MAHON Charles - Autograph Letter canvassing support for William Pitt
Charles MAHON, 3rd Earl Stanhope (1753-1816)
Autograph Letter in the third person to Sir Robert Smith, canvassing support for his brother-in-law William Pitt.
1 page 4to with integral address leaf, bearing the near-intact black wax seal, Harley Street, “Monday”, n.d. [but most likely 1780 or 1784].
“Lord Mahon presents his best Compl[imen]ts to Sir Robert Smith, and should he propose to go towards Cambridge on Saturday next the 9th Instant he should take it as a great obligation, if Sir Robert would have the goodness to favour Mr. William Pitt with his support, and any interest he might be able to make, as Mr. Pitt[‘s] principles he believes must be highly approved of by a person of Sir Robert Smith public way of thinking
Should Sir Robt. have promised one vote, his second vote possibly is not engaged.”
Eighteenth century British politics were largely dominated by a few interconnected aristocratic families, and this letter exemplifies the manner in which such connections were put to use.
Lord Mahon was married to William Pitt’s sister, Hester, and Pitt is known to have stayed with them at their house on Harley Street. Catherine, the eldest daughter of Sir Robert Smith, later Baron Carrington, was eventually to marry Lord Mahon’s son by his second marriage, Philip, later 4th Earl Stanhope.
Perhaps the most remarkable progeny of any of these marriages was Lord Mahon’s eldest daughter, Lady Hester Stanhope.
Pitt had hoped to be elected to represent the University of Cambridge in 1780, but failed to win the seat. He contested the seat again in 1784, won it, and retained it until his death in 1806.
The address leaf has tears where it was opened, but the letter is otherwise in good, clear condition.
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