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Fox Charles James

Fox, Charles James (1749-1806), one of the most eminent statesmen and politicians of the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th centuries. His father, Lord Holland, while indulging him in all his whims, took care of his education, and sent him to Eton, where the boy became a good classic, and wrote good Latin and Greek. From Eton the youth went to Oxford, and before he was of age he sat in Parliament for Midhurst, and in 1770 was a lord of the Admiralty, and a commissioner of the Treasury in 1772. In the early part of his career he voted chiefly according to his father's wishes, but later he became independent, and a disagreement with Lord North sent him into opposition. When the American War of Independence broke out, he joined with Burke in opposing and speaking against it. In 1780 he was elected to represent the city of Westminster, and he became Secretary of State in Lord Rockingham's Government. When Lord Rockingham died Pitt left the Government, and Fox formed, with Lord North, the coalition which led to his temporary unpopularity. When Pitt was in power, Fox headed a strong opposition, and fought hard over the Regency Bill, but Pitt won the day.

In 1790 Fox regained the popularity he had lost, by opposing the idea of war with Spain and Russia, and by supporting the rights of juries in his Libel Bill. The breaking out of the French Revolution brought about an estrangement with Burke, who publicly renounced Fox's friendship. Fox opposed the war party, and supported Mr. Addington in concluding the Peace of Amiens in 1801, but acquiesced in the war on becoming Lord Grenville's Foreign Secretary. His death followed closely upon that of Pitt. Though hardly the equal of Pitt, Burke, and others in eloquence, Fox was an able speaker and debater, and had a manly, telling style of delivery. The charm of his personal character made him a general favourite.