The George Grenville papers contain letters from Grenville's political associates from 1756 to 1757 during his tenure as treasurer of the navy. The letters concern military operations in North America at the start of the Seven Years War (French and Indian War), maneuvers of the French and British fleets in the Atlantic and Mediterranean, ministerial policies, parliamentary acts, news of political appointments, and social gossip.
Language: The material is in English Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave. The University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190 Phone: 734-764-2347 Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu
Access and Use
1937, 1957. M-355, M-1053.
The collection is open for research.
Copyright status is unknown
Cataloging funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the "We the People" project.
The collection has been microfilmed.
George Grenville Papers, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan
This collection is organized chronologically with one undated item at the end.
British Prime Minister George Grenville (1712-1770) was born to Richard Grenville and Hester Temple. He studied law at Oxford and became a member of Parliament in 1741, sitting for the borough of Buckingham, which he represented until his death in 1770. Initially, Grenville allied with his uncle Lord Cobham and William Pitt. The Pelham ministry appointed him lord of the admiralty in 1744, and the lord of the treasury in 1747. Grenville married Elizabeth Wyndham in 1749 and they had nine children.
During the Duke of Newcastle's administration, Grenville served as treasurer of the navy beginning in 1754. Grenville's tenure in this post was interrupted twice. In 1755 he was dismissed for criticism of Newcastle's foreign policy; he returned to office in 1756 with the Devonshire ministry, but resigned the following year after the dismissal of Pitt and Temple. He again returned to office in June 1757, and continued to hold the position until 1762. Notably as treasurer, Grenville helped pass the Navy Act of 1758, which improved payment methods for naval workers. Grenville earned a reputation in the House of Commons as an effective speaker and an expert in parliamentary maneuverings, and maintained close associations with Temple and Pitt. However, he cut ties with Pitt in 1762, in favor of Lord Bute, who made him secretary of state for North America and first lord of the admiralty. In 1763, King George II appointed Grenville prime minister. In addition to his domestic initiatives, Grenville was a leading voice behind efforts to tax the American colonies, specifically through the Stamp Act (1765). Relations between Grenville and the king soured, and George II dismissed Grenville from the cabinet in 1765. He spent his remaining years as a member of the opposition party in the House of Commons. He died on November 13, 1770.
Collection Scope and Content Note
The George Grenville papers (62 items) contain letters from Grenville's political associates from 1756 to 1757, during his tenure as treasurer of the navy. The letters concern military operations in North America at the start of the Seven Years’ War (French and Indian War), maneuvers of the French and British fleets in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, ministerial policies, parliamentary acts, news on political appointments, and social gossip. Included are 16 letters from Charles Jenkinson, earl of Liverpool; 14 from William Pitt, earl of Chatham; and 8 from his brother Richard Grenville, 2nd earl Temple.
Items of note:
April 20, December 4, 1756: Two letters from Grenville's wife Elizabeth Wyndham Grenville, which contain discussions of foreign affairs
May 25 and 27, 1756: Letters from Elliott to Grenville concerning the Militia Bill
June 5, 1756: Letter from Pitt to Grenville concerning Admiral Byng's failure to take Minorca
December 12, 1756: Letter from Pitt to Grenville regarding a proposed bill for quartering Hessian troops before their departure from England
April 9, 1757: Grenville's resignation from the Naval Treasury
October 27, 1757: Letter from Jenkinson to Grenville with news that Sir John Ligonier was appointed commander of the British Army