Robinson, Frederick John, first Viscount Goderich and first earl of Ripon (1782–1859), prime minister
by P. J. Jupp

Robinson, Frederick John, first Viscount Goderich and first earl of Ripon (1782–1859), prime minister, was born on 1 November 1782 at Newby Hall, Yorkshire, the second of three children of , diplomatist and MP, and his wife, Lady Mary Jemima Grey Yorke (1756–1830), daughter and coheir of . As his father died when he was only three he was brought up by his mother, principally at Grantham House in Putney, which she inherited from her husband together with the income from a £100,000 trust fund. Later, in 1797, she inherited a half-share in her mother's properties.

Robinson's education was of an entirely conventional kind for one born into two substantial landed families: a preparatory school at Sunbury-on-Thames, followed by Harrow School (1796–9), St John's College, Cambridge (1799–1802), where he graduated MA, and Lincoln's Inn (1802–9). The evidence indicates that he was a diligent and accomplished student—he won the Sir William Browne medal for the best Latin ode at Cambridge in 1801—but his own memory of Cambridge suggests that he regarded meeting ‘distinguished men’ as being just as important as scholarship. He was never called to the bar.

Pittite politician

It was almost inevitable that Robinson would gravitate towards politics. Being a younger son of no independent means and little enthusiasm for the law, he had few other ways of obtaining an income. In addition, his mother's family—the Yorkes—regained a powerful political position when the third earl of Hardwicke became lord lieutenant of Ireland in 1801 as a member of Addington's government. Hardwicke was therefore responsible for his entry into politics by making him his private secretary at Dublin Castle (1804–6) and for negotiating his return to parliament as member for the borough of Carlow at the 1806 general election. As the patron of Carlow offered terms of £3000 for the duration of the parliament or £2000 down and £500 for every session in excess of three, it is to be hoped that Robinson chose the latter option, for it proved to be a single-session parliament. If he did not, it was the first of a series of misfortunes.

In the unsettled and factious state of parliamentary politics between his election in 1806 and the formation of Lord Liverpool's administration in the summer of 1812, Robinson's career was advanced by a combination of his Pittite views, some well-received speeches, and the patronage of Lord Castlereagh. In the case of his politics, he demonstrated a similar outlook to Pitt on constitutional issues by upholding the right of the king to veto Catholic relief in March 1807 (even though he was later to approve qualified concessions) and by not favouring extremes in the reduction of the influence of the executive. In addition he was a steadfast supporter of the war with France and, more controversially, the Peninsular campaign. In 1810 he wrote the bulk of a pamphlet, Sketch of the Campaign in Portugal, supporting Wellington's endeavours, and he approved the latter's case for a state annuity.

Although Robinson was never a frequent speaker, a number of his initial interventions attracted favourable notice. In this respect his bearing was no doubt an advantage, marked as it was by blond hair, blue eyes, and, to judge by Lawrence's portrait (c.1823), an expressive countenance. Perceval thought he ‘distinguished himself very much’ (Later Correspondence of George III, 4.565) in his maiden speech on 15 April 1807 approving the king's dismissal of the Grenville government, and considered his moving of the address on 19 January 1809 ‘very able’ (ibid., 5.169). Three years later, on 27 April 1812, Robert Ward regarded an intervention in defence of the government as ‘the best young man's speech I ever heard in the Parliament’ and one that gave him the appearance ‘of an old and able debater’ (E. Phipps, Memoirs of the Political and Literary Life of Robert Plumer Ward, 2 vols., 1850, 1.438). The last remark is perceptive, for throughout his career his speeches were marked by an ability to outline the complexities of an issue but a reluctance to drive home one particular line of argument.

With regard to patrons Robinson was initially deferential to those among his immediate family. In the case of his seat in parliament, he had no ties of significance. At the 1807 general election he exchanged Carlow for a seat at Ripon, which he held for the next twenty years without political strings on the interest of his kinswoman, Miss Lawrence. However the views of the Yorkes, and to a lesser extent his mother and elder brother, Lord Grantham, were a different matter. In April 1807 he declined a post in the duke of Portland's government because of Lord Hardwicke's opposition and his mother's gloomy prognostications for its future, and acted as secretary to a special mission to Vienna (July–September 1807) only out of friendship with its chief, Lord Pembroke. Two years later, in January 1809, he apologized to Hardwicke for moving the address, and in June 1810 agreed to serve as a member of the Admiralty board in Perceval's government only out of deference to the wishes of Hardwicke's brother, Charles Yorke. By this time, however, Robinson was already widening the circle of his political friends. On Wednesday evenings during the parliamentary session he dined at the Alfred Club in the company of a number of Pittites, most of whom had been born, like himself, in the 1780s and had entered parliament in the first decade of the century. They included some of those who were Robinson's colleagues in junior, and later senior, office, such as Peel, Croker, Palmerston, and Goulburn. More importantly, in May 1809 he became a protégé of one of the four contestants for Pitt's mantle, Lord Castlereagh. It was Castlereagh who appointed him his under-secretary in the War Office in that month and who was subsequently to become his patron. He resigned with Castlereagh in the autumn of that year and, in deference to him, declined an office in Perceval's newly formed government. Furthermore, although Charles Yorke was able to persuade him into office under Perceval in the following June, it was Castlereagh's appointment to the cabinet under Lord Liverpool in the summer of 1812 that secured Robinson's allegiance to the new government and his reward—the vice-presidency of the Board of Trade with a privy councillorship and a seat at the Treasury (which he exchanged for one of the joint paymaster-generalships in 1813). Robinson must therefore have impressed Castlereagh with his efficiency as an administrator, for although his father had held the trade post he was certainly not known for any particular aptitude in economic matters.

Board of Trade and exchequer, 1813–1827

It was under Lord Liverpool that Robinson rose from the ranks of the junior Pittites to become one of the senior tories, as that party came to be called. To some extent this was due to the same combination of factors as before: his skills as a debater and an administrator, both of which improved in this period, and the influence of his patrons. In January 1818, for example, his promotion to the cabinet as president of the Board of Trade (which was accompanied by the treasurership of the navy) was said to be the result, on the one hand, of ‘his standing in the House of Commons’ and ‘his character and talents’ as ‘a most amiable and gentlemanlike man’, and, on the other, of the influence of Castlereagh (Jones, 65). In the last respect the ties between the two men had grown closer as a result of Robinson's being Castlereagh's secretary at the congress of Châtillon in the first half of 1814 and by his marriage (on 1 September 1814) to Lady Sarah Albinia Louisa (1793–1867), a daughter and heir of , and a kinswoman of Castlereagh. Moreover, his further promotion, as chancellor of the exchequer in January 1823, was said to be the result partly of his acceptability to his predecessor, Vansittart, who had been a confidant of Castlereagh, and partly of the appeal that his ‘amiable and gentlemanlike’ manner had with the powerful independent country gentlemen in the Commons. There were some, however, who felt that Robinson was insufficiently active as a debater.

Robinson's elevation was also due to his contribution to one of the hallmarks of Lord Liverpool's government—the measures to relax constraints on trade. Ironically the first occasion on which he attracted widespread public attention was when he was engaged in an opposite cause—the justification in 1815 of the Corn Law Amendment Bill prohibiting the import of foreign grain when the price was below 80s. a quarter. It was a bill that he had helped to shape and one that he was obliged to present in his official capacity, especially as Castlereagh, the leader of the house, was abroad. However, it was not a bill for which he had a strong enthusiasm. As he said in his opening speech (17 February), the house was faced with ‘a choice of difficulties’ and not an opportunity to discuss ‘first principles’, such as ‘restriction or non-restriction’. It was a pragmatic issue in which the objective was to maximize the advantage ‘to all parties’ (Hansard 1, 29, 1815, 798–808). The famous measure was nevertheless widely regarded as a sop to the landed classes and led to nightly attacks on Robinson's London house; during one such attack, furniture and pictures were destroyed, and, in the course of another, two people were killed. In relating the last incident to the house, Robinson was moved to tears—a propensity under stress which was to earn him the first of several nicknames, in this case the Blubberer.

However, the corn law was untypical of the policies with which he was chiefly associated. When president of the Board of Trade these included the progressive reduction of duties on a large number of articles as well as steps to liberalize trade with other countries by bilateral agreements, most notably with the USA. Indeed five acts of 1822, two of which were introduced by Robinson and three by his vice-president, Thomas Wallace, are generally regarded as marking the end of the venerable system of protection known as the navigation laws. Later, when he was chancellor of the exchequer, budget surpluses enabled him to reduce assessed taxes and to abolish or reduce duties further. They also gave him the opportunity to make grants to house the Royal Library in the British Museum and to purchase the Angerstein collection for the National Gallery. These achievements, together with his support for Catholic relief and the abolition of slavery, led to his being regarded as one of the most liberal members of the government and to two more nicknames—‘Prosperity Robinson’ and ‘Goody’.

Yet Robinson's precise role in the early stages of what subsequently became known as the free-trade movement has been the subject of debate. In 1826 and 1827 he claimed publicly to be the person most responsible for the government's measures in favour of freer trade, and his biographer W. D. Jones supports him in preference to the claims of any other individual, such as Wallace, Huskisson, or Liverpool. However, the author of the most detailed study of the subject, A. J. Boyd Hilton, argues that the government's economic policies were the result of collective decision making by the trade and Treasury ministers, and that Robinson was one of a team of three or four leading contributors in which Huskisson, his senior in years but junior in office, was the most influential. Further, the same author has established that the policies themselves were not fashioned by a commitment to the kind of free-trade theory that became orthodox economic thinking in the 1840s and 1850s. Instead they emerged in response to the pursuit of two traditional objectives: the ensuring of food supplies and the establishment of economic and monetary stability. Robinson may have been more committed to free-trade theory than his colleagues, and was certainly ready, when challenged, to claim responsibility for the measures themselves, but the evidence suggests that he was one of a team and that the policies to which he contributed were essentially pragmatic.

The final year of Robinson's chancellorship was by far the least successful. A run on the banks in the last months of 1825 led to a commercial crisis. The government responded in 1826 with a bill to restrict the issue of paper money below the value of £5, but Robinson consented to a weakening of its terms in the face of strong opposition in the Commons. According to Charles Greville, the diarist, the sudden change of tack convinced many that Robinson was unequal to the crisis and that this was partly due to Huskisson's being ‘the real author’ of his measures. Moreover he refused to concede in his 1826 speeches that the crisis was as serious as his critics alleged. In opening his fourth and last budget statement (13 March 1826) he adopted the same optimistic tone that had been a feature of such statements in former years. Taxation, he claimed, had been reduced by £8 million since 1823, during which time government revenue had remained static and consumption had grown. The country was prosperous, he stated, and that prosperity was not going to be undermined by ‘untoward circumstances’ (Hansard 2, 14, 1826, 1305–34). However, the severity of the crisis was such that others were not convinced, and as 1826 drew to a close Robinson himself began to feel the strain. In December he asked Liverpool for a peerage and a less onerous post.

Peerage and leadership in the Lords

Liverpool's resignation through ill health in February 1827 and Canning's appointment as his successor in April shattered the tory–whig divide that had dominated parliamentary politics since 1812. Among the tories Canning's personality and his liberalism, particularly on the Catholic question, led the anti-Catholic ministers to refuse to serve under him. The tories therefore separated into four main groups: Canning's personal party, which was nearly fifty strong in Lords and Commons; liberals and moderates, like Robinson, who were prepared to accept his leadership; anti-Catholic ministers, such as Wellington and Peel, who refused to do so and resigned; and ultra-tories, who were mustering to resist concessions to Catholics or any other liberal causes. Canning was therefore obliged to turn to the whigs in order to form a government. A section of the whig party led by Lord Lansdowne agreed to take office, but this had the effect of separating it from the main body, which preferred to judge the government on its measures. The proliferation of parties was such that the king was obliged to play a significant role in the negotiations leading to the formation of Canning's government, and to some this raised the spectre of the resurgence of another party—that of the crown.

It was against this background that Robinson eventually became prime minister. In the tortuous negotiations leading to Canning's appointment to the post in April, Robinson had been considered, but rejected, as a compromise head. However, although he was not one of Canning's intimate friends, his liberalism and experience made him an essential member of the new government. He therefore accepted the less onerous post of colonial secretary, but agreed to take the lead in the Lords as the newly created (28 April) Viscount Goderich.

If Goderich had hopes of a quieter berth, he was quickly disappointed. The Lords certainly met less frequently than the Commons, but the bitterness engendered by Canning's prime ministership was equally strong in both houses. Moreover there were some powerful speakers in the Lords who found the amiable Goderich a tempting target. Thus, when the session resumed on 2 May the rebarbative Lord Ellenborough opened the campaign by calling into question Goderich's contribution to the previous government's economic policies. Two days later Lord Londonderry made a personal attack on him for combining with the whigs and therefore abandoning the policies of his former patron (and Lord Londonderry's half-brother), Lord Castlereagh. On the 10th he was confronted by such withering attacks on Canning by Lord Grey and the duke of Newcastle that he found himself inviting them to propose a no-confidence motion. Following another personal attack by Ellenborough on 17 May he experienced the ignominy of the government's Corn Bill being twice defeated on motions of the duke of Wellington. Although the loss was retrieved partially by the passage of a modified bill, there was a widespread feeling that Goderich had lost control of the house.

Prime minister, 1827

If Goderich's first experience of political leadership was humiliating, the second was disastrous. On 8 August Canning died, and the king immediately turned to Goderich to be the head of the government, subject to a reorganized cabinet's agreeing to the same terms as its predecessor—namely that it should continue to be a coalition of moderate tories and whigs which would be dismissed were it to propose measures of parliamentary reform and Catholic relief. On the following day Goderich and his colleagues agreed to the king's wishes; Goderich formally took office on 31 August 1827.

That George IV turned to Goderich is not surprising. He had been the government's leader in the Lords and therefore Canning's nominal second in command. In addition, with the exception of Lord Bexley, he was the most experienced of the senior ministers and still only forty-four. Furthermore, he had certain political advantages. As a former protégé of Castlereagh he still had some credit with the ultra-tories. On the other hand he had subsequently espoused liberal policies without becoming a member of Canning's party. He was therefore an independent liberal tory, and as such was well placed to preside over the continuation of the coalition government. Finally, it is likely that his amiability was seen as an advantage given the personal rivalries that now soured politics.

The disadvantages of Goderich's position were nevertheless severe. In the early nineteenth century, prime ministers needed the support of the crown and a disciplined party in order to be able to impose themselves on their colleagues: the former in order to attach the large number of independent MPs to the government, and the latter in order to outvote the opposition on routine measures. In Goderich's case, however, neither requirement was available in the right measure. Thus, as the initial exchanges with the king indicated, George IV regarded himself as the active guardian of the government and was soon advising him on how the vacancies in the cabinet should be filled. This reduced Goderich's standing with both the Canningites and the coalition whigs, who resented the king's assertiveness, particularly as they believed he was unduly influenced by unaccountable advisers such as his private secretary, Sir William Knighton. As for the support of a party, Goderich had been chosen not only because he was not a party leader but because his government was actually supported (in theory at least) by three different factions of the two former parties.

Goderich was also troubled by personal problems. Although his wife's prospects as an heiress (which were realized in 1816) may have been a factor that initially attracted him to her, they became devoted partners. However, she suffered from hypochondria and depression, illnesses exacerbated by the deaths of their first child in infancy and their second, when only eleven, in October 1826. On 24 October his wife gave birth for a third time, but within a few weeks she was afflicted with what seems to have been severe post-natal depression. By the end of the year her condition was regarded as sufficiently serious to merit the attention of four doctors (though she went on to outlive her husband).

Goderich initially overcame his political difficulties. The most serious was the question of who should be Canning's successor as chancellor of the exchequer. The king was anxious for the post to be given to one of Canning's oldest friends, William Sturges Bourne, but the latter declined to move from a minor office. Goderich then offered it to Huskisson and the coalition whig George Tierney, but they also refused. He therefore turned to J. C. Herries, the financial secretary of the Treasury under Liverpool but an anti-Catholic politician rumoured to be a confidant of Knighton and to have connections with the Rothschilds that were likely to create ill feeling in other quarters of the City of London. Goderich knew that the offer would be approved by the king but was unprepared for the hostility that it engendered within the government. Ominously, it was the king's insistence in Herries's favour that secured his appointment, Goderich's role being little more than a mollifier of his outraged colleagues.

The problem of the exchequer surmounted, Goderich and his colleagues began to prepare for the resumption of parliament in the following January. In the case of party politics Goderich regarded what he called the ‘odious distinctions of Whig and Tory’ as redundant and seems to have hoped that all types of liberals would merge into a new political force. As for policies, there is some evidence that the Treasury ministers decided to propose a property tax to compensate for continued cuts in indirect taxes—an initiative which, if it had been taken, would have secured Goderich's reputation, for it was not until 1842 that a measure of similar intent—the income tax—was implemented, and then, famously, by Peel. In addition, some conciliatory measures short of Catholic relief were planned for Ireland. However, as the resumption of parliament drew nearer, hopes for a new party and plans for new policies were overtaken by manoeuvres to ensure the government's survival in the division lobbies.

The problem as Goderich perceived it by November was the prospect of a powerful opposition being formed by anti-coalition whigs and secessionist tories led by lords Grey and Bathurst. He and other members of the cabinet concluded that a liberal coalition government could not survive against a combined whig and tory opposition without drawing off in advance some of the latter's potential strength. He therefore wrote to the king on 11 December proposing the accession to the cabinet of the tory Lord Wellesley and the whig Lord Holland, but unbeknown to his colleagues added a postscript stating that his own health and, more importantly, that of his wife, were so poor that he felt unfit for the duties of his post. The king, who was anxious to resist Lord Holland's inclusion, chose to construe this as a resignation and immediately set about finding an alternative prime minister, his eye falling on Lord Harrowby. As might be expected his colleagues were shocked by this development, especially as there were those who saw a personal advantage in having an amiable chairman as prime minister. They therefore persuaded Goderich to remain at his post and then persuaded the king to keep him there.

Resignation from the premiership

Thus began the series of tragicomic events that brought the government to an end. The first followed shortly after Goderich was reconfirmed in office when details of the episode were leaked to the press. As a consequence Huskisson indicated that he wished to resign. The following day, 20 December 1827, two of the more conservative members of the cabinet, Herries and Bexley, said that they would resign if Lord Holland was ever to become a cabinet member. The dénouement occurred over the chairmanship of a Commons select committee on national finances, the setting up of which had been promised by Canning. Huskisson stated that he wished the chair to be filled by one of the leading whigs, Lord Althorp, and that he would certainly resign if it were not. Herries, on the other hand, said that the chair was in his gift as chancellor, and at the end of December tendered his resignation on the issue. Depressed by his wife's poor health and unable to control his obstinate colleagues, Goderich concluded that his government was about to break up. On 8 January 1828 he reported the situation to the king who, having listened, decided that the ministry was at an end. The final ignominy took the form of the king's asking Goderich, who had not formally resigned on this occasion, to take the necessary steps to arrange for his own replacement—a request that according to one account led Goderich to cry and the king to pass him a handkerchief. His ministry had lasted just five months and, uniquely, had never been tested in parliament.

Colonial secretary and president of the Board of Trade and of the India board

Despite the ignominy and distress of his prime ministership, Goderich remained a front-bench politician for a further twenty years. A quick recovery from the strain of being prime minister and a not unjustified sense of the value of his experience played some part in his longevity. Described no more than six days after his dismissal as ‘quite another man’ who ‘sleeps at nights now, and laughs and talks as usual’ (J. Planta to W. Huskisson, n.d. [13 Jan 1828], BL, Add. MS 38754, fol. 97), he was ready to hold office under Wellington, his successor as prime minister, and made a tentative bid later in 1828 to become leader of the Canningites. Moreover in April 1833 he accepted the honorific post of lord privy seal in Lord Grey's government with great reluctance, believing that he deserved something of consequence, such as the Home Office. He was not at all mollified by receiving a step in the peerage as the earl of Ripon (13 April 1833), having expressed a preference for the first vacancy in the Garter.

The major reason for his longevity as a front-bencher, however, was that Goderich was an experienced, but comparatively young, member of the House of Lords, whose moderate liberalism held the centre ground in politics. This made him a useful colleague to both whigs and tories in their attempts to create balanced and sustainable ministries. Thus, having supported the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts and the Catholic Relief Bill, he was appointed colonial secretary by Grey in November 1830 (holding the office until March 1833) and became a convert to parliamentary reform. On 27 May 1834 he resigned from Grey's coalition in protest against a perceived threat to the establishment of the Church of Ireland, and over the next two years was an ally of Stanley before drifting towards the Conservative Party, which he joined in December 1836. In 1840 he criticized Lord Melbourne's government for not doing enough to reduce expenditure and to advance free trade, and received his reward by being appointed president of the Board of Trade when Peel's government was formed in 1841. Nearly two years later, in May 1843, when he was still only sixty, he took up his last post, as president of the India board.

In the succession of offices that he held after 1830 Ripon continued to pursue liberal causes and to meet with misfortune. As Grey's colonial secretary he fought hard to abolish slavery, but had his own plan overturned in favour of that of his successor, Stanley, who received all the credit. He even found himself moving Stanley's resolutions in the Lords (25 June 1833), a duty which may have contributed to his breaking down twice in the course of his speech. Later, as Peel's president of the Board of Trade (working somewhat uneasily with the young W. E. Gladstone as vice-president), he made a contribution to the commercial policies inaugurated in 1842 for which the administration is famous: the first major relaxation of the corn laws since 1828; the Customs Bill founded on the principle of abolishing prohibitory duties, in which he played a major role; and the renewal of the income tax, the policy he had apparently favoured since 1827. On the other hand, his pursuit of trade treaties with a number of European states, including France, proved nugatory. Yet although he achieved nothing of consequence in his last post as secretary for India, his official career ended on an appropriate note: having been obliged to sponsor the unpalatable corn law in 1815, it was he who was able to move, successfully, for its abolition by the Lords in May 1846. A month later he resigned with the rest of his colleagues and, having given his last speech in the Lords in May 1847, he died peacefully at Grantham House in Putney on 28 January 1859. He was buried at Nocton Hall in Lincolnshire, a house that his wife had inherited in 1816. He was succeeded by his only surviving son, born during his brief premiership, .

Reputation and assessment

For a century after his death assessments of Ripon were based principally on his premiership, the experience of which exposed the weaknesses of his personality and his indecisiveness. Recent research, however, has led to a more favourable judgement. In the case of his premiership it is accepted that the office did not then carry with it the means to control colleagues which later incumbents possessed, and that 1827 was a year of exceptional confusion and fractiousness in party politics. Even Wellington, his successor, who was strong in those qualities in which Ripon was weak, found it extremely difficult to establish a stable ministry from among the discordant elements that then dominated politics. Ripon attempted to act as a congenial chairman and, more positively, hoped to forward a realignment of politics, but he was unable to overcome the obstinacy of his colleagues and the differences between them.

Ripon's contribution in the other twenty-six years of his ministerial career has also been placed in perspective. He was one of a number of politicians who entered parliament in the first decade of the nineteenth century who inherited the dominating ideal of the younger Pitt: namely that a politician's primary duty was to serve the crown by diligent application to essentially pragmatic administration. It was in this capacity (as opposed to that of the partisan) that he attached himself to a series of mentors: Hardwicke, Charles Yorke, Castlereagh, Liverpool, Canning, Grey, Stanley, and Peel. The services he rendered were of two kinds. On the one hand he was an effective administrator whose study of the facts led him in most cases to see the merit of liberal reform. This enabled him to make important contributions over many years to the progressive reduction of taxes on trade and, to a lesser extent, to a number of other causes, most notably the abolition of slavery and more harmonious relations with the USA. On the other he was an amiable and gentlemanly colleague who could see both sides of a question and was ready to explain them in parliament. In the first half of the nineteenth century there were those in cabinets as well as parliaments who valued such qualities.

P. J. JUPP

Sources  

W. D. Jones, ‘Prosperity’ Robinson (1967) · HoP, Commons, 1790–1820, 5.26–8 · J. Derry, ‘Viscount Goderich’, The Prime Ministers, ed. H. Van Thal, 2 vols. (1974–5), 1.313–20 · G. I. T. Machin, The Catholic question in English politics, 1820 to 1830 (1964) · B. Hilton, Corn, cash, commerce: the economic policies of the tory governments, 1815–1830 (1977) · The later correspondence of George III, ed. A. Aspinall, 5 vols. (1962–70) · GEC, Peerage

Archives  

BL, corresp. and papers, Add. MSS 40862–40880 · CBS, corresp. |  Beds. & Luton ARS, corresp. with Lady Grantham; corresp. with second Earl de Grey; Lucas MSS; corresp. with Katherine Robinson · BL, corresp. with Lord Aberdeen, Add. MSS 43049–43358 · BL, corresp. with W. E. Gladstone, Add. MS 44285 · BL, corresp. with Lord Hardwicke, Add. MSS 35349–36278 · BL, corresp. with John Charles Herries, Add. MS 57402 · BL, corresp. with William Huskisson, Add. MSS 38734–38770 · BL, corresp. with Prince Lieven, Add. MS 47265 · BL, Liverpool MSS, Add. MSS 38190–38489 · BL, corresp. with Lord Liverpool, Add. MSS 38260–38302, 38458, 38565, 38575, passim · BL, corresp. with Sir Robert Peel, Add. MSS 40181–40617 · BL, corresp. with Lord Wellesley, Add. MSS 37284–37318, 37416 · BL, corresp. with Charles Yorke, Add. MS 45036 · BL OIOC, letters to Lord Tweeddale, MS Eur. F 96 · Derbys. RO, corresp. with Sir R. J. Wilmot-Horton · Durham RO, letters to Lord Londonderry · Hants. RO, letters to James Harris, first earl of Malmesbury · Lambton Park, Chester-le-Street, co. Durham, corresp. with earl of Durham · Lancs. RO, earl of Derby MSS · Lpool RO, letters to Lord Stanley · NA Scot., letters to Sir Charles Murray · TNA: PRO, letters to his mother, PRO 30/43 · U. Durham L., corresp. with second Earl Grey; corresp. with third Earl Grey · U. Southampton L., corresp. with Lord Palmerston; letters to the duke of Wellington · UCL, letters to Lord Brougham · University of Chicago Library, corresp. with John Wilson Croker · W. Sussex RO, letters to duke of Richmond


Likenesses  

T. Lawrence, oils, c.1823, NPG [see illus.] · cartoon, 1823, NPG · J. Doyle, cartoon, 1846, NPG · J. C. Bromley, group portrait, mezzotint (after Reform Banquet, 1832 by B. R. Haydon), BM · G. Hayter, group portrait, oils (The House of Commons, 1833), NPG · J. Jenkins, engraving (after T. Lawrence), repro. in W. C. Taylor, National Portrait Gallery, 4 (1848), 59 · S. W. Reynolds, group portrait, mezzotint (with family; after J. Reynolds), NPG, BM · W. Robinson, oils; on loan to Ripon Town Hall, Yorkshire · portrait, repro. in ILN, 2 (1843), 430

Wealth at death  

under £80,000: probate, 18 March 1859, CGPLA Eng. & Wales


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Frederick John Robinson (1782–1859): doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/23836