[George Combe, phrenologist.] Autograph Letter Signed ('Geo. Combe') to educationist W. E. Hickson, praising his book 'History of Sunday' and discussing his 'broken down' health.

George Combe (1788-1858), Scottish phrenologist and lawyer, founder of the Edinburgh Phrenological Society [William Edward Hickson (1803-1870), author and educationist]
Publication details: 
Edinburgh; 7 May 1857.
SKU: 21567

2pp, 12mo. Bifolium. In good condition, lightly aged and worn. Second leaf, blank except for endorsement, with traces of glue from mount. Addressed to 'W E. Hickson Esq'. He thanks him for his 'kind remembrance', and for 'sending me your “History of Sunday”; It is a most valuable, & from its small compass & cheapness, a most serviceable, contribution to the great cause of human emancipation from superstition'. He states that he has himself 'lately published a work with the same end in view'. As he does not know how to send Hickson a copy he is enclosing 'an order for one on the Publishers, hoping that you will find it easy to procure it'. He begins the final paragraph by enquiring how Hickson's health 'stands the influence of time. I am now much broken down by chronic congestion of part of the left lung, & 69 years of age; but by care & doing very little, still enjoy life.' 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'.