BARING, Thomas (1772-1848), of Stratton Park, Hants.
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Family and Education
b. 12 June 1772, 1st s. of Sir Francis Baring, 1st Bt.*, and bro of Alexander Baring* and Henry Baring*. educ. by E. Florijn, Amsterdam. m. 13 Sept. 1794, at Calcutta, Mary Ursula, da. of Charles Sealy, barrister, of Calcutta, 4s. 5da. suc. fa. as 2nd Bt. 12 Sept. 1810.
Writer, E.I. Co. (Bengal) 1790; asst. to sec. to government in secret dept. 1790; commr. of ct. of requests 1790, again 1794; 3rd asst. to collector of Rajshahye 1792; registrar, diwani adalat of Dinajpur 1793; asst. to examiner and reporter, the Presidency sadar diwani adalat 1794; translator to the sadar diwani and nizamat adalat 1796; collector of the 24 Pargannas 1796; jun. merchant 1797; home 1798.
In April 1800 Baring, whose passage to India had been secured by his father’s powerful influence in the East India Company, became a partner in the prospering family financial house and in February 1806 he and his younger brothers Alexander and Henry took over the reins from Sir Francis. He had little interest in the business, however, and withdrew from the firm in 1809, preferring rural pursuits. The following year he inherited the baronetcy, the main family estate in Hampshire and a fortune estimated at £500,000. On the death of his uncle John Baring* in 1816 he was said to have bought the reversion of the family property at Exeter by paying the present possessor an annuity of £4,000 and a £20,000 lump sum.
Baring replaced his father as Member for Chipping Wycombe on the family interest at the general election of 1806 and sat undisturbed for almost 26 years. Unlike his brothers, he never joined Brooks’s, but he was a loyal if anonymous Whig, who supported his friends in power after his return and voted against the ministerial pledge, 9 Apr. 1807. He was a steward at the opposition dinner held after the 1807 election and one of the Whigs who met to endorse Ponsonby’s leadership on 18 Jan. 1809. A reliable opposition voter in major clashes with government in the 1807 Parliament, he voted steadily against ministers on the Duke of York scandal in March 1809 (and divided against his reinstatement as commander-in-chief, 6 June 1811), but showed little active interest in the ensuing campaign for economical reform beyond voting for inquiry into abuses, 17 Apr. 1809. He voted for inquiry into parliamentary reform, 21 May 1810, but is not known to have done so again during this period. He gave evidence before the finance committee, on which he had served 1807-8, during their inquiry into the Dutch commissioners, 14 Feb. 1809; voted for Ward’s motion on the subject, 1 May 1809; was reappointed to the finance committee, 31 Jan. 1810 and again in 1811 and 1812, when he voted against the sinecure paymastership, 21 and 24 Feb., McMahon’s appointment as the Regent’s private secretary, 14 Apr., and for inquiry into the Exchequer tellerships, 7 May. He also sat on the committee of inquiry into the state of commercial credit, 1 Mar. 1811. He was in the tiny minorities of 17 Feb. 1812 against the punitive framework knitters bill.
Baring showed little activity in the House during the first three sessions of the 1812 Parliament, when he voted for Catholic relief, which he consistently supported, 24 May 1813; for the censure of Speaker Abbot, 22 Apr.; against the union of Norway with Sweden, 12 May 1814; against the transfer of Genoa, 21 Feb.; for inquiry into the civil list accounts, 14 Apr., and for receipt of the City petition, 1 May 1815, his only known vote against the renewal of war. He took no part in the opposition to the peace terms early in 1816, but thereafter voted fairly regularly in favour of economy, retrenchment and reduced taxation. He voted against the suspension of habeas corpus, 26 Feb., and for making the ban on public meetings within a mile of Westminster temporary, 28 Mar. 1817, but did not divide against the renewal of the suspension in June or the domestic spy system or the indemnity bill in 1818. Indeed, no vote is recorded in his name between 29 Apr. 1817 and 13 Apr. 1818, when he turned up to oppose the ducal grants and the continuance of Bank restriction. He did not sign the requisition to Tierney in August 1818, but was a staunch opposition voter in the ensuing session. He voted against the address, 24 Nov. 1819, and subsequently against the principle and details of the seditious meetings bill, 2, 6 and 13 Dec., and the seizure of arms bill, 14 Dec., but was not one of the diehard opponents of the government’s repressive legislation.
Baring rarely spoke in debate. He supported settlement of American loyalists’ financial claims, 20 May 1813, and a bill to abolish the bestowal of rewards for the conviction of offenders, 13 Apr. 1818; and on 19 Feb. 1819 expressed his hope that the proposed settlement of British claims on the French government would be fairly, economically and speedily executed. An active religious philanthropist, whose evangelical zeal was stimulated by his Quaker wife, he advocated spiritual provisions for the inmates of prisons, 24 Feb. 1815, and when supporting the London clergy relief bill, 24 Mar. 1819, refuted the common allegation that its intended beneficiaries were rapacious idlers. He served on the Poor Law committees, 1817-19. He died 3 Apr. 1848.
R.W. Hidy, House of Baring in American Trade, 37-38, 45; Farington, viii. 130.