[John Coakley Lettsom, physician, founder of the Medical Society of London, friend of Benjamin Franklin.] Autograph Letter Signed ('J. C Lettsom'), to Charles Taylor, expressing great distress on the death of his son John Miers Lettsom, M.D.

John Coakley Lettsom (1744-1815), physician, philanthropist, abolitionist, founder in 1773 of the Medical Society of London, friend of Benjamin Franklin [his son John Miers Lettsom, M.D. (1771-1800)]
Publication details: 
'Sambrook Co [Sambrook Court, Basinghall Street, London]; 29 January 1800.
SKU: 21683

Lettsom's entry in the Oxford DNB erroneously states that his son John Miers Lettsom, M.D., 'a physician of promise', died in 1799. For the true details, see Gentleman's Magazine, January 1800. 1p, 8vo. Bifolium. In fair condition, aged and worn, with thin strip of paper adhering to the blank reverse of the second leaf, which is addressed, with fragment of seal in black wax, to 'Mr Charles Taylor | 134 | Cheapside'. The recipient may well be Charles Taylor (d.1816), physician, originally a Manchester calico printer and dyer, who later became Secretary of the Society of Arts, London. Folded four times. Reads: 'Dear Mr Taylor | When I last saw you, I was the happiest man, in an amiable Son Dr John; whom it has pleased Divine Wisdom, to take from me this day, and thus inflict upon me the severest dispensation I ever experienced, and which confines me this week within the House, whilst you have the sincerest wishes of yours resply | J. C Lettsom'. 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'.