[Philip Yorke, 2nd Earl of Hardwicke, Whig politician and writer of the 'Athenian Letters'.] Autograph Letter Signed ('Hardwicke'), asking Thomas Astle to request the aid of John Topham on a projected third volume of his 'Miscellaneous State Papers'.

Philip Yorke, 2nd Earl of Hardwicke (1720-1790), Whig politician and author [Thomas Astle (1735-1803), antiquary; Thomas Cadell the elder (1742-1802), publisher; John Topham (1746-1803), antiquary]
Publication details: 
Bath. 22 November 1783.
SKU: 21756

The Athenian Letters, primarily written by Hardwicke and his brother Charles, enjoyed considerable vogue on the publication in 1781 of the second edition (a first edition of ten copies had appeared in 1741). The present item relates to a projected third volume of the 'Miscellaneous State Papers', the first two volumes of which had been published by Strahan and Cadell in 1778. John Topham (later Librarian to the Archbishop of Canterbury) and Thomas Astle worked together on the public records at Westminster. The present item is 1p, 4to. Bifolium. In good condition, lightly aged, with thin strip of paper adhering to reverse of blank second leaf. Folded three times. The letter reads: 'Dear Astle/ | Would You be so good, as to sound Mr Topham if It wd be inconvenient to Him to overlook the 3d Vol. of the State Papers, as He did the Athenian Letters? There is only one Part, in wch his Assistance will be wanted, & That I can fully instruct him upon in one or 2 Conversations. The Rest I can go thro my Self. Cadel is not so Ready at finding out Coadjutors as I expected One of his large Dealings wd be. - I must defer setting about the Work, till my Return to Town.' Postscript reads: 'Compts to Mrs A: & Fire-side.' 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'.