Robinson, Anthony (DNB00)

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ROBINSON, ANTHONY (1762–1827), unitarian, was born in January 1762 at Kirkland, near Wigton in Cumberland, where his father possessed some property. He was educated at an academy belonging to the particular baptists at Bristol—Robert Hall [q. v.] was a fellow student—and subsequently became pastor of a baptist church at Fairford in Gloucestershire. Thence he removed to the general baptists’ church in Worship Street, London, but gave up the charge about 1790 on succeeding to his father’s estate, and retired to the country. In 1796 he returned to London, and entered into business as a sugar refiner, acquiring a considerable fortune. He made the acquaintance of Priestley, and, through Priestley's friend Rutt, of Henry Crabb Robinson [q. v.] The latter, who was no relative, declared Anthony’s powers of conversation to be greater than those of any others of his acquaintance. Crabb Robinson introduced him to the Lambs and William Hazlitt. He died in Hatton Garden on 20 Jan. 1827, aged 65, and was buried in the Worship Street baptist churchyard. His widow then removed to Enfield, where she lived opposite the Lambs. His son Anthony, who disappeared in 1827, was a reputed victim of Burke and Hare.

Robinson wrote: 1. ‘A Short History were of the Persecution of Christians by Jews, Heathens, and Christians,’ Carlisle, 1793, 8vo. 2. ‘A View of the Causes and Consequences of English Wars,’ London, 1798, 8vo. dedicated to William Morgan [q. v.]; in this work Robinson endeavoured to show that all English wars had proved injurious to the people; he vehemently attacked Pitt for declaring war with France, for which the 'British Critic’ denounced him as a Jacobin. 3. ‘An Examination of a Sermon preached at Cambridge by Robert Hall on Modern Infidelity,’ London, 1800, 8vo; a vigorous attack on all, which the 'British Critic’ termed a ‘senseless and shameless pamphlet.’ Robinson was also a frequent contributor to the ‘Analytical Review,’ ‘Monthly Magazine,’ and ‘Monthly Repository,’ to the last of which he sent an account of Priestley (xvii. 169 et seq.), which was used by Rutt in his ‘Life of Priestley.’

A contemporary Anthony Robinson, a surgeon of Sunderland, went to Jamaica and made manuscript collections on the flora of the island, which used by John Lunan in his ‘Hortus Jamaicensis,’ 1814, 8vo, 2 vols.

[Works in Brit. Mus. Libr.; Gent. Mag. 1827 i. 187; Biogr. Dict. of Living Authors, 1816; 194; Rutt's Life of Priestley, i. 33, ii. 533; Monthly Review, xi. 145, xxviii. 231, xxxii. 446; British Critic xiii. 593, xvi., 213; Crabb Robinson’s Diary, passim; Monthly Repository, 1827, p. 293.]

A. F. P.