DICKENS, Charles. Autograph manuscript draft of 'The Sanatorium', n.p. [London], n.d. [c.27 November 1842], 4 pages, 4to; with a related autograph letter signed to Thomas Chapman, Devonshire Terrace, 27 December 1842, 3 pages, 8vo; and two autograph address leaves signed; window-mounted in an album, red morocco by Rivière, 285 x 225mm. Provenance: bookplates of Barton Currie; Thomas A. McGraw, MD.
DICKENS PROMOTES THE DEVONSHIRE HOUSE SANATORIUM FOR THE MIDDLE CLASSES. The middle classes -- students, young professionals, the daughters of 'reduced gentlemen' -- are to be the beneficiaries of the scheme: 'Let it never be forgotten that the Sanatorium is not a charity ... It is a self-supporting Institution where, in consideration of an annual subscription of one guinea in time of health, and the most moderate and economical weekly charge possible in time of sickness, any of that large and most respectable class of persons who are seeking a subsistence in the Metropolis can, being stricken ill, repair, as to a home Private cheerful and wholesome rooms; the first medical advice; the most delicate and unremitting attention; the best provision that can possibly be made for tranquillity, rest and mental ease'. Dickens's letter of 27 December advises discretion about 'disorders of the mind ... it is as indispensable to our well-doing to keep the subject quiet, as to keep them quiet, supposing we have any', adding that the matron should be 'as cheerful as possible', and not 'as if she were a warranted mouser and they all mice'.
The manuscript article, a 'sketch' of what Chapman might give to the press, was sent with a letter of 27 November (from which it was later separated). The Morning Chronicle published it on 29 November (Letters, ed. G. Storey, III, pp. 384 and 402). Chapman was chairman of the Sanatorium Committee and Prince Albert ('the Illustrious Person') its President. The founder was the philanthropical Dr Thomas Southwood-Smith. Although financially it failed, the enlightened concept, novel at the time, was a precursor of the 'home hospital' and the 'nursing home'.