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Sir Robert Inglis, 2nd Baronet

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sir Robert Inglis

Sir Robert Harry Inglis, 2nd Bt by Sir George Hayter.jpg
Sir Robert Inglis by George Hayter
Member of Parliament for Oxford University
In office
Preceded byRobert Peel
Succeeded bySir William Heathcote, Bt
Member of Parliament for Ripon
In office
Member of Parliament for Dundalk
In office
Personal details
Born12 January 1786
Snelston, Derbyshire, Great Britain
Died5 May 1855 (aged 69)
Belfast, Ireland, UK
Resting placeBallylesson
Political partyTory/Ultra-Tory
EducationWinchester College
Alma materChrist Church, Oxford
Sir Robert Inglis
Sir Robert Inglis

Sir Robert Harry Inglis, 2nd Baronet, FRS (12 January 1786 – 5 May 1855) was an English Conservative politician, noted for his staunch high church views.


He was the son of Sir Hugh Inglis, a minor politician and MP for Ashburton (1802–1806). He married Mary Briscoe who was the daughter of John Briscoe and Susanna Harriot Hope whose marriage had ended in scandal.[1]

Political career

Robert succeeded to his father's baronetcy in 1820, and served as MP for Dundalk 1824–1826, Ripon 1828–1829 and Oxford University from 1829 to 1854. He was appointed High Sheriff of Bedfordshire for 1824.

Inglis was strongly opposed to measures which, in his view, weakened the Anglican Church. When Robert Grant, MP for Inverness Burghs, petitioned for Jewish relief in 1830, Inglis was violently opposed. Inglis alleged that the Jews were an alien people, with no allegiance to England, and that to admit Jews to parliament would "separate Christianity itself from the State."[2] He also alleged that if they were admitted to parliament "within seven years...Parliamentary Reform would be carried."[3] Inglis was joined in his public opposition by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Henry Goulburn, and the Solicitor General and future Lord Chancellor, Sir Edward Sugden. Although the Jews were not emancipated fully until 1858, Parliamentary Reform occurred in 1832, just two years later. Inglis also likened Buddhism to "idolatry" in connection with the British colony of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) during a debate over the relationship of "Buddhist priests" to the British colonial government in 1852.[4]

In 1845 he broke with Sir Robert Peel and opposed the Maynooth Grant, which would have granted a yearly £26,000 subsidy to the Catholic Maynooth seminary. Other opponents included, oddly enough, John Bright and Benjamin Disraeli, although on different grounds.

In 1851, when Lord Stanley (who became the Earl of Derby later that year) attempted to form a protectionist administration, Inglis was offered the presidency of the Board of Control, which he accepted initially, only to withdraw a few days later. A major activity of Inglis's political career was the chairing of the select committee that controlled the House of Commons Library, of which he was a member for 14 years. However, his rather narrow view of its scope was overturned by Sir Robert Peel in 1850. He was made a privy counsellor in 1854, and died the next year, at the age of 69. On his death the baronetcy became extinct.

Inglis's Journals are in the Canterbury Cathedral library and archives.


Due largely to his opposition to the Jewish reform measures, Disraeli apparently viewed Inglis with contempt, and described him as "a wretched speaker, an offensive voice, no power of expression, yet perpetually recalling and correcting his cumbersome phraseology."[5] Yet Inglis spoke powerfully and with great compassion about the plight of the Irish people during the Great Famine of the 1840s. He was well informed about the situation 'on the ground' and drew information from reports from the Society of Friends which give an accurate picture of Ireland's suffering. He did not hesitate to criticise absentee landlords, likening them to the absentee of Maria Edgeworth's novel, Castle Rackrent. Inglis, whatever his religious views seems also to have been a conscientious public representative. He served as an M.P. for three different constituencies over almost thirty years and in that time he spoke 1,327 times. See Hansard for his speeches, particularly the speech of 1 February 1847.


  1. ^ Stephana Biscoe, Legacies of British Slave-ownership, UCL, Retrieved 10 January 2016
  2. ^ Hansard, 2nd Series, xxii, 798.
  3. ^ Hansard, 2nd Series, xxiii, 1304–1806.
  4. ^ Hansard, 3rd Series, cxxiii, 713–714.
  5. ^ Robert Blake, Disraeli (New York, 1967), 304, op. cit..


  • Blake, Robert (1966). Disraeli. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-19-832903-2. OCLC 8047.

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
George Hartopp-Fleetwood
Member of Parliament for Dundalk
Succeeded by
Charles Barclay
Preceded by
Lancelot Shadwell
Louis Hayes Petit
Member of Parliament for Ripon
With: Louis Hayes Petit
Succeeded by
George Spence
Louis Hayes Petit
Preceded by
Robert Peel
Member of Parliament for Oxford University
With: Thomas Grimston Estcourt 1829–1847
William Ewart Gladstone 1847–1854
Succeeded by
Sir William Heathcote, Bt
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Thomas Charles Higgins
High Sheriff of Bedfordshire
Succeeded by
Samuel Bedford Edwards
Baronetage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Hugh Inglis
(of Milton Bryan)
This page was last edited on 26 August 2019, at 16:01
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