Sir John Bowring, an English statesman and author, born at Exeter, Oct. 17, 1792, died Nov. 22, 1872. He early applied himself to the study of modern languages, and between 1821 and 1824 published metrical translations of the popular poetry of Russia, Holland, and Spain, and afterward of Poland, Servia, Hungary, Portugal, Iceland, and Bohemia. About 1822 he made the acquaintance of Jeremy Bentham, became his disciple, executor, and biographer, and edited his works (11 vols. 8vo, 1843). In 1825 he was made first editor of the "Westminster Review,1' and continued in this position for several years, writing copiously in support of parliamentary reform and free trade. He travelled in Holland in 1828, and received the honorary degree of LL. D. from the university of Groningen. In 1833 he published "Matins and Vespers, with Hymns," a volume of original poetry, chiefly devotional. He wrote with Vil-liers " On the Commercial Relations between France and Great Britain " (2 vols., 1834-'5), the result of official investigation, and was employed in similar labors relating to Switzerland, Italy, the Levant, and the German customs union. As a member of parliament from 1835 to 1837, and again from 1841 to 1849 he invariably advocated extreme liberal opinions, and was one of the counsel of the anti-corn law league.
In January, 1849, he was appointed British consul at Canton, and subsequently he became acting plenipotentiary. He returned to England for a short time in 1853, and published two volumes in support of a decimal system of coinage. In 1854 he was knighted and appointed governor of Hong Kong. Parliament censured his course in the bombardment of the Chinese forts in 1856, and he was recalled in 1857. His " Kingdom of Siam and its People " (2 vols., London, 1857) embodies his observations while on a mission in that country for the conclusion of a commercial treaty. " A Visit to the Philippine Islands in 1858-'9 " appeared from his pen in 1859. He was a zealous Unitarian, and in 1872 was prominent in the international social reform convention in London.