George Grenville papers  1755-1757
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Biographical/Historical Note

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.