Pitt family papers  1728-1830 (bulk 1757-1805)
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Biography

William Pitt was born in Westminster, London, England, on November 15, 1708, the son of Robert Pitt (1680?-1727) and Harriet Villiers (d. 1736). His grandfather, Thomas Pitt (1653-1726) was a diamond merchant and a governor of Madras, India, for the East India Company. William Pitt attended Eton College from 1719-1726, and Trinity College, Oxford, in 1727. He briefly lived in Utrecht, Netherlands, and received a cornet's commission under Richard Temple, Viscount Cobham, in 1731. After a grand tour of the Continent in 1733-1734, Pitt entered Parliament as part of the opposition to Prime Minister Robert Walpole, and he befriended Frederick Louis, Prince of Wales. His parliamentary reputation and influence grew, and he became paymaster-general from 1746-1755. On November 16, 1754, Pitt married Lady Hester Grenville (1720-1803), the daughter of Richard Grenville (1678-1727) and Hester Temple, Countess Temple (ca. 1684-1752). Pitt and his wife had five children: Hester (b. 1755), John (1756-1835), Harriot (b. 1758), William (1759-1806), and James Charles (b. 1761). Pitt was secretary of state for much of the Seven Years' War, and he continued to serve in Parliament after resigning as secretary in 1760. From 1766-1768, Pitt served as prime minister. He remained involved in politics and international affairs until his death on May 11, 1778.

John Pitt was born in Kent, England, on October 9, 1756, the son of William Pitt and Hester Grenville Pitt. He was an ensign in the 47th Regiment of Foot (1774-1776), a lieutenant in the 39th Regiment of Foot (1778-1779), and a captain in the 86th Regiment of Foot (1779-1783). He became first lord of the Admiralty on July 16, 1778, and inherited the earldom of Chatham upon the death of his father. He served in the British Admiralty until 1794 and in various positions within the Privy Council from 1789-1801. Throughout his time on the cabinet, Pitt continued his military service. In 1799 he was promoted to colonel of the 4th Regiment of Foot, and he served on the Continent later that year. From 1801-1806 and 1807-1810, Pitt was master-general of the ordnance, and he also served as governor of Plymouth and governor of Jersey. He commanded military actions on the Continent during the Napoleonic Wars, was promoted to general in January 1812, and was governor of Gibraltar from 1820 until his death. John Pitt, 2nd earl of Chatham, died on September 24, 1835.

William Pitt (also known as William Pitt the Younger) was born in Kent, England, on May 28, 1759. He attended Pembroke College at Cambridge University from 1773-1779, and studied law at Lincoln's Inn. He joined Parliament as a representative for Appleby in 1781 and became a member of the opposition. His ties to Lord Shelburne led to his appointment as chancellor of the exchequer in 1782 , and he declined the office of prime minister after the collapse of Shelburne's government in 1783. Later that year, he became first lord of the Treasury and prime minister. His first ministry lasted until his resignation in February 1801, prompted by disagreement with the king over Catholic emancipation. Pitt returned to political life after the declaration of war against France in 1803, and he served a second term as prime minister from 1804 until his death on January 23, 1806.