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The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Stout, Hon. Sir Robert

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Stout, Hon. Sir Robert, K.C.M.G., son of Thomas Stout, was born in Terniche, Shetland Isles, in 1844, and was educated at the parish school, where he became a pupil teacher. In 1863 he emigrated to New Zealand, where he pursued his occupation as a schoolmaster in Dunedin. In 1867 he studied law, and passed as a barrister and solicitor in 1871. In the following year he entered the Provincial Council of Otago, and in 1873 was Provincial Solicitor. In 1875 Mr. Stout was elected to the House of Representatives for Cavenham, and became Attorney-General in Sir George Grey's administration in March 1878, taking also the portfolio of Lands and Immigration in July. Sir George Grey went out of office in Oct. 1879. giving place to Mr. (afterwards Sir John) Hall. In the previous June Mr. Stout had resigned both his office and his seat in the House of Representatives. He did not enter Parliament again till 1884, when he was elected M.H.R. for Dunedin, and joined with Sir Julius Vogel in forming the Stout-Vogel Ministry, in which he was Premier and Attorney-General and Minister of Education. Upon the defeat of this Government in Oct. 1887, Sir Robert Stout, who had lost his seat in Parliament, decided to abstain from political contests, though he has devoted himself to social and politico-social questions. He was created K.C.M.G. in 1886, and is a Fellow of the New Zealand University. Sir Robert is credited with being in a large degree responsible for the policy of the Ballance administration. In religion Sir Robert Stout is an Agnostic, and may be regarded as the leader of the Freethought party in New Zealand.