North, Frederick

North, Frederick (1732-1792) British Statesman: North served as a Lord of the Treasury and Joint Paymaster-General before he took the posts of Chancellor of the Exchequer (1767-82) and First Lord of the Treasury (1770-82). Opposed to the Stamp Act in 1766, North took over Townshend's financial administration, repealing all the Townshend taxes except for the one on tea. Nevertheless, he is largely responsible for the coercive legislation of 1774 passed through the House of Commons and the restraining Acts of 1775. Although he was a respected speaker in the House of Commons, he was an inept administrator, unable to coordinate war operations or provide a unified direction. If he had made conciliatory overtures to the colonies in 1775, instead of 1778, he might have avoided the Revolutionary War. When faced with a likely vote of no confidence in Parliament, he resigned, and inherited the title of Earl of Guilford from his father in 1790.