The Pittite Restoration

  • John W. Derry
Part of the British History in Perspective book series (BHP)


Only in retrospect do the 1780s appear to be an era of stability and achievement, with the Younger Pitt restoring the finances of the country and the confidence of the political nation in the conventional mode of conducting politics. When Lord North resigned in March 1782 he was accepting the final verdict of failure in America, symbolised by Cornwallis’s surrender at Yorktown. North’s fall ended a ministry remarkable for its longevity. He resigned without facing a formal vote of no-confidence in the House of Commons. Learning that the backbench country gentlemen had decided at a private meeting to withdraw their support from his administration, he was able, at long last, to persuade George iii that the time had come for him to give up the seals of office. The King’s response was wholly in character. He reminded North that it was he, North, who was abandoning the King, not the King deserting his minister. North’s frequent offers of resignation throughout his twelve-year tenure as first minister had been motivated by feelings more complex than a simple desire to leave office, but there is no doubt that North resigned with a sense of relief.


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Copyright information

© John W. Derry 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • John W. Derry
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of HistoryUniversity of Newcastle upon TyneUK

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