In this position he earned a reputation as a politician of thorough straightforwardness and grit, and as one who would maintain British interests independently of party; and he shared with Mr Asquith the reputation of being the ablest of the Imperialists who followed Lord Rosebery.
Lack of social graces and the deficiencies of his early education impeded him at first, but "in the end `Old Jack,' as he was always called, with his desperate earnestness, his unflinching straightforwardness, and his high sense of honour, came to be regarded with something like affection."
His military character was the enlargement of his personal character - "desperate earnestness, unflinching straightforwardness," and absolute, almost fatalist, trust in the guidance of providence.
In short, his learning and knowledge can be trusted little, but his goodwill and straightforwardness a great deal.
But he cannot be reproached with undue bias; he writes with the straightforwardness of a soldier, and is not ashamed on occasion to confess his ignorance.
While shrewdness, plain straightforwardness, and a certain stern way of looking at life are common to both, the Icelandic school adds a complexity of structure and ornament, an elaborate mythological and enigmatical phraseology, and a regularity of rhyme, assonance, luxuriance, quantity and syllabification, which it caught from the Latin and Celtic poets, and adapted with exquisite ingenuity to its own main object, that of securing the greatest possible beauty of sound.
Though Grenville's talents were not of the highest order his straightforwardness and industry, together with his knowledge of politics and the moderation of his opinions, secured for him considerable political influence.
His famous Belfast address (1874), delivered as president of the British Association, made a great stir among those who were then busy with the supposed conflict between science and religion; and in his occasional writings - Fragments of Science, as he called them, "for unscientific people" - he touched on current conceptions of prayer, miracles, &c., with characteristic straightforwardness and vigour.