Joshua Bates - Encyclopedia

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JOSHUA BATES (1788-1864), American financier, was born in Weymouth, Massachusetts, on the 10th of October 1788, of an old Massachusetts family prominent in colonial affairs. After several winters' schooling in his native town, he entered the counting-house of William Gray & Son in Boston. In 1809 he began business on his own account, but failed during the War of 1812 and again became associated with the Grays, then the largest shipowners in America, by whom a few years later he was sent to London in charge of their European business. There he came into relations with the Barings, and in 1826 formed a partnership with John, a son of Sir Thomas Baring. Two years later both partners were admitted to the firm of Baring Brothers & Company, of which Bates eventually became senior partner, occupying in consequence an influential position in the British financial world. In1853-1854he acted with rare impartiality and justice as umpire of the international commission appointed to settle claims growing out of the War of 1812. In1852-1855he contributed $10o,000 in books and in cash for a public library in Boston, the money to be invested and the annual income to be applied to the purchase of books. Upon his death the "upper hall," or main reference-room (opened in 1861) in the building erected in 1858 by the order of the library trustees, was named Bates Hall; and upon the opening of the new building in 1895 this name was transferred to its principal reading-room, one of the finest library halls in the world. During the Civil War Bates's sympathies were strongly with the Union, and besides aiding the United States government fiscal agents in various ways, he used his influence to prevent the raising of loans for the Confederacy. He died in London on the 24th of September 1864.

See Memorial of Joshua Bates (Boston, 1865).

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