chapter  3
The Imperial Crisis
Pages 28

George Grenville had a problem. In 1763, the fifty-one year old left his post as first lord of the admiralty to become prime minister. Grenville discovered that the recent victory over France had not only been glorious but costly. Britain’s budget deficit, which stood at £73 million before the war, had ballooned to £137 million by 1763. The annual interest on the debt alone was £5 million, at a time when the government’s income was £8 million per year. The acquisition of new territory in America would only increase the financial pressures on the government. Addressing the government’s financial problems would be one of the foremost concerns of the Grenville ministry. As a result, Grenville would undertake a program of reform with an eye towards raising revenue in America. This program was intended fundamentally to alter the relationship between the colonies and the metropolis. Thus, at the outset of the sequence of events which would result in American independence, it was not the future revolutionaries who advocated change but their imperial masters.