John Lewis Ricardo

John Lewis Ricardo
Born 1812
Died 2 August 1862 (aged 4950)
Occupation Businessman, politician

John Lewis Ricardo (1812 – 2 August 1862) was a British businessman and politician.

He was the son of Jacob Ricardo and nephew of the economist David Ricardo. In 1841 he married Catherine Duff (c.1820 – 1869), the daughter of General Sir Alexander Duff and sister of James Duff, 5th Earl Fife. They had one son, Alexander Louis (1843–1871), the first husband of Florence Bravo.

In 1841 he was elected Member of Parliament for Stoke-on-Trent as a Liberal, serving until his death. He was active in the repeal of the Navigation Acts in 1849.


He was Chairman of the North Staffordshire Railway from 1846 until his death. In 1846 he founded the Electric Telegraph Company, the world's first public telegraph company together with William Fothergill Cooke and served as Chairman until its merger with the International Telegraph Company in 1856. He was also a director of London and Westminster Bank.[1]

Ricardo was a leader of a group of businessmen who in 1845. Purchase the patents for the electric telegraph designed by Cooke and Wheatstone British patents. He was staying largest shareholder and executive Chairman of the Electric Telegraph Company for its first 12 years. His goal was to build a national network in Britain, that would distribute fresh financial news items to his own network of newsrooms to be located adjacent to all the British stock exchanges. The goal was a monopoly over instant information that was financially valuable to speculators and investors. However, when the established telegraph companies formed monopolistic cartels and raised prices to newspapers, Ricardo secretly switched sides and campaigned for their nationalization.[2]



  1. Appletons' annual cyclopaedia and register of important events of the year: 1862. New York: D. Appleton & Company. 1863. p. 690.
  2. Roger Neil Barton, "The birth of telegraphic news in Britain," Media History (2010) 16#4, pp 379-406

Further reading

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
John Davenport
William Taylor Copeland
Member of Parliament for Stoke-upon-Trent
With: William Taylor Copeland 1841–1852
Hon. Frederick Leveson-Gower 1852–1857
William Taylor Copeland 1857–1862
Succeeded by
William Taylor Copeland
Henry Riversdale Grenfell

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