Page:Dictionary of National Biography. Sup. Vol II (1901).djvu/367

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Gregory
Gregory
355

statesman's long tenure of the chief-secretaryship, and, down to the date of Peel's conversion on the question of Roman catholic emancipation, was his chief adviser on Irish affairs. During the greater part of Lord Liverpool's premiership Gregory's influence at Dublin Castle was supreme, but after the retirement of his friend William Saurin [q. v.] from the attorney-generalship his authority gradually waned. In 1827, when Lord Anglesey became viceroy in Canning's administration, it was thought inexpedient to continue Gregory in office. His resignation was called for, and was actually placed in the lord-lieutenant's hands, and in anticipation of his retirement Gregory was created a member of the privy council, besides receiving the offer of a baronetcy, which he declined. But Canning dying before his successor could be appointed, and 'the transient and embarrassed phantom' of Lord Goderich [see Robinson, Frederick John] vanishing before any fresh arrangements had been made, Gregory retained his office four years longer. On the return of Lord Anglesey, however, Gregory's career was quickly closed. He was removed from office in December 1831, and retired from public life.

In addition to his office of under-secretary Gregory held from October 1812 the post of ranger of the Phoenix Park, in which his official residence was situated. Gregory died there on 13 April 1840. He married in 1789 Lady Anne Trench (d. 1833), daughter of William Power Keating, first earl of Clancarty; by her he left issue two sons, Robert, father of Sir William Henry Gregory [q. v. Suppl.], and William, rector of Fiddown.

'Though not at all a brilliant man, Gregory possessed many high qualities excellent judgment, sound sense, attention to business, and great clearness and accuracy in his transaction of it. ... Few people have been more popular in Ireland during so long a period of great power. Though a tory of the tories, he was not disliked by those who differed from him in politics' (Autobiography of Sir William Gregory). His correspondence from 1813 to 1835 is preserved at his seat, Coole Park, co. Galway. A selection from these papers was published by Lady Gregory in 1898, under the title of 'Mr. Gregory's Letter-box.' This volume, besides exhibiting Gregory in the guise of an able, shrewd, and conscientious adviser of the Irish government, throws much light on a period of Irish history hitherto very imperfectly illuminated.

[Mr. Gregory's Letter-box, 1898; Autobiography of Sir William Gregory, 1894; Graduati Cantabr. 1659–1823; Gent. Mag. 1840, i. 668; Correspondence of Sir Robert Peel, vol. i. 1891; Correspondence of Daniel O'Connell, 1888; Recollections of Lord Cloncurry, 1849; Burke's Landed Gentry; information from G. E. Latton Pickering, esq., of the Inner Temple.]

C. L. F.

GREGORY, Sir WILLIAM HENRY (1817–1892), governor of Ceylon, was the only son of Robert Gregory of Coole Park, co. Galway, by Elizabeth O'Hara of Raheen in the same county. He was born on 12 July 1817 at the under-secretary's lodge, Phoenix Park, Dublin, the residence of his grandfather, William Gregory [q. v. Suppl.] As a very small boy he made the acquaintance of Richard Colley, Marquis Wellesley [q. v.], during his Irish viceroyalty, and enjoyed the affectionate friendship of that statesman, many of whose letters are printed in Gregory's autobiography. Gregory was educated first at Mr. Ward's school at Iver, Buckinghamshire, and afterwards at Harrow, where he entered in 1831 under Charles Thomas Longley [q. v.], who considered him the cleverest boy he ever had under him. He gained the Peel scholarship, and was head of the school before leaving for Oxford. At Christ Church, whence he matriculated on 6 June 1835, he was less fortunate, running second for the Craven scholarship in two successive years. Owing partly to ill-health, he left Oxford without a degree. But he had laid at school the foundation of a brilliant scholarship, and he was conspicuous among his contemporaries in parliament for his intimate knowledge of the classics.

Leaving Oxford in 1840 Gregory travelled abroad with his parents for some time. He had up to this time taken no serious interest in politics; but in the spring of 1842 he was induced to stand as the conservative candidate for Dublin, and was returned by a large majority, defeating Viscount Morpeth (afterwards the popular viceroy and Earl of Carlisle). The election cost 9,000l., of which the chief item was a 'gratification for 1,500 freemen at 3l. a head.' Though fortunate in being returned at five-and-twenty for so important a constituency, Gregory was obliged to give pledges to the extreme conservative and Orange party, which were inconsistent with his real convictions, and by which he subsequently felt himself considerably hampered. Notwithstanding that his attention to politics was at first rather spasmodic, Gregory was soon looked on as among the promising young men of his day in the House of Commons. He was popular with all parties and attracted the attention and regard of men so different as Peel, Disraeli, and O'Connell. He supported Peel on the Maynooth grant and in his corn-law