Isaac Barre, a British soldier and statesman, born in Dublin in 1726, died July 1, 1802. He received his education at Dublin university and afterward studied law in London, but entered the array, was ordered to Canada, and became an intimate friend of Gen. Wolfe, who obtained his promotion at various times, until he reached the rank of lieutenant colonel. He was severely wounded at the capture of Quebec, and was with Wolfe when that general died. He occupies a prominent position in Benjamin West's painting of "The Death of Wolfe." After the surrender of Montreal, Sept. 8, 1760, he was appointed bearer of despatches from Gen. Amherst to Lord Chatham. In 1761, by the influence of the earl of Shelburne, Col. Barre was elected member of parliament for the borough of Chipping Wycombe. Almost his first political act was to make a personal attack upon the earl of Chatham. He has been accused of personal motives in this action, as he had considered Chatham an obstacle in the way of his promotion while in the army. This attack was as bold as it was unexpected, and at once raised Barre to a prominent position among the supporters of the ministry, Chatham leading the opposition.
In 1763, after the disbanding of Barrels regiment, he received the appointment of adjutant general to the British forces and governor of Stirling castle, his patron, Lord Shelburne, becoming president of the board of trade; but in December of the same year he was removed from his appointments, having joined the opposition and voted against the government on several occasions. In 1765 he opposed the stamp act, and made a forcible appeal to the house in favor of the colonies. In 1766, under the second administration of Lord Chatham, Col. Barre was appointed one of the vice treasurers to Ireland and was sworn of the privy council. In the discussion upon the question of reporting the parliamentary debates Col. Barre opposed the ministry, and after a full exposure of the corruption then existing, and the strongest denunciation of the corrrupt members, he left the house, calling upon every honest man to follow him. Throughout the administration of Lord North Col. Barre continued the warm friend of the American colonies, and distinguished himself greatly by the boldness with which he advanced his sentiments. On the dissolution of the North ministry, Lord Shelburne became secretary of state for foreign affairs, and Col. Barre treasurer of the navy.
Afterward, upon Shelburne becoming premier, Barre received the post of paymaster of the forces, which he held but a short time, as he retired with his patron in 1783, receiving for his services a pension of £3,200 per annum, which was afterward exchanged for the sinecure of clerk of the pells, with £3,000 per annum. Col. Barre continued in parliament till 1790, when he retired, owing to the loss of his sight consequent on a wound received at Quebec. He has been supposed by many to be the author of the Junius letters.