Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Eden, Robert Henley

EDEN, ROBERT HENLEY, second Baron Henley (1789–1841), second but eldest surviving son of the first baron, Morton Eden [q. v.], was born in 1789, matriculated at Christ Church, Oxford, 24 Oct. 1807, where he proceeded B.A. in 1811 and M.A. in 1814. He was called to the bar at Lincoln's Inn the latter year, was for some time commissioner of bankrupts, and in March 1826 was made a master in chancery. This office he held until 1840, when it became apparent that a mental disorder incapacitated him for its duties. He was M.P. for Fowey from 1826 to 1830. Henley succeeded his father in the peerage, 6 Dec. 1830, and he assumed the name of Henley only in commemoration of his maternal ancestors, by royal license dated 31 March following. In 1823 Henley published two volumes of the decisions of his grandfather, Lord Northington, in the court of chancery; and some years later (1831) he issued a 'Memoir of the Life of Robert Henley, Earl of Northington, Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain.' As a lawyer Henley was distinguished for the special attention he paid to the bankruptcy laws. In 1825 he published 'A practical Treatise on the Bankrupt Law as amended under the new Act of 6 George IV;' and this was succeeded in 1832 by 'A Digest of the Bankrupt Law, with an Appendix of Precedents framed with reference to the new Act of 1 & 2 William IV.' Henley also devoted much attention to the subject of a reform of the English church; and in 1834 he put forward 'A Plan for a New Arrangement and Increase in Number of the Dioceses of England and Wales.' In this work the author showed the urgent want of an increase of bishoprics, and endeavoured to indicate how existing incongruities might be removed. He held that parliament was bound to advance so much as would maintain a resident minister in every parish in the kingdom, and would in towns support a parochial minister for every four thousand souls. Henley died at his residence in Whitehall Place 1 Feb. 1841. He married in 1824 Harriet, third daughter of the first Sir Robert Peel. He had issue four sons, the eldest of whom, the Right Hon. Anthony Henley, succeeded him in the barony.

[Gent. Mag. 1841; Ann. Reg. 1841; Lord Henley's books, 1823-34; Foster's Alumni Oxoniensis.]

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