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 : 05-11-1798
Correspondent : Mrs Frances DunlopCorrespondent Location : Dunlop
Recipient : James Currie Recipient Location : Liverpool
Subject : Mrs Dunlop writes about a subscriber for Currie’s edition and about Burns’s sons.

My Dear Sir
      If I cannot claim merit as an usefull or entertaining correspondent at least I am intittled to forgiveness since I am seldom a troublesome one even to those whose notice I find most flattering and agreeable can there be a stronger proof of this than the time that has worn over since I last indulged myself in the pleasure of writing to Dr Currie notwithstanding his kindness had in the interval called forth my gratitude and his additional fame added wieght to every new instances of his goodness to one – that can make no return but by the strongest sense of its value – the thanks of an Old woman are a poor Equivalent for the friendship of the Man, the Phisician, the Author and the Country-man to whom they are addrs yet let me remind you it has long been the prerogative of my name to be distinguished by those of whom every Scots man ought to be proud those who had done most Honour to our nation by their Talents and Conduct and whose approbation must always be most Respectable. you see in what light I consider your’s and I trust it is reserved by fate for William Wallace to add a Star of brighter glory still both to your name and mine. Meanwhile to convince you I am not wholy forgoten at 69 I had yesterday a letter from Greenock from my Dr Grahame Moore you cannot conceive the run about Him just now do you not Envy his [MS torn] for himself he is above it all and need not such a feather in his Cap sinc[e] [w]ithout any such decoration he has always been from a Child the finest young Fellow I ever knew and at the very instans of all this Bustle seems more pleased to tell me he has just got a letter from Dr Currie “who is perfectly well and one of his dearest friends” and adds that he is very old fashioned his joys are more from memory than hope I dare say at that moment Poor Grahame thought more of Liverpool than of Dunlop no wonder when one thinks how long he has been absent - I must also tell you the poor little Burns is traveled fourty miles to see me here I cannot say how much this complement touched me I fear they have not met all I would wish from others or they could not have been so sensible to any little attentions it has ever fallen in my way to pay them they are charming Boys and wonderfuly advanced in their education they are Modest easie and Genteel in their manners Frank (who has in immitation of your son) taken the name of Wallace is very handsome and very clever Robt is very manly in his conversation and seems to have his Scholarship ready on his finger ends for use I happened to show him a howard halfpenny he read the motto said phylanthropist was a word taken from the Greek meaning the friend of Man and asked me if John Howard was greatly so or how he had showed it – this I thought was great combination for eleven years Old and the offspring of reflection not pedantry I did not see the youngest Child he was not very well being teething and his Mother was afraid for the journey heating him too much she brought them in a Cart and her own behaviour was decent and unasuming in short I am convinced you will have every ground of satisfaction in the humane care you have taken of them and the dignity your patronage must add to the Airshire Bard’s future fame — There is one more here Dr Robt Glasgow of Montgreenan whose name I must beg your setting down in the list he is the only one whose money I have seen he gave me a Guinea and half which I s[MS torn] ?on with 3 Guineas for two Coppies for myself and one for him fo[r] [su]ch I enclose a five pound note the odd triffle I will beg you to divide in Oranges Sugar Plumbs or what else can recommend the memory of and old and sincere friend to my little cousines if they can be made fancy any recollection of my Daughter Kath or me which I fear is hardly possible they should at this distance of time. I am sorry to say I did not see Miss Catherine McAdam while in this Country it was even a long while before I had the pleasure of reading your Book which she brought down private hands are slow conveyances and here I realy grudged delay especialy after it came but of this I will say nothing since my Praise could only make yours less and the rapidity with which your oppinions are disseminated and the avidity with which the Experiments are repeated at request of th[MS torn] patients is the best criterion of the undoubted accuracy [MS torn ] Value of your observations. ashamed to look back on th[MS torn] unreasonable encroachment on time so precious to the P[MS torn] I have hardly courage to lengthen this with respectful Compts and best wishes to Mrs Currie and if you’ll forgive the liberty to my ever Valued friend Miss E McAdam who I think has forgot me an offence I can never commit against her believe me ever My Dr Sir with the sincerest Esteem your Obliged and Obedient Sert and Cousine Fran: A: Dunlop


Notes :

William Wallace: William Wallace Currie, Jams Currie’s eldest son.

Dr 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.

Little Burns: Maxwell Burns (1796-1799), Burns's youngest son, born on the day of the poet's funeral.

Robert Burns(1786-1857): son of the poet and Jean Armour Burns.

John Howard (1726-1790): philanthropist and tireless prison reformer in whose honour commemorative halfpennies were struck at his death; these bear the inscription, ‘Go forth, remember the Debtors in Gaol’.

Dr Robt Glasgow of Montgreenan (d.1827): owner of the estate of Montgreenan in Kilwinning in Ayrshire.

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