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Halifax, Charles Montague, Earl of

Halifax, Charles Montague, Earl of (1661-1715), an able financier and Whig statesman, was bo: n at Horton, Northants, and educated at Westminister and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he became the friend of Newton. Having made a reputation as a wit by The Town and Country Mouse, a parody on The Hind and Panther, which he wrote with Prior, he was brought into Parliament for Maldon by Lord Dorset. For his share in the Revolution he was granted a pension by William III., and appointed to a post in the Treasury. Three years later he was made Chancellor of the Exchequer as a reward of his financial services. By taking up Paterson's scheme he laid the foundation of the Bank of England, and in 1695, with the assistance of Newton, he carried out a reform in the coinage. During the years 1697-99 he was First Lord of the Treasury, and attempted to amalgamate the old and new East India Companies. He had made many enemies, however, and was twice accused of breach of trust, but on each occasion acquitted. During the reign of Anne he lived in retirement as auditor of the Exchequer, having also been created a peer. He supported, however, the leading objects of the Whigs, and on the accession of George I. the veteran Whig was made Earl of Halifax and Lord Treasurer. He held office only a few months, and died, having survived his reputation. His claim to have been a friend to men of letters was bitterly denied by Pope, who charged him with "helping to starve" Dryden. His grandson, the third Earl (1716-71). was Secretary of State under Lord Bute, George Grenville, and Lord North, in the reign of George III.