NORTH, Hon. Charles (c.1677-1714), of the Middle Temple, London, and Wroxton, Oxon.
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Family and Education
b. c.1677, 3rd but 2nd surv. s. of Francis North†, 1st Baron Guilford, by Lady Frances (d. 1678), da. of Thomas Pope, 3rd Earl of Downe [I], sis. and coh. of Thomas, 4th Earl. educ. M. Temple 1694, called 1702. unm.1
A younger son, North entered the law, the means by which his father had risen to political prominence under Charles II. By contrast, however, North’s own legal practice and career was of no particular distinction and seems to have provided only modest yields. From a young age, he was able to combine legal practice with a seat in Parliament. In the first election of 1701 he stood for Banbury where his family, seated at nearby Wroxton, had a natural, though not superior, interest. The factional strife which at this time gripped the corporate body resulted in a double return, but a hearing in the elections committee resolved the dispute soon afterwards in North’s favour. Thereafter, he sat for the borough uninterruptedly as a Tory until standing down in 1713. For the most part, his activity seems to have been limited to attending and voting. He was blacklisted in 1701 as opposed to preparation for war with France, and was included on a ‘white list’ of supporters favouring the motion on 26 Feb. 1702 vindicating the Commons’ proceedings in the impeachment of William III’s Whig ministers. On 13 Feb. 1703 he voted against concurring with the Lords in their amendments to the bill for extending the time allowed for taking the abjuration oath. At the end of October 1704 he was forecast as a probable supporter of the Tack, and fulfilled this prediction on 28 Nov. 1704.2
North was classed as ‘True Church’ in an analysis of the 1705 Parliament, presumably reflecting his recent defence of the Church in the Tack question. When on 25 Oct. the House divided on the Speakership he duly voted against the Whig Court candidate. Between November 1705 and January 1706 he supervised the passage of a private estate bill through the Commons. In two extant analyses of the Commons compiled in early 1708 he was categorized as a Tory, opposed the Sacheverell impeachment early in 1710, and in the ‘Hanover list’ of the ensuing Parliament was again noted as a Tory. In the first session he appeared as a ‘worthy patriot’ who detected the mismanagements of the previous administration, and as a Tory ‘patriot’ opposed in 1711 to the continuance of war. Either he or his cousin Dudley North, who had entered the House in 1710, was granted a month’s leave on 26 Mar. 1711, though it was more likely to have been Charles who on 9 May 1712 reported the committee stage of a private bill concerning the Brownlow estates, his brother Lord Guilford’s second wife being the daughter and coheir of Sir John Brownlow, 3rd Bt.* He voted on 18 June 1713 in favour of the French commerce bill. At the 1713 election he stood down, probably on account of the asthmatic condition from which he died at the age of 37 on 9 Dec. 1714. He was buried at All Saints’, Wroxton. He seems to have left only a modest estate, bequeathing his chambers in Essex Court at the Middle Temple to his brother Lord Guilford, £2,000 and a parcel of property in St. James Clerkenwell to his sister Anne, and £100 to the Blue Coat school in Banbury.3