PITT, William, the younger (1759-1806). Prime Minister 1783-1801 & 1804-1806.Email about this entry
Autograph Letter Signed to G[eorge?] Hammond, 1 page 4to (slightly irregular at left hand margin), Bath, 28 October 1802. Thanking him for papers delivered that morning and asking whether others could be sent.
The letter is probably to George Hammond (1763-1853, diplomatist, the first British minister to the United States of America, and at this time under-secretary at the Foreign Office).
'I am much obliged to Lord Hawkesbury for the interesting Papers which I received from you this morning, and which I return enclosed. I observe two antecedent Papers referred to (a dispatch from Lord Hawkesbury N14, and a Letter from Mr Otto of the 23d July) which I should also be glad to see, if he will have the goodness to let me them be sent.'
Lord Hawkesbury (1770-1828, later second earl of Liverpool and prime minister) had become foreign secretary in Addington's administration following Pitt's precipitous resignation in February 1801. It is likely that the present letter relates to Pitt's continued interest in political affairs whilst out of office, and in particular to the negotiations which resulted in the peace with France concluded at the peace of Amiens in March 1802 and the fall-out from the treaty, which appalled many of the cabinet for the several of its terms which were deemed to be inimicable to Britain's interests. The rather mysterious Monsieur Otto had been the French negotiator in the period leading up to the signing of the treaty. None of Pitt's recent biographers seem to give Otto his full name, and even Lord Stanhope in his four-volume biography of 1862, who mentions Otto three times, can only describe him as 'A French gentleman employed by the First Consul [who] was at this time residing in London as agent for the exchange of prisoners' (Life of the Right Honourable William Pitt, London 1862, Vol. iii, p. 239).
£950 [No: 26227]
The image links to a larger or more detailed version.