PITT, John (?1706-87), of Encombe, Dorset.
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Family and Education
b. ?1706, 5th but 3rd surv. s. of George Pitt of Strathfieldsaye, being 3rd s. by his 2nd w. educ. Queen’s, Oxf. 6 July 1722, aged 16. m. 26 Jan. 1753, Marcia, da. of Mark Anthony Morgan of Cottelstown, co. Sligo,1 4s. 1da.
Ld. of Trade Dec. 1744-55, of Admiralty Nov.-Dec. 1756; surveyor gen. of woods and forests north and south of the Trent 1756-63, 1768-86.
Returned as a Tory for the family seat at Wareham in 1734, standing jointly with Henry Drax, John Pitt voted against the Government, speaking for the motion for an increase in the allowance of the Prince of Wales in 1737. One of the signatories of the opposition whip of 20 Dec. 1743, he spoke against the Hanoverians on 12 Jan. 1744.2 Accepting a place in the Broad-bottom Government formed in December 1744, he voted for the Hanoverians in 1746. In 1747 he was opposed at Wareham by Drax, who was backed by the Prince of Wales. There was a double return, on which Horace Walpole reported to Mann, 26 Jan. 1748:
The House is now sitting on the Wareham election, espousing George Pitt’s uncle, one of the most active Jacobites, but of the coalition and in place, against Drax, a great favourite of the Prince.
Awarded the seat, Pitt wrote to Pelham, 19 May 1750:
I have received so pressing an invitation to represent the borough of Dorchester and from so large a number as could not be refused and puts my success there at the next general election out of all doubt.
Observing that this offer ‘in all human probability will secure me the borough for life’, he asked for ‘a new mark of his Majesty’s favour [to] enable me to do him these further services’,3 i.e. for an office to vacate his Wareham seat. On 20 Oct. 1750 Pelham wrote to William Pitt:
I find Jack Pitt is very anxious about quitting his seat in Parliament in order to be chosen at Dorchester. You know the only difficulty. I have assured him I will do my best when the King comes over; had I left it to be managed at Hanover, I am morally sure it would not have ended well. But I hope, when I can speak myself, it will do. I must beg you to make him easy. I believe he is satisfied as to my intentions.4
Appointed to the stewardship of the Chiltern Hundreds, the first time that this sinecure was used to vacate a seat, he was returned unopposed for Dorchester. The 2nd Lord Egmont added a note against Dorchester to his electoral survey, c.1749-50: ‘Jack Pitt ... a most improper man, is to be avoided’, on which the Prince commented ‘surely’. Re-elected unopposed at Dorchester in 1754, he followed his kinsman, William Pitt, into opposition in 1755. He died February 1787.