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Pitt Collection

Date range: 1766–1834.

The Pitt Collection, in fact an amalgam of papers acquired from several different sources, contains political, state, military and personal papers of several members of the Pitt family.

Most prominent among them is William Pitt the Younger (1759–1806), famously appointed Prime Minister at the tender age of twenty-four in 1783; he led the administration for a further seventeen years, during the mementous period of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars.

Also represented is his elder brother John Pitt (1756–1835), 2nd Earl of Chatham, whose military career met with mixed success.

There is also personal correspondence of their sister, Lady Harriot Pitt; in 1785 she married Edward James Eliot, one of William’s intimate friends, but died of puerperal fever only twelve months later.

The collection includes:

  • letters from Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville, to Pitt the Younger concerning various matters of State: naval business, the West Indies, Indian affairs, etc.
  • a catalogue of correspondence and papers of William Pitt, compiled in 1834 by William Edward Tomline from the collection of George Pretyman Tomline, Bishop of Winchester
  • papers relating to the political, military, financial and commercial affairs of the East India Company
  • statements respecting the trade and revenues of the Company, specifically relating to Bengal, Tanjore and Arcot
  • reports on proposed plans for the government of British India and on the use of convict labour for public works
  • the military papers of John Pitt, concerned with proposals for the defence of various parts of England, particularly the South Coast, against the threat of invasion by Napoleon, the defences of Quebec, Trinidad and Ireland, and projects for attacking the Spanish colonies in South America
  • letters from Lady Harriot Pitt to her mother Hester, Countess of Chatham

Finding aids

Catalogue available online via ELGAR.

Location

The John Rylands Library

Using the reading rooms in the John Rylands Library

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