North, Frederick North, 8th Baron

North, Frederick North, 8th Baron,

1732–92, British statesman, best known as Lord North. He entered Parliament in 1754 and became a junior lord of the treasury (1759), privy councilor (1766), and chancellor of the exchequer (1767). In 1770, North, who had proved himself an able parliamentarian, was appointed prime minister; the support of George IIIGeorge III,
1738–1820, king of Great Britain and Ireland (1760–1820); son of Frederick Louis, prince of Wales, and grandson of George II, whom he succeeded. He was also elector (and later king) of Hanover, but he never visited it.
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 kept him in that office for 12 years. North was a capable administrator, who introduced financial reforms and began reform of the East India Company with the Regulating Act of 1772. However, he is chiefly remembered for his incompetent colonial policies. His stern response to the Boston Tea Party (see Intolerable ActsIntolerable Acts,
name given by American patriots to five laws (including the Quebec Act) adopted by Parliament in 1774, which limited the political and geographical freedom of the colonists.
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) helped unite the American colonists against England. After the outbreak of the American Revolution, North offered to resign, but since no acceptable replacement could be found, he remained in office until after news of the British surrender at Yorktown. In 1783 he formed a coalition with his former opponent, the Whig Charles James FoxFox, Charles James,
1749–1806, British statesman and orator, for many years the outstanding parliamentary proponent of liberal reform. He entered Parliament in 1768 and served as lord of the admiralty (1770–72) and as lord of the treasury (1772–74) under
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, but George III secured its collapse by the defeat of Fox's East India bill. For the remainder of his career North supported the opposition against William Pitt, but he was forced to retire from active political life when his sight failed. He succeeded his father to the earldom of Guilford two years before his death.

Bibliography

See biography by A. C. Valentine (2 vol., 1967); C. R. Ritcheson, British Politics and the American Revolution (1954); C. D. Smith, The Early Career of Lord North the Prime Minister, 1754–1770 (1979).

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