Sir Hercules Robinson.
THE expected successor of Earl Belmore in the Governorship of New South Wales, has already occupied several important positions in the public service, and comes to us with a high reputation for administrative ability. A few notes concerning the chief points in his life will of course be regarded with special interest in this colony.
Sir Hercules Robert George Robinson, second son of Captain, afterwards Admiral Hercules Robinson, R.N., of Rosemeath, Co. Westmeath, Ireland, by the only daughter and heiress of Henry Wildman Wood, Esq. He was born in 1824. Having early chosen the military profession, he was educated at Sandhurst College, and afterwards entered the service of his country in the 87th Fusiliers. He served for a few years in this force. But a different career of ambition was opening for him. In 1846, he retired from the army, and was engaged under the com- missioners of Public Works and the Poor Law Board in Ireland, upon the works under- taken during the famine. In the same year he married the honorable Nea Arthur Ada Rose D'Amour, fifth daughter of the ninth Viscount Valentia. In 1852, he was ap- pointed chief commissioner to inquire into the fairs and markets of Ireland. In 1854 he was made President of Montserrat, a small island near Antigua, with a population of about 7000, under the Government of the Leeward Islands. The revenue of this island is about £8000 a year. The chief exports are sugar and rum. Cotton also is grown there. Shortly afterwards he was appointed Lieutenant- Governor of St. Christopher's, and Governor- in-Chief of all the Leeward Islands. This group, important for its position and produc- tions, does not exceed in all 1500 square miles. Having acquitted himself well in the West Indies, he was raised to more important posi- tions. In 1859, he received the honour of knighthood, and was made Governor, Com- mander-in-Chief, and Vice-Admiral of Hong Kong ; where he succeeded Sir John Bowring.
In 1863 Sir Hercules Robinson was a member of the Commission to inquire into the financial condition of the Straits Settlements. On the 16th May, 1865, he was appointed Governor, Commander-in-chief, and Vice- Admiral of Ceylon. In 1869, he received the new honour of the order of St. Michael and St. George, introduced for the purpose of rewarding eminent services in the colonies, and conferred on a few of the most distin- guished Australians. He was made a K.C.M.G. In Ceylon, as during his previous career, Sir Hercules Robinson has proved himself an able administrator. A resident in Ceylon, referring to his expected removal to Australia, thus describes him :—'Sir Hercules is fond of power, a trained and admirable administrator of Crown colonies, an inde- fatigable worker, and one of the fairest dis- tributors of patronage that ever held reins for Her Majesty anywhere. He is both sharp and clear in apprehension, a capital writer and speaker of formal set addresses, but not a ready man in public,—in fact, morbidly shy of public appearances in any shape,— fonder of the desk and of real downright hard work in travelling, inspecting, and maturing schemes of improvement. He has effected wonders in Ceylon ; and we should be for- tunate, if he got another six years term of office here. Lady Robinson, daughter of Lord Valentia, is fond of gaiety and society, and is a majestic-looking woman.'
Sir Hercules Robinson has been for the last six years ruling a colony containing
nearly two millions of people. In 1860
there was about 1,800,000 Singhalese and 25,000 Europeans. Ceylon was governed by Singhalese Princes, with importations by Malabar conquerors, from the earliest dawn of history—543 B. C. down to the settlement of the Portuguese in 1517. In 1658 the Dutch, after a long war, dis- placed the Portuguese, and ruled till the British conquered them in 1795. By the Peace of Ameins, in 1802, Ceylon was annexed to the British Crown. Sir J. E. Tennent is of opinion that in the time of ancient prosperity the population of Ceylon was ten times what it ia at present. The present exports and imports are about 2½ millions respec- tively ; and, for its size, Ceylon its one of the most productive spots on the surface of the globe.