Autograph letter signed to publisher John Bell
Publisher Information: Exeter: 1775.
Downman, Hugh (1740-1809). Autograph letter signed to publisher John Bell (1735-1806). 2pp. on single sheet. Exeter, April 26, 1775. 185 x 152 mm. Some surface soiling, a few tiny holes along folds, lacuna where seal was broken (not affecting text), but on the whole very good.
Downman, a physician and poet, is best known for his Infancy or the Management of Children, a didactic poem on perinatal and pediatric medicine first published in three parts in London between 1774 and 1776. Downman’s poem enjoyed great popularity, going through seven editions in his lifetime, the last appearing in 1809. Downman also published several other volumes of poetry and drama, and translated some of Voltaire’s work into English.
The first one-volume edition of "Infancy" was published in Edinburgh by John Bell in 1776. In the present letter to Bell, written the previous year, Downman discusses issues relating to this edition:
". . . You will take care that it be correct and well printed, the price I suppose must be lower, but the two books together in octavo should not be sold I think for less than 1s & 6 pence. As it is a complete poem as far as it goes, & has a proper conclusion, I am not certain whether I shall add any more books to it, as I at first intended. Now I have here done with Infancy & if I proceed farther must advance upon Childhood, wch will not so well correspond with the title . . ."
In a postscript Downman added a list of errata to be corrected in Bell’s edition. Dunn, P. M., “Hugh Downman, MD (1740–1809) of Exeter and his poem on infant care.” Archives of Disease in Childhood—Fetal and Neonatal Edition. BMJ Publishing Group, 01 May 2003. Web. Accessed 29 June 2017.Book Id: 44346