Manuscript memorandum to Lord Sydney. William PITT, the younger.

Manuscript memorandum to Lord Sydney.

Burton Pynsent, Somerset: 5 October, 1786.

Manuscript note in ink on paper, 102 x 182 mm; in good condition; evidently once mounted in an album.

A short memorandum written by the Prime Minister from his private country house to Lord Sydney as Home Secretary. Pitt is returning the 'dispatches to Gibraltar and Algiers which he received by the Post this evening, and has marked some words in the letter… which if Lord Sydney approve of it, he thinks might as well be omitted…'. Pitt's legible hand is difficult to decipher only in his identification of the recipient of the draft letter to which he refers, which may read 'letter to Bey', the title by which the ruler of Algiers was still known at the time.

A short memorandum written by the Prime Minister from his private country house to Lord Sydney as Home Secretary. Pitt is returning the 'dispatches to Gibraltar and Algiers which he received by the Post this evening, and has marked some words in the letter… which if Lord Sydney approve of it, he thinks might as well be omitted…'. Pitt's legible hand is difficult to decipher only in his identification of the recipient of the draft letter to which he refers, which may read 'letter to Bey', the title by which the ruler of Algiers was still known at the time.

This slight document has an appeal in making the connection between these two men, Pitt and Sydney, just six weeks after Pitt's government had made the formal decision to send convicts to Botany Bay, to a place that would shortly be named for his Home Secretary. More than this however is a further hidden connection: three months earlier, to the day, the post of British consul to Algeria and Morocco had been given to James Magra, who would remain in the post for nearly twenty years. Magra was of course the Endeavour midshipman who is presumed to have written the Journal of a Voyage of 1771, the earliest published account of Cook's first voyage and the discovery of the east coast of Australia. Pitt's note thus connects the prime minister with New South Wales in two directions: it is directed to the man for whom Sydney would be named, and as it involves diplomatic despatches would also affect the recently appointed consul for the area under discussion, one of the men who had been associated with the discovery of New South Wales, and a leading proponent of the scheme to establish a convict colony at Botany Bay; Magra lobbied Pitt on the subject and testified to the House of Commons in 1785. He had hoped for an appointment in the new colony but was passed over, instead taking up the post of consul at Tangier with responsibility for both Gibraltar and Algiers.

Price (AUD): $1,200.00  other currencies Ref: #4111718

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