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Robinson, John

ROBINSON, JOHN - two noted Englishmen of history of that name:

(1) - ROBINSON, JOHN (1650-1723), English diplomatist and prelate, a son of John Robinson (d. 1651), was born at Cleasby, near Darlington, on the 7th of November 1650. Educated at Brasenose College, Oxford, he became a fellow of Oriel College, and about 1680 chaplain to the British embassy to Stockholm, and remained in Sweden for nearly thirty years. During the absence of the minister, Philip Warwick, Robinson acted as resident and as envoy extraordinary, and he was thus in Sweden during a very interesting and important period, and was performing diplomatic duties at a time when the affairs of northern Europe were attracting an unusual amount of attention. Among his adventures not the least noteworthy was his journey to Narva with Charles XII. in 1 700. In 1 709 Robinson returned to England, and was appointed dean of Windsor and of Wolverhampton; in 1710 he was elected bishop of Bristol, and among other ecclesiastical positions he held that of dean of the Chapel Royal. In August 1711 he became lord privy seal, this being, says Lord Stanhope, " the last time that a bishop has been called upon to fill a political office." In 1712 the bishop represented England at the important congress of Utrecht, and at first plenipotentiary he signed the treaty of Utrecht in April 1713. Just after his return to England he was chosen bishop of London in succession to Henry Compton. He died at Hampstead on the nth of April 1723, having been a great benefactor to Oriel College. Robinson wrote an Account of Sweden:

together with an Extract of the History of that Kingdom. By a person of note who resided many years there (London, 1695). This was translated into French (Amsterdam, 1712), and in 1738 was published with Viscount Molesworth's Account of Denmark in i6gz. Some of his letters are among the Strafford papers in the British Museum.

A member of the same family was Sir Frederick Philipse Robinson (1763-1852), a Virginian soldier, who fought for England during the American War of Independence. On the conclusion of peace he went to England, and in 1813 and 1814 he commanded a brigade under Wellington in Spain. Afterwards he was governor of Tobago, and he became a general in 1841. He died at Brighton on the 1st of January 1852.

(12- ROBINSON, JOHN (1575-1625), English Nonconformist divine, was born probably in Lincolnshire or Nottinghamshire about 1575. He seems to have studied at Cambridge, and to have been influenced by William Perkins. He took orders and held a curacy in Norwich, but was attracted by Puritan doctrines, and finally associated himself with a Congregation meeting at Gainsborough (where the " John Robinson Memorial Church " bears witness to his work). In 1606 the members divided into two societies, Robinson becoming minister of the one which made its headquarters at Scrooby, a neighbouring village. The increasing hostility of the authorities towards nonconformity soon forced him and his people to think of flight, and, not without difficulty, they succeeded in making their escape in detachments to Holland. Robinson settled in Amsterdam in 1608, but in the following year removed, with a large contingent, to Leiden, where he ministered to a community whose numbers gradually grew from one hundred to three hundred. In 1620 a considerable minority of these sailed for England in the " Speedwell," and ultimately crossed the Atlantic in the "Mayflower"; it was Robinson's intention to follow as soon as practicable, along with the rest of his flock, but he died before the plan could be carried out, on the 1st of March 1625.

In the early stages of the Arminian controversy he took the Calvinistic side, and even engaged in a public disputation with the famous Episcopius. He bore a high reputation even among his ecclesiastical opponents, and one of them (Robert Baillie) calls him " the most learned, polished and modest spirit that ever that sect enjoyed." He was large-minded and eminently reasonable in spirit, recognizing parish assemblies where " the pure word and discipline " prevailed as true churches of God. His sound judgment is seen in the way in which he adjusted the relations of elders and church the most delicate practical problem of Congregationalism.

Amongst his publications may be mentioned Justification of Separation from the Church (1610), Apologia Brownistarum (1619), A Defence of the Doctrine propounded by the Synod of Dort (1624), and a volume of Essays, or Observations Divine and Moral, printed in 1625. His Works (with one exception, A Manumission to a Manduction, since published by the Massachusetts Historical Society, ser. iv., vol. i.), including a memoir, were reprinted by R. Ashton in three vols. in 1851. A summary of their contents is given in G. Punchard, History of Congregationalism (New York, 1867), iii. 300-344. See further CONGREGATIONALISM, and the literature there cited; also O. S. Davis, John Robinson (Hartford, Connecticut, 1897).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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