William Grenville, 1st Baron Grenville

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The Right Honourable
The Lord Grenville
PC PC (Ire) FRS
1st Baron Grenville.jpg
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
In office
11 February 1806 25 March 1807
Monarch George III
Preceded by William Pitt the Younger
Succeeded by The Duke of Portland
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
In office
8 June 1791 20 February 1801
Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger
Preceded by Marquess of Camarthen
Succeeded by The Lord Hawkesbury
Home Secretary
In office
5 June 1789 8 June 1791
Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger
Preceded by The Lord Sydney
Succeeded by Henry Dundas
Personal details
Born(1759-10-25)25 October 1759
Wotton Underwood, Buckinghamshire, England
Died12 January 1834(1834-01-12) (aged 74)
Burnham, Buckinghamshire, England
Resting placeSt Peter Churchyard, Burnham, Buckinghamshire
Political party Pittite Tory (before 1801, after 1816)
Whig (from c.1803-15)
Spouse(s)
Anne Pitt (m. 1792)
Parents George Grenville
Elizabeth Wyndham
Alma mater Christ Church, Oxford
Signature William Grenville, 1st Baron Grenville Signature.svg

William Wyndham Grenville, 1st Baron Grenville, PC, PC (Ire), FRS (25 October 1759 – 12 January 1834) was a British Pittite Tory and politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1806 to 1807. thought he was a supporter of the British Whig Party for the duration of the Napoleonic Wars.

Privy Council of the United Kingdom Formal body of advisers to the sovereign in the United Kingdom

Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, usually known simply as the Privy Council of the United Kingdom or just the Privy Council, is a formal body of advisers to the Sovereign of the United Kingdom. Its membership mainly comprises senior politicians who are current or former members of either the House of Commons or the House of Lords.

The Privy Council of Ireland was an institution of the Kingdom of Ireland until 31 December 1800 and of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 1801 to 1922. It performed a similar role in the Dublin Castle administration in Ireland to that of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom in the government of the United Kingdom.

Fellow of the Royal Society Elected Fellow of the Royal Society, including Honorary, Foreign and Royal Fellows

Fellowship of the Royal Society is an award granted to individuals that the Royal Society of London judges to have made a 'substantial contribution to the improvement of natural knowledge, including mathematics, engineering science, and medical science'.

Contents

Background

Grenville was the son of Whig Prime Minister George Grenville. His mother Elizabeth was the daughter of Tory statesman Sir William Wyndham Bart. He had two elder brothers Thomas and George he was thus uncle to the 1st Duke of Buckingham and Chandos.

George Grenville Prime Minister of Great Britain

George Grenville was a British Whig statesman who rose to the position of Prime Minister of Great Britain. Grenville was born into an influential political family and first entered Parliament in 1741 as an MP for Buckingham. He emerged as one of Cobham's Cubs, a group of young members of Parliament associated with Lord Cobham.

Elizabeth Grenville was a British artist and writer. She was the wife of George Grenville, Prime Minister from 1763 to 1765; the daughter of Sir William Wyndham, a prominent Tory politician; and the mother of William Grenville, Prime Minister from 1806 to 1807.

Sir William Wyndham, 3rd Baronet politician, died 1740

Sir William Wyndham, 3rd Baronet, of Orchard Wyndham in Somerset, was an English Tory statesman, who served as Secretary at War in 1712 and Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1713 during the reign of the last Stuart monarch, Queen Anne (1702–1714). He was a Jacobite leader firmly opposed to the Hanoverian succession and was leader of the Tory opposition in the House of Commons during the reign of King George I (1714–1727) and during the early years of King George II (1727–1760).

He was also related to the Pitt family by marriage; William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham had married his father's sister Hester, and thus the younger Grenville was the first cousin of William Pitt the Younger.

William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham 18th-century British statesman

William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham, was a British statesman of the Whig group who served twice as Prime Minister of Great Britain in the middle of the 18th century. Historians call him Pitt of Chatham, or William Pitt the Elder, to distinguish him from his son, William Pitt the Younger, who also was a prime minister. Pitt was also known as The Great Commoner, because of his long-standing refusal to accept a title until 1766.

Hester Pitt, Countess of Chatham British noble

Hester Pitt, Countess of Chatham, 1st Baroness Chatham, who was Baroness Chatham in her own right, was the wife of William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham, who was Prime Minister of Great Britain from 1766 to 1768.

William Pitt the Younger 18th/19th-century British statesman

William Pitt the Younger was a prominent British Tory statesman of the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries. He became the youngest UK Prime Minister in 1783 at the age of 24. He left office in 1801, but served as Prime Minister again from 1804 until his death in 1806. He was Chancellor of the Exchequer for most of his time as Prime Minister. He is known as "the Younger" to distinguish him from his father, William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham, called William Pitt the Elder or simply "Chatham", who had previously served as Prime Minister.

Grenville was educated at Eton, Christ Church, Oxford, and Lincoln's Inn. [1] [ self-published source? ]

Eton College British independent boarding school located in Eton

Eton College is an English 13–18 independent boarding school and sixth form for boys in the parish of Eton, near Windsor in Berkshire. It was founded in 1440 by King Henry VI as Kynge's College of Our Ladye of Eton besyde Windesore , as a sister institution to King's College, Cambridge, making it the 18th-oldest Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference school.

Christ Church, Oxford constituent college of the University of Oxford in England

Christ Church is a constituent college of the University of Oxford in England. Christ Church is a joint foundation of the college and the cathedral of the Oxford diocese, which serves as the college chapel and whose dean is ex officio the college head.

Lincolns Inn one of the four Inns of Court in London, England

The Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inn is one of the four Inns of Court in London to which barristers of England and Wales belong and where they are called to the Bar. Lincoln's Inn is recognised to be one of the world's most prestigious professional bodies of judges and lawyers.

Political career

Grenville entered the House of Commons in 1782. He soon became a close ally of the Prime Minister, his cousin William Pitt the Younger, and served in the government as Paymaster of the Forces from 1784 to 1789. In 1789 he served briefly as Speaker of the House of Commons before he entered the cabinet as Home Secretary. He became Leader of the House of Lords when he was raised to the peerage the next year as Baron Grenville, of Wotton under Bernewood in the County of Buckingham. [2] The next year, in 1791, he succeeded the Duke of Leeds as Foreign Secretary. Grenville's decade as Foreign Secretary was a dramatic one, seeing the Wars of the French Revolution. During the war, Grenville was the leader of the party that focused on the fighting on the continent as the key to victory, opposing the faction of Henry Dundas which favoured war at sea and in the colonies. Grenville left office with Pitt in 1801 over the issue of Catholic Emancipation. He did part-time military service at home as Major in the Buckinghamshire Yeomanry cavalry in 1794 and as Lieutenant-Colonel in the South Buckinghamshire volunteer regiment in 1806. [3]

The Paymaster of the Forces was a position in the British government. The office was established 1661 one year after the Restoration of the Monarchy to King Charles II, and was responsible for part of the financing of the British Army, in the improved form created by Oliver Cromwell during the Commonwealth. The full title was Paymaster-General of His Majesty's Forces. It was abolished in 1836, near the end of the reign of King William IV, and was replaced by the new post of Paymaster General.

Home Secretary United Kingdom government cabinet minister

Her Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for the Home Department, normally referred to as the Home Secretary, is a senior official as one of the Great Offices of State within Her Majesty's Government and head of the Home Office. It is a British Cabinet level position.

Wotton Underwood village in the United Kingdom

Wotton Underwood is a village and civil parish in the Aylesbury Vale District of Buckinghamshire, about 7 miles (11 km) north of Thame in neighbouring Oxfordshire.

In his years out of office, Grenville became close to the opposition Whig leader Charles James Fox, and when Pitt returned to office in 1804, Grenville did not take part. Following Pitt's death in 1806, Grenville became the head of the "Ministry of All the Talents", a coalition between Grenville's supporters, the Foxite Whigs, and the supporters of former Prime Minister Lord Sidmouth, with Grenville as First Lord of the Treasury and Fox as Foreign Secretary as joint leaders. Grenville's cousin William Windham served as Secretary of State for War and the Colonies, and his younger brother, Thomas Grenville, served briefly as First Lord of the Admiralty. The Ministry ultimately accomplished little, failing either to make peace with France or to accomplish Catholic emancipation (the later attempt resulting in the ministry's dismissal in March, 1807). It did have one significant achievement, however, in the abolition of the slave trade in 1807.

Charles James Fox 18th/19th-century British statesman

Charles James Fox, styled The Honourable from 1762, was a prominent British Whig statesman whose parliamentary career spanned 38 years of the late 18th and early 19th centuries and who was the arch-rival of William Pitt the Younger. His father Henry Fox, 1st Baron Holland, a leading Whig of his day, had similarly been the great rival of Pitt's famous father William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham. He rose to prominence in the House of Commons as a forceful and eloquent speaker with a notorious and colourful private life, though his opinions were rather conservative and conventional. However, with the coming of the American War of Independence and the influence of the Whig Edmund Burke, Fox's opinions evolved into some of the most radical ever to be aired in the Parliament of his era.

Foxite was a late 18th-century British political label for Whig followers of Charles James Fox.

Henry Addington, 1st Viscount Sidmouth Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, 1801 to 1804

Henry Addington, 1st Viscount Sidmouth, was a British statesman who served as Prime Minister from 1801 to 1804. He is best known for obtaining the Treaty of Amiens in 1802, an unfavourable peace with Napoleonic France which marked the end of the Second Coalition during the French Revolutionary Wars. When that treaty broke down he resumed the war but he was without allies and conducted a relatively weak defensive war, ahead of what would become the War of the Third Coalition. He was forced from office in favour of William Pitt the Younger, who had preceded Addington as Prime Minister. Addington is also known for his ruthless and efficient crackdown on dissent during a ten-year spell as Home Secretary from 1812 to 1822. He is the longest continuously serving holder of that office since it was created in 1782.

In the years after the fall of the ministry, Grenville continued in opposition, maintaining his alliance with Lord Grey and the Whigs, criticising the Peninsular War and, with Grey, refusing to join Lord Liverpool's government in 1812. In the post-war years, Grenville gradually moved back closer to the Tories, but never again returned to the cabinet. His political career was ended by a stroke in 1823. Grenville also served as Chancellor of the University of Oxford from 1810 until his death in 1834.

Legacy

Historians find it hard to tell exactly what separate roles Pitt, Grenville, and Dundas played in setting war policy with France, but agree that Grenville played a major role at all times until 1801. The consensus of scholars is that war with France presented an unexpected complex of problems. There was conflict between secular ideologies, the conscription of huge armies, the new role of Russia as a continental power, and especially the sheer length and cost of the multiple coalitions. Grenville energetically worked to build and hold together the Allied coalitions, paying suitable attention to smaller members such as Denmark and Sardinia. He negotiated the complex alliance with Russia and Austria. He hoped that with British financing they would bear the brunt of ground campaigns against the French. Grenville's influence was at the maximum during the formation of the Second Coalition. His projections of easy success were greatly exaggerated, and the result was another round of disappointment. His resignation in 1801 was due primarily to the king's refusal to allow Catholics to sit in Parliament. [4]

Dropmore House

A caricature of Saartjie Baartman, Lord Grenville, and Richard Sheridan by William Heath A Pair of Broad Bottoms.jpg
A caricature of Saartjie Baartman, Lord Grenville, and Richard Sheridan by William Heath

Dropmore House was built in the 1790s for Lord Grenville. The architects were Samuel Wyatt and Charles Tatham. Grenville knew the spot from rambles during his time at Eton College, and prized its distant views of his old school and of Windsor Castle. On his first day in occupation, he planted two cedar trees. At least another 2,500 trees were planted. By the time Grenville died, his pinetum contained the biggest collection of conifer species in Britain. Part of the post-millennium restoration is to use what survives as the basis for a collection of some 200 species. [5]

Personal life

Lord Grenville married the Honourable Anne, daughter of Thomas Pitt, 1st Baron Camelford, in 1792. The marriage was childless. He died in January 1834, aged 74, when the barony became extinct. Lady Grenville died in June 1863. [1]

Ministry of All the Talents

Changes

Notes

  1. 1 2 Lundy, Darryl (2008-12-02). "William Wyndham Grenville, 1st Baron Grenville". thepeerage.com. Retrieved 2014-03-18.
  2. "No. 13259". The London Gazette . 23 November 1790. p. 710.
  3. Fisher, David R. "GRENVILLE, William Wyndham (1759-1834), of Dropmore Lodge, Bucks". History of Parliament Trust.
  4. Jupp, 2009.
  5. "Abolitionist's house escapes ruin". BBC News. 1 April 2007. Retrieved 2009-02-06.

Further reading

Political offices
Preceded by
Hon. Richard FitzPatrick
Chief Secretary for Ireland
1782–1783
Succeeded by
William Windham
Preceded by
Edmund Burke
Paymaster of the Forces
1784–1789
Succeeded by
The Lord Mulgrave
The Marquess of Graham
New office Vice-President of the Board of Trade
1786–1789
Succeeded by
The Marquess of Graham
Preceded by
Charles Wolfran Cornwall
Speaker of the House of Commons
1789
Succeeded by
Henry Addington
Preceded by
The Lord Sydney
Home Secretary
1789–1791
Succeeded by
Henry Dundas
President of the Board of Control
1790–1793
Preceded by
The Duke of Leeds
Leader of the House of Lords
1790–1801
Succeeded by
Lord Hobart
Foreign Secretary
1791–1801
Succeeded by
Lord Hawkesbury
Preceded by
The Duke of Newcastle
Auditor of the Exchequer
1794–1834
Succeeded by
The Lord Auckland
Preceded by
Hon. William Pitt the Younger
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
11 February 1806 – 25 March 1807
Succeeded by
The Duke of Portland
Preceded by
Lord Hawkesbury
Leader of the House of Lords
1806–1807
Succeeded by
Lord Hawkesbury
Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
James Grenville
Richard Aldworth-Neville
Member of Parliament for Buckingham
1782–1784
With: James Grenville
Succeeded by
James Grenville
Charles Edmund Nugent
Preceded by
The Earl Verney
Thomas Grenville
Member of Parliament for Buckinghamshire
17841790
With: Sir John Aubrey 1784–1790
The Earl Verney 1790
Succeeded by
The Earl Verney
James Grenville
Academic offices
Preceded by
The Duke of Portland
Chancellor of the University of Oxford
1809–1834
Succeeded by
The Duke of Wellington
Peerage of Great Britain
New creation Baron Grenville
1790–1834
Extinct

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