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Charles James Fox

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

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. He was the arch-rival of the Tory politician William Pitt the Younger. His father Henry Fox, 1st Baron Holland, a leading Whig of his day, had similarly been the great rival of Pitt's famous father William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham . Fox 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

„Although Fox's private character was deformed by indulgence in vicious pleasures, it was in the eyes of his contemporaries largely redeemed by the sweetness of his disposition, the buoyancy of his spirits, and the unselfishness of his conduct. As a politician he had liberal sentiments, and hated oppression and religious intolerance. He constantly opposed the influence of the crown, and, although he committed many mistakes, and had in George III an opponent of considerable knowledge of kingcraft and immense resources, the struggle between him and the king, as far as the two men were concerned, was after all a drawn game…the coalition of 1783 shows that he failed to appreciate the importance of political principles and was ignorant of political science…Although his speeches are full of common sense, he made serious mistakes on some critical occasions, such as were the struggle of 1783–4, and the dispute about the regency in 1788. The line that he took with reference to the war with France, his idea that the Treason and Sedition bills were destructive of the constitution, and his opinion in 1801 that the House of Commons would soon cease to be of any weight, are instances of his want of political insight. The violence of his language constantly stood in his way; in the earlier period of his career it gave him a character for levity; later on it made his coalition with North appear especially reprehensible, and in his latter years afforded fair cause for the bitterness of his opponents. The circumstances of his private life helped to weaken his position in public estimation. He twice brought his followers to the brink of ruin and utterly broke up the whig party. He constantly shocked the feelings of his countrymen, and ‘failed signally during a long public life in winning the confidence of the nation’ (LECKY, Hist. iii. 465 sq). With the exception of the Libel Bill of 1792, the credit of which must be shared with others, he left comparatively little mark on the history of national progress. Great as his talents were in debate, he was deficient in statesmanship and in some of the qualities most essential to a good party leader.“

—  Charles James Fox

William Hunt, 'Fox, Charles James (1749–1806)', Dictionary of National Biography (1889).
About

„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".
1790s

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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.
1800s

„Religion was best understood when least talked of.“

—  Charles James Fox

Speech in the House of Commons (7 February 1773), quoted in Lord John Russell (ed.), Memorials and Correspondence of Charles James Fox. Volume I (London: Richard Bentley, 1853), p. 71.
1770s

„The worst of revolutions is a restoration.“

—  Charles James Fox

Speech to the House of Commons (December 10, 1785).
1780s

„[Napoleon has now] surpassed…Alexander & Caesar, not to mention the great advantage he has over them in the Cause he fights in.“

—  Charles James Fox

Letter to Denis O'Bryen (16 July 1800), quoted in L. G. Mitchell, Charles James Fox (London: Penguin, 1997), p. 167.
1800s

„[Fox] exhibited two pictures of this country; the one representing her at the end of the last glorious war, the other at the present moment. At the end of the last war this country was raised to a most dazzling height of splendour and respect. The French marine was in a manner annihilated, the Spanish rendered contemptible; the French were driven from America; new sources of commerce were opened, the old enlarged; our influence extended to a predominance in Europe, our empire of the ocean established and acknowledged, and our trade filling the ports and harbours of the wondering and admiring world. Now mark the degradation and the change, We have lost thirteen provinces of America; we have lost several of our Islands, and the rest are in danger; we have lost the empire of the sea; we have lost our respect abroad and our unanimity at home; the nations have forsaken us, they see us distracted and obstinate, and they leave us to our fate. Country! …This was your situation, when you were governed by Whig ministers and by Whig measures, when you were warmed and instigated by a just and a laudable cause, when you were united and impelled by the confidence which you had in your ministers, and when they were again strengthened and emboldened by your ardour and enthusiasm. This is your situation, when you are under the conduct of Tory ministers and a Tory system, when you are disunited, disheartened, and have neither confidence in your ministers nor union among yourselves; when your cause is unjust and your conductors are either impotent or treacherous.“

—  Charles James Fox

Speech in the House of Commons (27 November 1781), reprinted in J. Wright (ed.), The Speeches of the Rt. Hon. C. J. Fox in the House of Commons. Volume I (1815), p. 429.
1780s

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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