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George Frederick Samuel Robinson, 1st Marquess of Ripon KG, GCSI, CIE, PC (24 October 1827 – 9 July 1909), known as Viscount Goderich from 1833 to 1859 and as the Earl de Grey and Ripon from 1859 to 1871, was a Britishmarker politician who served in every Liberal cabinet from 1861 until his death forty-eight years later.

Background and education

Ripon was born at 10 Downing Streetmarker, Londonmarker, the second son of Prime Minister Frederick John Robinson, 1st Viscount Goderich (who was created Earl of Ripon in 1833), by his wife Lady Sarah, daughter of Robert Hobart, 4th Earl of Buckinghamshire.

Political career

Although his father had been a Tory, Ripon was first a Whig and later a Liberal. He entered the House of Commonsmarker as member for Hull in 1852, and later sat for Huddersfield and the West Riding of Yorkshiremarker. In 1859 he succeeded his father as second Earl of Ripon, taking his seat in the House of Lordsmarker, 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 Statesmarker. 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.

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.

Other public appointments

Lord Ripon was Chancellor of the University of Leedsmarker 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. Lord Ripon is very much revered in Chennai (formerly Madras), India. The Corporation of Chennai's Ripon Buildingmarker 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.


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 in July 1909, aged 81. He was succeeded by his only son, Frederick.


  1. Henrietta Anne Theodosia Vyner at (accessed 5 April 2008)


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