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THE EARLY HISTORY

OF

CHARLES JAMES FOX.

CHAPTER I.

Stephen Fox.—His Career Abroad and at Home.-His Wealth, and the Use

be made of it.—His Domestic History.—Henry Fox.—His Marriage.His Opposition to the Marriage Act.—His Style of Speaking.-Outbreak of the Seven Years' War.--Fox in the Pay-office, and Pitt Master of the Nation.- Accession of George the Third, and Downfall of Newcastle and Pitt.—Bute's Unpopularity.-Fox undertakes to carry the Peace through Parliament. -- The Methods by which he made good his Promise.—He retires from the House of Commons with the Title of Lord Holland.-His Quarrel with Lord Shelburne and with Rigby.Hatred with which Lord Holland was regarded by the Country.

CHARLES James Fox, our first great statesman of the modern school, was closely connected with scenes which lie far back in English history. His grandfather, if not the most well-graced, was at any rate one of the best-paid, actors on the stage of the seventeenth century. Sir Stephen Fox was born in 1627. “ The founder of our family,” says tlie third Lord Holland,“ seems, notwithstanding some little venial endeavors of his posterity to conceal it, to have been of a very humble stock;" and Sir Stephen's biographer and panegyrist, writing within a year of his death, has very little to tell which can destroy the effect of this frank confession. As a boy,

* It is difficult to overrate the value of the “Memorials and Correspondence of Charles James Fox,” which Lord Holland commenced, and Lord Russell continued, to edit. But for their labor of love, a biography of Fox is said to have been in the choir of Salisbury Cathedral; and (what proved more to the purpose with reference to his future career) he was well and early grounded in the art of book-keeping. At the age of fifteen his “ beauty of person and towardliness of disposition" recommended him to the notice of the Earl of Northumberland, Iligh Admiral of England. Thence he passed into the household of the earl's brother, Lord Percy, and had, no doubt, bis share in the good living for which, even at the height of the Civil War, that nobleman's table was famous.' Fox, who was a cavalier as soon as he was anything, was employed on the staff in an administrative capacity during the campaign which ended at Worcester; and after the battle was over he took an active part in assisting the escape of Prince Charles to Normandy.

The prince passed the next few years at Paris in great distress. In 1652 the French Court relieved his more pressing necessities by an allowance of six thousand francs a montha pension very much smaller, and less regularly paid, than that which, as King of England, he afterwards enjoyed from the same quarter. As time went on, it began to be understood at the Louvre that Cromwell would be better pleased if the royal fugitive could be induced to shift his quarters. Charles was made to perceive that he had outstayed his welcome, and gladly entered into an arrangement by which he was enabled to leave Paris out of debt, and to settle elsewhere with a fair prospect of paying his way if his household could only be managed with the requisite economy. At this juncture Clar

the great Whig would be an ungrateful, if not an impossible, task. The “Memoirs of the Life of Sir S. Fox, Kt., from his First Entrance upon the Stage of Action under the Lord Piercy till his Decease,” were published in the year 1717. With regard to Sir Stephen's extraction, the writer is content to say, “ As it is not material to enter into the genealogy of the family on the side of his father, who was of substance enough to breed up his son in a liberal education, so it is altogether needless to ransack the Heralds' Office for the origin and descent of his mother."

· Clarendon tells us of Lord Percy that “though he did not draw the good fellows to him by drinking, yet he ate well; which, in the general scarcity of that time, drew many votaries to him.”

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