The Grafton ministry arose from the gradual decay of its predecessor, the Chatham ministry, which Grafton had effectively been leading for some time due to the illness and withdrawal from public affairs of its nominal head William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham. In order to maintain a comfortable parliamentary majority, Grafton had drawn the Bedford Whigs (Earl Gower, Viscount Weymouth, and the Earl of Hillsborough) into the ministry at the end of 1767. Although Grafton himself and many of the previous members of the government (including Chatham) supported a conciliatory policy towards Britain's restless American colonies, the Bedfords were in favor of stronger, more coercive measures, and the ministry, in spite of Grafton's own views, drifted towards the Bedford position. When this led to an attempt to replace the conciliatory Southern Secretary, Lord Shelburne, Chatham finally roused himself enough to resign from his position as Lord Privy Seal, leaving Grafton as the nominal as well as real head of a ministry in which the Bedford faction was now stronger than ever.
The government was widely criticised for its handling of foreign affairs, particularly for allowing the Republic of Corsica, a British ally, to fall to the French during the Corsican Crisis. It was subject to a series of attacks in what became known as the Junius Letters. With the resignation in January 1770 of Grafton himself, Lord Camden, and Lord Granby, Chatham's remaining adherents in the cabinet, the ministry was replaced by the ministry of Lord North, previously Chancellor of the Exchequer, which was to last until 1782.
|First Lord of the Treasury||The Duke of Grafton||1768–1770|
|Secretary of State for the Southern Department||The Viscount Weymouth||1768–1770|
|Secretary of State for the Northern Department||The Earl of Rochford||1768–1770|
|Secretary of State for the Colonies||The Earl of Hillsborough||1768–1770|
|Lord Chancellor||The Lord Camden||1768–1770|
|Lord President of the Council||The Earl Gower||1768–1770|
|Chancellor of the Exchequer||Lord North||1768–1770|
|First Lord of the Admiralty||Sir Edward Hawke||1768–1770|
|Master-General of the Ordnance||Marquess of Granby||1768–1770|
|Minister without Portfolio||Henry Seymour Conway||1768–1770|
- Black, Jeremy (1992). William Pitt. Cambridge University Press.
- Whiteley, Peter (1996). Lord North: The Prime Minister who lost America. The Hambledon Press.
|Government of Great Britain