Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 03.djvu/18

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Baker
Baker
12

Astrologie for to prognosticate of things to come by the help of the same Ephemerides, with a treatise added hereunto touching the conjunction of the Planets and of their Prognostications,' &c. Among the prognostications are such as these: 'If the moon be in conjunction with Jupiter, it is good to let blood,' 'If Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, and the moon be found conjoined in the sign of Leo, men shall be grieved with pains of the stomach.'

[Baker's Wellspring of Sciences, 1574 and ed. Phillippes, 1670; Tanners Bibl. Brit.]

P. B. A.

BAKER, Sir JOHN (d. 1558), chancellor of the exchequer, is said to have been of a Kentish family; but, as Lodge says, 'his pedigree at the College of Arms begins with his own name' (Illust. of English History, 2nd edition, i. 60). He was bred for the law. In 1526 he was joined with Henry Standish, bishop of St. Asaph, in an embassy sent to Denmark. Not long afterwards he was elected speaker of the House of Commons, and subsequently appointed attorney-general and a member of the privy council. In 1545 he was made chancellor of the exchequer. Lodge states that Baker was distinguished by being the only privy councillor who refused to put his name to the 'Device for the Succession,' which Edward VI drew up when on his death-bed, and which was designed to exclude the princesses Mary and Elizabeth from the succession. This statement is refuted by the fact that Baker's name appears at the foot both of this document and of the 'Letters patent for the limitation of the Crown' which were subsequently issued (see the publication of both by Mr. J. G. Nichols in his Queen Jane and Queen Mary, Camden Soc.). Baker continued in his office until his death in December 1558. Almost his last employment in the service of the state was upon a commission appointed in March 1558 to see to the defences of the country. He married Elizabeth, daughter and heir of Thomas Dinely, and widow of George Barret, Esq.; he had an estate at Sisinghurst, Kent; and was grandfather of the chronicler, Sir Richard Baker [q. v.]

[Lodge's Illustrations of English History, 2nd ed. i. 60; cf. Wood's Athenæ Oxon. (Bliss), i. 93 ; State Papers, Domestic, Mary, vols. x. xii., Eliz. vol. i.]

C. F. K.

BAKER, JOHN (1661–1716), admiral, was appointed a lieutenant by Lord Dartmouth on 14 Nov. 1688; on 12 Oct, 1691 he was advanced to be captain of the Mary galley, and during the war then raging with France successively commanded the Newcastle, the Falmouth, and the Medway, for the greater part of the time in the Mediterranean, but without any opportunity of especial distinction. Early in 1701 he was appointed to the Pembroke, and a year later to the Monmouth of seventy guns, in which he continued for nearly six years, serving in the grand fleet under Sir George Rooke or Sir Clowdisley Shovell, at Cadiz and Vigo in 1702, at Gibraltar and Malaga in 1704, at Barcelona in 1705, and Toulon in 1707. He returned to England with the squadron of which so many of the ships were lost amongst the Scilly Islands on 22 Oct. 1707 [see Shovell, Sir Clowdisley], and, having arrived at the Nore, was ordered to relit and keep the men on board with a view to their being sent to other ships. Baker remonstrated; he thought their case was hard, and that they ought to be allowed to go home. 'Most of them,' he wrote, on 3 Nov., 'have been with me in this ship for almost six years, and many have followed me from ship to ship for several years before.' It does not appear that any good came of the application, which the admiralty probably considered a bit of maudlin and absurd sentimentality. On 26 Jan. 1707-8 he was promoted to be rear-admiral of the white, and commanded in the second post under Sir George Byng on the coast of Scotland. He afterwards conducted the daughter of the emperor, the betrothed queen of Portugal, from Holland to Spithead, and with Sir George Byng escorted her to Lisbon. On 12 Nov. 1709 he was advanced to be vice-admiral of the blue, and hoisted his flag in the Stirling Castle as second in command in the Mediterranean under Sir John Norris and afterwards Sir John Jennings. Towards the end of 1711 he was detached by Jennings to Lisbon and the Azores, to protect the Portuguese, East India, and Brazil trade, especially from Duguay-Trouin and Cassard. In, the course of a cruise from Lisbon in February 1711-2 he drove a large Spanish ship ashore near Cape St. Mary's, but the weather was rough, and before he could approach, the wreck was gutted and destroyed by the Portuguese. Afterwards he captured a richly laden French ship for Martinique, and returned to Lisbon by the beginning of March. At the Azores he remained till the following September, and having intelligence that the Brazil fleet was near, he put to sea on the 11th, and escorted it to the Tagus. He returned to England at the peace, and soon after the accession of George I was again sent out to the Mediterranean in command of a squadron to negotiate with or restrain the corsairs of