North started his political career in Parliament in 1754. He argued the "North Briton" case against John Wilkes in the House of Commons in 1763 and became chancellor of the Exchequer in 1767. He was prime minister in a Tory government made up of friends of "crazy" King George III.
North was a dominant figure in British politics for three decades, at a critical time when the British politcal scene and social order were undergoing revolutionary changes and armed revolution was abroad in the colonies. North failed to recognize the gravity of the situation and allowed the country to drift into one disaster after another.
He supported George III's American policies and took a hard line with the colonies. He was forced out of office, resigning in 1782, upon the utter and total failure of his policies. He returned to office in a coalition government formed with Charles James Fox, not as prime minister however. After that government was defeated in 1783 he retired from politics.
Detail of painting in the Bodleian Library, Oxford.
1770 - The "Boston Massacre" takes place. British Parliament repeals duties on paper, glass and dyes, retains tea duty. William Wordsworth, Ludwig van Beethoven and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, the German philosopher; are is born. The industrial revolution begins to be exported to the world from England. Exports include steam power, textile machinery, and the concepts of free trade and civil liberties. James Bruce discovers the source of the Blue Nile. James Cook discovers Botany Bay in Australia.
1771 - First spinning mill in England set up by Sir Richard Arkwright. Luigi Galvani discovers nerve impulses are electrical in nature.
1772 - Boston Assembly threatens succession, demands colonial rights. Samuel Adams forms Committee of Correspondence to take action against Britain. James Bruce traces Blue Nile to point where it is joined by the White Nile
1773 - The Boston Tea Party. Philadelphia Museum is founded. The waltz is all the rage in Vienna. First cast iron bridge is built in Coalbrookdale, Shropshire.
1774 - House of Commons refuses to remove Thomas Hutchinson as governor-general of Massachusetts, as requested by petition. The port of Boston is closed by British. Virginia House of Burgess calls for Continental Congress in Philadelphia. All colonies are represented except Georgia. They decide to boycott British imports. Edmund Burke publishes "On American Taxation." The rules of cricket are recorded. F. A. Mesmer uses hypnosis for the first time in health treatment.
1775 - Peasants in Bohemia revolt. The American Revolution begins. Paul Revere rides, the British> are defeated at Lexington, Americans take Fort Ticonderoga, N.Y. and Crown Point and George Washington is named commander-in-chief of American forces. The British win Battle of Bunker Hill. England hires 29,000 mercenaries to fight the war in the colonies. In England, the first Thames Regatta is held. Captain Cook returns from second voyage.
1776 - American forces are driven out of Canada. The Declaration of Independence is signed by 13 American colonies. U.S. Congress implements a national lottery to raise money for the war effort. Fort Lee surrenders to the British. Washington retreats to Pennsylvania, defeats Hessians at Trenton.
1777 - Americans defeat British at Princeton, N.J. and Bennington, Vermont. Americans defeated in Pennsylvania at Battle of Brandywine and Germantown. British General Burgoyne is defeated in two battles in New York at Bemis Heights and Saratoga. Stars and Stripes adopted as flag of the Continental Congress. David Bushnell (American) invents the torpedo. Lavoisier proves air is mainly oxygen and nitrogen.
1778 - American colonies sign treaty with France and Holland. British offer for peace is rejected. Washington wins against British at Monmouth, N.J. French fleet arrives off the coast at Delaware. Savannah, Georgia is captured by the British. William Pitt, the Elder dies. James Cook discovers Hawaii. The importation of slaves into the U.S. is prohibited by an Act of Congress. Joseph Bramah of Yorkshire, builds a better water closet. The first WC was designed by Sir John Harington and installed at the Queen's Palace in 1596.
1779 - British surrender to Americans at Vincennes. Spain declares war on Britain. British at war in India against the Mahrattas. U. S. Congress sends troops into Wyoming Valley against Indians who were massacred in 1778. The Derby was first run at Epsom racetrack in Surrey. Established by the 12th Earl of Derby. James Cook is murdered. Spallanzani proves fertilization requires semen.
1780 - Charleston, SC taken by British. French troops arrive at Newport, RI. Americans defeated at Camden, NJ. British defeated in North Carolina. Benedict Arnold's plot to surrender West Point is uncovered. Pitt the Younger enters Parliament. The circular saw is invented and the first fountain pens are manufactured. American Academy of Sciences is founded in Boston.
1781 - British defeated at Yorktown. All land based conflict is ended. The British leave Charleston and Savannah. In Russia, construction of the Siberian highway begins.
1782 - Thomas Grenville represents British interest in Paris in negotiations with Benjamin Franklin to bring an end to the American Revolution. The Spanish take Minorca from Britain. J. C. Bach dies. Nicolo Paganini, Italian god of the violin is born. James Watt invents the double-acting rotary steam engine. In Philadelphia, the Bank of North America is founded.
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