[John Aikin, physician and author.] Autograph Letter Signed ('J. Aikin') to 'Mr Spottiswoode', i.e. the London printer John Spottiswoode, regarding the printing of the ninth volume of his 'General Biography'.

John Aikin (1747-1822), physician and author, brother of Anna Laetitia Barbauld (1743-1825) [John Spottiswoode (1780-1866), London printer]
Publication details: 
'Stoke Newington | Decer. 6th. [1813]'.
SKU: 21653

1p, 12mo. Bifolium. In fair condition, aged and worn, with thin strip from mount adhering to the reverse of the second leaf, which is addressed, with two postmarks (one 'STOKE NEWINGTON') to 'Mr Spottiswoode | New Street | Shoe Lane'. Aikin's 'Universal Biography' had begun appearing in 1799, and the letter concerns the ninth volume, which was published in 1814. Aikin begins by stating that, according to his 'calculation', he either has by him, or soon will have, 'copy enough to finish the volume as soon as it can be printed, & I suppose Mr Johnston [William Johnston, one of the main contributors] will also be ready with his part [last eleven words underlined]'. It is Aikin's wish 'that this volume should be less bulky than the last, since otherwise there will be scarcely matter enough left for the tenth, even including an Appendix. I have written U & V & am beginning W but I should wish not to go through the last letter, or much to turn the 600th page.' 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'.