On this day in history : 7th December 1783 – William Pitt (the Younger) becomes Prime Minister, at the age of just 24….

William Pitt the Younger – John Hoppner – Public domain

Pitt was born on the 28th of May 1759, in Hayes, Kent…. He was the son of William Pitt, the Elder, Earl of Chatham – and another powerful politician who had served as Prime Minister…. Pitt the Elder led Britain to great victory in the Seven Years’ War but lost office soon after….and began to prepare his son for a position of future power….

The young Pitt suffered bouts of illness throughout his childhood – possibly as a result of the stress of being pushed by his father…. However, he worked hard at his studies (Pitt was educated at home as his father did not advocate the public school system) and at the age of 14 he entered Cambridge University….

Pitt graduated Cambridge when he was 17, after the death of his father…. He took advantage of the system of the time – being from a wealthy family he did not have to take an examination to graduate…. On leaving university he decided to go into public service….

Pitt was elected to Parliament at the age of 21….in 1782 he became Chancellor of the Exchequer for the Conservative Party…. After the defeat in the House of Lords of the East India Bill, King George III dismissed the then coalition government and asked Pitt to form a new government…. William Pitt the Younger served as Prime Minister until 1801….and then again from 1804 until his death in January 1806…. He held office throughout the period of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars and was fundamental in shaping British politics….

Monument to Pitt the Younger by J.G. Bubb – situated in the Guildhall, London…. This huge monument faces one of equal size in tribute to his father, William Pitt the Elder. Photo courtesy : Stephencdickson CC BY-SA 4.0

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