Men of the Time, eleventh edition/Blewitt, Octavian
BLEWITT, Octavian, was born Oct. 3, 1810, in St. Helen's Place, Bishopsgate, London, where his father was settled as a merchant. Entering the medical profession, he served the usual five years' apprenticeship, partly to his uncle, Mr. Dryden, assistant-surgeon of Devonport Dockyard, and partly to Mr. Pollard of Torquay. At the close of the year 1833 he came to London, where he continued his medical studies in the Infirmary of St. George's, Hanover Square, and spent much of his time in the house of Sir James Clark, acting as tutor in classics to the son of that eminent physician, and assisting him in preparing for the press his work on "Phthisis." Mr. Blewitt afterwards visited the island of Madeira with a patient, remained at Funchal for eight months, and subsequently travelled much in Italy, Egypt, Greece, Turkey, and other countries. In March, 1839, he was elected Secretary of the Royal Literary Fund, which office he still continues to hold. During his secretaryship the institution has largely extended the sphere of its operations and attained a thoroughly safe and assured position. Mr. Blewitt spent many years in arranging the papers, literary, financial, and historical, which constituted the records of the association; and these documents, when classified, were stitched into covers so as to be read like a book, and are now preserved in 130 folio boxes. In 1872 the King of the Belgians presided over the anniversary of the Literary Fund, and testified his sense of Mr. Blewitt's services by creating him a Knight of the Order of Leopold. The earliest of Mr. Blewitt's numerous contributions to literature was the "Panorama of Torquay," 1828, which was so successful that the impression was speedily exhausted; and a second and enlarged edition, professing to be "A Descriptive and Historical Sketch of the District comprised between the Dart and Teign," was published in 1832, and was so well received by the public and the press, that one of the leading medical journals described it as "the first attempt which had been made to combine science with topography." His other works include:—"Treatise on the Happiness arising from the exercise of the Christian Faith;" the preface to Glynn's "Autograph Portfolio;" "Handbook for Central Italy and Rome," 1843, 2nd edit. 1845, being one of Murray's guidebooks; and the "Handbook for Southern Italy and Naples," 1853, another volume of the same series. For 29 years he edited the newspaper portion of the Gardeners' Chronicle, and he has contributed articles to the Quarterly Review, Fraser's Magazine, the St. Paul's Magazine, and other periodicals. In 1846 he married the widow of Lieutenant Howard, R.N., second daughter of Mr. David E. Williams, third son of Mr. Justice Williams, the last Royalist judge of South Carolina, and grandson of Sir John Williams, Bart., of Edwinsford, Carmarthenshire. Mrs. Blewitt is herself an author, her first work having been a small collection of poems, privately printed; and her second a fairy tale, entitled "The Rose and the Lily, and how they became the Emblems of England and France."