A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature/Grote, George

Grote, George (1794-1871). -- Historian, s. of a wealthy banker in London, was b. at Beckenham, and ed. at Charterhouse School. In 1810 he entered the bank, of which he became head in 1830. In 1832 he was elected one of the members of Parliament for the City of London. In 1841 he retired from Parliament, and in 1843 from the bank, thenceforth devoting his whole time to literature, which, along with politics, had been his chief interest from his youth. He early came under the influence of Bentham and the two Mills, and was one of the leaders of the group of theorists known as "philosophical Radicals." In 1820 he m. Miss Harriet Lewin who, from her intellectual powers, was fitted to be his helper page 171in his literary and political interests. In 1826 he contributed to the Westminster Review a severe criticism of Mitford's "History of Greece", and in 1845 pub. the first 2 vols. of his own, the remaining 6 vols. appearing at intervals up to 1856. G. belongs to the school of philosophical historians, and his History, which begins with the legends, ends with the fall of the country under the successors of Alexander the Great. It is one of the standard works on the subject, which his learning enabled him to treat in a full and thorough manner; the style is clear and strong. It has been repeatedly re-issued, and has been translated into French and German. G. also pub., in 1865, Plato and other Companions of Socrates, and left unfinished a work on Aristotle. In political life G. was, as might be expected, a consistent and somewhat rigid Radical, and he was a strong advocate of the ballot. He was one of the founders of the first London Univ., a Trustee of the British Museum, D.C.L. of Oxf., LL.D. of Camb., and a Foreign Associate of the Académie des Sciences. He was offered, but declined, a peerage in 1869, and is buried in Westminster Abbey.