Charles James Fox As An Orator -- By: George Shepard

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 034:135 (Jul 1877)
Article: Charles James Fox As An Orator
Author: George Shepard


Charles James Fox As An Orator

George Shepard

The subject of the present Article is Charles James Fox, — an extraordinary character, who lived at an extraordinary time. Could we but do tolerable justice to our subject we should have no fear as to the interest or profitableness of the Article. Charles James Fox has carried the reputation of being, on the whole, the greatest parliamentary orator in English history; and yet we have to state the strange fact that no biography of him has ever been written; and we find ourselves under the necessity of ranging through libraries to gather the authentic facts and material for a performance like this.

Mr. Fox was born on the thirteenth of January, 1749. He was the second son of Henry Fox, afterward Lord Holland, and through his mother (Georgina Carolina Lenox, of the house of Richmond), he inherited the blood, and even the features, of the royal house of Stuart. But Mr. Burke says that in character he bore a much closer resemblance to Henry Fourth of France, another of his royal progenitors.

The fortunes of the Fox family commenced at the Resto-

ration. Sir Stephen Pox, the grandfather of Charles, came into the lucrative place of paymaster of some regiments, gathered a magnificent estate, made splendid charities, and, at the age of seventy-six, married a second wife, became the father of two sons, and, through these, the founder of two noble families; the eldest son, Stephen, being created Earl of Ilchester; Henry, the younger, Lord Holland.

Henry Pox, Lord Holland, was, in many traits, very like his father; in all, very unlike his son Charles. By management and thrift he laid the foundation for his own honors and fortune. He became a member of Parliament, and there displayed very considerable powers of debate, which he often exerted against the overmastering energies of Lord Chatham. It is remarkable that these distinguished men, thus commonly set in opposition, should leave behind two so illustrious sons, to be arrayed against each other nearly the whole of their political life. Lord Chatham left to his family no wealth. He left them the sole inheritance of an unsullied reputation and of a proud and great name. Lord Holland handed down to his family enormous wealth, accompanied with the blasting opprobrium,” public defaulter of uncounted millions.” It was as paymaster of the forces that he acquired this wealth and became subjected to these dishonoring accusations. Charles, the second surviving son, was the favorite of the father, as he early saw in this son the germs of future greatness. He conducted the domestic education of this son upon the preposterous principle of unlimited indulgence. “Let nothing be done,...

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