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George Savile, 1st marquess of Halifax (1633-1695)
English statesman and political writer.
A protégé of the 2d duke of Buckingham, Savile sat in the Convention Parliament that restored King Charles II to the throne in 1660. In 1668 he became Viscount Halifax. and sat (1672-76) in the privy council. An opponent both of the pro-Catholic faction that arranged the alliance (1670) with France and of the ministry of Lord Danby, which reversed that policy, Halifax became known as "the Trimmer" because of his moderating position in the fierce party struggles of his day. In fact, he balanced this opposition by fighting the anti-Catholic Test Act of 1673.
He was expelled from the council for opposing Thomas Osborne, earl of Danby, the King's chief minister: he regained favor with Charles II and was readmitted (1679) to the council, created an earl (1679) and a marquess (1682). Adhering to his principles of moderation, in 1680 he led the fight in the House of Lords against a bill that would have excluded Charles's Roman Catholic brother James, duke of York, from succession to the throne. On the accession (1685) of James II, Halifax was made lord president of the council, but he resigned almost immediately in opposition to James's pro-Catholic policies.
He spent the next three years writing political pamphlets. His Character of King Charles the Second was written during this period, and The Character of a Trimmer, a statement of his political creed, describing the virtues of his middle course in politics, was published in 1688.
When William of Orange landed in England in 1688, Halifax at first sought to mediate between William and James, but then joined William. As leader of the Whig peers, he formally requested (1689) William to accept the crown of England. He was appointed (1689) lord privy seal and chief minister, but lack of a supporting group in Parliament made it impossible for him to form a viable ministry, and he resigned (1690).

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