Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey (1764 - 1845) MP

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Birthplace: Falloden, Northumberland, England
Death: Died in Howick House, Howick, Northumberland, England
Occupation: First Lord of the Treasury; Knight of the Garter
Managed by: Ofir Friedman
Last Updated:

About Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Grey,_2nd_Earl_Grey

Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey, KG, PC (13 March 1764 – 17 July 1845), known as Viscount Howick between 1806 and 1807, was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 22 November 1830 to 16 July 1834. A member of the Whig Party, he backed significant reform of the British government and was among the primary architects of the Reform Act 1832. In addition to his political achievements, Earl Grey famously gives his name to an aromatic blend of tea.

Descended from a long-established Northumbrian family seated at Howick Hall, Grey was the second but eldest surviving son of General Sir Charles Grey KB (1729–1807) and his wife, Elizabeth (1743/4–1822), daughter of George Grey of Southwick, co. Durham. He had four brothers and two sisters. He was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge, acquiring a facility in Latin and in English composition and declamation that enabled him to become one of the foremost parliamentary orators of his generation. Grey was elected to Parliament at the age of 22 in 1786. He became a part of the Whig circle of Charles James Fox, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, and the Prince of Wales, and soon became one of the major leaders of the Whig party. He was the youngest manager on the committee for prosecuting Warren Hastings. The Whig historian T. B. Macaulay wrote in 1841:

At an age when most of those who distinguish themselves in life are still contending for prizes and fellowships at college, he had won for himself a conspicuous place in Parliament. No advantage of fortune or connection was wanting that could set off to the height his splendid talents and his unblemished honour. At twenty-three he had been thought worthy to be ranked with the veteran statesmen who appeared as the delegates of the British Commons, at the bar of the British nobility. All who stood at that bar, save him alone, are gone, culprit, advocates, accusers. To the generation which is now in the vigour of life, he is the sole representative of a great age which has passed away. But those who, within the last ten years, have listened with delight, till the morning sun shone on the tapestries of the House of Lords, to the lofty and animated eloquence of Charles Earl Grey, are able to form some estimate of the powers of a race of men among whom he was not the foremost.

Grey was also noted for advocating Parliamentary reform and Catholic emancipation. His affair with the Duchess of Devonshire, herself an active political campaigner, did him little harm although it nearly caused her to be divorced by her husband.

In 1806, Grey, by then Lord Howick owing to his father's elevation to the peerage as Earl Grey, became a part of the Ministry of All the Talents (a coalition of Foxite Whigs, Grenvillites, and Addingtonites) as First Lord of the Admiralty. Following Fox's death later that year, Howick took over both as Foreign Secretary and as leader of the Whigs.

The government fell from power the next year, and, after a brief period as a Member of Parliament for Appleby from May to July 1807, Howick went to the Lords, succeeding his father as Earl Grey. He continued in opposition for the next 23 years.

Great Reform Act:

In 1830, the Whigs finally returned to power, with Grey as Prime Minister. His Ministry was a notable one, seeing passage of the Reform Act 1832, which finally saw the reform of the House of Commons, and the abolition of slavery throughout the British Empire in 1833. As the years had passed, however, Grey had become more conservative, and he was cautious about initiating more far-reaching reforms. In 1834 Grey retired from public life, leaving Lord Melbourne as his successor.

Grey returned to Howick but kept a close eye on the policies of the new cabinet under Melbourne, whom he, and especially his family, regarded as a mere understudy until he began to act in ways of which they disapproved. Grey became more critical as the decade went on, being particularly inclined to see the hand of Daniel O'Connell behind the scenes and blaming Melbourne for subservience to the radicals with whom he identified the Irish patriot. He made no allowances for Melbourne's need to keep the radicals on his side to preserve his shrinking majority in the Commons, and in particular he resented any slight on his own great achievement, the Reform Act, which he saw as a final solution of the question for the foreseeable future. He continually stressed its conservative nature. As he declared in his last great public speech, at the Grey Festival organized in his honour at Edinburgh in September 1834, its purpose was to strengthen and preserve the established constitution, to make it more acceptable to the people at large, and especially the middle classes, who had been the principal beneficiaries of the Reform Act, and to establish the principle that future changes would be gradual, "according to the increased intelligence of the people, and the necessities of the times". It was the speech of a conservative statesman.

Grey spent his last years in contented, if sometimes fretful, retirement at Howick, with his books, his family, and his dogs. He became physically feeble in his last years and died quietly in his bed on 17 July 1845, forty-four years to the day since going to live at Howick[6]. He was buried in the church there on the 26th in the presence of his family, close friends, and the labourers on his estate.

Commemoration:

Earl Grey tea, a blend which uses bergamot oil to flavour the beverage, is named after Grey. He is commemorated by Grey's Monument in the centre of Newcastle upon Tyne, which consists of a statue of Lord Grey standing atop a 41 m (135 ft) high column. The monument lends its name to Monument Metro station on the Tyne and Wear Metro located directly underneath. Grey Street in Newcastle upon Tyne and Grey College, Durham are also named after Grey.

Grey married Mary Elizabeth Ponsonby (1776–1861), only daughter of William Ponsonby, 1st Baron Ponsonby and Hon. Louisa Molesworth in 1794. The marriage was a happy and fruitful one; between 1796 and 1819 the couple had ten sons and six daughters:

[a dau.] Grey (stillborn, 1796)

Louisa Elizabeth Grey ( 7 Apr 1797-26 November 1841); married John Lambton, 1st Earl of Durham

Lady Elizabeth Grey (10 July 1798- 8 November 1880); married John Bulteel

Lady Caroline Grey (30 August 1799-28 April 1875); married Capt. the Hon. George Barrington

Lady Georgiana Grey (17 Feb 1801-1900); never married

Henry George Grey, 3rd Earl Grey (28 December 1802- 9 October 1894), eldest son, who became a politician like his father

General Sir Charles Grey (15 March 1804-31 March 1870), father of Albert Grey, 4th Earl Grey

Admiral Frederick William Grey (23 August 1805- 2 May 1878)

Mary Grey ( 2 May 1807- 6 July 1884); married Charles Wood, 1st Viscount Halifax

Hon. William Grey (13 May 1808-11 Feb 1815)

Admiral George Grey (16 May 1809- 3 October 1891)

Hon. Thomas Grey (29 Dec 1810- 8 Jul 1826)

Rev. Hon. John Grey ( 2 March 1812-11 November 1895)

Rev. Hon. Sir Francis Richard Grey (31 March 1813-22 March 1890) married Elizabeth Howard (1816-1891), daughter of George Howard and Georgiana Cavendish.

Hon. Henry Cavendish Grey (16 October 1814- 5 September 1880)

Hon. William George Grey (15 February 1819-19 December 1865)

Mary was frequently pregnant and during his absences in London or elsewhere Grey had a series of affairs with other women. The first, most notorious, and most significant, which antedated his engagement to his future wife, was with Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire, whom he met at Devonshire House – the centre of Whig society in London in the 1780s and 1790s – shortly after his arrival in the capital as a young recruit to the House of Commons. Impetuous and headstrong, Grey pursued Georgiana with persistence until she gave in to his attentions. She became pregnant by Grey in 1791, but she refused to leave her husband the duke, and live with Grey, when the duke threatened that if she did so she would never see their children again. She went abroad with Elizabeth Foster, and on 20 February 1792 at Aix-en-Provence, gave birth to a daughter who was given the name Eliza Courtney. After their return to England in September 1793, the child was taken to Fallodon and brought up by Grey's parents as though she were his sister. This affair was a significant step in the process by which he became a member of the Whig party, led by Charles James Fox.

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Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey, KG, PC (13 March 1764 – 17 July 1845), known as Viscount Howick between 1806 and 1807, was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 22 November 1830 to 16 July 1834. A member of the Whig Party, he backed significant reform of the British government and was among the primary architects of the Reform Act 1832. In addition to his political achievements, Earl Grey famously gives his name to an aromatic blend of tea.

--------------------

Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey was born on 13 March 1764 at Howick Grange, Alnwick, Northumberland, England.5,6 He was the son of General Charles Grey, 1st Earl Grey and Elizabeth Grey.4 He married Hon. Mary Elizabeth Ponsonby, daughter of William Brabazon Ponsonby, 1st Baron Ponsonby of Imokilly and Hon. Louisa Molesworth, on 18 November 1794 at Hereford, Herefordshire, England.1,6 He died on 17 July 1845 at age 81 at Howick House, Westminster, London, England.6

    Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey was educated at Eton College, Eton, Berkshire, England.5 He was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge University, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England.5 He held the office of Member of Parliament (M.P.) (Whig) for Northumberland between 1786 and 1807.5 He was invested as a Privy Counsellor (P.C.) in 1806.5 He held the office of First Lord of the Admiralty between February 1806 and September 1806.5 He held the office of Foreign Secretary between September 1806 and March 1807.5 He held the office of Member of Parliament (M.P.) (Whig) for Appleby between May 1807 and July 1807.5 He held the office of Member of Parliament (M.P.) (Whig) for Tavistock between July 1807 and November 1807.5 He succeeded to the title of 2nd Earl Grey [U.K., 1806] on 14 November 1807.4 He succeeded to the title of 2nd Baron Grey of Howick, co. Northumberland [U.K., 1801] on 14 November 1807.4 He succeeded to the title of 2nd Viscount Howick, co. Northumberland [U.K., 1806] on 14 November 1807.4 He succeeded to the title of 3rd Baronet Grey, of Howick, co. Northumberland [G.B., 1746] on 30 March 1808.4 He held the office of Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury between 1830 and 1834.5 He was invested as a Knight, Order of the Garter (K.G.) in 1831.5

Child of Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey and Lady Georgiana Spencer

Eliza Courtney+ b. 20 Feb 1792, d. 2 May 1859.3

Children of Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey and Hon. Mary Elizabeth Ponsonby

Lady Louisa Elizabeth Grey+ d. 26 Nov 1841.7

Lady Mary Grey+ d. 6 Jul 1884.8

Lady Caroline Grey+ d. 28 Apr 1875

Lady Elizabeth Grey+ b. 10 Jul 1798, d. 8 Nov 1880.1

Henry George Grey, 3rd Earl Grey b. 28 Dec 1802, d. 9 Oct 1894.9

Lt.-Gen. Hon. Charles Grey+ b. 15 Mar 1804, d. 31 Mar 1870.10

Admiral Hon. Sir Frederick William Grey b. 23 Aug 1805, d. 2 May 1878.9

Admiral Hon. George Grey+ b. 16 May 1809, d. 3 Oct 1891.5

Rev. Hon. John Grey+ b. 2 Mar 1812, d. 11 Nov 1895.9

Rev. Hon. Francis Richard Grey b. 31 Mar 1813, d. 22 Mar 1890.9

Hon. Henry Cavendish Grey b. 16 Oct 1814, d. 5 Sep 1880.9

Hon. William George Grey b. 15 Feb 1819, d. 19 Dec 1865.9

Citations

[S37] Charles Mosley, editor, Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, 107th edition, 3 volumes (Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A.: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, 2003), volume 1, page 361. Hereinafter cited as Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 107th edition.

[S3409] Caroline Maubois, "re: Penancoet Family," e-mail message from unknown author e-mail (France) to Darryl Roger Lundy, 2 December 2008. Hereinafter cited as "re: Penancoet Family".

[S130] Wikipedia, online www.wikipedia.org. Hereinafter cited as Wikipedia.

[S37] Charles Mosley, Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 107th edition, volume 2, page 1661.

[S37] Charles Mosley, Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 107th edition, volume 2, page 1664.

[S3543] Unknown compiler, compiler, "re: Steel Family"; Ancestral File (30 January 2009), unknown repository, unknown repository address. Hereinafter cited as "re: Steel Family".

[S37] Charles Mosley, Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 107th edition, volume 1, page 1246.

[S37] Charles Mosley, Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 107th edition, volume 2, page 1728.

[S37] Charles Mosley, Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 107th edition.

[S6] G.E. Cokayne; with Vicary Gibbs, H.A. Doubleday, Geoffrey H. White, Duncan Warrand and Lord Howard de Walden, editors, The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant, new ed., 13 volumes in 14 (1910-1959; reprint in 6 volumes, Gloucester, U.K.: Alan Sutton Publishing, 2000), volume I, page 178. Hereinafter cited as The Complete Peerage.

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Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey's Timeline

1764
March 13, 1764
Falloden, Northumberland, England
1792
February 20, 1792
Age 27
Montpellier, Aix-en-Provence, France
1794
November 18, 1794
Age 30
Hereford, Herefordshire, England
1797
1797
Age 32
1798
July 10, 1798
Age 34
1802
December 28, 1802
Age 38
1804
March 15, 1804
Age 40
Northumberland, England
1805
August 23, 1805
Age 41
1807
May 2, 1807
Age 43