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By D. Leonard

Following A Century of Premiers: Salisbury to Blair, Leonard turns his cognizance to their 19th century predecessors. In a chain of twenty biographical essays, he recounts the critical occasions in their political careers, assesses their functionality as top Ministers, and asks what lasting impression they've got had.

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Temple’s reputation was severely damaged by the episode, and he was never again to be seriously considered for cabinet office, though he did serve a second term as Lord Lieutenant for Ireland in 1787–89. He also, like his father before him, had demanded and received the extremely valuable sinecure office of Teller of the Exchequer, worth £14,500 a year (Jupp, 1985, p. 428). Temple felt that the King owed him more recompense than this for the service he had rendered, and lobbied hard for a dukedom.

On 29 June, an exasperated Fox precipitately offered his resignation, a maladroit move whose effects were exacerbated by the totally unexpected death, from influenza, of Rockingham, on 1 July. The King called on Shelburne to take over the premiership, and Fox insisted on resigning, being supported by the great mass of Rockingham’s supporters, including Tom Grenville. Temple, however, who now aspired to being appointed to one of the great two Secretaryships of State, now vacated by Fox and Shelburne, rallied to the support of the latter, as did William Grenville.

It is a fascinating exercise to trace the gradual Henry Addington 35 development of his relations with Addington and his government, as he slipped almost imperceptibly from warm encouragement to benevolent neutrality to disdainful indifference and, in the final weeks, to active hostility. Right from the beginning, he was urged by his closest followers, notably George Canning, who conducted a poisonous campaign of calumniation against Addington, to deliver the coup de grace, but Pitt held back and did his best to restrain the ardour of his supporters.

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