ROBINSON, Hon. Thomas (1738-86).

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754-1790, ed. L. Namier, J. Brooke., 1964
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1761 - 30 Sept. 1770

Family and Education

b. 30 Nov. 1738, 1st s. of Sir Thomas Robinson, and bro. of Hon. Frederick Robinson.  educ. Westminster 1750; Christ’s, Camb. 1755; Grand Tour.  m. 17 Aug. 1780, Lady Mary Jemima Yorke, da. and coh. of Philip, 2nd Earl of Hardwicke, 3s.  suc. fa. as 2nd Baron Grantham 30 Sept. 1770.

Offices Held

Sec. to congress of Augsburg (which never met) 1761-2; ld. of Trade 1766-70; P.C. 26 Feb. 1770; vice-chamberlain 1770-1; ambassador to Madrid 1770-9; first ld. of Trade Dec. 1780-Mar. 1782; foreign sec. July 1782-Apr. 1783.


When Sir Thomas Robinson was created a peer Newcastle recommended his son to succeed him at Christchurch. On 11 Dec. 1761 Robinson made his only reported speech in the Commons, on George Cooke’s motion for papers on the dispute with Spain—‘against the measure and short’, noted James Harris, his colleague at Christchurch.

Lord Grantham was one of Newcastle’s oldest friends, and adhered to him after his resignation. Robinson voted against the peace preliminaries and was dismissed. His name appears in the four minority division lists over Wilkes and general warrants, 1763-5; he was a member of Wildman’s Club; and was classed by Newcastle as a ‘sure friend’. He supported the Rockingham Administration in which his father held office.

In 1766 Chatham, to compensate Grantham for the loss of his office, gave Robinson a seat at the Board of Trade. His attendance there was very high, especially from 1768 to 1770 when he missed only 11 out of over 150 meetings. As a politician he was never in the front rank, even when foreign secretary under Shelburne. He resigned with Shelburne, and accepted a pension of £2,000 per annum.

As a young man he had been a close friend of Francis Russell, Marquess of Tavistock, but their friendship had no political implications.

Grantham died 20 July 1786.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: John Brooke