Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Pitt, William (1708-1778)
PITT, WILLIAM, first Earl of Chatham (1708–1778), statesman, was born in Westminster on 15 Nov. 1708, and was baptised at St. James's, Piccadilly, on 13 Dec. following. He was the younger son of Robert Pitt of Boconnoc in Cornwall, by his wife Harriet, younger daughter of the Hon. Edward Villiers of Dromana, co. Waterford, and grandson of Governor Thomas Pitt (1653–1726) [q. v.] He was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Oxford, where he matriculated on 14 Jan. 1727. Having suffered severely from gout, he was advised to travel for the sake of his health. He therefore left the university without taking a degree, and spent some time in France and Italy. He returned to England, however, little better for the change, and continued through life subject to attack by his hereditary disease. As his means were limited, it was necessary that he should choose a profession. He decided for the army, and obtained a cornetcy in the king's own regiment of horse, otherwise known as Lord Cobham's horse, on 9 Feb. 1731. Four years later he entered parliament. At a by-election in February 1735 he succeeded his elder brother, Thomas in the representation of the family borough of Old Sarum. He immediately joined Pulteney's party of the 'patriots' in opposition to Walpole. He spoke for the first time in the House of Commons on 29 April 1736, when he supported Pulteney's motion for a congratulatory address to the king on the marriage of the Prince of Wales (Parl. Hist. ix. 1221-3). Its covert satire was so offensive to the king that he was shortly afterwards dismissed from the army. 'We must muzzle this terrible young cornet of horse,' Walpole is reported to have said. The vacancy made by 'the supersession of Cornet Pitt' was filled up on 17 May 1736 (Quarterly Review, lxvi. 194). On 22 Feb. 1737 Pitt warmly supported Pulteney's motion for an address to the king, praying that an annuity of 100,000l. might be settled on the Prince of Wales, and in September following he was appointed groom of the bed-chamber to the prince. In February 1738 he spoke in favour of the reduction of the army (Parl. Hist. x. 464-7). On 8 March 1739 he attacked the convention with Spain, which, he described as 'nothing but a stipulation for national ignominy' (ib. x. 1280-3).
On this occasion Pitt seems first to have shown his great powers of oratory. He is said by a contemporary writer to have spoken 'very well but very abusively,' and to have 'provoked Mr. Henry Fox and Sir Henry Liddell both to answer him' (Coxe's Walpole, 1798, iii. 519). On 13 Feb. 1741 Pitt supported Sandys's motion for the removal of Walpole (Parl. Hist. xi. 1359-64). In the following month he violently opposed for the encouragement and increase of seamen (ib. xii. 104-5, 115-16, 117). In the account of this debate, furnished by Dr. Johnson to the 'Gentleman's Magazine' for November 1741 (p. 569), Pitt is made to deliver the celebrated retort to Horace Walpole the elder, beginning 'The atrocious crime of being a young man.' Pitt possibly said something of the kind on this occasion, but the phrasing of the retort is clearly Johnson's. An incident of a similar nature appears to have occurred between Pitt and the elder Walpole some four years later (Walpole, Letters, 1857-9, i. 405).
At the general election in May 1741 Pitt was again returned for Old Sarum. On Walpole's downfall in 1742 he and the 'boy patriots' tried to come to an understanding with the ex-minister, promising to screen him from prosecution if he would use his influence with the king in their favour (Macaulay, Essays, 1852, ii. 167-8). The proposal was, however, declined. Pitt was not included in Pelham's ministry, and became still more active and acrimonious in his denunciations of Walpole. He supported both of Lord Limerick's motions for an inquiry into Walpole's conduct (Parl. Hist. xii. 482-95, 525-8, 553-63, 567-72), was appointed a member of the secret committee of inquiry, and voted for the bill of indemnity to the witnesses. He also supported George (afterwards first baron) Lyttelton [q. v.] on 1 Dec. 1742 in his attempt to procure the appointment of another committee of inquiry into Walpole's conduct (Walpole, Letters, i. 217).
On 6 Dec. 1742 Pitt took part in the debate on continuing the army in Flanders, and replied to Murray's maiden speech 'in the most masterly manner' (Memorials of the Eight Hon. James Oswald, 1825, p. 3 ; see also Walpole's Letters, i. 218). Four days afterwards he attacked the practice of paying Hanoverian troops with English money, and declared with great violence that it was too apparent that Great Britain was 'considered only as a province to a despicable electorate' (Parl. Hist. xii. 1033-6). At the opening of the next session, on 1 Dec. 1743, Pitt opposed the address, and stigmatised Carteret as 'an execrable, a sole minister, who had renounced the British nation, and seemed to have drunk of the potion described in poetic fictions, which made men forget their country' (ib. xiii. 135-6 n., 152-70 ; Walpole, Letters, i. 280). Pitt continued to abuse Carteret and oppose his Hanoverian policy throughout the session, but he supported Pelham's motion for an augmentation of the force's, in view of the threatened invasion by the Pretender (Parl. Hist. xiii. 666-7, n.} His determined opposition to the system of foreign subsidies, though displeasing to the king, was very popular in the country. The eccentric Duchess of Marlborough, who died in October 1744, left him a legacy of 10,000l. 'upon account of his merit in the noble defence he has made for the support of the laws of England, and to prevent the ruin of his country' (Almon, Anecdotes of the Life of the Earl of Chatham, 1793, i. 197). As one of the committee of nine appointed by the opposition to consider the question of a coalition with the Pelhams against Carteret (who became Earl Granville on 18 Oct. 1744), he gave his vote in favour of joining the Pelhams without exacting any stipulations (Bedford Correspondence, 1842-1846, vol. i. p. xxxiv).
On Granville's dismissal in November 1744, several of Pitt's political associates obtained seats in the 'Broad-bottom' administration. But Pitt had to be content with promises. Though he resigned his place in the prince's household, the king refused to forgive his opposition to the foreign subsidies and the contemptuous tone in which he had spoken of Hanover. Nevertheless he gave the government the constant support of his eloquence. On 23 Jan. 1745, although he had been laid up with gout since the session began, he complimented Pelham 'on that true love of his country and capacity for business which he had always shown,' and commended the 'moderate and healing' measures of the ministry (Parl. Hist. xiii. 1054-6, n.) On 18 Feb. he supported Pelham's motion for the grant of a subsidy to Maria Theresa, queen of Hungary, which he described as 'a meritorious and popular measure' (ib. xiii. 1176-8, n.) At the opening of parliament in October he opposed Dashwood's amendment to the address as 'very unseasonable' (ib. xiii. 1348-51), and in the following month he warmly supported the cause of the new regiments which had been raised for the suppression of the Jacobite rebellion (ib. xiii. 1387-91 ; Walpole, Letters, i. 400). Pitt appears to have 'alternately bullied and flattered' Pelham in order to obtain the post of secretary of war (ib. i. 400, 405). Pelham was inclined to yield, but the king still objected strongly to Pitt, and the ministers, hearing of the king's intention to dismiss them, resigned office in February 1746. On the failure of Granville and Bath to form an administration Pelham returned to power, and Pitt was reluctantly appointed by the king joint vice-treasurer of Ireland with George, third earl of Cholmondeley, on 22 Feb. 1746 (Coxe, Pelham Administration, 1829, i. 292-6).
Though not gratified to the extent of his wishes, Pitt zealously defended the ministerial measures, and in April supported the employment of eighteen thousand Hanoverians in Flanders. He spoke so well on this occasion that Pelham told the Duke of Newcastle that he 'had the dignity of Sir William Wyndham, the wit of Mr. Pulteney, and the knowledge and judgment of Sir Robert Walpole' (ib. i. 309). On 6 May 1746 he was promoted to the important post of paymaster-general of the forces, and on the 24th of the same month was sworn a member of the privy council. Greatly to his honour, and unlike his predecessors, Pitt declined to accept a farthing from his new office beyond the salary legally attaching to it. He refused either to appropriate to himself the interest of the huge balances in his hands, or to accept the commission of one half per cent, which foreign powers had been accustomed to pay on receipt of their subsidies. Owing to this disinterested conduct, Pitt, notwithstanding the grave inconsistencies of which he had been guilty since Granville's downfall, secured a large share of the public confidence.
At the general election in June 1747 Pitt was returned, through the influence of the government, for Seaford. The Duke of Newcastle is said to have personally interfered in the election in his behalf, but the petition against his return was dismissed by a majority of 151 votes (Parl. Hist. xiv. 101-8). He continued to give a zealous support to the Pelhams, but, in spite of his abject submission, he failed to overcome the king's aversion (Chatham Correspondence, 1838-40, i. 49). At the opening of the session in January 1751 Pitt warmly defended the new treaties with Spain and Bavaria, and declared that he was no longer an advocate for resisting the right of search claimed by Spain (Parl. Hist. xiv. 798-804). He opposed the ministerial plan for the reduction of the naval establishment, because of his 'fears of Jacobitism.' No other ground, he protested, would have induced him 'to differ with those with whom I am determined to lead my life' (Coxe, Memoirs of the Pelham Administration, ii. 143-4 ; Walpole, Letters, ii. 239-40). On 22 Feb. he supported the Bavarian subsidy 'in a good but too general speech' (Walpole, Memoirs of the Reign of George II, 1847, i. 49 ; Parl. Hist. xiv. 963-70).
During this session the long-smothered rivalry between Pitt and Henry Fox (afterwards first baron Holland) [q. v.] became very apparent, especially in the discussion of the Regency Bill, necessitated by the death of the Prince of Wales (Walpole, Letters, ii. 242; Dodington, Diary, 1784, p. 121). On Pelham's death in March 1754 the Duke of Newcastle was appointed first lord of the treasury ; but, much to Pitt's resentment, this change brought him no promotion. At the general election in the following month he was returned to the House of Commons for Aldborough, a pocket borough belonging to the Duke of Newcastle. On 14 Nov. he obtained leave to bring in a bill for the relief of the Chelsea out-pensioners (Parl. Hist. xv. 374-5), which passed through both houses without opposition, and received the royal assent in the following month (28 George II, cap. i). Reconciled for a time by their common interest, Pitt and Fox vied with each other in ridiculing Sir Thomas Robinson, to whom Newcastle had entrusted the leadership of the House of Commons. On 25 Nov. Pitt suddenly startled the commons by an attack upon the duke himself. In a remarkable speech he called on the members to assist in preserving the dignity of the house, lest they 'should only sit to register the arbitrary edicts of one too powerful a subject.' Two days later he made a scathing attack upon Murray, the new attorney-general, a great favourite of the prime minister (Walpole, Memoirs of the Reign of George II, i. 408, 412-14 ; Waldegrave, Memoirs, 1821, pp. 146-8, 150-2). According to Horace Walpole, Pitt delivered 'one of his best worded and most spirited declamations for liberty' during the discussion of the Scottish Sheriff-depute Bill on 26 Feb. 1755 (Memoirs of the Reign of George II, ii. 5). In April the short-lived alliance between Pitt and Fox was broken off by Fox's acceptance of a seat in the cabinet, a desertion which Pitt never forgot or forgave (ib. ii. 37-39 ; Chatham Correspondence, i. 132-3).
Pitt now connected himself with Leicester House, and agreed to support the Princess of Wales and her son, afterwards George III, against Newcastle, who had hitherto been her favourite minister (Waldegrave, Memoirs, pp. 37-9). During the summer Newcastle and Hardwicke vainly endeavoured to induce Pitt to give his cordial assistance to the ministry. Pitt, however, 'was very explicit, and fairly let them know that he expected to be secretary of state and would not content himself with any meaner employment' (ib. p. 44). When the Hessian treaty was brought to the treasury, Legge, the chancellor of the exchequer, refused, at Pitt's instigation, to sign the treasury warrants for carrying it into execution. At the opening of parliament on 13 Nov. Pitt delivered a brilliant and powerful speech against the subsidies. 'He spoke,' says Horace Walpole in a letter to his friend Conway, 'at past one for an hour and thirty-five minutes. There was more humour, wit, vivacity, finer language, more boldness, in short, more astonishing perfections, than even you, who are used to him, can conceive' (Walpole, Letters, ii. 484). It was in the course of this speech that Pitt made the famous comparison between the coalition of Fox and Newcastle and the juncture of the Rhone and the Saone (Walpole, Memoirs of George II, ii. 58). Pitt and Legge were dismissed from their respective offices on 20 Nov. 1755. As his means were narrow, Pitt induced his brother-in-law, Temple, to lend him 1,000l. a year till better times (Grenville Papers, 1852-3, i. 149-52).
Throughout 1755 hostilities had been continual between the English and French in North America, and early in 1756 the rupture with France became complete. Pitt supported the government in their attempt to render the army and navy more effective, and spoke warmly in favour of the establishment of a real militia force, but continued his attacks on the subsidies to German princes. During the debate on Lyttelton's motion for a vote of credit for a million in May 1756, Pitt roundly abused the ministers for their incapacity. His charge, he said, was that 'we had provoked before we could defend, and neglected after provocation; that we were left inferior to France in every quarter; that the vote of credit had been misapplied to secure the electorate; and that we had bought a treaty with Prussia by sacrificing our rights' (Walpole, Memoirs of the Reign of George II, ii. 191-7). The disastrous events — the loss of Minorca, the defeat of Braddock at Fort Duquesne, the capture of Calcutta by Surajah Dowlah, and the horrors of the Black Hole — which followed the prorogation of parliament completed the unpopularity of Newcastle's ministry, and made Pitt's accesion to power an inevitable necessity. The king, at length finding that he had no alternative but to call in the popular favourite, authorised Hardwicke to open negotiations with Pitt, who boldly refused to take any part in the administration while the Duke of Newcastle remained. Upon the duke's declaration of his intention to resign in November 1756, Fox was directed to form an administration with Pitt. But Pitt also refused to act with Fox. After further negotiations the Duke of Devonshire consented to become first lord of the treasury, while Pitt, the actual premier, became secretary of state for the southern department (4 Dec. 1756) and the leader of the House of Commons. The great seal was put in commission, Legge was made chancellor of the exchequer, Temple first lord of the admiralty, and George Grenville treasurer of the navy. Having vacated his seat at Aldborough by the acceptance of office, Pitt was returned for Buckingham and Okehampton, and elected to sit for Okehampton.
Distrusted by the king, and feebly supported in the House of Commons, where the Duke of Newcastle's corrupt influence was still dominant, Pitt soon found that he was unable to carry on the government of the country with the aid of public opinion alone. Vigorous measures were, however, immediately taken to increase the army, the Hessians were dismissed, a bill for the establishment of a national militia was brought in, and in order to allay the disloyalty of the Scots, the recommendation originally made by Duncan Forbes in 1738 was carried into effect by the formation of two regiments out of the highland clans. During the earlier part of the winter Pitt was laid up with a severe attack of gout. He made his first appearance as leader of the house on 17 Feb. 1757, when he delivered a message from the king, desiring support for his electoral dominions and the king of Prussia (Walpole, Memoirs of the Reign of George II, ii. 313). On the following day Pitt proposed a vote of 200,000l. on that account, and was unkindly reminded by Fox that he had said 'the German measures of last year would be a millstone about the neck of the minister' (ib. ii. 314). In the same month he pleaded unsuccessfully with the king for Admiral Byng. When he urged that the House of Commons was inclined to mercy, the king shrewdly replied, 'Sir, you have taught me to look for the sense of my subjects in another place than the House of Commons' (ib. ii. 331). To Waldegrave the king expressed his dislike of Pitt and Temple in very strong terms, and complained that 'the secretary made him long speeches, which possibly might be very fine, but were greatly beyond his comprehension ; and that his letters were affected, formal, and pedantic' (Waldegrave, Memoirs, p. 95). Urged by the Duke of Cumberland, who was desirous that a new administration should be formed before he set out for Hanover, where he was about to take the command of the electoral forces, the king at length struck the blow which he had for some time meditated. On 5 April 1757 Temple was dismissed from office, and on the following day Pitt shared the same fate. The public discontent, which had subsided when Pitt had been called to power, now burst out again on his dismissal from office. The stocks fell. The court of common council voted the freedom of the city to Pitt and Legge for 'their loyal and disinterested conduct during their truly honourable though short administration,' and for some weeks a shower of gold boxes and addresses descended upon Pitt from all parts of the country (Almon, Anecdotes, iii. 2-5).
Ultimately, after a ministerial interregnum of eleven weeks, the king found himself obliged to acquiesce in Pitt's return. On 11 June Lord Mansfield was given full powers to open negotiations with Pitt and Newcastle. With the assistance of Lord Hardwicke as mediator, the alliance between Hie two statesmen was concluded, and on 20 June Pitt once more became secretary of state, with the supreme direction of the war and of foreign affairs. The Duke of Newcastle returned to the treasury as the nominal head of the ministry, with the disposal of the civil and ecclesiastical patronage, and of that part of the secret-service money which was employed in bribing the members of the House of Commons. Lord Granville remained president of the council. Legge again became chancellor of the exchequer ; Sir Robert Henley, afterwards Lord Northington, was appointed lord keeper of the great seal ; Temple lord privy seal, George Grenville treasurer of the navy, and Fox paymaster-general of the forces. Pitt was anxious to represent the city of Bath, which Henley vacated on his promotion to the peerage. As no new secretary of state had been 'appointed in his room, nor his commission revoked,' he was under no necessity to offer himself for re-election (Phillimore, Memoirs of Lord Lyttelton, 1845, ii. 594). He therefore accepted the Chiltern Hundreds (Journals of the House of Commons, xxvii. 926), and at a by-election in July 1757 was returned for Bath.
During the next four years Pitt's biography is to be found in the history of the world. Since 1756 England, allied with Prussia under Frederick the Great, had been arrayed in war against a combination of France, Austria, and the Empire, which was afterwards joined by Russia and Spain. The conflict was pursued in America and India, as well as in Europe. The struggle had opened disastrously for England. 'My lord,' Pitt had said to the Duke of Devonshire, 'I am sure I can save this country, and nobody else can' (Walpole, Memoirs of the Reign of George II, iii. 84). Upon being recalled to power, he immediately took steps to accomplish this task. Braving all charges of inconsistency, he brushed aside his old hatred of foreign subsidies and German alliances, and frankly declared that he would win America in Germany. With the opening of 1758 began a succession of victories all over the world which effectually justified the claim, of Pitt to be the restorer of the greatness of Britain. 'We are forced to ask every morning,' said Horace Walpole in 1759, 'what victory there has been for fear of missing one.' Pitt himself planned the expeditions, and he raised loans for war expenses with a profusion that appalled more timid financiers. In 1760 no less than sixteen millions were voted. After the Duke of Cumberland's humiliating acceptance of the convention of Kloster Seven (10 Sept. 1757), which Pitt promptly disavowed, he raised another army for service in Germany, which, under Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick, gained the decisive battle of Minden (1 Aug. 1759). In the meantime, in America, Louisburg and Fort Duquesne were wrested from the French. In 1759 the French navy was almost entirely destroyed in the decisive battles of Lagos and Quiberon. Wolfe's crowning victory at Quebec (13 Sept. 1759) destroyed the last remnant of French dominion in Canada, Clive's victory of Plassy (23 Jan. 1757) rendered the English masters of Bengal, while in January 1760 Sir Eyre Coote routed the last French army in the East Indies at Wandewash. Pitt's conduct of the war led to the culminating point of English power in the eighteenth century, and made England as much an object of jealousy and dread to all Europe as Spain and France had been formerly.
At the close of the reign of George II, Pitt was in the zenith of his glory. The 'Great Commoner,' as he was called, 'was the first Englishman of his time, and he had made England the first country in the world' (Macaulay, Essays, ii. 198). His power over the House of Commons was complete. Divisions on party questions became unknown, and supplies were voted without discussion. The only political event which disturbed the placid current of domestic affairs was the resignation of Temple on 14 Nov. 1759, because he had been refused the Garter, but even he was induced to resume office two days afterwards.
On the accession of George III signs of an approaching change soon became apparent. The first royal speech to the council was composed by the king and Bute without any previous consultation with Pitt, and it was only after a long altercation that Pitt induced Bute to eliminate from it a covert censure upon the conduct of the war. In March 1761 Bute was appointed secretary of state in place of Holdernesse, and Legge was dismissed from the post of chancellor of the exchequer. At the general election in the same month Pitt was again returned for Bath. Bute and Pitt had been in political relations more than once during the late reign, but Pitt's refusal to screen Lord George Sackville [see Germain] had led to a coolness between them. Bute, anxious to rid himself of Pitt, at once took advantage of the jealousies which had begun to show themselves in the cabinet, in order to make his continuance in it impossible. Bute urged the necessity of an immediate peace. Pitt had no real desire for any peace which did not involve the complete humiliation of France. In September 1761, having become aware of the 'Family Compact,' he proposed to commence hostilities against Spain. To this his colleagues, after a discussion of the question in three successive cabinet councils, refused to concur, and on 5 Oct. Pitt and Temple resigned their respective offices. In the hope of lessening his popularity, rewards were pressed on Pitt both by the king and Bute. Though Pitt refused to become either governor of Canada or chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, he accepted a pension of 3,000l. a year for three lives and the title of Baroness Chatham for his wife (Chatham Correspondence, ii. 146-53). A number of libels instantly appeared, in which he was accused of having sold his country. Finding that the cause of his resignation had been 'grossly misrepresented,' Pitt wrote a letter to the town clerk of the city of London, explaining the real facts of the case (Thackeray, History of the Earl of Chatham, 1827, i. 594-6), and on lord mayor's day he made a triumphal progress to the Guildhall, while Bute was hooted, and the king and queen were scarcely noticed.
On Pitt's retirement Bute became supreme in the ministry, although Newcastle remained its nominal head, and even he resigned in May 1762. The events which quickly followed, especially the declaration of war with Spain in January 1762, justified Pitt's sagacity. Nevertheless he carefully abstained from any factious opposition during the first session of the new parliament. On 11 Dec. 1761 he supported a motion for the production of the Spanish papers, and was savagely attacked by Colonel Barré, to whom he deigned to make no reply (Walpole, Memoirs of the Reign of George III, 1894, i. 91-6). He also took part in the debate on the vote of credit in May following, when he pointed out the necessity of continuing the war in Germany, and of giving adequate support to the king, of Portugal (ib. i. 128-31). Though suffering from a severe attack of gout, Pitt attended the house on 9 Dec. 1762, when he denounced the preliminary treaty with France and Spain, and maintained that the peace was both insecure and inadequate (Parl. Hist. xv. 1259-71). At the end of the speech, which lasted three hours and twenty-six minutes, and was delivered by him sitting and standing alternately, he was compelled, by the violence of the pain, to leave the house without taking part in the division. He declined to present the address of the Bath corporation congratulating the king on the 'adequate and advantageous peace,' and intimated to his friend Ralph Allen [q. v.] that he would never stand again for that city (Thackeray, Hist. of the Earl of Chatham, ii. 23-7). In March 1763 he opposed Dashwood's obnoxious cider tax, and made a laughing-stock of his brother-in-law George Grenville [q. v.] (Parl. Hist. xv. 1307-8). Next month Bute resigned, and Grenville became prime minister with Lords Egremont and Halifax as his chief supporters.
On Lord Egremont's death in August 1763, the king, by Bute's advice, sent for Pitt, who insisted on the restoration of the great whig families. As the king refused to accede to these terms, the negotiation was broken off, and Grenville remained in power (Harris, Life of Lord Chancellor Hardwicke, 1847, iii. 372-81; Grenville Papers, ii. 93-7, 192 et seq.) On 24 Nov. 1763 Pitt opposed the surrender of the privilege of parliament in Wilkes's case 'as highly dangerous to the freedom of parliament and an infringement on the rights of the people,' but at the same time expressed his thorough detestation of 'the whole series of "North Britons"' (Parl. Hist .xv. 1363-4). On 17 Feb. 1764 he supported a motion condemning general warrants as illegal, and declared that 'if the House negatived the motion they would be the disgrace of the present age and the reproach of posterity' (ib. xv. 1401-3). Towards the end of this year he became finally estranged from the Duke of Newcastle, to whom he never afterwards alluded but in terms of distrust and dislike.
At the beginning of 1765 Pitt's health became worse. He remained for several months in retirement at Hayes, and was absent from parliament during the whole of the session in which the Stamp Act was passed. In May 1765 the Duke of Cumberland made a fruitless visit to Hayes in order to induce him to take office. In the following month the duke had again recourse to him, but, after two interviews with the king, he declined to form a government without the concurrence of Temple (Chatham Correspondence, ii. 310-15). In July 1765 the Marquis of Rockingham succeeded Grenville as prime minister. On 14 Jan. 1766 Pitt, whose health had been partially restored by a visit to Bath, reappeared in the House of Commons. In a remarkable speech he declared that he could not give the Rockingham ministry his confidence, for 'confidence is a plant of slow growth in an aged bosom : youth is the season of credulity.' Though he asserted 'the authority of this kingdom over the colonies to be sovereign and supreme in every circumstance of government and legislation whatsoever,' he denied the right of the mother country to tax the colonies, and maintained that taxation was 'no part of the governing or legislative power.' In reply to the charge that he had given birth to sedition in America, he declared that he rejoiced that the colonists had resisted, and added : 'Three millions of people so dead to all the feelings of liberty as voluntarily to submit to be slaves would have been fit instruments to make slaves of the rest.' He concluded his second speech by recommending that the Stamp Act should be repealed 'absolutely, totally, and immediately' (Parl. Hist. xvi. 97-100, 101, 103-8). While objecting to the principle of the Declaratory Act in February 1766, Pitt zealously assisted the government in carrying the repeal of the Stamp Act. But he refused to listen to Rockingham's frequent solicitations to join his ministry, though they were agreed on most of the important questions of the day. His conduct in declining this opportunity of forming an honourable coalition with Rockingham is one of the most disastrous incidents of Pitt's political career ; but it may well be doubted whether he would have acted as he did had he been in full possession of his health. His habits had been for some time becoming increasingly eccentric, and there can be little doubt that his mind was already in a morbid condition.
On Rockingham's dismissal in July 1766, Pitt, who had warmly avowed his sympathy with the king in his wish to destroy party government, was instructed to form a ministry. Temple proved intractable, and quarrelled with his brother-in-law. Grafton became first lord of the treasury, Northington lord president, Camden lord chancellor, Charles Townshend chancellor of the exchequer, and Shelburne and Conway secretaries of state. Pitt, whose infirmity rendered a constant attendance in the House of Commons impossible, took the sinecure office of lord privy seal (30 July 1766), and was raised to the peerage with the titles of Viscount Pitt of Burton-Pynsent in the county of Somerset and Earl of Chatham in the county of Kent (4 Aug.) Thus was formed the ill-assorted ministry afterwards described by Burke in his famous speech on American taxation as 'a tesselated pavement without cement; here a bit of black stone, and there a bit of white ; patriots and courtiers, king's friends and republicans ; whigs and tories ; treacherous friends and open enemies ... a very curious show, but utterly unsafe to touch and unsure to stand on' (Works of Edmund Burke, 1815, ii. 420).
Pitt's acceptance of a peerage was very unpopular. In London the preparations for a banquet and a general illumination of the city in his honour were immediately countermanded when it became known that he had deserted the House of Commons. 'The joke here is,' wrote Lord Chesterfield to his son, 'that he has had a fall upstairs, and has done himself so much hurt that he will never be able to stand upon his legs again' (Letters and Works of the Earl of Chesterfield, 1845-1853, iv. 427). Chatham's many difficulties in managing his heterogeneous ministry were greatly increased by the despotic manner in which he treated his colleagues. Within four months all those members of the Rockingham administration who had been induced to remain in office resigned. To counterbalance these defections, Chatham made renewed overtures to the Bedford party (Chatham Correspondence, iii. 135), and, on their failure, the administration became more tory in character.
On entering office Chatham endeavoured to execute his long-cherished plan of making a great northern alliance against the house of Bourbon, but he soon found himself foiled in that direction by the selfish policy of Frederick the Great. He also formed schemes for transferring the power of the East India Company to the crown and for the better government of Ireland. In England one of the first things to engage his attention was the apprehended scarcity of corn. On 24 Sept. the celebrated order in council was issued which laid an embargo upon the exportation of grain. His maiden speech in the House of Lords on 11 Nov. 1766 was delivered in defence of this unconstitutional though necessary step. He is said to have spoken with 'coolness, dignity, and art' (Walpole, Memoirs of the Reign of George III, ii. 263). His speech, however, during the debate on the Indemnity Bill on 10 Dec. was less successful. He flouted the peers and involved himself in an altercation with the Duke of Richmond. Both lords were required to promise that the matter should go no further (Journals of the House of Lords, xxxi. 448), and 'from that day Lord Chatham, during the whole remainder of his administration, appeared no more in the House of Lords' (Walpole, Memoirs of the Reign of George III, ii. 291).
Early in 1767 Chatham was absolutely incapacitated from all attention to business. From May 1767 to October 1768 he held no intercourse with the outside world. He refused interviews with his colleagues, and even declined a visit from the king. So much mystery was observed as to the nature of his malady that his friends were unable to fathom it, and his enemies declared that he was playing a part (see Walpole, Letters, v. 63, 131). Meantime Grafton assumed the duties of prime minister, the cabinet grew divided, and parliament unruly. The government was defeated on the annual vote for the land tax. Chatham's policy was overturned by his colleagues, and America was taxed by Charles Townshend, the chancellor of the exchequer. The king, however, insisted on Chatham remaining in office, 'for though confined to your house,' he wrote on 23 Jan. 1768, 'your name has been sufficient to enable my administration to proceed' (Chatham Correspondence, iii. 318). The privy seal was put in temporary commission on 2 Feb. 1768 for the purpose of hearing the arguments in the Warmley charter case, and was redelivered to Chatham at Hayes on the 21st of the following month. On 14 Oct. 1768 Chatham, in a letter written by his wife in the language of that abject respect which always marked his communications with the king, requested permission to resign (ib. iii. 343-4), and on the following day his seal was delivered by Camden to the king, who received it with some show of reluctance.
A severe attack of gout at last relieved Chatham from the mental disease under which he had been suffering. In November 1768 he became reconciled to Temple and George Grenville (Walpole, Letters, v. 136). Some time, however, still elapsed before he resumed a part in public affairs. In July 1769 he showed himself at a levée, and had a private interview with the king (Grenville Papers, iv. 426-7). At the opening of the session, on 9 Jan. 1770, Chatham reappeared in the house and made two vigorous speeches on the address. He boldly asserted that the liberty of the subject had been invaded, both at home and in the colonies ; but, though he secured the adherence of Lord Camden, who openly denounced the Duke of Grafton's arbitrary measures, his amendment condemning the action of the House of Commons with regard to the Middlesex election was defeated by a large majority (Parl. Hist. xvi. 644, 646, 647-53, 656-65). On 22 Jan. Chatham, in a brilliant speech, seconded Rockingham's motion for a day to take into consideration the state of the nation. He asserted that the constitution had been 'grossly violated,' and declared that if the breach was effectually repaired the people would 'of themselves return to a state of tranquillity ; if not, may discord prevail for ever!' In order to deliver the House of Commons from the corrupt influences of the rotten boroughs, he suggested that an additional member should be given to every county. At the close of his speech he announced that Lord Rockingham 'and his friends are now united with me and mine upon a principle which I trust will make our union indissoluble' (ib. xvi. 747-55). A week later Grafton resigned, and North became prime minister. Chatham, who never had many personal adherents at any time in his career, appears to have discovered the mistake which he had hitherto made in repudiating the assistance of the whigs, and nothing more was heard of his former doctrine of the necessity of breaking up political parties. He and his new friends were, however, far from united in their policy, and frequent signs of disunion appeared in their ranks. On 2 Feb. Chatham supported Buckingham's motion with reference to the proceedings against Wilkes, and condemned the conduct of the House of Commons in most severe terms (ib. xvi. 816-20). During the debate on Lord Craven's motion in favour of increasing the strength of the navy, Chatham complained strongly of 'the secret influence' behind the throne, owing to which, he asserted, there had been no 'original minister' since the accession of George III (ib. xvi. 841-2, 843 ; Walpole, Memoirs of the Reign of George III, iv. 62-3). On 14 March, while supporting a motion for the production of the civil list accounts, he declared that 'the late lord chancellor [Camden] was dismissed for giving his vote in this house.' At the instance of Lord Marchmont these words were taken down. Chatham, however, refused to retract them, and it was finally resolved that 'nothing has appeared to this House to justify that assertion' (Journals of the House of Lords, xxxii. 476 ; Parl. Hist. xvi. 849-50, 851-2). Chatham's bill for the reversal of the adjudications of the House of Commons against Wilkes was rejected by the House of Lords on 1 May (ib. xvi. 954-966). His motion censuring Lord North and his colleagues for the answer which they had advised the king to give to the remonstrance from the City, as well as his motion for a dissolution of parliament, met with the same want of success (ib. xvi. 966-74, 978-9). On 1 June the thanks of the common council of London were presented to Chatham for the zeal which he had shown 'in the support of those most valuable and sacred privileges, the right of election and the right of petition,' &c. (Thackeray, History of the Earl of Chatham, ii. 193-5). On 22 Nov. he supported, in a speech of great power, the Duke of Richmond's motion for the production of the papers relating to the seizure of the Falkland Islands. He charged the ministers 'with having destroyed all content and unanimity at home by a series of oppressive, unconstitutional measures, and with having betrayed and delivered up the nation defenceless to a foreign enemy :' and insisted in the strongest terms on the necessity of impressing seamen, declaring that 'the first great and acknowledged object of national defence in this country is to maintain such a superior naval force at home that even the united fleets of France and Spain may never be masters of the Channel' (Parl. Hist. xvi. 1091-1108 ). He attacked Lord Chief-justice Mansfield more than once during the session for his direction to the jury in the case of Woodfall, the publisher of the 'Letters of Junius' (ib. xvi. 1302, 1305-6, 1313-1317). On 30 April 1771 he supported the Duke of Richmond's attempt to expunge the resolution of the House of Lords of 2 Feb. 1770 relating to the Middlesex election, but failed to elicit any reply from the ministers (ib. xvii. 216-219). On the following day he unsuccessfully moved for an address to the king to dissolve parliament, and declared himself a convert to triennial parliaments.
During the next three years Chatham's health was so infirm that he was rarely able to attend the House of Lords. On 19 May 1772 he spoke warmly in favour of the bill for the relief of protestant dissenters, and made a violent attack upon the bishops (ib. xvii. 400-1 ; see Walpole, Journal of the Reign of George III, 1859, i. 95-6). But his energies were now mainly directed towards forcing on the government a pacific solution of their difficulties with the American colonies. On 26 May 1774 he reappeared in the house, and implored the ministers 'to adopt a more gentle mode of governing America,' while he reasserted that 'this country had no right under heaven' to tax the colonists (Parl. Hist. xvii. 1353-6). In the following month he opposed the Quebec Government Bill, which established a legislative council, but confirmed the French laws. Pitt declared that 'the whole of the bill appeared to him destructive of that liberty which ought to be the groundwork of everyconstitution' (ib. xvii. 1402-4; Walpole, Journal of the Reign of George III, i. 374). On 20 Jan. 1775 he proposed an address to the king requesting him to recall the troops from Boston, 'in order to open the ways towards an happy settlement of the dangerous troubles in America.' In an eloquent speech he told the ministers that they would be 'forced to a disgraceful abandonment of their present measures and principles, which they avow, but cannot defend.' He fully justified the resistance of the colonists, and reminded the house that 'it is not repealing this act of parliament — it is not repealing a piece of parchment that can restore America to our bosom ; you must repeal her fears and her resentments, and you may then hope for her love and gratitude' (Parl. Hist. xviii. 149-60, 165-6). He was supported by Shelburne, Camden, Rockingham, and Richmond, but the motion was defeated by sixty-eight votes to eighteen. After a conference with Franklin, Chatham, on 1 Feb. 1775, introduced a bill 'for settling the troubles in America,' the purport of which was to declare the supremacy of this country over the colonies in all cases except taxation; to annul the various obnoxious acts which had been passed; and to authorise the meeting of a general congress at Philadelphia, at which the colonists should acknowledge the restricted supremacy, and make a free grant to the king of a certain perpetual revenue, subject to the disposition of the British parliament (ib. xviii. 198-204, 209, 210-11). The bill was rejected, and was subsequently printed and circulated by Chatham as an appeal to the judgment of the public from that of the House of Lords.
During the greater part of this year and throughout 1776 an illness, apparently similar to that which had befallen him during his last administration, prevented Chatham from attending parliament. Though in a state of great weakness, he went down to the house on 30 May 1777, and unsuccessfully moved an address to the crown for the stoppage of hostilities in America. 'You may ravage,' he said ; 'you cannot conquer. It is impossible. You cannot conquer the Americans. ... I might as well talk of driving them before me with this crutch.' He insisted on the immediate redress of all the American grievances. 'This,' he said, 'will be the herald of peace ; this will open the way for treaty ;' and added : 'Should you conquer this people, you conquer under the cannon of France; under a masked battery then ready to open. The moment a treaty with France appears, you must declare war, though you had only five ships of the line in England' (Thackeray, Hist. of the Earl of Chatham, ii. 311-14, 319-20). According to the testimony of his son, William Pitt, Chatham replied to Lord Weymouth during this debate 'in a flow of eloquence, and with a beauty of expression, animated and striking beyond conception' (Chatham Correspondence, iv. 438). In the following summer Chatham fell from his horse in a fit, while riding in the vicinity of Hayes.
He made two brilliant speeches during the debate on the address at the opening of parliament in November 1777, and vehemently denounced the employment of savages against the Americans. In his spirited reply to the Earl of Suffolk, which appeared to the Duke of Grafton 'to surpass all that we have ever heard of the celebrated orators of Greece or Rome,' he made a famous appeal to the tapestry hangings of the House of Lords. In an amendment to the address he recommended the immediate cessation of hostilities, but was once more defeated (Parl. Hist. xix. 360-75, 409-10, 411). On 2 Dec. he supported Richmond's motion for an inquiry into the state of the nation, and pointed out the defenceless state of Gibraltar and Port Mahon (ib. xix. 474-8). On 5 Dec. he moved for the instructions to General Burgoyne, and again recommended the withdrawal of the troops from America, though he still declared himself 'an avowed enemy to American independency' (ib. xix. 485-91). Both this motion and another which he moved, with reference to the employment of Indians against the Americans, were defeated by forty votes to nineteen (ib. xix. 507-8, 509, 510, 512). On 11 Dec. he protested against the adjournment of the house at a time 'when the affairs of this country present on every side prospects full of awe, terror, and impending danger' (ib. xix. 597-602), and was indecently told by Suffolk that he only wanted the house to sit because 'he would be allowed to give his advice nowhere else' (Walpole, Journal of the Reign of George III, ii. 173).
In Jan. 1778 written explanations passed between Chatham and Rockingham with regard to their different views on the policy to be pursued towards the revolted colonies. Rockingham was anxious to acknowledge at once the independence of America, while Chatham, in spite of the gloomy outlook of affairs, persisted in his opposition to that course (Chatham Correspondence, iv. 489-92). Early in the same year Chatham's physician, Dr. Addington, and Sir James Wright, a friend of Lord Bute, engaged in an ineffectual attempt to bring about a political alliance between the two statesmen, and their gossiping interviews gave rise to a considerable controversy after Chatham's death (see Thackeray, History of the Earl of Chatham, vol. ii. app. pp. 362-9, 633-57). Though the only hope of retaining the friendship of America and of baffling the efforts of France and Spain lay in Chatham's return to power, the king refused to hold any direct communication with him. In March 1778 North made a futile attempt to induce him to join the government, on the understanding that he should support 'the fundamentals of the present administration' (Correspondence of George III with Lord North, 1867, ii. 149). But Shelburne, who represented Chatham in this negotiation, assured North's envoy that Chatham would not accept office unless an entirely new government were formed (Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice, Life of William, Earl of Shelburne, 1875-6, iii. 20-5). On 7 April the Duke of Richmond, who had formerly supported Chatham's American policy, but now openly advocated the immediate acknowledgment of American independence, moved an address to the crown for the withdrawal of the forces from the revolted colonies. Against the advice of his physician, Chatham insisted on being present at the debate, in order that he might publicly declare his disagreement with the American policy of the Rockingham party. Wrapped up in flannel, and supported on crutches, he was led into the house by his son William, and his son-in-law, Lord Mahon. In a few broken words, uttered in a barely audible voice, he protested for the last time against 'the dismemberment of this ancient and most noble monarchy,' and laughed to scorn the fears of a French invasion. While rising to speak a second time in reply to the Duke of Richmond, Chatham fell backwards in a fit. He was carried into the Prince's Chamber, and the debate was immediately adjourned (Parl. Hist. xix. 1012-31). As soon as he could be moved he was carried into a messenger's house in Downing Street, where he remained a few days. Having recovered in some degree from the attack, he was removed to Hayes. There, after lingering a few weeks, he died on 11 May 1778, in his seventieth year. On the same day an address was carried unanimously in the House of Commons, praying the king 'to give directions that the remains of William Pitt, Earl of Chatham, be interred at the public charge, and that a monument be erected in the collegiate church of St. Peter's, Westminster, to the memory of that excellent statesman, with an inscription expressive of the public sense of so great and irreparable a loss' (ib. xix. 1224-5). Shelburne's motion that the House of Lords should attend the funeral was defeated by a single vote (ib. xix. 1233-1234). A sum of 20,000l. was voted by the House of Commons on 26 May in payment of Chatham's debts, and a bill settling an annuity of 4,000l. on his successors in the earldom received the royal assent on 3 June (ib. xix. 1225-8, 1233, 1234-55). The city of London presented a petition to the House of Commons requesting that Chatham might be buried in St. Paul's Cathedral (ib. xix. 1229-33) ; but the preparations for the funeral in the abbey had already been made, and the ministers were disinclined to grant any favours to the city. The body lay in state in the Painted Chamber on 7 and 8 June, and was buried in the north transept of Westminster Abbey on the following day. The funeral was attended chiefly by members of the opposition. The banner of the lordship of Chatham was borne by Barré, accompanied by the Dukes of Richmond, Manchester, and Northumberland, and the Marquis of Rockingham. The pall was upheld by Burke, Dunning, Sir George Savile, and Thomas Townshend. In the absence of the eldest son on foreign service, William Pitt was the chief mourner, while Lords Shelburne, Camden, and six other peers followed as assistant mourners.
Chatham was pre-eminently the most striking figure on the English political stage during the eighteenth century. By force of his own abilities and his extraordinary popularity he became the foremost man in the nation, notwithstanding the prejudice entertained against him by George II. 'In him,' says Mr. Lecky, 'the people for the first time felt their power. He was essentially their representative, and he gloried in avowing it' (History of England in the Eighteenth Century, 1883, ii. 516). Ambition was the ruling passion of his life, but 'it was ambition associated with worthy objects — the reputation of his country abroad, the integrity of her free institutions at home' (Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice, Life of William, Earl of Shelburne, iii. 33). In spite of his many foibles and weaknesses, Chatham was undoubtedly a man of consummate genius. His mind was singularly fertile in resources. The vice of irresolution was unknown to him. His courage was indomitable, his energy irresistible. 'II faut avouer,' said Frederick the Great, 'que l'Angleterre a été longtems en travail, et qu'elle a beaucoup soufferte pour produire M. Pitt ; mais enfin elle est accouchée d'un homme' (Chatham Correspondence, i. 444-5). As a war minister, his greatness is beyond question. Though his military plans were often faulty, and sometimes unsuccessful, he revived the spirit of the nation, and inspired all those who worked under him with his own undaunted courage. Regardless of the traditions of the services, he chose men as commanders of his expeditions for their merit, and not for their rank. It was his discernment that selected Wolfe for the command of the expedition to Quebec. 'I am no more an enthusiast to his memory than you,' wrote Horace Walpole of Chatham to his friend Cole. 'I knew his faults and his defects ; yet . . . under him we attained not only our highest elevation, but the most solid authority in Europe. When the names of Marlborough and Chatham are still pronounced with awe in France, our little cavils make a puny sound. Nations that are beaten cannot be mistaken' (Letters, vii. 76-7). On the other hand, it must be said that Chatham was too fond of war, and was indifferent alike to the misery it caused and the cost which it entailed.
Though Chatham's character is absolutely free from suspicion of corruption, no statesman ever exhibited greater inconsistencies during his political career. Pride rather than principle seems to have actuated his conduct on more than one occasion. He consulted no judgment but his own. His haughtiness to his colleagues was only equalled by his abject servility to the king. His vanity was excessive, and he delighted in pomp and ostentation. He was always playing a part : 'he was an actor in the closet, an actor at council, an actor in parliament ; and even in private society he could not lay aside his theatrical tones and attitudes' (Macaulay, Essays, 1852, ii. 148).
Owing to the absence of any regular and full reports of the parliamentary debates, only a few fragments of Chatham's actual speeches have been preserved — by Hugh Boyd [q. v.], Sir Philip Francis [q. v.], and others. His fame, therefore, as an orator rests almost entirely upon the evidence of contemporary writers as to the effects produced by his eloquence. All contemporary accounts concur in describing these effects to have been unparalleled, and, judged by this test, he must be ranked with the greatest orators of ancient or modern times. He spoke generally without premeditation, and his few prepared speeches appear to have been failures. His merit was chiefly rhetorical. He was neither witty nor pathetic. Little sustained or close argument figured in his speeches. He 'delighted in touching the moral chords, in appealing to strong passions, and in arguing questions on high grounds of principle rather than on grounds of detail' (Lecky, Hist. of England in the Eighteenth Century, ii. 469). His invective and sarcasm were simply terrific. In grace and dignity of gesture he was not inferior to Garrick. He possessed, moreover, every personal advantage that an orator could desire. His voice 'was both full and clear ; his lowest whisper was distinctly heard ; his middle tones were sweet, rich, and beautifully varied ; when he elevated his voice to its highest pitch, the house was completely filled with the volume of sound' (Butler, Reminiscences, 1824, i. 139-140). In the House of Commons his eloquence overbore both criticism and opposition; friends and foes alike listened in breathless silence to the words which fell from his lips. In the uncongenial atmosphere of the House of Lords he was less successful ; his impassioned style of oratory proved unsuitable for so small and frigid an assembly.
Chatham knew nothing of financial or commercial matters. He never applied himself steadily to any branch of knowledge, and was not even familiar with the rules of the House of Commons. He appears to have confined his reading to a small number of books, and, according to his sister, 'knew nothing accurately except Spenser's "Fairy Queen"' (Macaulay, Essays, iii. 547) Demosthenes, Bolingbroke, and Barrow seem to have been his favourite authors in the matter of style, and he is said to have read the contents of Bailey's 'Dictionary' twice through from beginning to end. Like Lord Granville, he was unable to write a common letter well, and Wilkes has called him with some truth 'the best orator and the worst letter-writer' of the age (Correspondence of John Wilkes, 1805, ii. 127), In private life his conduct was exemplary : 'it was stained by no vices nor sullied by any meanness' (Letters and Works of the Earl of Chesterfield, ii. 468).
Chatham's figure was tall and imposing, with the eyes of a hawk, a little head, a thin face, and a long aquiline nose. He was scrupulously exact in his dress, and was never seen on business without a full-dress coat and tie-wig. His deportment in society was extremely dignified, and he 'preserved all the manners of the vieille cour, with a degree of pedantry, however, in his conversation, especially when he affected levity' (Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice, Life of William, Earl of Shelburne, i. 76).
Monuments to Chatham, executed by John Bacon (1740-1799) [q. v.], were erected in Westminster Abbey and (with an inscription by Burke) in the Guildhall. The marble urn, with a medallion of Chatham by the same sculptor, placed by Lady Chatham in the grounds at Burton-Pynsent, was subsequently removed to Stowe, and is now in the garden of Revesby Abbey, Lincolnshire. There is a statue of Chatham by MacDowell in St. Stephen's Hall, Westminster. Statues were also erected in New York and in Charlestown in acknowledgment of his services in promoting the repeal of the Stamp Act (see Magazine of American History, vii. 67, viii. 214-20). A portrait of Chatham, by Richard Brompton, at Chevening, was presented by Chatham in 1772 to Philip, second earl Stanhope. A replica is in the National Portrait Gallery. It has been engraved by J. K. Sherwin and Edward Fisher. Another portrait, by William Hoare, belongs to Viscount Cobham. There are engravings of this portrait by Richard Houston, Edward Fisher, and others. The picture in the National Gallery, strangely misnamed 'The Death of the Earl of Chatham [in the House of Lords],' was painted by Copley in 1779-80. It was engraved under the direction of Bartolozzi by J. M. Delatre in 1820. References to a number of caricatures of Chatham will be found in the 'Catalogue of Prints and Drawings in the British Museum: Political and Personal Satires' (vol. iii. pt. ii. pp. 1205-6, vol. iv. pp. lxxxii-iv). The original Blackfriars Bridge, designed by Robert Mylne, when first opened in 1769, was called 'Pitt Bridge' by order of the common council, but the name was soon afterwards dropped. The city approach to the bridge, also named after him, 'Chatham Square,' is now absorbed in New Bridge Street and the Thames Embankment. Fort Duquesne was renamed Fort Pitt, and subsequently Pittsburg, in his honour.
According to Lord Chesterfield, Chatham had 'a most happy turn to poetry, but he seldom indulged and seldomer avowed it' (Chesterfield, Letters and Works, ii. 468). Some Latin verses written by Chatham on the death of George I were published in 'Pietas Universitatis Oxoniensis in obitura serenissimi Regis Georgii I,' &c., Oxford, 1727, fol. These and some English verses addressed by Chatham to Temple and Garrick respectively are printed in Thackeray's 'History' (i. 4, 5, 172-3, ii. 250-1). Chatham published nothing himself, though more than one pamphlet has been erroneously ascribed to him. The authorship of the 'Letters of Junius' has also been attributed to Chatham, but on absurdly insufficient grounds. The connection of Francis and Junius with the reports of Chatham's speeches is the subject of an article by Mr. Leslie Stephen in the third volume of the 'English Historical Review' (pp. 233-49). Chatham's letters 'to his nephew, Thomas Pitt, esq. (afterwards Lord Camelford), then at Cambridge,' London, 1804, 8vo. were edited by William Wyndham Grenville, baron Grenville [q. v.], and have passed through several editions. His 'Correspondence' was edited by Messrs. W. S. Taylor and J. H. Pringle, the executors of the second Earl of Chatham, and 'published from the original manuscripts in their possession,' London, 1838-40, 8vo, 4 vols. A large number of Chatham's despatches and letters will be found in the Record Office and at the British Museum (see indices to the Addit. MSS. 1783-1835, 1854-75, 1876-81, 1882-7, 1888-93). Others belong to Lord Cobham (see Hist. MSS. Comm. 2nd Rep. App. p. 38). The Marquis of Lansdowne (ib. 3rd Rep. App. pp. 130-1,135, 142, 146, 6th Rep. App. p.241), Lord Leconfield (ib. 6th Rep. App. p. 315), and the Duke of Leeds (ib. 11th Rep. App. vii. 45).
He married, on 16 Nov. 1754, Hester, only daughter of Richard Grenville of Wotton Hall, Buckinghamshire, and Hester, countess Temple. His wife's brothers, Richard (afterwards Richard, earl Temple) and George, with her first cousing, George Lyttelton, and her husband, formed the famous 'Cobham cousinhood.' The marriage was a singularly happy one. They had three sons—viz.: (1) John [q.v.], who succeeded as second Earl of Chatham; (2) William (1759-1806) [q.v.], the famous statesman; and (3) James Charles, born on 24 April 1761, who entered the royal navy, became captain of H.M.'s sloop Hornet, and died off Barbados in 1781— and two daughters, viz.:(1) Hester, born on 18 Oct. 1755, who married, on 19 Dec. 1774, Charles, lord Mahon (afterwards third Earl Stanhope), and died at Chevening, Kent, on 18 July 1780, leaving three daughters, the eldest of whom was the well-known and eccentric Lady Hester Lucy Stanhope [q.v.]; and (2) Harriet, born on 18 April 1758, who married on 28 Setp. 1785, the Hon. Edward KJames Elliot, remembrancer of the exchequer, second son of Edward, secon baron Eliot of St. Germans, and died on 24 Sept. 1786, leaving an only daugher, Harriet Hester, who became the wife of Lieutenant-general Sir William Henry Pringle, G.C.B. Chatham's widow died at Burton-Pynsent, Somerset, on 3 April 1803, aged 82, when the barony of Chatham, bestowed on her on 4 Dec. 1761, devolved on her eldest son, John, second earl of Chatham. She was buried in Westminster Abbey on 16 April 1803.
For some years previously to his marriage Chatham resided at South Lodge, Enfield, Middlesex. He purchased Hayes Place, near Bromley in Kent, soon after his marriage. He rebuilr the house, and by subsequent purchases extended the grounds to about a hundred acres. Here he indulged in his favourite pursuit of landscape-gardening, sometimes even 'planting by torchlight, as his peremptory and impatient temper could brook no delay' (Walpole Memoirs of the Reign of George III, iii. 30). From 1759 to 1761 Chatham lived in the house (now numbered 10) in St. James's Square which was occupied by Mr. Gladstone in the parliamentary session of 1890. On resigning office in October 1761 Chatham gave up his town house in St. James's Square, and resolved to live entirely at Hayes. Sir William Pynsent, an eccentric Somersetshire baronet, who died on 12 Jan. 1765, left his estate at Burton-Pynsent in the parish of Curry-Rivell, and nearly 3,000l. a year, to Chatham, with whom he was personally unacquainted. The validity of the will was unsuccessfully disputed by the Rev. Sir Robert Pynsent, a cousin of the testator. Chatham erected a column (commonly known as the Burton steeple) in memory of his benefactor. A portion of the old mansion-house is still standing. On the death of Chatham's widow the estate passed by sale to the Pinney family. When Chatham came into possession of Burton-Pynsent, he sold Hayes to the Hon. Thomas Walpole. But on falling ill he became possessed with a morbid belief that only the air of Hayes would restore his health, and Walpole was persuaded to sell it back to him (ib. iii. 30-3; Chatham Correspondence, iii. 289-92). Chatham returned to Hayes in December 1767, and it continued his favourite residence for the rest of his life. Hayes Place was sold in 1785 to Mr. (afterwards Sir) James Bond, and by him, in 1789, to George, viscount Lewisham (afterwards third Earl of Dartmouth). It is now the residence of Mr. Everard Alexander Hambro. In the chancel of Hayes church, adjoining the grounds, are hung the banners which were borne at Chatham's funeral in Westminster Abbey. Chatham occupied North End House, Hampstead, in 1766, and during part of his mysterious illness in 1767. The house, which is now called Wildwood House, has undergone considerable alterations; but Chatham's room, concerning which Howitt relates some very curious particulars, still remains (Northern Heights of London, 1869, p. 82).
[Though much information as to Chatham's career can be gleaned from Francis Thackeray's ponderous History of the Earl of Chatham (2 vols. 4to, London, 1827), from Macaulay's Essays, the Chatham Correspondence, Almon's Anecdotes, and Timbs's Anecdote Biography, 1862, an adequate life of Chatham has yet to be written. Besides the works quoted in the text, the following authorities among others have been consulted for the purpose of this article: Authentic Memoirs of the Right Hon. the late Earl of Chatham, 1778; Godwin's History of the Life of William Pitt, Earl of Chatham, 1783; the Speeches of the Right Hon. the Earl of Chatham, with a Biographical Memoir, 1848; Coxe's Memoirs of Horatio, Lord Walpole, 1802; Memoirs by a celebrated Literary Character, 1814; John Nichols's Recollections and Reflections, 1822; Phillimore's Memoirs and Correspondence of George, Lord Lyttelton, 1845; Albemarle's Memoirs of the Marquis of Rockingham, 1852; Ballantyne's Lord Carteret, 1887; Carlyle's Frederick the Great, 1872–3; Boswell's Life of Johnson, 1887; Lady Chatterton's Memorials of Admiral Lord Gambier, 1861, vol. i; Russell's Life and Times of C. J. Fox, 1859, vol. i.; Mahon's History of England, 1858, vols. ii.–vii.; Bancroft's History of the United States of America, 1876, vols. iii. iv. vi.; Jesse's Memoirs of the Life and Reign of King George III, 1867; Woodfall's Junius, 1814; Nichols's Literary Anecdotes, 1812–15; Seward's Literary Anecdotes of Distinguished Persons, 1814, ii. 318, 353, 357–86; Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Benjamin Franklin, 1818, i. 305–7, 490–504, 508; Brougham's Historical Sketches of Statesmen, 1839, 1st ser. pp. 17–47; Grattan's Miscellaneous Works, 1822, pp. 9–10; Rogers's Complete Collection of the Protests of the House of Lords, 1875, ii. 101–17; Lodge's Portraits, 1849–50, vii. 289–304; Earle's English Premiers, 1871, i. 129–217; Walpole's Catalogue of Royal and Noble Authors, 1806, iv. 369–78; Whateley's Observations on Gardening, 1801, pp. 72, 85n.; Thoms's Hannah Lightfoot, &c., 1867; Retrospective Review, vii. 352–78; North American Review, lv. 377–425; Edinburgh Review, lxx. 90–123; Dublin Univ. Mag. xl. 1–18; Collinson's History of Somerset, 1791, vol. i., Hundred of Abdick and Bulston, pp. 24–5; Thorne's Environs of London, 1876, i. 188, 289, 334, 696; Wheatley's London Past and Present, 1891, i. 367, 520, ii. 137, 161, 170, 242, 281, 301, iii. 4, 463, 472, 479; Chester's Westminster Abbey Registers (Harl. Soc. Publ.), 1875, pp. 426, 442, 469; Collins's Peerage of England, 1812, v. 47–73; Doyle's Official Baronage, 1886, i. 359–60; G. E. C.'s Complete Peerage, 1889, ii. 212–13; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1715–1886, iii. 1121; London Gazettes, 1746, Nos. 8512, 8533. 8540, 1766 No. 10646, 1768 Nos. 10804, 10817, 1778 No. 11883; Hist. MSS. Comm. 1st Rep. App. pp. 56–7, 8th Rep. App. i. 196, 219–26, 9th Rep. App. iii. 12th Rep. App. ix. 254–6, 13th Rep. App. iii. 38, 66, 73, 74, 76–7, 84, 14th Rep. App. i. 10–13; Official Return of Lists of Members of Parliament, ii. 80, 93, 106, 109, 111, 115, 119, 129; Notes and Queries, passim; Brit. Mus. Cat.]