John Robinson

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Robinson, John (1650–1723). Diplomat and bishop of London. A Yorkshireman of humble origins, educated at Brasenose College, Oxford, he became chaplain to the English embassy to Sweden (c.1680) while still an Oxford don (1675–86), and, remaining abroad until c.1709, won a reputation as a competent envoy to Sweden; he accompanied Charles XII to Narva. Later he was successively dean of Windsor (1709), bishop of Bristol (1710) and of London. As lord privy seal under Harley (1711) and joint plenipotentiary, he represented Britain at the peace negotiations at Utrecht (1712–13). Partly responsible for Britain's advantageous terms, he was made bishop of London in 1713. A Tory, but opposed to Bolingbroke, he backed Harley and the Hanoverian succession. More of a professional diplomat than a cleric, Robinson was the last ecclesiastic to hold high political office.

Revd Dr William M. Marshall

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John Robinson, 1576?–1625, English nonconformist pastor of the Pilgrim Fathers in Holland. In 1592 he entered Cambridge; in 1597 he received a fellowship and was ordained. Soon thereafter he became curate of a church at Norwich. He was a member of the group of separatists at Gainsborough and a little later (c.1606) was in the company of the separatists gathered around William Brewster at Scrooby. He became their pastor and was a leader in the removal (1608) of the Scrooby group to Amsterdam. In 1609 he and his flock moved to Leiden, where they set up a church. Robinson actively encouraged the projected emigration (1620) to America and would have accompanied the Pilgrims had the majority of his congregation gone; with their settlement at Plymouth, Congregationalism was founded in the New World. Robinson was the author of a number of essays and polemics on the separatists' position.

See his works (ed. by R. Ashton, 1851); biography by W. H. Burgess (1920); C. Burrage, New Facts concerning John Robinson (1910).