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William Pitt

statesman

William Pitt, British statesman. Member English House of Commons, 1735-1766.

Background

Pitt, William was born on November 15, 1708 in Westminster, England. Son of Robert and Harriet (Villiers) Pitt.

Education

Attended Trinity College, Oxford (England) University.

Career

Member English House of Commons, 1735-1766. Appointed joint vice-treasurer of Ireland, paymaster-general British Army, member Privy Council, 1741-1755. Secretary of state for Southern Department (included American colonies), 1756-1760, led England during 1st 4 years of Seven Years War.

Placed major English war effort in French colonial holdings, letting allies fight European war supported mainly by English subsidies (under plan England captured Fort Duquesne, Louisburg, Quebec, thus established control over Canada). England received Canada by Treaty of Paris (1763), thus eliminating French influence on American continent. Lord privy seal, 1766-1768, created 1st earl of Chatham, 1766.

Leader in House of Lords against English colonial policies (despite his poor health), 1766-1778. Attacked Parliament’s right of taxation in colonies, fought for repeal of Stamp Act. Introduced bill (in conjunction with Benjamin Franklin) aimed at reconciliation between England and colonies, 1775.

Protested use of Indians against colonists, 1777. Made last appearance in House of Lords to speak against American independence, but for political compromise. Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania) named for him.

Membership

Member English House of Commons, 1735-1766.

Connections

Married Hester Grenville, November 16, 1754. Children: John, William (the Younger), James, Hester, Harriet.

father:
Robert Pitt

mother:
Harriet (Villiers) Pitt

spouse:
Hester Grenville

children:
John Pitt

William Pitt (the Younger)

James Pitt

Hester Pitt

Harriet Pitt