Chapter 6


Thackeray’s lecture manuscript of “George IV,” [1855-6]. MS Eng 951.3.

Thackeray’s lecture manuscript of “George IV,” [1855-6].

Thackeray’s second American lecture tour focused on the lives of the four King Georges. Shown here is Thackeray’s lecture manuscript on George IV. George IV had been regent and monarch during Thackeray’s youth, and Thackeray would have seen many contemporary accounts and caricatures of the king. Thackeray provided a scathing portrait of a monarch whom many of his contemporaries could still remember. He ended the lecture with a definition of true gentlemanliness, as illustrated by George IV and George Washington, with the latter deemed superior; if King George is “yon fribble,” Washington is “yonder hero.”

Thackeray completed the text only the day before he was first scheduled to lecture on it. He wrote to his family, “George III is the lecture they liked best on account of the pathetic business. G.I. the least…Here, after paying my expenses, I shall probably make 700£…”
MS Eng 951.3. Gift of Herbert L. Carlebach, 1950.