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John Stuart
3rd Earl of Bute
1762-63


Bute became prime minister two years after George III accession to the throne in 1760. Bute had been his tutor and friend prior to becoming king and as such had encouraged him to exercise his royal powers when he did so. The King was advised by Bute and wanted him as prime minister, but William Pitt was a better wartime leader and the Seven Years' War was on at the time. When Pitt resigned in 1761, followed by Newcastle in 1762, Bute found himself prime minister but a very unpopular one.

The public did not want a Scot as prime minister and while Bute is credited with ending British involvement in the Seven Years' War, the peace he negotiated fell far short of terms Pitt and the public expected. The Treaty was passed in Parliament only by votes openly bought by Henry Fox acting on Bute's behalf. Once passed, Bute proceeded to systematically eliminate from government all Newcastle supporters and those who failed to back him in Parliament. Devonshire resigned as Lord Chamberlain followed by others.

Bute was attacked in the Press and in Parliament. He resigned his ministry in April, 1763. His influence on the king ended shortly thereafter.

PHOTO CREDIT: Detail of painting in the National Portrait Gallery, London.




 Perspective

1762 - Martinique, Grenada, Havana and Manila captured by the British. The Sorbonne Library is opened in Paris.
1763 - The Seven Years' War ends in Europe, as does the the French and Indian War in America. The "St. James Chronicles" are published in London.



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