PITT, William Morton (1754-1836), of Kingston, nr. Dorchester, Dorset
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Family and Education
b. 16 May 1754, 1st s. of John Pitt of Encombe. educ. Queen’s, Oxf. 1772; L. Inn 1774. m. (1) bef. 1785, Margaret (d. 6 Nov. 1818), da. of John Gambier, gov. of Bahamas, 1da.; (2) 1819, Grace Amelia, da. of Henry Seymour of Hanford, Dorset, 2s. 1da. suc. fa. 1787.
In 1780 Pitt was returned at Poole on a joint interest with Joseph Gulston, and according to Robinson’s 1780 survey ‘made professions of friendship to Lord North’. But on 23 Sept. he wrote to Lord Herbert:1
Well ... we are now both in Parliament ... I long much to talk with you further on the subject. I believe we shall agree that it is better as well as more prudent not to appear to come with a predetermined intention of siding uniformly with one or the other set. Surely it is possible to act an upright, independent, and respectable part in Parliament yet I am told not. I hope you feel yourself bold enough to try it; be assured of one thing, that if a number, and even a very small number, fall into that channel they must acquire consideration, and collect a greater force daily. Consider maturely and then determine upon this matter.
Pitt himself consistently voted in opposition till the fall of North; voted for Shelburne’s peace preliminaries and for Pitt’s parliamentary reform proposals, 7 May 1783, but was absent on Fox’s East India bill. In his electoral survey of December 1783 Robinson noted against Poole: ‘Probably the old Members, but not certainly so; there may be a contest. Query, Mr. Pitt gone abroad.’2 Still absent in March 1784, in April he successfully contested Poole, but was defeated at Bridport. His first recorded vote in this Parliament was with Pitt on Richmond’s fortifications plan, 27 Feb. 1786, and he again supported Pitt on the Regency, 1788. Apparently he never spoke before 1790.
Pitt took an active interest in social conditions in his neighbourhood: established a cordage factory in the Isle of Purbeck, a hat factory in Dorchester gaol; attempted to interest his fellow landowners in the condition of the poor; and was one of the first promoters of Sunday schools. He died 29 Feb. 1836.