When Royal Rights Are Wrong

When King George III died on January 29, 1820, he had lived and reigned longer than any preceding monarch; and only two – Queens Victoria and Elizabeth II – have since surpassed him.

“Farmer George,” as he was fondly known early in his reign, was 81 years and 239 days old when he died and had been King for 59 years and 96 days. He is best remembered as the “Mad King” who lost England’s American Colonies in his descent from vigorous leader to the darkest shadows of mental illness.

In 2020, we may be a little kinder in our description of our leaders than we were when George III was blundering his way through history. “Mad” is far too harsh a pejorative when questioning the conduct of a royal – or doubting the sincerity of the president of one of the world’s once-great countries, a president who appears to dream of being royal.

So, we may well shake our heads and mutter madness when we recall King George informing his realm: “Once vigorous measures appear to be the only means left of bringing the Americans to a due submission of the mother country – the Colonies will submit.”

But, we can only wonder about President Donald Trump’s mental ability when we hear him bluster similar threats to state governors – that if they don’t start roughing up “black lives matter” protesters in their towns and cities, He – the Lord High Executioner – will send in the National Guard to sweep the streets.

If we have read any histories of the rise and fall of the British Empire, we may have stumbled across another King George gem that resembles a Trump twitter: “A traitor is everyone who does not agree with me.’’

I realize we are getting a little late in the American presidential election cycle; still, I think it would be a great idea if CNN and the U.S. newspapers started a series of articles on the USA Declaration of Independence and the 27 “grievances” attached that made sure England understood what was bothering the colonists in the new world.

Taxes, as always, were of paramount concern, but how they were imposed and collected were more important than the amount of the tax.

Grievance 1: “He (the King) has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.”

Grievance 2: “He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.”

Grievance 3: “He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.”

To read the next 24 grievances, go to Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grievances_of_the_United_States_Declaration_of_Independence

There is a clear theme: “You, King George, set us up to look like a government, but all our decisions depend on your final say — and we have no appeal …” It’s a form of phony democracy Donald Trump would love to institute – and tries to impose from time to time. Readers with the patience to riffle through all 27 of the Grievances will notice how easily “would-be-king Donald” could be substituted for “mentally challenged King George.”

I leave my final thought on the loss of the American colonies to Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II. It’s a few years old but thoughtful, honest, mentally sound and stands up well: “We lost the American colonies because we lacked the statesmanship to know the right time – and the manner – of yielding what it is impossible to keep.”


  1. A good essay by a learned friend. We shared this one in New Mexico, Idaho, California and the UK. Glenn

  2. I hadn’t read all 27 grievances until now. They remind me of what a politician who was being harried by his opponents told me: “If you want to beat a dog you can always find a stick.”

    Many of these grievances might fall into this category. Nonetheless, I believe America had matured beyond colonial status and had to go.

    I do think, however, that while Farmer George was mad and negligent King Donald is mad and conniving.

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