[Sir Alexander Crichton, personal physician to Tsar Alexander I of Russia.] Three Autograph Letters Signed (all 'Alr. Crichton') to his London publisher John Churchill, regarding publishing arrangements and review copies of his 'Commentaries'.

Sir Alexander Crichton (1763-1856), Scottish physician and author, personal physician to Tsar Alexander I of Russia [John Churchill (1801-1875), London medical publisher]
Publication details: 
All from The Grove, near Sevenoaks [Kent]. 23 July 1842; 20 August 1842; 13 June 1850.
SKU: 21784

The subject is all three letters is Crichton's 'Commentaries on Some Doctrines of a Dangerous Tendency in Medicine', published by Churchill in 1842, and the three cast light on publishing practices for medical publications in the booktrade in early Victorian London. All three with thin strip of paper from mount adhering to one edge. ONE: 23 July 1842. 1p, 12mo. In fair condition, lightly aged, with slight damp stain to one corner. Chrichton begins by asking to be sent 'the two bound Copies of my work to the Bolt and Tun Fleet St. before three oCl on the day you receive this viz. Monday'. He asks him to 'add up the parcel' to him at Sevenoaks, giving details of the coach from that place to be used. He also asks to be sent 'copies of any periodical in which my Commentaries are reviewed or commented on, whether favorably or the reverse'. The letter concludes: 'If you hear any remarks on the work by the medical men who frequent your library perhaps you will be kind enough to communicate them.' TWO: 20 August 1842. 1p, 4to. In good condition, lightly aged. Bifolium, addressed on reverse of second leaf, with postmark, to 'Mr Churchill | Bookseller | Wardour St | Soho | London'. In good condition. Folded four times. Before writing to his friend 'Professor Chelius [Maximilian Joseph von Chelius (1794-1876)] of Heidelberg' he is 'desirous of knowing if the copy of my Commentaries which I addressed to him has been forwarded, and when it left London'. He asks 'to what German bookseller or other person it was sent in order to be handed to him'. He concludes in the hope that 'the copy for the R[oya]l Soc[iet]y of Sciences at Gottingen has also been despatched'. THREE: 13 June 1850. 3pp, 12mo. Bifolium. In good condition, lightly aged. Begins: 'Sir | A bookseller in Bath made me believe that he could sell the remaining copies of my Commentaries and accordingly I ordered Palmer (the printer) to send them to him. The unfortunate Speculator died soon after, and his Stock in trade was bought by a Mr Jennings who writes the accompanying letter to me.' He will ask Jennings to forward 'the parcel or package' to Churchill, 'but not in the hope that you can dispose of them at the price you first put on them, nor in fact, at almost any reasonable price'. He suggests a price for 'selling them to the trade' at which he will be satisfied, otherwise asking what to do with them. The letter concludes: 'My old age and its infirmities prevent me from coming to London and therefore I must ask you to favor me with your advice as soon as convenient to you.' 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'.