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The Dropmore Papers (Add. Mss. 58855-59494)

Robert A. H. Smith


WILLIAM WYNDHAM, Baron Grenville (1759-1834), Prime Minister from 1806 to 1807 and earlier, from 1791 to 1801, Foreign Secretary under Pitt the Younger, left on his death over 300 portfolios of letters and papers and over 150 letter- and précis-books, the fruits of a public career of some fifty years. The Dropmore Papers, named after Grenville's country home, were acquired by the Department of Manuscripts in 1970. The arrangement of this large collection had been started, apparently at various times, during Grenville's lifetime but remained uncompleted at his death and thereafter. A few historians had used the papers when they were in the possession of the Fortescue family, but they were generally known only through the ten-volume Historical Manuscripts Commission Report (1892-1927), almost entirely the work of one man, Walter Fitzpatrick.

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