King of war: George III’s letter declaring war on Napoleon surfaces


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A particularly uncommon handwritten letter from King George III by which he declares battle on Napoleon has been bought at public sale within the U.Okay.

The letter was addressed to Lord Hawkesbury, the British Secretary of State, and was dated Could 14, 1803, simply 4 days earlier than the beginning of the Napoleonic Wars. The battle lasted till 1815, when Napoleon and his allies had been defeated by a coalition that included the U.Okay., the Austrian Empire and Prussia.

‘The King has perused the dispatch and personal letter from Lord Whitworth and the Enclosures with as a lot rapidity as doable to return them to Lord Hawkesbury; the conduct of France has been equally unfair to the final and although acutely aware of the Evils that have to be entailed on many International locations by the renewal of Battle, but the conviction that by the stressed disposition of the Ruler of France this occasion couldn’t lengthy have been stored off, it appears essential to attend alone to the very best modes of repelling the violence with impact, and the attacking these objects which our current means render attainable. The King will stay in City to execute any Steps that the current second could require. George R.,” writes George III, within the letter.


The letter adopted a interval of mounting rigidity between Britain and the French Empire. On the time the letter was written, Lord Whitworth was the British ambassador in Paris.

The letter by King George III showing his intent to take Britain to war in 1803.

The letter by King George III displaying his intent to take Britain to battle in 1803.

The letter, which had a pre-sale estimate of $638 to $1,276, was bought for $14,579 by U.Okay. public sale home Cheffins Thursday.

“This letter is a defining second of historical past displaying the King’s intention to go to battle with France and Napoleon, stated Charles Ashton, Director, Cheffins, in a press release. “While relations between Britain and France had been considerably strained because the Treaty of Amiens in March 1802, this letter marks the top of peacetime negotiations and incorporates the express directions from the King to proceed with battle.”


“The letter is uncommon in that it’s written by the King himself, versus have been dictated to a scribe after which countersigned. That is what provides the worth right here.”

George III, colored engraving. (Photo by Prisma/UIG/Getty Images)

George III, coloured engraving. (Photograph by Prisma/UIG/Getty Pictures)

The bloody Battle of Waterloo, fought on June 18, 1815, noticed Napoleon’s forces defeated by a British-led allied military, successfully ending the Napoleonic Wars. By the top of the 10-hour battle, 45,000 troopers had been both useless or wounded, though some estimates put the casualty depend even greater.

In 2015, a 200-year-old skeleton found beneath a car parking zone on the Battle of Waterloo website was recognized as a German soldier. The stays had been the primary full skeleton to be recovered from the well-known battlefield in Belgium.


The stays had been unearthed by a mechanical digger on the website three years earlier.

Frenchman Frank Samson takes part in the re-enactment of the battle of Ligny, as French Emperor Napoleon, during the bicentennial celebrations for the Battle of Waterloo, in Ligny, Belgium, June 14, 2015.

Frenchman Frank Samson takes half within the re-enactment of the battle of Ligny, as French Emperor Napoleon, throughout the bicentennial celebrations for the Battle of Waterloo, in Ligny, Belgium, June 14, 2015.
(REUTERS/Yves Herman)

Final yr, an especially uncommon ‘bicorne,’ or two-pointed hat, worn by Napoleon on the Battle of Waterloo was bought at public sale in France for $325,000.

In 2016, a bookstore in Australia unearthed an especially uncommon journal from the Napoleonic Wars that had been hidden in storage for many years.

Cracked and Spineless New and Used Books, within the southern metropolis of Hobart, was shocked when certainly one of its clients discovered the leather-bound journal, which is greater than 200 years previous.


The Napoleonic Wars had been formally ended by the Treaty of Paris, which was signed on Nov. 20, 1815.

Observe James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

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