[Malcolm Flemyng, Scottish physiologist and medical author.] Autograph Letter Signed ('Malcolm Flemyng') [to his London publisher John Nourse], ordering books, discussing his 'Lectures', and requesting news of a 'Discovery' by William Hunter.

Malcolm Flemyng (c.1700-1764), Scottish physiologist and medical author [John Nourse (1705-1780), London scientific bookseller and publisher; William Hunter (1718-1783), anatomist]
Publication details: 
Caistor [Lincolnshire]; 23 April 1758.
SKU: 21700

The recipient of the present letter is not named, but it is the scientific bookseller and publisher John Nourse (1705-1780), who the following year would published the 'Lectures' referred to in the letter: 'An Introduction to Physiology, being A Course of Lectures upon The most important Parts of the Animal Oeconomy', 'Printed for J. Nourse at the Lamb opposite Katherine-Street in the Strand. [1759]' An interesting letter, giving insight into the relationship between an eighteenth-century provincial medical author and his London publisher, with Flemyng instructing Nourse to procure books for his friends, commenting on work in hand, and asking how to receive news of a medical discovery. 3pp, 4to. Bifolium. Aged and worn, with thin strip of paper from mount adhering to reverse of second leaf, which carries an endorsement. Forty-two lines of text, addressed to an unnamed recipient. The letter begins: 'Sir | I wrote several weeks ago desiring you amongst other things to send for Mr Scholy an Apothecary herr Heister's surgery and [?] diseases of the Eyes; But as no parcel is come yet, we imagined through some mistake or other my Letter may have been misplaced. I likewise desire you to take that opportunity of sending in the same parcel Dr Monro's treatise on the Lymphatic for myself. The whole to be directed for me to the care of Mr Fore post-master of Brigg [where Flemyng resided]'. Should the recipient have any 'scrupull about sending Mr Scholeys Books without ready money, please signify it to me and he will write to his Druggist or some other friend to wait upon you for that purpose; and moreover I am desired by Mr Scholy to acquaint you that if the parcel is not yet sent off you will send, for him, along with the rest Brown's Translation of Gregory's Optics.' Turning to his 'Introduction to Physiology' Flemyng writes: 'As I wrote you in my last I shall be as good as my word in having my Lectures completed by the first of June, or perhaps a week or two later at most. Pray what is the safest and best way of transmitting the Parcel so as come safe? [last four words deleted] I shall be directed by you after you have considered the bulk of the work what sort of preface to make, or whether some account of the Contents by way of Index should be added, & whether it should be long or short'. Regarding the celebrated anatomist William Hunter (1718-1783) he continues: 'I hear of some Discovery Dr Hunter teacher of Anatomy has made concerning the Nerves, pray how can I be informed about it.' He ends in the hope that he will hear from him soon. 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'.