Fox, Charles James (17491806)

Fox, Charles James, an eminent Whig statesman, third son of Henry Fox, first Lord Holland, born in London; was educated at Eton and Oxford, and at the age of 19 sat in Parliament for Midhurst; under Lord North he held office, but quarrelled with the premier and went over to the Whigs, then led by Rockingham; here he came under the influence of Burke, and with him offered uncompromising opposition to the American War; in the Rockingham ministry which followed he was Foreign Secretary, and subsequently joined North in the short-lived coalition ministry of 1783; during the next 14 years he was the great opponent of Pitt's Government, and his brilliant powers of debate were never more effectively displayed than in his speeches against Warren Hastings and in the debates arising out of the French Revolution, in which he advocated a policy of non-intervention; his sympathy with the French revolutionaries cost him the friendship of Burke; during a retirement of five years he wrote his “History of James II.”; on Pitt's death in 1806 he again came into office as Foreign Secretary, but died shortly afterwards when about to plead in the House of Commons the cause of slave abolition; Fox stands in the front rank of our parliamentary debaters, and was a man of quick and generous sympathies, but the reckless dissipation of his private life diminished his popular influence, and probably accounts for the fact that he never reached the highest office of State (17491806).

Definition taken from The Nuttall Encyclopædia, edited by the Reverend James Wood (1907)

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