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The Right Honourable
 Matthew Talbot Baines 

In office
1 January 1849 – 21 February 1852
Monarch Victoria
Prime Minister Lord John Russell
Preceded by Charles Buller
Succeeded by Sir John Trollope, Bt
In office
30 December 1852 – 13 August 1855
Monarch Victoria
Prime Minister The Earl of Aberdeen
Preceded by Sir John Trollope, Bt
Succeeded by Hon. Edward Pleydell-Bouverie

In office
7 December 1855 – 21 February 1858
Monarch Victoria
Prime Minister The Viscount Palmerston
Preceded by The Earl of Harrowby
Succeeded by The Duke of Montrose

Born 17 February 1799 (1799-02-17)
Leeds, Yorkshire
Died 22 January 1860 (1860-01-23)
Nationality British
Political party Liberal
Alma mater Trinity College, Cambridge

Matthew Talbot Baines PC, QC, DL (17 February 1799 – 22 January 1860) was a British lawyer and Liberal politician. He most notably served as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in Lord Palmerston's 1855 to 1858 administration.


Background and education

Born at Leeds, Yorkshire, Baines was the eldest son of Edward Baines, a noted journalist and minor politician, by Charlotte, daughter of Matthew Talbot.[1] Sir Edward Baines was his younger brother. He was educated at Richmond School and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he graduated in 1820.[2]

Legal and political career

Baines was called to the bar in 1825 and established a successful legal practice. In 1837 Baines was appointed Recorder of Hull, and in 1841 he became a Queen's Counsel. He then turned to politics and was elected to parliament for Kingston-upon-Hull in 1847, a seat he held until 1852,[3] and subsequently represented Leeds until 1859.[4] Only two years after entering the House of Commons, he was appointed President of the Poor Law Board[5] in the Whig administration of Lord John Russell. In July 1849 he was also admitted to the Privy Council.[6] The Liberals fell from power in February 1852, but in December of the same year he was once again appointed President of the Poor Law Board,[7] this time in the coalition government headed by Lord Aberdeen.

Baines remained as head of the Poor Law Board when Lord Palmerston's became Prime Minister in February 1855. In December 1855 he was made Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster[8] with a seat in the cabinet. He remained in this office until the Liberals lost power in 1858. Baines was also a Deputy Lieutenant of the West Riding of Yorkshire and of Lancashire.[1] He retired from public life in April 1859 on grounds of ill-health.

Personal life

In 1833, Baines married the only daughter of Lazarus Threlfall.[1] He died in January 1860, at the age of fifty.


  1. ^ a b c Dod, Robert P. (1860). The Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage of Great Britain and Ireland. London: Whitaker and Co.. pp. 100.  
  2. ^ Baines, Matthew Talbot in Venn, J. & J. A., Alumni Cantabrigienses, Cambridge University Press, 10 vols, 1922–1958.
  3. ^ House of Commons: Horncastle to Hythe
  4. ^ House of Commons: Ladywood to Leek
  5. ^ London Gazette: no. 20932, p. 3, 2 January 1849.
  6. ^ London Gazette: no. 21004, p. 2389, 31 July 1849.
  7. ^ London Gazette: no. 21397, p. 3939, 31 December 1852.
  8. ^ London Gazette: no. 21827, p. 4675, 11 December 1855.
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Sir John Hanmer, Bt
Sir Walter James, Bt
Member of Parliament for Kingston-upon-Hull
With: James Clay
Succeeded by
Viscount Goderich
James Clay
Preceded by
James Garth Marshall
William Beckett
Member of Parliament for Leeds
With: Sir George Goodman 1852–1857
Robert Hall March–June 1857
George Skirrow Beecroft 1857–1859
Succeeded by
Edward Baines
George Skirrow Beecroft
Political offices
Preceded by
Charles Buller
President of the Poor Law Board
1849 – 1852
Succeeded by
Sir John Trollope, Bt
Preceded by
Sir John Trollope, Bt
President of the Poor Law Board
1852 – 1855
Succeeded by
Hon. Edward Pleydell-Bouverie
Preceded by
The Earl of Harrowby
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
1855 – 1858
Succeeded by
The Duke of Montrose


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