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 : 12-03-1805
Correspondent : Cadell & DaviesCorrespondent Location : London
Recipient : James Currie Recipient Location : Liverpool
Subject : The publishers write of their determination that the next edition of Burns should be a particularly elegant one and seek Currie’s opinion on an anthology of Scottish poetry, something that he was not to produce.

Dear Sir –
< >< >< >< >< >The distracted State of the Printing Business here, for some Time past, has led us to delay writing to you from Time to Time, till at length we are fearful you must think us most blameably inattentive to the kind Letters with which you have favoured us during the last five or six Weeks –
< >< >< >< >< >Had it not been for the Circumstance just alluded to, the first Volume of the “Medical Reports” would have been nearly reprinted by the Time, but so compleatly at a Stand has every Thing been that, even now, not a Sheet of it has been delivered to the Compositor, nor can we ↑yet↓ calculate when it will – We will, however, keep your Letters before us, and carefully attend to your Wishes, when, happily, Order is once more restored amongst us – Every one of the Copies which you directed to be forwarded as Presents to different Gentlemen, were sent immediately – the two for Lisbon were inclosed in a Case we were packing for Bertrands the Booksellers there – The present Edition of the Work will soon be exhausted, but, when once the Printers return to their Senses, the new Edition will be got ready with great Dispatch –
< >< >< >< >< >With Regard to Burns, we are determined that the next Edition shall be an extremely elegant one, in all Respects – and, in Order the better to accomplish this, we will set the Printers to Work the Instant you will favour us with any of the Volumes corrected in the Way you wish them to appear – McCreery is about to fix himself in London, the instant he has compleated Leo, and, if other Objects do not occupy him too much, we should be pleased by the Opportunity of again putting Burns into his Hands, as one of the first Employments of his new Establishment – If it should be convenient to you to look over the Volumes soon, he might begin and proceed upon it without such Degree of Hurry as could afford any Apology for the Want of due Attention to Correctness and Elegance –
< >< >< >< >< >With the most heartfelt Pleasure do we understand that your Health has derived so much Benefit from your Excursion southward, and we sincerely hope you are laying the Foundation of its perfect Re-establishment –
< >< >< >< >< >We are ever, dear Sir, with the truest Respect and Regard,

Your obliged and faithful Servants

Cadell & Davies

P.S. We are strongly urged to publish, as a Companion to Burns, A classical Selection from the Writings of the Scottish Poets, from the earliest Periods down to Burns; Illustrated with a biographical Notice of each Author and Critical Remarks on his Productions – Favour us with your Opinion of such a Publication, and the Practicability of bringing it forward in a proper Manner - - -


Notes :

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

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

Leo: The Life and Pontificate of Leo the Tenth (1805) was published by Currie’s close friend William Roscoe (1753-1831).

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