or an impartial and most respectable speaker of the
House of Commons; but at the head of an administration, he could be no more than the patient and mepthodical executor of plans ‘devolved’1
upon him by the statute-book of England
or by his predecessors in office.
The stubbornness with which he was wont to adhere to them sprung from the weakness of pride and obstinacy, that were parts of his nature, not from the vigor of a commanding will,2
which never belonged to him.
With the bequest of Bute's office, the new minister inherited also the services of his efficient private secretary, Charles Jenkinson
, who now became the principal Secretary of the Treasury
He was a man of rare ability.
scholar without fortune, and at first destined for the Church
, he entered life on the side of the whigs; but using an immediate opportunity of becoming known to George the Third while Prince
, he devoted himself to his service.
He remained always a friend and a uniform favorite of the king.
Engaged in the most important scenes of political action, and rising to the highest stations, he moved with so soft a step, that he seemed to pass on as noiselessly as a shadow; and history was hardly aware of his presence.
He had the singular talent of being employed in the most delicate and disagreeable personal negotiations, and fulfilling such trusts so calmly as to retain the friendship of those whom he seemed commissioned to wound.
Except at first, when still very poor, he never showed a wish for office, till the time arrived when it seemed to seek him; and