John Bowring

BOWRING, (Sir) John. b. Exeter, Devon, 17 October 1792; d. Exeter, 23 November 1872. He was educated at school in Exeter at an evening school run by the Unitarian divine, Dr Lant Carpenter. On leaving school he entered a business engaged in foreign trade, where he met many travellers and laid the foundations of his truly extraordinary linguistic acquisition, learning French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, German and Dutch. He later became proficient in Swedish, Russian, Danish, Serbian, Polish and Bohemian, and studied Hungarian, Arabic and Chinese. In 1811 he moved to London to work for Milford and Company, which supplied the Duke of Wellington’s army and sent him to be an agent in Portugal...

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