Transcripts of Correspondence between George III and William Pitt

Scope and Content

Mid-19th century transcripts of correspondence (1783-87) of George III with William Pitt dealing with various matters, including the appointment of Officers of State, defence, Parliamentary reform, taxation, foreign affairs and the debts of the Prince of Wales. The correspondence precedes the onset of George's serious illness in 1788.

Administrative / Biographical History

The short-lived Fox-North coalition ministry, formed in April 1783, foundered on their plans to reform the East India Company. George III, who described the coalition as 'the most daring and unprincipled act that the annals of this kingdom ever produced', saw his chance to regain popularity, and forced the India Bill's defeat. The two men resigned and George installed William Pitt the Younger in their place. Pitt needed royal support, and George needed Pitt to prevent Fox from resuming power, so the mutually dependent relationship worked well. The combination of Pitt's skill and war with France in 1793 strengthened George's position, but disagreements over emancipation of the Catholics - Pitt was in favour and George vehemently opposed - led to Pitt's resignation in 1801.

Source: J.P.W. Ehrman and Anthony Smith, 'Pitt, William (1759-1806)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004. By permission of Oxford University Press -

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is available for consultation by any accredited reader.

Acquisition Information

Purchased by the John Rylands Library from the booksellers Colbeck Radford & Co. Ltd in July 1938.


Description compiled by Henry Sullivan and Jo Humpleby, project archivists, with reference to:

Other Finding Aids

Catalogued in the Hand-List of Additions to the Collection of English Manuscripts in the John Rylands Library, 1937-1951 (English MS 912).

Related Material

The JRUL also holds the Pitt Collection, comprising English MSS 907-908, 928-935, 937 and 1271-1272 (ref.: GB 133 PIT).