Top positive review
on 30 March 2017
This is an engrossing, revealing and even dazzling work. The character was asked to be Prime Minister when 3 months short of his 24th birthday (p116) and declined! In two years in the House of Commons he had shown everyone that he was the ablest man in the place from every point of view but he calculated that he could not guarantee support, especially from Lord North. When asked again a year later he accepted and remained in power for 17 years continuously, the longest ever apart from Walpole. He resigned mainly on Catholic Emancipation: admitting Catholics to Parliament as MPs because George III would not hear of it. After a year out, Addington, his successor and most MPs wanted him to return. Soon he did, but he died in office in 1806. An excellent classicist and mathematician, immensely gifted in managing the finance of the country, incorruptible, utterly devoted to politics and his country. His integrity was the flame that guided all he did. His success was due to his being brought up in a family with peers on both sides and MPs. His capacity for oratory was matchless, honed by practice and study. He was a workaholic and an alcoholic because he had been told that port was good for you. Gout was not understood. So many suffered from it. Overwork and stress was a major cause of his life being short.