Frederick North, Lord North

Frederick North, Lord North

Overview
Frederick North, 2nd Earl of Guilford, KG
Order of the Garter
The Most Noble Order of the Garter, founded in 1348, is the highest order of chivalry, or knighthood, existing in England. The order is dedicated to the image and arms of St...

, PC (13 April 1732 – 5 August 1792), more often known by his courtesy title, Lord North, which he used from 1752 until 1790, was Prime Minister of Great Britain
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the Head of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister and Cabinet are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Sovereign, to Parliament, to their political party and...

 from 1770 to 1782. He led Great Britain
Kingdom of Great Britain
The former Kingdom of Great Britain, sometimes described as the 'United Kingdom of Great Britain', That the Two Kingdoms of Scotland and England, shall upon the 1st May next ensuing the date hereof, and forever after, be United into One Kingdom by the Name of GREAT BRITAIN. was a sovereign...

 through most of the American War of Independence. He also held a number of other cabinet posts, including Home Secretary
Home Secretary
The Secretary of State for the Home Department, commonly known as the Home Secretary, is the minister in charge of the Home Office of the United Kingdom, and one of the country's four Great Offices of State...

 and Chancellor of the Exchequer
Chancellor of the Exchequer
The Chancellor of the Exchequer is the title held by the British Cabinet minister who is responsible for all economic and financial matters. Often simply called the Chancellor, the office-holder controls HM Treasury and plays a role akin to the posts of Minister of Finance or Secretary of the...

.

Lord North was born in London on 13 April 1732, at the family house at Albemarle Street
Albemarle Street
Albemarle Street is a street in Mayfair in central London, off Piccadilly. It has historic associations with Lord Byron, whose publisher John Murray was based here, and Oscar Wilde, a member of the Albemarle Club, where an insult he received led to his suing for libel and to his eventual imprisonment...

, just off Piccadilly
Piccadilly
Piccadilly is a major street in central London, running from Hyde Park Corner in the west to Piccadilly Circus in the east. It is completely within the city of Westminster. The street is part of the A4 road, London's second most important western artery. St...

, though he spent much of his youth at Wroxton Abbey
Wroxton Abbey
Wroxton Abbey is a Jacobean house in Oxfordshire, with a 1727 garden partly converted to the serpentine style between 1731 and 1751. It is west of Banbury, off the A422, in Wroxton St. Mary. It is now the English campus of Fairleigh Dickinson University....

 in Oxfordshire
Oxfordshire
Oxfordshire is a county in the South East region of England, bordering on Warwickshire and Northamptonshire , Buckinghamshire , Berkshire , Wiltshire and Gloucestershire ....

.
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Encyclopedia
Frederick North, 2nd Earl of Guilford, KG
Order of the Garter
The Most Noble Order of the Garter, founded in 1348, is the highest order of chivalry, or knighthood, existing in England. The order is dedicated to the image and arms of St...

, PC (13 April 1732 – 5 August 1792), more often known by his courtesy title, Lord North, which he used from 1752 until 1790, was Prime Minister of Great Britain
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the Head of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister and Cabinet are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Sovereign, to Parliament, to their political party and...

 from 1770 to 1782. He led Great Britain
Kingdom of Great Britain
The former Kingdom of Great Britain, sometimes described as the 'United Kingdom of Great Britain', That the Two Kingdoms of Scotland and England, shall upon the 1st May next ensuing the date hereof, and forever after, be United into One Kingdom by the Name of GREAT BRITAIN. was a sovereign...

 through most of the American War of Independence. He also held a number of other cabinet posts, including Home Secretary
Home Secretary
The Secretary of State for the Home Department, commonly known as the Home Secretary, is the minister in charge of the Home Office of the United Kingdom, and one of the country's four Great Offices of State...

 and Chancellor of the Exchequer
Chancellor of the Exchequer
The Chancellor of the Exchequer is the title held by the British Cabinet minister who is responsible for all economic and financial matters. Often simply called the Chancellor, the office-holder controls HM Treasury and plays a role akin to the posts of Minister of Finance or Secretary of the...

.

Early life (1732-1754)


Lord North was born in London on 13 April 1732, at the family house at Albemarle Street
Albemarle Street
Albemarle Street is a street in Mayfair in central London, off Piccadilly. It has historic associations with Lord Byron, whose publisher John Murray was based here, and Oscar Wilde, a member of the Albemarle Club, where an insult he received led to his suing for libel and to his eventual imprisonment...

, just off Piccadilly
Piccadilly
Piccadilly is a major street in central London, running from Hyde Park Corner in the west to Piccadilly Circus in the east. It is completely within the city of Westminster. The street is part of the A4 road, London's second most important western artery. St...

, though he spent much of his youth at Wroxton Abbey
Wroxton Abbey
Wroxton Abbey is a Jacobean house in Oxfordshire, with a 1727 garden partly converted to the serpentine style between 1731 and 1751. It is west of Banbury, off the A422, in Wroxton St. Mary. It is now the English campus of Fairleigh Dickinson University....

 in Oxfordshire
Oxfordshire
Oxfordshire is a county in the South East region of England, bordering on Warwickshire and Northamptonshire , Buckinghamshire , Berkshire , Wiltshire and Gloucestershire ....

. Lord North's strong physical resemblance to George III
George III of the United Kingdom
George III was King of Great Britain and King of Ireland from 25 October 1760 until the union of these two countries on 1 January 1801, after which he was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until his death...

, suggested to his contemporaries that Prince Frederick
Frederick, Prince of Wales
Frederick, Prince of Wales was a member of the House of Hanover and therefore of the Hanoverian and later British Royal Family, the eldest son of George II and father of George III, as well as the great-grandfather of Queen Victoria...

 may have been North's real father (and North the King's brother), a theory compatible with the Prince's reputation but with little real evidence. His father, the first Earl, was at the time Lord of the Bedchamber
Lord of the Bedchamber
A Lord of the Bedchamber, previously known as a Gentleman of the Bedchamber was a courtier in the Royal Household of the King of the United Kingdom and the Prince of Wales. A Lord of the Bedchamber's duties consisted of assisting the King with his dressing, waiting on him when he ate in private,...

 to Prince Frederick, who stood as godfather
Godfather
A godfather is a male godparent in the Christian tradition.Godfather may also refer to:*A male arranged to be legal guardian of a child if untimely demise is met by the parentsPeople:* Capo di tutti capi, a Mafia crime boss...

 to the infant.

North was descended from the 1st Earl of Sandwich
Edward Montagu, 1st Earl of Sandwich
Edward Montagu, 1st Earl of Sandwich, KG was an English Infantry officer who later became a naval officer. He was the only surviving son of Sir Sidney Montagu, and was brought up at Hinchingbrooke House....

 and was related to Samuel Pepys
Samuel Pepys
Samuel Pepys FRS, MP, JP, was an English naval administrator and Member of Parliament who is now most famous for the diary he kept for a decade while still a relatively young man...

 and the 3rd Earl of Bute
John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute
John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute KG, PC , styled Lord Mount Stuart before 1723, was a Scottish nobleman who served as Prime Minister of Great Britain under George III, and was arguably the last important favourite in British politics...

. He at times enjoyed a slightly turbulent relationship with his father Francis North, 1st Earl of Guilford
Francis North, 1st Earl of Guilford
Francis North, 1st Earl of Guilford , known as The Lord Guildford between 1729 and 1752, was a British peer and politician.North was the son of Francis North, 2nd Baron Guilford, and his wife Alicia...

, yet they remained very close. In his early years the family was not wealthy, though their situation improved in 1735 when his father inherited property from his cousin. His mother, Lady Lucy Montagu, died in 1734. His father remarried, but his stepmother, Elizabeth North, also died in 1745, when Frederick was thirteen. One of his stepbrothers was Lord Dartmouth
William Legge, 2nd Earl of Dartmouth
William Legge 2nd Earl of Dartmouth PC, FRS , styled as Viscount Lewisham from 1732 to 1750, was a British statesman who is most remembered for his part in the government before and during the American Revolution....

, who remained a close friend for life.

He was educated at Eton College
Eton College
Eton College, often referred to simply as Eton, is a British independent school for boys aged 13 to 18. It was founded in 1440 by King Henry VI as "The King's College of Our Lady of Eton besides Wyndsor"....

 between 1742 and 1748, and at Trinity College, Oxford
Trinity College, Oxford
The College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity in the University of Oxford, of the foundation of Sir Thomas Pope , or Trinity College for short, is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England. It stands on Broad Street, next door to Balliol College and Blackwells bookshop,...

 where in 1750 he was awarded an MA
Master of Arts (Oxbridge)
In the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge and Dublin, Bachelors of Arts of these universities are admitted to the degree of Master of Arts or Master in Arts on application after six or seven years' seniority as members of the university .There is no examination or study required for the degree...

. After leaving Oxford
University of Oxford
The University of Oxford is a university located in Oxford, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest surviving university in the world and the oldest in the English-speaking world. Although its exact date of foundation is unclear, there is evidence of teaching as far back as 1096...

, he travelled in Europe on the Grand Tour
Grand Tour
The Grand Tour was the traditional trip of Europe undertaken by mainly upper-class European young men of means. The custom flourished from about 1660 until the advent of large-scale rail transit in the 1840s, and was associated with a standard itinerary. It served as an educational rite of passage...

 with Dartmouth, visiting Leipzig where he studied at the University of Leipzig
University of Leipzig
The University of Leipzig , located in Leipzig in the Free State of Saxony, Germany, is one of the oldest universities in the world and the second-oldest university in Germany...

. He visited Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

, Milan
Milan
Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

, and Paris, returning to England in 1753.

Early political career (1754-70)


On 15 April 1754, North was elected unopposed as the Member of Parliament for the constituency of Banbury
Banbury (UK Parliament constituency)
Banbury is a constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It is a strongly Conservative seat.The constituency was created January 26, 1554 through the efforts of Henry Stafford and Thomas Denton...

, at the age of twenty two.
He served as an MP from 1754 to 1790 and first joined the government as a junior Lord of the Treasury
Lord of the Treasury
In the United Kingdom, there are at least six Lords of the Treasury who serve concurrently. Traditionally, this board consists of the First Lord of the Treasury, the Second Lord of the Treasury, and four or more junior lords .Strictly they are commissioners for exercising the office of Lord...

 on 2 June 1759 during the Newcastle
Thomas Pelham-Holles, 1st Duke of Newcastle-upon-Tyne
Thomas Pelham-Holles, 1st Duke of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and 1st Duke of Newcastle-under-Lyne, KG, PC was a British Whig statesman, whose official life extended throughout the Whig supremacy of the 18th century. He is commonly known as the Duke of Newcastle.A protégé of Sir Robert Walpole, he served...

-Pitt
William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham
William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham PC was a British Whig statesman who led Britain during the Seven Years' War...

 coalition
Second Newcastle Ministry
The Second Newcastle Ministry was a British government which served between 1757 and 1762, at the height of the Seven Years War. It was headed by the Duke of Newcastle, who was serving in his second term as Prime Minister...

. He soon developed a reputation as a good administrator, parliamentarian and was generally liked by his colleagues. Although he initially considered himself a Whig, it became obvious to many contemparies that his sympathies were largely Tory
Tory
Toryism is a traditionalist and conservative political philosophy which grew out of the Cavalier faction in the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. It is a prominent ideology in the politics of the United Kingdom, but also features in parts of The Commonwealth, particularly in Canada...

 and he did not closely align with any of the Whig Factions in Parliament.

In November 1763 he was chosen to speak for the Government concerning the issue of John Wilkes
John Wilkes
John Wilkes was an English radical, journalist and politician.He was first elected Member of Parliament in 1757. In the Middlesex election dispute, he fought for the right of voters—rather than the House of Commons—to determine their representatives...

, a member of parliament who many felt had made a libellous attack of both the Prime Minister and the King in an edition of his radical newspaper The North Briton
The North Briton
The North Briton was a radical newspaper published in 18th century London. The North Briton also served as the pseudonym of the newspaper's author, used in advertisements, letters to other publications, and handbills....

. North's motion that Wilkes be expelled from the House of Commons passed by 273 votes to 111. Wilke's expulsion took place in his absence, as he had already fled to France following a duel
Duel
A duel is an arranged engagement in combat between two individuals, with matched weapons in accordance with agreed-upon rules.Duels in this form were chiefly practised in Early Modern Europe, with precedents in the medieval code of chivalry, and continued into the modern period especially among...

.

When a government headed by the Whig magnate Lord Rockingham
Charles Watson-Wentworth, 2nd Marquess of Rockingham
Charles Watson-Wentworth, 2nd Marquess of Rockingham, KG, PC , styled The Hon. Charles Watson-Wentworth before 1733, Viscount Higham between 1733 and 1746, Earl of Malton between 1746 and 1750 and The Earl Malton in 1750, was a British Whig statesman, most notable for his two terms as Prime...

 came to power in 1765, North left his post and served for a time as a backbench MP. He turned down an offer by Rockingham to rejoin the government, largely out of fear with being associated with the wealthy Whig grandees that dominated the Ministry.

He came back once more when Pitt returned to head a second government in 1766. North was appointed Joint Paymaster of the Forces
Paymaster of the Forces
The Paymaster of the Forces was a position in the British government. The office, which was established 1661 after the Restoration, was responsible for part of the financing of the British Army. The first to hold the office was Sir Stephen Fox. Before his time it had been the custom to appoint...

 in Pitt's ministry and became a Privy Counsellor
Privy Council of the United Kingdom
Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, usually known simply as the Privy Council, is a formal body of advisers to the Sovereign in the United Kingdom...

. As Pitt was constantly ill, the government was effectively run by the Duke of Grafton
Duke of Grafton
Duke of Grafton is a title in the Peerage of England. It was created in 1675 by Charles II of England for his 2nd illegitimate son by the Duchess of Cleveland, Henry FitzRoy...

, with North as one of its most senior members.

Chancellor of the Exchequer


In December 1767, he succeeded Charles Townshend
Charles Townshend
Charles Townshend was a British politician. He was born at his family's seat of Raynham Hall in Norfolk, England, the second son of Charles Townshend, 3rd Viscount Townshend, and Audrey , daughter and heiress of Edward Harrison of Ball's Park, near Hertford, a lady who rivalled her son in...

 as Chancellor of the Exchequer
Chancellor of the Exchequer
The Chancellor of the Exchequer is the title held by the British Cabinet minister who is responsible for all economic and financial matters. Often simply called the Chancellor, the office-holder controls HM Treasury and plays a role akin to the posts of Minister of Finance or Secretary of the...

. With the resignation of the secretary of state Henry Seymour Conway
Henry Seymour Conway
Field Marshal Henry Seymour Conway was a British general and statesman. A brother of the 1st Marquess of Hertford, and cousin of Horace Walpole, he began his military career in the War of the Austrian Succession and eventually rose to the rank of Field Marshal .-Family and education:Conway was...

 in early 1768, North became Leader of the Commons
Leader of the House of Commons
The Leader of the House of Commons is a member of the Cabinet of the United Kingdom who is responsible for arranging government business in the House of Commons...

 as well, and continued to serve under Chatham's successor, the Duke of Grafton
Augustus FitzRoy, 3rd Duke of Grafton
Augustus Henry FitzRoy, 3rd Duke of Grafton, KG, PC , styled Earl of Euston between 1747 and 1757, was a British Whig statesman of the Georgian era...

.

Prime Minister (1770-82)




Appointment


When the Duke of Grafton resigned as Prime Minister
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the Head of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister and Cabinet are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Sovereign, to Parliament, to their political party and...

, North formed a government on 28 January 1770. His ministers and supporters tended to be known as Tories, though they were not a formal grouping and many had previously been Whigs. He took over with Britain in a triumphant state, following the Seven Years War, which had seen the First British Empire expanded to a peak taking in vast new territories on several continents. Circumstances forced him to keep many members of the previous cabinet in their jobs, despite their lack of agreement with him. In contrast to many of his predecessors, North enjoyed a good relationship with George III, partly based on their shared patriotism
Patriotism
Patriotism is a devotion to one's country, excluding differences caused by the dependencies of the term's meaning upon context, geography and philosophy...

 and desire for decency in their private lives.

Falklands Crisis



His Ministry had an early success during the Falklands Crisis
Falklands Crisis (1770)
The Falklands Crisis of 1770 was a diplomatic standoff between Britain and Spain over possession of the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic Ocean. These events were nearly the cause of a war between France, Spain and Britain — the countries poised to dispatch armed fleets to contest the barren...

 in 1770 in which they faced down a Spanish attempt to seize the Falkland islands
Falkland Islands
The Falkland Islands are an archipelago in the South Atlantic Ocean, located about from the coast of mainland South America. The archipelago consists of East Falkland, West Falkland and 776 lesser islands. The capital, Stanley, is on East Falkland...

, nearly provoking a war. Both France and Spain had been left unhappy by Britain's perceived dominance following the British victory in the Seven Years War
Great Britain in the Seven Years War
The Kingdom of Great Britain was one of the major participants in the Seven Years' War which lasted between 1756 and 1763. Britain emerged from the war as the world's leading colonial power having gained a number of new territories at the Treaty of Paris in 1763 and established itself as the...

. Spanish forces seized the British settlement on the Falklands and expelled the small British garrison. This was intended as the first stage in a plan which would then see a Franco-Spanish force invade Britain. However, Louis XV did not believe his country was ready for war and in the face of a strong mobilisation of the British fleet the French compelled the Spanish to back down. Louis also dismissed Choiseul
Étienne François, duc de Choiseul
Étienne-François, comte de Stainville, duc de Choiseul was a French military officer, diplomat and statesman. Between 1758 and 1761, and 1766 and 1770, he was Foreign Minister of France and had a strong influence on France's global strategy throughout the period...

, the hawkish French Chief Minister, who had advocated war and a large French Invasion of Britain.

The government's prestige and popularity were enormously boosted by the incident. They had successfully managed to drive a wedge between France and Spain, and demonstrated the power of the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 - although it was suggested by critics that this gave Lord North a level of complacency and an incorrect belief that the European powers would not interfere in British colonial affairs. This was contrasted with the previous administration's failure to prevent France from annexing
French conquest of Corsica
The French Conquest of Corsica took place during 1768 and 1769 when the Corsican Republic was occupied by French forces under the command of the Comte de Vaux....

 the Republic of Corsica, a British ally, during the Corsican Crisis
Corsican Crisis
The Corsican Crisis was an event in British politics during 1768–69. It was precipitated by the invasion of the island of Corsica by France. The British government under the Duke of Grafton failed to intervene, for which it was widely criticised and was one of many factors that contributed to its...

 two years earlier. Using his newfound popularity, North took the chance to appoint Lord Sandwich
John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich
John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, PC, FRS was a British statesman who succeeded his grandfather, Edward Montagu, 3rd Earl of Sandwich, as the Earl of Sandwich in 1729, at the age of ten...

 to the cabinet as First Lord of the Admiralty.

American War of Independence



Most of his government was focused first on the growing problems with the American colonies and later on conducting the American War of Independence which broke out in 1775, following the Battle of Lexington. The battles of Lexington and Concord were the result of many taxes which Lord North was in favour of; including many of the well known Acts. North deferred overall strategy of the war to his key subordinates Lord George Germain and the Earl of Sandwich. Despite a series of victories and the capture of New York and Philadelphia the British were unable to secure a decisive victory. Lord North proposed a number of legislative measures which were supposed to punish the Bostonians for the Boston Tea Party. These measures were known as the Coercive Acts in Britain, while dubbed the Intolerable Acts
Intolerable Acts
The Intolerable Acts or the Coercive Acts are names used to describe a series of laws passed by the British Parliament in 1774 relating to Britain's colonies in North America...

 in the colonies. By shutting down the inefficient Boston government and cutting off trade, he hoped it would keep the peace and shutdown the rebellion. But in 1778 the French allied themselves with the American rebels, and in 1779 Spain joined the war as an ally of France. Next the Mysore
Kingdom of Mysore
The Kingdom of Mysore was a kingdom of southern India, traditionally believed to have been founded in 1399 in the vicinity of the modern city of Mysore. The kingdom, which was ruled by the Wodeyar family, initially served as a vassal state of the Vijayanagara Empire...

 and the Dutch Republic
Dutch Republic
The Dutch Republic — officially known as the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands , the Republic of the United Netherlands, or the Republic of the Seven United Provinces — was a republic in Europe existing from 1581 to 1795, preceding the Batavian Republic and ultimately...

 joined in 1780. The British found themselves fighting a global war on four continents, without a single ally. After 1778 the British switched the focus of their efforts to the defence of the West Indies, as their sugar wealth made them much more valuable to Britain than the Thirteen Colonies
Thirteen Colonies
The Thirteen Colonies were English and later British colonies established on the Atlantic coast of North America between 1607 and 1733. They declared their independence in the American Revolution and formed the United States of America...

. In 1779 Britain was faced with the prospect of a major Franco-Spanish invasion, but the Armada of 1779
Armada of 1779
The Armada of 1779 was an exceptionally large joint French and Spanish fleet intended, with the aid of a feint by the American Continental Navy, to facilitate an invasion of Britain, as part of the wider American War of Independence, and in application of the Franco-American alliance...

 was ultimately a failure. Several peace initiatives fell through, and an attempt by Richard Cumberland
Richard Cumberland (dramatist)
Richard Cumberland was a British dramatist and civil servant. In 1771 his hit play The West Indian was first staged. During the American War of Independence he acted as a secret negotiator with Spain in an effort to secure a peace agreement between the two nations. He also edited a short-lived...

 to negotiate a separate peace with Spain ended in frustration.

The country's problems were added to by the First League of Armed Neutrality
First League of Armed Neutrality
The first League of Armed Neutrality was an alliance of European naval powers between 1780 and 1783 which was intended to protect neutral shipping against the British Royal Navy's wartime policy of unlimited search of neutral shipping for French contraband...

, which was formed to counter the British blockade
Blockade
A blockade is an effort to cut off food, supplies, war material or communications from a particular area by force, either in part or totally. A blockade should not be confused with an embargo or sanctions, which are legal barriers to trade, and is distinct from a siege in that a blockade is usually...

 strategy, and threatened British naval supplies from the Baltic
Baltic Sea
The Baltic Sea is a brackish mediterranean sea located in Northern Europe, from 53°N to 66°N latitude and from 20°E to 26°E longitude. It is bounded by the Scandinavian Peninsula, the mainland of Europe, and the Danish islands. It drains into the Kattegat by way of the Øresund, the Great Belt and...

. With severe manpower shortages, North's government passed an act abandoning previous statutes placing restrictions on Catholics serving in the military. This provoked an upsurge of anti-Catholic feelings and the formation of the Protestant Association leading to the Gordon Riots
Gordon Riots
The Gordon Riots of 1780 were an anti-Catholic protest against the Papists Act 1778.The Popery Act 1698 had imposed a number of penalties and disabilities on Roman Catholics in England; the 1778 act eliminated some of these. An initial peaceful protest led on to widespread rioting and looting and...

 in London in June 1780. For around a week the city was in the control of the mob, until the military was called out and martial law
Martial law
Martial law is the imposition of military rule by military authorities over designated regions on an emergency basis— only temporary—when the civilian government or civilian authorities fail to function effectively , when there are extensive riots and protests, or when the disobedience of the law...

 imposed. In spite of these problems the war in America had begun to recover for Britain, following the failure of a Franco-American attack on Newport
Battle of Rhode Island
The Battle of Rhode Island, also known as the Battle of Quaker Hill and the Siege of Newport, took place on August 29, 1778. Continental Army and militia forces under the command of General John Sullivan were withdrawing to the northern part of Aquidneck Island after abandoning their siege of...

 and the prosecution of a Southern Strategy which saw Britain capture Charleston
Siege of Charleston
The Siege of Charleston was one of the major battles which took place towards the end of the American Revolutionary War, after the British began to shift their strategic focus towards the American Southern Colonies. After about six weeks of siege, Continental Army Major General Benjamin Lincoln...

 and its garrison. During 1780 and 1781 the North government gained strength in the House of Commons.

Resignation


North holds the rather dubious distinction of being the first British Prime Minister to be forced out of office by a motion of no confidence
Motion of no confidence
A motion of no confidence is a parliamentary motion whose passing would demonstrate to the head of state that the elected parliament no longer has confidence in the appointed government.-Overview:Typically, when a parliament passes a vote of no...

, resigning on 20 March 1782 on account of the British defeat at Yorktown
Siege of Yorktown
The Siege of Yorktown, Battle of Yorktown, or Surrender of Yorktown in 1781 was a decisive victory by a combined assault of American forces led by General George Washington and French forces led by the Comte de Rochambeau over a British Army commanded by Lieutenant General Lord Cornwallis...

 the year before. In an attempt to end the war, he proposed the Conciliation Plan, in which he promised that Britain would eliminate all disagreeable acts if the colonies ended the war. The colonies rejected the plan, as their motivation had become full independence. North resigned unexpectedly announcing the news to the house at the beginning of a debate in which the opposition had planned to launch further attacks on him. After the announcement parliament adjourned. Most of the opposition, expecting a long debate, had sent their carriages away, and were forced to stand in the rain while North had his waiting. North turned to them and remarked "Good night, gentleman. You see what it is to be in on the secret."

In April 1782 it was suggested in cabinet by Lord Shelburne that North should be brought to public trial for his conduct of the American War, but the prospect was soon abandoned. Ironically, in 1782 the war began to turn in Britain's favour again, through naval victories, owing largely to policies adopted by Lord North and the Earl of Sandwich. The British naval victory at the Battle of the Saintes
Battle of the Saintes
The Battle of the Saintes took place over 4 days, 9 April 1782 – 12 April 1782, during the American War of Independence, and was a victory of a British fleet under Admiral Sir George Rodney over a French fleet under the Comte de Grasse forcing the French and Spanish to abandon a planned...

 took place shortly after the government's fall, and had it still been in office, would have received a boost from it that would have allowed the government to gain strength. Similarly, despite predictions that Gibraltar
Gibraltar
Gibraltar is a British overseas territory located on the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula at the entrance of the Mediterranean. A peninsula with an area of , it has a northern border with Andalusia, Spain. The Rock of Gibraltar is the major landmark of the region...

's fall was imminent, it managed to hold out and was relieved
Great Siege of Gibraltar
The Great Siege of Gibraltar was an unsuccessful attempt by Spain and France to capture Gibraltar from the British during the American War of Independence. This was the largest action fought during the war in terms of numbers, particularly the Grand Assault of 18 September 1782...

. Britain was able to make a much more favourable peace in 1783 than had appeared likely at the time when North had been ousted. In spite of this North was critical of the terms agreed by the Shelburne government which he felt undervalued the strength of the British negotiating position.

Fox-North Coalition (1783)



In April 1783, North returned to power as Home Secretary in an unlikely coalition with the radical Whig leader Charles James Fox
Charles James Fox
Charles James Fox PC , styled The Honourable from 1762, was a prominent British Whig statesman whose parliamentary career spanned thirty-eight years of the late 18th and early 19th centuries and who was particularly noted for being the arch-rival of William Pitt the Younger...

 known as the Fox-North Coalition
Fox-North Coalition
The Fox-North Coalition was a government in Great Britain that held office during 1783. As the name suggests, the ministry was a coalition of the groups supporting Charles James Fox and Lord North...

 under the nominal leadership of the Duke of Portland
William Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland
William Henry Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland, KG, PC was a British Whig and Tory statesman, Chancellor of the University of Oxford and Prime Minister. He was known before 1762 by the courtesy title Marquess of Titchfield. He held a title of every degree of British nobility—Duke,...

. King George III
George III of the United Kingdom
George III was King of Great Britain and King of Ireland from 25 October 1760 until the union of these two countries on 1 January 1801, after which he was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until his death...

, who detested the radical and republican Fox, never forgave this supposed betrayal, and North never again served in government after the ministry fell in December 1783. One of the major achievements of the coalition was the signing of the Treaty of Paris
Treaty of Paris (1783)
The Treaty of Paris, signed on September 3, 1783, ended the American Revolutionary War between Great Britain on the one hand and the United States of America and its allies on the other. The other combatant nations, France, Spain and the Dutch Republic had separate agreements; for details of...

 which formally ended the American War of Independence.

The new Prime Minister, William Pitt the Younger
William Pitt the Younger
William Pitt the Younger was a British politician of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. He became the youngest Prime Minister in 1783 at the age of 24 . He left office in 1801, but was Prime Minister again from 1804 until his death in 1806...

, was not expected to last long and North, a vocal critic, still entertained hopes of regaining high office. In this, he was to be frustrated, as Pitt dominated the British political scene for the next twenty years, leaving both North and Fox in the political wilderness.

Later life (1783-92)


He left his seat in Parliament when he went blind in 1790, shortly before succeeding his father as Earl of Guilford, spending his final years in the House of Lords
House of Lords
The House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster....

. He died in London and was buried at All Saints
All Saints
All Saints' Day , often shortened to All Saints, is a solemnity celebrated on 1 November by parts of Western Christianity, and on the first Sunday after Pentecost in Eastern Christianity, in honour of all the saints, known and unknown...

' Church, Wroxton
Wroxton
Wroxton is a village and civil parish in the north of Oxfordshire about west of Banbury.-History:Wroxton is recorded as having a church in 1217, but the present Church of England parish church of All Saints is early 14th century. A Perpendicular Gothic clerestory and porch were added early in the...

 (Oxfordshire) near his family home of Wroxton Abbey
Wroxton Abbey
Wroxton Abbey is a Jacobean house in Oxfordshire, with a 1727 garden partly converted to the serpentine style between 1731 and 1751. It is west of Banbury, off the A422, in Wroxton St. Mary. It is now the English campus of Fairleigh Dickinson University....

. His son George North, Lord North
George North, 3rd Earl of Guilford
George Augustus North, 3rd Earl of Guilford , known as the Honourable George North until 1790 and as Lord North from 1790 to 1792, was a British politician....

, took over the constituency of Banbury, and in 1792 acceded to his father's title. Ironically, Wroxton Abbey is now owned by Fairleigh Dickinson University, an American college. The modernised abbey currently serves as a location for American students to study abroad.

Legacy


Lord North is today predominantly remembered as the Prime Minister "who lost America".

Guilford County, North Carolina
Guilford County, North Carolina
Guilford County is a county located in the U.S. state of North Carolina. In 2010, the Census Bureau estimated the county's population to be 491,230. Its seat is Greensboro. Since 1938, an additional county court has been located in High Point, North Carolina, making Guilford one of only a handful...

 is named after the father of Lord North. It was established in 1771, and today contains the cities of Greensboro and High Point, being the third most populous county in North Carolina. A preserved 18th century door on display in Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle is a fortress which dominates the skyline of the city of Edinburgh, Scotland, from its position atop the volcanic Castle Rock. Human habitation of the site is dated back as far as the 9th century BC, although the nature of early settlement is unclear...

 shows a hangman's scaffold
Hanging
Hanging is the lethal suspension of a person by a ligature. The Oxford English Dictionary states that hanging in this sense is "specifically to put to death by suspension by the neck", though it formerly also referred to crucifixion and death by impalement in which the body would remain...

 labelled "Lord Nord" carved by a prisoner captured during the American War of Independence. (Vivalynne Vorall)

Marriage and family


Lord North married Anne Speke (before 1741-1797) on 20 May 1756. They had six children:
  • George Augustus North, 3rd Earl of Guilford (11 September 1757-20 April 1802), who married, firstly, Maria Frances Mary Hobart-Hampden (died 23 April 1794), daughter of the 3rd Earl of Buckinghamshire
    Earl of Buckinghamshire
    Earl of Buckinghamshire is a title in the Peerage of Great Britain. It was created in 1746 for John Hobart, 1st Baron Hobart. The Hobart family descends from Henry Hobart, who served as Attorney General and Lord Chief Justice of the Common Pleas. In 1611 he was created a Baronet, of Intwood in the...

    , on 30 September 1785 and had issue. He married, secondly, Susan Coutts (died 24 September 1837), on 28 February 1796.
  • Catherine Anne North (1760–1817)
  • Francis North, 4th Earl of Guilford
    Francis North, 4th Earl of Guilford
    Francis North, 4th Earl of Guilford was a British peer and Member of Parliament, styled Hon. Francis North until 1802....

     (1761–1817)
  • Lady Charlotte North (died 25 October 1849), who married Lt. Col. The Hon. John Lindsay (15 March 1762-6 March 1826), son of the 5th Earl of Balcarres
    Earl of Balcarres
    The title Earl of Balcarres was created in the Peerage of Scotland in 1651 for Alexander Lindsay, 2nd Lord Balcarres. The title has descended since in the Lindsay family....

    , on 2 April 1800.
  • Frederick North, 5th Earl of Guilford
    Frederick North, 5th Earl of Guilford
    Frederick North, 5th Earl of Guilford , known as the Honourable Frederick North until 1817, was a British politician and colonial administrator....

     (1766–1827)
  • Lady Anne North (before 1783-18 January 1832), who married the 1st Earl of Sheffield
    John Baker-Holroyd, 1st Earl of Sheffield
    John Baker-Holroyd, 1st Earl of Sheffield was an English politician who came from a Yorkshire family, a branch of which had settled in the Kingdom of Ireland.- Biography :...

     on 20 January 1798 and had two children

Titles from birth to death

  • The Hon. Frederick North (1732–1752)
  • Lord North (1752–1754)
  • Lord North, MP (1754–1766)
  • The Rt. Hon. Lord North, MP (1766–1772)
  • The Rt. Hon. Lord North, KG, MP (1772–1790)
  • The Rt. Hon. Lord North, KG (1790)
  • The Rt. Hon. The Earl of Guilford, KG, PC (1790–1792)

Quotes


"Oh God! It's all over" – upon hearing news of the surrender at Yorktown
Siege of Yorktown
The Siege of Yorktown, Battle of Yorktown, or Surrender of Yorktown in 1781 was a decisive victory by a combined assault of American forces led by General George Washington and French forces led by the Comte de Rochambeau over a British Army commanded by Lieutenant General Lord Cornwallis...

.

External links