Baring

Baring (bârˈĭng) [key], British family of bankers. Sir Francis Baring (1740–1810) founded (1763) the John and Francis Baring Company, which he renamed Baring Brothers and Company in 1806. At first the firm acted as import and export agents for others, but it soon became an independent merchant bank. Sir Francis, a close associate of William Pitt the Younger, helped finance the Napoleonic Wars and underwrote marine insurance. He was succeeded by his son Alexander Baring (later 1st baron Ashburton; 1774–1848), who was a pioneer in the financing of United States trade. He was (1834) president of the Board of Trade in the first administration of Sir Robert Peel and was raised to the peerage in 1835. He was the British commissioner sent to the United States in 1842 to negotiate the Webster-Ashburton Treaty. The family continued to manage the firm and by 1890 its importance to the British government was such that the Bank of England guaranteed their debts to save them from bankruptcy when Argentina defaulted (1890) on bond payments. Members of the Baring family were also notable public servants. The more important members of the family include Thomas George Baring, 1st earl of Northbrook (1826–1904), a Liberal statesman who served as a successful viceroy of India (1872–76); Evelyn Baring, 1st earl of Cromer; Maurice Baring (1874–1945), author; and George Rowland Stanley Baring, 3d earl of Cromer (1918–91), governor of the Bank of England (1961–66) and ambassador to the United States (1971–74).

See R. W. Hidy, The House of Baring in American Trade and Finance, 1763–1861 (1949).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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