Barbon, in the preface to his second treatise, makes allusion to having, in the ‘Discourse on Trade,’ defined money differently from Mr. Locke; and begins his argument by disputing Locke's fundamental proposition that silver has an intrinsic value, asserting that there is no intrinsic value in silver, ‘but that it is money that men give and take and contract with, having regard more to the stamp and currency of the money than to the quantity of fine silver in each piece.’ With this as one of his premises, he argues in favour of debasing the currency, or, as he euphemistically terms it, raising the value of money. Mr. Cunningham (English Industry and Commerce, p. 368) quotes a passage from the second discourse for a lucid argument against the balance of trade. Barbon took part in the land-bank speculations of the time. He founded one, which is stated by Luttrell, under date 15 Aug. 1695, to ‘goe on very successfully,’ and under date 4 Feb. 1695–6 to have been united with another land-bank conducted by one Mr. Brisco, and to have offered to advance two millions of money. He died in 1698. His friend Asgill [see Asgill, John] was the executor of his will, which directed that none of his debts should be paid. Asgill was also soon afterwards his successor as member for Bramber.
[Barbon's Discourse on Trade, and Treatise on Coining; Luttrell's Brief Relation of State Affairs, i. 309, ii. 403, iii. 572, iv. 13, 364; Notes and Queries (first series), vi. 3; Macaulay's England, chaps. xxi. xxii.; Walford's Encyclopædia of Insurance; Hist. of Fire Insurance; Munk's College of Physicians; Names of Members of Parliament, i. 555.]
BARBON, or BAREBONE, or BAREBONES, PRAISEGOD (1596?–1679), anabaptist, leather-seller, and politician, has an obscure family history. In the ‘Spending of the Money of Robert Nowell, of Read Hall, Lancashire’ (edited by Dr. Grosart, 1877), one of the objects of his bounty (Xs) was ‘a John Barbon.’ The following data concerning him are drawn from Dr. Bloxam's ‘Register of Magdalen College, Oxford’—‘John Barebone, of Magdalen, 1567, aged 16; of the county of Gloucester; B.A. 23 Oct. 1570; probably Fellow 1571–78; M.A. 9 July 1574; Vice-Principall, 1578;’ described in 1574 as ‘a noted and zealous Romanist’ (iv. 170–1, and Spending, ut supra, pp. 206, 208). Another was a prominent puritan in Northamptonshire from 1587 onwards (Strype's Annals, iii. i. 691, ii. 479; Strype's Whitgift, ii. 7). Probably the same Barbon took part in a disputation upon nonconformity held about 1606 at the house of Sir William Bowes, at Coventry (Smyth, Parallels, Censures and Observations, &c., p. 128; Brook, Puritans, ii. 196).
In notes of a trial in an ecclesiastical case wherein Dr. William Bates was a party, Barbon in giving evidence incidentally mentioned that he was eighty years of age. This was in 1676, so that he was born about 1596 (Malcolm, Londinium Redivivum, iii. 453). While young he became a leather-seller in Fleet Street; he was admitted freeman of the Leathersellers' Company 20 Jan. 1623, elected a warder of the yeomanry 6 July 1630, a liveryman 13 Oct. 1634, and third warder 16 June 1648 (Notes and Queries, 3rd series, i. 211; cf. pp. 253, 395).
Probably shortly after 1630 Praisegod Barbon was chosen minister by half the members of a baptist congregation which had been under the pastoral care of Stephen More, but which had on More's death divided by ‘mutual consent’ into two parties. The one half chose Henry Jessey, and the other half Praisegod Barbon. Those who fixed on Barbon were pædobaptists, maintaining that the baptism of infants was scriptural, while the other part of the congregation comprised baptists proper. Some even of the latter must, however, have adhered to Barbon as well; for in the ‘Declaration’ of the baptists issued in 1654 ‘twenty-two’ names sign it as ‘of the church that walks with Mr. Barebone.’ In 1642 Praisegod Barbon published a defence of pædobaptism in ‘A Discourse tending to prove Baptisme in or under the Defection of Anti-Christ, to be the Ordinance of Jesus Christ. As also that the Baptism of Infants or Children is warrantable and agreeable to the Word of God. Where … sundry other particular things are controverted and discussed.’ In Edward Barber's ‘Small Treatise of Baptism or Dipping,’ also published in 1642 [see Barber, Edward], we read: ‘Beloved, since part of this treatise was in presse, there came to my hand a book set forth by P. Barboon, which could I have gotten sooner, I should have answered more fully;’ and then he quotes a number of objections to the baptist view urged by Barbon, which he in brief answers. Barbon replied to Barber in another book, published in 1643: ‘A Reply to the Frivolous and Impertinent Answer of E. B. to the Discourse of P. B. …’
From contemporary references, it appears that those who had chosen Barbon assembled as a church in their pastor's own ‘great house,’ called the ‘Lock and Key,’ in Fleet Street, near Fetter Lane. As a preacher he speedily made his mark. The libellers of the puritans called his preaching ‘long harangues,’