William Pitt The Younger by William Hague - review by Nigel Jones

Nigel Jones

The Most Precocious Premier

William Pitt The Younger


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SOMETIMES THERE ARE two versions - one sublime, the other ridiculous - of even the most well-witnessed famous last words. Did George V, for example, really enquire about the progress of the Empire as he wheezed his last in 1936, or, more credibly, did he growl a brief nautical riposte - 'Bugger Bognor!' - to a courtier's fawning suggestion that he would soon recover sufficiently to recuperate at the aforesaid Sussex resort?

So it was with William Pitt the Younger, Britain's most youthful and durable Prime Minister. The official story has him, in an agony both physical and mental, moaning, 'My country! How I leave my country!' after hearing the news of Napoleon's latest and greatest victory at Austerlitz on his deathbed

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