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A SKETCH OF HIS LIFE BY HIS GRANDDAUGHTER
(Sir John, 1764-1848, Secretary of the Admiralty)]
Interesting manuscript notebook by
, (1832-1909) his granddaughter
entitled "A Brief Sketch of the Life of the late Sir John Barrow Bart", starting by talking about the Hoad Monument "It stands not only as a memorial of a 'Self made man' whose memory is still cherished in this Native place, but is also of great use as a landmark to Sailors on that Coast ...", she goes on to speak of his childhood and his love of gardening and planting trees, on his 80th birthday "a Flag was hoisted in the Rowan Tree which he had planted when a boy ...", it goes on to recount how he and a friend managed to get a Sunday School started in Ulverstone, she continues with his after school career "he was sent, with Mr Walkers nephew, to take an accurate and complete survey of the very extensive estates of Conished Priory. He says he learnt much in this way and a few years afterwards wrote a book on Mathematical Instruments, and was not a little delighted to send the first fruits of his pen, £20 to his mother ...", she quotes Barrow as saying that he always had "an inherent and inveterate hatred of idleness ..." and so he studied "Mathematics, Magnetism and Astronomy. He then at the age of fourteen he had an offer to Superintend the workmen and to keep the account of a large Iron Factory in Liverpool ...", a post he continued in after the death of the owner Mr Walker, "it is interesting here to remark that he made acquaintance with Leonardi, who came to the factory to ask if he could be supplied with iron filings in order to inflate his Balloon with inflammable gas, the first he believed that had been sent up in England, at least with any persons in it. 'This new species of flight into the air took hold of my fancy and I prevailed on Leonardi to let me accompany him, to which he made no objection provided the balloon would rise with both which was a point he could not say however when the day of trial came the balloon was found wanting it rose tardily with Leonardi alone and I was to be content to remain below' ...", later he met "Captain Potts who had been recommended to take a trip to Greenland for his health. This gentleman offered to take John Barrow as his companion in his whale ship to the frozen seas. 'Nothing ... could have occurred more opportune or more consonant with my wishes' and this, no doubt, commenced his ardour for Arctic Expeditions ...", the text continues about his growing naval career and navigational skills, how he took a job teaching mathematics at Greenwich, then, "through the influence of Sir George Staunton ... he had the good fortune to have his name enrolled as Comptroller of the Household to Lord Macartney in his Embassy to China, who desired him to look after and hasten the completion of several mathematical, Philosophical, and scientific instruments and works of Art, to be taken as presents to the Emperor of China ... he left Portsmouth 1792, and returned to England in 1794, having travelled some twelve or thirteen hundred miles through the heart of the Chinese Empire ..." the journal follows his travels to the Cape of Good Hope, where he explored the unmapped country and enquired into "the quarrels which were constantly taking place between the Boars and the Kaffirs ..." and he was pleased to find some Moravian Missionaries with a well orderer colony, "Six hundred Hottentots had been brought together by these good people, and the number was daily increasing ... member of the English poor are not half so well off ... Many learn trades, and are paid as soon as they can earn wages ...", she then relates more of his journey and problems with lack of water, Barrow said that he had "travelled every part of the Colony of that Cape of Good Hope, and visited the several countries of the Kaffirs, the Hottentots and the Bosjesmen, performing a journey exceeding three thousand miles on horseback, on foot and very rarely in a covered waggon ....", Lord Macartney said of his journey that "his map must be particularly valuable as it is the only one that can be at all depended on ...", there is then an account of an uprising of the Boars that he took over and a brief outline of the rest of his life, his marriage, his publications and his appointments, 31 sides 8vo., Ridgmount House, no date but circa
Hoad Monument (proper name: the Sir John Barrow Monument) is a 100 foot tower at the top of Hoad Hill, to the north-east of Ulverston in the Furness area of north-west England. Paid for mainly by public subscription, the monument was erected in 1850 at a cost of £1250. It commemorates Sir John Barrow who was born in Ulverston in 1764. Sir John was a founder member of the Royal Geographical Society, and held various government posts in the 19th century becoming the Second Secretary to the Admiralty.
During his travels through South Africa, Barrow compiled copious notes and sketches of the countryside that he was traversing. The outcome of his journeys was a map which, despite its numerous errors, was the first published modern map of the southern parts of the Cape Colony. Barrow married Anna Maria Truter (1777–1857) in South Africa on 26 August 1799. A botanical artist from the Cape, she bore him four sons and two daughters, one of whom, Johanna, married Lieutenant Colonel Robert BATTY (1789-1848, Army Officer and Artist).
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