Robinson, John

, a distinguished English prelate and statesman, was born at Cleasby, in Yorkshire, Nov. 7, 1650, and educated at Oriel college, Oxford, to which he was afterwards a liberal benefactor. After he had completed his master’s degree, and taken orders, he went about 1683 to Sweden, as domestic chaplain to the British ambassador at that court; and in his absence was appointed first resident, then envoy extraordinary, and lastly ambassador. He remained in this rank until 1708. During this time he published his “Account of Sweden, as it was in 1688,” which is generally printed with lord Molesvvorth’s account of Denmark. On his return to England, her majesty, queen Anne, was so sensible of the value of his services, that she made him dean of Windsor, registrar of the order of the garter, and prebendary of Canterbury. He was also in 1710 preferred to the bishopric of Bristol. His political knowledge recommended him to the confidence of the earl of Oxford, then at the head of administration, who resolved to have him of the privy council. For this purpose, he was first made lord privy seal, and afterwards was admitted to a seat at the council board, where he so distinguished himself that queen Anne made choice of him as one of her plenipotentiaries at the memorable treaty of Utrecht. With | what spirit he behaved on this occasion, appears from the common histories of the treaty, and Swift’s “Four last years of the Queen.” He was also appointed one of the commissioners for finishing St. Paul’s cathedral, and for building fifty new churches in London; was a governor of the Charter-house, and dean of the chapel royal. On the death of Dr. Compton in 1714, he was translated to the see of London, and the qneen, indeed, had such regard for him, that had she outlived the archbishop of Canterbury, she would have made Dr. Robinson primate.

After his advancement to the see of London, he gave many proofs of his great affection for the established church, by opposing innovations, contributing to, and promoting the augmentation of poor livings, and by vindicating his clergy against unjust aspersions. His steady attachment to the civil constitution was not less conspicuous, in his charges to his clergy, and his personal example and conduct. As a benefactor, he was distinguished by many acts of munificence. Every place, indeed, with which he was connected, felt the benefit of his public spirit; the place of his birth, in the building and endowment of a chapel and a school; Oriel college, in the addition of buildings towards the east side of the garden, and the foundation of some ample exhibitions; the ecclesiastical houses in which, he resided were generally repaired by him at great expence; and to the poor in general he was very generous.

Mackay has described this worthy prelate as “a little brown man; of a grave and venerable countenance; very charitable and good-humoured*; strictly religious himself, and taking what care he can to make others so.” He died at Hampstead, of an asthmatic disorder, April 11, 1723, and was buried at Fulham, April 19. He was twice married; his first wife, Maria, was daughter of William Langton, esq. Her liberal mind is delicately commemorated on the inscription on the front of his buildings at Oriel college. His second wife, Emma, whose family name we

* It was on this prelate that the other booksellers, and that he would

notorious Edmund Curll endeavoured semi his lordship an interleaved copy

to play a trick, which has been atlri- from which he might strike out whatbuted to, and perhaps really attempted ever he thought amiss, and! the sheets

by others. The good bishop sent a thus altered should be reprinted, and

gentleman to Curll to express his ecu- " rendered conformable to his lord*

cern at hearing that hemt-aiitto pub- ship’s opinion/' The bishop, however,

lish an edition of Rochester’s poems. saw through the trick, and rejected "

Curll allowed shat such an edition was preferred copy, | know not, survived him, and was buried at Fulham, Jan. 26, 1748. He left no issue, but many collateral descendants. 1


Nichols’s Atterbury. Lysons’s Environs, vol. II. and Supplement. Chalmers’s Hist, of Oxford. Swift’s Works. limpet’s Own Times. —Gent. Mag. vol LIV. and LXXII.