John Reid

John Reid (1763-1822) was the son of Matthew and Mary Atchison Reid of Leicester. He had another brother, Matthew, a Leicester merchant, and a sister, Mary Reid (1759-1839), who became a close friend of Mary Hays. Robert Reid was baptized at the Great Meeting, Leicester, on 9 February 1773; he later studied at Daventry Academy (1788-89) and at New College, Hackney (1789-94) in preparation for a career as a Dissenting minister. After a short time, he changed his attention to medicine, completing his degree at Edinburgh in September 1798. He settled in London and during much of 1799, his sister Mary (see above) and mother lived with him. Crabb Robinson wrote in his 1799 Reminiscences that it was “my friend Reid” (1: f. 111) who wrote an epigram about George Dyer’s poems “that I fear was thought just—” (1: f.109). John Reid appears in the correspondence of Dr. Richard Pulteney (1730– 1801), an apothecary and botanist who settled at Blandford, Dorset, in 1765. Pulteney was originally from Leicester, where he attended the Great Meeting with the Reids before moving to Blandford, Dorset, where oddly enough he formed a friendship with Mary Scott that earned him a place in The Female Advocate (ll. 500-08, NWW vol. IV.45-46). Reid received a substantial legacy after Pulteney’s death in 1801. Reid became an acquaintance of numerous Romantic literary figures between 1795 and 1822, including Coleridge, Lamb, and Godwin. He married twice, the second time to Elizabeth Jesser Reid (1789–1866), daughter of William Sturch and the founder of Bedford College for Women in London in 1849, which eventually became a part of the University of London. Among his writings are A Treatise of Consumption (1806), Essays on Insanity (1816), and Essays on Hypochondriasis and other Nervous Affections (1821). He was a regular contributor for many years to the Richard Phillips’s Monthly Magazine and after 1800 lived mainly in Grenville Street, Brunswick Square.