Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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DE BOW, James Dunwoody Brownson (debo'), statistician, born in Charleston, South Carolina, 10 July 1820; died in Elizabeth, New Jersey, 27 February 1867. He was employed in a commercial house for seven years, was graduated at Charleston College in 1843, and in the following year was admitted to the bar. He had a predilection for statistical science and literature, and before adopting the legal profession was a contributor to the "Southern Quarterly Review," of which he became editor in 1844. His elaborate article on "Oregon and the Oregon Question" attracted wide attention in the United States and Europe, appeared in French, and was the occasion of a debate in the French chamber of deputies. In 1845 Mr. De Bow withdrew from its editorship and removed to New Orleans, where "De Bow's Commercial Review" was established by him, and attained immediate success. In 1848 he became professor of political economy and commercial statistics in the University of Louisiana, and was one of the founders of the Louisiana historical society, since merged into the Academy of science. He left the University about 1850 to assume charge of the census bureau of Louisiana, holding the office three years, during which time he collected a vast mass of statistical matter relating to the population and products of the state, and the commerce of New Orleans. President Pierce appointed him superintendent of the census in 1853, and he performed the duties of this office two years, continuing to edit his "Review."
He devoted himself almost wholly to political economy, writing extensively on commercial statistics and finance, and contributing articles on American topics to the eighth edition of the " Encyclopaedia Britannica." He delivered various addresses before literary, agricultural, and commercial associations. Apart from his literary pursuits he was one of the most industrious men of his time, and, notwithstanding his delicate organization and frequent ill health, his public lecturing and executive duties were apparently unabated. He was active in enterprises for the material and intellectual interests of the south, and was a member of every southern commercial convention subsequent to that of Memphis in 1845, and was president of the Knoxville convention of 1857. During the civil war his "Review" was necessarily suspended, though his voice and pen were employed in advocacy of the Confederacy, previous to which he had uttered bitter denunciations against the northern states and their institutions. After the overthrow of the Confederacy his views changed, he admitted the superiority of the free labor system of the northwest to the slave labor system of the south, and urged the legislatures of the southern states to encourage immigration. His "Review" was first resumed in New York City, and subsequently in Nashville, Tenn. He was author of an "Encyclopedia of the Trade and Commerce of the United States" (2 vols., 1853), and " The Industrial Resources and Statistics of the Southwest," compiled from his "Review" (3 vols., New York, 1853). He collected and prepared for the press, in 1854, a greater part of the material for the three volumes of the quarto edition, and compiled the octavo volume entitled "Statistical View of the United States," being a compendium of the Seventh Census (that of 1850), of which 150,000 copies were ordered by congress (Washington, 1854). He was also author of "The Southern States, their Agriculture, Commerce, etc." (1856), and edited a work on mortality statistics.
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