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 : 19-09-1800
Correspondent : Cadell & DaviesCorrespondent Location : London
Recipient : James Currie Recipient Location : Liverpool
Subject : The publishers thanks Currie for corrections and discuss a German translation by a friend of Currie’s.

[N.B. Date added in pencil by another hand but this is a reply to Currie’s letter of 19 September and so cannot have been sent on the same day]

Dear Sir
      The Corrections you sent us for Burns were all in very good Time except that relative to the Letter to Lord Buchan – the Sheet which contains p.64 of the 2d. Volume had been printed off before they arrived – all the others as well as those made in the Volumes, shall be carefully attended to — We have given a most particular ^charge to the Printers, and are full of Hope that the <> Edition will be done correctly and properly — The first Volume must be kept back till the others are printed, on Account of the References, so that any further alterations you may wish to introduce, will not come too late a fortnight or three Weeks hence — Will it be necessary to reprint the List of Subscribers?
      We accede to the Terms proposed for the Translation from the German, and, with your and Miss D’s Permission, will fix the Mode of Payment as follows, £52-10-0 on the Day of Publication, £52-10-0 at the End of six Months from that Day, and £52-10-0 on the Publn of a 2d. Ed. As we are persuaded that the Translation will be faithful, spirited, and elegant, we purpose introducing it to the Public in as highly decorated a Stile as we can – Mr McCreery will print it in his best Manner – Mr Stothard has already promised to make us a Series of Drawings, and we will take Care that they shall be well engraved – Without wishing to fix any particular Time for the Completion of the Translation, it may, yet, be satisfactory to us to have some general Idea of the Time pretty nearly when the Printer is likely to be set to Work —
      We are, dear Sir, Your faithful & obdt Servants


Notes :

Lord Buchan: David Stewart Erskine, 11th Earl of Buchan (1742-1829). Self-regarding patron of literature, he advised Burns in February 1787 to keep his ‘Eye upon Parnassus and drink deep of the fountains of Helicon, but beware of the Joy that is dedicated to the Jolly God of wine’; and he recommended that the poet seek inspiration in the classic scenes of the Scottish past. Such advice may have prompted Burns’s exclamation, 8 March 1787, ‘Damn the pedant, frigid soul of Criticism for ever and ever’ (Letters I, 98). Burns replied to his ‘bombast epistle’ on 7 Feb. 1787 (Letters I, 90).

Translation from the German:In fact, Mrs Rose Lawrence (fl 1799-1829), a Liverpool friend of Currie’s, translated Gesner, the edition appearing in 1802.

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

Stothard: Thomas Stothard (1757-1834), English illustrator, engraver & artist.

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