Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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BOWDOIN, James, statesman, born in Boston, 8 August 1727; died there, 6 November 1790. He was a grandson of Pierre Baudouin, a French Huguenot who fled to Ireland on the revocation of the edict of Nantes, came to Portland in 1687, and removed to Boston in 1690. James Bowdoin was graduated at Harvard in1745, and on 8 September 1747, the death of his father, an eminent merchant, left him with a large fortune. When twenty-four years old, he visited Benjamin Franklin, who communicated to him his papers on electricity, and with whom Bowdoin frequently corresponded after this° In one of his letters Bowdoin suggested the theory, since generally accepted, that the phosphorescence of the sea, under certain conditions, is due to the presence of minute animals. Afterward, Franklin read Bowdoin's letters before the royal society of London, and they were published with some of his own researches. From 1753 till 1756 Bowdoin was a member of the Massachusetts general court, and in 1756 became councilor. In this position he was prominent in opposing the royal governors by his writings and otherwise. In 1769, when he was again chosen to the council, he was negative by Governor Bernard, and was immediately elected by the Bostonians to the assembly. Hutchinson, however, on becoming governor in 1770, permitted him to sit in the council, thinking that his opposition would be less dangerous there than in the House of Representatives. Failing health prevented him from attending the continental congress, to which he was elected in 1774; but in 1775 he was chosen president of the Massachusetts council, and in 1779 presided over the state constitutional convention. hi 1785 and 1786 he was governor of his state, and by his decisive measures put down Shays's rebellion, ordering out 4,000 militia and heading a subscription to pay their expenses, which the public treasury could not meet. His vigor in suppressing this rebellion was probably the cause of his defeat in 1787, when he was succeeded by Hancock. In 1788 he was a member of the convention that adopted the federal constitution. Although Bowdoin suffered many years from consumption, which was finally the cause of his death, he was always vigorous in public affairs. He was one of the founders, and first president, of the American academy of arts and sciences, and left it his valuable library. He also aided in founding the Massachusetts humane society, and in 1779 was made a fellow of Harvard College, to which he left £400. He was given the degree of LL.D. by the University of Edinburgh, and was a fellow of the royal societies of London and Edinburgh. He published a poetical paraphrase of Dodsley's "Economy of Human Life" (1759) and an address delivered before the American academy, when he became its president (1780). Several of his papers appear in the memoirs of the society, among which is one whose object is to prove that the sky is a real concave body enclosing our system, and that the Milky Way is an opening in this, through which the light of other systems reaches us. Bowdoin also wrote two Latin epigrams and an English poem for the "Pietas et Gratulatio," a volume of poems published by Harvard College on the accession of George III. Bowdoin College was named in his honor. See Robert C° Winthrop's addresses (Boston, 1852).*His son, James, philanthropist, born 22 September 1752 ; died on Naushon island, Buzzard's bay, Massachusetts, 11 October 1811. After his graduation at Harvard in 1771 he spent a year in the University of Oxford, studying law. and traveled in Italy, Holland, and England. tie returned to this country when the news of the battle of Lexington reached him, and wished to enter the army, but was dissuaded by his father, lie became successively a member of the assembly, the state senate, and the state council, and in 1789 was a delegate to the state constitutional convention. During this time he also devoted much time to literary pursuits. He was appointed minister to Spain in November 1804, and went to Madrid in May 1805. In March 1806, with General John Armstrong, of New York, he was appointed commissioner to treat with Spain concerning " territories, wrongful captures, condemnations, and other injuries." The negotiations, which were carried on in Paris, were broken off in 1808. On the foundation of Bowdoin College, he gave it 6,000 acres of land and £1,100, and at his death left the institution an extensive library, and collections of minerals, philosophical apparatus, and paintings, all of which he had purchased during his stay in Paris. He also bequeathed to the College the reversion of Naushon island, which had been his favorite residence° He published a translation of Daubenton's "Advice to Shepherds," and anonymously, "Opinions respecting the Commercial Intercourse between the United States and Great Britain." Part of his estate was left to his nephew, JAMES BOWDOIN WINTHROP (b. in 1795; died in 1833), who afterward dropped the "Winthrop" from his name. He was graduated at Bowdoin in 1814, and did valuable work in connection with the Massachusetts historical society. BOWELL, Mackenzie, Canadian journalist, born at Rickinghall, Suffolk, England, 27 December 1823. fie came to Canada with his family in 1833, was educated at a common school and in the printing-office of the Belleville "Inteiligencer," of which he subsequently became editor and proprietor. He was first returned to parliament for the county of North Hastings in 1867, was re-elected in 1872, in 1874, and at the last general election in 1878, and sworn in of the privy council, and as minister of customs, 19 October 1878. Mr. Bowell was a major, 49th battalion of volunteer rifles, and served upon the frontier during the American civil war, 1864, and during the Fenian troubles, lie was a president of the Grand Junction railway, vice-president of the agricultural and arts association of Ontario, and chairman of the government school-board for a number of years. He is a conservative in politics, and in April 1874, moved the resolution for the expulsion of Louis Riel from the house of commons, to which he had been elected, which resolution was carried.Edited Appletons Encyclopedia, Copyright © 2001 VirtualologyTM