Fox, Charles James

   One of the most prominent British statesmen of the era of the American and French Revolutions. Fox led the Whigs in arguing against Britain’s attempt at maintaining the American colonies within the British Empire through force of arms, and later opposed British military intervention on the Continent against revolutionary France. He was an expert on economic and constitutional issues and spoke eloquently in Parliament from 1768 until his death in 1806. He served as foreign secretary under Lord Rockingham’s government in 1782 and later became a close personal friend and political ally of the prince regent, later King George IV.
   A staunch political opponent of William Pitt, Fox opposed the prime minister’s determined prosecution of the war against revolutionary and Napoleonic France that had begun in 1793. Greatly disliked by King George III, who for many years refused to contemplate him holding a prominent government position, Fox did not become a cabinet minister again until 1806, when, on the death of Pitt, he became foreign secretary in Lord Grenville’s government. Only months before his death, Fox sought an abortive peace with France and moved a bill for the abolition of the slave trade.
   See also <>.
    Ayling, Stanley. Fox: The Life of Charles James Fox. London: J. Murray, 1991;
    Mitchell, Leslie. Charles James Fox. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992;
    Powell, David. Charles James Fox: Man of the People. London: Hutchinson, 1989.

Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.

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