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Alexander Baring, Lord Ashburton

Alexander Baring, 1st Baron Ashburton (October 1774 - May 13, 1848), English politician and financier, 2nd son of Sir Francis Baring (the founder of the house of Baring Brothers & Co.) and of Harriet, daughter of William Herring, was brought up in his father's business.

He was sent by the latter to the United States; married Anne, daughter of William Bingham, of Philadelphia, and formed wide connections with American houses. In 1810, by his father's will, he became head of the firm.

He sat in parliament for Taunton (1806-1826), Callington (1826-1831), Thetford (1831-2), North Essex (1832-1835). He regarded politics from the point of view of the business man, opposed the orders in council, "the restrictions on trade with the United States in 1812," in 1826 the act for the suppression of small bank-notes. He was a strong antagonist of 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."

He was master of the mint in in Robert Peel's government, and on the latter's retirement was created Baron Ashburton on April 10, 1835, taking the title previously held by John Dunning. In 1842 he was despatched to America, and the same year concluded the Ashburton or 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 on persuade other powers to close all slave markets within their territories. Despite his earlier attitude, Lord Ashburton disapproved of Peel's free-trade projects, and opposed the Bank Ih farter Act of 1844.

He 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).

This entry was originally from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.

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