"The Character of Pitt the Younger and Party Politics, 1830–1860. The First Fleet of 11 vessels carried over a thousand settlers, including 778 convicts. Lord Rockingham died only three months after coming to power; he was succeeded by another Whig, William Petty, 2nd Earl of Shelburne. Britain’s increased possessions in India made it necessary for the administration there to be supervised by the government rather than be left in the hands of the commercial East India Company. He was also Chancellor of the Exchequer for all of his time as prime minister. "British Politics, 1783-4: The Emergence and Triumph of the Younger Pitt's Administration,", Ledger-Lomas, Michael. The biography of Pitt by John Ehrman, The Younger Pitt (1969), is an outstanding work of scholarship which deals exhaustively with Pitt's early years, to 1789. He became First Minister in 1783 at the age of 24, and died in 1806, having been a thoroughly dedicated and professional politician. The French Revolution had revived the agitation for parliamentary reform, dormant since a bill introduced by Pitt in 1785 had been defeated, but the cause of reform was soon discredited because its advocates were thought to approve of the violence in France. 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. [29], 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. Addington, unable to face the combined opposition of Pitt and Fox, saw his majority gradually evaporate and resigned in late April 1804. In 1788 he made alliances with Prussia and with Holland, aimed at restricting French influence. To regain control of the fleet, Pitt agreed to navy pay increases and had George III pardon the mutineers. 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.[80]. 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, a position whose incumbent was responsible for the coastal defences of the realm. Please refer to the appropriate style manual or other sources if you have any questions. Pitt's prime ministerial tenure, which came during the reign of King George III, was dominated by major political events in Europe, including the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. Aside from information specific to William Pitt the Younger's birthday, William Pitt the Younger is the 1162nd most famous English . This comment captures well the tense, paranoid atmosphere of the 1790s, when people were being encouraged to report "radicals" to the authorities. He was able to mobilize the nation's industrial and financial resources and apply them to defeating France. Beyond those facts, historical opinion varies--some scholars regard him as a reformer, and others as a reactionary, a debate that inspirits Michael Turner's Pitt the Younger (2003). An electoral defeat for the government was out of the question because Pitt enjoyed the support of King George III. By 1792, the debt had fallen to £170 million. He is known as "the Younger" to distinguish him from his father, William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham, who is customarily referred to as "William Pitt the Elder" (or less commonly, simply "Chatham") and had previously served as prime minister. William Pitt the Younger addressing the House of Commons, 1793. Domingue. William Pitt the Younger navigational boxes, (as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom). He hung on, and gradually the coalition’s majority in Parliament began to crumble; many members, fearing the loss of their seats at a general election, went over to Pitt’s side during February and March, doubtless in the hope that he would gain a majority in the existing house sufficient to make a dissolution unnecessary. He had considerable influence in strengthening the office of the prime minister. The French financial system was inadequate and Napoleon's forces had to rely in part on requisitions from conquered lands. He had originally planned to form a broad coalition government, but faced the opposition of George III to the inclusion of Fox. By the Constitutional Act of 1791, the province of Quebec was divided into two separate provinces: the predominantly French Lower Canada and the predominantly English Upper Canada. 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. [44][45] The outbreak of the French Revolution and its attendant wars temporarily united Britain and Russia in an ideological alliance against French republicanism. He had no social ambitions, and it was rare for him to set out to make a friend. King George III, unwilling to accept the coalition that would give office to Fox, whom he hated, invited Pitt to form a government; but Pitt declined, knowing he would not have a majority in the House of Commons, and the King had to commission Fox and North. However, although it was widely predicted that the new "mince-pie administration" would not outlast the Christmas season,[27] it survived for seventeen years. Parliament began to enact repressive legislation in order to silence the reformers. But Pitt wisely declined, for he knew he would be incapable of securing the support of the House of Commons. He however considered himself an "Independent Whig" and was opposed to development of partisan politics. [48], 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. It was not the execution of the French king Louis XVI in January 1793 that made a continuation of peace impossible but it was the provocative French decrees of late 1792, which authorized their armies to violate neutral territory and which promised military assistance to any European people wishing to depose its rulers. He created the "new Toryism", which revived the Tory Party and enabled it to stay in power for the next quarter-century. At the annual Lord Mayor's Banquet toasting him as "the Saviour of Europe", Pitt responded in a few words that became the most famous speech of his life: Nevertheless, the Coalition collapsed, having suffered significant defeats at the Battle of Ulm (October 1805) and the Battle of Austerlitz (December 1805). In 1788, Pitt faced a major crisis when the King fell victim to a mysterious illness,[46] a form of mental disorder that incapacitated him. 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. His mother, Hester Grenville, was sister to former prime minister George Grenville. The younger William Pitt lived a life that is not widely known or appreciated in the USA and this well-written and entertaining biography should help to remedy that. The historian Asa Briggs 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. Pittsylvania County, Virginia, was formed in 1767, eight years after Pitt the Younger was born. [31], A notable exception came in Fox's own constituency of Westminster, which contained one of the largest electorates in the country. Thinking a less sectarian and more conciliatory approach would have avoided the uprising, Pitt sought an Act of Union that would make Ireland an official part of the United Kingdom and end the "Irish Question". From the middle of the 18th century until the beginning of … When news of this spread, it was assumed Fox and his associates had tried to bring down Pitt by any means. William Pitt was the second son of William Pitt, 1st earl of Chatham, a famous statesman of the mid-18th century, whose energy contributed much to Britain’s successful prosecution of the Seven Years’ War (1756–63) with France. Pitt, although often referred to as a Tory, or "new Tory", called himself an "independent Whig" and was generally opposed to the development of a strict partisan political system. Pitt made a successful maiden speech and, in March 1782, when it was clear that a new ministry would soon be formed, announced with astonishing self-confidence that he had no intention of accepting a subordinate position. Power was transferred from Pitt to Addington on 14 March, when the king recovered.[74]. In 1798, he passed the Defence of the Realm act, which further restricted civil liberties. By 1803, war had broken out again with France under Emperor Napoleon. 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. [70] Pitt took an extremely repressive approach to the United Irishmen with the Crown executing about 1,500 United Irishmen after the revolt. He was Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1782–1783, 1783–1801 and 1804–1806. The Fox–North coalition rose to power in a government nominally headed by William Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland.[20]. In 1786, he instituted a sinking fund 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. If the sovereign was incapable of fulfilling his constitutional duties, Parliament would need to appoint a regent to rule in his place. Professor of Modern History, University of Reading, England, 1947–65. The new government was immediately on the defensive and in January 1784 was defeated on a motion of no confidence. [41] 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. [38][39][c], In 1797, Pitt was forced to protect the kingdom's gold reserves by preventing individuals from exchanging banknotes for gold. Historians conclude that the loss of the American colonies enabled Britain to deal with the French Revolution with more unity and organisation than would otherwise have been the case. [87][88], Pitt's debts amounted to £40,000 when he died, but Parliament agreed to pay them on his behalf. Pitt, however, was comfortable with Shelburne, and thus joined his government; he was appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer. He became the youngest British Prime Minister when he was elected in 1783 at the age of 24 (although the term Prime Minister was not yet used). He suggested no extension of the franchise but recommended measures to prevent bribery and to make the representation more realistic. 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. [52] 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. He rented land abutting the Castle to farm on which to lay out trees and walks. A brilliant and precocious youth, he entered Cambridge at 15 and Parliament at age 21, 1/23/1781. His administration secure, Pitt could begin to enact his agenda. To embarrass the new government, which, under the nominal premiership of the Duke of Portland, consisted of an admixture of reformers and anti-reformers, Pitt brought forward the question of parliamentary reform, with which he had already once, a year earlier, concerned himself. He became First Minister in 1783 at the age of 24, and died in 1806, having been a thoroughly dedicated and professional politician. The war with France was extremely expensive, straining Great Britain's finances. A fifth of Britain's imports were smuggled in without paying taxes. Unlike in the latter stages of the Napoleonic Wars, 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. He increased taxes to pay for the great war against France and cracked down on radicalism. Pitt was alarmed at Russian expansion in the 1780s at the expense of the Ottoman Empire. 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