Bewley, William (DNB00)

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Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 04
Bewley, William

by Thomas Whittaker
The initials T. W. are apparently an error for T. W.-r. as the contributor listing for this volume only indicates this set for this volume.

BEWLEY, WILLIAM (d. 1788), friend of Dr. Burney, was a native of Massingham, in Norfolk, where he practised medicine. He- made for himself some scientific reputation, and was a friend of Priestley, whom he once visited at Birmingham. But it is through his friendship with Dr. Burney that his name has been preserved. He is spoken of more than once in Madame d'Arblay's 'Memoirs of her Father.' We are told that on account of the simplicity of his life and the nature of his pursuits he was known as 'the philosopher of Massingham,' and that he was as remarkable for his wit and conversational powers as for the extent of his knowledge of science and literature. He died at Dr. Burney's house in St. Martin's Street, Leicester Square, on 5 Sept. 1783. An obituary notice of him was written by Dr. Burney' for the Norwich newspaper,' and is given in Madame d'Arblay's 'Memoirs.' It is here said that 'Mr. Bewley for more than twenty years supplied the editor of the "Monthly Review" with an examination of innumerable works in science and articles of foreign literature, written with a force, spirit, candour, and — when the subject afforded opportunity — humour, not often found in critical discussions.'

[Madame d'Arblay's Memoirs of Dr. Barney, i. 105, 265, ii. 347; Gent. Mag. for 1783, ii. 805.]

T. W.