Evelyn Baring 1st earl of Cromer

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Baring, Evelyn, 1st earl of Cromer (1841–1917). Proconsul. Baring's father was an MP and younger brother of the great banker Lord Ashburton, his mother the daughter of an admiral, and the family seat at Cromer Hall (Norfolk). Baring spent the years 1858–72 in the Royal Artillery and then went to India as private secretary to his cousin, Lord Northbrook, the viceroy. In 1877 he began his life's work when he was sent as commissioner to Egypt to attempt the enormous task of placing its finances and administration on a firm footing. For thirty years he was the effective power in the land, comptroller-general from 1879 to 1880, consul-general 1883–1907. Restoration of Egyptian solvency meant withdrawal from the Sudan and Baring acquiesced, with misgivings, in the choice of Gordon to carry out the task, watching helplessly when Gordon was trapped and overwhelmed at Khartoum. Not until the 1890s was Kitchener able to restore Egyptian control over the Sudan. Baring, meanwhile, accumulated honours—a barony in 1892, viscountcy in 1899, and earldom in 1901. Edward VII gave him the Order of Merit in 1906. He retired from ill-health in 1907 and published a two-volume work on Modern Egypt the following year.

J. A. Cannon