Fox–North coalition


The Fox-North coalition was a government in Britain that held office in 1783. As the name implies, the ministry was a coalition of groups that supported Charles James Fox and Lord North. The chief officer was William Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland, who took office on April 2, 1783.

James Gillray caricatured the Fox–North coalition

James Gillray caricatured the Fox–North coalition

Fox was a Whig in the background and North came from the nominal Tory Party, however, both had quarreled with Lord Shelburne’s government. They combined their forces in the House of Commons to expel Shelburne’s ministry and then formed a government of their own.

King George III despised the government and Fox in particular, but discovered that no other ministry could be formed at this stage despite several offers to William Pitt the Younger. As a result, the king refused to provide the government with the normal tools of patronage and was forced to look elsewhere.

The Treaty of Paris was signed during his government on September 3, 1783, formally ending the War of the American Revolution. The government also tensed when, from the opposition, Pitt presented a proposal for electoral reform to combat bribery and corrupt neighborhoods. The proposal did not pass, but it caused tensions within the coalition that contained both supporters and opponents of political reform.

The British East India Company was in trouble and Fox proposed to nationalize it, thus providing the government with a new source of citations so that they could reward and maintain support. The East India Law Project was presented and approved in the House of Commons, but the King remained deeply opposed. He informed the House of Lords that he would consider his partner as any enemy who voted in favor of the bill. The bill was defeated on December 17, 1783 and the King immediately dismissed the coalition. He was succeeded by a government formed by William Pitt the Younger.

After being fired, Fox and North tried to force Pitt out of power through defeat in the House of Commons, but he refused to resign. The response of the opinion in the country, evidenced by the petitions, the resolutions of the municipal corporations and the actions of the London mobs, showed strong opposition to the coalition and support for Pitt. In March of 1784 a general election was called in which the Pitt government made great profits, especially in electoral districts decided by popular vote.

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