This is the only authoritative modern biography of Charles, second Earl Grey. Grey was a leading figure in the Whig party from the 1780s to the 1830s, and is best known as the Prime Minister who passed the Great Reform Act of 1832. As Prime Minister from 1830 to 1834, Grey saw it as his mission and duty to restore public confidence in the traditional institutions of British government, rather than to promote the cause of radical reform, which he in fact detested.
The biography shows that Grey was responsible for guiding the country through a period of threatened revolution and maintaining the continuity of its political institutions. Based on an extensive range of historical sources, some hitherto unpublished, this study re-evaluates
Grey's career and achievements in the light of modern scholarship, and provides a unique insight into his complex and troubled personality. It will be indispensable to anyone interested in the history of this period, and in the development of modern politics.
`There has been no greater or more obvious gap in the historiography of Georgian politics. That that gap has now been filled by a sober and scholarly book is something for which thanks should be offered. It will be the researcher's reference point for a generation.'
EHR Oct 1993
`This new life of Grey is a most welcome addition to nineteenth-century historiography and will become for the foreseeable future the standard authority on a statesman who deservedly ranks as one of the architects of Victorian Britain.'
'lucid and scholarly'
'excellent and scholarly biography'
Times Higher Education Supplement
'a well written and sensitive life of a remarkable man'
Robert Blake, The Spectator
'scholarly biography, written with much care'
Jonathan Clark, The Times
`In this fine book he has dispersed the haze and added greatly to our knowledge.'
London Review of Books
'Dr Smith does not deal in haloes. In this fine book he has dispersed the haze and added greatly to our knowledge.'
London Review of Books
`careful and scholarly ... Dr Smith offers a lifetime's reflection on a figure of central importance to the early nineteenth century and merits the gratitude of scholars for his contribution.'
'Dr Smith's excellent biography is much to be welcomed and will be widely-read.'
A.j. Heesom, Durham University Journal
'in E.A. Smith's new study he is more accurately presented as a profoundly conservative figure who shared much of Wellington's outlook.'
Neville Thompson, Newsletter of the Victorian Studies, Association of Ontario, No. 48, Fall 1991
'Smith has written an extraordinary account of Grey's political life and the principles for which he stood.'
Nancy D. LoPatin, University of Wisconsin, Victorian Studies
Abbreviations; Illustrations; Introduction; I: 1764-1807: Political apprenticeship, 1764-1792; The commitment to reform, 1792-1802; The road to leadership, 1802-1807; II: 1807-1845: The lessons of experience, 1807-1815; Whigs out of place, 1810-1830; The Prime Minister, 1830-1834; Return to Howick, 1834-1845; Epilogue; Index