 1857.

Physical Description: (24 items).

Scope and Content Note

Letters from Count de Couvey and Peter Parker.
Box 1, Folder 19

February 1-15, 1857.

Physical Description: (20 items).

Scope and Content Note

Letters from Count de Couvey, Peter Parker and Sir Michael Seymour.
Box 1, Folder 20

February 16-28, 1857.

Physical Description: (12 items).

Scope and Content Note

Letters from Peter Parker and Count de Couvey.
box  [2]

Letters from Sir John Bowring to Various Persons, 1852-1857

Box 2, Folder 1

1852.

Physical Description: (1 item).
Box 2, Folder 2

January 1-November 17, 1853.

Physical Description: (6 items).
Box 2, Folder 3

November 18-December 31, 1853.

Physical Description: (3 items).
Box 2, Folder 4

1854.

Physical Description: (6 items).
Box 2, Folder 5

January 1855.

Physical Description: (42 items).

Scope and Content Note

Letters to Peter Parker, James Stirling, Lord Dalhousie and Richard Cobden.
Box 2, Folder 5a

February 1855.

Physical Description: (31 items).

Scope and Content Note

Letters to James Stirling, Peter Parker and Lord Dalhousie.
Box 2, Folder 5b

March 1855.

Physical Description: (29 items).

Scope and Content Note

Letters to James Stirling, Sir Rowland Hill, Richard Milligan MacLane, Sir George Balfour.
Box 2, Folder 5c

May 1855.

Physical Description: (17 items).

Scope and Content Note

Letters to James Stirling and Lord Dalhousie.
Box 2, Folder 5d

June-July 1855.

Physical Description: (15 items).

Scope and Content Note

Letters to Lord Dalhousie and James Stirling.
Box 2, Folder 5e

August-September 1855.

Physical Description: (14 items).

Scope and Content Note

Letters to William Miller and Lord Dalhousie.
Box 2, Folder 6

October 1-15, 1855.

Physical Description: (8 items).

Scope and Content Note

Letters to Sir Joshua Walmsby, William Weir, Lord Dalhousie, Henry Ward and Robert Milligan McLane.
Box 2, Folder 7

October 16-31, 1855.

Physical Description: (7 items).

Scope and Content Note

Letters to Edward Ellice, Peter Parker and Lord Granville.
Box 2, Folder 8

November 1-11, 1855.

Physical Description: (6 items).

Scope and Content Note

Letters to William Miller and Thomas P. Thompson.
Box 2, Folder 9

November 12-30, 1855.

Scope and Content Note

Letters to Sir George Balfour and James Stirling.
Box 2, Folder 10

December 1-11, 1855.

Physical Description: (5 items).

Scope and Content Note

Letters to Henry Ward, Horace Wilson and William Miller.
Box 2, Folder 11

December 12-31, 1855.

Physical Description: (6 items).

Scope and Content Note

Letters to John Washington, Henry Wickham and Horace Wilson.
Box 2, Folder 12

January-August 1856.

Physical Description: (9 items).

Scope and Content Note

Letters to William Miller.
Box 2, Folder 13

September-December 1856.

Physical Description: (7 items).

Scope and Content Note

Letters to Sir Henry Ward and William Miller.
Box 2, Folder 14

1857.

Physical Description: (7 items).

Scope and Content Note

Letters to Lord Canning, Edward Ellice, Robert Milligan McLane and Edmund Hamond.
box  [3]

Letters to and from Others than Sir John Bowring, 1852-1857

Box 3, Folder 1

1852-1854.

Physical Description: (4 items).

Scope and Content Note

Letter from William S. Walker. Letters to John H. Aulick and Sir Walter H. Medhurst.
Box 3, Folder 2

1855-1857.

Physical Description: (3 items).

Scope and Content Note

Letters to Sir Rutherford Alcock and Sir James Tennent. Letter from William Miller.
box  [3-4]

Miscellaneous Papers, Newspaper Clippings and Related Printed Material, 1839-1857

Scope and Content Note

Contents are mainly clippings from the following newspapers:
  • Friend of China
  • Friend of India
  • The Polynesian
  • North China Herald
  • China Daily Mail
  • Hong Kong Government Gazette
  • The Overland Mail
  • The Hong Kong Register
Box 3, Folder 3

Miscellaneous papers, 1839-1847.

Physical Description: (3 pieces).

Scope and Content Note

  • 1839 - Original proclamation of High Officers stopping forever the English trade with China.
  • 1847 - Memorandum of Rates of Exchange...
Box 3, Folder 4

1851-1852.

Physical Description: (6 items).
Box 3, Folder 5

1853-1854.

Physical Description: (5 items).
Box 3, Folder 6

1855-1857.

Physical Description: (16 items).
Box 3, Folder 7

n.d.

Physical Description: (12 items).
Box 4, Folder 1

1850-1854.

Physical Description: (4 pieces).
Box 4, Folder 2

January-September 1855.

Physical Description: (20 pieces).
Box 4, Folder 3

October-December 1855.

Physical Description: (4 pieces).
Box 4, Folder 4

January-June 1856.

Physical Description: (4 items).
Box 4, Folder 5

July-December 1856.

Physical Description: (3 pieces).
Box 4, Folder 6

January 1-9, 1857.

Physical Description: (5 pieces).
Box 4, Folder 7

January 10-12, 1857.

Physical Description: (5 pieces).
Box 4, Folder 8

January 13-19, 1857.

Physical Description: (5 pieces).
Box 4, Folder 9

January 20-23, 1857.

Physical Description: (4 pieces).
Box 4, Folder 10

January 24-31, 1857.

Physical Description: (6 pieces).
Box 4, Folder 11

February 1-10, 1857.

Physical Description: (5 pieces).
Box 4, Folder 12

February 11-23, 1857.

Physical Description: (4 pieces).
Box 4, Folder 13

February 24-28, 1857 & n.d.

Physical Description: (8 pieces).
box  [5]

Boards and Covers Originally Around Bowring Papers