1798 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Dr. John Aikin

David Rivers, in Literary Memoirs of Living Authors (1798) 1:9-10.



Son of the late Dr. Aikin of Warrington, brother to the celebrated Mrs. Barbauld, and an author of considerable ability and reputation. He published in 1771, a volume on the Ligature of the Arteries. His other medical works are, a thin octavo volume on the Use of Preparations of Lead: another, of Essays in Surgery, and a third of Thoughts on Hospitals: a quarto pamphlet, entitled, A Specimen of the Medical History of Great Britain: an octavo volume of Biographical Memoirs of Medicine: another, entitled Elements of Surgery, and two octavo volumes, entitled Elements of Physic and Surgery: an edition of Lewis's History of the Materia Medica, in duodecimo. His publications are not however by any means all of a professional kind. In 1773, he published an octavo volume of Miscellanies in conjunction with his sister: his poem entitled Duncan's Warning has been greatly admired: He has likewise published a translation of Tacitus's Manners of the Germans and Life of Agricola: on which performance it is no contemptible eulogium, and it may certainly be pronounced with truth, that notwithstanding the able hands into which the great historian has since fallen, Dr. Aikin's Translation of these Tracts is the best we have. It seems a little surprising that the ingenious author should allow a book which has been in so great request, to remain scarce for want of new impressions. Dr. Aikin has also published An Essay on the Application of Natural History to Poetry: an edition of Thomson's Seasons with Notes: The Calendar of Nature: a small volume of Poems: England Delineated: A View of the Character and Public Services of Mr. John Howard: an edition of Armstrong's Art of Health, with a critical Essay: an edition of Somerville's Chace, with a critical Essay: A Description of the Country from thirty to forty miles round Manchester, in quarto, the materials of which were arranged, and the work composed by the Doctor: Letters to his Son: an edition of the Spleen, and other Poems, by Matthew Green, and an edition of Pope's Essay on Man, with a critical Essay prefixed: Beside these performances, Dr. Aikin has condescended to some smaller ones for the instruction of children. It redounds not a little to the credit of the late Dr. Aikin of Warrington that both his son and daughter possess so respectable an eminence in the republic of letters: they are children worthy of such a father: the undoubted heirs of his talents and his virtues. From perusing this list of his works, the reader will observe by how many monuments of literature the talents of the former have been ascertained; and it is needless for us to add our testimony to his fine genius and noble sentiments, or to repeat a suffrage which the general consent of the learned has so frequently conferred, that he has never failed to adorn and dignify the subjects that he has taken in hand. Dr. Aikin is said at present to have a leading share in the conduct of the Monthly Magazine, a publication whose superior merits certainly bespeak an able pilot.