Alexander Baring, 1st Baron Ashburton
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|The Right Honourable
The Lord Ashburton
|President of the Board of Trade|
15 December 1834 – 8 April 1835
|Prime Minister||Sir Robert Peel, Bt|
|Preceded by||Charles Poulett Thomson|
|Succeeded by||Charles Poulett Thomson|
|Master of the Mint|
23 December 1834 – 8 April 1835
|Prime Minister||Sir Robert Peel, Bt|
|Preceded by||Hon. James Abercromby|
|Succeeded by||Henry Labouchere|
|Born||27 October 1774|
|Died||12 May 1848 (aged 73)
|Spouse(s)||Anne Louisa Bingham
Alexander Baring, 1st Baron Ashburton PC (27 October 1774 – 12 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.
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.
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).
- Bingham Baring, 2nd Baron Ashburton (1799–1864)
- Francis Baring, 3rd Baron Ashburton (1800–1868)
- Hon. Harriet Baring (3 May 1804 – 2 January 1892), married Henry Thynne, 3rd Marquess of Bath
- Hon. Rev. Frederick Baring (31 January 1806 – 4 June 1868), married on 24 April 1831 Frederica Ashton and had issue
- Hon. Anne Eugenia Baring (d. 8 March 1839), married Humphrey St John-Mildmay
- Alexander Baring (2 May 1810 – 12 March 1832)
- Hon. Arthur Baring (8 October 1818 – 16 February 1838)
- Hon. Louisa Emily Baring (d. 23 March 1888)
- Hon. Lydia Emily Baring (d. 28 December 1868)
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).
- "Baring pedigree". Archived from the original on 5 January 2007. Retrieved 2007-01-22.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Ashburton, Alexander Baring". Encyclopædia Britannica. 2 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Alexander Baring