[John Aikin, physician and author.] Autograph Memorandum Signed ('J. A.') to the London publishers Cadell and Davies, a reader's report providing a damning assessment of a work 'much below mediocrity'.

John Aikin (1747-1822), physician and author, brother of Anna Laetitia Barbauld (1743-1825) [Cadell & Davies [Thomas Cadell the younger and William Davies], London publishers]
Publication details: 
Without place or date, but after the establishment of the firm of Cadell & Davies in 1793.
SKU: 21651

2pp, 12mo. Bifolium, addressed on reverse of second leaf to 'Messs. Cadell & Davies'. In good condition, lightly aged, with thin strip of paper from mount adhering to one edge. An interesting document, providing an insight into the world of Georgian publishing. Without preamble or salutation, reads: 'This work, in point of style, composition, & sentiment – everything, in short, in which the writer's merit is concerned, is much below mediocrity. But whether its subject, & the side it takes in party, might not at the present moment gain it some public favour, is what I cannot answer. The author certainly conceives it to be a happy stroke at the times; & he has done all in his power by a full portion of political bigotry to make it suit its purpose. From the slight examination I have given it, it appears to contain nothing new in a historical view. | J. A.' 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'.