OWENS, JOHN (1790-1846), English merchant, was born at Manchester in 1790, the son of a prosperous merchant. Early in life he became a partner in his father's business and was soon noted for his ability as a cotton buyer. His business prospered, and the firm traded with China, India, South America and the United States, dealing in many other commodities. His large fortune he suggested leaving to his friend and partner George Faulkner (1790-1860), already a rich man. But by the latter's advice he bequeathed it to trustees for the foundation of a college (Owens College, Manchester, opened 1851, now part of Victoria University), based upon his own ideas of education. He died in Manchester on the 29th of July 1846. His bequests to friends and charities amounted to some £52,000, while for the college he left £96,654. Among the conditions for its foundation the most important was that which discountenanced any sort of religious test for students or teachers.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)