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Alfred H. Miles, ed. The Sacred Poets of the Nineteenth Century. 1907.

By Critical and Biographical Essay by Alfred H. Miles

Sir Robert Grant (1779–1838)

SIR ROBERT GRANT was the second son of Mr. Charles Grant, for some time Member of Parliament for Inverness, and one of the Directors of the East India Company. Robert Grant was born in Bombay in 1779, and came to England in 1790. In 1795 he became, with his brother Charles, afterwards Lord Glenelg, a pensioner of Magdalene College, Cambridge, where he obtained the Craven Scholarship in 1799, and graduated in 1801. He was elected a fellow of his college in 1802, and took the degree of M.A. in 1804. He was called to the bar in 1807, and became a Commissioner of Bankrupts. He was elected Member of Parliament for the Elgin Burghs in 1818, for Inverness Burghs in 1826, for Norwich in 1830, and for Finsbury in 1832. His parliamentary career was distinguished by his persistent efforts to obtain the removal of the civil disabilities of the Jews. In 1833, with the aid of Macaulay, Hume, and O’Connell, he succeeded in passing a resolution in favour of Jewish emancipation, and in the same session carried a bill through the House of Commons with the same object. It was, however, rejected by the House of Lords, as was a similar bill passed by the House of Commons in the following year. It was not until 1858, twenty years after his death, that the object to which he devoted so much time and thought was accomplished. He became Judge-Advocate-General in 1832, and Governor of Bombay in 1834, in which year he was knighted. He entered upon his duties as Governor of Bombay in March 1835, and died suddenly at Dalporree on the 9th of July, 1838.

It is as a writer of hymns of great excellence and wide acceptability that Sir Robert Grant takes his place in this volume. The best of his hymns were contributed to the pages of the Christian Observer between the years 1806 and 1815, and to Elliott’s “Psalms and Hymns” in 1835. In 1839 his brother, Lord Glenelg, published a small volume containing twelve of the best of these under the title “Sacred Poems,” by the late Right Hon. Sir Robert Grant. It is from this volume that the following selections are taken. His version of Psalm civ. is one of the best hymns of praise in the language, his “Litany” one of the most tender lyrical prayers.