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first Viscount Goderich (1782–1859)

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first Viscount Goderich, by J. Jenkins, c.1830

first Viscount Goderich, by J. Jenkins, c.1830

National Library of Australia, 9991538

first Viscount Goderich (1782-1859), politician, was born on 30 October 1782 in London, and baptized as Frederick John the son of Thomas Robinson, second baron Grantham, and Lady Mary Jemima, younger daughter of Philip Yorke, second earl of Hardwicke. He was educated at Harrow and St John's College, Cambridge (M.A., 1802), and was a member of Lincoln's Inn 1802-09. As Tory M.P. for Carlow borough in 1806 and for Ripon in 1807-27 he was secretary of state for the colonies in Portland's ministry in 1809, lord of the admiralty 1810-12, privy councillor in 1812, a lord of the treasury in 1812, paymaster-general of the forces in 1812-17 and chancellor of the exchequer in 1823-27. Created Viscount Goderich of Nocton in April 1827, he became leader of the House of Lords in May and on asking for a position less onerous than chancellor was made secretary of state for war and the colonies on 30 April. He relinquished this post to Huskisson when on Canning's death in August 1827 he became prime minister until his resignation in January 1828. In Earl Grey's ministry, Goderich returned to charge of the Colonial Office on 22 November 1830. This time his influence was felt in eastern Australia by the introduction in January 1831 of the so-called Ripon regulations, whereby the granting of crown land within the settled counties was replaced by auction sales at a minimum of 5s. an acre, a change made possible only by the ten preceding years of intensive surveys and valuations ordered by Tory governments. In July 1831 Goderich also introduced the limited use of land revenue for female emigration, but his rejection next year of proposals from the Wakefieldian South Australian Land Co. showed that he had little liking for the theory of systematic colonization.

After considerable pressure from Grey, Goderich resigned from the Colonial Office in March 1833, was created earl of Ripon, and held the post of lord privy seal for a year. He became president of the Board of Trade in 1841 and president of the board of control for Indian affairs 1843-46. He was elected fellow of the Royal Society in 1828, president of the Royal Society of Literature in 1834, and awarded a D.C.L. (Oxford, 1839). He died at Putney Heath on 28 January 1859. In the Western Australian capital of Perth, which was first settled by British colonists in 1829, a major street was named after him.

Citation details

'Goderich, first Viscount (1782–1859)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1966, accessed online 19 July 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 1, (Melbourne University Press), 1966

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© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

first Viscount Goderich, by J. Jenkins, c.1830

first Viscount Goderich, by J. Jenkins, c.1830

National Library of Australia, 9991538

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Ripon, first Earl of
  • Robinson, Frederick John

30 October, 1782
London, Middlesex, England


28 January, 1859 (aged 76)
London, Middlesex, England

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