Edward King, Viscount Kingsborough

From A Compendium of Irish Biography, 1878

« Charles Jennings Kilmaine | Index | Archbishop William King »

King, Edward, Viscount Kingsborough, author of The Antiquities of Mexico, was born in the County of Cork in 1795. With the exception of a parliamentary career of six years, which he voluntarily abandoned, his life was devoted to the study of Mexican antiquities. This passion was acquired when a student at Oxford, where a Mexican MS. in the Bodleian Library fired his imagination. His magnificent work, replete with illustrations, was given to the world in 1831, in 7 vols. imperial folio, price £210. Two additional volumes appeared after his death at a price of £25 4s. The book cost him upwards of £32,000, and his life; for, oppressed with debt, he was arrested at the suit of a paper-manufacturer, and lodged in the debtors' prison, Dublin, where he died of typhus fever, 27th February 1837, aged 42.

Had he lived, he would within a year have become Earl of Kingston, with a fortune of £40,000 a year. Mr. Prescott, the historian of Mexico, says: "The drift of Lord Kingsborough's speculations is to establish the colonization of Mexico by the Israelites. To this the whole battery of his logic and learning is directed. For this, hieroglyphics are unriddled, manuscripts compared, monuments delineated... By this munificent undertaking, which no government, probably, would have, and few individuals could have executed, he has entitled himself to the lasting gratitude of every friend of science."

Sources

7. Annual Register. London, 1756-1877.

16. Authors, Dictionary of British and American: S. Austin Allibone. 3 vols. Philadelphia, 1859-'71.

« Charles Jennings Kilmaine | Index | Archbishop William King »