Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Baron, Richard

BARON, or BARRON, RICHARD (d. 1766), republican, was born at Leeds, and educated at Glasgow 1737–40, which he left with a testimonial signed by Hutcheson and Simpson. Baron became a friend of Thomas Gordon, author of the ‘Independent Whig,’ and afterwards of Thomas Hollis, whom he helped in collecting works defending the republicanism of the seventeenth century. He edited in 1751 a collection of tracts by Gordon, under the title, ‘A Cordial for Low Spirits,’ 3 vols. 8vo; and in 1752 a similar collection by Gordon and others, called ‘The Follies of Priestcraft and Orthodoxy shaken,’ in 2 vols. An enlarged edition of the last, in four volumes, including tracts by Hoadly, Sykes, Arnall, and Archdeacon Blackburne, was prepared by him, and published in 1767 for the benefit of his widow and three children. In 1751 he also edited Algernon Sidney's ‘Discourse concerning Government,’ and in 1753 Milton's prose works (for which he received 10l. 10s.). An edition by Toland had appeared in 1697, and one by Birch in 1738. Baron afterwards found the second edition of the ‘Eikonoklastes,’ and reprinted it in 1756. He also edited Ludlow's ‘Memoirs’ in 1751, and Nedham's ‘Excellency of a Free State’ in 1757. Hollis engaged him in 1766 to superintend an edition of Marvell; but the plan dropped upon Baron professing his inability to supply the necessary information, and it was afterwards taken up by Captain Thompson in 1776. Baron is described as an artless and impetuous person, whose imprudence kept him poor. He died in ‘miserable circumstances’ in 1766.

[Protestant Dissenter Magazine, vi. 166; (Blackburne's) Memoir of Hollis, pp. 361–7, 573–86, &c.]

L. S.