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Appendix A: Biographical Sketches Lord Ripon (1827-1909) G eorge Frederick Samuel Robinson1 came from a noble political family. He was born at 10 Downing St., when his father was briefly prime minister. His grandfather had been governor of Madras. Lord Ripon was a Liberal member of Parliament 1852-59 under the courtesy title of Viscount Goderich. He inherited the titles of 2nd Earl of Ripon from his father and 3rd Earl de Grey from an uncle in 1859, to become marquess of Ripon in 1871. He held Cabinet posts of under secretary for war (1859-61), under secretary for India (1861), secretary for war (1863-66), secretary for India (1866) and lord president of the Council (1868-73). In his younger days he was influenced by the Christian socialism of F.D. Maurice. Later he can be seen as a more moderate Liberal. Throughout he was a man of conviction. He was Sidney Herbert’s choice to succeed him at the War Office when he died and Nightingale won her campaign to get him appointed there in 1863, although not until after a poor intervening appointment, in her view. His work on War Office reforms, with Nightingale’s machinations to get him the appointment, are treated in a later volume. Ripon converted to Roman Catholicism in 1874. He was already ‘‘out of office’’ by this time, having resigned over a minor difference with Gladstone, both recognizing that the Liberal government was nearing its end. Ripon clearly did not want his religious conversion to end his political career. He wrote his political colleagues frankly about his views and received full acceptance by all but Gladstone, the most important. Ripon remonstrated by letter with Gladstone, who finally 1 On Lord Ripon see Sarvepalli Gopal, The Viceroyalty of Lord Ripon, and Lucien Wolf, Life of the First Marquess of Ripon. / 903 agreed that his Roman Catholicism need not be a barrier to further public service (it was more acceptable to have been born Roman Catholic than to convert). Ripon, however, stayed away from political issues for the next six years, confining his speeches in the House of Lords to educational and church matters. When Gladstone and his Liberals won election again in 1880, Ripon wanted a Cabinet post. He was offered the viceroyalty of India, although only after one other person had turned it down. Ripon himself prevaricated on account of his wife’s health. Nightingale was elated by his appointment as viceroy in 1880. He promptly ended the Anglo-Afghan hostilities and entered into a peace treaty with the new emir. Then he could set his reform program in motion. A cousin, R.S. Ellis, was an India expert and Nightingale collaborator , in other words, a trusted source with excellent practical experience of the country. As well Ripon had become much involved in India issues in the years preceding his appointment. Three main issues marked his viceroyalty: the institution of measures for self-government, especially at the local level; the establishment of a rent commission, which eventually resulted in the Bengal Tenancy Act; and increased acceptance of Indian nationals in the judiciary, through the Ilbert Bill. These are all major subjects of this volume. Further Ripon reduced the salt tax and repealed the detested Vernacular Press Act of 1878. He was a strong promoter of the co-operative movement. He did much to reform primary and secondary education. He was the first viceroy to encourage the training of Indians for self-rule. His youthful Christian socialism can be seen as the source here, providing both the intellectual rationale for self-government and the conviction to work for it against determined opposition. An article he published in 1852, ‘‘Duty of the Age,’’ includes a justification of self-government. Nightingale published ‘‘Our Indian Stewardship’’ as a defence of Lord Ripon’s policies and liberal values. She even came to rank him above her earlier hero, John Lawrence. Ripon in fact had been able to carry out more concrete reforms than Lawrence, for all his years of service in India and his status of ‘‘saviour of the Punjab.’’ Ripon’s leaving office early was one last service he did India, enabling the appointment of another Liberal viceroy, Lord Dufferin, and thus ensuring support for reform measures. Back in England Ripon was involved in the battle for home rule in Ireland and in South African politics. He continued to advise Nightin904 / Florence Nightingale on Social Change in India gale on issues and assist her with...


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