MS: 'Elegy on the Year 1788'

Robert Burns, Author 
Object Number:


This poem was written on 1 January 1789 and sent to the Edinburgh Courant newspaper for publication. The work, which reflects on the events of the previous year, is preoccupied with the ongoing Regency Crisis. In November 1788 Parliament could not proceed as King George III was too mentally incapacitated to deliver his customary Speech at the opening of the session.

Charles James Fox advocated that the Prince of Wales (King George IV) should be given automatic sovereignty during his father's illness. Prime Minister William Pitt argued that Parliament should be able to choose a Regent and that this should not necessarily be the Prince of Wales. The crisis continued into 1789.

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