Ochakov crisis, 1791. No sooner had the Nootka Sound confrontation with Spain been settled than Pitt was involved in a dangerous showdown with Catherine the Great's Russia, then at war with the Ottoman empire. Ochakov, a fortress on the Black Sea near Odessa, had been captured by the Russians in 1788. Pitt again took over negotiations from his foreign secretary Leeds, armed a naval squadron, and demanded Russian withdrawal. He was not supported by public opinion, which could not see why Ochakov should be of importance to Britain, particularly since Russia had already acquired access to the Black Sea through her conquest of the Crimea in 1783. Pitt's defence in the Commons was limp, and his majority declined. He resolved on retreat, precipitating Leeds's resignation, and Russia kept Ochakov. A humiliating climbdown for Pitt, at one point he also considered resignation.
J. A. Cannon
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