Robert Banks Jenkinson was a shy, awkward, intellectual sort of man. Perhaps he imagined, while a student at Christchurch, Oxford, of an alternate reality in which he was a classics don. But his father, the first Earl of Liverpool, loved him and had a plan for his life: Robert was going to be Prime Minister.
Amazingly enough, father planned best. Socially-inept Robert would go on to be a key member of the cabinets that fought the empire of Napoleon. Then, following the assassination of Prime Minister Spencer Perceval in 1812, the by-then Lord Liverpool became the King’s Prime Minster and First Lord of the Treasury. Guiding Britain through the last three years of war was not as difficult as leading it into the peace that followed twenty years of conflict, and a new Europe which for the first time since 1688 was not dominated by the seemingly eternal conflict between France and England. Liverpool was one of the most successful prime ministers in British history, and yet is now almost forgotten.
Will Hay and I will be discussing the career of Robert Jenkinson, 2nd Earl of Liverpool. We’ll also discuss why political history is important and should still be written.
Essays by William Anthony Hay on Lord Liverpool