Prime minister. Bute served as tutor to the prince of Wales from 1755, thereby acquiring an influence which gave rise to political controversy after the latter's succession as George III in 1760. Initially holding only a court appointment, Bute rose to become secretary of state in 1761 and 1st lord of the Treasury in May 1762 until his resignation the following April. Disheartened by the difficulties in implementing the theoretical reign of virtue which had so impressed his royal pupil, Bute gave up the struggle. Exaggerated fears about his continuing influence (as a ‘minister behind the curtain’) destabilized the administrations of both Grenville and Rockingham. Beyond the sphere of politics, he was not only a patron of education, literature, and the fine arts, but also a keen student of science, with a particular interest in botany.
Subjects: British History.