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REV. J. C. M. BELLEW.
HIS ancient mansion
was purchased in 1762 (as was shown on p. 54) by Henry Fox. For rather more than a century it has been the
family residence of four generations of Foxes, Barons Holland. Though out of that one hundred years it continued for sixty-six in possession of Henry Richard Vassal, the nobleman who will always be remembered, in the records and associations of the house, as "the" Lord Holland. Its first possessor, Henry Fox, lived only twelve years after he had purchased it. Its second, his son, survived his father but six months; and the fourth, or last Baron Holland, who came in possession in 1840, died in 1859, after enjoying his estate for no more than nineteen years. So that Henry Richard Vassal, the third Baron, had possession of Holland House for more than double the time that three other generations of his family inLerited it.
The name of Fox is now and for ever associated with our political history. Charles James, "the man of the people," made it most famous: but he had a father and a grandfather before him, who occupied important positions in their day. Beyond his grandfather, the heralds and genealogists would not be disposed to trace. That grandfather, however, was a man, who, by character, strength of purpose, and vigour of body, was calculated to be the "founder of a house." He appears in the following pedigree as Sir Stephen Fox, born in 1627, and dying in his ninetieth year, October, 1716, having lived in six reigns, from Charles I. to George I. It will be understood that the pedigree does not pretend to present a complete family tree, but is
drawn to show the reader, at a glance, the successive members of the Fox family who have been inheritors of Holland House.
William Fox, of Farley, Wilts, Elizabeth Pavey.
W. Whittle, co. of
Sir Stephen Fox, born (1st) Elizabeth, d. of=(2nd) Christian, d. of at Farley, Wilts, March 27, 1627, Paymaster to the Forces, Lord of the Treasury, etc., etc., to Charles II., and James Died at Chiswick, 28, 1716,
3 Henry Richard, Eliz., d. of Richard Vassal, Esq., ob. 1845. 3rd Baron Holland, born
d. of Charles,
Mary Eliz. Thos., Lord Lifford, 1830.
Sir Stephen was the son of "honest parents, of good report," his father being William Fox, of Farley, near Salisbury, who took to wife Elizabeth Pavey. It is unnecessary, as perhaps it would be difficult, to discover particulars regarding this William Fox; but whatever may have been his position, he had sufficient wisdom to give his children an excellent education. Stephen, it has been said, was a singingboy at a cathedral, which would refer to Salisbury, where it is highly probable he did receive his education. Horace Walpole, who had always an unkind word or ungenerous thought ready for every one, was good enough to say young Stephen was a "footman." He was
so, truly, in the sense that a lord-in-waiting on a king is a valet, or a lady of the bedchamber, a chambermaid; but, in the meaning of the term, as used by Walpole, the assertion, like many of his ill-natured observations, is simply false. While yet very young, Stephen's father was fortunate in recommending his boy to the consideration of the Earl of Northumberland. By the Earl's favour, Lord Percy, who presided at the Ordnance Board, took Stephen into employ in his department. Through Lord Percy, he was shortly afterwards made known to the Prince of Wales (subsequently Charles II.) At latest, this must have been about the year 1644, when Stephen Fox was seventeen years of age; because, after the fatal battle of Naseby, 1645, when the Prince escaped to the continent, both Lord Percy and Stephen Fox accompanied him, and were in his service.
From his earliest youth he exhibited that devotion, loyalty, and tenacity of purpose which won the regard of Northumberland, and crowned his years with honour. He must have been constantly about the person of the Prince, for we find he accompanied him (after being crowned as Charles II. in Scotland) in his march into England, when he fought the battle of Worcester, September 3, 1641. Possibly, in the progress through Lancashire, he may have made the acquaintance of Miss Elizabeth Whittle, who within a short period was to become his wife.
In his civil capacity, supervising the Ordnance, Fox was present at Worcester; and it is natural to conjecture that he must have been near the person of the King in his flight, for, in a quaint tract possessed by the British Museum, we learn that Fox attended him at his embarkation, and is praised for his "wise conduct, in his instances with the master of the ship's wife, who had a knowledge of the royal passenger, to keep matters secret, from the discovery of her husband." Now, although there is no mention of Stephen Fox in the "Boscobel Tracts," it is remarkable, that from Worcester the King was conducted to the outskirts of Salisbury (so familiar to Fox), to a residence called Heale, where he lay concealed for two nights; and that it was at Stonehenge Charles II. had his rendezvous with Dr. Hinchman, Prebend of Salisbury, by whom he was directed and conducted on his road to Brighton, where he took ship.
During the entire period of Charles' exile, Fox was in attendance on him, and is spoken of by Lord Clarendon as the most serviceable person about the King, when beyond sea." He was a good linguist, and "governed the expenses of the King's family." In other words,
he had control of the Privy-purse, and won deserved regard from the great care with which he strove to manage the King's narrow resources! On one occasion Charles discovered that Fox paid out of his own savings a bet lost to a Flemish noble, which the King was unable himself to pay. This was during his residence at Brussels, where the King bestowed a grant of arms on Fox, which is dated at Brussels, October 30, 1658: "Ermin on a Cheveron Azure. Three foxheads erased Or and in a Canton of the second a Flower de Liz of the Third. Crest on a Chapeau Azure turned up Ermin, a Fox sitting Or." In the early days of the King's exile Fox was married. His eldestborn, Stephen, died, and was buried in France. Fox was present at the interviews between Charles and Cardinal Richelieu, when that astute minister, yielding to the pressure of Cromwell, had the pleasant task of suggesting that the King should leave France. He was also witness to the efforts which the widowed Queen of England made to convert her sons to the Catholic faith. It was at Brussels, in September, 1658, that it fell to Stephen Fox's lot to announce to the King (who was playing tennis), the death of his greatest enemy, Cromwell. The grant of arms, dated in October, would seem to be Charles' acknowledgment of thanks to the servant who brought him such tidings. Fox was employed by the King as his most trusty emissary in passing between the Netherlands and London to negotiate the Restoration. He carried letters to Speaker Lenthall and to General Monk. Even when Monk's disposition was uncertain, Fox passed to the north, and at his own personal risk placed the King's letters in the General's hands. He was the most instrumental friend to the King in converting Monk to the Royal cause, and inducing him to march the army upon London. Clarendon says, he adjusted the ceremonies to be observed in his Majesty's passage from Breda to the Hague, when he embarked for England in 1660. Upon the Restoration, Stephen Fox met with his deserved rewards. He was appointed Clerk of the Board of Green Cloth; in 1665 he was knighted; then he was made Paymaster of the Forces; for twenty years he was a Lord of the Treasury; and for a period he served as Lord Chamberlain of the Household. A pair of money-chests, belonging officially to Sir Stephen Fox, as Paymaster of the Forces, are still preserved in the White Room at Holland House. A representation of one of these chests is here given. It is entirely covered with brown leather, bound with brass clamps, chased with floriated patterns, and richly studded with brass nails. Every one is familiar with the tradition
that it was Nell Gwynne's sympathy for the disabled soldiers which led to the erection of Chelsea Hospital! We would not rob "Poor Nelly" of any credit in the matter, nor wish to filch from her kindliness of heart (on which an Archbishop eloquently discoursed at her decease)
the sympathy which has been attributed to it towards the poor soldiers; but truth demands that Stephen Fox should be honoured and remembered as the original projector of Chelsea Hospital. His words are preserved: "I cannot bear to see the common soldiers who have spent their strength in our service to beg at our doors." From time to time he contributed towards this scheme above £13,000.
Throughout his long career of usefulness as a public servant, his charities were as numerous as his integrity was unspotted. He rebuilt the chapelry at his native place, Farley; he founded a school; he erected a hospital, with chapel, and fitting endowment, for old men and women at Farley; he re-pewed (according to the horrible fashion of those days) the choir of Salisbury Cathedral; and he restored various churches in the parishes where he held property. Throughout his life his greatest happiness was in doing good. His benevolence was as mighty as his loyalty; his love of home was as tender as his patriotism was big. For a long number of years he represented Salisbury in Parliament. That city and its cathedral were prime objects of his affection. He only retired from Parliament because when getting into years he thought his son Charles would be a more active representative; and when to his great grief this his last surviving son died in 1710, the people of Salisbury unanimously returned their octogenarian chief once more, who, half a century before, had represented their fathers in the days of Charles II., represented the same city in the first Parliament of George I., and died in harness, having