Dictionary of National Biography, 1901 supplement/Brewer, Ebenezer Cobham

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BREWER, EBENEZER COBHAM (1810–1897), miscellaneous writer, second son of John Sherren Brewer [q. v.], was born on 2 May 1810, in Russell Square, London, and educated by private tutors. He proceeded to Trinity Hall, Cambridge, in 1832, obtained the freshmen's prizes for Latin and English essays, was first prizeman in the next two years, and, though strongly advised to go out in mathematics, took his degree in the civil law (first class) in 1835. He was ordained deacon in 1834, priest in 1836, proceeded to the degree of LL.D. in 1840, and devoted himself to literature. For six years, from 1852, he resided in Paris. On his return to England he resided for a time in Bernard Street, Russell Square, and then moved to St. Luke's Villas, Westbourne Park. Failing health compelled him to retire into the country, and he lived for many years at Lavant, near Goodwood. He died on 6 March 1897 at Edwinstowe vicarage, Newark, where he had been residing with his son-in-law, the Rev. H. T. Hayman. In 1856 he married at Paris Ellen Mary, eldest daughter of the Rev. Francis Tebbutt of Hove.

His principal works are: 1. ‘A Guide to the Scientific Knowledge of Things Familiar,’ 2nd edit. London [1848], 24mo; 11th edit. [1857] 8vo. A French edition of this popular ‘Guide to Knowledge’ appeared under the title of ‘La Clef de la Science, ou les Phénomènes de tous les jours expliqués. Troisième édition, corrigée par M. l'Abbé Moigno,’ Paris, 1858, 12mo. A Greek translation by P. I. Kritides was published at Smyrna in 1857, 8vo. 2. ‘A Political, Social, and Literary History of France,’ London [1863], 8vo. 3. ‘Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, giving the Derivation, Source, or Origin of Common Phrases,’ London [1870], 8vo; 3rd edit. [1872-3]; 12th edit, revised [1881]; enlarged, 100th thousand, 1895. 4. ‘Errors of Speech and of Spelling,’ 2 vols. London, 1877, 8vo. 5. ‘The Reader's Handbook of Allusions, References, Plots, and Stories,’ London, 1880, 8vo; 3rd edit. 1882; new edit. revised throughout and greatly enlarged, London, 1898, 8vo. 6. ‘A Political, Social, and Literary History of Germany,’ London, 1881, 8vo. 7. ‘Etymological and Pronouncing Dictionary of Difficult Words,' London [1882], 8vo. 8. 'A Dictionary of Miracles, Imitative, Realistic, and Dogmatic,' London, 1884, 8vo. 9. 'The Historic Note-book, with, an Appendix of Battles,' London, 1891, 8vo.

[Men of the Time, 1884; Times, 8 March 1897, p. 11, col. 6; Ann. Reg. 1897, Chron. p. 147.]

T. C.