Bowring, Sir John (Exeter, England 17 October 1792 - Claremont, England, 23 November 1872) – English linguist, political economist, diplomat, reformer, hymn writer, and editor. Between 1832 and 1849 he was a member of the British House of Commons. He went to China and was English Consul in Canton; then became Governor of Hong Kong. He visited the Philippines and Java; in Siam (Thailand) he was engaged in commercial negotiations. During his eventful life he traveled practically all over Europe. He had a special talent for languages. According to The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Languages, he spoke 100 languages and could read at least 100 more. He translated a vast amount of poetry and the folklore of almost every European country. Among many other works he published Specimens of Russian Poets (1820); Ancient Poetry and the Romance of Spain (1824); Sketch of the Language and Literature of Holland (1829); Poetry of the Magyars (1830), and Cheskian (Czech) Anthology (1832). He spoke, wrote and read the Hungarian language correctly. A review sketch of “The Language and Literature of Hungary and Transylvania” preceded his “Poetry of the Magyars”. At the end of his essays on the Hungarian language he included excerpts from Hungarian literature, both in the original and in his own excellent English translation. He refers to some writers whom Hungarian history does not mention. One lengthy essay contains 95 Hungarian folk songs in the original, and in English translation. In the introductory essay he outlined the nation’s history, the structure of the Hungarian language and its beautiful system of sounds. He even translated Petőfi’s poems from German: Translation of Alexander Petőfi, the Magyar Poet (London, 1830). On several occasions, because of the restrictions imposed by the Habsburg absolutism, a Hungarian writer’s work appeared earlier in English in England than in Hungarian in Hungary. In 1829 he was awarded an LL.D. by the University of Groningen, Holland. – B: 0881, 1257, T: 7669.→Hungarian Language, Opinion on.