George Robinson, 1st Marquess of Ripon

George Robinson, 1st Marquess of Ripon

George Frederick Samuel Robinson, 1st Marquess of Ripon KG, GCSI, CIE, PC (24 October 1827 – 9 July 1909) was a British politician who served in every Liberal cabinet from 1861 until his death forty-eight years later. He had no career other than politics. Robinson was born at 10 Downing Street, London (the Prime Minister's residence), the second son of the Prime Minister, Lord Goderich. Although his father had been a Tory, he was first a Whig and later a Liberal. He entered the House of Commons as member for Hull in 1852, and later sat for Huddersfield and the West Riding of Yorkshire. In 1859 he succeeded his father as Earl of Ripon and Viscount Goderich, taking his seat in the House of Lords, and later that year succeeded a cousin in the more senior title of Earl de Grey.

In 1861 de Grey first took office, and was then a member of every Liberal Cabinet until his death. In 1863, he was made a Privy Counsellor. He was Secretary of State for War (1863–66) under Palmerston and Secretary of State for India in 1866 under Russell. 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. For this he was created Marquess of Ripon. He was also made a Knight of the Garter in 1869. He was Grand Master Mason from 1870 to 1874, when Lord Ripon converted to Catholicism. He served as President of the first day of the 1878 Co-operative Congress.Citation | title = Congress Presidents 1869-2002| url =|date=February 2002| accessdate =2008-05-10]

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 who did not want to lose their legal superiority. In Gladstone's 1886 government he was First Lord of the Admiralty, and in that of 1892–95 he was Secretary of State for the Colonies. When the Liberals again returned to power in 1905 he took office, aged 78, as Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Lords. He resigned in 1908.

He was Chancellor of the University of Leeds from 1904 until his death in 1909.

A devout Catholic in his later years, Ripon was generous in 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. In 1851 he married his cousin Henrietta Vyner: they had two children.

Lord Ripon is very much revered in Chennai (formerly Madras), India. The Corporation of Chennai's Ripon Building was named after Lord Ripon and is a landmark and very much in the daily lingo of Chennai people. A town Riponpet in Shimoga district of Karnataka state in India is named after him.


On 8 April 1851, George Robinson (then Viscount Goderich) married his cousin Henrietta Anne Theodosia Vyner (17 April 1833 - 28 February 1907), the daughter of Henry Vyner and his wife Lady Mary Gertrude Robinson, who was a daughter of Thomas Robinson, 2nd Earl de Grey. Their son Frederick Oliver Robinson, later 2nd Marquess of Ripon, was born on 29 January 1852. [ [ Henrietta Anne Theodosia Vyner] at (accessed 5 April 2008)]



succession box | before=Sir George Lewis, Bt | title=Secretary of State for War | years=1863–1866 | after=The Marquess of Hartingtonsuccession box | before=Charles Wood | title=Secretary of State for India | years=1866 | after=Viscount Cranbornesuccession box | before=The Duke of Marlborough | title=Lord President of the Council | years=1868–1873 | after=The Lord Aberdaresuccession box | before=The Lord George Hamilton | title=First Lord of the Admiralty | years=1886 | after=The Lord George Hamilton succession box | before=The Lord Knutsford | title=Secretary of State for the Colonies | years=1892–1895 | after=Joseph Chamberlain
-succession box | title=Grand Master
of the United Grand Lodge of England
| before=The Earl of Zetland | after=The Prince of Wales | years=1870–1874
succession box | before=The Lord Lytton | title=Viceroy of India | years=1880–1884 | after=The Earl of Dufferin

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