Lot 792: Pitt William



2015-07-10 15:43:29

Lot 792: Pitt William: The Younger (1759-1806) British Prime Minister 1783-1801, 1804-06. A.L.S., W Pitt, (The Signature Somewhat Obscured By A Large Ink Blot), One Page, 4To, Berkeley Square, 28Th December 1783, To [Sir Robert (?) Henderson]. Pitt Informs His Correspondent That 'Immediately On The Meeting Of The House Of Commons On The 12Th Of January Business Of The Greatest Moment Will Be Brought Forward' And Continues 'I Am The More Anxious That You Should Be Informed Of This Circumstance As You Have Had No Opportunity Of Taking Any Part On The Questions Respecting The East Indies, Which Have Been So Much Agitated Of Late, And As I Am Fully Convinced That If Any Plan Can Be Brought On, Worthy Of Your Support, It Will Not Fail To Receive It' And Concludes 'It Is On Those Grounds, And Those Only, That I Can In Any Degree Presume To Expect It'. With Blank Integral Leaf Bearing A Pencil Annotation In The Hand Of A French Collector Indicating That The Letter Was Sent To A Robert Henderson. Vg Pitt Took Office As Prime Minister For The First Time On 19Th December 1783, Less Than Ten Days Before The Present Letter Was Written, When He Became The Youngest Prime Minister At The Age Of 24. Pitt'S Letter Is Written In The Aftermath Of The Fox-North Coalition Of 1783, A Government Whose Ministry Was A Coalition Of The Groups Supporting Charles James Fox And Lord North. King George Iii Despised The Government, And Fox In Particular, But Found That No Other Ministry Could Be Formed At This Stage Despite Several Offers To Pitt. The British East India Company Had Been In Trouble And Fox Proposed Nationalising It. The East India Bill Was Introduced And Passed In The Commons But The King Remained Deeply Opposed. He Informed The House Of Lords That He Would Regard Any Peer Who Voted For The Bill As His Enemy. The Bill Was Defeated On 17 December 1783 And The King Immediately Dismissed The Coalition. It Was Succeeded By A Government Formed By Pitt. After Being Dismissed, Fox And North Tried To Force Pitt From Power Through Defeat In The House Of Commons, But He Refused To Resign. The Response Of Opinion In The Country, Evidenced By Petitions, Resolutions Of Borough Corporations And The Actions Of The London Mobs, Showed Strong Opposition To The Coalition And Support For Pitt. In March 1784 A General Election Was Called In Which Pitt'S Government Made Massive Gains. Pitt'S Correspondent Was Probably Actually Sir John Henderson (1752-1817) Scottish Nobleman And Politician Who Served As Mp For Dysart Burghs From 1780-84. Henderson Was A Known Supporter Of Pitt The Younger. We Can Find No Trace Of A Robert Henderson Having Sat In The House Of Commons At The Time Of The Present Letter. International Autograph Auctions' Autograph Auction July 2015 Saturday, 18th July 2015 Estimate: £150 - 200
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