PITT, John (c.1727-1805), of Gloucester
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Family and Education
b. c.1727, 2nd s. of James Pitt of Gloucester. m. Mary Roberts, 1da.
Collector of customs at Gloucester 1755-89.
John Pitt was an attorney and steward of Lord Hardwicke’s Gloucestershire estate. He owned property in Gloucester, and acquired a unique knowledge of the city’s politics. At the by-election of 1789 he was one of the leaders of the party of small tradesmen opposed to the candidate of the Duke of Norfolk and the corporation; and eventually agreed to resign his employment and stand himself, ‘free and entirely independent’.1 Norfolk, he later alleged, offered him ‘any private advantage to decline’; but Pitt refused and his friends agreed to indemnify him against all expenses above £3,000.2 After one of the most expensive contests ever known at Gloucester, Pitt was elected by a majority of one vote on a poll of 1673. His expenses are said to have been over £10,000, to which he himself contributed £4,500. An attempt to get financial help from the Treasury failed, and there was considerable difficulty in raising the remainder of the money.3
Pitt, wrote the Gentleman’s Magazine in his obituary (1805, p. 873), ‘never ... in a single instance, departed from those honest and independent principles which he had laid down for the rule of his conduct’. He generally supported Administration. His first reported speech (and the only one before the general election of 1790) was on a bill to regulate trade between the out-ports.4
He died 14 July 1805.