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William Wyndham Grenville, 1st Baron Grenville

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The Lord Grenville
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William Wyndham Grenville, 1st Baron Grenville

Term of Office: 11 February 180631 March 1807
Predecessors: William Pitt the Younger
Successors: The Duke of Portland
Date of Birth: 25 October 1759
Place of Birth: Wotton House, Buckinghamshire
Date of Death: 12 January 1834
Place of Death: Burnham, Buckinghamshire
Political Party: Whig

William Wyndham Grenville, 1st Baron Grenville (October 25, 1759 - January 12, 1834), was a British Whig statesman and Prime Minister.

The son of Prime Minister George Grenville, Grenville studied at Eton, Christ Church, Oxford, and Lincoln's Inn, and entered the Commons in 1782 and soon became a close ally of Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger, serving in the government as Paymaster of the Forces from 1784 to 1789. In 1789, Grenville entered the Cabinet as Home Secretary, and became Leader of the House of Lords when he was raised to the peerage the next year as Baron Grenville. The next year, in 1791, he succeeded the Duke of Leeds as Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. 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 favored war at sea and in the colonies. Grenville left office with Pitt in 1801 over the issue of Catholic Emancipation.

In his years out of office, Grenville became close to the opposition Whigs 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 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.

In the years after the fall of the ministry, Grenville continued in opposition, maintaining his alliance with Lord Grey and the Whigs, criticizing 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 Oxford University from 1810 until his death in 1834.

The Ministry of All the Talents, February 1806 - March 1807

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Arms of William Wyndham Grenville

Changes

  • September, 1806 - On Fox's death, Lord Howick succeeds him as Foreign Secretary and Leader of the House of Commons. Thomas Grenville succeeds Howick at the Admiralty. Lord Fitzwilliam becomes Minister without Portfolio, and Lord Sidmouth succeeds him as Lord President. Lord Holland succeeds Sidmouth as Lord Privy Seal.


Preceded by:
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 and The Marquess of Graham
Preceded by:
Charles Wolfran Cornwall
Speaker of the House of Commons
1789
Succeeded by:
Henry Addington

Template:Succession box two to two Template:Succession box one to two

Preceded by:
William Pitt the Younger
Prime Minister
1806–1807
Succeeded by:
The Duke of Portland
Preceded by:
The Lord Hawkesbury
Leader of the House of Lords
1806–1807
Succeeded by:
The Lord Hawkesbury

Template:End box

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