Thomas Grenville

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This article is about the British politician. For other uses, see Thomas Grenville (disambiguation).
The Right Honourable
Thomas Grenville
PC
Thomas Grenville (1755-1846).jpg
President of the Board of Control
In office
1806–1806
Monarch George III
Prime Minister The Lord Grenville
Preceded by The Lord Minto
Succeeded by George Tierney
First Lord of the Admiralty
In office
1806–1807
Monarch George III
Prime Minister The Lord Grenville
Preceded by Viscount Howick
Succeeded by The Lord Mulgrave
Personal details
Born 31 December 1755 (1755-12-31)
Died 17 December 1846 (1846-12-18)
Piccadilly, London
Nationality British
Spouse(s) Unmarried

Thomas Grenville PC (31 December 1755 – 17 December 1846) was a British politician and bibliophile.

Background and education[edit]

Grenville was the second son of Prime Minister George Grenville and Elizabeth, daughter of Sir William Wyndham, 3rd Baronet. George Nugent-Temple-Grenville, 1st Marquess of Buckingham, was his elder brother and William Grenville, 1st Baron Grenville, his younger brother. He was educated at Eton.

Career[edit]

In 1778, he was commissioned ensign in the Coldstream Guards and in 1779 promoted a lieutenant in the 80th Regiment of Foot, but resigned his commission in 1780. He was, with one interval, a member of parliament from 1780 to 1810, and for a few months during 1806 and 1807 President of the Board of Control (1806) and then First Lord of the Admiralty (1806–1807). In 1798, he was sworn of the Privy Council.

On 1 February Grenville and a party were travelling on HMS Proserpine when she was wrecked near Scharhörn off the Elbe. She was trying to deliver Grenville and his party to Cuxhaven, from where they were to proceed on a diplomatic mission to Berlin. Proserpine was stuck in ice in worsening weather. At 1:30, on 2 February, all 187 persons on Prosperine left her and started the six-mile walk to shore, in freezing weather and falling snow. Seven seamen, a boy, four Royal Marines, and one woman and her child died; the rest made it to safety in the tower of Neuwerk. The diplomatic party reached Cuxhaven a few days later.[1]

Library[edit]

He began collecting books from at least his early twenties, and by his death had amassed 20,240 volumes containing 16,000 titles. The collection is notable for its many editions of Homer, Aesop and Ariosto, for early travel books, and for literature in the Romance languages. Rare volumes include a vellum copy of the Gutenberg Bible, which Grenville bought in France in 1817 for 6260 francs, a Mainz Psalter and a Shakespeare First Folio. There are also 59 manuscripts. Grenville liked his books to be in excellent condition, and would have often have books washed or rebound, as well as seeking out relevant pages to add to any incomplete copies he owned. He lent books widely, Barry Taylor describing his library as apparently "semi-public". He bequeathed the collection to the British Museum, of which he had become a trustee in 1830, and it is now housed in the King's Library Tower in the British Library.[2][3][4]

Personal life[edit]

Thomas Grenville

Grenville died at Piccadilly, London, in December 1846, aged 90. He never married.

Styles from birth to death[edit]

  • Mr. Thomas Grenville (1755–1779)
  • Mr. Thomas Grenville, MP (1779–1784)
  • Mr. Thomas Grenville (1784–1790)
  • Mr. Thomas Grenville, MP (1790–1798)
  • The Rt. Hon. Thomas Grenville, MP (1798–1810)
  • The Rt. Hon. Thomas Grenville (1810–1813)
  • The Rt. Hon. Thomas Grenville, MP (1813–1818)
  • The Rt. Hon. Thomas Grenville (1818–1846)

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ Hepper (1994), p.90.
  2. ^ Taylor, Barry (2009). "Thomas Grenville (1755–1846) and His Books". In Mandelbrote, Giles and Taylor, Barry. Libraries within the Library: the Origins of the British Library's Printed Collections. British Library. pp. 321–340. ISBN 978-0-7123-5035-8. 
  3. ^ British Library, Named collections of printed materials (G) accessed 22 December 2011
  4. ^ British Library, The copy on vellum – provenance accessed 22 December 2011

References[edit]

  • British Historical Facts 1760–1830, by Chris Cook and John Stevenson (The Macmillan Press 1980)
  • Hepper, David J. (1994). British Warship Losses in the Age of Sail, 1650–1859. Rotherfield: Jean Boudriot. ISBN 0-948864-30-3. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Payne, J.T., Foss, H. and Rye, W.B. Bibliotheca Grenvilliana. London, 1842–72. Catalogue of Thomas Grenville's library. Copies held by many major scholarly libraries.

External links[edit]

Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
The Earl Verney
George Grenville
Member of Parliament for Buckinghamshire
1779 – 1784
With: The Earl Verney
Succeeded by
Sir John Aubrey, 6th Bt
William Grenville
Preceded by
William Champion Crespigny
Samuel Salt
Member of Parliament for Aldeburgh
17901796
With: Lord Grey of Groby
Succeeded by
Sir John Aubrey, 6th Bt
Michael Angelo Taylor
Preceded by
George Nugent
The Lord Bridport
Member of Parliament for Buckingham
17961801
With: George Nugent
Succeeded by
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Parliament of Great Britain
Member of Parliament for Buckingham
1801–1810
With: George Nugent 1801–1802
Lord William Proby 1802–1804
Lord Carysfort 1805–1806
Earl Percy 1806
Sir William Young, 2nd Bt 1806–1807
Sir John Borlase Warren, 1st Bt 1807
Richard Griffin 1807–1810
Succeeded by
Richard Griffin
Lord George Grenville
Preceded by
Earl Temple
William Selby Lowndes
Member of Parliament for Buckinghamshire
1813 – 1818
With: William Selby Lowndes
Succeeded by
William Selby Lowndes
Earl Temple
Diplomatic posts
Vacant
Title last held by
The Viscount Stormont
British Minister to France
1782
Succeeded by
Alleyne Fitzherbert
Political offices
Preceded by
The Lord Minto
President of the Board of Control
1806
Succeeded by
George Tierney
Preceded by
Viscount Howick
First Lord of the Admiralty
1806–1807
Succeeded by
The Lord Mulgrave
Legal offices
Preceded by
The Viscount Sydney
Justice in Eyre
south of the Trent

1800–1846
Succeeded by
Office Abolished