Charles Grey

22/11/183009/07/1834View on timeline

Charles Grey

Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey (13 March 1764 – 17 July 1845), known as Viscount Howick between 1806 and 1807, was a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from November 1830 to July 1834.

A member of the Whig Party, he was a long-time leader of multiple reform movements, most famously the Reform Act 1832. His government also saw the abolition of slavery in the British Empire, in which the government purchased slaves from their owners in 1833. Grey was a strong opponent of the foreign and domestic policies of William Pitt the Younger in the 1790s. In 1807, he resigned as foreign secretary to protest against the King's uncompromising rejection of Catholic Emancipation. Grey finally resigned in 1834 over disagreements in his cabinet regarding Ireland, and retired from politics. His biographer G. M. Trevelyan argues:

in our domestic history 1832 is the next great landmark after 1688 ... [It] saved the land from revolution and civil strife and made possible the quiet progress of the Victorian era.

Scholars rank him highly among all British prime ministers. Earl Grey tea is named after him.


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Published in 10/09/2020

Updated in 19/02/2021

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