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 : 07-08-1800
Correspondent : Mrs Frances DunlopCorrespondent Location : Dunlop
Recipient : James Currie Recipient Location : Liverpool
Subject : Mrs Dunlop reports on Brash and Reid’s generous offer to handle Currie’s edition.

My Dr Sir
      Think me not dead to the happiness of being priviledged to address a letter of friendship or thanks to Dr Currie because I have been so long of lifting my pen the truth is I find myself too much overpowered by my Subject and wholy at a loss where to begin my acknowledgments for your goodness or how to express my Grateful admiration of the engaging and successfull manner in which you have fulfilled the work of Benevolence you so Humanely undertook and so Nobly have performed I do not believe there is a single man in his majesty’s three Kingdoms could have made more of his subject for the advantage of the family the Glory of Scotland or the endearing reputation of the Author in whom I am proud to claim my share as my Country man and Relation and still more to feel my Obligation for the right you have given me so decidedly in the face of all the world to call my friend the Man whom at this moment that world is employed to thank love and esteem I am happy to know the living happiness of a Wallace commited to the protection of one who can so tenderly Embalm the memory of the dead and give immortality to all that even I would wish to live of Poor Burns I got your first Volume just when I was ready to step into bed I sett undrest till I finished it at rise next morning without having all that time percieved the cold of the night the rising of the sun or the impropriety of my own apparail so wholy was I absorbed in the merits of the peasantry the memory of the poet the scenery of my Country and the touching apeal to her Expatriated natives which at the moment of infatuation fixed any attention more warmly on the speaker than on all the other 150000 for whom the man’s nations of the Earth has Scotland to thank and I have to thank you for teaching me to believe this exportation of our best product is for the real advantage and increase of that population it seems so cruely calculated distroy but tis thus the talents of a comprehensive mind can make all around it happy by turning to us the right side of human events and making us able to discover the means by which Divine wisdom guides to happiness the very circumstances that to a weak eye speak only misery and distress in short I came even to confront to your having been yourself expatriated without which perhaps you never could have been the Editor of Burns the protector and provider of his Widow and Orphans and the Author of a work that must live as long as our Island unless we are again plunged in Barbarism. The coppies sell fast at Glasgow where Brash and Reid have undertaken to dispose of 62 immediately cost free and think they will be able to dispose of the whole hunder in the same way so they wrote me yesterday and even added that if I could point any thing further in their power to do for the family they would undertake it with pleasure I had also a letter from Dr Charles saying he had got off twenty five and hoped the rest would soon be called for and desired me to tell you He was proud of the honour you had done him in commiting them to his care it is some time since I heard from him so that I hope he is now farther advanced in the distributi-on I was glad Brash and Reid were so active as it would have been hardly possible for Mr Macintosh who does not now live in town and has a great deal of business to have overtaken it himself I sent them yesterday the money for nine coppies in which I included the one you were so kind as send me to be stated at settling their accounts as I did not know how to get it sent myself and thought this might answere without any increase of trouble when they gave in the rest. forgive the confusion in which I write I just see the intimation of a ship in which I look for at least one of my sons from India yours I flatter myself is still with you to what line do you destine him in future I am told he is a fine Lad but that only sharpens ones wish to be told much much more of Wallace and of your son. are you as partial to your own profesion as I am I think I am even every day more so I have just been interested for a fine handsome young Lad thrown out of Employment by the Reduction of the troops after being obliged to leave India from bad health and to begin the world again a third time one of a fatherless family of seventeen children a Gentlemany pleasant Lad after having lived six weeks in the house with him I cannot say what pleasure it would give me could I hear of any tempting situation for him as a medical man or had I influence with any Coll: that wanted a surgeon especialy of horse and would bestow it on a man I am persuaded very deserving and who would I am told be strongly recommended indeed my son thinks he has a great genius for an Officer and he is though bred at London a Scots man least by his father who was a Physician in short I am almost as fond of him as you are of Graham Moore yet I fear it shall never be in my power to give such proof of it as you have done and indeed well will it be for him if he is hereafter able to shew himself as deserving as Grahame has always been but alass it is not when we need them that we find friends yet sure I ought not to make this observation to the generous Guardian of Mrs Burns and her children you see what your goodness brings upon you without this I should not have tryed to infect your heart with a feeling I cannot render pleasing to my own but you see far further than me and may point some bright-er prospect than I have perception to discover or interest to promote I am sure any hint that could serve the Gentlemans establishment would please and oblige me beyond discription had he not been sick then he would have gone abroad with General Moore on His expedition but that was impossible when they sailed – let me beg best comp↑t↓ to Mrs Currie and love to the children in which Keith joins me when you see Miss McAdam please remember me and tell her I look with trembling expectation to hear of my son James Andrew is at Durham and well and I am my Dr Sir ever affectly yours Fran: A: Dunlop


Notes :

Brash & Reid: Glasgow booksellers.

Mr McIntosh: James Macintosh (1765-1832); philosopher and politician; studied at King’s College, Aberdeen, medicine and then law at Edinburgh, and became distinguished forensic lawyer. Vindiciae Gallicae (1791), his reply to Burke’s Reflections on the French Revolution, established him as one of the foremost liberal thinkers. Appointed secretary of the Friends of the People, 1792, which sought parliamentary reform by constitutional means; gave outstanding series of lectures, 1799, at Lincoln’s Inn on the law of nature and nations. His successful defence, Feb. 1803, of Peltier, accused of libelling Buonaparte, was translated into French by Mme. De Stael. Knighted 1804. Contributed to the Edinburgh Review; writings include Dissertation on the Progress of Ethical Philosophy (1831).

Graham Moore (1764-1843): Glasgow-born distinguished naval officer, later knighted; son of Dr. John Moore (1729-1802) and younger brother to Sir John Moore of Corunna (1761-1809). Currie dedicated the edition of 1800 to him.

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