[Sir Charles Blagden, physician and scientist.] Autograph Letter Signed ('C. Blagden') to Louis Odier, Genevan physician, regarding the sojourn in England of Jean-François Berger, and the changes in Geneva.

Sir Charles Blagden [Sir Charles Brian Blagden] (1748-1820), physician and scientist, Royal Society secretary [Louis Odier (1748-1817) and Jean-François Berger (1779-1833), physicians of Geneva]
Publication details: 
No place. 13 February 1810.
SKU: 21630

3pp, 4to. Bifolium. In good condition, lightly aged and worn, with thin strip of paper from mount adhering to the reverse of second leaf, which is addressed 'À Monsieur | Monsieur L. Odier | Docteur et Professeur en Médecine | à Genève.' He begins by expressing the 'great pleasure' he has felt in again seeing Odier's handwriting, and learning that he and his family are in good health. 'Dr Berger has form'd many friends here, and a temporary employment to which he did honour.' Blagden regrets that a more 'permanent establishment' was not obtained to keep Berger 'among us, or at least in a close connexion with us'. Berger himself will, on his return to Geneva, furnish Odier with 'a better account than I can write to you, of the state of your friends still living in this country, many of whom he has known personally; and he must have heard about the rest, as his means of information were very extensive'. Referring to the effects of the Napoleonic Wars, he continues: 'Though Geneva no longer continues to be an independent State, I am told that your mode of society remains nearly the same, that your mode of living is equally pleasant, and that particular favour has been shewn to you in many points, while your internal tranquility is better secured than formerly: among the heavy disasters which have fallen upon mankind since we last met, my dear friend, it is no small consolation to me that a place, for which I shall ever feel a strong affection, is so happily circumstanced.' Berger will inform Odier 'whether we have made any essential improvements in the practice of medicine, with which he and you were not well acquainted'. Blagden announces that 'Great discoveries in certain parts of natural knowledge have lately originated here; and as the authors of them are still young men, there is reason to hope that our future progress in science will not discredit the past.' The letter ends with best wishes to Odier's family. 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'.