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William Pitt the Younger (28 May 175923 January 1806) was a prominent
Tory A Tory () is a person who holds a political philosophy Political philosophy or political theory is the philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, existence, ...
statesman of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. He became the youngest
prime minister of Great Britain The prime minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government The head of government is either the highest or second-highest official in the executive branch of a sovereign state, a federated state, or a self-governing colony ...
in 1783 at the age of 24 and the first prime minister of the
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was a sovereign state that existed between 1801 and 1922. It was established by the Acts of Union 1800, which merged the Kingdom of Great Britain and the Kingdom of Ireland into a unified state ...

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
as of January 1801. He left office in March 1801, but served as prime minister again from 1804 until his death in 1806. He was also
Chancellor of the Exchequer The chancellor of the Exchequer, often abbreviated to the chancellor, is a senior minister of the Crown within the Government of the United Kingdom, and the chief executive officer of HM Treasury, Her Majesty's Treasury. As one of the four Grea ...
for all of his time as prime minister. He is known as "the Younger" to distinguish him from his father,
William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham, (15 November 170811 May 1778) was Prime Minister of Great Britain from 1766 to 1768. Historians call him Pitt of Chatham, or William Pitt the Elder, to distinguish him from his son, William Pitt the Younger, ...
, who is customarily referred to as "William Pitt the Elder" (or less commonly, simply "Chatham") and had previously served as prime minister. Pitt's prime ministerial tenure, which came during the reign of King
George III George III (George William Frederick; 4 June 173829 January 1820) was King of Great Britain There have been 12 British monarchs since the political union of the Kingdom of England The Kingdom of England was a sovereign state on th ...

George III
, was dominated by major political events in Europe, including the
French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) was a period of radical political and societal change in France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a country primarily located in Western Europe, consi ...

French Revolution
and the
Napoleonic Wars The Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) were a series of major World war, global conflicts pitting the First French Empire, French Empire and its allies, led by Napoleon, Napoleon I, against a fluctuating array of Coalition forces of the Napoleonic W ...
. Pitt, although often referred to as a
Tory A Tory () is a person who holds a political philosophy Political philosophy or political theory is the philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, existence, ...
, or "new Tory", called himself an "independent
Whig Whig or Whigs may refer to: Parties and factions In the British Isles * A pejorative nickname for the Kirk Party The Kirk Party were a radical Presbyterian faction of the Scotland, Scottish Covenanters during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. ...
" and was generally opposed to the development of a strict partisan political system. Pitt was regarded as an outstanding administrator who worked for efficiency and reform, bringing in a new generation of outstanding administrators. He increased taxes to pay for the great war against France and cracked down on radicalism. To engage the threat of Irish support for France, he engineered the
Acts of Union 1800 The Acts of Union 1800 (sometimes referred to as a single Act of Union 1801) were parallel acts of the Parliament of Great Britain The Parliament of Great Britain was formed in May 1707 following the ratification of the Acts of Union by ...
and tried (but failed) to secure
Catholic emancipation Catholic emancipation or Catholic relief was a process in the kingdoms of Great Britain Great Britain is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean off the northwest coast of continental Europe. With an area of , it is the largest of the Brit ...
as part of the Union. He created the "new Toryism", which revived the Tory Party and enabled it to stay in power for the next quarter-century. The historian
Asa Briggs Asa Briggs, Baron Briggs (7 May 1921 – 15 March 2016) was an English historian. He was a leading specialist on the Victorian era In the history of the United Kingdom, the Victorian era was the wikt:period, period of Queen Victoria's ...
argues that his personality did not endear itself to the British mind, for Pitt was too solitary and too colourless, and too often exuded an attitude of superiority. His greatness came in the war with France. Pitt reacted to become what
Lord Minto 250px, Gilbert Elliot-Murray-Kynynmound, 4th Earl of Minto Earl of Minto, in the County of Roxburgh, is a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom The Peerage of the United Kingdom comprises most peerages created in the United Kingdom of G ...
called "the
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Atlas
of our reeling globe".
William Wilberforce William Wilberforce (24 August 175929 July 1833) was a British politician, philanthropist, and a leader of the movement to abolish the Atlantic slave trade, slave trade. A native of Kingston upon Hull, Yorkshire, he began his political career ...

William Wilberforce
said, "For personal purity, disinterestedness and love of this country, I have never known his equal." Historian Charles Petrie concludes that he was one of the greatest Prime Ministers "if on no other ground than that he enabled the country to pass from the old order to the new without any violent upheaval ... He understood the new Britain." For this he is ranked highly amongst all British Prime Ministers in multiple surveys. Pitt served as prime minister for a total of eighteen years, 343 days, making him the second longest serving British prime minister of all time.


Early life and education

William Pitt, the second son of
William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham, (15 November 170811 May 1778) was Prime Minister of Great Britain from 1766 to 1768. Historians call him Pitt of Chatham, or William Pitt the Elder, to distinguish him from his son, William Pitt the Younger, ...
, was born on 28 May 1759 at Hayes Place in the village of Hayes,
Kent Kent is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Chambers (publisher), William and Robert ...

Kent
. He was from a political family on both sides, as his mother, Hester Grenville, was sister to former prime minister
George Grenville George Grenville (14 October 1712 – 13 November 1770) was Prime Minister of Great Britain from 1763 to 1765. Grenville was born into an influential political family and first entered Parliament in 1741 as an MP for Buckingham. He emerged as on ...

George Grenville
. According to biographer
John Ehrman John Patrick William Ehrman, Fellow of the British Academy, FBA (17 March 1920 – 15 June 2011) was a United Kingdom, British historian, most notable for his three-volume biography of William Pitt the Younger.Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an appa ...

Latin
and
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
. He was admitted to
Pembroke College, Cambridge Pembroke College (officially "The Master, Fellows and Scholars of the College or Hall of Valence-Mary") is a Colleges of the University of Cambridge, constituent college of the University of Cambridge, England. The college is the third-oldest col ...

Pembroke College, Cambridge
, on 26 April 1773, a month before turning fourteen. He studied political philosophy,
classics Classics or classical studies is the study of classical antiquity Classical antiquity (also the classical era, classical period or classical age) is the period of cultural history between the 8th century BC and the 6th century AD centred ...

classics
, mathematics, trigonometry, chemistry and history. At Cambridge, Pitt was tutored by
George Pretyman:''In this name, the family name is'' Pretyman (before 1803)'', ''Pretyman Tomline (from 1803)'', but commonly called ''Tomline'' thereafter.'' Sir George Pretyman Tomline, 5th Baronet (born George Pretyman; 9 October 1750 – 14 November 1827) wa ...
, who became a close personal friend. Pitt later appointed Pretyman
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, then
Winchester Winchester is a cathedral city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London ...
, and drew upon his advice throughout his political career. While at Cambridge, he befriended the young
William Wilberforce William Wilberforce (24 August 175929 July 1833) was a British politician, philanthropist, and a leader of the movement to abolish the Atlantic slave trade, slave trade. A native of Kingston upon Hull, Yorkshire, he began his political career ...

William Wilberforce
, who became a lifelong friend and political ally in Parliament. Pitt tended to socialise only with fellow students and others already known to him, rarely venturing outside the university grounds. Yet he was described as charming and friendly. According to Wilberforce, Pitt had an exceptional wit along with an endearingly gentle sense of humour: "no man ... ever indulged more freely or happily in that playful facetiousness which gratifies all without wounding any." In 1776, Pitt, plagued by poor health, took advantage of a little-used privilege available only to the sons of noblemen, and chose to graduate without having to pass examinations. Pitt's father was said to have demanded him to continually translate aloud classical literature into English and declaim upon previously unknown topics in effort to develop his oratory skills. Pitt's father, who had by then been raised to the peerage as Earl of Chatham, died in 1778. As a younger son, Pitt the Younger received only a small inheritance. He acquired his legal education at
Lincoln's Inn The Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inn is one of the four Inns of Court in London to which barristers of England and Wales belong and where they are Call to the Bar, called to the Bar. (The other three are Middle Temple, Inner Temple and Gray' ...

Lincoln's Inn
and was
called to the bar The call to the bar (rarely, call to bar) is a legal term of art Jargon is the specialized terminology associated with a particular field or area of activity. Jargon is normally employed in a particular Context (language use), communicative cont ...
in the summer of 1780.


Early political career

During the general elections of September 1780, at the age of 21, Pitt contested the University of Cambridge seat, but lost. Still intent on entering Parliament, Pitt secured the patronage of James Lowther, later 1st Earl Lowther, with the help of his university friend,
Charles Manners, 4th Duke of Rutland Charles Manners, 4th Duke of Rutland, Order of the Garter, KG, Privy Council of Great Britain, PC (15 March 175424 October 1787) was a British politician and nobleman, the eldest legitimate son of John Manners, Marquess of Granby. He was styled L ...
. Lowther effectively controlled the
pocket borough A rotten or pocket borough, also known as a nomination borough or proprietorial borough, was a parliamentary borough In the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK ...
of Appleby; a by-election in that constituency sent Pitt to the
House of Commons The House of Commons is the name for the elected lower house A lower house is one of two chambers Chambers may refer to: Places Canada: *Chambers Township, Ontario United States: *Chambers County, Alabama *Chambers, Arizona, an unincorpor ...
in January 1781. Pitt's entry into parliament is somewhat ironic as he later railed against the very same pocket and
rotten boroughs Old Sarum in Wiltshire, an uninhabited hill which until 1832 elected two Members of Parliament. Painting by John Constable, 1829 A rotten or pocket borough, also known as a nomination borough or proprietorial borough, was a parliamentary borough ...
that had given him his seat. In Parliament, the youthful Pitt cast aside his tendency to be withdrawn in public, emerging as a noted debater right from his
maiden speech A maiden speech is the first speech given by a newly elected or appointed member of a legislature A legislature is a deliberative assembly with the authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social beh ...
. Pitt originally aligned himself with prominent Whigs such as
Charles James Fox Charles James Fox (24 January 1749 – 13 September 1806), styled ''The Honourable'' from 1762, was a prominent British British Whig Party, Whig statesman whose parliamentary career spanned 38 years of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. H ...
. With the Whigs, Pitt denounced the continuation of the
American War of Independence The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), also known as the Revolutionary War and the American War of Independence, was initiated by delegates from thirteen American colonies of British America British America comprised the colon ...
, as his father strongly had. Instead he proposed that the prime minister,
Lord North Frederick North, 2nd Earl of Guilford (13 April 17325 August 1792), better known by his courtesy title Courtesy (from the word ''courteis'', from the 12th century) is gentle politeness and courtly manners. In the Middle Ages I ...
, make peace with the rebellious American colonies. Pitt also supported parliamentary reform measures, including a proposal that would have checked electoral corruption. He renewed his friendship with William Wilberforce, now MP for
Hull Hull may refer to: Structures * Chassis, of an armored fighting vehicle * Fuselage, of an aircraft * Hull (botany), the outer covering of seeds * Hull (watercraft), the body or frame of a ship * Submarine hull Mathematics * Affine hull, in affin ...
, with whom he frequently met in the gallery of the House of Commons. After Lord North's ministry collapsed in 1782, the Whig
Charles Watson-Wentworth, 2nd Marquess of Rockingham Charles Watson-Wentworth, 2nd Marquess of Rockingham, (13 May 1730 – 1 July 1782; styled The Hon. Charles Watson-Wentworth before 1733, Viscount Higham between 1733 and 1746, Earl of Malton between 1746 and 1750 and The Marquess of Rockingha ...
, was appointed prime minister. Pitt was offered the minor post of
Vice-Treasurer of Ireland The Lord High Treasurer of Ireland was the head of the Exchequer of Ireland, chief financial officer of the Kingdom of Ireland. The designation ''High'' was added in 1695. After the Acts of Union 1800 created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and ...
, but he refused, considering the post overly subordinate. Lord Rockingham died only three months after coming to power; he was succeeded by another Whig,
William Petty, 2nd Earl of Shelburne William Petty Fitzmaurice, 1st Marquess of Lansdowne, (2 May 17377 May 1805; known as The Earl of Shelburne between 1761 and 1784, by which title he is generally known to history) was an Irish-born British Whig statesman who was the first ...
. Many Whigs who had formed a part of the Rockingham ministry, including Fox, now refused to serve under Lord Shelburne, the new prime minister. Pitt, however, was comfortable with Shelburne, and thus joined his government; he was appointed
Chancellor of the Exchequer The chancellor of the Exchequer, often abbreviated to the chancellor, is a senior minister of the Crown within the Government of the United Kingdom, and the chief executive officer of HM Treasury, Her Majesty's Treasury. As one of the four Grea ...
. Fox, who became Pitt's lifelong political rival, then joined a coalition with Lord North, with whom he collaborated to bring about the defeat of the Shelburne administration. When Lord Shelburne resigned in 1783,
King George III George III (George William Frederick; 4 June 173829 January 1820) was King of Great Britain and of Monarchy of Ireland, Ireland from 25 October 1760 until Acts of Union 1800, the union of the two kingdoms on 1 January 1801, after which he wa ...

King George III
, who despised Fox, offered to appoint Pitt to the office of Prime Minister. But Pitt wisely declined, for he knew he would be incapable of securing the support of the House of Commons. The
Fox–North coalition The Fox–North coalition was a government in Great Britain that held office during 1783.Chris Cook and John Stevenson, ''British Historical Facts 1760–1830'', Macmillan, 1980 As the name suggests, the ministry was a coalition of the groups sup ...
rose to power in a government nominally headed by
William Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland William is a popular given name of an old Germanic origin.Hanks, Hardcastle and Hodges, ''Oxford Dictionary of First Names'', Oxford University Press Oxford University Press (OUP) is the university press of University of Oxford. It is the la ...
. Pitt, who had been stripped of his post as Chancellor of the Exchequer, joined the
Opposition Opposition may refer to: Arts and media * Opposition (Altars EP), ''Opposition'' (Altars EP), 2011 EP by Christian metalcore band Altars * The Opposition (band), a London post-punk band * ''The Opposition with Jordan Klepper'', a late-night tele ...
. He raised the issue of parliamentary reform in order to strain the uneasy Fox-North coalition, which included both supporters and detractors of reform. He did not advocate an expansion of the electoral franchise, but he did seek to address bribery and rotten boroughs. Though his proposal failed, many reformers in Parliament came to regard him as their leader, instead of Charles James Fox.


Impact of the War of American Independence

Losing the war and the
Thirteen Colonies The Thirteen Colonies, also known as the Thirteen British Colonies or the Thirteen American Colonies, were a group of Kingdom of Great Britain, British colonies on the Atlantic coast of North America. Founded in the 17th and 18th centuries, th ...
was a shock to the British system. The war revealed the limitations of Britain's fiscal-military state when it had powerful enemies and no allies, depended on extended and vulnerable transatlantic lines of communication, and was faced for the first time since the 17th century by both Protestant and Catholic foes. The defeat heightened dissension and escalated political antagonism to the King's ministers. Inside parliament, the primary concern changed from fears of an over-mighty monarch to the issues of representation, parliamentary reform, and government retrenchment. Reformers sought to destroy what they saw as widespread institutional corruption. The result was a crisis from 1776 to 1783. The peace in 1783 left France financially prostrate, while the British economy boomed due to the return of American business. That crisis ended in 1784 as a result of the King's shrewdness in outwitting Fox and renewed confidence in the system engendered by the leadership of Pitt. Historians conclude that the loss of the American colonies enabled Britain to deal with the
French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) was a period of radical political and societal change in France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a country primarily located in Western Europe, consi ...

French Revolution
with more unity and organisation than would otherwise have been the case. Britain turned towards Asia, the Pacific, and later Africa with subsequent exploration leading to the rise of the Second British Empire.


Rise to power

The Fox-North Coalition fell in December 1783, after Fox had introduced
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's bill to reform the
East India Company The East India Company (EIC), also known as the Honourable East India Company (HEIC), East India Trading Company (EITC), the English East India Company or (after 1707) the British East India Company, and informally known as John Company, Com ...
to gain the patronage he so greatly lacked while the King refused to support him. Fox stated the bill was necessary to save the company from bankruptcy. Pitt responded that: "Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves." The King was opposed to the bill; when it passed in the House of Commons, he secured its defeat in the
House of Lords The House of Lords, formally The Right Honourable the Lords Spiritual and Temporal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled, is the of the . Membership is by , or . Like the , it meets in the . ar ...

House of Lords
by threatening to regard anyone who voted for it as his enemy. Following the bill's failure in the Upper House, George III dismissed the coalition government and finally entrusted the premiership to William Pitt, after having offered the position to him three times previously. A constitutional crisis arose when the King dismissed the Fox-North coalition government and named Pitt to replace it. Though faced with a hostile majority in Parliament, Pitt was able to solidify his position within a few months. Some historians argue that his success was inevitable given the decisive importance of monarchical power; others argue that the King gambled on Pitt and that both would have failed but for a run of good fortune. Pitt, at the age of 24, became Great Britain's youngest Prime Minister ever. The contemporary satire '' The Rolliad'' ridiculed him for his youth: :Above the rest, majestically great, :Behold the infant Atlas of the state, :The matchless miracle of modern days, :In whom Britannia to the world displays :A sight to make surrounding nations stare; :A kingdom trusted to a school-boy's care. Many saw Pitt as a stop-gap appointment until some more senior statesman took on the role. However, although it was widely predicted that the new "mince-pie administration" would not outlast the Christmas season, it survived for seventeen years. So as to reduce the power of the
Opposition Opposition may refer to: Arts and media * Opposition (Altars EP), ''Opposition'' (Altars EP), 2011 EP by Christian metalcore band Altars * The Opposition (band), a London post-punk band * ''The Opposition with Jordan Klepper'', a late-night tele ...
, Pitt offered Charles James Fox and his allies posts in the Cabinet; Pitt's refusal to include Lord North, however, thwarted his efforts. The new government was immediately on the defensive and in January 1784 was defeated on a
motion of no confidence A motion of no confidence, vote of no confidence, or no confidence motion, sometimes in the reverse as a motion of confidence or vote of confidence, is a statement or vote about whether a person in a position of responsibility (government, manage ...
. Pitt, however, took the unprecedented step of refusing to resign, despite this defeat. He retained the support of the King, who would not entrust the reins of power to the Fox–North Coalition. He also received the support of the House of Lords, which passed supportive motions, and many messages of support from the country at large, in the form of petitions approving of his appointment which influenced some
Members Member may refer to: * Military jury, referred to as "Members" in military jargon * Element (mathematics), an object that belongs to a mathematical set * In object-oriented programming, a member of a class ** Field (computer science), entries in ...
to switch their support to Pitt. At the same time, he was granted the Freedom of the
City of London The City of London is a city A city is a large .Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Routledge. It ...

City of London
. When he returned from the ceremony to mark this, men of the City pulled Pitt's coach home themselves, as a sign of respect. When passing a Whig club, the coach came under attack from a group of men who tried to assault Pitt. When news of this spread, it was assumed Fox and his associates had tried to bring down Pitt by any means. Pitt gained great popularity with the public at large as "Honest Billy" who was seen as a refreshing change from the dishonesty, corruption and lack of principles widely associated with both Fox and North. Despite a series of defeats in the House of Commons, Pitt defiantly remained in office, watching the Coalition's majority shrink as some Members of Parliament left the Opposition to abstain. In March 1784, Parliament was dissolved, and a
general election A general election is a political voting election where generally all or most members of a given political body are chosen. These are usually held for a nation, state, or territory's primary legislative body, and are different from by-election ...
ensued. An electoral defeat for the government was out of the question because Pitt enjoyed the support of
King George III George III (George William Frederick; 4 June 173829 January 1820) was King of Great Britain and of Monarchy of Ireland, Ireland from 25 October 1760 until Acts of Union 1800, the union of the two kingdoms on 1 January 1801, after which he wa ...

King George III
.
Patronage Patronage is the support, encouragement, privilege, or financial aid that an organization or individual bestows on another. In the history of art, arts patronage refers to the support that kings, popes, and the wealthy have provided to artists su ...

Patronage
and bribes paid by the Treasury were normally expected to be enough to secure the government a comfortable majority in the House of Commons, but on this occasion, the government reaped much popular support as well. In most popular constituencies, the election was fought between candidates clearly representing either Pitt or Fox and North. Early returns showed a massive swing to Pitt with the result that many Opposition Members who still had not faced election either defected, stood down, or made deals with their opponents to avoid expensive defeats. A notable exception came in Fox's own constituency of
Westminster Westminster is a district in Central London Central London is the innermost part of London London is the capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom. The city sta ...
, which contained one of the largest electorates in the country. In a contest estimated to have cost a quarter of the total spending in the entire country, Fox bitterly fought against two
Pittite The Tories were a political faction and then a political party in the parliaments of Parliament of England, England, Parliament of Scotland, Scotland, Parliament of Great Britain, Great Britain, Parliament of Ireland, Ireland and the Parliamen ...
candidates to secure one of the two seats for the constituency. Great legal wranglings ensued, including the examination of every single vote cast, which dragged on for more than a year. Meanwhile, Fox sat for the pocket borough of Tain Burghs. Many saw the dragging out of the result as being unduly vindictive on the part of Pitt and eventually the examinations were abandoned with Fox declared elected. Elsewhere, Pitt won a personal triumph when he was elected a Member for the University of Cambridge, a constituency he had long coveted and which he would continue to represent for the remainder of his life.


First government


India

His administration secure, Pitt could begin to enact his agenda. His first major piece of legislation as prime minister was the India Act 1784, which re-organised the
British East India Company The East India Company (EIC), also known as the Honourable East India Company (HEIC), East India Trading Company (EITC), the English East India Company or (after 1707) the British East India Company, and informally known as John Company, Com ...
and kept a watch over corruption. The India Act created a new Board of Control to oversee the affairs of the East India Company. It differed from Fox's failed India Bill 1783 and specified that the board would be appointed by the king. Pitt was appointed, along with Lord Sydney, who was appointed
President President most commonly refers to: *President (corporate title) A president is a leader of an organization, company, community, club, trade union, university or other group. The relationship between a president and a Chief Executive Officer, chi ...
. The act centralised British rule in India by reducing the power of the governors of
Bombay Mumbai (, ; also known as Bombay — the official name until 1995) is the capital city A capital or capital city is the municipality holding primary status in a Department (country subdivision), department, country, Constituent state, ...

Bombay
and
Madras Chennai (, ), also known as Madras (List of renamed Indian cities and states#Tamil Nadu, the official name until 1996), is the capital city of the states and territories of India, Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The state's largest city in area ...

Madras
and by increasing that of Governor-General
Charles Cornwallis Charles Cornwallis, 1st Marquess Cornwallis, (31 December 1738 – 5 October 1805), styled Viscount Brome between 1753 and 1762 and known as the Earl Cornwallis between 1762 and 1792, was a British Army The British Army is the princip ...
. Further augmentations and clarifications of the governor-general's authority were made in 1786, presumably by Lord Sydney, and presumably as a result of the company's setting up of
Penang Penang, officially the State of Penang, is a States and federal territories of Malaysia, Malaysian state located on the northwest coast of Peninsular Malaysia, by the Strait of Malacca, Malacca Strait. It has two parts: Penang Island, where t ...

Penang
with their own superintendent (governor), Captain
Francis Light Captain Francis Light (c.174021October1794) was a British explorer and the founder of the British colony of Penang (in modern-day Malaysia Malaysia ( ; ) is a country in Southeast Asia. The federation, federal constitutional monarchy con ...

Francis Light
, in 1786.


Parliamentary reform

In domestic politics, Pitt concerned himself with the cause of parliamentary reform. In 1785, he introduced a bill to remove the representation of thirty-six rotten boroughs, and to extend, in a small way, the electoral franchise to more individuals. Pitt's support for the bill, however, was not strong enough to prevent its defeat in the House of Commons. The bill of 1785 was the last parliamentary reform proposal introduced by Pitt to British legislators.


Australian penal colony

Convicts were originally transported to the
Thirteen Colonies The Thirteen Colonies, also known as the Thirteen British Colonies or the Thirteen American Colonies, were a group of Kingdom of Great Britain, British colonies on the Atlantic coast of North America. Founded in the 17th and 18th centuries, th ...
in North America, but after the
American War of Independence The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), also known as the Revolutionary War and the American War of Independence, was initiated by delegates from thirteen American colonies of British America British America comprised the colon ...
ended in 1783, the newly formed United States refused to accept further convicts. Pitt's government took the decision to settle what is now
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, sma ...

Australia
and found the penal colony in August 1786. The
First Fleet The First Fleet was a fleet of 11 ships A ship is a large watercraft that travels the world's oceans and other sufficiently deep Sea lane, waterways, carrying goods or passengers, or in support of specialized missions, such as defense, r ...
of 11 vessels carried over a thousand settlers, including 778 convicts. The
Colony of New South Wales The Colony of New South Wales was a colony In , a colony is a subject to a form of foreign rule. Though dominated by the foreign colonizers, colonies remain separate from the administration of the original country of the colonizers, the ...
was formally proclaimed by Governor
Arthur Phillip Admiral Admiral is one of the highest ranks in some navy, navies, and in many navies is the highest rank. In the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth nations and the United States, a "full" admiral is equivalent to a "full" general officer ...

Arthur Phillip
on 7 February 1788 at Sydney.


Finances

Another important domestic issue with which Pitt had to concern himself was the national debt, which had doubled to £243 million during the American war. Every year, a third of the budget of £24 million went to pay interest. Pitt sought to reduce the national debt by imposing new taxes. In 1786, he instituted a
sinking fund A sinking fund is a fund established by an economic entity by setting aside revenue over a period of time to fund a future capital expense, or repayment of a long-term debt Debt is an obligation that requires one party, the debtor, to pay ...
so that £1 million a year was added to a fund so that it could accumulate interest; eventually, the money in the fund was to be used to pay off the national debt. By 1792, the debt had fallen to £170 million. Pitt always paid careful attention to financial issues. A fifth of Britain's imports were smuggled in without paying taxes. He made it easier for honest merchants to import goods by lowering tariffs on easily smuggled items such as tea, wine, spirits, and tobacco. This policy raised customs revenues by nearly £2 million a year.


Gold reserves, income tax

In 1797, Pitt was forced to protect the kingdom's gold reserves by preventing individuals from exchanging banknotes for gold. Great Britain would continue to use paper money for over two decades. Pitt was also forced to introduce Great Britain's first-ever
income tax An income tax is a tax A tax is a compulsory financial charge or some other type of levy imposed on a taxpayer (an individual or legal entity In law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelate ...
. The new tax helped offset losses in indirect tax revenue, which had been caused by a decline in trade.


Foreign affairs

Pitt sought European alliances to restrict French influence, forming the Triple Alliance with
Prussia Prussia, , Old Prussian Distribution of the Baltic tribes, circa 1200 CE (boundaries are approximate). Old Prussian was a Western Baltic language belonging to the Balto-Slavic branch of the Indo-European languages The Indo-Europ ...

Prussia
and
Holland Holland is a geographical region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics (physical geography), human impact characteristics (human geography), and the interaction of humanity and the environment (en ...
in 1788. During the Nootka Sound Controversy in 1790, Pitt took advantage of the alliance to force Spain to give up its claim to exclusive control over the western coast of North and South America. The Alliance, however, failed to produce any other important benefits for Great Britain. Pitt was alarmed at Russian expansion in the 1780s at the expense of the
Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire (; ', ; or '; )info page on bookat Martin Luther University) // CITED: p. 36 (PDF p. 38/338). was an empire that controlled much of Southeastern Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa, Northern Africa between the 14th ...
. The relations between Russia and Britain were disturbed during the by Pitt's subscription to the view of the Prussian government that the Triple Alliance could not with impunity allow the balance of power in Eastern Europe to be disturbed. In peace talks with the Ottomans, Russia refused to return the key
Ochakov Ochakiv also known as Ochakov ( uk, Очаків, russian: Очаков, crh, Özü, ro, Oceacov and ''Vozia'', and Alektor ( in Greek) is a small city in Mykolaiv Oblast (region) of southern Ukraine Ukraine ( uk, Україна, Ukraina ...
fortress. Pitt wanted to threaten military retaliation. However Russia's ambassador
Semyon Vorontsov 200px, Portrait by Thomas Lawrence (painter), Sir Thomas Lawrence, 1806. Count Semyon Romanovich Vorontsov (or Woronzow, russian: Семён Романович Воронцо́в; 26 June 17449 July 1832) was a Russian diplomat from the aristocrat ...
organised Pitt's enemies and launched a public opinion campaign. Pitt had become alarmed at the opposition to his Russian policy in parliament,
Burke Burke is an Anglo-NormanAnglo-Norman may refer to: *Anglo-Normans The Anglo-Normans ( nrf, Anglo-Normaunds, ang, Engel-Norðmandisca) were the medieval ruling class in England, composed mainly of a combination of ethnic Anglo-Saxons, Normans, ...
and
Fox Foxes are small to medium-sized, s belonging to several of the family . They have a flattened skull, upright triangular ears, a pointed, slightly upturned , and a long bushy (or ''brush''). Twelve belong to the "true foxes" group of ge ...
both uttering powerful speeches against the restoration of Ochakov to the Turks. Pitt won the vote so narrowly that he gave up. The outbreak of the
French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) was a period of radical political and societal change in France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a country primarily located in Western Europe, consi ...

French Revolution
and its attendant wars temporarily united Britain and Russia in an ideological alliance against French republicanism.


The King's condition

In 1788, Pitt faced a major crisis when the King fell victim to a mysterious illness, a form of mental disorder that incapacitated him. If the sovereign was incapable of fulfilling his constitutional duties, Parliament would need to appoint a regent to rule in his place. All factions agreed that the only viable candidate was the King's eldest son, . The Prince, however, was a supporter of Charles James Fox. Had the Prince come to power, he would almost surely have dismissed Pitt. He did not have such an opportunity, however, as Parliament spent months debating legal technicalities relating to the regency. Fortunately for Pitt, the King recovered in February 1789, just after a Regency Bill had been introduced and passed in the House of Commons. The general elections of 1790 resulted in a majority for the government, and Pitt continued as prime minister. In 1791, he proceeded to address one of the problems facing the growing
British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other Dependent territory, territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. ...

British Empire
: the future of
British Canada British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people The British people, or Britons, are the citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the British Overseas Territories, and the Crown dependenc ...
. By the
Constitutional Act of 1791 From 1896 known as The ''Clergy Endowments (Canada) Act 1791'', the statute passed at Westminster in the 31st year of George III, and itemised as chapter 31 (31 Geo 3 c 31), was commonly known as the Constitutional Act 1791 (). It was an Act of ...
, the
province of Quebec ) , image_shield=Armoiries du Québec.svg , image_flag=Flag of Quebec.svg , coordinates= , AdmittanceDate=July 1, 1867 , AdmittanceOrder=1st, with New Brunswick ("Hope restored") , image_map = New Brunswick in Canada 2.svg , ...
was divided into two separate provinces: the predominantly French
Lower Canada The Province of Lower Canada (french: province du Bas-Canada) was a British colony Within the British Empire, a Crown colony or royal colony was a colony In political science, a colony is a territory subject to a form of foreign rule. ...
and the predominantly English
Upper Canada The Province of Upper Canada (french: link=no, province du Haut-Canada) was a part Part, parts or PART may refer to: People *Armi Pärt Armi Pärt (born 18 June 1991) is an Estonian handballer, playing in French D2 for Massy Essonne H ...
. In August 1792, coincident with the capture of Louis XVI by the French revolutionaries, George III appointed Pitt as
Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports The Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports is a ceremonial official in the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph ...
, a position whose incumbent was responsible for the coastal defences of the realm. The King had in 1791 offered him a Knighthood of the Garter, but he suggested the honour go to his elder brother, the second Earl of Chatham.


French Revolution

An early favourable response to the French Revolution encouraged many in Great Britain to reopen the issue of parliamentary reform, which had been dormant since Pitt's reform bill was defeated in 1785. The reformers, however, were quickly labelled as radicals and associates of the French revolutionaries. Subsequently, in 1794, Pitt's administration tried three of them for treason but lost. Parliament began to enact repressive legislation in order to silence the reformers. Individuals who published
seditious Sedition is overt conduct, such as speech and organization, that tends toward rebellion against the established order. Sedition often includes subversion of a constitution and incitement of discontent toward, or rebellion, insurrection against, e ...

seditious
material were punished, and, in 1794, the writ of
habeas corpus (; from Medieval Latin Medieval Latin was the form of Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin '' ...
was suspended. Other repressive measures included the Seditious Meetings Act, which restricted the right of individuals to assemble publicly, and the
Combination Act The Combination Act 1799 (39 Geo. III, c. 81) titled ''An Act to prevent Unlawful Combinations of Workmen'', prohibited trade unions and collective bargaining by British workers. The Act received royal assent on 12 July 1799. An additional Act, th ...
s, which restricted the formation of societies or organisations that favoured political reforms. Problems manning the
Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare Naval warfare is combat Combat ( French for ''fight'') is a purposeful violent conflict meant to physically harm or kill the opposition. Combat may be armed (using weapon A ...
also led to Pitt to introduce the Quota System in 1795 in addition to the existing system of
impressment Impressment, colloquially "the press" or the "press gang", is the taking of men into a military or naval force by compulsion, with or without notice. European navies of several nations used forced recruitment by various means. The large size of ...
. The war with France was extremely expensive, straining Great Britain's finances. Unlike in the latter stages of the
Napoleonic Wars The Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) were a series of major World war, global conflicts pitting the First French Empire, French Empire and its allies, led by Napoleon, Napoleon I, against a fluctuating array of Coalition forces of the Napoleonic W ...
, at this point Britain had only a very small standing army, and thus contributed to the war effort mainly through sea power and by supplying funds to other coalition members facing France.


Ideological struggles

Throughout the 1790s, the war against France was presented as an ideological struggle between French republicanism vs. British monarchism with the British government seeking to mobilise public opinion in support of the war. The Pitt government waged a vigorous propaganda campaign contrasting the ordered society of Britain dominated by the aristocracy and the gentry vs. the "anarchy" of the French revolution and always sought to associate British "radicals" with the revolution in France. Though the Pitt government did drastically reduce civil liberties and created a nationwide spy network with ordinary people being encouraged to denounce any "radicals" that may have been in their midst, the historian Eric Evans argued the picture of Pitt's "reign of terror" as portrayed by the Marxist historian E.P. Thompson is incorrect, stating there is much evidence of a "popular conservative movement" that rallied in defence of King and Country. Evans wrote that there were about 200 prosecutions of "radicals" suspected of sympathy with the French revolution in British courts in the 1790s, which was much less than the prosecutions of suspected Jacobites after the rebellions of 1715 and 1745. However, the spy network maintained by the government was efficient. In
Jane Austen Jane Austen (; 16 December 1775 – 18 July 1817) was an English novelist known primarily for her six major novels, which interpret, critique and comment upon the British landed gentry The landed gentry, or the ''gentry'', is a l ...

Jane Austen
's novel ''
Northanger Abbey ''Northanger Abbey'' () is a Coming of age, coming-of-age novel and a Gothic fiction#First parodies, satire of Gothic novels written by Jane Austen. It was completed in 1803, the first of Austen's novels completed in full, but was published p ...
'', which was written in the 1790s, but not published until 1817, one of the characters' remarks that it is not possible for a family to keep secrets in these modern times when spies for the government were lurking everywhere. This comment captures well the tense, paranoid atmosphere of the 1790s, when people were being encouraged to report "radicals" to the authorities.


Haiti

In 1793, Pitt decided to take advantage of the
Haitian Revolution The Haitian Revolution (french: révolution haïtienne ; ht, revolisyon ayisyen) was a successful insurrection Rebellion, uprising, or insurrection is a refusal of obedience or order. It refers to the open resistance against the orders o ...

Haitian Revolution
to seize St. Domingue, the richest French colony in the world, believing this would strike a great blow at France while bringing St. Domingue into the
British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other Dependent territory, territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. ...

British Empire
and ensuring that the slaves in the
British West Indies The British West Indies, sometimes abbreviated to the BWI, is a collective term for the British territories The British Overseas Territories (BOTs), also known as United Kingdom Overseas Territories (UKOTs), are fourteen dependent territo ...
would not be inspired to revolt likewise. Many of those who owned slave plantations in the British West Indies had been greatly alarmed by the revolution, which began in 1791, and they were strongly pressing Pitt to restore slavery in St. Domingue, lest their own slaves be inspired to seek freedom. The British landed in St. Domingue on 20 September 1793, stating they had come to protect the white population from the blacks, and were able to seize some coastal enclaves. The fact that the British had come to restore slavery in St. Domingue inspired ferocious resistance from the Haitians, who had no desire to be forced into chains again. The heavy death toll caused by
yellow fever Yellow fever is a viral disease of typically short duration. In most cases, symptoms include fever Fever, also referred to as pyrexia, is defined as having a above the due to an increase in the body's temperature . There is not a singl ...
, the much dreaded "black vomit", made conquering St. Domingue impossible, but an undeterred Pitt launched what he called the "great push" in 1795, sending out an even larger British expedition. In November 1795, some 218 ships left Portsmouth for St. Domingue. After the failure of the
Quiberon expedition The invasion of France in 1795 or the Battle of Quiberon was a major landing on the Quiberon, Quiberon peninsula by émigré, counter-revolutionary troops in support of the Chouannerie and Vendée Revolt, beginning on 23 June and finally definit ...
earlier in 1795, when the British landed a force of French royalists on the coast of France who were annihilated by the forces of the republic, Pitt had decided it was crucial for Britain to have St. Domingue, no matter what the cost in lives and money, to improve Britain's negotiating hand when it came time to make peace with the French republic. The British historian Michael Duffy argued that since Pitt committed far more manpower and money to the Caribbean expeditions, especially the one to St. Domingue, than he ever did to Europe in the years 1793–1798, it is proper to view the West Indies as Britain's main theatre of war and Europe as more of a sideshow. By 1795, 50% of the British Army was deployed in the West Indies (with the largest contingent in St. Domingue), whereas the rest of the British Army was divided among Britain, Europe, India, and North America. As the British death toll, largely caused by yellow fever, continued to climb, Pitt was criticised in the House of Commons. Several MPs suggested it might be better to abandon the expedition, but Pitt insisted that Britain had given its word of honour that it would protect the French planters from their former slaves, and the expedition to St. Domingue could not be abandoned. The British attempt to conquer St. Domingue in 1793 ended in disaster; the British pulled out on 31 August 1798 after having spent 4 million pounds (roughly £ million in today's money) and having lost about 100,000 men − dead or crippled for life, mostly from disease – over the preceding five years. The British historian Sir wrote that Pitt and his cabinet had tried to destroy French power "in these pestilent islands ... only to discover, when it was too late, that they practically destroyed the British army". Fortescue concluded that Pitt's attempt to add St. Domingue to the British empire had killed off most of the British army, cost the British treasury a fortune and weakened British influence in Europe, making British power "fettered, numbered and paralyzed", all for nothing.


Anti-Catholic laws in Ireland

Throughout the 1790s, the popularity of the
Society of United Irishmen The Society of United Irishmen was a sworn association in the Kingdom of Ireland formed in the wake of the French Revolution to secure "an equal representation of all the people" in a national government. Despairing of constitutional reform, i ...

Society of United Irishmen
grew. Influenced by the American and French revolutions, this movement demanded independence and republicanism for Ireland. The United Irishmen Society was very anti-clerical, being equally opposed to the "superstitions" promoted by both the Church of England and the Roman Catholic church, which caused the latter to support the Crown. Realising that the Catholic church was an ally in the struggle against the French revolution, Pitt had tried fruitlessly to persuade the Dublin parliament to loosen the anti-Catholic laws to "keep things quiet in Ireland". Pitt's efforts to soften the anti-Catholic laws failed in the face of determined resistance from the families of the
Protestant Ascendancy The Protestant Ascendancy, known simply as the Ascendancy, was the political, economic, and social domination of Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. I ...
in Ireland, who forced Pitt to recall
Earl Fitzwilliam Earl Fitzwilliam (or FitzWilliam) was a title in both the Peerage of Ireland A peerage is a legal system historically comprising various hereditary titles (and sometimes non-hereditary titles) in a number of countries, and composed of assorted ...
as
Chief Secretary for Ireland The Chief Secretary for Ireland was a key political office in the British administration in Ireland. Nominally subordinate to the Lord Lieutenant A lord-lieutenant () is the British monarch's personal representative in each lieutenancy ...
in 1795, when the latter had indicated he would support a bill for Catholic relief. In much of rural Ireland, law and order had broken down as an economic crisis further impoverished the already poor Irish peasantry, and a sectarian war with many atrocities on both sides had begun in 1793 between Catholic "Defenders" versus Protestant "Peep o'Day Boys". A section of the Peep o'Day Boys who had renamed themselves the Loyal Orange Order in September 1795 were fanatically committed to upholding Protestant supremacy in Ireland at "almost any cost". In December 1796, a French invasion of Ireland led by General
Lazare Hoche Louis Lazare Hoche (; 24 June 1768 – 19 September 1797) was a French people, French soldier who served during the French Revolutionary Wars and rose to become a general of the French Revolutionary Army, Revolutionary Army. He won a victory ov ...

Lazare Hoche
(scheduled to coordinate with a rising of the United Irishmen) was only thwarted by bad weather. To crush the United Irishmen, Pitt sent General Lake to
Ulster Ulster (; ga, Ulaidh or ''Cúige Uladh'' ; sco, label=Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster Scots, Ulstèr or ''Ulster'') is one of the four traditional Irish provinces of Ireland, provinces, in the north of Ireland. It is made up of nine Counties ...

Ulster
in 1797 to call out Protestant Irish militiamen and organised an intelligence network of spies and informers.


Spithead mutiny

In April 1797, the mutiny of the entire Spithead fleet shook the government (sailors demanded a pay increase to match inflation). This mutiny occurred at the same moment that the Franco-Dutch alliance were preparing an invasion of Britain. To regain control of the fleet, Pitt agreed to navy pay increases and had George III pardon the mutineers. By contrast, the more political "floating republic" naval mutiny at the Nore in June 1797 led by Richard Parker was handled more repressively. Pitt refused to negotiate with Parker, whom he wanted to see hanged as a mutineer. In response to the 1797 mutinies, Pitt passed an act making it unlawful to advocate breaking oaths to the Crown. In 1798, he passed the Defence of the Realm act, which further restricted civil liberties.


Ireland

In May 1798, the long-simmering unrest in Ireland exploded into outright rebellion with the United Irishmen Society launching a revolt to win independence for Ireland. Pitt took an extremely repressive approach to the United Irishmen with the Crown executing about 1,500 United Irishmen after the revolt. The revolt of 1798 destroyed Pitt's faith in the governing competence of the Dublin parliament (dominated by
Protestant Ascendancy The Protestant Ascendancy, known simply as the Ascendancy, was the political, economic, and social domination of Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. I ...
families). Thinking a less sectarian and more conciliatory approach would have avoided the uprising, Pitt that would make Ireland an official part of the United Kingdom and end the "
Irish Question Political map of Ireland since the 1921 Partition The Irish Question was the issue debated among, mainly, the British ruling classes from the early 19th century until the 1920s of how to respond to Irish nationalism and the calls for Irish ind ...
". The French expeditions to Ireland in 1796 and 1798 (to support the United Irishmen) were regarded by Pitt as near-misses that might have provided an Irish base for French attacks on Britain, thus making the "Irish Question" a national security matter. As the Dublin parliament did not wish to disband, Pitt made generous use of what would now be called " pork barrel politics" to bribe Irish MPs to vote for the Act of Union.


Failure to defeat France

Despite Pitt's efforts, the French continued to defeat the
First Coalition The War of the First Coalition (french: Guerre de la Première Coalition) is a set of wars that several European powers fought between 1792 and 1797 against initially the constitutional Kingdom of France and then the French Republic that succ ...
, which collapsed in 1798. A
Second Coalition The War of the Second Coalition (1798–1802) was the second war on revolutionary A revolutionary is a person who either participates in, or advocates a revolution. Also, when used as an adjective, the term ''revolutionary'' refers to som ...
, consisting of Great Britain,
Austria Austria (, ; german: Österreich ), officially the Republic of Austria (german: Republik Österreich, links=no, ), is a landlocked Eastern Alps, East Alpine country in the southern part of Central Europe. It is composed of nine States o ...

Austria
,
Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of . There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because th ...

Russia
, and the
Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire (; ', ; or '; )info page on bookat Martin Luther University) // CITED: p. 36 (PDF p. 38/338). was an empire that controlled much of Southeastern Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa, Northern Africa between the 14th ...
, was formed, but it, too, failed to overcome the French. The fall of the Second Coalition with the defeat of the Austrians at the
Battle of Marengo The Battle of Marengo was fought on 14 June 1800 between French French (french: français(e), link=no) may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République fran ...

Battle of Marengo
(14 June 1800) and at the
Battle of Hohenlinden The Battle of Hohenlinden was fought on 3 December 1800, during the French Revolutionary Wars. A French army under Jean Victor Marie Moreau won a decisive victory over the Habsburg Monarchy, Austrians and Electorate of Bavaria, Bavarians led b ...
(3 December 1800) left Great Britain facing France alone.


Resignation

Following the
Acts of Union 1800 The Acts of Union 1800 (sometimes referred to as a single Act of Union 1801) were parallel acts of the Parliament of Great Britain The Parliament of Great Britain was formed in May 1707 following the ratification of the Acts of Union by ...
, Pitt sought to inaugurate the new
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was a sovereign state that existed between 1801 and 1922. It was established by the Acts of Union 1800, which merged the Kingdom of Great Britain and the Kingdom of Ireland into a unified state ...

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
by granting concessions to Roman Catholics, who formed a 75% majority of the population in Ireland, by abolishing various political restrictions under which they suffered. The king was strongly opposed to
Catholic Emancipation #REDIRECT Catholic emancipation Catholic emancipation or Catholic relief was a process in the kingdoms of Great Britain Great Britain is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean off the northwest coast of continental Europe. With an area of ...
; he argued that to grant additional liberty would violate his coronation oath, in which he had promised to protect the established
Church of England The Church of England (C of E) is a Christian church Christian Church is a Protestant Protestantism is a form of Christianity that originated with the 16th-century Reformation, a movement against what its followers perceived to be Critic ...
. Pitt, unable to change the king's strong views, resigned on 16 February 1801, so as to allow
Henry Addington Henry Addington, 1st Viscount Sidmouth, (30 May 175715 February 1844) was a British Tory The Tories were a political faction Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or othe ...

Henry Addington
, his political friend, to form a new administration. At about the same time, however, the king suffered a renewed bout of madness, with the consequence that Addington could not receive his formal appointment. Though he had resigned, Pitt temporarily continued to discharge his duties; on 18 February 1801, he brought forward the annual budget. Power was transferred from Pitt to Addington on 14 March, when the king recovered. Pitt supported the new administration, but with little enthusiasm; he frequently absented himself from Parliament, preferring to remain in his Lord Warden's residence of
Walmer Castle Walmer Castle is an artillery fort originally constructed by Henry VIII of England, Henry VIII in Walmer, Kent, between 1539 and 1540. It formed part of the King's Device Fort, Device programme to protect against invasion from France and the Hol ...

Walmer Castle
—before 1802 usually spending an annual late-summer holiday there, and later often present from the spring until the autumn. From the castle, he helped organise a local Volunteer Corps in anticipation of a French invasion, acted as colonel of a battalion raised by
Trinity House "Three In One" , formation = , founding_location = Deptford, London, England , status = Royal Charter corporation and registered charity , purpose = Maintenance of lighthouses, buoys and beacons , he ...

Trinity House
—he was also a Master of Trinity House—and encouraged the construction of
Martello tower Martello towers, sometimes known simply as Martellos, are small defensive forts A fortification is a military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for ...

Martello tower
s and the
Royal Military Canal The Royal Military Canal is a canal running for between Seabrook near Folkestone and Cliff End near Hastings, following the old cliff line bordering Romney Marsh, which was constructed as a defence against the Napoleon's planned invasion of t ...
in
Romney Marsh Romney Marsh is a sparsely populated wetland area in the counties Kent and East Sussex in the south-east of England. It covers about . The Marsh has been in use for centuries, though its inhabitants commonly suffered from malaria until the 18th ...
. He rented land abutting the Castle to farm on which to lay out trees and walks. His niece
Lady Hester Stanhope Lady Hester Lucy Stanhope (12 March 1776 – 23 June 1839) was a British aristocrat, adventurer, antiquarian, and one of the most famous travellers of her age. Her archaeological excavation of Ashkelon in 1815 is considered the first to ...
designed and managed the gardens and acted as his hostess. The
Treaty of Amiens The Treaty of Amiens (French French (french: français(e), link=no) may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a country primarily l ...
in 1802 between France and Britain marked the end of the
French Revolutionary Wars The French Revolutionary Wars (french: Guerres de la Révolution française) were a series of sweeping military conflicts lasting from 1792 until 1802 and resulting from the French Revolution. They pitted French First Republic, France against Gr ...
. Everyone expected it to be only a short truce. By 1803, war had broken out again with
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses ...
under Emperor
Napoleon Napoléon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a French military and political leader. He rose to prominence during the French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) refers to the period that began with the Estates General o ...

Napoleon
. Although Addington had previously invited him to join the Cabinet, Pitt preferred to join the Opposition, becoming increasingly critical of the government's policies. Addington, unable to face the combined opposition of Pitt and Fox, saw his majority gradually evaporate and resigned in late April 1804.


Second government

Pitt returned to the premiership on 10 May 1804. He had originally planned to form a broad coalition government, but faced the opposition of George III to the inclusion of Fox. Moreover, many of Pitt's former supporters, including the allies of Addington, joined the Opposition. Thus, Pitt's second ministry was considerably weaker than his first. The British government began placing pressure on the French Emperor,
Napoleon I Napoléon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a French military and political leader. He rose to prominence during the French Revolution and led Napoleon Bonaparte's battle record, several successful campaigns during the French Rev ...

Napoleon I
. Thanks to Pitt's efforts, Britain joined the
Third Coalition The War of the Third Coalition) * In French historiography, it is known as the Austrian campaign of 1805 (french: Campagne d'Autriche de 1805) or the German campaign of 1805 (french: Campagne d'Allemagne de 1805) was a European conflict spanning ...
, an alliance that included Austria, Russia, and
Sweden Sweden ( sv, Sverige ), officially the Kingdom of Sweden ( sv, links=no, Konungariket Sverige ), is a Nordic country The Nordic countries, or the Nordics, are a geographical and cultural region In geography, regions are areas that ...

Sweden
. In October 1805, the British Admiral
Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson, 1st Duke of Bronté, (29 September 1758 – 21 October 1805), also known simply as Admiral Nelson, was a British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people ...
, won a crushing victory in the
Battle of Trafalgar The Battle of Trafalgar (21 October 1805) was a naval battle, naval engagement between the British Royal Navy and the combined fleets of the French Navy, French and Spanish Navy, Spanish Navies during the War of the Third Coalition (August–D ...

Battle of Trafalgar
, ensuring British naval supremacy for the remainder of the war. At the annual
Lord Mayor Lord mayor is a title of a mayor In many countries, a mayor is the highest-ranking official An official is someone who holds an office (function or mandate, regardless whether it carries an actual working space with it) in an organization or ...
's Banquet toasting him as "the Saviour of Europe", Pitt responded in a few words that became the most famous speech of his life: :I return you many thanks for the honour you have done me; but Europe is not to be saved by any single man. England has saved herself by her exertions, and will, as I trust, save Europe by her example. Nevertheless, the Coalition collapsed, having suffered significant defeats at the
Battle of Ulm The Battle of Ulm on 16–19 October 1805 was a series of skirmishes, at the end of the Ulm Campaign The Ulm campaign was a series of French and Bavarian military maneuvers and battles to outflank and capture an Austrian army in 1805 during ...
(October 1805) and the
Battle of Austerlitz The Battle of Austerlitz (2 December 1805/11 Frimaire An XIV French Republican Calendar, FRC), also known as the Battle of the Three Emperors, was one of the most important and decisive engagements of the Napoleonic Wars. In what is widely regard ...

Battle of Austerlitz
(December 1805). After hearing the news of Austerlitz Pitt referred to a map of Europe, "Roll up that map; it will not be wanted these ten years."


Finances

Pitt was an expert in finance and served as
chancellor of the exchequer The chancellor of the Exchequer, often abbreviated to the chancellor, is a senior minister of the Crown within the Government of the United Kingdom, and the chief executive officer of HM Treasury, Her Majesty's Treasury. As one of the four Grea ...
. Critical to his success in confronting Napoleon was using Britain's superior economic resources. He was able to mobilize the nation's industrial and financial resources and apply them to defeating France. With a population of 16 million, Britain was barely half the size of France, which had a population of 30 million. In terms of soldiers, however, the French numerical advantage was offset by British subsidies that paid for a large proportion of the Austrian and Russian soldiers, peaking at about 450,000 in 1813. Britain used its economic power to expand the Royal Navy, doubling the number of frigates and increasing the number of large ships of the line by 50%, while increasing the roster of sailors from 15,000 to 133,000 in eight years after the war began in 1793. The British national output remained strong, and the well-organized business sector channelled products into what the military needed. France, meanwhile, saw its navy shrink by more than half. The system of smuggling finished products into the continent undermined French efforts to ruin the British economy by cutting off markets. By 1814, the budget that Pitt in his last years had largely shaped had expanded to £66 million, including £10 million for the Navy, £40 million for the Army, £10 million for the Allies, and £38 million as interest on the national debt. The national debt soared to £679 million, more than double the GDP. It was willingly supported by hundreds of thousands of investors and tax payers, despite the higher taxes on land and a new income tax. The whole cost of the war came to £831 million. The French financial system was inadequate and Napoleon's forces had to rely in part on requisitions from conquered lands.


Death

The setbacks took a toll on Pitt's health. He had long suffered from poor health, beginning in childhood, and was plagued with
gout Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritisInflammatory arthritis is a group of diseases which includes: rheumatoid arthritis Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a long-term autoimmune disorder that primarily affects joints. It typically results i ...

gout
and " biliousness", which was worsened by a fondness for port wine, port that began when he was advised to consume it to deal with his chronic ill-health. On 23 January 1806, Pitt died at Bowling Green House on Putney, Putney Heath, probably from peptic ulceration of his stomach or duodenum; he was unmarried and left no children. Pitt's debts amounted to £40,000 when he died, but Parliament agreed to pay them on his behalf. A motion was made to honour him with a public funeral and a monument; it passed despite some opposition. Pitt's body was buried in Westminster Abbey on 22 February, having lain in state for two days in the Palace of Westminster. Pitt was succeeded as Prime Minister by his first cousin William Grenville, 1st Baron Grenville, who headed the Ministry of All the Talents, a coalition which included Charles James Fox.


Personal life

Pitt became known as a "three-bottle man" in reference to his heavy consumption of port wine. Each of these bottles would be around in volume. At one point rumours emerged of an intended marriage to Eleanor Eden, to whom Pitt had grown close. Pitt broke off the potential marriage in 1797, writing to her father, William Eden, 1st Baron Auckland, Lord Auckland, "I am compelled to say that I find the obstacles to it decisive and insurmountable". Of his social relationships, biographer William Hague writes:
Pitt was happiest among his Cambridge companions or family. He had no social ambitions, and it was rare for him to set out to make a friend. The talented collaborators of his first 18 months in office—Beresford, Wyvil and Twining—passed in and out of his mind along with their areas of expertise. Pitt's lack of interest in enlarging his social circle meant that it did not grow to encompass any women outside his own family, a fact that produced a good deal of rumour. From late 1784, a series of satirical verses appeared in ''The Morning Herald'' drawing attention to Pitt's lack of knowledge of women: "Tis true, indeed, we oft abuse him,/Because he bends to no man;/But slander's self dares not accuse him/Of stiffness to a woman." Others made snide references to Pitt's friendship with Thomas Steele (British politician), Tom Steele, Secretary to the Treasury. At the height of the constitutional crisis in 1784, Sheridan had compared Pitt to James I's favourite, the George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham, Duke of Buckingham, a clear reference to homosexuality. Socially, Pitt preferred the company of young men, and would continue to do so into his thirties and forties. It may be that Pitt had homosexual leanings but suppressed any urge to act on them for the sake of his ambitions. He could be charming to women, but it seems certain that he rejected intimacy whenever it was proffered—and would do so publicly at a later date. In practical terms it appears that Pitt was essentially asexuality, asexual throughout his life, perhaps one example of how his rapid development as a politician stunted his growth as a man.


Legacy

William Pitt the Younger was a prime minister who consolidated the powers of his office. Though he was sometimes opposed by members of his Cabinet, he helped define the role of the Prime Minister as the supervisor and co-ordinator of the various government departments. After his death the conservatives embraced him as a great patriotic hero. One of Pitt's accomplishments was a rehabilitation of the nation's finances after the American War of Independence. Pitt helped manage the mounting national debt, and made changes to the tax system in order to improve its great capture of revenue. Some of Pitt's domestic plans were not successful; he failed to secure parliamentary reform, emancipation, or the abolition of the slave trade although this last took place with the Slave Trade Act 1807, the year after his death. The 1792 Slave Trade Bill passed the House of Commons mangled and mutilated by the modifications and amendments of Pitt, it lay for years, in the House of Lords. Biographer William Hague considers the unfinished abolition of the slave trade to be Pitt's greatest failure. He notes that by the end of Pitt's career, conditions were in place that would have allowed a skillful attempt to pass an abolition bill to succeed, partly because of the long campaigning Pitt had encouraged with his friend
William Wilberforce William Wilberforce (24 August 175929 July 1833) was a British politician, philanthropist, and a leader of the movement to abolish the Atlantic slave trade, slave trade. A native of Kingston upon Hull, Yorkshire, he began his political career ...

William Wilberforce
. Hague goes on to note that the failure was likely due to Pitt being a "spent force" by the time favourable conditions had arisen. In Hague's opinion, Pitt's long premiership, "tested the natural limits of how long it is possible to be at the top. From 1783 to 1792, he faced each fresh challenge with brilliance; from 1793 he showed determination but sometimes faltered; and from 1804 he was worn down by ... the combination of a narrow majority and war". Historian Marie Peters has compared his strengths and weaknesses with his father: :Having some of his father's volatility and much of the self-confidence bordering on arrogance, the younger Pitt inherited superb and carefully nurtured oratorical gifts. These gave him, like his father, unsurpassed command of the Commons and power to embody the national will in wartime. There were, however, significant differences. The younger Pitt's eloquence, unlike his father's, included the force of sustained reasoned exposition. This was perhaps in part expression of his thoroughly professional approach to politics, so unlike his father's, but possibly deriving something from Shelburne. The younger Pitt was continuously engaged in depth with major issues of his day. He regularly and energetically sought the best information. He was genuinely progressive, as his father was not, on parliamentary reform, Catholic emancipation, commercial policy, and administrative reform. His constructive capacity in his chief responsibility, financial policy and administration, far surpassed his father's record, if it was less impressive and perhaps more equally matched in foreign and imperial policy and strategy. With good reason, his long career in high office was the mirror image of his father's short tenure. In contrast, only briefly was Chatham able to rise to the challenge of his age. By his last decade time had passed him by.


Cultural references


Film and television

William Pitt is depicted in several films and television programs. *Robert Donat portrays Pitt in the 1942 biopic ''The Young Mr. Pitt'', which chronicles the historical events of Pitt's life. *Pitt's attempts during his tenure as Prime Minister to cope with the dementia of King George III are portrayed by Julian Wadham in the 1994 film ''The Madness of King George''. *The 2006 film ''Amazing Grace (2006 film), Amazing Grace'', with Benedict Cumberbatch in the role of Pitt, depicts his close friendship with
William Wilberforce William Wilberforce (24 August 175929 July 1833) was a British politician, philanthropist, and a leader of the movement to abolish the Atlantic slave trade, slave trade. A native of Kingston upon Hull, Yorkshire, he began his political career ...

William Wilberforce
, the leading abolitionist in Parliament. *Pitt is caricatured as a boy-prime minister in the Blackadder the Third, third series of the television comedy ''Blackadder'', in which Simon Osborne plays a fictionalised Pitt as a petulant teenager who has just come to power "right in the middle of [his] exams" in the episode ''Dish and Dishonesty''. A fictionalised younger brother, "Pitt the Even Younger", appeared as a candidate standing in the Duny-on-the-Wold by-election. *In the series of prime ministerial biographies ''Number 10'', produced by Yorkshire Television, Pitt was portrayed by Jeremy Brett. *In the first episode of the 2016 ITV (TV channel), ITV TV series ''Victoria (UK TV series), Victoria'', written by Daisy Goodwin, William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne, Lord Melbourne cites Pitt the Younger becoming Prime Minister at 24 as a reason why youth should not disqualify the 18-year-old Queen Victoria from ruling Britain.


Places named after him

* The Pitt Club, University Pitt Club, a club for students at the University of Cambridge, was founded in 1835 "to do honour to the name and memory of Mr William Pitt". * Pittwater in
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Australia
was named in 1788 by British explorer
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Arthur Phillip
. * Pitt Street is the main financial precinct street in the Central business district of Sydney. * Pitt Town near Windsor outside of Sydney, together with another township called Wilberforce. * Mount Pitt, second highest mountain on Norfolk Island * Pitt Water, a body of water in South East Tasmania * Pitt's Head in Snowdonia National Park in Wales was named after the rock formation's resemblance to the Prime Minister. * While Chatham County, North Carolina was named after his father, Pittsboro, North Carolina was named after Pitt the Younger. * In
Penang Penang, officially the State of Penang, is a States and federal territories of Malaysia, Malaysian state located on the northwest coast of Peninsular Malaysia, by the Strait of Malacca, Malacca Strait. It has two parts: Penang Island, where t ...

Penang
, Malaysia, Pitt Street and Pitt Lane were named for him, as British Prime Minister when George Town, Penang, George Town was founded in 1786. * In Hong Kong, a street on Kowloon side, Pitt Street, is named after him. * Pittsburgh, Kingston, Pittsburgh, Ontario * Pitt Street in Glasgow is named after William Pitt the Younger. * Pitt Street in Windsor, Ontario * Pitt Street in Kingston, Ontario * Pitt Street in Cornwall, Ontario * Rue Pitt, Montreal Quebec * Chemin Pitt, Montreal Quebec * Pitt Street, Sydney Mines, Nova Scotia * Pitt Street, Saint John, New Brunswick, Saint John New Brunswick * Pitt House, Wycombe Abbey School, High Wycombe Buckinghamshire * Pitt's Cottage Westerham, Kent, former home of Pitt the Younger and more recently a local curry house (now closed) * The Pitt River, in British Columbia, Canada * William Pitt Avenue, Deal, Kent * Pitt Street in Southport, England *Pitt Street in Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand *Note, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania was named for his father,
William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham, (15 November 170811 May 1778) was Prime Minister of Great Britain from 1766 to 1768. Historians call him Pitt of Chatham, or William Pitt the Elder, to distinguish him from his son, William Pitt the Younger, ...
.


Footnotes


References


Bibliography

* ** ** ** * * * * * * * *


Further reading


Biographical

* * Ehrman, J. P. W., and Anthony Smith. "Pitt, William (1759–1806)", ''Oxford Dictionary of National Biography,'' (2004)
online 2009; accessed 12 September 2011
* Evans, Eric J. ''William Pitt the Younger'' (1999) 110 pages
online
* Furber, Holden. ''Henry Dundas: First Viscount Melville, 1741–1811, Political Manager of Scotland, Statesman, Administrator of British India'' (Oxford UP, 1931)
online
* , a short scholarly biography * Jupp, Peter. "Grenville, William Wyndham, Baron Grenville (1759–1834)" ''Oxford Dictionary of National Biography'' (2009) https://doi.org/10.1093/ref:odnb/11501 * * Leonard, Dick. "William Pitt, the Younger—Reformer Turned Reactionary?." in Leonard, ed. ''Nineteenth-Century British Premiers'' (Palgrave Macmillan UK, 2008) pp. 5–27. * Mori, Jennifer. ''William Pitt & the French Revolution, 1785–1795'' (1997) 305pp * Mori, Jennifer. "William Pitt the Younger" in R. Eccleshall and G. Walker, eds., ''Biographical Dictionary of British Prime Ministers'' (Routledge, 1998), pp. 85–94 * * Rose, J. Holland. ''William Pitt and National Revival'' (1911); ''William Pitt and the Great War'' (1912), solid, detailed study superseded by Ehrman
vol 1vol 2 free
* . (4 volumes); includes many extracts from Pitt's correspondenc
vol 1 onlinevol 2 online


Scholarly studies

* Blanning, T. C. W. ''The French Revolutionary Wars, 1787–1802'' (1996) * Bryant, Arthur. ''Years of Endurance 1793–1802'' (1942); and ''Years of Victory, 1802–1812'' (1944), well-written surveys of the British story * Cooper, William. "William Pitt, Taxation, and the Needs of War," ''Journal of British Studies'' Vol. 22, No. 1 (Autumn, 1982), pp. 94–103 * Derry, J. ''Politics in the Age of Fox, Pitt and Liverpool: Continuity and Transformation'' (1990) * Gaunt, Richard A. ''From Pitt to Peel: Conservative Politics in the Age of Reform'' (2014) * Kelly, Paul. "British Politics, 1783-4: The Emergence and Triumph of the Younger Pitt's Administration," ''Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research'' Vol. 54, No. 123 (1981) pp. 62–78. * Ledger-Lomas, Michael. "The Character of Pitt the Younger and Party Politics, 1830–1860." ''The Historical Journal'' Vol. 47, No. 3 (2004), pp. 641–661 * Mori, Jennifer. "The political theory of William Pitt the Younger," ''History,'' April 1998, Vol. 83 Issue 270, pp. 234–248 * Richards, Gerda C. "The Creations of Peers Recommended by the Younger Pitt," ''American Historical Review'' Vol. 34, No. 1 (October 1928), pp. 47–54 * Sack, James J. ''From Jacobite to Conservative: Reaction and Orthodoxy in Britain c.1760–1832'' (Cambridge University Press, 1993), does not see Pitt as a Tory * Sack, James J. ''The Grenvillites, 1801–29: Party Politics and Factionalism in the Age of Pitt and Liverpool'' (U. of Illinois Press, 1979) * Simms, Brendan. "Britain and Napoleon," ''Historical Journal'' Vol. 41, No. 3 (1998) pp. 885–894 * Wilkinson, D. "The Pitt-Portland Coalition of 1794 and the Origins of the 'Tory' party" ''History'' Vol. 83 (1998), pp. 249–264


Historiography and memory

* Foster, R. E. "Forever Young: Myth, Reality and William Pitt," ''History Review'' (March 2009) No. 6
online
* Ledger-Lomas, Michael. "The Character of Pitt the Younger and Party Politics, 1830–1860" ''The Historical Journal,'' 47#3 (2004), pp. 641–661 * Loades, David Michael, ed. ''Reader's guide to British history'' (2003) 2: 1044–45 * Moncure, James A. ed. ''Research Guide to European Historical Biography: 1450–Present'' (4 vol 1992); 4:1640–46 * Petrie, Charles, "The Bicentenary of the Younger Pitt," ''Quarterly Review'' (1959), Vol. 297 Issue 621, pp 254–265 * Sack, J. J. "The Memory of Burke and the Memory of Pitt: English Conservatism Confronts its Past, 1806–1829," ''Historical Journal'' (1987) 30#3 pp 623–640. , shows that after his death the conservatives embraced him as a great patriotic hero. * Turner, Simon. "‘I will not alter an Iota for any Mans Opinion upon Earth’: James Gillray's Portraits of William Pitt the Younger'' in Kim Sloan et al. eds., ''Burning Bright: Essays in Honour of David Bindman'' (2015) pp. 197–206.


Primary sources

* Pitt, William. ''The Speeches of the Right Honourable William Pitt, in the House of Commons'' (1817
online edition
* Temperley, Harold and L.M. Penson, eds. ''Foundations of British Foreign Policy: From Pitt (1792) to Salisbury (1902)'' (1938), primary source
online


External links



by James Gillray
Pitt the Younger
on the 10 Downing Street website *
''After Words'' interview with William Hague on his book ''William Pitt the Younger'', February 27, 2005
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