22 May 2014

The 2nd Lord Chatham on Pitt's intended marriage: "I do not believe a word of it"

At the end of 1796, reports were flying about that Mr. Pitt intended to marry Lord Auckland's eldest daughter, the Honourable Eleanor Agnes Eden. To some, including Pitt's older brother the 2nd Earl of Chatham, it was hogwash. 

Lord Camden had written to Lord Chatham stating that he had heard - via Earl Bathurst (also a mutual friend of Pitt) - that Pitt was going to marry Eden. Although Chatham and Mr. Pitt were not on the closest of terms at the time, especially after Pitt dismissed his brother from the position of First Lord of the Admiralty, Chatham totally dismissed the marriage report.

Lord Chatham wrote to Lord Camden from his residence at Berkeley Square on December 23rd, 1796, apprising him of the situation:

“…I can not conceive what cou’d induce Bathurst to write you word, seriously, that My Brother was to marry Miss Eden. I do not believe a word of it, tho’ he has certainly often been there this year, but I rather fancy the inducement was to talk over the finances with my Lord. Mrs. Bankes, who is intimate with the Aucklands assures me there is nothing at all in it, and that Lady Auckland amuses herself very much with the report (which is very current) and at the alarm it gives certain Persons, who are afraid they will not engross the whole of his [Pitt’s] time as they have been in the habit of doing…" [1]

I wonder about Mrs. Bankes's knowledge, and also who the "certain Persons" were that would be afraid of losing time with Pitt?


1. Lord Chatham to Lord Camden, Berkeley Square, December 23rd, 1796. The Kent History & Library Centre: U840/C254/6.

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