BOYCE, William Binnington (1804-1889)


BOYCE, William Binnington (1804-1889)
scholar and clergyman
was born at Beverley, Yorkshire, England, on 9 November 1804. He entered the Wesleyan ministry and in 1830 was sent to South Africa with instructions to compile a grammar of the Kaffir language. He did this while working as a missionary and published it in 1834 under the title of A Grammar of the Kafir [Thus spelt in first edition.] Language. A second edition, A Grammar of the Kaffir Language augmented and improved with Vocabulary and Exercises by William J. Davis, was published in 1844, and a third in 1863. Boyce returned to England in 1843, had a church at Bolton for two years, and was then sent to Australia as general superintendent of the Wesleyan missions. He arrived at Sydney in January 1846, carried on his work vigorously, and was elected president of the first Wesleyan conference held in Australia. He published in 1849 A Brief Grammar of Modern Geography, For the Use of Schools. In 1850 he was appointed one of the first members of the senate of the university of Sydney and took a special interest in the formation of the university library. He resigned when he went to England in 1859 to become one of the general secretaries of foreign missions. He edited in 1874 a Memoir of the Rev. William Shaw, and in the same year appeared Statistics of Protestant Missionary Societies, 1872-3.
Boyce returned to Sydney in 1876 and took up church work again. He was a busy man, often doing much lecturing during the week and preaching three times on a Sunday. Yet he found time to do much literary work and brought out two important books, The Higher Criticism and the Bible, dated 1881, and an Introduction to the Study of History, which appeared in 1884. Early in 1885, at a dinner party in Sydney, he met J. A. Froude, who was much attracted to him (Oceania, p. 195). Working until the end, with his mind in full vigour, Boyce died suddenly at Sydney on 8 March 1889. He was married twice (1) to a daughter of James Bowden and (2) to a daughter of the Hon. George Allen and was survived by four daughters by the first marriage.
Boyce was a man of wide reading and encyclopaedic knowledge. His Grammar of the Kaffir Language had special value as it formed the basis on which much of the study of other South African languages was built. His volume on The Higher Criticism and the Bible, and his Introduction to the Study of History, were both excellent books of their period, and his organizing power was shown in his bringing the Wesleyan Church in Australia to the state when it could free itself from requiring help from the missionary society in England. Personally he was a man of much sagacity and kindness, with a vivacious interest in both the past and the present, and great powers of work.
A grandson, William Ralph Boyce Gibson (1869-1935), was professor of mental and moral philosophy at the university of Melbourne from 1911 to 1934 and was the author of several philosophical works. He was succeeded by his son, Alexander Boyce Gibson, born in 1900.
The Sydney Morning Herald, 9 March 1889; The British Museum Catalogue; The Melbourne University Calendar, 1936.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

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  • William Binnington Boyce — (9 November 1804 – 8 March 1889) was an English born philologist and clergyman, active in Australia. Early lifeBoyce was born at Beverley, Yorkshire, England, is mother s family were Wesleyans. Boyce studied commerce at Kingston upon Hull.cite… …   Wikipedia

  • Beverley — infobox UK place country = England official name = Beverley static static image caption = Beverley Minster static image 2 = static image 2 caption = Arms of Beverley Town Council latitude = 53.845 longitude = 0.427 population = 29,110 (2001… …   Wikipedia


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