Thomas George Baring, 1st Earl of Northbrook

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Thomas George Baring, 1st Earl of Northbrook, 2nd Baron Northbrook (22 January 1826 - 15 November 1904), English statesman, eldest son of the 1st Baron. Baring was created Viscount Baring of Lee in the county of Kent and Earl of Northbrook in the county of [Hampshire].

Baring was educated at Christ Church, Oxford, where he graduated with honors in 1846. He entered upon a political career, and was successively private secretary to Henry Labouchere, Sir George Grey, and Sir Charles Wood. In 1857, he was returned to the House of Commons in the Liberal interest for Penryn and Falmouth, which constituency he continued to represent until he became a peer on the death of his father in 1866.

Baring served in Liberal Party administrations as a lord of the admiralty in 1857-1858; under-secretary for war, 1861; under-secretary for India, 1861-1864; under-secretary for the home department, 1864-1866; and Secretary to the Admiralty, 1866.

When Gladstone acceded to power in 1868, Baring was again appointed under-secretary for war, and this office he held until February 1872, when he was appointed Viceroy of India. In January 1876, however, he resigned. He had recommended the conclusion of arrangements with Sher Ali which, as has since been admitted, would have prevented the Second Afghan War; but his policy was overruled by the Duke of Argyll, then Secretary of State.

From 1880 to 1885 he held the post of First Lord of the Admiralty in Mr Gladstone's second government. During his tenure of office the state of the navy aroused much public anxiety and led to a strong agitation in favor of an extended shipbuilding programme. The agitation called forth Tennyson's poem The Fleet.

In September 1884, Baring was sent to Egypt as special commissioner to inquire into its finances and condition. The inquiry was largely unnecessary, all the essential facts being well known, but the mission was a device of Mr Gladstone's to avoid an immediate decision on a perplexing question. Baring, after six weeks of inquiry in Egypt, sent in two reports, one general, advising against the withdrawal of the I British garrison, one financial. His financial proposals, if accepted, would have substituted the financial control of Britain for the international control proposed at the London Conference of June-August of the same year, but this was not carried out.

When Mr Gladstone formed his third ministry in 1886 Baring held aloof, being opposed to the Home Rule policy of the premier; and he then ceased to take a prominent part in political life. In 1890 he was appointed lord-lieutenant of Hampshire.

Baring died on 15 November 1904. He had married in 1848 Elizabeth Sturt, sister of Lord Alington, and was succeeded as 2nd earl by his eldest son, who as Lord Baring had been M.P.

Preceded by:
The Earl of Mayo
Viceroy of India
Succeeded by:
The Lord Lytton
Preceded by:
William Henry Smith
First Lord of the Admiralty
Succeeded by:
The Lord George Hamilton

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