MANNERS, Charles, Mq. of Granby (1754-87).

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754-1790, ed. L. Namier, J. Brooke., 1964
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1774 - 29 May 1779

Family and Education

b. 15 Mar. 1754, 1st surv. s. of John, Mq. of Granby, bro. of Lord Robert Manners, and half-bro. of George Manners.  educ. Eton 1762-71; Trinity, Camb. 1771.  m. 26 Dec. 1775, Lady Mary Isabella Somerset, da. of Charles Noel, 4th Duke of Beaufort, 4s. 3da.  suc. fa. as Mq. of Granby 18 Oct. 1770; gd.-fa. as 4th Duke of Rutland 29 May 1779; K.G. 3 Oct. 1782.

Offices Held

Ld. lt. Leics. 1779- d.; P.C. 14 Feb. 1783; ld. steward of the Household Feb.-Apr. 1783; ld. privy seal Dec. 1783-Feb. 1784; ld. lt. [I] 1784- d.


When Rutland, on the death of his son Granby, would not ‘meddle with the administration of his estate’ because of the load of debt, Charles pledged himself ‘when of age ... to pay everything he owed, though he should live upon a crust from 21 to 61’.1 Even before entering Parliament he adhered to the Opposition—Portland, writing to Rockingham, 18 Aug. 1773, rejoiced ‘in seeing ... a man whose situation must render him so considerable’, take that part.2 He was returned unopposed for Cambridge University while under age. In his first reported speech, 5 Apr. 1775, he stated that so far he had refrained from giving even a silent vote on any American question, as he wished first to hear the arguments on both sides; but now declared his adherence to Chatham’s principles; and disavowed the Government’s system, as commenced in iniquity, pursued with resentment, and bound to ‘terminate in nothing but blood ... it shall, from me, meet the most constant, determined, and invariable opposition’.3 Chatham wrote to thank him,4 and Rockingham called him to his counsels.5 At the opening of the autumn session of 1776, Rockingham tried to persuade Granby to move the amendment to the Address, and claimed that it would ‘be a horrid damp to all our friends’ if he declined;6still, ‘youthful diffidence got the better’ of Granby,7 and he merely seconded the motion. But on 18 Nov. 1777, he moved the same amendment on America as Chatham did in the Lords. This was Granby’s last reported speech in the Commons.

He had steadily voted with Opposition on America; over the contractors bill, 12 Feb. 1779, was classed by Robinson as ‘contra, absent’; and again voted with Opposition on Keppel, 3 Mar., followed by the two Manners Suttons, Thoroton, and Lord Tyrconnel.

The very large division of 170 to 204 has alarmed the ministers [wrote Rockingham to Granby on 5 Mar.] ... By what I can learn very, very few indeed of the 170 have or will go out of town ... All our friends are exerting everywhere to get what numbers we possibly can for Monday. I do assure you, that your having gone into the country with a doubt on your being back by Monday[’s] business in the House of Commons, is felt and much regretted by your friends, and is even a matter of triumph among others ... you would by no means wish to please ...
Your Lordship’s absence also occasions the absence of Mr. Sutton and as I hear, also, of Mr. Thoroton, it may also of some in London ... it is not a pleasant thing, that maintaining and professing the good principles, which you do, you should nevertheless appear for a moment to be inattentive in your exertions at this most critical time.

Still, Granby absented himself, and so did his four followers—his reasons are not known.

On succeeding to the dukedom in May 1779, he supported William Pitt in Cambridge University;8 at the general election of 1780 brought in his brother Robert for Cambridgeshire at a cost of £12,000; supported Pochin in Leicestershire; and returned his other four followers. When in February 1783 Carlisle resigned the lord steward’s staff, Rutland accepted it with a seat in the Cabinet;9 and, having opposed the Coalition, again took office under Pitt. At the general election of 1784 he added Macnamara at Leicester, and Mortlock at Cambridge, to the outer ring of his group; in the new Parliament directed them to support Pitt even on parliamentary reform; trying in return to obtain favours for his followers, including two of doubtful character, Daniel Pulteney and John Mortlock. He was shy and solitary, and easily taken advantage of by men of a brazen, uninhibited type.

He died at his post in Dublin, 24 Oct. 1787.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: Sir Lewis Namier


  • 1. Levett Blackborne to Geo. Vernon, 12 Feb. 1771, Rutland mss.
  • 2. Rockingham mss.
  • 3. Almon, i. 416-18.
  • 4. Chatham Corresp. iv. 405-6,
  • 5. Letter of 6 Feb. 1776, Rutland mss.
  • 6. Letters of 30 and 31 Oct., Rutland mss.
  • 7. Walpole, Last Jnls. i. 580.
  • 8. Pitt to Rutland, 14 Aug., HMC Rutland, iii. 18-19.
  • 9. Fortescue, vi. 237, 246-7.