Sir John Bowring, 1792-1872.

Julian's account of Sir John Bowring:--

Sir John Bowring, L.l.D., a distinguished man of letters was born in Exeter, Oct. 17th. 1792. His studies extended to philology, poetry, politics, and other branches of learning. While he was editor of the Westminster Review for some years (he received the appointment in 1825) he did considerable work as a reviewer. He held several official appointments under the Government as Commissioner to France on commercial matters (1834-5); British Consul at Hong Kong 1849; and Governor of Hong Kong (1854). He died Nov. 23rd. 1872. His published works are very numerous, and display an astonishing acquaintance with various languages. Sir John Bowring wrote original verse. This was published with a few translations as follows: (l). Matins and Vespers with Hymns and Occasional Devotional Pieces, London, 1823; 2nd. edition enlarged 1824; 3rd. edition again enlarged, 1841; and the 4th. still further enlarged in 1851. (2). Hymns: as a sequel to the Matins, 1825. In addition he contributed to a few Unitarian hymnals, especially that of the Rev. J.R. Beard of Manchester 1837. In that collection many of the hymns added to the 3rd. addition of Matins, etc. 1841, were first published. A selection from these, together with a biographical sketch, was published by Lady Bowring in 1873, as a Memorial Volume of Sacred Poetry. This work contains hymns from the Matins and Vespers, together with others from Periodicals and from his manuscripts. Of his hymns a very large proportion has come into common use. A few have been adopted by many denominations, but the greater portion are confined to the Unitarian collections of Great Britain and America, of which denomination he was a member. The Rev. John Kelly Beard was a Unitarian minister in Manchester and a collection of hymns by him is dedicated "To the Manchester Meeting of Ministers". It contained a large number of original hymns. Bowring contributed 82, of which 33 were published for the first time.

Bowring's hymn in 'Spiritual Songs' is no. 490. "We cannot always trace the way"

This hymn is not included in 1894 (W. Kelly) or 1903 (T.H. Reynolds). It is included in 1856, 1881, 1928 and 1978. William Kelly refers to this hymn, no. 189 in G.V. Wigram's 1856 edition of the Little Flock hymn book as "the old unbelieving interpolation", and omitted it from his 1894 edition. See "Bible Treasury" February 1895 page 223, in the article "On Hymns", no iii). However, he included Henry Ware's hymn, "Maker of earth and heaven", although Henry Ware was a Unitarian.

Hymns by Sir John Bowring