Loading

George Grenville PC (14 October 1712 – 13 November 1770) 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.

In 1754 Grenville became Treasurer of the Navy, a position he held twice until 1761. In October 1761 he chose to stay in government and accepted the new role of Leader of the Commons causing a rift with his brother-in-law and political ally William Pitt who had resigned. Grenville was subsequently made Northern Secretary and First Lord of the Admiralty by the new Prime Minister Lord Bute. On 8 April 1763, Lord Bute resigned, and Grenville assumed his position as Prime Minister.[2] His government tried to bring public spending under control and pursued an assertive foreign policy. His best known policy is the Stamp Act, a common tax in Great Britain onto the colonies in America, which provoked widespread opposition in Britain's American colonies and was later repealed. Grenville had increasingly strained relations with his colleagues and the King and in 1765 he was dismissed by George III and replaced by Lord Rockingham. For the last five years of his life Grenville led a group of his supporters in opposition and staged a public reconciliation with Pitt.

In May 1762, Grenville was appointed Northern Secretary, where he took an increasingly hard line in the negotiations with France and Spain designed to bring the Seven Years' War to a close.

Grenville demanded much greater compensation in exchange for the return of British conquests, while Bute favored a more generous position which eventually formed the basis of the Treaty of Paris. In spite of this, Grenville had now become associated with Bute rather than his former political allies who were even more vocal in their opposition to the peace treaty than he was. In October he was made in First Lord of the Admiralty. Henry Fox took over as Leader of the Commons, and forced the peace treaty through parliament.

Bute's position grew increasingly untenable as he was extremely unpopular, which led to him offering his resignation to George III on several occasions. With reluctance George III eventually accepted Bute's resignation and accepted that Grenville should be his successor, in spite of his personal dislike of him. In April 1763, Grenville became First Lord of the Treasury and Chancellor of the Exchequer succeeding Bute as first Minister after Henry Fox had rejected the job.

Details

  • Title: George Grenville
  • Creator: William Hoare, Richard Houston
  • Physical Location: UK, London, Downing Street
  • Provenance: Bequeathed to 10 Downing Street by Sir Edward Walter Hamilton, 1908
  • Publisher: R. Houston, Charing Cross, London
  • External Link: Government Art Collection
  • Medium: Mezzotint

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more

Recommended

Google apps