Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 23.djvu/145

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Grenville
Grenville
137

national industry’ (Rogers, Protests of the Lords, 1875, ii. 481-3). On the escape of Napoleon differences of opinion arose between Grenville and Grey on the war question. Grenville maintained that, as it was impossible to keep peace with Napoleon, vigorous hostilities should be immediately commenced, while Grey declared that it was the duty of this country and the allies to do everything which they reasonably could to preserve the peace. A correspondence ensued between them, which led to a division among their followers. Though this difference between the two opposition leaders was not immediately followed by their political separation, it was the commencement of that schism which paralysed the strength of the opposition for so many years. In the debate on the prince regent's message, on 23 May, Grenville supported the ministers, and advocated the prosecution of the war against Bonaparte with the utmost vigour (Parl. Debates, xxxi. 363-71), and Grey's amendment was defeated by 156 to 44. In April 1816 Grenville spoke in favour of the Marquis of Buckingham's motion for the appointment of a committee to take into consideration the state of Ireland, and maintained that before they could expect general obedience in any country ‘the laws themselves ought to be made equal to all’ (ib. xxxiii. 832-5). In the following year he supported the repressive measures which were introduced by the government, and spoke in favour of the Habeas Corpus Suspension Bills (ib. xxxv. 583-6, xxxvi. 1013-1014). Though no longer acting in concert with his old colleague, Grenville gave his support to Grey's Roman Catholic Relief Bill in June 1819 (ib. xl. 1058-63). Alarmed at the recent disturbances in the country, Grenville wrote to Lord Liverpool shortly before the opening of parliament enclosing a lengthy memorandum of suggestions for several stringent measures ‘to provide for the public tranquillity and safety of the kingdom’ (Life of Lord Liverpool, ii. 418-430). On 30 Nov., during the debate on Lord Lansdowne's motion on the state of the country, Grenville made a long speech full of gloomy prognostications, and urged the ministers to pass further repressive measures (Parl. Debates, xli. 448-78). In November 1820 he voted for the second reading of the bill of pains and penalties against Queen Caroline, though he had formed one of the commission appointed to inquire into the conduct of the Princess of Wales in 1806, which entirely acquitted her of the charges then brought against her. In order to strengthen his ministry, Lord Liverpool towards the close of 1821 made overtures to the Grenville party. Grenville himself, having practically retired from active political life, had no desire for office,' but his small band of followers were provided with valuable posts. The value of the preferment which they obtained seemed so disproportionate to the strength which they added to the ministry that it occasioned Lord Holland to remark that ‘all articles are to be had at low prices except Grenvilles’ (Walpole, Hist. of England, ii. 42). Grenville spoke for the last time in the House of Lords on 21 June 1822, when, ‘as one of those who had always been favourable to the concession of the catholic claims,’ he supported the second reading of the Duke of Portland's Roman Catholic Peers Bill (Parl. Debates, new ser. vii. 1251-5).

In 1823 Grenville had a paralytic attack, and retired altogether from public life to Dropmore, where he amused himself in literary pursuits. That he continued almost to the last to take an interest in politics is apparent from his letter to the Duke of Buckingham of 21 Nov. 1830 (The Court and Cabinets of William IV and Victoria, i. 146), and the account which Brougham gives of his unsuccessful attempt to overcome Grenville's objections to certain parts of the Reform Bill (Memoirs of Lord Brougham, iii. 495). Grenville died at Dropmore Lodge, Buckinghamshire, on 12 Jan. 1834 in his seventy-fifth year, and was buried at Burnham. In character Grenville greatly resembled his father. Though his industry and honesty secured him respect both in public and private life, his cold and unsympathetic manners rendered him unpopular. Brougham bears witness in his ‘Memoirs’ to Grenville's great capacity for business. ‘The industry with which he mastered a subject previously unknown to him may be judged from his making a clear and impressive speech upon the change proposed in 1807 in the court of session ; and no lawyer could detect a slip on any of the points of Scotch law which he had to handle’ (iii. 488-9). In one important qualification Grenville himself acknowledged his deficiency. ‘I am not competent,’ he says in a letter to his brother, ‘to the management of men. I never was so naturally, and toil and anxiety more and more unfit me for it’ (The Court and Cabinets of George III, iv. 133). Though not a great orator, Grenville was a successful speaker in the House of Lords, where his weighty and sonorous speeches, though sometimes long and tedious, were listened to with attention. ‘The great staple of his discourse was argument,’ says Brougham, ‘and this, as well as his statement, was clear and