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Charles Montagu Halifax, earl of

Halifax, Charles Montagu, earl of (hălˈəfăks) [key], 1661–1715, English statesman. He and Matthew Prior were coauthors of a parody of John Dryden's The Hind and the Panther, entitled The Town and The Country Mouse (1687). As a lord of the treasury, Halifax proposed (1692) the system of government borrowing that established the British national debt. In 1694 he adopted the proposal of William Paterson to found the Bank of England and was appointed chancellor of the exchequer. The following year he designated Isaac Newton as warden of the mint to effect a recoinage and issued the first exchequer bills. Halifax succeeded Sidney Godolphin as first lord of the treasury (1697–99) and was twice impeached (1701, 1703) for breach of trust as auditor of the exchequer, but he was not convicted. He was reappointed first lord of the treasury on the accession (1714) of George I.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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