Lord Hartington soon found himself pushed aside from his position of titular leadership. For four years, from 1876 to 1880, Gladstone maintained the strife with a courage, a persistence and a versatility which raised the enthusiasm of his followers to the highest pitch.
This accounts for his bewildering versatility, and for his apparent want of grasp on conditions of fact.
He was already an elderly man, with a firmly established reputation, when he became a bishop. As an ecclesiastical statesman he showed the same fiery zeal and versatility of which he had given proof in his academical career; but the general tendency of modern writers has been to exaggerate his political and ecclesiastical services, and to neglect his performances as a scientist and scholar.
The character of Frederick is one of extraordinary interest and versatility, and contemporary opinion is expressed in the words stupor mundi et immutator mirabilis.
A writer of far more power and versatility was Johan Henrik Kellgren (q.v.; 1751-1795), the, leader of taste in his time.