An ‘Arch-Mediocrity who presided rather than ruled’ over a ‘Cabinet of Mediocrities’ – Benjamin Disraeli’s sneering dismissal of Lord Liverpool, prime minister during the turbulent years from 1812 to 1827, was scathing. Historical judgement, however, has moved on markedly since Disraeli’s flippant, self-serving denigration. Certainly, the self-effacing Liverpool was reticent in manner and sensitive to slights. Diffidence cloaked his determination. He lacked charisma or the natural authority of a forceful personality. Yet his integrity, unquestioned patriotism, oratorical skill, command of detail, administrative efficiency and pursuit of conciliation enabled him to play a leading role in late-Georgian high politics.
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