Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 49.djvu/57

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Robinson Crusoe so remarkable in history?’ (cf. Pichot, Talleyrand Souvenirs, pp. 145–149).

Robinson was a ‘specious, empty man,’ with a talent for flattery, remarkable even in that age for his ‘profusion of words and bows and compliments.’ He and Lord Chesterfield maintained a correspondence for fifty years, and Sir Thomas kept all the letters which he received and copies of the answers which he sent. At his death he left them ‘to an apothecary who had married his natural daughter, with injunctions to publish all,’ but Robinson's brother Richard stopped the publication. Chesterfield, in his last illness, remarked to Robinson—such is probably the correct version of the story—‘Ah! Sir Thomas. It will be sooner over with me than it would be with you, for I am dying by inches;’ and the same peer referred to him in the epigram—

    Unlike my subject will I frame my song,
    It shall be witty and it shan't be long.

Sir John Hawkins records (Life of Johnson, p. 191) that when Chesterfield desired to appease Dr. Johnson, he employed Robinson as his mediator. Sir Thomas, with much flattery, vowed that if his circumstances permitted it, he himself would settle 500l. a year on Johnson. ‘Who, then, are you?’ was the inquiry, and the answer was ‘Sir Thomas Robinson, a Yorkshire baronet.’ ‘Sir,’ replied Johnson, ‘if the first peer of the realm were to make me such an offer, I would show him the way down stairs.’ Boswell, on a later occasion, found Robinson sitting with Johnson (Life, ed. Hill, i. 434), and Dr. Maxwell records that Johnson once reproved Sir Thomas with the remark, ‘You talk the language of a savage.’

[Foster's Yorkshire Families (Howard pedigree); Plantagenet-Harrison's Yorkshire, pp. 414–15; Wotton's Baronetage, iv. 225–8; Archdall's Irish Peerage, vii. 171–2; Walpole and Mason (ed. Mitford), i. 278–9, 440; Walpole's Notes to Chesterfield's Memoirs (Philobiblon Soc. xi. 70–2); Walpole's Letters, i. 95, 122, ii. 284, 395, iii. 4, v. 403, vi. 427, viii. 71; Walpoliana, ii. 130–1; Lady Hervey's Letters, 1821, pp. 164–5; Nichols's Hogarth Anecd. 1785, p. 22; Churchill's Poems, 1804 ed. ii. 183–4; Saturday Review, 5 Nov. 1887, pp. 624–5; Dictionary of Architecture; Schomburgk's History of Barbados, pp. 326–7; Poyer's History of Barbados.]

W. P. C.

ROBINSON, THOMAS, second Baron Grantham (1738–1786), born at Vienna on 30 Nov. 1738, was the elder son of Thomas, first baron Grantham [q. v.], by his wife Frances, third daughter of Thomas Worsley of Hovingham in the North Riding of Yorkshire. He was educated at Westminster School and Christ's College, Cambridge, where he graduated M.A. in 1757. At the general election in March 1761 he was returned to the House of Commons for Christchurch in Hampshire, and continued to represent that borough for nine years. He was appointed secretary of the British embassy to the intended congress at Augsburg in April 1761, and on 11 Oct. 1766 he became one of the commissioners of trade and plantations. On 13 Feb. 1770 he was promoted to the post of vice-chamberlain of the household, and was sworn a member of the privy council on the 26th of the same month. He succeeded his father as second Baron Grantham on 30 Sept. 1770, and took his seat in the House of Lords at the opening of parliament on 13 Nov. following (Journals of the House of Lords, xxxiii. 4). He kissed hands on his appointment as ambassador at Madrid on 25 Jan. 1771, and held that post until the outbreak of hostilities in 1779. According to Horace Walpole, Grantham was ‘under a cloud’ in 1775. ‘A person unknown had gone on a holiday to the East India House and secretary's office, and, being admitted, had examined all the papers, retired, and could not be discovered. Lord Grantham was suspected, and none of the grandees would converse with him’ (Journal of the Reign of King George III, 1859, i. 486–7). Deceived by Florida Blanca, Grantham confided in the neutrality of the Spanish court to the last, and wrote home in January 1779, ‘I really believe this court is sincere in wishing to bring about a pacification’ (Bancroft, History of the United States, 1876, vi. 180). He seconded the address at the opening of the session on 25 Nov. 1779, and declared that ‘Spain had acted a most ungenerous and unprovoked part’ against Great Britain (Parl. Hist. xx. 1025–7). He was appointed first commissioner of the board of trade and foreign plantations on 9 Dec. 1780, a post which he held until the abolition of the board in June 1782. Grantham joined Lord Shelburne's administration as secretary of state for the foreign department in July 1782, and he assisted Shelburne in the conduct of the negotiations with France, Spain, and America. He defended the preliminary articles of peace in the House of Lords on 17 Feb. 1783, and pleaded that the peace was ‘as good a one as, considering our situation, we could possibly have had’ (Parl. Hist. xxiii. 402–4). He resigned office on the formation of the coalition government in April 1783. Grantham, who had declined, upon the declaration of war with Spain, any longer to accept his salary