[William Pitt the Younger, Tory Prime MInister.] Autograph Letter Signed ('W Pitt'), asking Earl Gower to move the address in the House of Commons on George III's recovery from his first bout of mental instability.

Author: 
William Pitt the Younger (1759-1806), Tory Prime Minister during the wars with France and Napoleon [George Granville Leveson-Gower, 1st Duke of Sutherland [as Earl Gower] (1758-1833); George III]
Publication details: 
Downing Street [London]. 6 March 1789.
£1,500.00
SKU: 21487

The letter is written a few weeks after the king's recovery from his first bout of mental instability. In the period immediately preceeding the king's recovery a Regency Bill had been making its way through the House of Commons. It was made redundant by the king's recovery; had it been enacted the Prince of Wales, as Regent, would almost certainly have dismissed Pitt in favour of his rival Charles James Fox. At the time Earl Gower (later the first Duke of Sutherland) was Member of Parliament for Staffordshire, and in this letter Pitt asks him to 'move the Address to be proposed in the House of Commons', expressing thanks at the king's recovery. 2pp, 4to. On a single sheet. In fair condition, aged and worn. Folded twice, with a short closed tear at edge of one crease. The letter reads: 'My Dear Lord | Under the peculiar Circumstances of the Speech which is to be made on Tuesday by the Commissioners appointed to hold the Parliament, which will announce the happy Event of His Majesty's Recovery. I cannot help expressing a Wish that your Lordship would undertake to move the Address to be postponed in the House of Commons. The Nature of the Occasion will I hope justify my troubling you with this Request, and it will afford me on every account particular Satisfaction, that the first Step previous to our entering again on Public Business should be brought forward with so much advantage. - I shall be extremely happy if your Lordship will permit me to take an early Opportunity of communicating to you the particulars of the Speech.' From the distinguished autograph collection of the psychiatrist Richard Alfred Hunter (1923-1981), whose collection of 7000 works relating to psychiatry is now in Cambridge University Library. Hunter and his mother Ida Macalpine had a particular interest in the illness of King George III, and their book 'George III and the Mad Business' (1969) suggested the diagnosis of porphyria popularised by Alan Bennett in his play 'The Madness of George III'.