A prime minister with no title of nobility – George Grenville was among the prime ministers who never assented to peerage!
Born on October 14, 1712, George Grenville was a British lawyer and politician who worked his way up to become Great Britain’s Prime Minister. A person of loyalty, he represented the Buckingham since he entered the Parliamentary up until his death. Through his public service, the Seven Years’ War came to an end.
If you’re interested to learn more about the history and how George Grenville became a part of it, check out the interesting facts below.
George Grenville Facts
1. Grenville was born to be a lawyer
Born on October 14, 1712, in Wotton House, George Grenville was one of the five children of Richard Grenville and Hester Temple. Since he was a child, his parents intended to raise him up as a lawyer. Thus, Grenville was granted an education at Eton College and at Christ Church, Oxford, respectively. Eventually, in 1736, George Grenville became a lawyer!
2. Grenville was loyalist
A few years later after he became a lawyer, George Grenville joined the Parliament in 1741 to represent Buckingham. An interesting fact about George Grenville is that he continued to serve the said borough for almost thirty years, up until his death – an unwavering loyalty indeed!
In the Parliament, Grenville was among the supporters of the political party – Boy Patriot.
3. Grenville’s grandfather in law did not approve of him
In 1749, George Grenville married the daughter of Sir William Wyndham – Elizabeth Wyndham. Together, they had eight children, equally sons, and daughters. Unfortunately, the grandfather of Elizabeth, the Duke of Somerset, did not like Grenville. Thus, when he passed away, the Duke only left a small sum for Elizabeth.
Amusingly, William Grenville, one of his four sons, was able to serve as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1806 to 1807.
4. Grenville was a champion of the British military
In 1755, George Grenville was dismissed as the Treasurer of the Navy in the administration of Henry Pelham. Unfortunately, he, together with his colleagues, opposed the government about the proposed subsidy treaty with Russia. Eventually, his arguments became the foundation of the opposition – the Patriot Whig.
With his dismissal, Grenville joined the opposing side against the government. With his political efforts, he was able to advance the interest of the British military to strengthen its force and security. This is contrary to the plan of the government to deploy mercenaries instead.
5. Grenville had a political conflict with his brother in law
In 1754, George Grenville’s sister Hester Grenville married William Pitt – a leading political figure of that time. Two years later in 1756, the government resigned after the weakening situation of its military force after the loss of Minorca. With this, George Grenville and William Pitt rebuilt the government, an interesting George Grenville fact.
However, to his disappointment, Grenville was only reinstated as the Treasurer of the Navy, to which he was promised the position of the Paymaster of the Forces. Inevitably, Grenville gradually switched side – from Pitt towards the Prince of Wales and his personal advisor Lord Bute.
Despite the disappointment, Grenville was still able to perform his functions effectively. He passed a bill that created a comprehensive system to pay the seamen and support their families.
Eventually, the conflict between Grenville and Pitt grew.
6. Grenville ended the Seven Years’ War
George Grenville was appointed as the Northern Secretary in 1762. In a diligent performance of his duty, he was able to negotiate with France and Spain to finally bring an end to the Seven Years’ War – a historical global war primarily between five great European powers.
During this period, Grenville became an ally of Lord Bute. Eventually, he was appointed as the First Lord of the Admiralty. Unfortunately, Lord Bute was unpopular. Thus, he was forced to tender his resignation to George III. After the acceptance of the latter, George III pronounced that George Grenville was to become his successor.
7. Grenville alienated Great Britain from American colonies
When George Grenville became the Prime Minister of Great Britain, his first acts include the prosecution of John Wilkes for his libelous article against King George III and the restoration of the nation’s economy.
As Great Britain recovers from the expenses spent during the Seven Years’ War, Grenville implemented several measures, such as the Stamp Act of 1765, among others. With this law, an exclusive tax was added to the American colonies. It requires that all documents and newspapers should be on the paper from London, bearing a revenue stamp payable in British currency.
Unfortunately, such measures outraged the public. The colonies of America disobeyed and rioted against the implementation of the Stamp Act of 1765. Eventually, it led to the alienation between Great Britain and the American colonies.
8. Grenville was insulted as the “gentile shepherd”
During the Cider Bill of 1763 debate, George Grenville invited the ire of the House by repeatedly asking questions. This led the House to be bored and for him to be insulted as “the gentile shepherd”.
Historians claim that Grenville was actually excellent in the matters concerning the House and administration. An interesting fact about George Grenville is that he lacked proper social skills in order to be liked by many.
9. Grenville never consented to the peerage
Peerage is a common practice in the United Kingdom. Basically, it is a system where an official takes on hereditary and lifetime noble ranks.
Interestingly, George Grenville was among the few prime ministers who did not follow the tradition of the peerage. Among other prime ministers are Henry Pelham, Ramsay MacDonald, George Canning, and David Cameron.
10. Grenville has memorials up to present
Hundreds of years had passed, and still, George Grenville was still remembered by many. In fact, there are places named after him and collections in his honor. There is a town in Quebec that was named after George Grenville – the town of Grenville. Also, specimens of his postmortem can be found in the Hunterian Museum.
George Grenville was a person of loyalty and integrity. He was among the few prime ministers who did not claim a title of nobility.
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