ROBINSON, John II (?1757-1819), of Denston Hall, Suff.
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Family and Education
b. ?1757, 1st. s. of Lt.-Col. John Robinson of Denston Hall by w. Elizabeth née Coates (d. 16 Jan. 1781, aged 47). m. 10 Mar. 1782, Rebecca, da. of Robert Clive†, 1st Baron Clive [I], 3s. surv. 2da. suc. fa. 1772.
Adj. and sub-lt. 1 Horse Gren. Gds. 1773, sub-lt. 1774, guidon and capt. 1779, lt. and capt. 1787, maj. 1788; col. Suff. fencibles 1795, brevet col. 1798; maj.-gen. 1805; col. 2 Garrison Batt. (Sheerness) 1805-12; lt.-gen. 1811; col.-commdt. 60 Ft. 1813-18.
Robinson, a third generation professional soldier, raised a corps of fencibles during the revolutionary war and served in Ireland in 1798. He owed his seat in Parliament to his brother-in-law Edward Lord Clive, during whose absence in India he was brought in for Bishop’s Castle after a contest. He was substituted temporarily for Sir Henry Strachey when the Clive interest was under challenge and his close connexion with the patron was evidently his best qualification. He subsequently retained the seat, Strachey finding another. While in Parliament he gave, like his patron, a general support to administration: he was listed Pittite 1804-5 (despite a query in September 1804); he supported the Grenville ministry’s repeal of Pitt’s Additional Force Act, 30 Apr. 1806, but developed reservations subsequently. He opposed Sheridan’s Westminster election petition, 27 Feb. 1807. On 15 Apr. 1807, during the debate on Lyttelton’s motion against the ministry’s dismissal, he said:
There were some points on which he could not feel inclined to support the late administration. In their military measures, he could see nothing but speculative plans and fallacious hopes ... The next point on which he could not support them was their conduct relative to the Catholic question. In his opinion they had imprudently encouraged expectations which they could not gratify, and were now predicting evil consequences, which he did not think the circumstances warranted.
While regretting the ‘late ministerial changes’ on ‘general grounds’, he was unwilling to condemn their successors ‘by anticipation’.
Robinson subsequently supported successive administrations silently. After his vote against the Scheldt inquiry, 26 Jan. 1810, the Whigs listed him ‘doubtful’ from their point of view and it appears that he again opposed them on 30 Mar.1 He further voted with ministers on McMahon’s paymastership, 21 Feb. 1812, and on 4 May against sinecure reform. After the election of 1812 he was listed a Treasury supporter. He opposed Catholic relief throughout in 1813 and again in 1817. He rallied to ministers on the civil list, 31 May 1815, 6 May 1816; on the army estimates, 6, 8 Mar. 1816; on the property tax, 18 Mar. 1816, and on the suspension of habeas corpus, 23 June 1817. After surviving a contest in 1818, Robinson went to Paris, where he died, 23 May 1819, aged 62. He was buried at Père la Chaise.2 According to his memorial at Denston, ‘Religion, the only true source of consolation, enabled him to bear the severe domestic losses by which his latter days were embittered’.3