Francis Baring

(1740—1810) merchant and merchant banker

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Francis Thornhill Baring (1796—1866) politician


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Baring was born at Larkbear, near Exeter in Devon, on 18 April 1740, and died at Lee, Kent on 11 September 1810. His father John Baring, himself the son of a Lutheran pastor, had emigrated from Hamburg to Britain and settled at Larkbear, where he had founded a cloth manufacturing business. Despite having been rendered deaf by a childhood illness, Francis Baring exhibited a remarkable aptitude for business, first with the Anglo-German merchant house of Boehm, where he served an apprenticeship, and then in business on his own account. In partnership with his brother John, Baring founded the import-export business John and Francis Baring in 1763 while he was still in his early twenties (the name was changed to Baring Brothers in 1806). This firm prospered and soon became involved in banking activities as well. In 1784 Baring entered parliament as MP for High Wycombe, taking the seat left vacant by the resignation of Admiral Sir John Jervis, and represented that constituency until 1790. From 1794–6 and 1802–6 he represented Chipping Wycombe, and from 1796–1796 held the seat for Calne. Shrewdly gauging the direction of the political wind, Baring became close to William Pitt the Younger, and used his political connections to great effect in furthering his business.


From The Biographical Dictionary of British Economists in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Economics.

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