Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Baring, Francis (1740-1810)
BARING, Sir FRANCIS, (1740–1810), London merchant, founded the eminent financial house of Baring Brothers & Co. His grandfather, Franz Baring, was the pastor of the Lutheran church of Bremen; and his father, John Baring, settled at Larkbear, near Exeter, as a cloth manufacturer; and it may be well to add that information about the history of the Baring family, during its connection with Devon, is contained in R. Dymond's ‘History of the parish of St. Leonard, Exeter,’ 1873. Francis Baring was born at Larkbear 18 April 1740, and sent to London to study commerce in the firm of Boehm. Though deaf from his youth, his indomitable energy enabled him to overcome all obstacles, and to establish his business on the firmest foundations. At the time of his death it was calculated that he had earned nearly seven millions of money; and Sir Francis Baring stood forth, in the words of Lord Erskine, as ‘the first merchant in Europe.’ His advice was often sought on financial questions connected with the government of India. He became a director of the East India Company in 1779, and acted as its chairman during 1792–3—services for which a baronetcy was conferred upon him 29 May 1793. He represented as a whig the borough of Grampound from 1784 to 1790, Chipping Wycombe 1794–6 and 1802–6, and Calne 1796–1802.
Sir Francis Baring's literary works were: 1. ‘The Principle of the Commutation Act established by Facts,’ 1786; an argument mainly in support of the reduction of duties on tea and other commodities. 2. ‘Observations on the Establishment of the Bank of England,’ 1797; with ‘Further Observations’ in the same year, in which he justified the issue of Bank of England notes, with a limit as to the amount in circulation, and suggested that country banks should be prevented from issuing notes payable at demand. 3. ‘Observations on the Publications of Walter Boyd, M.P.,’ 1801. Sir Francis died at Lee, Kent, 11 Sept. 1810, and was buried in the family vault at Micheldever, Hants, 20 Sept. His wife Harriet, daughter of William Herring, of Croydon, died at Bath 4 Dec. 1804. Five sons and five daughters survived him. His eldest son, Thomas (1772–1848), second baronet, was father of Francis Thornhill, first Lord Northbrook [q. v.], Thomas [q. v.], and Charles Thomas, bishop of Durham [q. v.] His second son, Alexander [q. v.], was created Lord Ashburton.[Gent. Mag. 1810, i. 610, ii. 293; H. Greville's Journals, ii. 53; Rush's Residence at London, 1845, i. 160; Didot, Nouvelle Biog. Univ.; H. R. F[ox] B[ourne]'s London Society, ix. 367–73.]