CHATHAM John Pitt, Lord - Autograph Letter Signed 1824 on behalf of a soldier
John Pitt, Lord CHATHAM (1756-1835)
Autograph Letter Signed (“Chatham”) to Major General Sir Herbert Taylor, pleading the cause of Lt. Col. Macdonald who has asked for a pension “for a serious injury he received”.
2½ pages 4to, Gibraltar, 5 July 1824.
“Lt. Col. Macdonald . . . has lately left the Garrison . . . and I can not resist trespassing on your goodness . . . in the anxious hope, of interesting you in his favour, in case his situation should be brought under the consideration of His Royal Highness the Commander in Chief. His purpose, I believe is to present a Memorial . . . . in order to endeavour to obtain a Pension, for a serious injury he received, in the execution of his duty . . . in this Garrison, and which has been greatly aggravated by the extraordinary exertions which his zeal prompted him to make, in the instruction of his Regt. this Spring, so much so that he will, I fear, be obliged to retire from the service. . . any favour, that may be extended to him, can not be conferred on a man more able, and highly meritorious Officer than Lt. Col. Macdonald . . . You will, I am sure, allow my anxiety on this occasion, to plead as my excuse for giving you this trouble.”
John Pitt, Lord Chatham was the elder brother of William Pitt the Younger, Britain’s youngest Prime Minister. Unfortunately, Lord Chatham does not appear to have inherited the same energy and drive as his younger sibling, and was known for a time as “the late Lord Chatham”. He may have been the person most responsible for the disaster that was the Walcheren expedition of 1809, when, apart from not achieving any of its objectives, also saw thousands of British troops killed not by the French, but by a mosquito-borne fever.
In 1820, Chatham was appointed Governor of Gibraltar, where Lt. Col. Macdonald was presumably posted.
The verso of the letter has some pencilled notes for a reply to Lord Chatham, which are now rather difficult to decipher; however, another note in ink states that a copy of the letter was sent to the Secretary at war on 9 August.
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