Richard Mackenzie Bacon

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Richard Mackenzie Bacon (1775–1844) was an English Whig journalist, musician, and miscellaneous writer.


He was born at Norwich in or about 1775, and educated at the free school there. He became connected with the Norwich Mercury, one of the leading provincial Whig newspapers. opinion, in his eighteenth year. From 1816, when he took over from his father,[1] until his death, he was engaged in editing it, as principal proprietor.[2] He corresponded with the radical Edward Harbord, 3rd Baron Suffield.[3] In 1831 he wrote an open letter supporting a reform bill,[4] but he opposed dividing the Norfolk constituency.[5]

Bacon began as a printer. In partnership with John Gilbert and Francis Noverre (his brother-in-law)[6] from 1807, he installed a Fourdrinier machine to make paper at Taverham mill. The venture was unsuccessful, and the partnership was dissolved in 1812.[7] In 1813 Bacon and Bryan Donkin obtained a patent for improvements in printing, from types, from blocks, or plates. In the Norwich Mercury of 30 November 1814 is a prospectus of Bacon's printing machine, with an account of the progress it had then made. The invention was praised in the article "Printing" in Rees's Cyclopædia (1819).[2][8]

Bacon was also the proprietor and projector of the Quarterly Musical Magazine and Review, which he began to publish in London in 1818, and continued to edit to 1828.[9] It was mainly owing to his efforts that the Norwich Musical Festival was established. William Chappell remarked on his knowledge of traditional songs.[2]

Bacon died at Costessey, near Norwich, 27 November 1844.[2]


His main works are:[2]

  • Life of Pitt, Norwich, 1806.
  • Pamphlet relative to the Regular, the Militia, and the Volunteer Forces, in reply to the Right Hon. William Windham, Ipswich, 1806.
  • Independent Remarks on the Queen's Case, Norwich, 1820.
  • Reply to Mr. Cobbett, Norwich, 1822.
  • Address to the People on Stack-burning, 1822.
  • Elements of Vocal Science, being a philosophical inquiry into some of the principles of singing,'London, 1824.
  • Letter to Edward, Lord Suffield, upon the Distress of the Labourers and its Remedy, London and Norwich, 1831.
  • Letters to the Viscount Stormont and Sir James Scarlett, Knt., on the bribery and corruption practised at the Norwich election, London and Norwich, 1831.
  • A Memoir of the Life of Edward, third Baron Suffield, Norwich, 1838 (privately printed).
  • A Musical Dictionary, unpublished.


Bacon married Jane Louisa Noverre in 1797. She was the daughter of Augustine Noverre, a French dancer who came to England in 1775.[10] Of their children:


  1. ^ Laurel Brake; Marysa Demoor (2009). Dictionary of Nineteenth-Century Journalism in Great Britain and Ireland. Academia Press. p. 420. ISBN 978-90-382-1340-8. Retrieved 21 April 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d e  "Bacon, Richard Mackenzie". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900. 
  3. ^ Richard Mackenzie Bacon: correspondence and papers
  4. ^, Norwich Borough 1820–1832.
  5. ^, Norfolk County 1820–1832.
  6. ^, Francis Noverre arrives in Norwich.
  7. ^ Taverham Mill.
  8. ^ "A patent has recently been obtained by Messrs. Bacon and Donkin for a machine which they publicly exhibited before the university of Cambridge, and they are now making one for printing bibles and prayer-books at the university. We have examined their machine at work,. and found it to display so much mechanical ingenuity, and to produce such beautiful specimens of printing, with a rapidity un-equalled by any other means, that we have made a drawing of it."
  9. ^, The Quarterly Musical Review.
  10. ^ A brief history of the Norwich Philharmonic Society
  11. ^ Warrack, John. "Bacon, Richard Mackenzie". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/1006.  (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)

External links[edit]


 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain"Bacon, Richard Mackenzie". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.