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William Pitt the Younger

William Pitt

Born 1752.—Died 1806.—George II.—George III.

The second son of Lord Chatham, born at Hayes, in Kent, was a greater statesman even than his father.  At the age of twenty-three he became Chancellor of the Exchequer, and was Prime Minister almost till his death.  His eloquence was brilliant and startling, and in spite of opposition sneers, and the ridicule which nicknamed him “the ambitious young man,” and of being often in a minority, the support of the king (George III.) and of the country, who enthusiastically seconded his opposition to Napoleon Buonaparte and the First Empire, steadily maintained him in power, and he held his ground against Fox and the Coalition ministries.  War was declared with France, against all that Fox, Sheridan, and Grey could advance.  The battle of Trafalgar raised his hopes of peace, which the news of Austerlitz quenched; and being worn out with gout, toil, and anxieties, the great minister, as has been well said, “died of old age at forty-six,” after nineteen years of public service.  He was so thoroughly beloved that the nation voted him a magnificent funeral, burial in Westminster Abbey, and £40,000 to pay his debts.