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, (1783 - 1801; 1804 - 1806).
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. 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 correspondence and papers of William Pitt, the younger, in his role as chancellor of the exchequer, 1782-1783, and British Prime Minister, 1783-1801 and 1803-1806 (volumes 101-363, 373), and of John, second Earl of Chatham (volumes 364-372). The documents are from 29 volumes in Series 2 of the Chatham Papers, specifically, papers relating to the army, navy and admiralty (volumes 240-257), and papers relating to Portugal, American states, South America, Canada (present-day Ontario and Quebec), Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, St. John's (present-day Prince Edward Island), and islands in the West Indies (volumes 342-352). The time frame covers the period from the American Revolution (1775-83) into the Napoleonic Wars (1799-1815). The topics covered include British foreign relations; politics and government; military and defence; loyalists; maritime matters such as shipping, trade and the law; and diplomacy.
Detailed Content and Arrangement:
Vol. 240 - Miscellaneous papers on the number and quartering of troops; weekly returns of cavalry and infantry, 1794-1804; three note books on the state of the forces, 1804, 1805; returns of recruits and new levies, 1793-1795.
Vol. 241 Ordnance papers; commissions, instructions, etc.; cases of officers, etc.; letters on army matters - See list of correspondents at start of reel and in print.
Vol. 242 - Propositions and memoranda, 1789-1796
Vol. 243 - Propositions and memoranda, 1791-1806
Vol. 244 - Papers relating to Militia, 1782-1806; Volunteers, yeomanry, etc.
Vol. 245 - Papers on the defence of the country, 1792-1804
Vol. 246 - Papers relating to: Admiralty and Navy Commissioners, Officers, and Clerks; Navy Board
Vol. 247 - Navy Office Papers: Estimates; Navy Debt
Vol. 248 - Navy Office Papers relating to Seamen and Mariners
Vol. 249 - Letters on manning the Navy. See list of correspondents at start of reel and in print.
Vol. 250 - Admiralty Papers: Essays, propositions etc. on manning the Navy; Miscellaneous propositions, etc.; Cases and depositions
Vol. 251 - Navy Victualling Office Papers, 1784-1796 July
Vol. 252 Navy Victualling Office Papers, 1796-1799; Slop and 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: Lists of ships; Appeals before the Prize commissioners; Miscellaneous
Vol. 342 - Portugal Miscellaneous papers, dispatches; letters from M. De Almeida, Donald Campbell, William Glissan, Sir John Hort, Chevalier de Pinto, R. Walpole; papers relating to Corsica, Gibraltar, Malta, Madeira, St. Helena, Botany Bay
Vol. 343 - Papers relating to North American States, 1780-1798; 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), 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, lieutenant-governor of West Florida and governor-in-chief of the Bahama Island
Vol. 344 - Papers relating to North American States, 1794-1804 and undated; includes for example: papers relating to imports into and exports from New York; 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, dated later than 1783 but referring to events prior to that date.
Vol. 345 - Papers relating to South America, Demarara, Brazil, Mosquito Shore; 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 (Prince Edward Island)
Vol. 348-351 - Papers relating to the West Indies, c. 1774-1804, mostly later than 1783
Vol. 352 - Resolution, etc. of West India planters and merchants, 1783-1800.