PITT, William, the younger (1759-1806). Prime Minister 1783-1801 & 1804-1806.
Autograph Letter Signed to the Lord Chancellor (John Scott, earl of Eldon), 1¼ pages 4to (original ink blots), York Place, 2 May 1804 ('3/4 p[ast] one P.M.'). Asking him to lay a letter before the king with an apology for its length and delay, and informing him of his whereabouts should anything further arise.
'I will at the same time that I send it, ride down to Mr Rose's at Palace Yard, in order that I may be easily within your reach, if any thing should arise on which you may wish to see me before you go to the Queens House. ...'
As Lord Chancellor, Lord Eldon had a close relationship with King George III and was known by 1801 as 'the keeper of the king's conscience'. The political period at the time of this correspondence was delicate, as the renewal of war with France in May 1803 had exposed Addington's deficiencies as a war minister and led to a demand for the return of Pitt to lead government. Lord Eldon was instrumental in persuading the king to accept that Pitt be reappointed, and the change of ministers was accomplished on 10 May 1804. In the meantime, the King had suffered recurrent bouts of his mental illness, although ministers persisted in denying that he was incapable of performing his royal duties.
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