Author Tags

John Barrow

Sir_John_Barrow_1st_Bt_by_John_JacksonSir John Barrow, 1st Baronet, FRS, FRGS (1764–1848) was an English statesman. He was born in the village of Dragley Beck, in the parish of Ulverston then in Lancashire, now in Cumbria. He started in life as superintending clerk of an iron foundry at Liverpool and afterwards, in his twenties, taught mathematics at a private school in Greenwich.

Through the interest of Sir George Leonard Staunton, to whose son he taught mathematics, he was attached on the first British embassy to China from 1792-94 as comptroller of the household to Lord Macartney. He soon acquired a good knowledge of the Chinese language, on which he subsequently contributed interesting articles to the Quarterly Review; and the account of the embassy published by Sir George Staunton records many of Barrow's valuable contributions to literature and science connected with China.

In 1797 he accompanied Lord Macartney, as private secretary, to the newly acquired colony of the Cape of Good Hope where he decided to setle, buying a house in Cape Town in 1800, but the surrender of the colony at the peace of Amiens (1802) caused his return to England. In 1804, was appointed Second Secretary to the Admiralty by Viscount Melville, a post which he held for forty years (apart from a short period in 1806-07 when there was a Whig government in power). In particular, when Lord Grey took office as Prime Minister in 1830 Barrow was especially requested to remain in his post, starting the principle that senior civil servants stay in office on change of government and serve in a non-partisan manner. Indeed, it is during his occupancy of the post that it was renamed Permanent Secretary.

No matching items were found.

© 2008-2022 David Hayes (Astrodene)