Ardent Pittite
apricotsays:

Royal Mail will release a set of stamps of portrait of British Prime Ministers on 14th October. Among them I found him, William Pitt the Younger. Benedict played him on “Amazing Grace”.
A little bit of history lesson;

William Pitt the Younger 97p  PM 1783-1801, 1804-1806 Party Whig/Tory  William Pitt seemed destined for leadership. The son of a Prime Minister, he was an MP at just 21, Chancellor two years later and Prime Minister at 24. As PM from 1783 to 1801, Pitt brought in income tax, reduced import duties, led the country into the Napoleonic Wars and established the Union between Great Britain and Ireland with the Act of Union in 1800. The struggle against Napoleon dominated his leadership. He negotiated coalitions against France, and his introduction of income tax aimed to bankroll the war. Back in office in 1804, Pitt declared after Trafalgar the following year: ‘England has saved herself by her exertions, and will, I trust, save Europe by her example.’ But Pitt himself was in poor health, and he died in office on 23 January 1806 – exactly 25 years after he entered Parliament. 


Ooh, I’d almost forgotten these stamps were coming out! Must get in the queue at the Post Office tomorrow.

apricotsays:

Royal Mail will release a set of stamps of portrait of British Prime Ministers on 14th October. Among them I found him, William Pitt the Younger. Benedict played him on “Amazing Grace”.

A little bit of history lesson;

William Pitt the Younger 97p  
PM 1783-1801, 1804-1806 Party Whig/Tory  
William Pitt seemed destined for leadership. The son of a Prime Minister, he was an MP at just 21, Chancellor two years later and Prime Minister at 24. As PM from 1783 to 1801, Pitt brought in income tax, reduced import duties, led the country into the Napoleonic Wars and established the Union between Great Britain and Ireland with the Act of Union in 1800. The struggle against Napoleon dominated his leadership. He negotiated coalitions against France, and his introduction of income tax aimed to bankroll the war. Back in office in 1804, Pitt declared after Trafalgar the following year: ‘England has saved herself by her exertions, and will, I trust, save Europe by her example.’ But Pitt himself was in poor health, and he died in office on 23 January 1806 – exactly 25 years after he entered Parliament. 

Ooh, I’d almost forgotten these stamps were coming out! Must get in the queue at the Post Office tomorrow.

sylvanus-urban:

Kett’s History the Interpreter of Prophecy (1799), vols 1, 2, 3.
One of a long tradition of works attempting to interpret historical and current events as fulfilments of biblical prophecy. Not surprisingly, Kett equates revolutionary France with the “Infidel Power” which, together with “Popery” and “Mahometanism”, constitute the Antichrist whose reign is supposed to precede the final triumph of Christianity at the “end time”.

The book’s dedicatee was Pitt’s friend, erstwhile secretary and former tutor, George Pretyman (aka Tomline), Bishop of Lincoln:
In his Preface, Kett makes a further gushing acknowledgement of his obligation to Pretyman, and also confesses that he shares authorship with another person:
From this Person, whose name I am not at liberty to mention, and whose anxiety for the success of this Publication is perfectly disinterested, I have not only received many judicious corrections of what I had written, but such valuable communications as are deservedly substituted for many of the materials which I had prepared for the press.
This anon was in fact Pretyman’s wife, Elizabeth; so given the couple’s heavy involvement in the book, it’s no surprise to find in Pretyman’s own Elements of Christian Theology, published the same year, a direct plug:
A couple of years later, in December 1801, Mrs Pretyman managed to engineer a conversation with Pitt about “her” book (the following two passages are taken from a post on my friend anoondayeclipse's wonderful blog, The Private Life of William Pitt):
I had a very very interesting Conversation with Mr Pitt upon several subjects, one of which was the origin of my writing History The Interpreter of Prophesy as an apology to apparent prescription. He expressed himself in the kindest manner possible, said he had heard it very highly spoken of - that at the Time it came into his hands his mind was pressed with other things, but that he certainly would read it again (he had not read it all) with great attention, and tell me really what he thought of it, as he was sure he might do so. - I then said, I had a marked Copy which I would order to be put into his Carriage if he would give me leave. He caught at this most eagerly and said he would read it immediately, and begin it as he went to Town. - I observed he would find I differ’d from him upon some points … and that it was extraordinary that events should have justified me so compleatly. He seemed struck with this … and said with a feeling sigh I shall never forget, his eyes suffused with tears of sensibility, “Perhaps if I had happened to study the subject I might have adopted more fortunate measures - I could only judge from what I saw to be the actual state of things, but if I had had your ideas relative to France I certainly should have considered ideas formed upon circumstances merely human as subservient to them. - As it was, I don’t know that I could not act otherwise than I did!” - This was said in a tone of regret and of feeling for his Country that I think no man but himself could have done. - I instantly replied “You surely could not Sir. - You considered the subject politically only, I considered it religiously.” - “Just so.”
A few days later, Mrs Pretyman received this account from her husband, who had just breakfasted with Pitt in London:
We had scarcely begun breakfast when he entered upon Mr. Kett’s Book. - he said he read as long as there was any light in his way to town, and got through the first Chap. - he said that he was “exceedingly pleased” and very much struck by the minuteness of the circumstances - that there was only one thing wanting to make it [a] compleat demonstration, namely, to prove that the Books containing the Prophecies existed in their present state prior to the Events, of which he added he had not the slightest doubt, - that then the argument from Prophecy would be the simplest and most convincing possible. - He did not mention this as a defect in the work, for he considered it as both fair and right for this point to be taken for granted in a work where it could not be properly placed, but only as the one thing wanting to make that Vol. [a] compleat demonstration. He called it “an admirable Work,” observed how very large a portion of it was written by you, treating Mr. Kett’s share as nothing, and noticed the extensive Reading necessary for the writing of it. - He thought you right, considering your feelings, in remaining concealed, that you certainly did forego a great deal of credit, but you avoided an impression which though unjust would not be very pleasant to you. - He meant that of Authorship according to its general meaning when applied to women. I assure you, my dearest Love, he spoke of the subject, the execution & the Writer exactly as you and I could have wished. He expressed himself determined to go on with it, and is aware that the latter part is more interesting even than the former - he seemed impatient to read what remains. He said he was tempted to begin at the second Chap., but that he had not yielded to the temptation as thinking it not fair towards you.
Proof, surely, that the Pretymans (aka Tomlines) were as hideous as they were hilarious.

sylvanus-urban:

Kett’s History the Interpreter of Prophecy (1799), vols 1, 2, 3.

One of a long tradition of works attempting to interpret historical and current events as fulfilments of biblical prophecy. Not surprisingly, Kett equates revolutionary France with the “Infidel Power” which, together with “Popery” and “Mahometanism”, constitute the Antichrist whose reign is supposed to precede the final triumph of Christianity at the “end time”.

The book’s dedicatee was Pitt’s friend, erstwhile secretary and former tutor, George Pretyman (aka Tomline), Bishop of Lincoln:

In his Preface, Kett makes a further gushing acknowledgement of his obligation to Pretyman, and also confesses that he shares authorship with another person:

From this Person, whose name I am not at liberty to mention, and whose anxiety for the success of this Publication is perfectly disinterested, I have not only received many judicious corrections of what I had written, but such valuable communications as are deservedly substituted for many of the materials which I had prepared for the press.

This anon was in fact Pretyman’s wife, Elizabeth; so given the couple’s heavy involvement in the book, it’s no surprise to find in Pretyman’s own Elements of Christian Theology, published the same year, a direct plug:

A couple of years later, in December 1801, Mrs Pretyman managed to engineer a conversation with Pitt about “her” book (the following two passages are taken from a post on my friend anoondayeclipse's wonderful blog, The Private Life of William Pitt):

I had a very very interesting Conversation with Mr Pitt upon several subjects, one of which was the origin of my writing History The Interpreter of Prophesy as an apology to apparent prescription. He expressed himself in the kindest manner possible, said he had heard it very highly spoken of - that at the Time it came into his hands his mind was pressed with other things, but that he certainly would read it again (he had not read it all) with great attention, and tell me really what he thought of it, as he was sure he might do so. - I then said, I had a marked Copy which I would order to be put into his Carriage if he would give me leave. He caught at this most eagerly and said he would read it immediately, and begin it as he went to Town. - I observed he would find I differ’d from him upon some points … and that it was extraordinary that events should have justified me so compleatly. He seemed struck with this … and said with a feeling sigh I shall never forget, his eyes suffused with tears of sensibility, “Perhaps if I had happened to study the subject I might have adopted more fortunate measures - I could only judge from what I saw to be the actual state of things, but if I had had your ideas relative to France I certainly should have considered ideas formed upon circumstances merely human as subservient to them. - As it was, I don’t know that I could not act otherwise than I did!” - This was said in a tone of regret and of feeling for his Country that I think no man but himself could have done. - I instantly replied “You surely could not Sir. - You considered the subject politically only, I considered it religiously.” - “Just so.”

A few days later, Mrs Pretyman received this account from her husband, who had just breakfasted with Pitt in London:

We had scarcely begun breakfast when he entered upon Mr. Kett’s Book. - he said he read as long as there was any light in his way to town, and got through the first Chap. - he said that he was “exceedingly pleased” and very much struck by the minuteness of the circumstances - that there was only one thing wanting to make it [a] compleat demonstration, namely, to prove that the Books containing the Prophecies existed in their present state prior to the Events, of which he added he had not the slightest doubt, - that then the argument from Prophecy would be the simplest and most convincing possible. - He did not mention this as a defect in the work, for he considered it as both fair and right for this point to be taken for granted in a work where it could not be properly placed, but only as the one thing wanting to make that Vol. [a] compleat demonstration. He called it “an admirable Work,” observed how very large a portion of it was written by you, treating Mr. Kett’s share as nothing, and noticed the extensive Reading necessary for the writing of it. - He thought you right, considering your feelings, in remaining concealed, that you certainly did forego a great deal of credit, but you avoided an impression which though unjust would not be very pleasant to you. - He meant that of Authorship according to its general meaning when applied to women. I assure you, my dearest Love, he spoke of the subject, the execution & the Writer exactly as you and I could have wished. He expressed himself determined to go on with it, and is aware that the latter part is more interesting even than the former - he seemed impatient to read what remains. He said he was tempted to begin at the second Chap., but that he had not yielded to the temptation as thinking it not fair towards you.

Proof, surely, that the Pretymans (aka Tomlines) were as hideous as they were hilarious.

Making Decent—!!— by George Cruikshank, 1822
William Wilberforce prudishly covers up Westmacott’s statue of Achilles in Hyde Park, also known as the Wellington Monument. Despite being provided with a fig leaf, the statue’s nudity was controversial.
The text under the print reads:
This Print Commemorative of Anglo French BRASS & true British Chastity, is inscribed with veneration to that Worthy Man Mr Willbyforce who with saintlike regard for the Morals of his Country, has undertaken to make the above fig. Decent, from 10 in the Mg till Dusk.

Making Decent—!!— by George Cruikshank, 1822

William Wilberforce prudishly covers up Westmacott’s statue of Achilles in Hyde Park, also known as the Wellington Monument. Despite being provided with a fig leaf, the statue’s nudity was controversial.

The text under the print reads:

This Print Commemorative of Anglo French BRASS & true British Chastity, is inscribed with veneration to that Worthy Man Mr Willbyforce who with saintlike regard for the Morals of his Country, has undertaken to make the above fig. Decent, from 10 in the Mg till Dusk.

staff:

Today’s the day. The day you help save the internet from being ruined.

Ready? 

Yes, you are, and we’re ready to help you.

(Long story short: The FCC is about to make a critical decision as to whether or not internet service providers have to treat all traffic equally. If they choose wrong, then the internet where anyone can start a website for any reason at all, the internet that’s been so momentous, funny, weird, and surprising—that internet could cease to exist. Here’s your chance to preserve a beautiful thing.)

Seriously, why is a decision that could potentially affect the global internet being entrusted to a handful of Americans? The rest of the world doesn’t get a say?

jeannepompadour:

Hester, Countess of Chatham in ceremonial robes by William Hoare, c. 1766


1766 was when Hester’s husband (William Pitt the Elder) became Earl of Chatham. This is the companion portrait of him:

jeannepompadour:

Hester, Countess of Chatham in ceremonial robes by William Hoare, c. 1766

1766 was when Hester’s husband (William Pitt the Elder) became Earl of Chatham. This is the companion portrait of him:

maritimehistorypodcast:

The Battle of the Nile

1 August 1798

The Battle of the Nile began on this day in maritime history, 1 August 1798. The battle, also known as the Battle of Aboukir Bay, saw the British Royal Navy under Horatio Nelson prevail over the Navy of the French Republic in battle that concluded on 3 August. The battle was the climax of a naval campaign that had ranged across the Mediterranean during the previous three months, as a large French convoy sailed from Toulon to Alexandria carrying an expeditionary force under then General Napoleon Bonaparte. The British victory at the Battle of the Nile effectively put an end to Napoleon’s invasion of the Middle East and made Nelson a war hero in the British Empire.

Pitt and Fox in the House of Commons

An interesting eyewitness account by a visiting American, from June 1805.

Although Mr. Pitt remained silent with respect to the motion on the state of the army, I had the pleasure of hearing this great man speak a few minutes on a petition which he handed in. There was nothing in the subject which called for a display of eloquence; he made simply a statement of facts, but this served to identify his voice and manner. In his person he is tall and spare; he has small limbs, with large knees and feet; his features are sharp; his nose large, pointed, and turning up; his complexion sanguine; his voice deep-toned and commanding, yet sweet and perfectly well modulated, and his whole presence, notwithstanding the want of symmetry in his limbs, is, when he rises to speak, full of superiority and conscious dignity. I had a distinct view of him for six hours, during which time he sat directly before me. His dress was a blue coat with metallic buttons, a white vest, black satin breeches, and white silk stockings, with large buckles in his shoes. His hair was powdered. Notwithstanding the violence of the opposition, and their having been so long accustomed to his voice, when he rose, the House became so quiet, that a whisper might have been heard from any part. He was very deliberate, so that not a word was lost; still energy was his most striking characteristic.

Mr. Fox was also present. His person is very lusty. His neck is short,—his head large, round, and now quite grey,—his chest is broad and prominent, and his body and limbs vast and corpulent, even for England. His complexion is dark,—his features large,—eyes blue, close together, and of uncommon size, and his whole appearance peculiar, noble, and commanding. His hair was not powdered;—he wore a blue coat, with buff cassimere under dress, and white silk stockings.

I saw him in numerous situations, for he seemed very uneasy, and changed his place many times: he walked about—went out and came in—went up gallery and down, and was almost constantly in motion. He spoke a few minutes on a petition from a person imprisoned in Ireland for treason. His remarks were very pertinent to the case; his manner flowing, easy, and natural, but without the dignity and impressiveness of Pitt. He stood leaning forward, as if going up hill, and his fists were clenched and thrust into his waistcoat pockets. The caricatures both of him and Mr. Pitt are very correct, with the usual allowance for the extravagance of this kind of prints.

From A Journal of Travels in England, Holland and Scotland, vol 1, by Benjamin Silliman.

I tell you, Citizens, we mean to new-dress the Constitution, and turn it, and set a new Nap upon it.
Robespierre’s Reign of Terror spawned an evil little twin in William Pitt the Younger’s Reign of Alarm, 1792-1798 … Many lives and careers were ruined in Britain as a result of the alarmist regime Pitt set up to suppress domestic dissent while waging his disastrous wars against republican France. Liberal young writers and intellectuals whose enthusiasm for the American and French revolutions raised hopes for Parliamentary reform at home saw their prospects blasted. Over a hundred trials for treason or sedition (more than ever before or since in British history) were staged against ‘the usual suspects’ - that is, political activists. But other, informal, vigilante means were used against the ‘unusual suspects’ …: jobs lost, contracts abrogated, engagements broken off, fellowships terminated, inheritances denied, and so on and on. As in the McCarthy era in 1950s America, blacklisting and rumor-mongering did as much damage as legal repression. Dozens of ‘almost famous’ writers saw their promising careers nipped in the bud: people like Helen Maria Williams, James Montgomery, William Frend, Gilbert Wakefield, John Thelwall [pictured by Gillray, above], Joseph Priestley, Dr. Thomas Beddoes, Francis Wrangham and many others…From the blurb to a book I haven’t read yet, Unusual Suspects: Pitt’s Reign of Alarm and the Lost Generation of the 1790s, by Kenneth R. Johnston (2013).

The Home Secretary at the time was the Duke of Portland. This is what his biographer has to say about “Pitt’s Terror”:
The [Parliamentary Secret Committee, 1799] concluded … that there existed ‘the clearest proofs of a systematic design … to overturn the laws, constitution and government’ of Britain and Ireland … Although historians have not accepted the full extent of the committee’s arguments … the insurrectionary dangers of the later 1790s are no longer dismissed as alarmist delusions or cynical inventions. The ensuing round of repressive legislation, though offensive to liberal consciences, appeared justified to many contemporaries. Indeed, the tone of recent analysis has not turned so much upon disputes about the seriousness of the threat, as upon the individual historian’s viewpoint on the question whether the avoidance of revolution in Britain was a lamentable misfortune or a commendable triumph.
The coalition between Portland and Pitt certainly played a significant role in the prevention of revolution in Britain. The most serious accusation against this ministry is that unnecessarily repressive policies actually created the revolutionary danger which in turn necessitated further repression. There is some validity in this interpretation, but it hinges on the notion that gradual and progressive change was both desirable and feasible at this time. Although the British reform movement, by and large, expressed genuine abhorrence at revolutionary violence in its early stages, it nevertheless constituted a radical threat to established authority. Parliamentary reform was not a viable option under prevailing circumstances. Patriotism provided a potent line of argument that reform was a damaging distraction during wartime. Extra-parliamentary pressure could not elicit sufficient support at Westminster: the disintegration of the Whig party and the formation of the Pitt-Portland coalition made that fact patently obvious. Agitation if left unchecked must therefore have led to conflict with parliament and the crown … The mass protests of 1795 could not be ignored; and, sweeping as the provisions of the Gagging Acts undoubtedly were, they embodied an honourable objective of minimising the encroachment on civil liberties. Likewise, powers under the suspension of habeas corpus were exercised, in George III’s phrase, ‘with the greatest moderation’.From The Duke of Portland, by David Wilkinson (2003).

I tell you, Citizens, we mean to new-dress the Constitution, and turn it, and set a new Nap upon it.

Robespierre’s Reign of Terror spawned an evil little twin in William Pitt the Younger’s Reign of Alarm, 1792-1798 … Many lives and careers were ruined in Britain as a result of the alarmist regime Pitt set up to suppress domestic dissent while waging his disastrous wars against republican France. Liberal young writers and intellectuals whose enthusiasm for the American and French revolutions raised hopes for Parliamentary reform at home saw their prospects blasted. Over a hundred trials for treason or sedition (more than ever before or since in British history) were staged against ‘the usual suspects’ - that is, political activists. But other, informal, vigilante means were used against the ‘unusual suspects’ …: jobs lost, contracts abrogated, engagements broken off, fellowships terminated, inheritances denied, and so on and on. As in the McCarthy era in 1950s America, blacklisting and rumor-mongering did as much damage as legal repression. Dozens of ‘almost famous’ writers saw their promising careers nipped in the bud: people like Helen Maria Williams, James Montgomery, William Frend, Gilbert Wakefield, John Thelwall [pictured by Gillray, above], Joseph Priestley, Dr. Thomas Beddoes, Francis Wrangham and many others…
From the blurb to a book I haven’t read yet, Unusual Suspects: Pitt’s Reign of Alarm and the Lost Generation of the 1790s, by Kenneth R. Johnston (2013).

The Home Secretary at the time was the Duke of Portland. This is what his biographer has to say about “Pitt’s Terror”:

The [Parliamentary Secret Committee, 1799] concluded … that there existed ‘the clearest proofs of a systematic design … to overturn the laws, constitution and government’ of Britain and Ireland … Although historians have not accepted the full extent of the committee’s arguments … the insurrectionary dangers of the later 1790s are no longer dismissed as alarmist delusions or cynical inventions. The ensuing round of repressive legislation, though offensive to liberal consciences, appeared justified to many contemporaries. Indeed, the tone of recent analysis has not turned so much upon disputes about the seriousness of the threat, as upon the individual historian’s viewpoint on the question whether the avoidance of revolution in Britain was a lamentable misfortune or a commendable triumph.

The coalition between Portland and Pitt certainly played a significant role in the prevention of revolution in Britain. The most serious accusation against this ministry is that unnecessarily repressive policies actually created the revolutionary danger which in turn necessitated further repression. There is some validity in this interpretation, but it hinges on the notion that gradual and progressive change was both desirable and feasible at this time. Although the British reform movement, by and large, expressed genuine abhorrence at revolutionary violence in its early stages, it nevertheless constituted a radical threat to established authority. Parliamentary reform was not a viable option under prevailing circumstances. Patriotism provided a potent line of argument that reform was a damaging distraction during wartime. Extra-parliamentary pressure could not elicit sufficient support at Westminster: the disintegration of the Whig party and the formation of the Pitt-Portland coalition made that fact patently obvious. Agitation if left unchecked must therefore have led to conflict with parliament and the crown … The mass protests of 1795 could not be ignored; and, sweeping as the provisions of the Gagging Acts undoubtedly were, they embodied an honourable objective of minimising the encroachment on civil liberties. Likewise, powers under the suspension of habeas corpus were exercised, in George III’s phrase, ‘with the greatest moderation’.

From The Duke of Portland, by David Wilkinson (2003).