NUGENT, ROBERT (d. 1788), who ultimately became Earl Nugent, was a native of Westmeath in Ireland, and a Roman Catholic, tersely described by Richard Glover as "a jovial and voluptuous Irishman who had left Popery for the Protestant religion, money, and widows." His change of religion took place at a very early period in life ; the widow whom he married in 1736 was a daughter of Craggs, the postmaster-general, and a lady who had already been twice given in marriage. Her property comprised the borough of St Mawes in Cornwall, and Nugent naturally sat for that constituency from 1741 to 1754, after which date he represented Bristol until 1774, when he returned to his old love. At first he was numbered among the adherents of the little court of " only Fred," but with fns usual skill he made his peace with the ministry of George II. at the right moment. A speaker of great liveliness joined to good sense - Horace Walpole said that he seemed now and then on the precipice of absurdity, but that he kept clear of it - his support of the ministry was so useful that he became in 1767 Viscount Clare; and in 1776 Earl Nugent, both Irish peerages, He died 13th October 1788.
Lord Nugent was the author of some poetical productions, several of which are preserved in the second volume of Dodsley's Collections. One of these pieces, an ode to William Pulteney, in which he combined a description of his own change of religion with compliments on Pulteney's attempts "to prop a nation's frame," was much admired at the time, and fragments of it are still quoted. A haunch of venison which Lord Clare sent to his fellow-countryman and fellow-poet Goldsmith gave rise to one of the most spirited poetic epistles in the language.