Bowyer, William

, the most learned English printer of whom we have any account, was born in Dogwelt-court, White Fryars, London, on the 19th of December, 1699. His father, whose name was also William, was of distinguished eminence in the same profession; and his maternal grandfather (Thomas Dawks) was employed in printing the celebrated Polyglott Bible of bishop Walton. At a proper age, he was placed, for grammatical education, under the care of Mr. Ambrose Bonwicke, a non-juring clergyman of known piety and learning, who then lived at Headley, near Leatherhead in Surrey. Here Mr. Bowyer made such advances in literature as reflected the highest credit both on himself and his preceptor; for whose memory, to his latest years, he entertained the sincerest respect; and to whose family he always remained an useful friend. The attachment, indeed, was mutual; and the following instance of the good school-master’s benevolence made an indelible impression on the mind of his pupil. On the 30th of January, 1712-13, the whole property of the elder Mr. Bowyer was destroyed by a dreadful fire; on which occasion, Mr. Bonwicke, with great generosity, and no less delicacy (endeavouring to conceal its being his own act of kindness), took upon him, for one year, the expences of his scholar’s board and education. In June 1716, young Mr. Bowyer was admitted as a sizar at St. John’s college, Cambridge, of which Dr. Robert Jenkin was at that time master. The doctor had been a benefactor to the elder Mr. Bowyer in the season of his calamity; and the son, at the distance of sixty years, had the happiness of returning the favour to a relation of the worthy master, in a manner by which the person obliged was totally ignorant to whom he was indebted for the present he received, Mr. Bowyer continued at Cambridge under the tuition, first, of Dr. Anstey, and afterwards of the rev. Dr. John Nevvcome, till June 1722, during which time he obtained Roper’s exhibition, and wrote, in 1719, what he called “Epistola pro Sodalitio a rev. viro F. Roper mihi legato;” but it does not appear that he took his degree of bachelor of arts. Notwithstanding an habitual shyness of disposition, which was unfavourable to him at his first appearance, the | regularity of his conduct, and his application to study, procured him the esteem of many very respectable members of the university. Here it was that he formed an intimacy with Mr. Markland and Mr. Clarke, two learned friends with whom he maintained a regular correspondence through life and their letters contain a treasure of polite literature and sound criticism. On the death of Mr. Bonwicke, his grateful scholar had an opportunity of requiting, in some measure, the obligations he had received, by officiating, for a time, in the capacity of a schoolmaster, for the benefit of the family; but before this, he had entered into the printing business, together with his father, in June 1722; and one of the first bucks which received the benefit of his correction, was the complete edition of Selden by Dr. David Wilkins, in three volumes, folio. This edition was begun in 1722, and finished in 1726; and Mr. Bowyer’s great attention to it appeared in his drawing up an epitome of Selden “de Synedriis,” as he read the proof-sheets, and tue several memoranda from “The privileges of the Baronage” and “Judicature in Parliament,” &c. which are now printed in his “Miscellaneous Tracts.” In 1727, the learned world was indebted to him for nn admirable sketch of William Baxter’s Glossary of the Roman Antiquities. The sketch was called “A View of a Book, entitled, * Reliquiae Baxtevianae.‘ In a Letter to a Friend;” a single sheet, 8vo. Very few copies were printed; and, having never been published, it is seldom found with the Glossary; but it was reprinted in the “Miscellaneous Tracts.” Dr. Wotton and Mr. Clarke were highly pleased with this first public proof given by Mr. Bowyer of his literary abilities. On the 20th of December, 1727, he lost an affectionate mother, upon which occasion he received a letter of pious consolation, from Mr. Chishull, the learned editor of the “Antiquitates Asiaticae.

Very highly to his own and his father’s satisfaction, he entered, on the 9th of October, 1728, into the marriage state, with Anne Prudom, his mother’s niece. His happiness, however, with this accomplished woman, lasted bait little more than three years; he being deprived of her, by death, on the 17th of October, 1731. Of two sons, venom he had by her, William died an infant, and Thomas survived him. His friends Mr. Clarke and Mr. Chishull wrote him very affectionate and Christian letters on this melancholy event. | In 1729, he ushered into the world a curious treatise, entitled “A Pattern for young Students in the University, set forth in the Life of Mr. Ambrose Bonwicke, some time scholar of St. John’s college, Cambridge.” (See Bonwicke). This little volume was generally ascribed to our learned printer, though it was in reality the production of Mr. Amtyruse Bonwicke the elder, but the preface was probably Mr. Buwyer’s. About the same time, it appears, from a letter of Mr. Clarke, that Mr. Bowyer had written a pamphlet against the Separatists; but neither the title nor the occasion of it are at present recollected. Through the friendship of the right honourable Arthur Onslow, he was, likewise, appointed, in 1729, printer of the Votes of the House of Commons; an office which he held, under three successive speakers, for nearly fifty years. In 1730, he was avowedly the editor of “A Discourse concerning the Confusion of Languages at Babel, proving it to have been miraculous, from the essential difference between them, contrary to the opinion of M. Le Clerc and others. With an Enquiry into the primitive language before that wonderful event. By the late learned William Wotton, D. D. &c.” In 1731, he took part in a controversy occasioned by a sermon of Mr. Bowman, a clergyman in Yorkshire, entitled “The Traditions of the Clergy destructive of Religion, with an Enquiry into the Grounds and Reasons of such Traditions.” This performance, which was charged with containing some of the sentiments that had been advanced by Dr. Tindal in his “Rights of the Christian Church,” and by Mr. Gordon in his “Independent Whig,” excited no small degree of offence; and several answers were written to it, and strictures made upon it, both of a serious and ludicrous nature. Mr. Bowyer, upon this occasion, printed a pamphlet, called “The Traditions of the Clergy not destructive of Religion; being Remarks on Mr. Bowman’s Sermon; exposing that gentleman’s deficiency in Latin and Greek, in ecclesiastical history, and true reasoning.” The dispute, like many others of a similar kind, is now sunk into oblivion. In 1733, he published “The Beau and Academick,” two sheets, in 4to; a translation from “Bellus Homo & Academicus, &c.” a poem recited that year at the Cornitia in the Sheldonian theatre, and afterwards printed in his Tracts. On the 7th of July, 1736, Mr. Bowyer was admitted into the Society of Antiquaries, of which he had been chosen printer in May | preceding; and he was an active, as well as an early member of that respectable body, regularly attending their meetings, and frequently communicating to them luatters of utility and curiosity, which were reprinted in his “Tracts.” In conjunction with Dr. Birch, he was, also, materially concerned in instituting “The Society for the Encouragement of Learning.” Of this Mr. Nichols has given an interesting account. It was certainly well-meant, but injudicious, and became dissolved by its own insufficiency. On the 27th of December, 1737, Mr. Bowyer lost his father, at the age of seventy-four; and it is evident, from his scattered papers, that he severely felt this affliction; applying to himself the beautiful apostrophe of Æneas to Anchises, in Virgil:

————" Hîc me, pater optime, fessum

Deseris, heu! tantis nequicquam erepte perîclis?"

His friend Mr. Clarke again addressed to him a letter of sympathy and consolation. In 1741, Mr. Bowyer corrected, and put into a convenient form, Heuset’s “Selectæ è Veteri Testamento Historiæ,” and “Selectæ ex Profanis, &c.” The prefaces to both these volumes were translated by Mr. Bowyer, and are inserted in his “Miscellaneous Tracts.” In 1742, he published a translation of Trapp’s “Latin Lectures on Poetry,” with additional notes. In translating this work, he had not only the advice, but the assistance, of his friend Mr. Clarke: and yet this gentleman had no high opinion of the original performance. He thought it a very superficial book; and was particularly offended with Trapp for affecting to find fault with Vossius on every little occasion.

Though it is not our intention to notice the works printed by Mr. Bowyer, excepting when he himself contributed to them by prefaces, notes, or other additions, yet we shall mention his having been the printer, in 1742, of the additional book of the Dunciad; as he received, on this occasion, testimonies of regard both from the great poet and his learned commentator. Among other friendly expressions of Dr. Warburton, he says, “I have never more pleasure when there (in London), than when I loll and talk with you at my ease, de qualibet ente, in your diningroom:” And again, “The Greek I know will be well printed in your edition, notwithstanding the absence of Senblerus” The same celebrated writer had long before told Mr. Bowyer, “No one’s thoughts will have greater weight | with me than your own, in whom I have experienced so much candour, goodness, and learning.” It is not, however, to be concealed, that a difference afterwards arose between them, in which, as is commonly the case, each party was confident that he was right. Mr. Bowyer, who thought himself slighted, used often to remark, that, “after the death of the English Homer, the letters of his learned friend wore a different complexion.” “But, perhaps,” as Mr, Nichols candidly and judiciously observes, “this may be one of the many instances, which occur through, life, of the impropriety of judging for ourselves in cases which affect our interest or our feelings.” Mr. Bowyer, indeed, had a great sensibility of temper with regard to any neglects which were shewed him by his literary friends, in the way of his business. This did not proceed from a principle of avarice, but from a consciousness of the respect which was due to him from his acquaintance, as the first of his profession: for he expressed his resentment as strongly in cases where profit could be no material object, as he did in more important instances. Dr. Squire, then, dean of Bristol, not having appointed him to print a sermon which had been preached before the house of commons, on the general fast day, Feb. 13, 1761, Mr. Bowyer wrote to the doctor, upon the occasion, an expostulatory letter. Nor was this the only evidence he gave how much he was offended, when he thought that a slight had been put upon him from a quarter where he imagined he had a natural claim to favour.

In 1744, Mr. Bowyer is supposed to have written a small pamphlet on the present state of Europe, taken principally from Pufendorff. In 1746, he projected, what during his whole life he had in view, a regular edition of Cicero’s Letters, in a chronological order, on a plan which it is to be lamented that he did not complete; as an uniform series thus properly arranged would have formed a real history of Tully’s life, and those which cannot be dated might be thrown to the end without any inconvenience. In the same year he published “The Life of the Emperor Julian,” translated from the French of M. Bleterie, and improve^ with twelve pages of curious notes, and a genealogical table. The notes were not entirely Mr. Bowyer’s, but were drawn up, in part, by Mr. Clarke and other learned men. The translation, by Miss Anne Williams (Dr. Johnson’s inmate), and the two sisters of the name of | Wilkinson, was made under Mr. Bowyr’s immediate inspection. In this year also, he printed, and is supposed to have assisted in thp composition of, “A Dissertation, in which the objections of a late pampinet (by bishop Ross) to the writings of the anci nits, after the mariner of Mr. Maryland, are clearly answered: those passages in Tuily corrected, on which some of the objections are founded; with Amendments of a few pieces of criticism in Mr. Maryland’s Epistola Critica,” 8vo. On the 2d of August, 1747, Mr. Bowyer entered a second time into the matrimonial state, with a most benevolent and worthy woman, Mrs. Elizabeth Bill, by whom he had no children. In 1750, he had the honour of sharing, with Dr. Burton, in the invectives most liberally bestowed by Dr. King, in his “Elogium Famse inserviens Jacci Etouensis, sive Gigantis: or, the Praises of Jack of Eaton, commonly called Jack the Giant.” Dr. King’s abuse was probably owing to his having heard that our learned printer had hinted, in conversation, his doubts concerning the doctor’s Latiriity. Mr. Bowyer drew up strictures in his own defence, which he intended to insert at the conclusion of a preface to Montesquieu’s Reflections, &c.; but, in consequence ol Mr. Clarke’s advice, they were omitted. In the same year, a prefatory critical dissertation, and some valuable notes, were annexed, by our author, to Kuster’s Treatise “De vero usu Verborum Mediorum;” a new edition of which work, with further improvements, appeared in 1773. He wrote, likewise, about the same time, a Latin preface to Leedes’s “Veteres Poeta? citati, &c.” Being soon after employed to print an edition of colonel Bladen’s translation of Cæsar’s Commentaries, that work received considerable improvements from. Mr. Bowyer’s hands, and the addition of such notes in it as are signed Typogr. In the subsequent editions of this work, though printed by another person, and in our author’s life-time, the same signature, contrary to decorum, and even justice, was still retained. In 1751, he wrote a long preface to Montesquieu’s “Reflections on the Rise and Fall of the Rouian Empire;” translated the Dialogue between Sylla and Socrates; made several corrections to the work from the Baron’s “Spirit of Laws,” and improved it with his own notes. A new edition, with many; new notes, was printed in 1759. He gave likewise to the public, in 1751, with a preface, the first translation that was made of Rousseau’s paradoxical oration on the effects | of the arts and sciences, which gained the prize at the academy of Dijon, in 1750; and which first announced that singular genius to the attention and admiration of Europe. On the publication of the third edition of lord Orrery’s “Remarks on the Life and Writings of Dr. Swift,” in 1752, Mr. Bowyer wrote and printed, but never published, “Two Letters from Dr. Bentley in the shades below, to lord Orrery in a land of thick darkness.” The notes signed B, in the ninth quarto volume of Swift’s works, are extracted from these Letters, which are reprinted at large in his “Tracts.” In 1752, when Bp. Clayton published his “Vindication of the Histories of the Old and New Testament, in answer to the Objections of Lord Bolingbroke,” Mr. Bowyer drew up an analysis of the same, with an intention of sending it to the Gentleman’s Magazine: it is now printed in Mr. Nichols’s “Anecdotes.” In 1753, to allay the ferment occasioned by the Jew bill, he published, in quarto, “Remarks on a Speech made in Common Council, on the Bill for permitting persons professing the Jewish Religion to be naturalized, so far as Prophecies are supposed to be affected by it.” The design of this sensible little tract, which was written with spirit, and well received by those who were superior to narrow prejudices, was to shew, that whatever political reasons might be alleged against the Bill, Christianity would in no degree be prejudiced by the indulgence proposed to be gVanted to the Jews. In the same year, some of Mr. Bowyer’s notes were annexed to bishop Clayton’s translation of “A Journal from Grand Cairo to Mount Sinai, and back again.” In 1754, with a view of lessening his fatigue, he entered into partnership with a relation; but some disagreements arising, the connection was dissolved in 1757, and he resumed the active part of business. In 1760 he superintended a second edition of Arnald’s “Commentary on the Book of Wisdom,” and enriched it with the remarks of Mr. Markland. Upon the death of Mr. Richardson, in 1761, Mr. Bowyer, through the patronage of the late earl of Macclesfield, was appointed printer to the Royal Society; and, under the friendship of five successive presidents, had the satisfaction of continuing in that employment till his death. In the same year (1761), appeared “Verses on the Coronation of their late majesties, king George the Second and queen Caroline, October 4, 1727, spoken by the Scholars of Westminster school (some of them now the ornaments of | the Nation) on January 15th following, being the Day of the Inauguration of Queen Elizabeth, their foundress with a Translation of all the Latin copies The whole placed in order of the transactions of that important day. Adorned with the Coronation Medals pf the Royal Pair, and a bust of our present king. To which is subjoined the Ceremonial of the august Procession, very proper to be compared with the approaching one; and a Catalogue of the Coronation Medals of the Kings and Queens of England.” The original part of this pamphlet, in which a great deal of humour is displayed, was entirely Mr. Bowyer’ s: the Latin verses were translated partly by him, but principally by Mr. Nichols. Our learned printer’s next publication was of a more serious and weighty nature, an excellent edition of the Greek Testament, in two volumes, 1763, 12mo, under the following title: “Novum Testamentum Greecum, ad Fidem GrascorUm solum Codicum Mss. nunc primum expressum, adstipulante Joanne Jacobo Wetstenio, juxta Sectiones Jo. Albert! Bengelii divisum; et nova Interpunctione saepius illustratum. Accessere in altero Volumine Emendationes conjecturales virorum doctorum undecunque collectse.” This sold with great rapidity; though Mr. Bowyer, in his advertisements of it in the public papers, was pleased to add, that it boasted neither elegance of type nor paper, but trusted to other merits. The conjectural emendations are a very valuable addition to the Greek Testament, and were extremely well received by the learned. In a letter of thanks, from the president and fellows of Harvard college, in Cambridge, New-England, to Mr. Bowyer, in 1767, for several benefactions of his to that college, they express themselves as follows: “It is a particular pleasure to us to mention your very curious edition of the Greek Testament, in two volumes, with critical notes, and many happy conjectures, especially as to the punctuation, an affair of the utmost importance as to ascertaining the sense. This work, though small in bulk, we esteem as a rich treasure of sacred learning, and of more intrinsic value than many large volumes of the commentators.A second edition of the Conjectures on the New Testament, with very considerable enlargements, was separately published, in one volume, 8vo, in 1772, a third in 4to, 1782, and a fourth from the interleaved -copy of Dr. Owen, which he bequeathed to the honourable and right reverend Dr. Shute Barrington, bishop of Durham, is just published (1812). | Bishop Wavbnrton having censured apassage in the first edition, Mr. Bowyer sent him a copy of the second, with a conciliatory letter. In 1765, at the request of Thomas Hollis, esq. our learned printer wrote a short Latin preface to Dr. Wallis’s “Grammatica Linguae Anglicanse.A larger English preface, which was written by him, and intended for that work, is printed in his “Tracts.” Some copies of this book were sent by him to the rev. Edward Clarke, when, chaplain to the earl of Bristol at Madrid, to be given to the Spanish literati. Towards the latter end of the same year, in consequence of overtures from a few respectable friends at Cambridge, Mr. Bowyer had some inclination to have undertaken the management of the University press, by purchasing a lease of its exclusive privileges. He went, accordingly, to Cambridge for this purpose; but the treaty proved fruitless, and he did not much regret the disappointment. In the beginning of 1766, by engaging in a partnership with Mr. Nichols, he was again enabled to withdraw, in some degree, from that close application, which had begun to be prejudicial to his health. His new associate had been trained by him to the profession, and had assisted him several years in the management of business. He was very happy in this connection; and it is unnecessary to add how successfully Mr. Nichols has trod in the steps of his worthy and learned friend and partner. In, that year (1766) Mr. Bowyer wrote an excellent Latin preface to “Joannis Harduini, Jesuitae, ad Censuram Scriptorum veterum Prolegomena; juxta Autographum.” In this preface he gives an account of the nature of the work, and of the manner in which it had been preserved. Mr. De Missy’s remarks on the celebrated Jesuit’s extraordinary production were published about the same time, in a letter to Mr. Bowyer, written in Latin. In 1767, he was appointed to print the Journals of the House of Lords, and the Rolls of Parliament. The noble peer to whom he was indebted for this appointment, and his gratitude to whom is testified in the inscription which he left behind him, to be placed in Stationers Hall, was the earl of Marchmont. Mr. Bowyer was now compelled, from the want of sufficient room, to exchange White Fryars for Red Lion-passage; and it was not without reluctance that he quitted a residence to which he had been accustomed from his infancy. His new printing-house was opened with the sign of his favourite Cicero’s Head: under which was inscribed, “M, T, Cicero, A Quo | Primordia Preli,” in allusion to the well-known early editions of Tally’s Offices. Having printed this year Mr. Clarke’s excellent and learned work on “The Connexion of the Roman, Saxon, and English Coins,” he wrote some notes upon it, which are interspersed throughout the volume with those of the author. Part of the dissertation on the Roman Sesterce was, likewise, Mr. Bowyer’s production; and the index, which is an uncommonly good one, and on which he did not a little pride himself, was drawn up entirely by him. On the 14th of January, 177 J, he lost his second wife, who died at the age of seventy. His old friend, Mr. Clarke, who had administered consolation to him, on a similar occasion, nearly forty years before, again addressed him with tenderness on this event. In the Philosophical Transactions for 1771, was printed a very ingenious “Enquiry intothe value of the antient Greek and Roman Money,” by the late Matthew Raper, esq. The opinions advanced by this respectable gentleman, on these subjects, not coinciding with those of Mr. Bowyer, he printed a small pamphlet, entitled, “Remarks, occasioned by a late Dissertation on the Greek and Roman Money.” The pamphlet was intended as an appendix to Mr. Clarke’s Treatise on Coins. The opinions of many excellent writers in Germany and France having been ably controverted in that elaborate work, Mr. Bowyer transmitted a copy of it to the French king’s library, and inscribed his little appendix,

"Regi Christianissimo

Gulielmus Bowyeh, Typographus Anglicanus.

"Judicium ut subeat magis æquum candidiusve,

Quî poni potuit commodiore loco?"

He was very desirous that Mr. Clarke’s book should be translated and reprinted in France; and he took some pains, though without success, to get it accomplished. In 1773, three little tracts were published by him, under the title of “Select Discourses 1. Of the Correspondence of the Hebrew months with the Julian, from the Latin of Professor Michaelis. 2. Of the Sabbatical years, from the same. 3. Of the years of Jubilee; from an anonymous writer, in Masson’s Histoire Critique de la Republique des Lettres.” In 1774, he corrected a new edition of Schrevelius’s Greek Lexicon, to which he added a number of words (distinguished by an asterisk) he had himself collected in the course of his own studies. Considerable additions, which | are still in manuscript, were made by him to the Lexicons of Hederic and of Buxtorf, the Latin ones of Faber and of Littleton, and the English Dictionary of Bailey; and he left behind him many other proofs of his critical skill in the learned languages. His Greek and Latin grammars in general are filled with such curious explanatory notes, as bear the most convincing proofs of consummate critical knowledge in those languages, and that knowledge he applied particularly to the advancement of sacred learning. It was his constant custom, in the course of his reading, to note down every thing which he thought might contribute to illustrate any passage of Scripture, esper cially of the Greek Testament. In pursuance of this method, it is hardly to be conceived what a number of useful and curious remarks stand inserted in the margins of his theological books, which may greatly contribute to improve future editions. In 1774, was published “The Origin of Printing, in two essays. 1. The substance of Dr. Middleton’s Dissertation on the Origin of Printing in England. 2. Mr. Meerman’s Account of the Invention of the Art at Harlem, and its progress to Mentz, with occasional remarks; and an appendix.” (See Richard Atkins.) The original idea of it was Mr. Bowyer’s; but it was completed by Mr. Nichols. The two learned friends, whose assistance is acknowledged in the preface, were the rev. Dr. Henry Owen, and the late Mr. Cæsar de Missy. Though this work appeared without a name, it was immediately judged to be Mr. Bowyer’s, and was well received in the world of letters, and justly spoken of in terms of great commendation, both at home and abroad. A second edition, with very considerable improvements, was published in 1776, and a Supplement in 1781. When Mr. Nichols was engaged in printing the “Original Works of Dr. King of the Commons,” and the “Supplement to Swift,” Mr. Bowyer, by suggesting useful hints, and adding some illustrations, assisted him in both these undertakings. Our eminent printer now drew to the end of his literary career, which he closed with a new edition, in 1777, of Dr. Bentley’s “Dissertation on the Epistles of Phalaris.” Dr. Bentley was a writer whom he had always held in the highest estimation. In the republication of this great critic’s Dissertation, Mr. Bowyer inserted the remarks which had occurred to him in the course of many years attention to the subjects there treated of; and ascribed them to the respective authors irom whose | books or personal communication they were selected. He was much indebted, on this occasion, to the friendly assistance of Dr. Salter and Dr. Owen.

Mr. Bowyer had always been subject to a bilious colic; and during the last ten years of his life, he was afflicted with the palsy and the stone. But, notwithstanding these infirmities, he preserved, in general, a remarkable cheerfulness of disposition; and received great satisfaction from the conversation of a few literary friends, by whom he continued to be visited. The faculties of his mind, though somewhat impaired, were strong enough to support the labour of almost incessant reading, which had ever been his principal amusement; and he regularly corrected the learned works, and especially the Greek books, which came from his press. This he did till within a very few weeks of his death; which happened on the 18th of November, 1777, when he had nearly completed his 78th year. The publications of Mr. Bowyer are an incontrovertible evidence of his abilities and learning; to which may be added that he was honoured with the friendship and patronage of many of the most distinguished ornaments of his age. We already have had occasion to mention the earls of Macclesfield and Marchmont, Dr. Wotton, Mr. Pope, Mr. Chishull, Mr. Clarke, Mr. Markland, bishop Warburton, the right honourable Arthur Onslow, Mr. Hollis, Dr. Salter, Mr, De Missy, Dr. Owen, and Dr. Heberden. To these, among other respectable names, might be added those of archbishop Seeker, bishop Kennett, bishop Tanner, bishop Sherlock, bishop Hoadly, bishop Lyttelton, bishop Pearce, bishop Lowth, bishop Barrington, bishop Hurd, bishop Percy, lord Lyttelton, lord Sandys, dean Prideaux, doctors Robert and John Freind, dean Freind, dean Milles, the very learned Dr. Taylor, chancellor of Lincoln, Dr. Barnard, Dr. Powell, Dr. Wilkins, Mr. Maittaire, Messrs. R. and S. Gale, Mr. Browne Willis, Mr. Spelman, Mr. Morant, Dr. Ducarel, Dr. Pegge, Mr. Garrick, and most of the distinguished scholars and antiquaries of his time. His connec^ tion with the late eminent and excellent Richard Gough, esq. so well known by his acquaintance with British topography and antiquities, is apparent from his last will; where his obligations to Dr. Jenkin, dean Stanhope, and Mr. Nelson, are acknowledged. The late excellent Dr. Robert Clayton, bishop of Clogher, so highly esteemed his friendship, that he not only honoured him by a regular | epistolary intercourse, but presented him with the copy-right of all his valuable writings. Mr. Bowyer stood unrivalled, for more than half a century, as a learned printer; and some of the most masterly productions of this kingdom have undoubtedly appeared from his press. To his literary and professional abilities, he added an excellent moral character. His regard to religion was displayed in his publications, and in the course of his life and studies; and he was particularly distinguished by his inflexible probity, and an uncommon alacrity in assisting the necessitous. His liberality in relieving every species of distress, and his endeavours to conceal his benefactions, reflect great honour on his memory. Though he was naturally fond of retirement, and seldom entered into company, excepting with men of letters, he was, perhaps, excelled by few in the talent of justly discriminating the real characters of mankind. He judged of the persons he saw by a sort of intuition; and his judgments were generally right. From a consciousness of literary superiority, he did not always pay that particular attention tQ the booksellers which was expedient in the way of his business. Too proud to solicit the favours in that way which he believed to be his due, he was often disappointed in his expectations. On the other hand, he‘ frequently experienced friendships in cases where he had much less reason to have hoped for them so that, agreeably to his own expression, “in what he had received, and what he had fyeen denied, he thankfully acknowledged the will of Heaven.” The two great objects of Mr. Bowyer’s view, in the decline of his life, were to repay the benefactions his father had met with, and to be himself a benefactor to the meritorious of his own profession. These purposes are fully displayed in his last will: for which reason, and because it illustrates the turn of his mind in other respects, we shall insert it at large. After a liberal provision for his son, among other legacies are these “I likewise give to my son all my plate; except the small silver cup which was given to my father (after his loss by fire) by Mrs. James, and which I give to the Company of Stationers in London, hoping they will preserve it as a memorial. Having committed my body to the earth, I would testify my duty and gratitude to my few relations and numerous benefactors after my father’s loss by fire. I give and bequeath to my cousin Scott, lately of Westminster, brewer, and to his sister, fifty pounds each. I give and bequeath to my relations Mr. Thomas Linley and | his wife one thousand pounds four per cent, consolidated annuities, to be transferred to them, or to the survivor of them; and which I hope they will take care to settle, at their deaths, for the benefit of their son and daughter. I give to the two sons and one daughter of the late reverend Mr. Maurice of Gothenburgh iuSweden, who married the only daughter of Mr. Richard Williamson, bookseller (in return for her father’s friendship to mine), one thousand pounds four per cent, consolidated annuities, to be divided equally between them. Among my father’s numerous benefactors, there is not, that I can hear of, one alive: to several of them I made an acknowledgement. But one respectable body I am still indebted to, the University of Cambridge; to whom I give, or rather restore, the sum of fifty pounds, in return for the donation of forty pounds made to my father at the motion of the learned and pious master of Saint John’s college, doctor Robert Jenkin: to a nephew of his I have already given another fifty pounds, as appears by his receipt of the thirty-first of May, one thousand seven hundred and seventy. The benefactions which my father received from Oxford I can only repay with gratiiude; as he received them, not from the university as a body, but from particular members. I give thirty pounds to the dean and chapter of Canterbury, in gratitude for the kindness of the worthy doctor Stanhope (sometime dean of Canterbury) to my father; the remembrance of which amongst the proprietors of his works I have long out-lived, as I have experienced by not being employed to print them: the like I might say of the works of Mr. Nelson, another respectable friend and patron of my father’s, and of many others. I give to doctor William Heberden my little cabinet of coins, with H ickes’s Thesau rus, Tristan, and the odd volume, Spanheim’s Numismata, Harduin’s Opera Selecta, in folio, Nummi Populorum et Urbium, in quarto, and any other of my books he chooses to accept: to the reverend doctor Henry Owen, such of my Hebrew books and critical books on the New Testament, as he pleases to take: to Richard Gough, esq. in like manner, my books on topographical subjects: to Mr. John Nichols, all books that relate to Cicero, Livy, and the Roman history, particularly the * Cenotaphia’ of Noris and Pighius, my grammars and dictionaries, with Swift’s and Pope’s works: to my son, whatever books (not described above) he thinks proper to take. And now I hope I may be allowed to leave somewhat for the benefit of printing. | To this end, I give to the master and keepers or wardens and commonalty of the mystery or art of a stationer of the city of London, such a sum of money as will purchase two thousand pounds three per cent, reduced Bank annuities, upon trust, to pay the dividends and yearly produce thereof, to be divided for ever equally amongst three printers, compositors or pressmen, to be elected from time to time by the master, wardens, and assistants, of the said company, and who at the time of such election shall be sixty-three years old or upwards, for their respective lives, to be paid half-yearly; hoping that such as sha.ll be most deserving will be preferred. And whereas I have herein before given to my son the sum of three thousand pounds four per cent, consolidated annuities, in case he marries with the consent of my executors: Now, I do hereby give and bequeath the dividends and interest of that sum, till such marriage take place, to the said company of stationers to be divided equally between six other printers, compositors or pressmen, as aforesaid, in manner as aforesaid; and, if my said son shall die unmarried, or married without such consent as aforesaid, then I give and bequeath the said capital sum of three thousand pounds to the company of stationers, the dividends and yearly produce thereof to be divided for ever equally amongst six other such old printers, compositors or pressmen, for their respective lives, to be qualified, chosen, and paid in manner as aforesaid. It has long been to me matter of concern, that such numbers are put apprentices as compositors without any share of school-learning, who ought to have the greatest: in hopes of remedying this, I give and bequeath to the said company of stationers such a sum of money as will purchase one thousand pounds three per cent, reduced bank annuities, for the use of one journeyman compositor, such as shall hereafter be described; with this special trust, that the master, wardens, and assistants, shall pay the dividends and produce thereof half-yearly to such compositor: the said master, wardens, and assistants of the said company, shall nominate for this purpose a compositor who is a man of good life and conversation, who shall usually frequent some place of public worship every Sunday unless prevented by sickness, and shall not have worked on a newspaper or magazine for four years at least before such nomination, nor shall ever afterwards whilst he holds this annuity, which may be for life, if he continues a journeyman; he shall be able to read and construe Latin, and at | least to read Greek fluently with accents; f which he shall bring a testimonial from the rector of St. Martin’s Ludgate for the time being: I could wish that he shall have been brought up piously and virtuously, if it be possible, at Merchant Taylors, or some other public school, from seven years of age till he is full seventeen, and then to serve seven years faithfully as a compositor, and work seven years more as a journeyman, as I would not have this annuity bestowed on any one under thirty -one years of age: if after he is chosen he should behave ill, let him be turned out, and another be chosen in his stead. And whereas it may be many years before a compositor may be found that shall exactly answer the above description, and it may at some times happen that such a one cannot be found; I would have the dividends in the mean time applied to such person as the master, wardens, and assistants, shall think approaches nearest to what I have described. And whereas the above trusts will occasion some trouble: I give to the said company, in case they think proper to accept the trusts, two hundred and fifty pounds.” It is almost superfluous to add, that the trust was accepted, and is properly executed.

Mr. Bowyer, agreeably to his own direction, was buried at Low Leyton in Essex, where aneat monument is erected in the church to his father’s memory and his own, with a Latin inscription written by himself. A bust of him is placed in Stationers’ Hall, with a good portrait of his father, and another of his patron Mr. Nelson; all which, with good portraits of Steele and Prior, were presented to the Company of Stationers by Mr. Nichols.

Early in 1778, Mr. Nichols printed twenty copies of some short “Biographical Memoirs of Mr. Bowyer,” an octavo pamphlet of fifty-two pages, which were given in presents to his friends, and reprinted in the Gent. Mag. vol. XLVIII. These memoirs, although interesting in themselves, were not sufficient to grat:fy the friends and contemporaries of Mr. Bowyer, who foresaw that, with continued industry and research, Mr. Nichols might erect a more sumptuous monument to the memory of his learned predecessor. Accordingly from many valuable materials in his possession, and the aid of some literary friends, he produced in 1782, in a handsome quarto volume, closely printed, “Biographical and Literary Anecdotes of William Bowyer, Printer, F. S. A. and of many of his learned friends, containing au incidental view of the progress and advancement of | literature in this kingdom from the beginning of the present century to the end of the year 1777.” The importance of this work was soon acknowledged by men of learning and curiosity. It contained memoirs of several hundreds of eminent scholars who had been unnoticed or imperfectly notice;! in biographical compilations, and opened so many new and rich sources of information and inquiry, that the author was further urged to extend his labours, and improve upon his own plan so as to include a larger portion of literary history. With this view, during the intervals he could spare from an extensive business, and the publication of many useful works, among which his elaborate ‘ History of Leicestershire’ stands prominent, amidst too his indefatigable attention to the affairs of the corporation of London, of which he was for many years a distinguished member, he was enabled in the present year to publish a new edition of his Memoirs of Bowyer, under the title of “Literary Anecdotes of the Eighteenth Century; comprizing Biographical Memoirs of William Bowyer,” &c. extended to six copious and closely printed volumes in octavo, illustrated by a series of engraved portraits. Of this work the editor of this Dictionary, or of any compilation of the kind, cannot speak without gratitude. It will appear, indeed, by our references, that our obligations are numerous and important, nor should we be content with this brief acknowledgment, but from a motive of delicacy, it being known to our readers that the author to whom we are so much indebted is at the same time the medium of conveying our praises to the public. We cannot help adding, however, that where we refer to Mr. Nichols’s “Anecdotes,” we wish it to be understood that it is for the purpose of more ample information than we have usually extracted, and that no book has perhaps ever been published in this or any country by which literary curiosity is so much excited, or so pleasingly gratified.