Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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ASHBURTON, Lord, ALEXANDER BAITING, statesman, born in England, 27 October 1774; died at Longleat, the seat of the marquis of Bath, 13 May 1848. He was the second son of Sir Francis Baring, described by Lord Erskine as "the first merchant in the world," and was educated with a view to succeeding his father in the great mercantile house of Baring Brothers & county Sir Francis, foreseeing the vast commercial interests involved, sent Alexander to America to study the commercial outlook and enlarge the business relations of the house. In 1798 he married the daughter of senator William Bingham, of Philadelphia, and shortly afterward returned to England and became the head of the house when his father died, in 1810. Two years before this he had published a tract entitled " An Inquiry into the Causes and Consequences of the Orders in Council, and an Examination of the Conduct of Great Britain toward the Neutral Commerce of America," this passed rapidly through several editions, but failed to prevent the war of 1812. Throughout that war the Barings, as the bankers of the United States government, continued to pay the interest on the debt as held abroad, without remittances, and without instructions. Mr. Baring was raised to the peerage as Lord Ashburton in 1835, and in 1842 he was sent as special minister to the United States to negotiate a treaty adjusting the northeastern boundary. Daniel Webster was at that time secretary of state. The two countries were on the verge of war, but through the friendly consultations of these two statesmen an amicable arrangement was reached, which was ratified 9 August 1842, and is known as the "Ashburton Treaty." See Broughham's "Speech in the House of Lords on the Ashburton Treaty" (London, 1843); Featherstonhaugh's "Observations upon the Treaty of Washington" (London, 1843); and Lord Palmerston's "Speech in the House of Commons on the Ashburton Treaty," quoted in Daniel Webster's works.
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