John Arthur Roebuck - Encyclopedia


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JOHN ARTHUR ROEBUCK (1801-1879), British politician, was born at Madras on the 28th of December 1801. After the death of his father, a civil servant, his mother's second marriage transferred him to Canada, where he was chiefly brought up. He came to England in 1824, was called to the bar (Q.C. 1843), became intimate with the leading radical and utilitarian reformers, was elected M.P. for Bath in 1832, and took up that general attitude of hostility to the government of the day, be it what it might, which he retained throughout his life. At all times conspicuous for his eloquence, honesty and recalcitrancy, he twice came with especial prominence before the public - in 1838, when, although at the time without a seat in parliament, he appeared at the bar of the Commons to protest, in the name of the Canadian Assembly, against the suspension of the Canadian constitution; and in 1855, when, having overthrown Lord Aberdeen's ministry by carrying a resolution for the appointment of a committee of inquiry into the mismanagement in the Crimean War, he presided over its proceedings. In his latter years his political opinions became greatly modified, but with one interruption he retained his seat for Sheffield, which he had won in 1849, until his death in London on the 30th of November 1879.

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