Britain’s ‘Mad King’ Letters: ‘America is Lost!’

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A huge cache of papers from the reign of Britain’s King George III detailing his dismay at the loss of America have been published online.

King George III was the last monarch to rule over the U.S. colonies that declared independence in 1776.

Among the documents are a draft abdication letter from 1783 that was never sent, intimate correspondence between King George III and his wife Charlotte and a huge number of letters with detailed notes about the war in America.

The publication of the documents is part of a collaboration between the Royal Archives and King’s College London to release more than 350,000 manuscripts relating to the Georgian monarchy by 2020.

A manuscript from the archive entitled “Essay on America and future colonial policy” has already been published. It begins by asking “America is lost! Must we fall beneath the blow? Or have we resources that may repair the mischiefs?”

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While offering a fascinating insight into the mindset of King George III, academics have warned that researchers must be careful in how they interpret the “America is lost” essay.

Dr Angel Luke O’Donnell, Teaching Fellow in North American History, King’s College London wrote earlier this week that the essay “substantively replicates” an earlier letter from “a leading British agricultural theorist who shared George III’s passion for improving farming techniques”

George III’s reign lasted from 1760 to 1820, making him Britain’s longest serving King.

He suffered health problems during the latter years of his life which were documented in the 1994 film “The Madness of King George.”

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