Biography of Charles James Fox

Charles James Fox

Charles James Fox was an eighteenth century parliamentarian.

When and Where was he Born?

24th January 1749, London, England.

Family Background:

Charles James Fox was the third Son of Henry Fox, 1st Baron Holland. Descended through his Mother Lady Caroline Lennox from King Charles Second of England and King Henry Fourth of France.

Education:

Eton College. Hertford College, Oxford.

Timeline of Charles James Fox:

1768: Fox was elected to represent the Constituency of Midhurst in the House of Commons aged only nineteen.

1770: The Prime Minister Frederick North gives him the job of Junior Lord of the Admiralty.

1771: He resigned his post.

1772: He was promoted to become Lord of the Treasury in December.

1773: Charles James Fox is named a Commissioner of the Treasury.

1775: He is sacked from his job for criticising the Journalist and artist Henry Woodfall who was very influential with the Government. Now out of Office he began to speak out against the taxation of America without their consent and called for a negotiated settlement when war actually broke out. He was also one of the first to speak out about the Rotten Boroughs and advocated that more parliamentary seats should be given to the emerging towns who now had higher populations than some of the Rotton Borough constituencies.

1782: In March when North’s Government fell he became Britain’s first Foreign Secretary under the Whig Prime Minister Lord Rockingham. This was a short lived post however as in July Rockingham died and Fox refused to serve under his successor Lord Sherburne. Sherburne appointed William Pitt (The Younger) his Chancellor of the Exchequer and Fox and Pitt who had once become friends now became bitter enemies.

1788: Fox was one of the managers for the House of Commons in the Trial of the Indian Colonialist Warren Hastings.

1789: At the outbreak of the French Revolution Fox was initially enthusiastic describing it as “the greatest event that has happened in the history of the world”. He was horrified however when King Louis the Sixteenth was executed as he expected a Liberal Constitutional monarchy.

1793: War breaks out between Britain and France and Fox called for a negotiated settlement and although the Radicals agreed with him many people in the Country thought he was a defeatist and unpatriotic.

1794: Although he attacked the excesses of Tom Paine he fought for traditional freedoms and spoke out when there was an attempt to suspend Habeas Corpus. Fox also spoke out about the slave trade and was a champion of Catholic emancipation.

1795: He marries Elizabeth Armstead.

1806: Lord Grenville became Prime Minister and he appointed Charles James Fox again as Foreign Secretary. William Pitt had now died. He began negotiations with the French but was unable to bring the war to an end. On the 10th June he spoke out passionately in favour of the abolition of Slave Trade Bill in the House of Commons and was then taken ill.

When and Where did he Die?

3rd September 1806, Chiswick, Devon, England.

Age at Death:

57.

Marriage:

1795 to Elizabeth Armstead.

Site of Grave:

Westminster Abbey, London, England near William Pitt his great rival.

Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey, London
(copyright Anthony Blagg)

Places of Interest:

LONDON:

The Houses of Parliament.