Ten years after mental illness (possibly brought on by Acute Porphyrias) forced him to retire from public life, King George III, the British king who lost the American colonies, dies at the age of 82.
In 1760, 20-year-old George succeeded his grandfather, George II, as king of Great Britain and Ireland. Although he hoped to govern more directly than his predecessor had, King George III was unable to find a minister he could trust, until 1770, when he appointed Lord North as his chief minister. Lord North proved able to manage Parliament and willing to follow royal leadership, but George's policy of coercion against the American colonists led to the outbreak of the American War for Independence.
The subsequent loss of England's most profitable colonies contributed to growing opposition to the king, but in 1784 his appointment as prime minister, William Pitt (the younger), succeeded in winning a majority in Parliament. After Pitt's ascendance, the king retired from active participation in government, except for occasional interference in major issues such as Catholic Emancipation, which was defeated in 1801.
In 1765, the king suffered a short nervous breakdown and in the winter of 1788-89 a more prolonged mental illness. By 1810, he was permanently insane. It has been suggested that he was a victim of the hereditary disease porphyria, a defect of the blood that can cause mental illness when not treated. He spent the rest of his life in the care of his devoted wife, Charlotte Sophia, whom he had married in 1761. Following his retirement from public life, his son, the Prince of Wales, was named regent and upon his father's death in 1820 ascended to the throne as King George IV.
A story repeated on National Public Radio during the annual reading of the Declaration on the Morning Edition program was that King George III's diary entry for July 4, 1776 read: "Nothing of importance happened today".
This myth carried on until the truth was revealed that in fact George III never kept a diary. The error was corrected in 2007.
IN ADDITION (for E.A.Poe Enthusiasts):
Edgar Allan Poe's famous poem "The Raven," beginning "Once upon a midnight dreary," was published on this day in 1845 in the "New York Evening Mirror".
Poe's dark and macabre work reflected his own tumultuous and difficult life. Born in Boston in 1809, Poe was orphaned at age three and went to live with the family of a Richmond, Virginia, businessman. Poe enrolled in a military academy but was expelled for gambling. He later studied briefly at the University of Virginia.
In 1827, Poe self-published a collection of poems. Six years later, his short story "MS Found in a Bottle" won $50 in a story contest. He edited a series of literary journals, including the Southern Literary Messenger in Richmond starting in 1835, and Burton's Gentleman's Magazine in Philadelphia, starting in 1839. Poe's excessive drinking got him fired from several positions. His macabre work, often portraying motiveless crimes and intolerable guilt that induces growing mania in his characters, was a significant influence on such European writers as Charles Baudelaire, Stephane Mallarme, and even Dostoyevsky.
|On This Day in History: January 29th, 1820 - King George III Dies!|
|Posted: 01/29/2012 15:32 by herodotus||Comments: 2|