William Pitt, the Younger

Last week I talked about the death of Sir John Moore, the anniversary of which was last Monday. Today is the anniversary of the death of William Pitt, the Younger. (I seem to be on a death kick)

Pitt became the youngest Prime Minister of Great Britain in 1783 at the age of 24, finally accepting the post after King George III had urged it on him three times. He was ridiculed for his youth, even in a popular ditty of the period that called Great Britain, “a kingdom trusted to a schoolboy’s care.”

He replaced Charles James Fox, whom the king detested and who became Pitt’s lifelong political rival. Pitt resigned the office in 1801 when he clashed with the king over Catholic Emancipation.

Pitt became Prime Minister again in 1804, a stressful time due to the rise of Napoleon in France, and Fox’s continued opposition.

Pitt, who had suffered from bouts of ill health since childhood, became ill in 1806. He died on this date in 1806, probably from peptic ulceration of the stomach. Pitt never married.

Parliament passed a bill to pay Pitt’s debts and to honor him with a public funeral and a monument. It passed easily, although Fox opposed it. Pitt was buried in Westminster Abbey.

When I went on the Regency Tour in 2003, we visited countless country houses of the Regency period. In almost all of them a bust of Pitt was displayed.

When I discussed Sir John Moore last week, I mentioned that he sent his regards to that intrepid traveller, Lady Hester Stanhope, whom it was thought he would have married had he lived. Well, Lady Hester Stanhope was William Pitt’s niece. She designed his gardens and acted as his hostess for a time.

Do you have any interesting connections like that? Like knowing someone in one part of your life who also is connected to someone in another part of your life? For example, my husband, a government computer guy took a training class recently and sat next to someone, not in the government, who was an employee of my friend Pam Palmer’s husband. I’m not sure how, in a computer training, they got to talking about romance novels….

Next week I will have a guest blogger! My friend Victoria Vane aka Emery Lee will be blogging about her latest, an erotic novella set in the Georgian period, Breach of Promise. She’ll also be giving away a free download of the novella to one lucky commenter chosen at random!

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10 years ago

When I lived in England, I was eating lunch at a cafeteria and heard an America at the next table. We started chatting, and we discovered we lived less than two miles apart.

Constance Wagner lives in New Jersey. She found my LOTR fanfiction on line, and emailed me, telling me to write a Christian Historical romance. She also knew someone here, where I live, and she thought we’d be great friends. We finally met this past year, living only ten miles apart for the last five years, and Connie was right. It’s like we’ve known each other forever.

When I was a missionary in Thailand, I was assigned a companion with whom I’d been friends in kindergarten, and hadn’t seen since.

Diane Gaston
10 years ago

Wow, Judy! Those are incredible synchronicities!

Ardent Pittite
10 years ago

Very happy to see someone else is commemorating Pitt today! I’ve linked to your post from my Tumblr.


Diane Gaston
10 years ago

Ardent Pittite! Thanks for the link. Your posting about Pitt was fascinating.

Beth Elliott
10 years ago

I studied modern languages at Reading University in England. Then I taught English at a French university, where I met my husband, a Turk doing his PhD on a French literature subject. We went to work in a Turkish university in the very east of Turkey. I was asked to teach in the English department there. My Head of Department was a Turk who had spent three years studying in … Reading University in England.

Five years later we came to work in England. My husband’s Head of Department turned out to be the cousin of one of my mother’s boyfriends from her young days as reigning belle of her small Welsh town.

Louisa Cornell
10 years ago

I’ve always been an admirer of William Pitt. Such a shame he died so young.

One of my favorite non-romance writers is Stephen King. I minored in French in undergraduate school at a strict Baptist women’s college. My professor, Madame Vaden was from Bangor, Maine where she taught – Stephen King.

I was in every musical and theatre group in my high school. My senior year a young lady was in the same groups with me. She knew I was studying opera and asked me all about it. The other kids who thought about music as a career were all thinking rock star or music teacher. I encouraged Rebecca to think about a career in opera or on Broadway. Fast forward to the year Andrew Lloyd Webber’s wife stepped down from her role as Christine in Phantom of the Opera on Broadway. What young lady took her place? Rebecca Luker! She has been twice nominated for a Tony and has done some wonderful CD’s of Broadway, Gershwin and Sondheim songs.

Diane Gaston
10 years ago

Beth, I love your Turkish connections! Proves it is a small world.

Louisa, I love that you are responsible for a Tony-winning actress/singer. I’m going to see if her albums are on iTunes!!!

Elena Greene
10 years ago

I suspect a lot of these connections happened in the British aristocracy, since it was of limited in size and largely exclusive.

The same sort of thing happens to me quite often, since I’ve lived for a while in the same small-ish community. I met one friend while skiing and then learned she is married to my GP.

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