Joshua Bates (financier)

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See also: Joshua Bates

for the clergyman and educator and Joshua Hall Bates for the American Civil War general.

Joshua Bates daguerreotype, circa 1850

Joshua Bates (1788–1864) was an international financier who divided his life between the United States and the United Kingdom.


Bates was born in Commercial St., Weymouth, Massachusetts. Early in his career he worked for William Gray, owner of Gray's Wharf in Charlestown.[1] A merchant and a banker, in 1828 Bates became associated with the great house of Baring Brothers & Co. of London, of which he eventually became the senior partner. He was arbitrator of the commission convened in 1853 to settle the claims of American citizens arising from the War of 1812.

In 1852 he founded the Boston Public Library by giving $50,000 for that purpose, with the provision that the interest of the money should be expended for books of permanent value, and that the city should make adequate provision for at least 100 readers. He afterward gave 30,000 volumes to the institution, the main hall ("Bates Hall") of which is named after him.

Bates married Lucretia Augusta Sturgis (1787 - 1863); she was the first cousin of Captain William F. Sturgis and of Nathaniel Russell Sturgis, both of Boston. Their daughter Elizabeth Bates married Belgian Prime Minister Sylvain Van de Weyer; their daughter Eleanor Van de Weyer married Reginald Baliol Brett, 2nd Viscount Esher; and their daughter, Sylvia Brett, married Charles Vyner de Windt Brooke, and became the last Rani of Sarawak. Another Bates' granddaughter, Alice Emma Sturgis van de Weyer, married the Hon. Charles Brand (4th son of Mr. Speaker Brand).

Bates was prominent among expatriate Americans in London in the years before and during the Civil War, including diplomats Charles Francis and Henry Adams, and was active in support of the Union cause.[2] As a patron of the arts he commissioned canvases from Thomas Cole, including a nostalgic view of Boston,[3] for his house in Portland Place. The house he built for his daughter and son-in-law, New Place, was near Windsor. As the representative of her uncle Leopold I of Belgium, also a close relative of Albert of Saxe Coburg Gotha, Sylvain and his charming American wife were popular with Victoria and her court.

Image gallery[edit]

Part of a portrait of Bates, by an unknown artist, 1820s.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Timothy Thompson Sawyer. Old Charlestown: historical, biographical, reminiscent. J.H. West Co., 1902
  2. ^ Persuading John Bull: Union and Confederate Propaganda in Britain, 1860–65 By Thomas E. Sebrell, page 110
  3. ^ Boston Beheld: Antique Town and Country Views By D. Brenton Simons



By Thomas E. Sebrell, page 110

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