George III’s unsent letter of abdication goes on display for the first time

I am therefore resolved to resign my crown

A draft letter of abdication written by King George III is to go on display for the first time.

It will be part of a huge cache of documents from the reign of the last British monarch to rule over America which go online from today.

The letter, covered in blotches, scratchings and corrections, was penned during a period of political crisis in March 1783 at the end of the American War of Independence.

It was thought that George struggled to come to terms with British defeats in America and would retire to Hanover in Germany as a result.

He wrote: ‘I am therefore resolved to resign my Crown and all the Dominions appertaining to it to the Prince of Wales, my eldest son and lawful successor.’

But the letter was never sent and he stayed on the throne until his death aged 81 in 1820.

The letter is among a collection of 350,000 Georgian papers from the royal archives which have been digitally scanned and will be placed on an online portal for historians and the public to study from Saturday.

The documents also include letters from one of George’s most trusted spies Aristarchus, code-named after the ancient Greek astronomer.

The so-called ageing spy, who was in his sixties, warned the king of a French plot to assassinate him in 1780.

He wrote: ‘My last Dispatches from Paris happily discover a secret Plot against your Majesty’s Life.’

He warned that the French had figured out that the King walked in disguise at night through the gardens of Buckingham Palace and would chose that as their ‘most favorable spot’ for the execution of their ‘horrid and bloodthirsty machination.’

The letter (pictured), covered in blotches, scratchings and corrections, was penned during a period of political crisis in March 1783

The letter was never sent and George stayed on the throne until his death aged 81 in 1820

Andrew O’Shaughnessy, author of The Men Who Lost America, told The Times: ‘He was based in London but had access to intelligence abroad, especially in Paris. The quality of his information is very variable and in many cases impossible to verify.

‘However, it is not without substance. He was constantly complaining that his wages were in arrears and that he could not get payment from Lord North [the prime minister]. There is one letter in which he describes himself as ‘your amanuensis’ and says he is in his late sixties but feels like a man half his age.’

The documents also include intimate letters between George and his wife Charlotte, household bills and a huge number of letters between the king and the government with detailed notes about the war in America.

There is also an instruction manual from George’s father about kingship.

George, Britain’s longest-reigning king who was on the throne from 1760 until 1820, suffered from health problems in the latter part of his life which was documented in the award-winning 1994 film The Madness Of King George.

Current heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles has said George was unfairly remembered by history as mad and the king who lost America, when he was in fact one of Britain’s most dutiful, cultured and misunderstood rulers.

The Georgian Papers Programme, is a collaboration between the Royal Collection Trust, King’s College London and US partners. It will upload 35,000 documents online by 2020.

Written by Charlie Moore and published by The Daily Mail ~ January 28, 2017.

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