Bowdler, John (1783-1815) (DNB00)

BOWDLER, JOHN, the younger (1783–1815), author, younger son of John Bowdler the elder [q. v.], was born in London on 2 Feb. 1783. He was educated at Winchester, and in 1798 was placed in a London solicitor's office. He was called to the bar at Lincoln's Inn in 1807, made some progress in his profession, and attracted the notice of Lord-chancellor Eldon. But in 1810 signs of consumption appeared, and he spent the two following years in the south of Europe. In May 1812 he returned to England and lived with an aunt near Portsmouth. But his health was not restored, and he died 1 Feb. 1815. According to the testimonies of his father and brother Charles, John was in every way an exemplary character. He engaged in literary pursuits during his illness, and his father published in 1816 his 'Select Pieces in Prose and Verse' (2 vols.) The book contained a full memoir and the journal kept by Bowdler during his foreign tour of 1810-1812. Wide reading in current English philosophy is exhibited in a long sympathetic exposition of Dugald Stewart's philosophical theories, but the other essays and the poems are religious rhapsodies of no literary merit. The book was reprinted in 1817, 1818, 1819, and 1820. Selections from the religious portions of it appeared in 1821 and 1823, and in 1857 the author's brother Charles reissued a part of it under the title of 'The Religion of the Heart, as exemplified in the Life and Writings of John Bowdler.' This edition includes a new biographical preface and much hitherto unpublished correspondence.

[The editions of Bowdler's works of 1816 and 1857.]

S. L.