Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 23.djvu/187

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Grey
Grey
179

on the cabinet on 29 June, in spite of Lord Wellesley's letter, to agree to that course, and on introducing the bill into the House of Lords on 1 July he read Wellesley's earlier letters, but not his letters of 23 June. Meantime Littleton had sent for O'Connell, and had privately assured him that there would be no severe coercion. After Grey's speech O'Connell thought that he had been deceived, and exposed his whole negotiation with Littleton to the House of Commons on 3 July. Littleton's explanations only made more public the already considerable disunion in the cabinet. Grey gladly seized the opportunity of quitting a career no longer agreeable to his age or tastes. He resigned, justified his resignation in 'a very moving and gentleman-like speech,' admirably delivered on 9 July in the House of Lords, and thenceforth lived in retirement until his death on 17 July 1845 (see Lord Hatherton's Memoir; Edinburgh Review, cxxxiv. 291-302; Parliamentary Debates, xxiv. 1019, 1308, xxv. 119). He refused the privy seal which Lord Melbourne offered him in his first administration, having previously declined the king's invitation to form an administration of his own. During 1834, indeed, his wish to retire was so strong that it was believed that, apart from Littleton's intrigue, he would not have held office to the end of the session.

Grey was the very type of the old whig nobleman, punctiliously honourable and highminded, and devoted to the constitution and to popular liberty as he understood them. At the same time his views were narrow, he was personally diffident and timorous in reform, and even less democratic than many of his opponents. (For his general opinions and comments on passing events see Le Strange's Correspondence of Princess Lieven and Earl Grey, 1824-34, London, 1890, a collection of his letters to the wife of the Russian ambassador, with whom he maintained a most intimate friendship.) At the time when, after his long exclusion from office, he became prime minister, he had outlived the power of feeling or inspiring enthusiasm; but it was perhaps fortunate that at a moment of so much popular excitement the ministry was led by so cold a man. He was a great orator and a great debater, and, like all great orators, was very nervous just before rising to deliver his greatest speeches. He was exceedingly ready in apprehending complicated statements of fact, and in bringing them home to his hearers.

Grey was very fortunate in his family life. Lord Malmesbury (Memoirs, ii. 16) draws a curious picture of the father and children occupied in endless disputations, and the children addressing their parents by their christian names. Grey had fifteen children, ten sons and five daughters, of whom the fifth son, Henry, succeeded him in the earldom, and is still(1890)living; Charles(1804-1870)[q. v.] was colonel of the 7lst foot; Frederick (1805-1878) and George admirals, the former being G.C.B.; and John and Francis rectors respectively of Houghton-le-Spring, Durham, and Morpeth, Northumberland. His eldest daughter, Louisa Elizabeth, married the Earl of Durham. Most of his life was spent at Howick, which he was always unwilling to leave. In 1810 he lived in Portman square, London, and from 1823 to 1826 he wintered at Devonport for his wife's health; but after her death in 1824, except when in office, he lived at Howick. There is a statue of him at Newcastle, with an inscription by Sydney Smith. He was a knight of the Garter, a privy councillor, an elder brother of the Trinity House, a governor of the Charter-house, and a vice-president of the Marine Society.

[Life of Lord Grey, by Sir Frederick Grey; Lord Holland's Memoirs of the Whig Party; Buckingham's Courts and Cabinsts of the Regency, George IV, and William IV; Correspondence of William IV and Lord Grey; Roebuck's Hist. of the Whig Ministry; Spencer Walpole's Hist. of England, i. 286. iii. 259; Greville Memoirs, 1st and 2nd ser.; Lord John Russell's Memorials of Fox; Moore's Life of Sheridan; Moore's Diary; Croker Papers.]

J. A. H.

GREY, CHARLES (1804–1870), general, second surviving son of Charles, second Earl Grey, K.G. [q. v.], was born at Howick Hall, Northumberland, on 15 March 1804. In after life he spoke with emotion of the happy, judicious freedom of his boyhood passed at home under his father's eye (Life and Opinions,pp. 404-5). He entered the army in 1820 as second lieutenant in the rifle brigade, and rose rapidly by purchasing unattached steps and exchanging. In this way he became lieutenant in the 23rd royal Welsh fusiliers in 1823, captain in the 43rd light infantry in 1825, major in the 60th rifles in 1828, lieutenant-colonel unattached in 1830, exchanging to the 71st highland infantry in 1833,of which regiment he was lieutenant-colonel from 1833 to 1842. He became brevet-colonel in 1846, a major-general in 1854, lieutenant-general in 1861, general in 1865, and was colonel of the 3rd buffs in 1860-3, and afterwards of his old corps, the 7lst light infantry.

He was for some time private secretary to his father when first lord of the treasury, 1830-4; was one of Queen Victoria's equerries almost from her accession, and acted as private secretary to Prince Albert from 1849 until