Sir Robert Inglis
Sir Robert Inglis by George Hayter
|Member of Parliament for Oxford University|
|Preceded by||Robert Peel|
|Succeeded by||Sir William Heathcote, Bt|
|Member of Parliament for Ripon|
|Member of Parliament for Dundalk|
|Born||12 January 1786|
Snelston, Derbyshire, Great Britain
|Died||5 May 1855 (aged 69)|
Belfast, Ireland, UK
|Alma mater||Christ Church, Oxford|
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.
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." He also alleged that if they were admitted to parliament "within seven years...Parliamentary Reform would be carried." 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.
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." 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.
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
| Member of Parliament for Dundalk
Louis Hayes Petit
| Member of Parliament for Ripon
With: Louis Hayes Petit
Louis Hayes Petit
| Member of Parliament for Oxford University
With: Thomas Grimston Estcourt 1829–1847
William Ewart Gladstone 1847–1854
Sir William Heathcote, Bt
Thomas Charles Higgins
| High Sheriff of Bedfordshire
Samuel Bedford Edwards
|Baronetage of the United Kingdom|
(of Milton Bryan)