BARING, William Bingham (1799-1864), of Buckenham House, Brandon, Norf. and 12 Great Stanhope Street, Mdx.
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Family and Education
b. June 1799, 1st. s. of Alexander Baring* and Ann Louisa, da. and coh. of William Bingham of Blackpoint, Philadelphia, Senator USA; bro. of Francis Baring*. educ. Geneva; Oriel, Oxf. 1817; m. (1) 12 Apr. 1823, Lady Harriet Mary Montagu (d. 4 May 1857), da. of George John Montagu†, 6th earl of Sandwich, 1s. d.v.p.1; (2) 17 Nov. 1858, Louisa Caroline, da. of James Alexander Stewart Mackenzie*, 1da. suc. fa. as 2nd Bar. Ashburton 12 May 1848. d. 23 Mar. 1864.
Sec. to bd. of control Sept. 1841-Feb. 1845; paymaster-gen. Feb. 1845-July 1846; PC 30 June 1845.
Cornet Dogmersfield yeoman cav. 1821; capt. N. Hants yeoman cav. 1830.
The family bank was considered no place for Alexander Baring’s heir Bingham, and after leaving Geneva and Oxford, where in 1821 he gained a second in classics, he was brought, by means of a yeomanry commission, into the county life of Hampshire, where his arriviste father, Member for Taunton, and Baring uncles Henry, Member for Colchester, and Sir Thomas, Member for Chipping Wycombe, had substantial estates.2 Touring the continent early in 1822 he caused a stir by becoming engaged to Lady Harriet Montagu, daughter of the late 6th earl of Sandwich, who was dismissed by John Stuart Wortley* and his Oxford friends as ‘a little fright of 16’.3 Alexander Baring settled £5,000 a year on them directly, with £25,000 a year under settlement and a £3,000 a year jointure for Lady Harriet.4 ‘Tall and commanding in person, but without any pretensions to good looks’, she snubbed her American mother-in-law as her social inferior but became the premier hostess of the age, recalled by Greville as ‘more of a precieuse than any woman I have known’.5 Baring paid £1,400 for the home secretary Peel’s house in Great Stanhope Street in February 1825, and settled briefly at Buckenham House near Thetford, part of the Petre estate purchased by his father in 1822 with a view to bringing in a Member. He was returned there at the general election of 1826.6
Like his relations, he generally sided with the Whigs. Some doubts persist concerning the votes, speeches and committee involvement of the various Barings. This Member, who is known to have kept notes, partly in shorthand, for speeches in February 1827, February 1828 and June 1831,7 was the only Baring to vote against the Clarences’ grant, 16 Feb., and for inquiry into the mutiny at Barackpoor, 22 Mar. 1827. He voted for Catholic relief, 6 Mar., to postpone the committee of supply until the ministerial uncertainty was resolved, 30 Mar., and for inquiry into the Irish miscellaneous estimates and chancery delays, 5 Apr. More of a reformer than his father, he divided for inquiry into electoral irregularities at Leicester, 15 Mar., and to disfranchise Penryn, 28 May. He presented Hampshire petitions for repeal of the Test Acts, 11 June 1827.8
The appointment of the duke of Wellington as premier in January 1828 deprived Baring of the honour of seconding the address for the Goderich ministry.9 He presented petitions for repeal of the Test Acts, 15, 26 Feb., when he voted accordingly, and he divided for Catholic relief, 12 May. He voted against extending the East Retford franchise to the freeholders of Bassetlaw, 21 Mar., and for the disqualification bill, 24 June. On the corn bill, he voted with his relations to lower the pivot price from 64s. to 60s., 22 Apr., but he was the only Baring to divide with Hume for the gradual introduction of a fixed duty, 29 Apr. By way of explanation, in what was apparently his maiden speech, he cited the collapse of Dutch industry as proof of the danger of taxing corn, and said that his reasons for voting against government differed from Hume’s, and emanated from his conviction that the recent outpouring of capital for foreign investment had reduced expenditure on agriculture and estates, so depriving the labourers of employment, leaving them unable to pay high bread prices. The patronage secretary Planta pressed Huskisson to grant his request for inclusion on the Canada committee, 30 Mar., and he was appointed to it, 2 May.10 He divided against government on civil list pensions, 20 May, the archbishop of Canterbury’s bill, 16 June, expenditure, 23 June, 4 July, inquiry into the Irish church, 24 June, and the additional churches bill, 30 June. He was the only Baring to vote against them on the customs bill, 14 July. He may have spoken briefly in support of the Drumlane Catholics’ petition for relief, 12 June. He divided for Catholic emancipation, 6, 30 Mar. 1829. He voted to transfer East Retford’s seats to Birmingham, 5 May, and to issue a new writ, 2 June, against the grant for the marble arch sculpture, 25 May, and to lower the hemp duties, 1 June 1829. During the recess he travelled to Russia.11
By 1830 Baring’s opposition to the ministry was decidedly more marked than his father’s. Both voted for the transfer of East Retford’s seats to Birmingham, 11 Feb., 15 Mar., but Bingham also voted to delay the army estimates, 19, 26 Feb., 1, 9, 26 Mar., probably for Lord Blandford’s reform scheme, 18 Feb. (a vote also attributed to Lord Bingham), and for the enfranchisement of Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester, 23 Feb. He voted for the Irish vestries bill, 27 Apr., against the public buildings grant, 3 May, to cut the assistant treasury secretary’s salary, 10 May, and 13 May, to repeal the Irish coal duties, 13 May. He voted with his relations for Jewish emancipation, 17 May, abolition of the death penalty for forgery, 24 May, and Labouchere’s proposals for the Canadian civil government, 25 May. He presented a hostile petition from Thetford, 4 May, and voted to amend the beer bill to restrict licensing for on-consumption, 1 July. He divided against administration on the libel law amendment bill, 9 July 1830. At the general election that month he made way for his brother Francis at Thetford and came in for Callington with his father.12
The ministry counted the Barings among their ‘foes’, and Bingham, who attended the opposition meeting at Lord Althorp’s*, 13 Nov., voted against them on the civil list, 15 Nov. 1830, when his father did not vote.13 At the latter’s request, he was named as the reserve for appointment to a treasury lordship in Lord Grey’s new administration if his cousin Francis declined.14 He may have presented anti-slavery petitions from Bamborough, 18 Nov. At The Grange the following night, he narrowly escaped death at the hands of the ‘Swing’ rioters whom he confronted in his capacity as a Hampshire magistrate. According to Lord Ellenborough, who had the report from Baring’s father, he ‘was not much hurt’ as ‘his brother [Frederick] the clergyman’ raised the whole village to disperse the mob. He expanded his militia troop and was named to the special commission appointed to examine the prisoners, among them his assailant Henry Cooke, who was convicted at Winchester and hanged.15 He and Francis defied their father by voting with their uncles and cousin for the second reading of the ministry’s reform bill, 22 Mar.16 He went to Paris afterwards with his wife, but was back in time to vote against Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment, 19 Apr. 1831.17 His father refused to return him at the ensuing general election and he was put forward for Winchester, where his uncle Sir Thomas had been requisitioned as a reformer. In his speeches he argued that the failure of the East Retford disfranchisement bill had made wholesale reform inevitable. His retirement three hours into the poll, when he trailed by only five votes, was attributed to the duplicity of his brother-in-law.18
Out of Parliament, he was far from forgotten. Targetting his father, the radicals and The Times exploited his involvement in the detention of Thomas and Caroline Deacle of Owslebury, who, being acquitted of inciting the ‘Swing’ rioters, accused their arresters of assault, for which Bingham Baring was convicted at Winchester assizes, 13 July 1831, and directed to pay £50 costs.19 Hoping to ‘soften’ his father’s opposition, ministers ensured that a motion for an address for a copy of the indictment was negatived, 21 July, but it was revived by means of a petition for inquiry from the Deacles, 22 Aug.20 Between 14 and 27 Sept. 1831, when a motion to that effect was negatived by 78-31, some 18 petitions for inquiry were presented and only two against, both from Winchester. Publicly the Barings, who were of the minority, supported inquiry to clear Bingham Baring’s name, leaving him to seek legal redress and to protest in correspondence to The Times. Nothing came of an attempt to revive the issue by means of a petition from the operative workmen of Oldham, 23 Feb. 1832.21
Baring contested Winchester successfully as a Liberal at the general elections of 1832 and 1835. He then defected to the Conservatives in 1835, and after failing at Stafford came in for Staffordshire North in 1837 and Thetford in 1841. He served at the board of control and as paymaster-general in Peel’s second ministry.22 He succeeded his father in the Ashburton peerage and estates and in 1857 married, as his second wife, Caroline Stewart Mackenzie, 28 years his junior, with whom he had a daughter, born in June 1860. He left almost everything to them when he died in March 1864, and was succeeded by his brother Francis as 3rd Baron.23
Ref Volumes: 1820-1832
Author: Margaret Escott
- 1. For a report of the birth of another child see The Baring Archive, Baring mss DEP136.4, Francis Baring to mother [3 Aug. 1832].
- 2. P. Ziegler, The Sixth Great Power, 90; Wellington mss WP1/572/4; 673/2.
- 3. Add. 51667, Bedford to Lady Holland, [1 Nov.]; 52011, Stuart Wortley to H.E. Fox, 31 May 1822.
- 4. Lady Holland to Son, 11-12.
- 5. Ziegler, 91, 158; Lord Houghton, Monographs Personal and Social (1873), 225-255; Greville Mems. vii. 285-7.
- 6. Add. 40605, ff. 298, 302, 403, 405.
- 7. Baring mss [NRA 24219], pp. 6, 15.
- 8. The Times, 12 June 1827.
- 9. Castle Howard mss, Lady Carlisle to Huskisson [Dec. 1827]; Lansdowne mss, Beckett to Lowther, 26 Jan. 1828.
- 10. Add. 38755, f. 290.
- 11. Baring mss, p. 6.
- 12. West Briton, 6 Aug. 1830.
- 13. Baring Jnls. i. 70-71.
- 14. Grey mss, Lansdowne to Grey [21 Nov. 1830].
- 15. Wellington mss WP1/153/12; WP4/1/20, 23, 50; WP4/2/2/8, 20, 58; WP4/3/2/1, 8; Baring Jnls. i. 74; Greville Mems. ii. 67; Three Diaries, 21-22.
- 16. Add. 51590, Agar Ellis to Lady Holland, 7 Mar. 1831.
- 17. Von Neumann Diary, i. 245.
- 18. Wellington mss WP4/3/4/18-19; Hants Chron. 2, 9 May; Baring Jnls. i. 87.
- 19. The Times, 15-18, 23 July, 2 Aug.; Hants Chron. 18 July 1831.
- 20. Le Marchant mss, Althorp to Spencer, 22 July 1831; CJ, lxxvi. 682, 773.
- 21. CJ, lxxxvi. 841, 844, 847, 855, 861-2, 866, 871-2; lxxxvii. 139; The Times, 29 Sept., 3 Oct. 1831.
- 22. Hants Chron. 10, 17 Dec. 1832; The Times, 14 May 1835; Baring, Letter to Electors of Winchester (1835); Greville Mems. iii. 390; N. Gash, Politics in Age of Peel, 159, 218, 251; Lady Holland to Son, 459, 485.
- 23. Gent. Mag. (1864), i. 656; Baring Jnls. ii. 201; The Times, 6 Apr., 11 June 1864.