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Report from the committee appointed to examine the physicians who have attended his majesty during his illness

George III

Published by Logographic Press, London, 1789
From Jeremy Norman's historyofscience (Novato, CA, U.S.A.)

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[George III (1738-1820).] Report from the committee appointed to examine the physicians who have attended his majesty during his illness; touching the present state of his majesty's health. 4to. [4]-52pp. (lacking half-title?). London: Logographic Press, [1789]. 210 x 160 mm. Later half calf, marbled boards, a bit rubbed. Occasional foxing, otherwise very good. Bookplate of Charles W. Pilgrim. Reprint of a parliamentary report issued in January 1789. Few illnesses of historic personages have been followed so closely and documented so well as the insanity of George III, king of Great Britain from 1760-1820. The king suffered five separate attacks of mental illness during his long reign, the first in 1765 and the last in 1810; the final breakdown, which ended only with the king's death, resulted in the establishment of the Regency. Of the remaining four attacks, the one that incapacitated the king between October 1788-March 1789 is the most interesting, not only because of the political turmoil it generated over the regency question, but also because of the stimulus it gave to the study of psychiatry. The question of the king's recovery was of such political importance that special committees from each house of Parliament were set up to interrogate the king's doctors about the progress and probable outcome of his illness. These examinations, printed in the Parliamentary proceedings and republished in numerous popular editions (such as the one we are offering here), advanced the cause of psychiatry by educating the public about mental illness and by giving an aura of respectability to the study of insanity. The present report contains testimony from the eight physicians attending the king during his illness, taken on January 7-13, 1789. The most influential of these physicians was Francis Willis, proprietor of a private asylum in Lincolnshire; his optimism about the king's eventual recovery found favor with Prime Minister William Pitt and the Tory government, which had been supported by the king. Willis's chief rival was Richard Warren, a friend of the leaders of the Whig opposition; his pessimistic views about the king's illness were adopted by those who wished to see the Prince of Wales established as Regent. Guttmacher, pp. 1-15. Hunter & Macalpine, pp. 509-514. See Norman 890. 38761. Bookseller Inventory # 38761

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Report from the committee appointed to ...

Publisher: Logographic Press, London

Publication Date: 1789

Binding: Hardcover

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