Papers of William Pitt, the Younger: 1774-1806

Call Number: HIL-MICL FC LFR .P5W5P3
Category: Family
Creator: Pitt, William, 1759-1806.
Description: 17 microfilm reels textual records (29 volumes) ; 35 mm.

William Pitt (also known as Pitt the Younger) was the second son of William Pitt (also known as Pitt the Elder), first Earl of Chatham and Prime Minister of Great Britain for the years 1756-61 and 1765-68. While at Cambridge, he befriended William Wilberforce who became a political ally in Parliament. He entered the House of Commons in 1781. Aligning himself originally with the Whigs, Pitt denounced the continuation of the American War of Independence and proposed peace. In the Shelburne ministry, he was appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer, July 1782- March 1783, until Shelburne resigned. He was the youngest prime minister on record, winning the post at age 24 (19 December 1783-14 March 1801, 10 May 1804-23 January 1806). He would continue dual roles of prime minister and chancellor of the exchequer during both tenures as prime minister.

One of Pitt's political objectives was to build good relations with America, and he also addressed the future of British Canada through the Constitution Act of 1791. During war with France, Pitt put a lot of manpower and money into West Indies expeditions, and attempted unsuccessfully to take St. Domingue (Haiti) between 1793-98, as well as to influence its neighbour, Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic), to side with the British. The Act of Union in 1800 included Catholic emancipation which was rejected by the King; consequently, Pitt resigned in protest. Returning as prime minister in 1804, he gained support of the Austrian, Russian and Swedish leaders to try to defeat Napoleon’s armies.  This alliance disappeared after disastrous battles in 1805.  With Pitt's health declining, he died still in office.

William Pitt, first Earl of Chatham's Papers, commonly referred to as the Chatham Papers, comprise in total 373 volumes in two series, of which the first series, volumes 1-100, contains the correspondence and papers of the first Lord and Lady Chatham. The second series contains the correspondence and papers of William Pitt the younger (volumes 101-363, 373) and of John, second Earl of Chatham (volumes 364-372).

            The Papers contain the working papers of William Pitt, the younger, received during his tenure as chancellor of the exchequer and as prime minister. Papers are various such as military returns and instructions, petitions, country reports, census, economic and geographic accounts, statistical data, and some correspondence. Papers relate to the British army and navy, and geographical areas of Portugal, United States, South America (including Central America), Canada, and islands in the West Indies, now more commonly known as the Caribbean. Time period covers from the end of the American Revolution (1775-83), to the Wars of the French Revolution (1792-1802), and Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815). These conflicts and their repercussions form the context for much of the subject matter, including defense, security, and the military (at home and abroad); foreign relations and diplomacy; colonialism and colonial politics and government; maritime matters (shipping, trade, and the law at sea). Other topics well covered are the Caribbean - slavery, slave trade, Black history, and race; demography and population studies; economics; commerce and mercantilism; society and social studies; statistics; agriculture, commodities and climate.

Detailed Content and Arrangement:

Army Papers

Vol. 240 - 1. Miscellaneous papers on the number and quartering of troops; 2. weekly returns of cavalry and infantry, 1794-1804; 3. three note books on the state of the forces, 1804, 1805; 4. returns of recruits and new levies, 1793-1795.

Vol. 241- 1. Ordnance Papers (Ordnance was responsible for supply and repair of equipment, small arms); 2. commissions, instructions, etc.; 3. cases of officers, etc.; 4. letters on army matters from- Army clothieres, W. Baldwin, H. Calvert (deputy adjutant-general), General H.S. Conway, Marquis of Cornwallis, Mr. Crew, Henry Deane, deputy secretary at war, Messrs Dick & Leake (comptrollers of army accounts), General Sir Charles Grey, Lord Hawkesbury, Lord Robert Hobart, Nathaniel Jekyll, Herbert Lloyd, Colonel Loftus, Baron de Luninck, L. Mosse (for Lord Amherst), George Murray and others, Duke of Richmond, Sir John Scott and Sir John Mitford (attorney and solicitor general), Edward Smith, K. Stables, Lord Sydney, Henry Ware & other officers - Brooke Watson, Capt. Charles Wellard, Major Worell

Vol. 242 - Propositions and memoranda, 1789-1796

Vol. 243 - Propositions and memoranda, 1799-1806

Vol. 244 - Papers relating to 1. Militia, 1782-1806; 2. Volunteers, yeomanry, etc.

Vol. 245 - Papers on the defence of the country, 1792-1804

Admiralty Papers

Vol. 246 - Papers relating to 1. Admiralty and Navy Commissioners, Officers, and Clerks; 2. Navy Board sent by Sir Charles Middleton, (afterwards Lord Barham)

Vol. 247 - Navy Office Papers: 1. Estimates; 2. Navy Debt

Vol. 248 - Navy Office Papers relating to Seamen and Mariners

Vol. 249 - Letters mostly addressed to Pitt on manning the Navy from - Robert Addison (mayor of Lancaster), Nicholas Ashton, William Atkinson, Thomas Baker, W. Barnes, Robert Beatson, William Beatson, John Blunt, James Bogle, William Bower, J.P. Boys, George Brisac, Bristol merchants, Hawkins Browne, Jonas Browne & Co., Thomas Burrow, Sam Cable, Andrew Casselo, Jos. Cawthorne, Wm. Chaloner, Abel Chapman, James Cheveley, Mr. Christopher, Ewan Clark, Capt. Charles Cobb, Henry Cooke, Mr. Corsellis, George Coryton, Will. Daniel, H. Davis, James John Davis, Thos. Dennison, Robert Douglas, John Dunlop (provost of Glasgow), Sir John Durbin, Edmund Rolfe Elsden, William Elmhirst, P. Elwood, Henry Etherington, Lloyd Evans, William Faddy, William Ferguson, Robert Forbes, John Gifford, Mr. Gipps, A. Graham, Robert Graham, John Green, Mr. Groome, Sam. Hadley, Capt. T.P. Hawkin, Josh. Hawkins, Wm. Hawks, Dr. Robert Henderson, J.G. Hippius, Richard G. Hoare, Thos. Hogg, P. Holland, Jos. Huddart, W. Ilsher, John Jackson, R.G. Jennett, Herbert Jones, Thos. Laugherne, Capt. Thomas Lee, C. Lefebure, Thomas Lempriere, John Lester (mayor of Poole), G.W. Lewis, T. Luckeris, J. Lyall, John & James Mangles, Samuel Martin, John Mason, C.N. Michell, Francis Milner, Samuel Moore, Richard Nixon, George Pearson, Richard Pemberton, Alexander Peter, J. Petrie, Isaac Pocock, J. Powditch, Dr. Robert Priest, D. Ramsay, George Richardson, John Robertson, Arthur Robinson, Charles Russell, John Saltmarsh, Andrew Saunders, John Shaw (mayor of Liverpool), Lord Sheffield, W. Sherbrooke, John Shoolbred, John Slaughter, Lieut. H.J. Smith, Jos. [Joseph?] Smith (mayor of Bristol), William Smith, Edward Smythe Stafford, David Stewart, Mr. Stokes, John Tarleton, Grove Taylor, Benj. B. Thompson, Charles Tisdall, Frederick Van Hagen, William Walter Viney, Dan. Wakefield, John Walker, Ralph Walker, George R. Wallew, Mr. Walsh, Rev. Thomas Watson, Richard Watt, Edward Watts, C. Webb, John Weir, Thomas White (mayor of Portsmouth), Jos.[Joseph?] Whitfield, Thomas Williams, Sir Thomas Wilson, T. Wood, T. Woodrow, John Wray, and Anonymous

Vol. 250 - Admiralty Papers: 1. Essays, propositions etc. on manning the Navy; 2. Miscellaneous propositions, etc.; 3. Cases and depositions

Vol. 251 - Navy Victualling Office Papers, 1784-1796 July

Vol. 252 Navy Victualling Office Papers, 1796-1799; Transport Office Papers

Vol. 253 - Dockyards, papers relating to

Vol. 254 - Dockyards, Proceedings of commissioners for securing

Vol. 255 - Port of London, papers relating to, 1783-1797

Vol. 256 - Port of London, papers relating to, 1798-1805

Vol. 257 - Papers relating to ships - 1. Lists of ships; 2. Appeals before the Prize commissioners; 3. Miscellaneous

European Affairs

Vol. 342 - Portugal Miscellaneous papers, dispatches and letters from M. De Almeida, Donald Campbell, William Glissan, Sir John Hort, Chevalier de Pinto, R. Walpole; and includes papers relating to Corsica, Gibraltar, Malta, Madeira, St. Helena, Botany Bay

North and South American Affairs

Vol. 343 - Papers relating to North American States, 1780-1793 (some date earlier); some examples include: account of imports and exports of goods by British merchants into the Mississippi (1776-1779), Hints drawn up Anno 1780 when reconciliation with North America was expected, letters from and to American Treaty Commissioners, observations on the American treaty, paper touching the retention of North American posts by the British (1782-84), "Review of statutes necessary to be revised in consequence of the provisional treaty with America by Mr. Pownall" 1783 Feb. 2, paper by Mr. Pownall on future regulation of commercial intercourse/trade between Britain and United States 1783 Jan. 30, two papers on the contract for victualling forces in North America regarding charges against contractors made by commissioners for auditing public accounts, precis of all remitting contracts for payment of troops in North America from 1754 to July 15, 1778, case of the late Brig.-General Montfort Browne who was lieutenant-governor of West Florida and governor-in-chief of the Bahamas Islands

Vol. 344 - Includes Papers relating to North American States, 1794-1804 (some date earlier) and undated; examples include - papers relating to imports in and exports from New York including proclamation of Gen. William Howe, New York, 1777 July 17 regulating imports and exports in relation to Long Island, Staten Island and New York Island, and certificate from New York mayor regarding regulation of imports into New York, 1778 March 21; papers relating to Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina, mostly petitions, etc., subsequent to 1783, asking relief for losses resulting from the war, and including the Case of the Merchants and others interested in the Lands in the Province of Georgia ceded by the Cherokee and Creek Indian Nations, etc., May 3, 1782; papers relating to American Loyalists' claims, dated later than 1783 but referring to events prior to that date; and papers relating to American ships.

Vol. 345 - Papers relating to South America, Demerara (presently Guyana), Brazil, Mosquito Shore (Central America); mostly later than 1783

Vol. 346 - Papers relating to Canada; Newfoundland; New Brunswick and Nova Scotia; mostly later than 1783

Vol. 347 - Papers relating to St. John's (now Prince Edward Island)

Vol. 348-351 - Papers relating to the West Indies, c. 1774-1804 (some earlier), mostly later than 1783

Vol. 348 - Islands include in this order: 

1. Antigua (12 documents) - Black rebellion-1736 and 1739, census, compensation for escaped "mulatto" of Doctor McKittrick - 1780/81, American trade - 1783, collectors of customs office - 1789; 
2. Bahamas (4 documents) - state of island, description of Exuma - 1786; 
3. Barbados (22 documents) - state of the island - 1788, and additional documents for same year providing contemporary and historical data pertaining to state of slave trade/slavery/enslaved/Black people, currency issues, corruption of commissary official, raising of Black military corps, narrative of merchant Mr. Lashky of his service and loss during the American Revolution; 
4. Bermuda (1 document) - description or state of the island; 
5. Dominica (14 documents) - dealing with concerns of land leasers who had taken up lands during French rule - 1790s, trade improvements between Britain and America; 
6. Grenada (some mention of Antigua, St. Vincent, and St. Kitts; approximately half of the documents in this volume) - contains much detailed data and evidence generated by Grenada government during the period of the British Parliamentary Enquiry into the Slave Trade in 1788; documents generated by British colonial agent Charles Spooner - examination in Grenada and St. Kitts/Saint Christophers on slavery, and various other documents on topic of slavery and agriculture, including particulars of his plantations at Saint Christopher/St. Kitts - St. Mary Cayon and Christchurch Nicola Town (lists of enslaved people on estates such as women, children, born and dead); crops produced at Pembroke Hall estate/plantation owned by Hungerford Spooner, nephew of Charles, at Jamaica - 1756-85; French Catholic concerns - 1789; sugar imports - 1707-42; exports; timeline of military events 1784-94; documents surrounding merchants' and planters' petition for financial relief for losses due to insurrection (Grenada and St. Vincent); merchants' advocacy of island value in commodities requiring naval security; and Grenada defence - financial help from England requested and black infrastructure labour; 
7. Guadeloupe (1 document) - information on sugar production. 

The content is closely connected to slavery and colonial attitudes towards enslaved people; the plantation system (including lists of enslaved people); military protection related to Fédon’s Rebellion in Grenada (1795) and subsequent financial relief to colonists; crop productions (particularly sugar); and trade.  Most documents appear to be copies created for Pitt’s records. Names and correspondents include: Thomas Shirley (governor of Antigua), John Brathwaite (British agent/representative for Barbados), Alexander Malet (Barbados commissioner of customs), Charles Spooner (estates/plantations owner and British agent/representative at different times for different islands including St. Kitts/Saint Christopher and Grenada), Edward Mathew (during the American Revolution was general in the Guards Brigade, governor and commander-in-chief of Grenada), James Seton (military deputy paymaster located at Saint Vincent), and David Parry (governor of Barbados).

Vol. 349 - Islands include 1. Jamaica, 2. St./Santo Domingo (now Dominican Republic)

Vol. 350 - Islands include 1. Martinique, 2. Saint Christopher/St. Christopher (also known as St. Kitts), 3. St. Eustatius, 4. St. Martins, 5. Saint Vincent/St. Vincent, 6. Tobago, 7. Trinidad 

Vol. 351 - Miscellaneous papers relating to the West Indies, 1778-1801  Document types include census summaries, economic and geographic accounts, memorials and petitions, reports, and correspondence.  

Vol. 352 - Resolutions, etc. of West India planters and merchants, 1783-1800.            
Originals: The original records are held at The National Archives (TNA) in London, formerly known as the Public Record Office (PRO).
Archival Ref. No.: PRO 30/8 2nd Series, volumes 240-257, 342-352
Finding Aids:
            The series, List and Index Society, volume 8 contains a listing of the contents for the Chatham Papers (HIL-REFOS CD1042 A2 L54), which for volumes with correspondence, includes list of correspondents.


Microfilm Shelf List is available digitally which indicates the reel numbers for each volume; see Electronic Finding Aid section.  (The film uses the term index for this.)

Volume 348 - List of documents is available digitally, with subject keywords, page numbers and dates; see Electronic Finding Aid section.            
Electronic Finding Aid Record: Microfilm Shelf List.pdf
Notes: The Papers of William Pitt The Younger is the title given by the microfilm publisher and is published as part of the microfilm series, Papers of the Prime Ministers of Great Britain, Series One.
Part Of: The Papers of William Pitt the Younger forms part of the larger body of records, William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham: Papers, commonly referred to as the Chatham Papers (PRO 30/8).
Other With: