Robert Grant

15 January 1780–9 July 1838

Robert Grant, engraving by Frederick Christian Lewis Sr, after a painting by Joseph Slater, ca. 1826. National Portrait Gallery, London, NPG D20594 (

SIR ROBERT GRANT was born of Scotch parents, at Malda, Bengal, India. His father, Charles Grant, Esq. (1746–1823), for more than twenty years (1767–1790), re­sided, as a servant of the East India Company, in India. On his return to England, he occupied (1794–1808) the hon­orable position of a Director, and, in 1805, was chosen Chairman of the Court of Directors of the Company. He also sat (1802–1819) in Parliament for Inverness. He was associated with Wilberforce and other philanthropists of the period, in Anti-Slavery efforts, in the distribution of the Scriptures, in procuring an Episcopal establishment and an open door for the Gospel in India, and in other similar movements. He was conspicuous for piety, phi­lanthropy, integrity, statesmanship, and salutary control over leading minds. In 1772, he married Miss Frazer, a most exemplary Christian lady.

Robert, their second son, was in his sixth year when his parents returned from India and fixed their residence in London. He was educated at Cambridge University, and, with his elder brother, Charles, afterwards Lord Glenelg (1778-1866), graduated at Magdalen College, A.B., in 1801, and A.M., 1804. He became, shortly after graduation, a Fellow of his College. He was admitted to the bar, Janu­ary, 1807, and became a successful practitioner. He pub­lished (1813) “A Sketch of the History of the East India Company,” to 1773; and “The Expediency maintained of continuing the System by which the Trade and Govern­ment of India are now regulated.” He entered Parliament (1826) for Inverness, and subsequently represented Fins­bury. He was honored (1831) with a seat in the Privy Council, and was appointed Judge Advocate. He was also a member of the Board of Commissioners for the Af­fairs of India. In 1834, he was appointed Governor of Bombay, and returned to India. He died, July 9, 1838, at Dapoorie, Westem India.

He was of medium stature and robust constitution, with a full and ruddy face, and, in his later days, pure white hair. He was an excellent speaker, his voice musical and perfectly at command, his language chaste and elegant, and his manners highly graceful. His moral character was perfectly unsullied, and he was held in high estimation by all parties.

He wrote a few (12) occasional hymns or poems, at various periods of his life, which after his decease were published (1839) by his elder brother, Lord Glenelg, in a volume en­titled Sacred Poems.

by Edwin Hatfield
The Poets of the Church (1884)

Featured Hymns:

O worship the King

Collections of Hymns:

Sacred Poems (1839): [1844]

see also:

Christian Observer (1806-1815)

Sacred Poetry, Second Series (Wm. Oliphant, 1824): PDF [2nd ed.]

Christian Psalmody, ed. Edward Bickersteth (1st ed., 1833): PDF [1834]

Psalms & Hymns, ed. H.V. Elliott (1835): PDF


For a list of manuscript holdings—primarily in the British Library, National Library of Wales, and National Archives of Scotland—see the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

Related Resources:

Edwin F. Hatfield, “Sir Robert Grant,” The Poets of the Church (NY: Anson D.F. Randolph, 1884), pp. 270-272:

John Julian, “Robert Grant,” A Dictionary of Hymnology (London, 1892), pp. 449-450: Google Books

Duncan Campbell, “Sir Robert Grant,” Hymns and Hymn Makers (London: A. & C. Black, 1898), pp. 70-71:

J.R. Watson, “Robert Grant,” Canterbury Dictionary of Hymnology:

E. J. Rapson & Katherine Prior, “Sir Robert Grant,” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography:

Robert Grant,