Edward King

Birth: 1795


KING, EDWARD, Viscount Kingsborough (1795-1837), born on 16 Nov. 1795, was eldest son of George, third earl of Kingston, by Lady Helena Moore, only daughter of Stephen, first earl of Mountcashell (Burke, Peerage, 1891, p. 789). After his father succeeded to the earldom in 1799 he was known by the courtesy title of Viscount Kingsborough. He matriculated at Oxford from Exeter College on 25 June 1814, and in Michaelmas term 1818 gained a second class in classics, but did not graduate (Foster, Alumni Oxon. 1715-1886, ii. 794). In 1818 and again in 1820 he was elected M.P. for Cork county, but resigned his seat in 1826 in favour of his younger brother Robert (Lists of Members of Parliament, pt. ii.).

The sight of a Mexican manuscript in the Bodleian Library determined King to devote his life to the study of the antiquities of that country. He promoted and edited, with copious notes, a magnificent work entitled "Antiquities of Mexico, comprising facsimiles of Ancient Mexican Paintings and Hieroglyphics preserved in various Libraries, together with the Monuments of New Spain, by M. Dupaix, with accompanying Descriptions. The whole illustrated by many valuable Manuscripts by Augustine Aglio", 9 vols. imperial fol., London, 1830-48, including sixty pages of a projected tenth volume.

Four copies were printed on vellum, with the plates coloured. It is said that the work was undertaken by the encouragement and with the advice of Sir Thomas Phillipps, in whose collection many of the manuscripts and drawings used in it were preserved (Macray, Annals of the Bodleian Library, 2nd edition, p. 322). The drift of King's speculations is to establish the colonisation of Mexico by the Israelites. The book cost King upwards of 32,000l. and his life. Oppressed with debt, he was arrested at the suit of a paper manufacturer, and lodged in the sheriff's prison, Dublin, where he died of typhus fever on 27 Feb. 1837, and was buried at Mitchelstown. He was unmarried.


[Gent. Mag. new ser. vii. 537-8; Ann. Reg. 1837; Webb's Compendium of Irish Biog. p. 275; Allibone's Dict.]

Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900 by Gordon Goodwin, Volume 31. pg. 130-131

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