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King George III materials

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Creator: George III, King of Great Britain, 1738-1820

Date: 1741-1855, 1941-1970 not inclusive

Level of Description: Sub-collection/group

Material Type: Manuscripts

Call Number: Menninger Historic Psychiatry Coll., King George

Unit ID: 223267

Abstract: This sub-collection consists of miscellaneous handwritten and printed copies and originals of documents directed and/or signed by the Hanoverian kings of England of the mid-18th through early 19th centuries. Most of the documents are related to the regulation of madhouses or the insanity of specific individuals, including George III himself; other documents are of more general interest, including engraved images of George III and some of his physicians, two letters from May 1801 regarding troop deployment in Egypt, a 1773 document regarding duties on candle-making and other taxes in Scotland, and the formation of a court martial system. There are also some scholarly articles regarding George III's madness, including Isaac Ray's 1855 discussion and some mid-20th century articles on the topic. Mostly organized chronologically.

Summary: This collection of materials consists of miscellaneous handwritten and printed copies and originals of documents directed and/or signed by the Hanoverian kings of England of the mid-18th through early 19th centuries. Most of the documents are related to the regulation of madhouses or the insanity of specific individuals, including King George III himself. Other documents are of more general interest, including engraved images of King George III and some of his physicians, two letters from May 1801 regarding troop deployment in Egypt, a 1773 document regarding duties on candle-making and other taxes in Scotland, and the formation of a court martial system.

Space Required/Quantity: 0.50 cubic feet

Title (Main title): King George III materials

Part of: Menninger Foundation Archives. Historic Psychiatry sub-collection.

Biography

Biog. Sketch (Full): King George II of Great Britain and Ireland was born on 10 November, 1683 in Hanover, Germany. The only son of King George I, he married Wilhelmina Caroline of Anspach in 1705 and was 31 years old when his father succeeded to the English throne, due to his marriage to the next Protestant heir in line. Father and son did not get along before George I's death; George II did not get along with his eldest son Frederick either. George II and his wife had three sons and five daughters, and he died 25 October, 1760 in England.

George III was born in London on 4 June, 1738 to Frederick, Prince of Wales and his wife, the Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha. He was their eldest son and the grandson of King George II. George III became heir when his father died in 1751, and he became king when his grandfather died in 1760. He was the first Hanoverian monarch of England whose first language was English.

On 8 September, 1761 George married Princess Sophia Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, with whom he had 15 children. A cultured and musical man, he was known as Farmer George due to his interest in agriculture. He was a conscientious monarch who took great interest in policies and his government under Parliament. His library became a major part of the British Museum's collection, and he founded the Royal Academy of Arts. What most remember about him, however, is that during his reign many of the English colonies in North America declared their independence, becoming the United States after a long revolution.

King George III became seriously ill in 1788-1789, precipitating the first Regency Crisis regarding whether his son should be declared regent, part of a political ploy by Whigs to overthrow the Tories favored by the king. The king recovered but became ill again in 1801 and then again after the death of his favorite daughter Amelia in 1810. In 1811 he was declared incompetent and his son finally became Prince Regent. Modern scholars believe that the king suffered from the disease porphyria, which physical symptoms can eventually affect the brain and cause madness.

George III died 29 January, 1820, after a reign of almost 60 years, one of the longest in English history.

George IV was born 12 August, 1762 in London. He secretly married Mrs. Maria Fitzherbert, a Roman Catholic, in 1785, flouting both the Act of Settlement of 1689 and the Royal Marriage Act of 1772. Profligate and extravagant, George IV was rarely on good terms with his father and chose Whig friends, such as Richard Brinsley Sheridan and Charles James Fox, whom he knew would annoy his father.

In 1794 the heir apparent broke off his marriage with Mrs. Fitzherbert, and in 1795 officially married Princess Caroline of Brunswick. This marriage was a failure, resulting in the birth of only one child, Princess Charlotte, who died giving birth in 1817 shortly after her own marriage. After becoming king in 1820, George IV tried unsuccessfully to divorce his wife Caroline; public opinion usually favored her during their long and tumultuous relationship. She died in 1821.

George initially attempted to gain control of the throne through a regency in 1788 when his father first became ill. He did not become regent until 1811, however, and officially became king in 1820 at the death of his father. He visited Hanover, the first ruler to do so since the 1750s, as well as both Ireland and Scotland. In 1829, despite his opposition, Catholic emancipation was passed in Parliament, and King George IV died 26 June, 1830.

Scope and Content

Portions of Collection Separately Described:


Portions of Collection Not Separately Described:

  1. George II Undated (Box 1, folder 1)
  2. George III--Annotated manuscript pages (beginning and Ch. XXVII), 1941 (Box 1, folder 2)
  3. The "Insanity" of George III by Manfred S. Guttmacher, MD 1964 (Box 1, folder 3)
  4. "Porphyria and King George III" Ida Macalpine and Richard Hunter 1969 (Box 1, folder 4)
  5. George III Portraits, engraved (Box 1, folder 5)
  6. The Happening at Kew by Alexander T. Ornstein (WU student), 1970 (Box 1, folder 6)
  7. George III Kew Gardens 1968-69 Photographs, 1968-1969 (Box 1, folder 7)
  8. George III undated Appointment of a surveyor for the estate of John Jacob Hinde (Box 1, folder 8)
  9. George III (2) re: Horsestealing by Evan Price (Box 1, folder 9)
  10. George III (3) Document in German 1761 (Box 1, folder 10)
More components

Locators:

Locator Contents
078-02-03-06   
991-23-00-00  1773 document regarding duties on candle-making, hops growing, and other tasks 

Index Terms

Subjects

    Great Britain. Sovereign (1760-1820 : George III)
    Great Britain. Sovereign (George IV : 1820-1830)
    George II, King of Great Britain, 1683-1760
    George III, King of Great Britain, 1738-1820
    George IV, King of Great Britain, 1762-1830
    Insanity (Law)
    Psychiatry -- History -- 18th century
    Psychiatry -- History -- 19th century

Creators and Contributors


Agency Classification:

    Organizations/Corporations. Menninger Foundation Archives. Historic Psychiatry. Individuals. King George II, III, IV.