WOBO: Search for words and phrases in the texts here...

Enter either the ID of an entry, or one or more words to find. The first match in each paragraph is shown; click on the line of text to see the full paragraph.

Currently only Chalmers’ Biographical Dictionary is indexed, terms are not stemmed, and diacritical marks are retained.

the most learned English printer of whom we have any account, was

, 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.