Bosanquet, Charles (DNB00)

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BOSANQUET, CHARLES (1769–1850), governor of the South Sea Company, was a member of a Huguenot family of successful London merchants, and was the second son of Samuel Bosanquet, of Forest House and Dingestow Court, Monmouthshire. He was born at Forest House on 23 July 1769, was successfully engaged in mercantile pursuits, and held for many years a high position in the city. He married on 1 June 1796 Charlotte Anne, daughter of Peter Holford, master in chancery; she died on 15 Feb. 1839. There were seven children born of this marriage, of whom three survived the father. The London residence of Bosanquet was at the Firs, Hampstead, hut his latter years were spent on his estate of Rock, Northumberland, which he obtained from his wife’s brother, Robert Holford, who died unmarried in 1839. In 1828 he was high sheriff of Northumberland, and he was also M.P. and D.L. for that county. In 1819 he was appointed lieutenant-colonel of light horse volunteers, and he was afterwards colonel of that body. He died at Rock on 20 June 1850, and was buried in the church there. There are monuments to him at Rock and at Hampstead.

Bosanquet’s works consist of a series of short treatises, which, as written by a professedly practical man, excited some attention and were not without influence, Their titles are: 1. ‘Letter on the Proposition submitted to Government for taking the Duty on Muscavado Sugar ad valorem’ (1806?). 2. ‘A Letter to W. Manning, Esq., M.P., on the Depreciation of West India Property’ (2nd edition, 1807?). This depreciation, he said, was caused by the manner in which colonial produce was taxed, the prohibition of its export otherwise than to the mother country, and the unwise restrictions laid on the home trade. He proposed that colonial sugar should be used in our breweries and distilleries, and that colonial rum should be used in our navy. 3. ‘Thoughts on the Value to Great Britain of Commerce in general, and of the Colonial Trade in particular’ (1807). This work insisted on the very great value of our West India trade. It was answered by William Spence in his ‘Radical Cause of the Present Distresses of the West India Planters pointed out’ (1807). 4. ‘Practical Observations on the Report of the Bullion Committee’ (2nd edition, with supplement, 1810), The Bullion Committee of 1810, of which Francis Horner was chairman, recommended that in two years the bank should resume cash payments. They also made a number of assertions as to the state of the currency, which Bosanquet attacked as mere theoretical speculation, and at variance with the teaching of experience. He took occasion to animadvert for the same reason on Ricardo's pamphlet of the preceding year on ‘The High Price of Bullion a Proof of the Depreciation of Bank-notes.’ This produced a brilliant and conclusive reply from Ricardo in what ‘is perhaps the best controversial essay that has ever appeared on any disputed question of political economy.’ Ricardo ‘met Mr. Bosanquet on his own ground, and overthrew him with his own weapons,’ clearly showing the truth of the chief statements in the report.

[Gent. Mag. for 1850, new series, xxxiv. 325; Meyers’s Genealogy of the Family of Bosanquet, 1877; M'Culloch’s Lit. Pol. Econ. 1845.]

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