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Bute, John Stuart, Earl of,

Statesman; born in Scotland in 1713; succeeded to his father's titles and estates when he was ten years of age; and, in 1736, married the only daughter of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. In February, 1737, he was selected one of the sixteen representative peers of Scotland, and appointed lord of the bedchamber of the Prince of Wales in 1738. The beautiful Princess of Wales gave him her confidence on the death of her husband in 1751, and made him preceptor of her son, afterwards King George III. Over that youth he gained great influence. When he ascended the throne, in 1760, George promoted Bute to a privy councillor, and, afterwards, a secretary of state; and, when Pitt and the Duke of Newcastle retired from the cabinet, Bute was made prime minister. He soon became unpopular, chiefly because the King had discarded the great Pitt, and preferred this Scotch adventurer, whose bad advice was misleading his sovereign. Insinuations were rife about the too intimate personal relations of Bute and the young King's mother, who, it was believed, ruled both the King and his minister; and a placard appeared in front of the Royal Exchange, in large letters, “No petticoat government — no Scotch minister — no Lord George Sackville!” Bute was vigorously attacked by John Wilkes in his North Briton. The minister's unpopularity increased. Suspicions of his being bribed by the enemies of England were rife; and, perceiving a rising storm that threatened to overwhelm him with disgrace, Bute suddenly resigned his office (April 7, 1763), but nominated his successor. He retired to private life, passing his time between England and Scotland in the enjoyment of an ample fortune. He published, at his own expense ($50,000), a work on botany, in 9 volumes, printing only twelve copies to make the work scarce. He died in London, March 10, 1792.

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