Foxite was a late 18th-century British political label for Whig followers of Charles James Fox.

Leader(s)Charles James Fox
The Viscount Howick
Founded1784 (1784)
Dissolved1806 (1806)
Preceded byPortlandites
Succeeded byGrenvillites
Headquarters46 Clarges Street, London
IdeologyProgressive liberalism[1][2]
Political positionLeft-wing[7][8]

Fox was the generally acknowledged leader of a faction of the Whigs from 1784 until his death in 1806. This group had developed from successive earlier factions; known as the "Old Corps Whigs" (led by the Duke of Newcastle in the 1750s and early 1760s), the "Rockingham Whigs" (who had supported the Marquess of Rockingham from the mid-1760s until his death in 1782) and the "Portland Whigs", who had followed the Duke of Portland, who had succeeded Rockingham as prime minister.

In 1794 the Duke of Portland joined the ministry of William Pitt the Younger. This led to a division amongst the Portland Whigs. Those who remained in opposition became the Foxite Whigs.

By 1794, Fox had been the leading figure of the faction, in the House of Commons, for some years. He first served as the government Leader of the House of Commons in 1782. The term Foxite is sometimes applied to members of the House of Commons before as well as after the end of the titular factional leadership of Portland.

Charles James Fox and his supporters remained in opposition after 1794, until the formation of the Ministry of all the Talents in 1806. This administration was under the Prime Ministership of the leader of another Whig faction (Lord Grenville). Fox was Leader of the House of Commons and Foreign Secretary, during this ministry.

After the death of Fox, his faction was led by Viscount Howick (who in 1807 became Earl Grey, thus being removed to the House of Lords). There was then a crisis of Whig leadership in the lower House, as no obvious chief emerged.

The Foxite and Grenvillite factions combined their forces in the House of Commons in 1808. Grenville and Grey jointly proposed George Ponsonby as leader in the Commons. In effect, this step created the more organised Whig Party of the nineteenth century and was a major stage in the decline of the factional political system more characteristic of the eighteenth century. In effect, the Foxites ceased thereafter to be a distinct group.

Electoral performancesEdit

Election Leader Seats +/– Position Government
Preceded by Portland Whigs
1784 Charles James Fox
155 / 558
  105   2nd Minority
1790 Charles James Fox N/A   2nd Minority
1796 Charles James Fox N/A   2nd Minority
1801 Charles James Fox N/A   2nd Minority
1802 Charles James Fox
269 / 658
N/A   2nd Minority
1806[a] Charles James Fox
431 / 658
  172   1st Majority
Succeeded by Grenvillite Whigs
  • ^ a: Presented inside Fox-Grenville's Whig coalition.


  1. ^ Leach (2002), pp. 32-34.
  2. ^ Hay (2005), pp. 1-2.
  3. ^ Mitchell (1993), pp. 338-364.
  4. ^ Beasley (2016).
  5. ^ Claeys (2007).
  6. ^ Prochaska (2000), pp. 16, 31.
  7. ^ Dinwiddy (1992), p. 13.
  8. ^ Fox & Russell (1853), p. 221.


  • Fox, Charles J.; Russell, John (1853). R. Bentley (ed.). Memorials and correspondence of Charles James Fox. 2. ISBN 978-1143282843.
  • Foord, Archibald S. (1964). Oxford University Press (ed.). His Majesty's Opposition, 1714-1830. ISBN 978-0198213116.
  • Mitchell, Leslie G. (1992). Oxford University Press (ed.). Charles James Fox. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0198201045.
  • Mitchell, Leslie G. (1993). Oxford University Press (ed.). Foxite Politics and the Great Reform Bill. English Historical Review. 108. JSTOR 573710.
  • Hay, William A. (2005). Palgrave Macmillan (ed.). The Whig Revival, 1808-1830. ISBN 978-1403917713.
  • Dinwiddy, J. R. (1992). A&C Black (ed.). Radicalism and Reform in Britain, 1780-1850. ISBN 978-1852850623.
  • Beasley, Edward (2016). Routledge (ed.). The Chartist General: Charles James Napier, The Conquest of Sind, and Imperial Liberalism. ISBN 978-1138699267.
  • Claeys, Gregory (2007). Palgrave (ed.). French Revolution Debate in Britain: The Origins of Modern Politics. ISBN 978-0333626474.
  • Prochaska, Frank (2000). Allen Lane (ed.). The republic of Britain, 1760-2000. ISBN 978-0140292435.
  • Leach, Robert (2002). Macmillan (ed.). Political Ideology in Britain. ISBN 978-1137332547.