Joshua Bates (financier)
Bates was born in Commercial St., Weymouth, Massachusetts. Early in his career he worked for William Gray, owner of Gray's Wharf in Charlestown. A merchant and a banker, in 1828 Bates became associated with the great house of Baring Brothers & Co. of London, of which he eventually became the senior partner. He was arbitrator of the commission convened in 1853 to settle the claims of American citizens arising from the War of 1812.
In 1852 he founded the Boston Public Library by giving $50,000 for that purpose, with the provision that the interest of the money should be expended for books of permanent value, and that the city should make adequate provision for at least 100 readers. He afterward gave 30,000 volumes to the institution, the main hall of which is named after him.
Bates married Lucretia Sturgis; their daughter Elizabeth married Belgian Prime Minister Sylvain Van de Weyer; their daughter Eleanor Van de Weyer married Reginald Baliol Brett, 2nd Viscount Esher; and their daughter, Sylvia Brett, married Charles Vyner de Windt Brooke, and became the last Rani of Sarawak. Another Bates' granddaughter, Alice Emma Sturgis van de Weyer, married the Hon. Charles Brand (4th son of Mr. Speaker Brand).
Bates was prominent among expatriate Americans in London in the years before and during the Civil War, including diplomats Charles Francis and Henry Adams, and was active in support of the Union cause. As a patron of the arts he commissioned canvases from Thomas Cole, including a nostalgic view of Boston, for his house in Portland Place. The house he built for his daughter and son-in-law, New Place, was near Windsor. As the representative of her uncle Leopold I of Belgium, also a close relative of Albert of Saxe Coburg Gotha, Sylvain and his charming American wife were popular with Victoria and her court.
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Portrait bust of Bates, in Boston Public Library
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Bates Hall, McKim building, Boston Public Library, named in Bates' honour
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Bates Hall, McKim building, Boston Public Library
- Bates Hall, Boston Public Library, McKim Building
- Timothy Thompson Sawyer. Old Charlestown: historical, biographical, reminiscent. J.H. West Co., 1902
- Persuading John Bull: Union and Confederate Propaganda in Britain, 1860–65 By Thomas E. Sebrell, page 110
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- Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). . Encyclopædia Britannica. 3 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
- Harrison, Robert (1885). Stephen, Leslie (ed.). Dictionary of National Biography. 3. London: Smith, Elder & Co.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> . In
- Tribute of Boston merchants to the memory of Joshua Bates: October, 1864.
- Memorial of Joshua Bates (Boston, 1865)
- Persuading John Bull: Union and Confederate Propaganda in Britain, 1860–65
By Thomas E. Sebrell, page 110
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