Alexander Baring, 1st Baron Ashburton

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The Right Honourable
The Lord Ashburton
PC
AlexanderBaring.jpg
President of the Board of Trade
In office
15 December 1834 – 8 April 1835
Monarch William IV
Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel, Bt
Preceded by Charles Poulett Thomson
Succeeded by Charles Poulett Thomson
Master of the Mint
In office
23 December 1834 – 8 April 1835
Monarch William IV
Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel, Bt
Preceded by Hon. James Abercromby
Succeeded by Henry Labouchere
Personal details
Born 27 October 1774 (1774-10-27)
Died 13 May 1848 (1848-05-14)
Longleat, Wiltshire
Nationality British
Political party Tory
Spouse(s) Anne Louisa Bingham
(d. 1848)

Alexander Baring, 1st Baron Ashburton PC (27 October 1774 – 13 May 1848) was a British politician and financier, and a member of the Baring family. Baring was the second son of Sir Francis Baring, 1st Baronet, and of Harriet, daughter of William Herring. His grandfather, John Baring (1697–1748), emigrated from Germany and established the family in England.

Business career[edit]

Alexander was brought up in his father's business, and became a partner at Hope & Co. He was sent to the United States for various land deals, and formed wide connections with American houses. In 1807 Alexander became a partner in the family firm, along with his brothers Thomas and Henry, and the name was changed to Baring Brothers & Co. When Henry Hope died in 1811, the London offices of Hope & Co. merged with Baring Brothers & Co.

Political career[edit]

Baring sat in parliament for Taunton between 1806 and 1826, for Callington between 1826 and 1831, for Thetford between 1831 and 1832 and North Essex between 1832 and 1835. He regarded politics from the point of view of the business man and opposed the orders-in-council for "the restrictions on trade with the United States in 1812," and, in 1826, the act for the suppression of small banknotes as well as other reform. He accepted the post Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Duke of Wellington's projected ministry of 1832; but afterwards, alarmed at the men in parliament, declared "he would face a thousand devils rather than such a House of Commons."

Baring was Master of the Mint in Robert Peel's government and, on Peel's retirement, was created Baron Ashburton on 10 April 1835, a title previously held by John Dunning, 1st Baron Ashburton. In 1842 he was again sent to America, and the same year concluded the Webster-Ashburton Treaty. A compromise was settled concerning the north-east boundary of Maine, the extradition of certain criminals was arranged, each state agreed to maintain a squadron of at least eighty guns on the coast of Africa for the suppression of the slave trade, and the two governments agreed to unite in an effort to persuade other powers to close all slave markets within their territories. Despite his earlier attitude, Lord Ashburton disapproved of Peel's free trade and opposed the Bank Charter Act of 1844.

Ashburton was a trustee of the British Museum and of the National Gallery, a privy councillor and D.C.L. He published, besides several speeches, An Enquiry into the Causes and Consequences of ... Orders in Council (1808), and The Financial and Commercial Crisis Considered (1847).

Family[edit]

Ashburton married Anne Louisa, daughter of the American statesman William Bingham, of Philadelphia, on 23 August 1798. They had nine children:

Quotes[edit]

Of this great mercantile family the Duc de Richelieu wittily remarked; "There are six main powers in Europe; Britain, France, Austria-Hungary, Russia, Prussia and Baring-Brothers!" (Vicary Gibbs, from the "Complete Peerage" 1910).

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
William Morland
John Hammet
Member of Parliament for Taunton
18061826
With: John Hammet 1806–1811
Henry Powell Collins 1812–1818, 1819–1820
Sir William Burroughs, Bt 1818–1819
John Ashley Warre 1820–1826
Succeeded by
Henry Seymour
William Peachey
Preceded by
Edward Pyndar Lygon
Sir Christopher Robinson
Member of Parliament for Callington
18261831
With: Matthias Attwood 1826–1830
Bingham Baring 1830–1831
Succeeded by
Henry Bingham Baring
Edward Charles Hugh Herbert
Preceded by
Lord James FitzRoy
Francis Baring
Member of Parliament for Thetford
18311832
With: Lord James FitzRoy
Succeeded by
Lord James FitzRoy
Francis Baring
New constituency Member of Parliament for North Essex
18321835
With: Sir John Tyrell, Bt
Succeeded by
Sir John Tyrell, Bt
John Payne Elwes
Political offices
Preceded by
Charles Poulett Thomson
President of the Board of Trade
1834–1835
Succeeded by
Charles Poulett Thomson
Preceded by
James Abercromby
Master of the Mint
1834–1835
Succeeded by
Henry Labouchere
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
New Creation
Baron Ashburton
1835–1848
Succeeded by
Bingham Baring