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 : 16-09-1799
Correspondent : Lady Elizabeth CunninghamCorrespondent Location : Coates
Recipient : James Currie Recipient Location : Liverpool
Subject : Elizabeth Cunningham entreats Currie to return to her a letter she had written to Burns.

Sir –
      I hope You will forgive me for again intruding on You, [MS torn: with a second request, which] I neglected to add, to my former Letter – But I feel I cannot be Easy, Even with the certainty of Your fulfilling My Earnest desire, of never publishing the unlucky Letter of mine, which has occasioned Me so much anxiety, [?unless] I am absolutely certain, that Every Copy of it, which has been unfortunately printed, is destroyed – This is a Task, which I therefore intreat & desire, that You will have the [?Goodness] to collect all the [?impressions] which have been thrown off, of my Letter, & pack Them up in a Parcel, directed for me, at the [?Countess] of Glencairn’s, Coates, nr Edinburgh – In saying this, You must understand I mean Every Copy of this Letter, with whatever Else it may be connected, or whatever Else may be printed, on the same sheet – And I intreat that you will be good enough to Comply Emmediately, with this request – Lest, by any delay, some of the Copies May be thrown aside in the Printing Office, & may appear on some other occasion, to give Me almost Equal Pain – I beg your [MS torn: Excuse for all this] [MS torn] And remain Sir, Your Most Obedt Servt ,

           E. Cunningham


Notes :

Lady Elizabeth Cunningham (d.1804): younger sister of James, 14th Earl of Glencairn.

Countess of Glencairn: Elizabeth’s mother, also Elizabeth Cunningham (1725-1801) widow of William, 13th Earl of Glencairn.

back to search