[Sir Samuel Wilks, Physician Extraordinary to Queen Victoria and President of the Royal College of Physicians.] Autograph Letter Signed ('Samuel Wilks') to W. F. Cleveland, comparing two cases, and discussing Metcalfe Johnson and 'Dr Silsons case'.

Sir Samuel Wilks (1824-1911), Physician Extraordinary to Queen Victoria, President of the Royal College of Physicians, medical author [William Frederick Cleveland (1823-1898), surgeon]
Publication details: 
St Thomas's Hospital, Southwark [London]. 7 March 1854.
SKU: 21704

For information on the recipient William Frederick Cleveland, see his obituary, BMJ, 3 December 1898. 4pp, 12mo. Bifolium. In good condition, lightly aged, with thin strip of paper from mount adhering to reverse of second leaf. Folded twice. The letter begins: 'My dear Cleveland, | I am much obliged for referring me to the case I speak of. I have had a somewhat similar one myself at the lung dispensary. My patient was a man who had symptoms of angina pectoris but the only manifestation of this to a bystander was a very rapid respiration & then a cessation, much as you mention.' He describes the 'only difference' between the two cases, before stating: 'It was of the paroxysm my man died & not for love or money could I obtain leave from the friends for an inspection. He refers to 'Dr Silsons case', observing: 'It was rather strange that the very day I sent my paper to the Journal, I received the card of the College of Physicians, announcing Dr Silsons course on the same subject. […] As Dr Silson will publish his lectures, I shall be backward in sending any more yet.' He refers to mutual acquaintance Metcalfe Johnson, now 'Secretary to the Scientific Institute': 'I am of opinion that he has never prospered in is profession & I am sorry for him, for I believe him to be a very good & straight forward fellow – though certainly odd'. He concludes by reporting on a treatment in which Cleveland was 'formerly interested', which 'we have tried […] in two cases at Guys, & in one I think with relief'. From the distinguished autograph collection of the psychiatrist Richard Alfred Hunter (1923-1981), whose collection of 7000 works relating to psychiatry is now in Cambridge University Library. Hunter and his mother Ida Macalpine had a particular interest in the illness of King George III, and their book 'George III and the Mad Business' (1969) suggested the diagnosis of porphyria popularised by Alan Bennett in his play 'The Madness of George III'.