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 : 20-04-1800
Correspondent : Mrs Frances DunlopCorrespondent Location : Dunlop
Recipient : James Currie Recipient Location : Liverpool
Subject : Mrs Dunlop expresses delight that Currie’s edition will benefit Burns’s family.

My Dr Sir
      this moment I have yours dated the 19th Janry last. where or how it has been retarded so long I cannot say but think the delay must have been in the English post office as the Liverpool stamp on the outsi[MS torn] letter speaks its being post in there on the sixteenth of this month a circumstance I mention to convince you I have not lost a moment to acknowlege the honour and pleasure I ever feel united in every new proof of your kind Remembrance I must however own I have not been wholly able to acquiese without a certain undiscribable withdrawing reluctance from the publick exhibition to which you have been pleased to subject my name yet when I reflect that the man who has chosen it to decorate his page is one whose mind is susseptible of the most delicate sensibility and whose partial goodness to myself and my family precludes a possibility of believing he could obtrude on the eyes of that world with which he is so fully acquainted a Woman naturaly shrinking from its notice at an age just about to escape from it forever and already forgetting and forgot in any way that ought to be disagreable I begin to doubt if I ought not to rather believe all my scruples weakness and folly and seriously thank you for thus calling me to a share in the immortality of the Poet and his Editor since I do not believe there can be a Scots woman alive who would not almost envy me the honour of being ↑handed down to↓ future generations as an acquaintance in some measure valued and regarded by Dr Currie Dr Moore and Poor Burns as this fact has in reality been one of the most pleasurable of my life I figure it to myself as the most flattering monument that could ever with any justice perhaps have been reared to my memory and one that may introduce me hereafter to the lovers of Genius and public fame under a much more favourable point of view than any merit of mine alive could have presented me . May your son one day feel as sensibly the advantage of carrying the name of Wallace to which I am afraid I have been almost wholy indebted for these peculiar distinctions which I most unspeakablie value but to which vanity itself is not able to assign any other visible claim – I had some days ago the Volumes you sent by my son the sight of these redouble my most ardent impatience for the other where I figure to myself all the admiration gratitude and delight with which I shall trace at once the talents Eloquence and benevolence of the Editor and rejoice to think into what hands providence and your own Humanity has appointed the concerns of the Widow and Orphan to fall, where the sacred vail will not be too rudely raised that covers the frailties consigned to death and Oblivion which I trust the transcendant brightness of superiour abilities will henceforth obliterate from the view and memory of Inferiore mortals while your Kindred powers shall Embalm the pure immortal part of the Bard with those consecrated rites Genius alone can perform and goodness must rejoice in being able to dispense as the last worldly recompense of merit we have loved and wondered at. It is with unutterable concern I hear you are still complaining do I beg you send me addrest for myself [MS torn] care of Mr William Dunlop Surgeon Glasgow by the Waggon or Mail Coach the first volum[e] with the Life and be assured it will add greatly to the happiness of mine to be told your health is better in which the Coll: and my Girls most heartily join as well as in best Compts to Mrs Currie and you be also so kind as let me know to whom I shall send the price of this coppy of the book and accept my most sincere thanks for having the Obliging kind attention of sending it so early since from your hand it came with double welcome to Dr Sir your aff↑t↓ friend and Obedient humble Ser↑t↓ Fran: A: Dunlop. I much fear you have lost a young Cousin a Grandson of mine a Son of Mrs [?Van’s] in the Royal Charlotte.


Notes :

Dr Moore: John Moore (1729-1802), Burns’s friend and correspondent.

your son … Wallace: William Wallace Currie (1784-1840), James Currie’s eldest son, who later became Mayor of Liverpool.

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