Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 03.djvu/210

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Barker
Barker
204

by another Salisbury physician, a Mr. Hele, in a local newspaper. Barker replied in a pamphlet entitled ‘A Defence of a late Treatise &c.,’ 1743. He also published in 1748 in an octavo volume ‘An Essay on the Agreement between Ancient and Modern Physicians, or a Comparison between the Practice of Hippocrates, Galen, Sydenham, and Boerhaave.’

[Munk's Roll of the Royal College of Physicians; Oxford Graduates; Baker's Essay on Ancient and Modern Physicians.]

P. B.-A.

BARKER, JOHN (1771–1849), British consul-general in Egypt, was born at Smyrna, 9 March 1771. He was son of William Barker, youngest son of Thomas Barker, of ‘The Hall,’ near Bakewell, in Derbyshire, and the descendant of an old county family. His father emigrated to Florida, where he purchased an estate; but he was compelled to abandon it on the breaking out of the war of independence, and proceeded to Europe on his way to India. Ill-health compelled him to settle half-way at Smyrna. John Barker was educated in England, and at eighteen entered the banking-house of Peter Thellusson, in Philpot Lane, in which he soon rose to be confidential clerk and cashier. About 1797 he left London as private secretary to John Spencer Smith, British ambassador to the Porte, and brother of the celebrated Sir Sidney Smith of Acre. In 1799 Barker was commissioned by patent, bearing date 9 April, to proceed to Aleppo as pro-consul, and to act as agent ad interim for the Levant and the East India companies. Barker was afterwards regularly appointed agent for the East India Company, his connection with which lasted without interruption for thirty-three years. He became full consul for the Levant Company 18 Nov. 1803, which was the year in which he introduced vaccination into Syria. In March 1807 he fled from Aleppo, on account of the rupture between England and the Porte, and took refuge with the prince of the Druses in the Lebanon, to whose protection he had previously entrusted his wife and children. From his retreat at Harissa he still contrived to carry on and to direct the duties of his office, especially the transmission of information between this country and India. It was owing to the diligence of Barker that the news of the suspension of the peace of Amiens and of the landing of Napoleon at Cannes was forwarded to India with a speed in those days scarcely credible. His promptness prevented the surrender of Pondicherry to the French. The declaration of peace between England and Turkey left Barker free to return to Aleppo, into which he made a public entry of unprecedented splendour on 2 June 1809. In 1818 Barker obtained leave of absence for a visit to England. He embarked at Alexandria on 9 May, passed the winter at Marseilles, and arrived in London 4 April 1819. He left London 18 March 1820, and arrived at Aleppo 25 Oct. In the autumn of 1825 Barker was appointed British consul at Alexandria, where he arrived 25 Oct. 1826. In March 1829 he was made consul-general in Egypt, in which capacity he had served, in fact, from the death of Mr. Salt, in October 1827. He retained the consul-generalship for about four years, when he left Egypt, 31 May 1833, for his villa at Suediah, at the mouth of the Orontes river, and about fifteen miles from Antioch. Here Barker had formed a garden which was known throughout the East, and in which he grew all the fruits of the West, and introduced into Syria many species and varieties unknown before. This garden was also a nursery for supplying new varieties to England, the most celebrated being the Stanwick nectarine, for which Barker received a medal from the Royal Horticultural Society of Chiswick. Barker was in the habit for many years of sending agents into distant oriental countries to procure for him scions of the best fruit-trees. In 1844 he visited England to introduce some of his trees, returning to Suediah on 6 July following. He used his influence to improve the silk and cotton culture, and to promote many other useful enterprises in Syria, where his name is still venerated. ‘A perfect gentleman,’ Mr. Neale calls him, ‘an accomplished scholar, a sagacious thinker, a philosopher, and philanthropist.’ He died of apoplexy 5 Oct. 1849, aged 78 (Syria and Egypt, &c., ii. 285), at a summer-house at Betias, on a commanding eminence of Mount Rhosus. He was buried close to the wall of the Armenian church of the village, where a handsome marble monument, procured from Genoa, was erected to his memory.

[Burckhardt's Travels in Syria and the Holy Land, 1822; Neale's Eight Years in Syria, Palestine, and Asia Minor, from 1842 to 1850, 1851; Ainsworth's Introductory Preface to Barker's Lares and Penates, 1853; Barker's Syria and Egypt under the last five Sultans of Turkey, being experiences, during fifty years, of Mr. Consul-General Barker, 1876.]

A. H. G.

BARKER, JOSEPH (1806–1875), preacher, author, and controversialist, was born 11 May 1806, at Bramley, near Leeds, where his ancestors, originally of Keighley, had been settled for several generations as