Lord Guilford Franeis, an English jurist, son of the fourth Baron North, bom Oct, 22, 1637, died Sept. 5, 1685. He studied at St. John's college, Cambridge, and was called to the bar at the Middle Temple in 1661. Indefatigable in his law studies, he abstained from the ordinary pleasures of youth, and left untried no artifice and scrupled at no humiliation which would advance his interests. Sir Jeffrey Palmer, the first attorney general under the restoration, early assisted him in getting into practice; and he became one of the leaders of the Norfolk circuit, and was soon retained in every important cause. Gaining the favor of the court by pleading against the privileges of parliament in the case of the prosecution of the five members, which had been brought into the house of lords on a writ of error from the court of king's bench, he was in 1671 appointed solicitor general and knighted; and in November, 1673, he succeeded Sir Heneage Finch as attorney general. In January, 1675, he was made chief justice of the court of common pleas, in which office he conducted to a successful issue a dispute with the court of king's bench as to their respective jurisdiction.
In 1679 he was admitted a member of the new council established by the king; and upon the death of the earl of Nottingham in 1082, he was made lord keeper of the great seal. In September, 1083, he was created Baron Guilford, of Guilford, Surrey. Throughout his judicial career he favored the prerogatives of the crown in accordance with the strong tory leanings of his family. At the close of his life he suffered in political influence from the ambition and insolence of Jeffreys, and died broken down in spirit. His character and professional attainments are highly extolled by his brother Roger North; but according to Macaulay, this biographer, though under the influence of the strongest fraternal partiality, "was unable to portray the lord keeper otherwise than as the most ignoble of mankind." The same writer adds: "The intellect of Guilford was clear, his industry great, his proficiency in letters and science respectable, and his legal learning more than respectable. His faults were selfishness, cowardice, and meanness." Yet he had the courage shortly before his death to remonstrate with the king upon the dangers inseparable from his violent and arbitrary measures.
He was the author of some scientific and miscellaneous papers, and of a few political essays. - See "Lives of the Right Hon. Francis North, Baron of Guilford, Sir Dudley North, and the Hon, and Rev. Dr. John North," by Roger North (2 vols. 4to, 1742-'4; new ed., 3 vols. 8vo, 1826).
Frederick, second earl of Guilford and eighth Baron North, generally known as Lord North, an English statesman, great-grandson of the preceding, born April 13, 1733, died Aug. 5, 1792. He was educated at Eton and at Trinity college, Cambridge, and made a lengthened tour on the continent. He entered parliament in 1754 from the family borough of Banbury, which he represented continuously for nearly 30 years, and in 1759 was appointed a commissioner of the treasury in the Pitt ministry. In 1763 he directed the proceedings which led to the expulsion of Wilkes, and in 1704-5 supported the stamp act and the right of the mother country to tax the colonies. Upon the formation of Lord Chatham's second ministry in 1700 he was appointed, jointly with Mr. George Cooke, paymaster of the forces, having refused to accept office under the preceding Rockingham administration. In 1767 he was appointed chancellor of the exchequer, succeeding Charles Townshend as leader in the house of commons, and continuing in that office in the duke of Grafton's ministry. On the resignation of the latter in January, 1770, he became prime minister.
His administration, extending to March, 1782, in the language of an Eng-lish writer, "teemed with calamitous events beyond any of the same duration to be found in our annals;"the American war being its great feature, and the efforts of Lord North being directed principally to measures for the coercion of the revolted colonies. With the popular feeling against him, and a powerful opposition in the house of commons, Lord North nevertheless for upward of six years contended almost single-handed with his adversaries. Although he never wavered in his opinion of the right of parliament to tax the colonies, it appears from the statement of his daughter, Lady Charlotte Lindsay (who died in 1849), that during the last three years of his administration he entertained serious doubts as to the expediency of continuing the war, and was induced to persevere by the wishes of George III. Defeated in the house of commons on the question of the continuance of the war, he resigned office, and after the short-lived Rockingham administration he joined his old antagonist Fox in breaking down the succeeding Shelburne cabinet.
In April, 1783, he returned to office as a joint secretary of state with Fox in the " coalition ministry " formed by the duke of Portland, the unpopularity of which caused its dissolution in the succeeding December. Soon afterward he retired definitively from public life. During his last five years he was afflicted with total blindness, which he endured with unvarying cheerfulness. He succeeded to the title of earl of Guilford in 1790.