Letter signed (copy). William Pitt the Younger (1759–1806) to John Fane, 10th Earl of Westmorland (1759–1841), Holwood, 14 October 1792. Mounted in album B.2, ‘City of Dunedin Autographs, Alfred and Isabel Reed Collections’ with calligraphic notes and decoration by A. H. Reed.
William Pitt the Younger became the youngest Prime Minister in 1783 at the age of twenty-four. He left office in 1801, but was Prime Minister again from 1804 until his death in 1806. His father, William Pitt the Elder, also served as Prime Minister. The younger Pitt’s tenure was dominated by major events in Europe such as the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars, and he is best known for leading Britain through these crises.
As Reed notes in the calligraphic text to the left of the letter, the Earl of Westmorland was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland at the time he received this correspondence. The text of the ten-page letter concerns the Catholic Convention, the perceived arming of Irish rebels, and what safeguards might be taken to stave off a rebellion in Ireland.