Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 23.djvu/141

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Grenville
Grenville
133

off the Newerke Island, and several of the crew perished. Grenville escaped with difficulty, losing everything but his despatches. The English ambassador's enforced delay had enabled the French directory to despatch Siéyès to Berlin, and Grenville's design was frustrated. The king of Prussia having been persuaded by the French to adhere to his neutrality, the British mission returned to England.

In 1800 Grenville received the sinecure office of chief justice in eyre south of Trent, with a salary of 2,000l. Grenville was the last to be appointed to this office, which was abolished in 1817.

Grenville opposed the Addington administration and the Treaty of Amiens, against which he voted in the small minority of twenty with Windham. In 1805 he voted for the prosecution of Lord Melville. He now drifted away from the tory party, and looked forward to a union with Fox, which took place in February 1806, but Grenville was left without office, although his brother was premier. In the following July he became president of the board of control on the appointment of Lord Minto to the viceroyalty of India. After the death of Fox, Grenville was appointed first lord of the admiralty. On the fall of the Grenville administration at the close of March 1807 he practically withdrew from public life. He only voted three times afterwards, viz. in favour of catholic emancipation, of the repeal of the income tax, and for his nephew, C. Williams Wynn, when a candidate for the speakership. He retired from parliament in 1818, and from that time until his death lived in the society of his friends and his books, and devoted himself to the formation of his splendid library.

When Lord Glastonbury died in 1825 he left Grenville all his landed and funded property for life, with remainder to the Rev. Dr. Neville, dean of Windsor. Grenville immediately gave up the landed property to Dr. Neville. His pursuit of book-collecting began early in life, and he was wont to say that when in the guards he bid at a sale against a whole bench of bishops for some scarce edition of the Bible. He was appointed a trustee of the British Museum.

Grenville died at Hamilton Place, Piccadilly, 17 Dec. 1846. His large charities became known after his death. He had originally bequeathed his library to the Duke of Buckingham, but revoked this bequest in a codicil, stating that as his books had been in great part acquired from a sinecure office, he felt it right to leave them to the British Museum, only leaving certain manuscripts to the duke. The British Museum thus received upwards of twenty thousand volumes, valued at more than 50,000l. The collection consisted chiefly of printed books. The most valuable classes of the collection were first, the Homers ; secondly, the Æsops, of which there were also some manuscripts; thirdly, the Ariostos ; fourthly, early voyages and travels ; fifthly, works on Ireland ; sixthly, classics, both Greek and Latin; and seventhly, old Italian and Spanish literature. They included also a fine copy of the first folio of Shakespeare, and other old English books. A catalogue of the library by H. J. Payne and H. Foss was published under the title ‘Bibliotheca Grenvilliana’ between 1842 and 1848 (3 vols. London, 8vo).

A portrait of Grenville, by Hoppner, has been engraved in folio by Say, and also by Dean in octavo, with Grenville's autograph, for Fisher's ‘National Portrait Gallery;’ there is another portrait by Phillips at Althorp, and a miniature by C. Manzini is in the National Portrait Gallery. There is a bust in the British Museum.

[Ann. Register, 1846; Gent. Mag. 1847, pt. i. 197-201 ; Hansard's Parliamentary Debates ; Brit. Mus. Cat.]

G. B. S.

GRENVILLE, WILLIAM WYNDHAM, Baron Grenville (1759–1834), the youngest son of George Grenville [q. v.], by his wife, Elizabeth, daughter of Sir William Wyndham, bart., was born on 25 Oct. 1759. He was educated at Eton, and afterwards at Christ Church, Oxford, where he matriculated 14 Dec. 1776, and, gaining the chancellor's prize for Latin verse in 1779, graduated B.A. in 1780. He was admitted a student of Lincoln's Inn on 6 April 1780, but was never called to the bar; and at a by-election in February 1782 was returned to parliament for the borough of Buckingham. In September 1782 he became chief secretary to his brother George Nugent Temple Grenville [q. v.], earl Temple (afterwards marquis of Buckingham), lord-lieutenant of Ireland, and was sworn a member of the Irish privy council. Grenville appears to have remained in London the greater part of the time he held the office of Irish secretary, and on 22 Jan. 1783 seconded Townshend's motion for leave to bring in the Renunciation Bill, which was quickly passed through parliament (23 Geo. III, c. 28), and ‘completely set at rest every reasonable or plausible demand of the party of Flood’ (Lecky, History of England, vi. 313). Upon the appointment of Lord Northington in the place of Temple as lord-lieutenant (June 1783) Grenville resigned office, but after the downfall of the coalition ministry accepted the post of paymaster--