England is a country, part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to Scotland to the north-northwest; the Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea lies to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south; the country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight. The area now called England was first inhabited by modern humans during the Upper Palaeolithic period, but takes its name from the Angles, a Germanic tribe deriving its name from the Anglia peninsula, who settled during the 5th and 6th centuries. England became a unified state in the 10th century, since the Age of Discovery, which began during the 15th century, has had a significant cultural and legal impact on the wider world; the English language, the Anglican Church, English law – the basis for the common law legal systems of many other countries around the world – developed in England, the country's parliamentary system of government has been adopted by other nations.
The Industrial Revolution began in 18th-century England, transforming its society into the world's first industrialised nation. England's terrain is chiefly low hills and plains in central and southern England. However, there is upland and mountainous terrain in the west; the capital is London, which has the largest metropolitan area in both the United Kingdom and the European Union. England's population of over 55 million comprises 84% of the population of the United Kingdom concentrated around London, the South East, conurbations in the Midlands, the North West, the North East, Yorkshire, which each developed as major industrial regions during the 19th century; the Kingdom of England – which after 1535 included Wales – ceased being a separate sovereign state on 1 May 1707, when the Acts of Union put into effect the terms agreed in the Treaty of Union the previous year, resulting in a political union with the Kingdom of Scotland to create the Kingdom of Great Britain. In 1801, Great Britain was united with the Kingdom of Ireland to become the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
In 1922 the Irish Free State seceded from the United Kingdom, leading to the latter being renamed the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The name "England" is derived from the Old English name Englaland, which means "land of the Angles"; the Angles were one of the Germanic tribes that settled in Great Britain during the Early Middle Ages. The Angles came from the Anglia peninsula in the Bay of Kiel area of the Baltic Sea; the earliest recorded use of the term, as "Engla londe", is in the late-ninth-century translation into Old English of Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People. The term was used in a different sense to the modern one, meaning "the land inhabited by the English", it included English people in what is now south-east Scotland but was part of the English kingdom of Northumbria; the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle recorded that the Domesday Book of 1086 covered the whole of England, meaning the English kingdom, but a few years the Chronicle stated that King Malcolm III went "out of Scotlande into Lothian in Englaland", thus using it in the more ancient sense.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, its modern spelling was first used in 1538. The earliest attested reference to the Angles occurs in the 1st-century work by Tacitus, Germania, in which the Latin word Anglii is used; the etymology of the tribal name itself is disputed by scholars. How and why a term derived from the name of a tribe, less significant than others, such as the Saxons, came to be used for the entire country and its people is not known, but it seems this is related to the custom of calling the Germanic people in Britain Angli Saxones or English Saxons to distinguish them from continental Saxons of Old Saxony between the Weser and Eider rivers in Northern Germany. In Scottish Gaelic, another language which developed on the island of Great Britain, the Saxon tribe gave their name to the word for England. An alternative name for England is Albion; the name Albion referred to the entire island of Great Britain. The nominally earliest record of the name appears in the Aristotelian Corpus the 4th-century BC De Mundo: "Beyond the Pillars of Hercules is the ocean that flows round the earth.
In it are two large islands called Britannia. But modern scholarly consensus ascribes De Mundo not to Aristotle but to Pseudo-Aristotle, i.e. it was written in the Graeco-Roman period or afterwards. The word Albion or insula Albionum has two possible origins, it either derives from a cognate of the Latin albus meaning white, a reference to the white cliffs of Dover or from the phrase the "island of the Albiones" in the now lost Massaliote Periplus, attested through Avienus' Ora Maritima to which the former served as a source. Albion is now applied to England in a more poetic capacity. Another romantic name for England is Loegria, related to the Welsh word for England and made popular by its use in Arthurian legend; the earliest known evidence of human presence in the area now known as England was that of Homo antecessor, dating to approximate
Ministry of All the Talents
The Ministry of "All the Talents" was a national unity government formed by Lord Grenville on his appointment as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom on 11 February 1806, following the death of William Pitt the Younger. With the country remaining at war, Grenville aimed to form the strongest possible government and so included most leading politicians from all groupings, although some followers of the younger Pitt, led by George Canning, refused to join; the inclusion of Charles James Fox raised eyebrows as King George III had been hostile to Fox, but the King's willingness to put aside past enmities for the sake of national unity encouraged many others to join or support the government as well. The ministry boasted a progressive agenda, much of it inherited from Pitt; the Ministry of All the Talents had comparatively little success, failing to bring the sought-after peace with France. In fact, the war continued for nearly another decade, it did, abolish the slave trade in Britain in 1807 before breaking up over the question of Catholic emancipation.
It was succeeded by the Second Portland ministry, headed by William Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland. The term has since been used in politics to describe an administration with members from more than one party or a non-coalition government that enjoys cross-party support due to gifted and/or non-partisan members. Examples include the coalition government which led Great Britain through the Second World War and the Canadian government that won the 1896 election. Members of the Cabinet are in bold face. Notes
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of major conflicts pitting the French Empire and its allies, led by Napoleon I, against a fluctuating array of European powers formed into various coalitions and led by the United Kingdom. The wars stemmed from the unresolved disputes associated with the French Revolution and its resultant conflict; the wars are categorised into five conflicts, each termed after the coalition that fought Napoleon: the Third Coalition, the Fourth, the Fifth, the Sixth, the Seventh. Napoleon, upon ascending to First Consul of France in 1799, had inherited a chaotic republic. In 1805, Austria and Russia waged war against France. In response, Napoleon defeated the allied Russo-Austrian army at Austerlitz in December 1805, considered his greatest victory. At sea, the British defeated the joint Franco-Spanish navy in the Battle of Trafalgar on October 1805; this victory prevented the invasion of Britain itself. Concerned about the increasing French power, Prussia led the creation of the Fourth Coalition with Russia and Sweden, the resumption of war in October 1806.
Napoleon defeated the Prussians in Jena and the Russians in Friedland, bringing an uneasy peace to the continent. The peace failed, though, as war broke out in 1809, when the badly prepared Fifth Coalition, led by Austria, was defeated in Wagram. Hoping to isolate Britain economically, Napoleon launched an invasion of Portugal, the only remaining British ally in continental Europe. After occupying Lisbon in November 1807, with the bulk of French troops present in Spain, Napoleon seized the opportunity to turn against his former ally, depose the reigning Spanish Bourbon family and declare his brother King of Spain in 1808 as Joseph I; the Spanish and Portuguese revolted with British support, after six years of fighting, expelled the French from Iberia in 1814. Concurrently, unwilling to bear economic consequences of reduced trade violated the Continental System, enticing Napoleon to launch a massive invasion of Russia in 1812; the resulting campaign ended with the dissolution and disastrous withdrawal of the French Grande Armée.
Encouraged by the defeat, Prussia and Russia formed the Sixth Coalition and began a new campaign against France, decisively defeating Napoleon at Leipzig in October 1813 after several inconclusive engagements. The Allies invaded France from the East, while the Peninsular War spilled over southwestern French territory. Coalition troops captured Paris at the end of March 1814 and forced Napoleon to abdicate in early April, he was exiled to the island of Elba, the Bourbons were restored to power. However, Napoleon escaped in February 1815, reassumed control of France; the Allies responded with the Seventh Coalition, defeating Napoleon permanently at Waterloo in June 1815 and exiling him to St Helena where he died six years later. The Congress of Vienna redrew the borders of Europe, brought a lasting peace to the continent; the wars had profound consequences on global history, including the spread of nationalism and liberalism, the rise of the British Empire as the world's foremost power, the appearance of independence movements in Latin America and subsequent collapse of the Spanish Empire, the fundamental reorganisation of German and Italian territories into larger states, the establishment of radically new methods of conducting warfare.
Napoleon seized power in 1799. There are a number of opinions on the date to use as the formal beginning of the Napoleonic Wars; the Napoleonic Wars began with the War of the Third Coalition, the first of the Coalition Wars against the First French Republic after Napoleon's accession as leader of France. Britain ended the Treaty of Amiens and declared war on France in May 1803. Among the reasons were Napoleon's changes to the international system in Western Europe in Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands. Kagan argues that Britain was irritated in particular by Napoleon's assertion of control over Switzerland. Furthermore, Britons felt insulted when Napoleon stated that their country deserved no voice in European affairs though King George III was an elector of the Holy Roman Empire. For its part, Russia decided that the intervention in Switzerland indicated that Napoleon was not looking toward a peaceful resolution of his differences with the other European powers; the British enforced a naval blockade of France to starve it of resources.
Napoleon responded with economic embargoes against Britain, sought to eliminate Britain's Continental allies to break the coalitions arrayed against him. The so-called Continental System formed a league of armed neutrality to disrupt the blockade and enforce free trade with France; the British responded by capturing the Danish fleet, breaking up the league, secured dominance over the seas, allowing it to continue its strategy. Napoleon won the War of the Third Coalition at Austerlitz, forcing the Austrian Empire out of the war and formally dissolving the Holy Roman Empire. Within months, Prussia declared war; this war ended disastrously for Prussia and occupied within 19 days of the beginning of the campaign. Napoleon subsequently defeated the Russian Empire at Friedland, creating powerful client states in Eastern Europe and ending the fourth coalition. Concurrently, the refusal of Portugal to commit to the Con
The United Kingdom the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, sometimes referred to as Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world; the Irish Sea lies between Great Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres, the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world, it is the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017. The UK is constitutional monarchy; the current monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 1952, making her the longest-serving current head of state.
The United Kingdom's capital and largest city is London, a global city and financial centre with an urban area population of 10.3 million. Other major urban areas in the UK include Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and West Yorkshire conurbations, Greater Glasgow and the Liverpool Built-up Area; the United Kingdom consists of four constituent countries: England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Their capitals are London, Edinburgh and Belfast, respectively. Apart from England, the countries have their own devolved governments, each with varying powers, but such power is delegated by the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which may enact laws unilaterally altering or abolishing devolution; the nearby Isle of Man, Bailiwick of Guernsey and Bailiwick of Jersey are not part of the UK, being Crown dependencies with the British Government responsible for defence and international representation. The medieval conquest and subsequent annexation of Wales by the Kingdom of England, followed by the union between England and Scotland in 1707 to form the Kingdom of Great Britain, the union in 1801 of Great Britain with the Kingdom of Ireland created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
Five-sixths of Ireland seceded from the UK in 1922, leaving the present formulation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. There are fourteen British Overseas Territories, the remnants of the British Empire which, at its height in the 1920s, encompassed a quarter of the world's land mass and was the largest empire in history. British influence can be observed in the language and political systems of many of its former colonies; the United Kingdom is a developed country and has the world's fifth-largest economy by nominal GDP and ninth-largest economy by purchasing power parity. It has a high-income economy and has a high Human Development Index rating, ranking 14th in the world, it was the world's first industrialised country and the world's foremost power during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The UK remains a great power, with considerable economic, military and political influence internationally, it is sixth in military expenditure in the world. It has been a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council since its first session in 1946.
It has been a leading member state of the European Union and its predecessor, the European Economic Community, since 1973. The United Kingdom is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Council of Europe, the G7, the G20, NATO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the World Trade Organization; the 1707 Acts of Union declared that the kingdoms of England and Scotland were "United into One Kingdom by the Name of Great Britain". The term "United Kingdom" has been used as a description for the former kingdom of Great Britain, although its official name from 1707 to 1800 was "Great Britain"; the Acts of Union 1800 united the kingdom of Great Britain and the kingdom of Ireland in 1801, forming the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Following the partition of Ireland and the independence of the Irish Free State in 1922, which left Northern Ireland as the only part of the island of Ireland within the United Kingdom, the name was changed to the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland".
Although the United Kingdom is a sovereign country, Scotland and Northern Ireland are widely referred to as countries. The UK Prime Minister's website has used the phrase "countries within a country" to describe the United Kingdom; some statistical summaries, such as those for the twelve NUTS 1 regions of the United Kingdom refer to Scotland and Northern Ireland as "regions". Northern Ireland is referred to as a "province". With regard to Northern Ireland, the descriptive name used "can be controversial, with the choice revealing one's political preferences"; the term "Great Britain" conventionally refers to the island of Great Britain, or politically to England and Wales in combination. However, it is sometimes used as a loose synonym for the United Kingdom as a whole; the term "Britain" is used both as a synonym for Great Britain, as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Usage is mixed, with the BBC preferring to use Britain as shorthand only for Great Britain and the UK Government, while accepting that both terms refer to the United K
George III of the United Kingdom
George III was King of Great Britain and King of Ireland from 25 October 1760 until the union of the two countries on 1 January 1801, after which he was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until his death in 1820. He was concurrently Duke and prince-elector of Brunswick-Lüneburg in the Holy Roman Empire before becoming King of Hanover on 12 October 1814, he was the third British monarch of the House of Hanover, but unlike his two predecessors, he was born in Great Britain, spoke English as his first language, never visited Hanover. His life and with it his reign, which were longer than those of any of his predecessors, were marked by a series of military conflicts involving his kingdoms, much of the rest of Europe, places farther afield in Africa, the Americas and Asia. Early in his reign, Great Britain defeated France in the Seven Years' War, becoming the dominant European power in North America and India. However, many of Britain's American colonies were soon lost in the American War of Independence.
Further wars against revolutionary and Napoleonic France from 1793 concluded in the defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. In the part of his life, George III had recurrent, permanent, mental illness. Although it has since been suggested that he had bipolar disorder or the blood disease porphyria, the cause of his illness remains unknown. After a final relapse in 1810, a regency was established. George III's eldest son, Prince of Wales, ruled as Prince Regent until his father's death, when he succeeded as George IV. Historical analysis of George III's life has gone through a "kaleidoscope of changing views" that have depended on the prejudices of his biographers and the sources available to them; until it was reassessed in the second half of the 20th century, his reputation in the United States was one of a tyrant. George was born in London at Norfolk House in St James's Square, he was the grandson of King George II, the eldest son of Frederick, Prince of Wales, Augusta of Saxe-Gotha.
As he was born two months prematurely and thought unlikely to survive, he was baptised the same day by Thomas Secker, both Rector of St James's and Bishop of Oxford. One month he was publicly baptised at Norfolk House, again by Secker, his godparents were the King of Sweden, his uncle the Duke of Saxe-Gotha and his great-aunt the Queen of Prussia. Prince George grew into a healthy but shy child; the family moved to Leicester Square, where George and his younger brother Prince Edward, Duke of York and Albany, were educated together by private tutors. Family letters show that he could read and write in both English and German, as well as comment on political events of the time, by the age of eight, he was the first British monarch to study science systematically. Apart from chemistry and physics, his lessons included astronomy, French, history, geography, commerce and constitutional law, along with sporting and social accomplishments such as dancing and riding, his religious education was wholly Anglican.
At age 10, George took part in a family production of Joseph Addison's play Cato and said in the new prologue: "What, tho' a boy! It may with truth be said, A boy in England born, in England bred." Historian Romney Sedgwick argued that these lines appear "to be the source of the only historical phrase with which he is associated". George's grandfather, King George II, disliked the Prince of Wales, took little interest in his grandchildren. However, in 1751 the Prince of Wales died unexpectedly from a lung injury at the age of 44, George became heir apparent to the throne, he inherited his father's title of Duke of Edinburgh. Now more interested in his grandson, three weeks the King created George Prince of Wales. In the spring of 1756, as George approached his eighteenth birthday, the King offered him a grand establishment at St James's Palace, but George refused the offer, guided by his mother and her confidant, Lord Bute, who would serve as Prime Minister. George's mother, now the Dowager Princess of Wales, preferred to keep George at home where she could imbue him with her strict moral values.
In 1759, George was smitten with Lady Sarah Lennox, sister of the Duke of Richmond, but Lord Bute advised against the match and George abandoned his thoughts of marriage. "I am born for the happiness or misery of a great nation," he wrote, "and must act contrary to my passions." Attempts by the King to marry George to Princess Sophie Caroline of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel were resisted by him and his mother. The following year, at the age of 22, George succeeded to the throne when his grandfather, George II, died on 25 October 1760, two weeks before his 77th birthday; the search for a suitable wife intensified. On 8 September 1761 in the Chapel Royal, St James's Palace, the King married Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, whom he met on their wedding day. A fortnight on 22 September both were crowned at Westminster Abbey. George remarkably never took a mistress, the couple enjoyed a genuinely happy marriage until his mental illness struck, they had 15 children -- six daughters. In 1762, George purchased Buckingham House for use as a family retreat.
His other residences were Windsor Castle. St James's Palace was retained for
House of Commons of the United Kingdom
The House of Commons is the lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the upper house, the House of Lords, it meets in the Palace of Westminster; the full name of the house is the Honourable the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled. Owing to shortage of space, its office accommodation extends into Portcullis House; the Commons is an elected body consisting of 650 members known as Members of Parliament. Members are elected to represent constituencies by the first-past-the-post system and hold their seats until Parliament is dissolved; the House of Commons of England started to evolve in 14th centuries. It became the House of Commons of Great Britain after the political union with Scotland in 1707, assumed the title of "House of Commons of Great Britain and Ireland" after the political union with Ireland at the start of the 19th century; the "United Kingdom" referred to was the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 1800, became the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland after the independence of the Irish Free State in 1922.
Accordingly, the House of Commons assumed its current title. Under the Parliament Act 1911, the Lords' power to reject legislation was reduced to a delaying power; the Government is responsible to the House of Commons and the Prime Minister stays in office only as long as she or he retains the confidence of a majority of the Commons. Although it does not formally elect the prime minister, the position of the parties in the House of Commons is of overriding importance. By convention, the prime minister is answerable to, must maintain the support of, the House of Commons. Thus, whenever the office of prime minister falls vacant, the Sovereign appoints the person who has the support of the House, or, most to command the support of the House—normally the leader of the largest party in the Commons, while the leader of the second-largest party becomes the Leader of the Opposition. Since 1963, by convention, the prime minister is always a member of the House of Commons, rather than the House of Lords.
The Commons may indicate its lack of support for the Government by rejecting a motion of confidence or by passing a motion of no confidence. Confidence and no confidence motions are phrased explicitly, for instance: "That this House has no confidence in Her Majesty's Government." Many other motions were until recent decades considered confidence issues though not explicitly phrased as such: in particular, important bills that were part of the Government's agenda. The annual Budget is still considered a matter of confidence; when a Government has lost the confidence of the House of Commons, the prime minister is obliged either to resign, making way for another MP who can command confidence, or to request the monarch to dissolve Parliament, thereby precipitating a general election. Parliament sits for a maximum term of five years. Subject to that limit, the prime minister could choose the timing of the dissolution of parliament, with the permission of the Monarch. However, since the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act 2011, terms are now a fixed five years, an early general election is brought about by a two-thirds majority in favour of a motion for a dissolution, or by a vote of no confidence, not followed within fourteen days by a vote of confidence.
By this second mechanism, the UK's government can change its political composition without an intervening general election. Only four of the eight last Prime Ministers have attained office as the immediate result of a general election; the latter four were Jim Callaghan, John Major, Gordon Brown and the current Prime Minister Theresa May. In such circumstances there may not have been an internal party leadership election, as the new leader may be chosen by acclaim, having no electoral rival. A prime minister will resign after party defeat at an election if unable to lead a coalition, or obtain a confidence and supply arrangement, she or he may resign after a motion of no confidence or for health reasons. In such cases, the premiership goes to, it has become the practice to write the constitution of major UK political parties to provide a set way in which to appoint a new leader. Until 1965, the Conservative Party had no fixed mechanism for this, it fell to the Queen to appoint Harold Macmillan as the new prime minister, after taking the consensus of cabinet ministers.
By convention, ministers are members of the House of House of Lords. A handful have been appointed who were outside Parliament, but in most cases they entered Parliament in a by-election or by receiving a peerage. Exceptions include Peter Mandelson, appointed Secretary of State for Business and Regulatory Reform in October 2008 before his peerage. Since 1902, all prime ministers have been members of the Commons; the new session of Parliament was delayed to await the outcome of his by-election, which happened
William Pitt the Younger
William Pitt the Younger was a prominent British Tory statesman of the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries. He became the youngest UK Prime Minister in 1783 at the age of 24, he left office in 1801, but served as Prime Minister again from 1804 until his death in 1806. He was Chancellor of the Exchequer for most of his time as Prime Minister, he is known as "the Younger" to distinguish him from his father, William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham, called William Pitt the Elder or "Chatham", who had served as Prime Minister. The younger Pitt's prime ministerial tenure, which came during the reign of George III, was dominated by major events in Europe, including the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. Pitt, although referred to as a Tory, or "new Tory", called himself an "independent Whig" and was opposed to the development of a strict partisan political system, he led Britain in the great wars against Napoleon. Pitt was an outstanding administrator who worked for efficiency and reform, bringing in a new generation of outstanding administrators.
He cracked down on radicalism. To engage the threat of Irish support for France, he engineered the Acts of Union 1800 and tried to get Catholic emancipation as part of the Union, he created the "new Toryism", which revived the Tory Party and enabled it to stay in power for the next quarter-century. The historian Asa Briggs argues that his personality did not endear itself to the British mind, for Pitt was too solitary and too colourless, too exuded superiority, his greatness came in the war with France. Pitt reacted to become what Lord Minto called "the Atlas of our reeling globe", his integrity and industry and his role as defender of the threatened nation allowed him to inspire and access all the national reserves of strength. William Wilberforce said that, "For personal purity, disinterestedness and love of this country, I have never known his equal." Historian Charles Petrie concludes that he was one of the greatest prime ministers "if on no other ground than that he enabled the country to pass from the old order to the new without any violent upheaval...
He understood the new Britain." For this he is ranked amongst British Prime Ministers. William Pitt, second son of William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham, was born at Hayes Place in the village of Hayes, Kent. Pitt was from a political family on both sides, his mother, Hester Grenville, was sister to former prime minister George Grenville. According to biographer John Ehrman, Pitt inherited brilliance and dynamism from his father's line, a determined, methodical nature from the Grenvilles. Suffering from occasional poor health as a boy, he was educated at home by the Reverend Edward Wilson. An intelligent child, Pitt became proficient in Latin and Greek. In 1773, aged fourteen, he attended Pembroke College, where he studied political philosophy, mathematics, trigonometry and history. At Cambridge, Pitt was tutored by George Pretyman. Pitt appointed Pretyman Bishop of Lincoln Winchester and drew upon his advice throughout his political career. While at Cambridge, he befriended the young William Wilberforce, who became a lifelong friend and political ally in Parliament.
Pitt tended to socialise only with fellow students and others known to him venturing outside the university grounds. Yet he was described as friendly. According to Wilberforce, Pitt had an exceptional wit along with an endearingly gentle sense of humour: "no man... indulged more or in that playful facetiousness which gratifies all without wounding any." In 1776, plagued by poor health, took advantage of a little-used privilege available only to the sons of noblemen, chose to graduate without having to pass examinations. Pitt's father, who had by been raised to the peerage as Earl of Chatham, died in 1778; as a younger son, Pitt the Younger received a small inheritance. He received legal education at Lincoln's Inn and was called to the bar in the summer of 1780. During the general elections of September 1780, Pitt, at the age of 21, contested the University of Cambridge seat, but lost. Still intent on entering Parliament, with the help of his university comrade, Charles Manners, 4th Duke of Rutland, secured the patronage of James Lowther.
Lowther controlled the pocket borough of Appleby. Pitt's entry into parliament is somewhat ironic as he railed against the same pocket and rotten boroughs that had given him his seat. In Parliament, the youthful Pitt cast aside his tendency to be withdrawn in public, emerging as a noted debater right from his maiden speech. Pitt aligned himself with prominent Whigs such as Charles James Fox. With the Whigs, Pitt denounced the continuation of the American War of Independence, as his father had. Instead he proposed that the prime minister, Lord North, make peace with the rebellious American colonies. Pitt supported parliamentary reform measures, including a proposal that would have checked electoral corruption, he renewed his friendship with William Wilberforce, now MP for Hull, with whom he met in the gallery of the House of Commons. After Lord North's ministry collapsed in 1782, the Whig Charles Watson-Wentworth, 2nd Marquess of Rockingham was appointed prime minister. Pitt was offered the minor post of vice-treasurer of Ireland, but he refused, considering the post overly subordinate.
Lord Rockingham died only three months after coming to power. Many