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L I F E
LATE RIGHT HONOURABLE
CHARLES JAMES FOX.
YHARLES JAMES FOX, the third son of
Lord Holland, was born, January 24th, 1749. If by his father's side he derived no consequence from his ancestors, by his mother's his de. scent must be allowed to be illustrious, she being allied to the two rival families of Stuart and Brunswick, which so long contested for the throne of Great Britaini
But it is not to such claims as these that the future historian will have recourse; he will dwell with ardor on the early promise of genius, the precocious talents of the boy, the mature wisdom of aphilosopher and the statesman; and while the abilnies and virtues that adorn the character of a hero bring him forward on the canvass, these inefficient and involuntary pretensions will be cast
into the shade and scarcely be distinguished in the back ground.
This third son proved Lord Holland's favourite child, and at length became the darling of his old age. Perceiving in him the seeds of all the admirable qualities that constitute greatness, he was at infinite pains to give scope to his intellectual vigour, to expand the shoots, and disclose the blossoms of so promising a plant. From his earliest infancy he intended him for parliamentary business, and by conversing always with him as if he had been a man, he actually made him one before the usual time.
This country beheld, in the persons of two rival orators the extraordinary spectacle of statesmen, retiring at different periods from the field of contention, and devoting the remainder of their lives to the education of their two youngest sons whom they were accustomed to consult about public affairs, and sometimes to place on a table in order to hear them declaim. Occupied during the early part of their lives in hostility against each other, the enmity of the families seemed to have become hereditary; for it was kept up by their children, who still maintained a rivals! ip after they had abjured the principles of their respective sires.
Lord Holland made it a rule in the tuition of his children to follow and regulate, but not to restrain nature. At table Charles when a boy, was permitted to enter intothe conversation of men and usually acquitted himself the to astonishment of all present, No doubt the early habit of thinking with freedom and speaking with readiness, contributed to that
prompt exertion of his talents which afterwards formed so considerable a portion of his senatorial excellencies.
His father's indulgence of his favorite sometimes led the youth to petulence. 'Lady Holland one day, made an observation on a subject of Ro. man history, which Charles perceived to be erroneous. He immediately asked with much contempt: What she knew about the Romans-and demonstrated hererror with more knowledge and force of argument than filial reverence. Nor did his father chide him for his forwardness.
Charles, after he had arrived at years of maturity, often boasted that froin his earliestinfancy he never failed to do what he had a mind, it being a principle with his kind papanever to check his children, two instances of which are given in this gentleman before he was six years old. One day standing by his father while he was winding upa watch "I have a great mind to break that waich, papa," said the boy. No, Charles, “ that would be foolish." “ Indeed, papa,' said he, " I must do it.?! “ Nay? answered the father, “if you have such a violent inclination I won't baulk it:' on which he delivered the watch into the hands of the youngster, who instaritly dashed it against the floor.
Another time, while he was secretary at war, having just finished a long dispatch which he was going to sand, Mr. Charles, who stood near him with his hand on the inkstand, said : “ Papa, I have a mind to throw this ink over the paper.”Do, my dear,' said the secretary, if it will give you any pleasure. The young gentleman immediately threw on the ink, and the secretarý sat down very contentedly to write the dispatch over again.
It cannot be doubted that these acts of injudicious indulgence on the part of the parent, laid the foundation of those vices which afterwards stained the character of the son. Accustomed from his earliest infancy to act just as he pleased, without check or control from others, and without any motive for controling himself, he took no trouble, when grown up, to oppose that torrent of pleasure and dissipation by which he was surrounded, but plunged with eagerness into vice and extravagance where ever fancy prompted op fashion allured.
The following anecdote affords a proof not only of the indulgence, but also of the good sense of the father of Mr. Fox.
Having resolved to take down the wall at the bottom of the lawn before Holland-house, and to have iron pallisades put up in its stead, that the passengers on the road might enjoy a better vigw of that fine antique building, it was necessary to make use of gunpowder to facilitate the work., Mr. Fox had promised Master Charles that he should be present when the explosion took place, Finding that the workmen had completed its fall without giving him notice, he ordered the wall to be rebuilt, and when it was thoroughly cemented, had it blown up again. He, at the same time recommended it to those about him never, upon any account, to be guilty of a breach of promise to children, justly observing, that by so doing they instilled into them an indifference with re