[George III; Spencer Perceval, Prime Minister.] Royal Signature ('George R') to document directing payment of servants of the younger princes from duties from Barbados and Leeward Islands, countersigned by Perceval and two other Lords of the Treasury

George III, King of England; Spencer Perceval, the only Prime Minister to be assassinated; William Eliot (1767-1845, latterly Earl of St Germans) and William Sturges-Bourne, Lords of the Treasury
Publication details: 
'Given at our Court at St James's the 16th: day of November in the forty ninth Year of our Reign'. [i.e. 1808]
SKU: 21481

2pp, folio. On a single sheet. In fair condition, lightly aged and worn, folded twice into the customary packet. The first page is headed with the king's scrawled signature ('George R.'), he being practically blind with cataracts at the time of signing. The document is countersigned at the end by three Lords of the Treasury: 'Sp Perceval | Wm Eliot | W Sturges Bourne'. The tax stamp is in its customary position in the left-hand margin of the first page. The document ('By His Majesty's Command') is written in a secretarial hand, and addressed 'To the Husband for taking up all Goods consigned from Barbadoes and the Leeward Islands on Account of the Duty of four Pounds and one half Pound per centum.' It is of interest in showing how the Royal Family benefited, albeit indirectly, from the institution of slavery. The king directs, authorises and commands 'that out of the monies in your hands which have arisen of from or by the Revenue duty or Custom of four Pounds and one half Pound per Centum at Barbadoes and the Leeward Islands you do pay or cause to be paid unto Andrew Dickie Esqr [Principal Clerk at the royal bankers Coutts and Co.] or to his Assigns the Sum of three hundred and thirty three Pounds nineteen Shillings and eight Pence '. The money is to be paid to 'enable him to pay one Quarters allowance ended the 10th day of October 1808 to the late Servants of our dearly beloeved Sons William Henry Duke of Clarence Edward Duke of Kent Ernest Duke of Cumberland Frederick Augustus Duke of Sussex and Frederick Adolphus Duke of Cambridge in such manner as we may direct', as well as to 'pay the Civil List duties and other Expences'. In another hand, at foot of the second page, 'Andrew Dickie Esqr £333 .. 19 .. 8 – Allowance to the 10 October 1808 to the late Servants of the Younger Princes'. (Dickie was Principal Clerk at the royal bankers Coutts.) 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'.