Death of William Wyndham Grenville, 1st Baron Grenville, Whig Prime Minister 1806-07

Born in 1759 the son of Whig Prime Minister George Grenville and cousin of William Pitt, Grenville was elected Whig MP for Buckingham 1782-84 and Buckinghamshire 1784-90. He served in Pitt’s government most notably as Foreign Secretary in which post he guided British foreign policy during the turbulent period of the French revolutionary wars. Grenville resigned along with Pitt in 1801 over Catholic emancipation. During his period in opposition Grenville became close with Charles James Fox and when Pitt returned to office Grenville refused to serve. On Pitt’s death in 1806 Grenville headed a ‘Ministry of all the Talents’ an interesting mix of Grenville’s supporters, the Foxite Whigs and followers of former Tory Prime Minister Henry Addington. The ministry’s one major achievement was the abolition of the slave trade which became law on the day Grenville left office after only 13 months. Grenville remained politically active but never returned to office.