equal to a good part in any affair

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siares

Senior Member
Slovak
His open Catholicism had debarred him from position, and in all matters he was bested by Clarendon on policy. It rankled, for he was undoubtedly a man of great courage and loyalty, who had been by the kings side as long as any, and shared exile and poverty with him. He was a man of extraordinary qualities, and had as good an education as any man of that age, a graceful and beautiful person, with great eloquence in discourse. He was equal to a good part in any affair, but was the unfittest man alive to conduct it, for, great though his qualities were, his vanity and ambition far exceeded them, and he had a confidence in his capacities which often intoxicated, transported and exposed him. (Iain Pears, An Instance of the Fingerpost)

Hi all,
I am having trouble with the bolded part.
I understand 'to be equal to a task'.
What is 'good part' please? Is it a role in an affair, or is it most of the affair? Neither of these reads well to me.
Thank you.
 
  • handsomechuck

    Senior Member
    American English (NYC region)
    It means he was competent enough to participate in whatever was going on (but wasn't able to lead or be the main person doing something).
     

    siares

    Senior Member
    Slovak
    Thanks handsomechuck, that makes sense if 'conduct' means 'lead', which I'd missed.
     
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