Ministry of All the Talents

Lord Grenville,
Prime Minister 1806-1807

The Ministry of All the Talents was a national unity government formed by William Wyndham Grenville, 1st Baron Grenville on his appointment as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom on 11 February 1806 after the death of William Pitt the Younger. [1] With the country at war, Grenville aimed to form the strongest possible government and so included most leading politicians from almost all groupings, although some followers of Pitt, led by George Canning, refused to join.

The inclusion of Charles James Fox raised eyebrows as King George III had been previously heavily hostile to Fox, but the King's willingness to put aside past enmities for the sake of national unity encouraged many others to join or support the government as well. The ministry boasted a fairly progressive agenda, much of it inherited from Pitt.

The Ministry of All the Talents had comparatively little success, failing to bring the sought-after peace with France (the war continued for nearly another decade). It did, however, abolish the slave trade in Britain in 1807 before it broke up over the question of Catholic emancipation.

It was succeeded by the Second Portland Ministry, headed by William Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland.

The term has since been used in politics to describe an administration with members from more than one party or even a non-coalition government that enjoys cross party support due to gifted and or non partisan members. Examples include the coalition government which led Great Britain through the Second World War and the Canadian government that won the 1896 election. [2]

Members of the Government, February 1806 – March 1807

A group of naked British Whig politicians, including three Grenvilles, Sheridan, St. Vincent, Moira, Temple, Erskine, Howick, Petty, Whitbread, Sheridan, Windham,and Tomline, Bishop of Lincoln, crossing the river Styx in a boat named the Broad Bottom Packet. Sidmouth's head emerges from the water next to the boat. The boat's torn sail has inscription "Catholic Emancipation" and the center mast is crowned with the Prince of Wales feathers and motto "Ich Dien". On the far side the shades of Cromwell, Charles Fox and Robespierre wave to them. Overhead, on brooms, are the Three Fates; to the left a three-headed dog. Above the boat three birds soil the boat and politicians.
James Gillray's Charon's Boat.—or—the Ghosts of "all the Talents" taking their last voyage (1807) caricatured the ministry's breakup. Lord Howick rows and St. Vincent steers.

Members of the Cabinet are in bold face.

Office Name Date Notes
First Lord of the Treasury
Leader of the House of Lords
The Lord Grenville 11 February 1806–31 March 1807  
Chancellor of the Exchequer Lord Henry Petty 11 February 1806
Joint Secretaries to the Treasury Nicholas Vansittart February 1806–March 1807  
John King February–July 1806
William Henry Fremantle July 1806–March 1807
Junior Lords of the Treasury Viscount Althorp 11 February 1806  
William Wickham 11 February 1806
John Courtenay 11 February 1806
Lord Chancellor The Lord Erskine February 1806
Lord President of the Council The Earl Fitzwilliam 19 February 1806  
The Viscount Sidmouth 8 October 1806
Lord Privy Seal The Viscount Sidmouth February 1806  
The Lord Holland 8 October 1806
Secretary of State for the Home Department The Earl Spencer 5 February 1806
Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department Charles Watkin Williams-Wynn February 1806
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
Leader of the House of Commons
Charles James Fox 7 February 1806–13 September 1806  
Viscount Howick 24 September 1806
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs George Walpole February 1806–March 1807  
Sir Francis Vincent[disambiguation needed ] February 1806–March 1807
Secretary of State for War and the Colonies William Windham February 1806  
Under-Secretary of State for War and the Colonies Sir George Shee, Bt February 1806–March 1807  
Sir James Cockburn, Bt February 1806–March 1807
First Lord of the Admiralty Charles Grey 10 February 1806 known as Viscount Howick from 11 April 1806
Thomas Grenville 29 September 1806  
First Secretary to the Admiralty William Marsden continued in office  
Civil Lords of the Admiralty Sir Philip Stephens, Bt 10 February–23 October 1806  
Lord William Russell 10 February 1806–31 March 1807
The Lord Kensington 10 February 1806–31 March 1807
William Frankland 23 October 1806–31 March 1807
President of the Board of Trade The Lord Auckland 5 February 1806  
Vice-President of the Board of Trade Earl Temple 5 February 1806 also Treasurer of the Navy
President of the Board of Control Thomas Grenville February 1806  
George Tierney September 1806
Secretary to the Board of Control Thomas Creevey 14 February 1806  
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster The Earl of Derby 12 February 1806  
Master-General of the Ordnance The Earl of Moira February 1806  
Lieutenant-General of the Ordnance Sir Thomas Trigge continued in office  
Treasurer of the Ordnance Alexander Davison 20 February 1806  
Surveyor-General of the Ordnance James Murray Hadden continued in office  
Clerk of the Ordnance John Calcraft 22 February 1806  
Clerk of the Deliveries of the Ordnance James Martin Lloyd 12 March 1806  
Storekeeper of the Ordnance John McMahon 22 February 1806  
Treasurer of the Navy Richard Brinsley Sheridan February 1806  
Secretary at War Richard Fitzpatrick February 1806
Master of the Mint Lord Charles Spencer February 1806  
Charles Bathurst October 1806
Paymaster of the Forces Earl Temple February 1806–March 1807 also Vice-President of the Board of Trade
Lord John Townshend February 1806–March 1807  
Postmaster General The Earl of Carysfort February 1806–March 1807
The Earl of Buckinghamshire February 1806–March 1807
Minister without Portfolio The Earl Fitzwilliam October 1806–March 1807  
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland John Russell, 6th Duke of Bedford 12 March 1806  
The Duke of Richmond 11 April 1807
Chief Secretary for Ireland William Elliot February 1806
Chief Justice, King's Bench The Lord Ellenborough continued in office  
Attorney General Sir Arthur Piggott 12 February 1806  
Solicitor General Sir Samuel Romilly 12 February 1806  
Judge Advocate General Nathaniel Bond 8 March 1806  
Lord Advocate Henry Erskine February 1806  
Solicitor General for Scotland John Clerk February 1806  
Attorney General for Ireland William Conyngham Plunket continued in office  
Solicitor General for Ireland Charles Kendal Bushe continued in office  
Lord Steward of the Household The Earl of Aylesford continued in office  
Treasurer of the Household Lord Ossulston 12 February 1806  
Comptroller of the Household Lord George Thynne continued in office  
Lord Chamberlain of the Household The Earl of Dartmouth continued in office  
Vice-Chamberlain of the Household Lord John Thynne continued in office  
Master of the Horse The Earl of Carnarvon 8 February 1806  
Master of the Buckhounds The Earl of Albemarle 12 February 1806
Captain of the Gentlemen Pensioners The Lord St John of Bletso 12 February 1806  
Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard The Earl of Macclesfield continued in office  
Preceded by
Second Pitt the Younger Ministry 1804-1806
British Government
Succeeded by
Tory Government 1807–1809

Notes and references

Preceded by
Second Pitt the Younger Ministry 1804-1806
British ministries
Succeeded by
Tory Government 1807–1809

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