[Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex, son of George III.] Autograph Letter Signed ('Augustus Frederick') [to Earl St Vincent], attacking the Prime Minister Lord Liverpool while discussing his election as President of the Royal Society of Arts.

Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex (1773-1843), sixth son of George III, bibliophile [John Jervis, 1st Earl of St Vincent (1735-1823), naval hero; Ellis Cornelia Knight (1757-1837); Lord Liverpool]
Publication details: 
Kensington Palace; 3 February 1816.
SKU: 21759

An interesting letter, attacking the serving Tory Prime Minister Robert Banks Jenkinson, 2nd Earl of Liverpool (1770-1828), who had stood against the Duke of Sussex (noted for his liberal sympathies) in the election for President of the Royal Society of Arts. 3pp, 12mo. Bifolium. In good condition, lightly aged and worn. Folded three times. The recipient is not named, but is identified in an endorsement on the reverse of the second leaf as 'Earl St Vincent'. Written in a hurried, untidy hand. The letter begins: 'My Dear Lord | Our excellent friend Miss Knight informed me how kind and how anxious You had been about my election as President of the Society for the Promotion of Arts Manufacture and Commerce; You will therefore I trust excuse my intruding upon your time to express the Gratitude for Your Lordship's friendly exertions on the occasion.' Referring to the Prime Minister Lord Liverpool he continues: 'Through the Kindness of my friends my triumph over the Premier has been complete.' His pleasure over his rival's failure 'has not been small on the Occasion, for his Lordship opposed himself, knowing that my name had been up Three Weeks, and even his Vote had been solicited at that period […] Could I prognosticate a further decline in public Opinion I should be most happy for a Minister of England who ventures to establish a Succession by Fraud against the General Wish of Nation is not well calculated to inspire confidence as to his Constitutional [?]'. He ends by sending his regards, and in a postscript asks for an enclosure to be 'delivered to Miss Knight'. Ellis Cornelia Knight (1757-1837) is present among Jervis's mourners in his 1838 biography as 'Miss Knight, formerly, sub-governess to the Princess Charlotte of Wales'. 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'.