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PREFACE.

THE correspondence of the several members of the Grenville family and their contemporaries contained in these volumes, extends over a period of more than thirty years, commencing in 1742; but the most interesting and important part of it is that which comprises the seven concluding years of the reign of George the Second, and the first ten years of that of George the Third.

It consists principally of letters to and from Richard Grenville, Earl Temple, and his next brother, the Right Honourable George Grenville, the two eldest surviving sons of Richard Grenville, Esq., of Wotton, by his marriage with Hester Temple, sister and coheir of Sir Richard Temple, Viscount Cobham of Stowe, to whose peerage she succeeded by special remainder, at his death in September, 1749. A few weeks afterwards she was advanced to the title of Countess Temple, and died in October, 1752.

RICHARD GRENVILLE, the eldest son, was born September 26, 1711, and, having been educated at Eton, was sent at the age of eighteen, under the care of a private tutor, a M. de Lizy, to travel in Switzerland, Italy, and France. He remained upon the Continent more than four years, and soon after his return to England, at the

General Election in 1734, he was chosen, through the influence of his uncle Lord Cobham, to represent the Borough of Buckingham, and in subsequent Parliaments he sat as one of the Knights of the Shire for the county of Buckingham. He succeeded to the Earldom of Temple upon the death of his mother in October, 1752, and inherited the large estates of Stowe and Wotton.

In the year 1736 he obtained a very considerable accession of fortune by his marriage with Anna Chamber, one of the daughters and coheirs of Thomas Chamber, Esq., of Hanworth, by Lady Mary, daughter of Charles, second Earl of Berkeley. Miss Chamber, having lost her parents at an early age, was brought up under the guardianship of her aunt the well-known Lady Betty Germaine, with whom she constantly resided until her marriage.

Lord Temple became First Lord of the Admiralty in the Administration formed by Mr. Pitt in November, 1756, and in the following June he was made Lord Privy Seal. In December 1758 he was constituted Lord-Lieutenant and Custos Rotulorum of the county of Bucks, and in February, 1760, he was made a Knight of the Garter.

During the greater part of Mr. Pitt's glorious Administration, Lord Temple certainly took a very active, though, perhaps, not very ostensible part in the affairs of Government. Since Mr. Pitt's marriage with Lady Hester Grenville, Lord Temple had become his most intimate and affectionate friend, and was very confidentially trusted by him, to a great extent, during the long and frequent illnesses which entirely prevented his own personal attention to the arduous duties of his office as Secretary

of State. Upon these occasions much responsibility was deputed to Lord Temple, and it has been said by a contemporary writer, apparently with considerable probability of truth, "with respect to Lord Temple, that as the war and his management of it was the chief occasion of Mr. Pitt's being so much distinguished, so his intimate connection with that gentleman was the principal cause why this peer became so conspicuous and celebrated."

At the accession of King George the Third, he continued to be Lord Privy Seal until Mr. Pitt went out of office in October, 1761, upon the question of war with Spain, when he resigned at the same time; and from that period commenced the unhappy estrangement from his brother, George Grenville, who remained in his office as Treasurer of the Navy, and adhered to the policy and influence of Lord Bute, which were soon after more openly avowed by the latter being appointed Secretary of State, upon the dismissal of Lord Holdernesse, and subsequently first Lord of the Treasury upon the removal of the Duke of Newcastle.

Lord Temple now became one of the most active and zealous leaders of opposition to the Administration of Lord Bute, and, in consequence of his open encouragement and patronage of the celebrated John Wilkes, he was dismissed from his office of Lord Lieutenant of the county of Bucks, in May, 1763.

He continued in opposition to the Administration subsequently formed by Mr. Grenville, until May 1765, when he became reconciled to his brother George, and ever afterwards remained upon the most affectionate terms with him.

Although Lord Temple was several times called upon by the King to assist in forming a Ministry, yet he never again accepted office in any subsequent Administration. He had a serious difference of opinion with his friend, Mr. Pitt, upon the formation of that Government in 1766, in which the latter assigned to himself the office of Lord Privy Seal, and became Earl of Chatham. Their enmity was now as remarkable as their former friendship had been sincere, and they continued in the most bitter personal and political animosity, until their final reconciliation in the autumn of 1768; and from that period they again acted together with equal zeal in opposition, and were agreed in all political questions, excepting only that which regarded the taxation of America, in which Lord Temple invariably supported the policy of George Grenville, and the Stamp Act.

I shall hereafter take occasion to speak more at large of the character and political career of Lord Temple. During the latter years of his life, he, in great measure, retired from politics, and devoted himself to the improvement and embellishment of his favourite residence at Stowe, where may still be seen the remains of his architectural taste, and talent for landscape gardening.

He seems to have most sincerely and constantly deplored the loss of Lady Temple, who died in April, 1777. After her death he sought consolation in the society of his nephews and nieces, more particularly of George Grenville the younger, who eventually succeeded to his title and estates, and who had recently married the daughter and heiress of Earl Nugent, of Gosfield Hall,

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