The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Barton, Hon. Edmund

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Barton, Hon. Edmund, M.L.A., Q.C., M.A., Attorney-General New South Wales, is a native of New South Wales, and was born at the Glebe, Sydney, on Jan. 18th, 1849. He was educated at the Sydney Grammar School, and matriculated at the university at the age of sixteen, receiving a special prize from the Senate for proficiency in classics. During the second and third years of his university course he held successively the Lithgow and Cooper scholarships, and graduated in 1868 with first class classical honours, and the university prize of £25. In 1870 he took his M.A. degree at Sydney University, and is a member of the Senate of that body. He was called to the colonial bar in 1871. He contested the seat in the Assembly given to the university in 1877 against Mr. (now Sir William) Windeyer, but was defeated by six votes. Practising his profession, he was a Crown Prosecutor till 1879, when Mr. Windeyer retired, and he again contested the seat for the university, beating Dr. Renwick by a large majority. Subsequently Mr. Barton represented Wellington in the Legislative Assembly, and was Speaker of the Lower House from Jan. 1883 to Jan. 1887. In the following February he was nominated to the Legislative Council, and from Jan. to March 1889 held a seat in the Dibbs Ministry as Attorney-General and representative of the Government in the Upper House. Mr. Barton, who is a Q.C., announced his adhesion to protectionist views in 1889. He was one of the representatives of New South Wales at the Federation Convention held in Sydney in March 1891. Mr. Barton is a strong supporter of the Commonwealth Bill, which he assisted Sir Samuel Griffith in drafting, and regards Protection in New South Wales as occupying a secondary place to intercolonial federation. In 1891 Mr. Barton resigned his seat in the Legislative Council, and was returned to the Assembly for East Sydney. On the formation of the Dibbs Ministry in Oct. 1801, Mr. Barton accepted the office of Attorney-General, and was acting Premier during the absence of Mr. Dibbs in England from May to Sept. 1892.