[George IV and Home Secretary and future Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel.] Autograph Signatures of the King ('George R.') and Peel ('R Peel') to 'Warrant for the removal of John Raddon to the Criminal Lunatic Asylum in St Georges Fields'.

George IV (1762-1830), King of Great Britain; Sir Robert Peel (1788-1850), Prime Minister and creator of the British police force
George IV
Publication details: 
'Given at Our Court at Carlton House the Fifth day of February 1824, in the Fifth Year of Our Reign.'
SKU: 21809

2pp, foolscap 8vo. In good condition, lightly aged, with thin strip of paper from mount adhering to one edge. Folded twice. Large heavily-smudged signature of the king ('George R.') at head of first page, which has the royal seal under paper in the left-hand margin. Signed at end of document ('By His Majesty's Command') by the Home Secretary and future Prime Minister: 'R Peel'. Thirty-four lines of text, in a secretarial hand, addressed 'To Our Trusty and Wellbeloved The High Sheriff of the County of Devon, and all others whom it may concern.' At bottom left of first page: 'Warrant for the removal of John Raddon to the Criminal Lunatic Asylum in St Georges Fields'. The text begins: 'Whereas John Raddon was at the Summer Assizes 1822, holden for the County of Devon tried upon a certain Indictment against him for maliciously Cutting and Maiming, and he was acquitted by a Jury duly taken in that behalf, who being thereunto required and specially found that he was Insane at the time of the Commission of such Offence, and did declare that he was acquitted by them on account of such Insanity, […]'. Raddon was ordered 'to be kept in strict Custody in the Gaol at Exeter', but is now to be sent to the 'Building […] in St Georges Field[s] in the County of Surrey, situate on the site of Bethlem Hospital for the better Care and Custody of Insane Persons charged with or convicted of Criminal Offences'. 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'.