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Charles James Fox$
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L. G. Mitchell

Print publication date: 1992

Print ISBN-13: 9780198201045

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198201045.001.0001

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Secession from Parliament, 1794–1801

Secession from Parliament, 1794–1801

(p.136) 7 Secession from Parliament, 1794–1801
Charles James Fox

L. G. Mitchell

Oxford University Press

The years 1794 to 1797 set a new pattern of Foxite politics. They were no longer an opposition but a pressure group. The prospect of office receded: they could hope for a few old friends to rejoin them after experiencing the duplicity of Pitt; they could expect their peace initiatives to win votes in specific debates; above all, their existence offered a constitutional channel for dissidents to voice their opinions. No larger ambitions were realistic. Freed by this realization from the responsibility of potentially being members of a government, Foxites could indulge themselves in highly-coloured language. They had little to lose, except what little reputation they had. As the campaign against the sedition bills of 1795 indicated, they could irritate and alarm, but they could no longer materially affect the course of politics. The reduction of politics to a series of symbolic gestures greatly increased Fox's long-standing disenchantment with the whole business of public life. In 1797, he decided to secede from Parliament altogether.

Keywords:   Charles James Fox, Foxites, 18th-century politics, Parliament

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