Left: James Currie. Right: a portrait of Burns by Archibald Skirving, published in The Works of Robert Burns, by Blackie and Son, Glasgow, 1854.
Date : 14-06-1800
Correspondent : Cadell & DaviesCorrespondent Location : London
Recipient : James Currie Recipient Location : Liverpool
Subject : The publishers discuss sending out copies to particular individuals.

Dear Sir
      We are favoured with your Packet by Mr Dale, and though we had yesterday the Pleasure of writing to you, think it best to trouble you with another Letter, on the Subject of the Subscriptions at Edinburgh, respecting which we imagine there is some Misconception on the part of Mr Cunningham, (as the Copies sent by Mr McCreery in Sheets to the several Booksellers are for sale, independent of the Subscription) who we hope will yet undertake the Supply of the Subscribers as far as he conveniently can, in Order the more effectually to serve the Family – as surely there cannot be a Doubt that a Number of Persons at Edinburgh will send their 31/6 to him, and in that Case the Amount of those Copies will go into the Pocket of the Family, free from Deduction – In all Events, he can, a few Weeks hence, deliver whatever Copies may remain with him undisposed of, into the Hands of one of our Correspondents (Manners and Miller, or Hill, we should prefer – the latter, we perceive, was an intimate Friend of the Bard’s) — We are satisfied that you will not attribute our urging this to any Wish to diminish our own Trouble – We are led to it by the Difficulty there ever is, in London, of obtaining the Money for Books subscribed for.— In so great a Degree have we ever found this to be the Case that, in due Attention to the Family’s Interests, we cannot venture to send Copies, except to those Persons whom we very well know, or whom we have Reason to believe are sufficiently know to you and the other Friends of the Family – for the rest we must trust to the Notice in the Advertisement, which shall be inserted very extensively in the London Papers, as well as those of Edinburgh and Glasgow – At Liverpool, we take it for granted, the Work has already been advertised — We purpose requesting Mr Lawrie’s Assistance in ascertaining to whom we can safely send Copies, and doing our best in all other Respects towards collecting Monies from the Subscribers marked in your List – so that between Mr Cunningham’s Exertions, and ours, the Family may be secured in the clear Receipt of 100 Subscriptions — If you see no Objection to this Plan, and think Mr Cunningham will have none, you will of Course, write to him to this Effect, and the Destination of the 100 Copies will remain unaltered – The Duchess of Gordon’s, Lord Landsdowne’s, Mrs. Walker’s, and Dr Valpy’s Copies shall be sent immediately, Mrs Riddell’s went yesterday (we made a Point of forwarding hers the Moment we were able). We earnestly request that you will not say another Word about the extra Price of the fine Paper for the 20 Copies – It gave us great Pleasure to find that they had been taken off on Paper of that Description, and it would surely be very hard that any Part of the Expence should fall upon you.— We should not fail to attend to the valuable Hints you have given us for the Distribution of Copies for Sale.— A good Copy of Hayne’s Virgil shall be sent to your Nephew as soon as possible.—
      Be so obliging as to favour us with your Opinion of what we have here suggested in very great Haste and believe us to be ever, dear Sir,

           Yours &
                C & D


Notes :

Dale: David Dale (1739-1806) the establisher of New Lanark and a correspondent of Currie’s.

Cunningham: import note

McCreery: John McCreery (1768-1832), a Liverpool Printer.

Manners and Miller: Edinburgh publishing and bookselling firm.

Hill: Peter Hill (1754-1837) a clerk at Creech’s shop when he met Burns; later a bookseller in his own right.

The Duchess of Gordon: import note

Lord Landsdowne: William Petty FitzMaurice, 1st Msrquess of Lansdowne (1737-1805) former Prime Minister and prominent Whig member of parliament.

Mrs. Walker: not identified.

Dr Valpy: import note.

Mrs Riddell: Maria Woodley Riddell (1772-1808).

Hayne’s Virgil: import note

your Nephew: import note

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