Dixon, William Hepworth

Dixon, William Hepworth
   Historian and traveller, b. near Manchester, went to London in 1846, and became connected with The Daily News, for which he wrote articles on social and prison reform. In 1850 he pub. John Howard and the Prison World of Europe, which had a wide circulation, and about the same time he wrote a Life of Peace (1851), in answer to Macaulay's onslaught. Lives of Admiral Blake and Lord Bacon followed, which received somewhat severe criticisms at the hands of competent authorities. D. was ed. of The Athenæum, 1853-69, and wrote many books of travel, including The Holy Land (1865), New America (1867), and Free Russia (1870). His later historical works include Her Majesty's Tower, and The History of Two Queens (Catherine of Arragon and Anne Boleyn). Though a diligent student of original authorities, and sometimes successful in throwing fresh light on his subjects, D. was not always accurate, and thus laid himself open to criticism; and his book, Spiritual Wives, treating of Mormonism, was so adversely criticised as to lead to an action. He wrote, however, in a fresh and interesting style. He was one of the founders of the Palestine Exploration Fund, and was a member of the first School Board for London (1870). He was called to the Bar in 1854, but never practised.

Short biographical dictionary of English literature . . 2011.

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