Men of the Time, eleventh edition/Bennett, William Cox
BENNETT, William Cox, LL.D., the son of Mr. John Bennett, watchmaker, of Greenwich, where he was born in 1820, was educated at a school in his native town, from which, on account of his father's death, he was removed at the age of fourteen to assist his mother in the business. Whilst still a youth, he took an active part in the formation of a literary institution on the most popular basis, which has above 1,200 members, and in connection with which he has formed a library consisting of above 12,000 volumes. He has likewise been instrumental in establishing at Greenwich cheap baths and wash-houses, a large proprietary school, and other popular institutions. He acted as Honorary Auditor of the Association for the Repeal of the Taxes on Knowledge, till that great reform was effected. He has taken an active part in all the agitations for the education of the people during the past thirty years; is the Hon. Sec. to the Greenwich branch of the National Education League, and a member of the London Council. Dr. Bennett printed volumes of poetry privately in 1843 and 1845. After this, he contributed poems to various periodicals, and published several volumes. Perhaps best known as a song-writer, Dr. Bennett has published, amongst other works, "Poems," 1850; "Verdicts," 1852; "Roan's School: a Chapter in the Educational History of England," which secured the reform of a large endowed school at Greenwich, and threw it open to the children of all the inhabitants, irrespective of their religious beliefs; "War Songs," 1855; "Queen Eleanor's Vengeance, and other Poems," 1857; "Songs, by a Song-Writer," 1859; "Baby May, and other Poems on Infants," 1861, 1st and 2nd editions; "The Worn Wedding Ring," &c., 1861; "The Politics of the People," Parts I. and II.; "Our Glory Roll, National Poems," 1866; "Proposals for Contributions to a Ballad History of England," 1867. A collected edition of his poems appeared in 1862, in "Routledge's British Poets." Dr. Bennett is a practised political writer, and was attached to the staff of the Weekly Dispatch, during the years 1868–9–70, contributing leaders, essays, reviews, and fine-art criticisms. He acted as Secretary to the Refugees' Benevolent Fund during the continuance of the Franco-Prussian War. He has been for several years engaged on a "Ballad and Song History of England, and of the States sprung from Her." He has also ready for press his "Recollections of the late Miss Mitford, with Selections from her Correspondence." The University of Tusculum conferred on him the degree of LL.D. in 1869.