[Sir Thomas Phillipps of Middle Hill, eccentric book and manuscript collector, complains of having been 'plundered' by a Worcester lawyer.] Autograph Letter Signed ('Thos Phillipps') to the wife of Sir Charles Hastings, in reply to an invitation.

Sir Thomas Phillipps (1792-1872) of Middle Hill, eccentric collector of books and manuscripts; Sir Charles Hastings (1794-1866) of Worcester, surgeon and founder of the British Medical Association]
Publication details: 
'M H [i.e. Middle Hill] 12 Aug. [no year, but after Sir Charles Hastings' 1850 knighthood]'
SKU: 21433

3pp, 16mo. On bifolium. In fair condition, lightly aged. Phillipps's letter (or draft letter) is a reply to a dinner invitation from the wife of the eminent Worcester physician Sir Charles Hastings. It occupies the reverse of the first leaf, and both sides of the second leaf of the bifolium. The recto of the first leaf carries the invitation, in manuscript, with the text in square brackets printed in copperplate: 'Sir Charles & Lady Hastings [Request the pleasure of] Sir Thos & Lady Phillipps' [Company at Dinner] on Thursday the 28th. Inst. Six oclock | [An answer will oblige.] | Worcester Augt. 12th.' Phillipps begins his reply: 'Dr Lady Hastings | Lady P is in such distress respecting the serious illness of her Brother in law that I take up her Pen, to return her & my best thanks for the kind invitation wch yr self & Sir Chas. have done us the honor to send for the 28th inst.' As the Phillippses do not 'know how his illness might terminate', even 'in the best case' they will not be able to 'come to the Worcester Music Meeting; for a Worcester Lawyer has plundered me of all my spare Cash & what is worse, has done nothing for it.' He hopes she 'will be able to fill our vacant seats with some more wealthy persons who will be beneficial to the Meeting.' The letter is signed 'Very faithfully Yours | Thos Phillipps'. Hastings founded the Provincial Medical and Surgical Association – now the British Medical Association – in 1832. Phillipps was notoriously eccentric and irascible. See his entry in the Oxford DNB, and Munby, 'Phillipps Studies' (5 vols, 1951-1960). From the distinguished autograph collection of Richard Hunter, son of Ida Macalpine, whose collection of 7000 books relating to psychiatry is in Cambridge University Library. Macalpine and Hunter 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'.