North, Frederick, Second Earl of Guilford (1732–1792), a British statesman. North, a Tory, was prime minister, 1770–82, during the period of the American Revolution. Although favoring a compliant policy toward the colonies, he was timid and loyal by nature and yielded to the policies of a determined King George III. At the urging of the North ministry, Parliament passed the Tea Act of 1773, and after the Boston Tea Party, enacted the Intolerable Acts (1774) to coerce the colonies, North's later attempts to conciliate the colonies, in 1775 and 1778, were unsuccessful. He repeatedly offered to resign, believing that independence should have been recognized in 1778. Persuaded by the king, he remained until 1782.
North graduated from Oxford University in 1750 and entered the House of Commons in 1754. He served as a lord of the treasury, 1759–65, and chancellor of the exchequer, 1767–69. In 1783 North was briefly home secretary in a ministry he formed with Charles James Fox. North inherited his title in 1790.