Goderich, Frederick John Robinson, 1st Viscount

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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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Frederick John Robinson 1st earl of Ripon

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