Though one of the worst of ministers, Bute was by no means the worst of men or the despicable and detestable person represented by the popular imagination.
On the 3rd of November Bute appeared in his new capacity as prime minister in the House of Lords, where he had not been seen for twenty years.
Where, on the other hand, the rock decays with smaller debris, the hills assume smoother contours, as in the slate hills running from the Kyles of Bute to Loch Lomond.
At length, unable to contend any longer against the general and inveterate animosity displayed against him, fearing for the consequences to the monarchy, alarmed at the virulent attacks of the North Briton, and suffering from ill-health, Bute resigned office on the 8th of April.
He still corresponded with the king, and returned again to London next year, but in May 1765, after the duke of Cumberland's failure to form an administration, Grenville exacted the promise from the king, which appears to have been kept faithfully, that Bute should have no share and should give no advice whatever in public business, and obtained the dismissal of Bute's brother from his post of lord privy seal in Scotland.
The king of Prussia had some reason to complain of the sudden desertion of his ally, but there is no evidence whatever to substantiate his accusation that Bute had endeavoured to divert the tsar later from his alliance with Prussia, or that he had treacherously in his negotiations with Vienna held out to that court hopes of territorial compensation in Silesia as the price of the abandonment of France; while the charge brought against Bute in 1765 of having taken bribes to conclude the peace, subsequently after investigation pronounced frivolous by parliament, may safely be ignored.
Between Bute and Pitt there speedily arose an occasion of serious difference.
Yet Bute had good principles and intentions, was inspired by feelings of sincere affection and loyalty for his sovereign, and his character remains untarnished by the grosser accusations raised by faction.
He studied at the college of New Jersey (now Princeton University) from 1774 to 1776, when the institution was closed on account of the outbreak of the War of Independence; served for a short time in a New Jersey militia company; studied law at Bute Court-house, North Carolina, in 1 7771 7 80, at the same time managing his tobacco plantation; was a member of a Warren county militia company in 1780-1782, and served in the North Carolina Senate in 1781-1785.
Alexander, fourth steward, the eldest son of Walter, third steward, inherited by his marriage with Jean, granddaughter of Somerled, the islands of Bute and Arran, and on the 2nd of October 1263 led the Scots against Haakon IV., king of Norway, at Largs.