Nathaniel Cotton

Nathaniel Cotton (1707–1788) was an English physician and poet.

Cotton is thought to have studied at Leiden University, possibly under Herman Boerhaave.[1] Cotton specialised in the care of patients with mental health issues, maintaining an asylum known as the Collegium Insanorum, at St Albans. William Cowper was one of his patients[2] and held Cotton in high regard.[3]

Cotton was also a published poet, whose poems were described by Cheever as "full of good sense, benevolence, and piety"[3] although not works of genius. He was the author of Visions in Verse, first published in 1751; and a two volume complete collection of his works was published in 1791.[1]

He was married twice, first in 1738 to Anne Pembroke, with whom he had eight children, six of whom survived past infancy and one, Joseph Cotton, who became a director of the Honourable East India Company. His second marriage in 1750 or 51 was to Hannah Everett, with whom he had a son and two daughters. He died at St Albans on the 2nd August 1788 and is buried in St. Peter's churchyard.[4]


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