Ward, Henry George (1797–1860)

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Ward, Henry George (1797–1860)

Henry George Ward (b. 27 February 1797; d. 2 August 1860), British diplomat in Mexico. Son of Robert Plumer Ward, a British member of Parliament, Henry Ward entered the diplomatic service immediately after finishing his education at Harrow. Although only twenty-six when British Foreign Secretary Lord Canning appointed him second commissioner to Mexico in 1823, Ward had previously been appointed attaché at the British legation in Stockholm in 1816, at The Hague in 1818, and at Madrid in 1819. His mission was to evaluate the political stability of Mexico's new government. Together with Lionel Hervey and Charles O'Gorman, he negotiated a trade, friendship, and navigation agreement between Mexico and Britain. In May 1825 he was officially appointed chargé d'affaires and finally succeeded in obtaining ratification by Mexico of a Treaty of Friendship, Commerce, and Navigation between Mexico and Great Britain on 15 March 1826, well before U.S. envoy Joel R. Poinsett, who promoted U.S. interests in Guadalupe Victoria's cabinet, could negotiate a similar treaty. Ward intervened in Mexican politics in favor of the conservative Scottish Rite Masons (Escoseses) and against the liberal York Rite Masons. He was influential in the naming of Manuel Mier y Terán as the director of the commission to establish the boundary between Mexico and the United States.

In February 1827 Canning recalled him from Mexico, in part because of his lavish expenditures. He returned to Britain in July 1827 and the following year published his two-volume work Mexico in 1827, written to evaluate mining possibilities and to stress the economic advantages of Britain's processing of Mexican raw materials. He went on to become a member of parliament and governor of Ceylon and Madras.

See alsoCanning, George; Victoria, Guadalupe.


Henry Mc Kenzie Johnston, Mission to Mexico (1992).

J. Fred Rippy, Rivalry of the U.S. and Great Britain over Latin America (1808–1830) (1929).

Additional Bibliography

Villegas Revueltas, Silvestre. Deuda y diplomacia: la relación México-Gran Bretaña, 1824–1884. Mexico City: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 2005.

                        Carmen Ramos-EscandÓn