[John Aikin, physician and author.] Autograph Letter Signed ('J. Aikin') to Dr [James] Currie of Liverpool, expressing thanks for his attention to his indisposed daughter [Lucy Aikin] and praising his 'elegant studies'.

John Aikin (1747-1822), physician and author, brother of Anna Laetitia Barbauld (1743-1825) [James Currie (1756-1805) of Liverpool, Scottish physician, author and editor; Lucy Aikin (1781-1864)]
Publication details: 
Stoke Newington; 1 January 1801.
SKU: 21652

1p, 4to. In fair condition, lightly aged and worn, with thin strip of paper from mount adhering to one edge on reverse, which is addressed, with two postmarks (one 'S Newington | Unpaid'), to 'Miss Aikin | Dr. Currie's | Liverpool', and is endorsed by Currie. In 1810 the subject of this letter Lucy Aikin published a poem on the letter's recipient, titled: 'Dirge for the Late James Currie, M.D., of Liverpool', in her 'Epistles on the Character and Condition of Women'. (For information on John Aikin, Lucy Aikin and James Currie, see their entries in the Oxford DNB.) Twenty-two lines of neat text. Begins: 'I scarcely know how, my dear Sir, to express my obligations to you for your kindness to my daughter, & in particular for your great attention to her in her late illness. From her account I infer that the attack was a serious one, & I am sure there must have been as much skill & vigour, as kind asiduity, exercised in the treatment, to have produced such a speedy recovery. By taking her to your house, you have also secured her that pleasure from society which cannot but contribute to restore her spirits. I trust she will no more forget her obligations to you, than her parents will.' With reference to the London publishers Cadell & Davies, Aikin writes: 'I now & then hear at Cadell's of your further literary labours, & I hear you with whom I converse, the greatest approbation of the favcours you have already conferred upon the reading part of society.' While not wishing Currie the leisure he himself possesses, he hopes he will 'always be able to devote some portion of your time to the pursuit of those elegant studies in which you have shown such a talent for excelling'. He concludes by adding his wife's best wishes to his own for Currie and his wife. 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'.