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Charles James Fox

Data de nascimento: 24. Janeiro 1749
Data de falecimento: 13. Setembro 1806

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Charles James Fox , styled The Honourable from 1762, was a prominent British Whig statesman whose parliamentary career spanned 38 years of the late 18th and early 19th centuries and who was the arch-rival of William Pitt the Younger. His father Henry, a leading Whig of his day, had similarly been the great rival of Pitt's famous father. He rose to prominence in the House of Commons as a forceful and eloquent speaker with a notorious and colourful private life, though his opinions were rather conservative and conventional. However, with the coming of the American War of Independence and the influence of the Whig Edmund Burke, Fox's opinions evolved into some of the most radical ever to be aired in the Parliament of his era.

Fox became a prominent and staunch opponent of George III, whom he regarded as an aspiring tyrant; he supported the American Patriots, even dressing in the colours of George Washington's army. Briefly serving as Britain's first Foreign Secretary in the ministry of the Marquess of Rockingham in 1782, he returned to the post in a coalition government with his old enemy Lord North in 1783. However, the King forced Fox and North out of government before the end of the year, replacing them with the twenty-four-year-old Pitt the Younger, and Fox spent the following twenty-two years facing Pitt and the government benches from across the Commons.

Though Fox had little interest in the actual exercise of power and spent almost the entirety of his political career in opposition, he became noted as an anti-slavery campaigner, a supporter of the French Revolution, and a leading parliamentary advocate of religious tolerance and individual liberty. His friendship with his mentor Burke and his parliamentary credibility were both casualties of Fox's support for France during the Revolutionary Wars, but he went on to attack Pitt's wartime legislation and to defend the liberty of religious minorities and political radicals. After Pitt's death in January 1806, Fox served briefly as Foreign Secretary in the 'Ministry of All the Talents' of William Grenville, before he died on 13 September 1806, aged 57.

Citações Charles James Fox

„Our Sovereign's Health, the Majesty of the People.“

—  Charles James Fox
Toast given at the Whig Club (1 May 1798), quoted in John Ehrman, The Younger Pitt. The Consuming Struggle (London: Constable, 1996), p. 116. The King struck off Fox's name from the list of Privy Councillors in response. Fox also gave the toast "may the ancient Nobility of England ever think it their highest honour to support the Rights of the People".

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„How much the greatest event it is that ever happened in the world! and how much the best!“

—  Charles James Fox
Letter to Mr. Fitzpatrick (30 July 1789) on the fall of the Bastille, printed in J. Russell (ed.), Memorials and Correspondence of Charles James Fox. Volume II (London: Richard Bentley, 1853), p. 361.

„Bonaparte's wish is Peace, nay that he is afraid of war to the last degree.“

—  Charles James Fox
Letter to Charles Grey (12 December 1802), quoted in L. G. Mitchell, Charles James Fox (London: Penguin, 1997), p. 201.

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„It is intolerable that it should be in the power of one blockhead to do so much mischief.“

—  Charles James Fox
Fox on George III in a letter to Mr. Fitzpatrick (9 September 1781), quoted in John Brooke, George III (Panther, 1974), pp. 363-364.

„There is not a power in Europe, no not even Bonaparte's that is so unlimited [as the British monarchy].“

—  Charles James Fox
Letter to Lord Holland (9 January 1804), quoted in L. G. Mitchell, Charles James Fox (London: Penguin, 1997), p. 194.

„There is no man who hates the power of the crown more, or who has a worse opinion of the Person to whom it belongs than I.“

—  Charles James Fox
Letter to Edmund Burke (24 January 1779), quoted in L. G. Mitchell, Charles James Fox (London: Penguin, 1997), p. 41.

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„I die happy.“

—  Charles James Fox
Last words. Quoted in Lord John Russell Life and Times of C J Fox, Vol.3 (1860), Ch. 9.

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