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 : 17-01-1801
Correspondent : Cadell & DaviesCorrespondent Location : London
Recipient : James Currie Recipient Location : Liverpool
Subject : The publishers inform Currie they have published the second edition of Burns.
Dear Sir As we have not had the Pleasure of hearing from you, we have taken it for granted that you did not find any List of Errata necessary, and have therefore published our new Edition — Copies are already sent to Dr Wells, to his Sister, and to Mr Wakefield, as you desired, and three Copies (one of them on large Paper) for yourself are this Day sent to you by the Coach — At your Convenience, be so obliging as tell us where those for Mr Gilbert Burns are to be sent. We hope you will approve the Execution of this new Edition, as we were anxious that it should be as little inferior as possible to the former, and this principally because we <> ^thought it likely that many of the Subscribers and Friends of the Family might not have been supplied out of the first Edition, on Account of its very rapid Sale, but so enormously encreased are the Expences of Printing as well as Paper lately become, that we despair of being able to afford to bring for=ward any future Edition in so good a Stile — Respectable, how=ever, it shall always be, if Elegance cannot be atchieved — With Regard to the “Medical Reports” – We have taken the Opportunity of sending some Copies, with the new Ed. of Burns, to Merritt & Wright, and to Jones – and we are just now packing some for Archer of Dublin, whom we shall desire to advertise there – There are, at this Time, about 300 – We have some Hopes of getting a good many out to America. [N.B. ms stops here. Reverse side simply reads “Messrs Cadell & Davies”]

Notes :

Dr Wells, to his Sister, and to Mr Wakefield: William Charles Wells (1757-1817) Scottish-American doctor, biologist and printer; Helena Wells (?1761-1824), Anglo-American novelist resident in London from 1777; Gilbert Wakefield (1756-1801) oriental scholar, biblical critic and political radical.

Gilbert Burns: (1760-1827), Robert Burns’s brother who took issue with some of Currie’s character portrayal of the poet; in the event, however, he did little to alter the assessment in Currie’s biographical introduction for subsequent editions.

“Medical Reports”: Reports on the Effects of water in Febrile Disease (1797).

Merritt & Wright, and to Jones: Liverpool booksellers.

Archer: Charles P. Archer, bookseller, Dublin.

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