PITT, John (c.1706-87), of Encombe, Dorset
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Family and Education
b. c.1706, 2nd surv. s. of George Pitt (d. 1735), M.P., of Strathfieldsaye by his 2nd w. Lora, da. and h. of Auldey Grey of Kingston, nr. Dorchester; uncle of George Pitt (d. 1803) of Strathfieldsaye. educ. Queen’s, Oxf. 1722. m. 26 Jan. 1753, Marcia, da. of Mark Anthony Morgan of Cottelstown, co. Sligo, 4s. 1da.
Ld. of Trade Dec. 1744-55, of Admiralty Nov.-Dec. 1756; surveyor gen. of woods and forests 1756-63, 1768-86.
In 1754 Pitt stood both at Wareham and Dorchester, and Newcastle promised ‘to support him at Dorchester and be neutral at Wareham’.1 He was returned unopposed at Dorchester, but there was a double return at Wareham.2
In 1755 he followed his cousin William Pitt into Opposition; voted against the Address, 13 Nov. 1755; and in December was dismissed from the Board of Trade. On 9 Nov. 1756 he was made a lord of the Admiralty in the Pitt-Devonshire Administration, but on 29 Nov. Horace Walpole wrote to Mann: ‘John Pitt is to resign again, and be made paymaster of the marines to make way for Admiral Forbes.’ Forbes was given Pitt’s place, but Pitt was made surveyor of woods and forests, vacant after the death on 27 Nov. of John Phillipson.
In 1761 Pitt was returned unopposed at Wareham. In Bute’s list of December 1761 he was classed ‘Government’, and in December 1762 was listed by Henry Fox among those in favour of the peace preliminaries. But in the autumn of 1763 he was marked by Jenkinson as an opponent; voted against the Grenville Administration over Wilkes and general warrants; and on 10 May 1764 was classed by Newcastle as a ‘sure friend’. Yet on 12 July 1765 Newcastle wrote to Rockingham:3 ‘Whether it is necessary to do anything for Mr. John Pitt I know not’; Rockingham in his list drawn up about this time described him as ‘doubtful’, and in that of November 1766 as a follower of Chatham. On 27 Feb. 1767 Pitt voted with the Government on the land tax, and in Newcastle’s list of 2 Mar. was classed as ‘Administration’. In 1767 Pitt sold his property at Wareham to John Calcraft, who now obtained control of the borough. In October he was restored to his place but, to avoid a by-election at Wareham, which Calcraft thought undesirable, his official appointment was delayed till March 1768.4 He did not stand again, though between 1768 and 1772 he nibbled at Corfe Castle, towards the end supported by Calcraft, with whom he had some kind of agreement.5
His only reported speech was on 3 Apr. 1765, on a petition of West country merchants complaining of French encroachments at Newfoundland; James Harris noted that Pitt ‘was most warm on this occasion and offered to prove every part of the petition’.
He died February 1787.