Ward, John (1805-1890) (DNB00)

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WARD, JOHN (1805–1890), diplomatist, was born on 28 Aug. 1805 at East Cowes, where his father, John Ward, was collector of customs. His mother was a sister of Thomas Arnold [q. v.] of Rugby, with whom, as well as with Whately and other liberal political thinkers, Ward, as a young man, was much associated. In 1831 he jointly edited with his uncle the short-lived weekly journal called ‘The Englishman's Register,’ of which Arnold was the proprietor (cf. Stanley, Life and Correspondence of Dr. Arnold, 1845, i. 285). He abandoned the profession of the law, for which he had been trained, on his appointment in 1837 to an inspectorship of prisons, and in the following year, after acting for some months as private secretary to the first Earl of Durham [see Lambton, John George], became through his influence secretary to the New Zealand Colonization Company, on whose behalf he published in 1839 a lucid account of the resources of the island. He had for many years previously taken a keen interest in the politics, and more especially in the commercial and industrial progress, of France, Belgium, and Germany, and had published articles on both home and foreign affairs in the ‘Edinburgh’ and ‘British and Foreign’ reviews. Early in 1841 he was appointed British commissioner for the revision of the State tolls. In 1844 he was sent to Berlin as British commissioner for the settlement, through the arbitration of the king of Prussia, of the so-called Portendic claims on France, arising out of a blockade by French ships of part of the African coast. In the summer of 1845 Lord Aberdeen appointed him consul-general at Leipzig, with the further commission to visit periodically those places in Germany where the conferences of the Zollverein should be held. At the close of 1850 Lord Palmerston instructed him to act as secretary of legation at Dresden during the diplomatic conferences held in that capital, where he was a close witness of the notable victory achieved by the policy of Austria, represented by Schwarzenberg. In 1854 he attended the Munich exhibition of arts and manufactures, and wrote a report on the state of technical instruction in Bavaria. In 1857 he was charged with an inquiry into the political condition of the duchies of Schleswig and Holstein, their relations with the Danish crown, and the best remedies for grievances which the promulgation of the joint constitution of 1855 had notoriously augmented. His report, though praised by the prince consort and Lord Stratford de Redcliffe, was left unpublished by Lord Clarendon, and the subsequent course of events prevented any possibility of acting on his recommendation to reorganise the Danish monarchy upon federal principles.

In 1860 Ward, after being made a C.B., had been nominated chargé d'affaires and consul-general for the Hanse Towns and the surrounding parts of Germany, and after in 1865 negotiating, together with Lord Napier and Ettrick, a commercial treaty with the Zollverein, was in the following year raised to the rank of minister-resident. In 1870, owing to the abolition of direct diplomatic relations with the Hanse Towns on their joining the North German federation, he left Hamburg. The remainder of his life he spent in retirement at Dover and in Essex, writing his ‘Reminiscences.’ He died at Dover on 1 Sept. 1890. He married Caroline, daughter of John Bullock, rector of Radwinter, Essex, who survived him until 1905.

[Reminiscences of a Diplomatist, being Recollections of Germany, founded on Diaries kept during the years 1840–70, by John Ward, C.B. 1872; personal knowledge.]

A. W. W.