George Robinson, 1st Marquess of Ripon
|His Excellency The Most Honourable
The Marquess of Ripon
KG GCSI CIE VD PC
Lord Ripon in 1880 as Viceroy of India
|Lord President of the Council|
9 December 1868 – 9 August 1873
|Prime Minister||William Ewart Gladstone|
|Preceded by||The Duke of Marlborough|
|Succeeded by||Henry Bruce|
|Viceroy and Governor-General of India|
|Preceded by||The Lord Lytton|
|Succeeded by||The Earl of Dufferin|
|Leader of the House of Lords|
|Prime Minister||Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman|
|Preceded by||The Marquess of Lansdowne|
|Succeeded by||The Earl of Crewe|
24 October 1827|
10 Downing Street, London
|Died||9 July 1909(aged 81)|
|Spouse(s)||Henrietta Vyner (1833–1907)|
George Frederick Samuel Robinson, 1st Marquess of Ripon KG, GCSI, CIE, VD, PC (24 October 1827 – 9 July 1909), styled Viscount Goderich from 1833 to 1859 and known as the Earl of Ripon in 1859 and as the Earl de Grey and Ripon from 1859 to 1871, was a British politician who served in every Liberal cabinet from 1861 until the year before his death, which took place forty-eight years later.
Background and education
Ripon was born at 10 Downing Street, London, the second son of Prime Minister F. J. Robinson, 1st Viscount Goderich (who was created Earl of Ripon in 1833), by his wife Lady Sarah Hobart, daughter of Robert Hobart, 4th Earl of Buckinghamshire. He was educated privately, attending neither school nor college.
Diplomatic and political career, 1852–1880
Ripon served on Sir Henry Ellis' British special mission to the Brussels Conference on the affairs of Italy during 1848-49. Although his father had been a Tory, Ripon was first a Whig and later a Liberal. He entered the House of Commons as member for Hull in 1852, but he and his party colleague were unseated in 1853 by petition over claims of widespread corruption in their election, of which they were exonerated of any knowledge. He was returned for Huddersfield later in 1853 and the West Riding of Yorkshire in 1857. In 1859 he succeeded his father as second Earl of Ripon, taking his seat in the House of Lords, and later that year succeeded his uncle in the more senior title of Earl de Grey, becoming known as the Earl de Grey and Ripon. He was Under-Secretary of State for War under Lord Palmerston between 1859 and 1861 and 1861 and 1863 and briefly Under-Secretary of State for India in 1861. In 1863 he was made a Privy Counsellor and Secretary of State for War under Palmerston, with a seat in the cabinet. He retained this office when Lord Russell became prime minister on Palmerston's death in 1865, and then served under Russell as Secretary of State for India between February and June 1866. In Gladstone's first administration he was Lord President of the Council (1868–73). During this period he acted as chairman of the joint commission for drawing up the Treaty of Washington with the United States over the Alabama Claims. For this he was created Marquess of Ripon, in the County of York. He had already been made a Knight of the Garter in 1869. In 1878 he served as President of the first day of the Co-operative Congress.
Viceroy of India, 1880–1884
When Gladstone returned to power in 1880 he appointed Ripon Viceroy of India, an office he held until 1884. During his time in India, Ripon introduced legislation (the "Ilbert Bill," named for his secretary, Courtenay Ilbert), that would have granted native Indians more legal rights, including the right of Indian judges to judge Europeans in court. Though progressive in its intent, this legislation was gutted by the British Parliament which did not want to lose its legal superiority.
He was also instrumental in supporting Dietrich Brandis to reorganize the Madras Forest Department and expand systematic forest conservancy in India. He is still revered in Chennai (formerly Madras), India as "Ripon engal appan" meaning: Ripon our father. The Corporation of Chennai's Ripon Building was named for him, as well as the town of Riponpet in the Shivamogga district in the state of Karnataka. In Kolkata, the Ripon Street was named for him. The Ghanta Ghar Multan or Clock Tower of Multan in Pakistan was named Ripon Building and hall of same building was named Ripon Hall.
Political career, 1884–1908
Lord Ripon also became a supporter of Home Rule for Ireland. In Gladstone's 1886 government he was First Lord of the Admiralty, and in the government of 1892 to 1895 he was Secretary of State for the Colonies. When the Liberals again returned to power in 1905 under Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, he took office, aged 78, as Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Lords. In 1908, he declined to remain as Lords leader when H. H. Asquith became Prime Minister in April, and he resigned as Lord Privy Seal in October.
As noted by Neil Smith, Ripon’s liberalism had roots in the mid-nineteenth century, but his political views “shifted with the times.” According to Smith
“he was greatly interested in labour questions, deeply sympathetic to labour aspirations and believed the state might interfere with wages and that the state had a duty to deal with unemployment.”
Lord Ripon also held many positions in the public life in Yorkshire. In 1860 he was appointed honorary Colonel of the 1st Volunteer Battalion of the Prince of Wales' Own (West Yorkshire) Regiment and later awarded the Volunteer Decoration (VD); in 1863 High Steward of the borough of Hull, and from 1873 to 1906 was Lord Lieutenant of the North Riding of Yorkshire. He was a Deputy-Lieutenant and JP for the counties of Lincolnshire and the West Riding of Yorkshire, JP for the Liberty of Ripon, and served as Mayor of Ripon in 1895-96.
Lord Ripon was a Freemason, who served as Provincial Grand Master of the West Riding and Deputy Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England from 1861 to 1869, and ultimately as Grand Master from 1870 until his conversion to Catholicism in 1874, following which he was generous in supporting Catholic educational and charitable works. He was president of the Society of St Vincent de Paul from 1899 until his death and a great supporter of St. Joseph's Catholic Missionary Society.
He was also Chancellor of the University of Leeds from 1904 until his death in 1909.
Lord Ripon married his cousin Henrietta Anne Theodosia Vyner (17 April 1833 – 28 February 1907), daughter of Henry Vyner and his wife Lady Mary Gertrude Robinson, daughter of Thomas Robinson, 2nd Earl de Grey, on 8 April 1851. They had one son and one daughter. Lady Ripon died in February 1907, aged 73. Lord Ripon survived her by two years and died of heart failure at Studley Royal Park in July 1909, aged 81. He was buried at St Mary's, Studley Royal and was succeeded by his only son, Frederick.
- White, Geoffrey H., ed. (1949). The Complete Peerage, Volume XI. St Catherine's Press. p. 4.
- Foster, Joseph (1888). Alumni Oxonienses, 1715-1886. Oxford University Press. p. 1213.
- The London Gazette: . 13 July 1852.
- Wolf, Lucien (1921). Life of the First Marquess of Ripon. pp. 49–53.
- The London Gazette: . 26 April 1853.
- The London Gazette: . 10 April 1857.
- The London Gazette: . 1 May 1863.
- The London Gazette: . 20 June 1871.
- The London Gazette: . 14 December 1869.
- Congress Presidents 1869-2002 (PDF), February 2002, retrieved 10 May 2008
- The London Gazette: . 11 May 1880.
- Denholm, Anthony F. (May 2009) . "Robinson, George Frederick Samuel, first marquess of Ripon (1827–1909)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/35792. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
- White, Geoffrey H., ed. (1949). The Complete Peerage, Volume XI. St Catherine's Press. p. 5.
- Kelly's Handbook of the Titled, Landed and Official Classes 1909. Kelly's. p. 1386.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to George Robinson, 1st Marquess of Ripon.|
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by the Marquess of Ripon