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Goderich, Frederick John Robinson, 1st Viscount

Goderich, Frederick John Robinson, 1st Viscount (1782–1859). Prime minister. Educated at Harrow and St John's College, Oxford, Goderich entered Lincoln's Inn in 1802 but was never called to the bar. In 1806 he sat as a moderate Tory for Carlow and a year later for Ripon, a seat he held for over twenty years. From 1813 to 1817 he acted as joint paymaster-general of the forces and accompanied Castlereagh to the continent for the Vienna peace negotiations. In 1815 he introduced ‘with great reluctance’ the notorious measure to prohibit the importation of wheat until the average price in England was 80 shillings per quarter. From 1823 to 1827 Goderich served as chancellor of the Exchequer. Along with Huskisson at the Board of Trade he introduced sweeping fiscal reforms to reduce customs duties and tax. The economic improvement led Cobbett to nickname him ‘Prosperity Robinson’. He was created viscount in 1827 and became leader of the Lords. Despite being a popular man in the Commons, Goderich was less effective in the Lords. In August 1827 he became prime minister after Canning's death. Although able, Goderich was unsuited to the task due to lack of resolution. He resigned in January of the following year and became secretary for war and the colonies in the Grey administration of 1830. In 1833 he was created earl of Ripon and made lord privy seal. ‘A transient and embarrassed phantom’, was Disraeli's description in Endymion of Goderich's premiership.

Richard A. Smith

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Ripon, Frederick John Robinson, 1st earl of

Frederick John Robinson Ripon, 1st earl of (rĬp´ən), 1782–1859, British statesman, better known as Viscount Goderich. Entering Parliament as a Tory in 1806, he sponsored the unpopular corn law of 1815 in the House of Commons. However, as president of the Board of Trade (1818–23) and chancellor of the exchequer (1823–27), his liberal policy of tariff reduction was an important step toward free trade. In 1827 he was created Viscount Goderich and was appointed secretary for war and the colonies. On George Canning's death within the same year he became prime minister, but internal strife and his own lack of resolution wrecked his ministry in 1828. Goderich (created earl of Ripon in 1833) served as secretary for war and the colonies (1830–33) and lord privy seal (1833–34). He was president of the Board of Trade (1841–43) and president of the India board of control (1843–46) in Sir Robert Peel's second ministry. By now an opponent of the corn laws, he resigned with Peel when repeal of the laws split the Tories in 1846.

See biography by W. D. Jones (1967).

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