John Bowring was a reformer, writer, traveller, linguist, political economist, and traveller from England. Between the years 1854 and 1859, he held the position of the 4th Governor of Hong Kong. He was well-known for his support of civil freedoms, free trade, and economics based on the laissez-faire philosophy. He was also an accomplished linguist, being fluent in more than a hundred different tongues.In the year 1792, Bowring was born in Exeter. First attending Exeter Grammar School and then moving on to University College London, he received his education. He started out his professional life as a journalist, penning articles for publications such as The Morning Chronicle and The Examiner. In addition to this, he authored a number of publications, the most notable of which are The History of the Reign of George III (1816) and The Origin and Growth of the English Constitution (1819).In the year 1820, Bowring wed Sarah Wilmot, and the couple would go on to produce four children together. The year after that, he won the election to represent Kilmarnock Burghs in the Parliament of Scotland. After that, he would go on to hold the position of Member of Parliament for a variety of different constituencies, such as Bolton (1826-1832) and Westminster (1832-1835).Bowring was given the position of British Consul in Canton (now known as Guangzhou) in the year 1833. After that, he held the positions of British Minister in Bangkok (1855–1856) and British Ambassador to China (1856–1858) during his career.As a result of his time spent in Asia, Bowring developed became a staunch supporter of free trade. In addition to this, he took an interest in the various languages and cultures of the area. He is claimed to have mastered more than one hundred languages, some of which include Chinese, Thai, Lao, Vietnamese, and Burmese.It was in the year 1854 when Bowring was given the position of Governor of Hong Kong. He held this position until 1859, when it was taken over by Sir Hercules Robinson, who had been his successor.During the period that Bowring served as Governor of Hong Kong, a number of significant changes were made to the legal system. These changes included the elimination of the death sentence, the implementation of jury trials, and the creation of the Hong Kong Observatory. Additionally, he was in charge of supervising the building of a variety of public works, one of which being the Victoria Harbour.Following his departure from Hong Kong, Bowring travelled all the way back to England. He continued to write and agitate on a wide range of causes, such as international peace, jail reform, and the rights of women. He passed away in the year 1872, when he was 80 years old.