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 : 16-12-1799
Correspondent : William ThomsonCorrespondent Location : Dumfries
Recipient : James Currie Recipient Location : Liverpool
Subject : Thomson informs Currie that the trustees would like the distribution of the edition managed by ‘principal towns’.

Dear Sir,
      Mr Syme had lately a letter from Mr Reid Bookseller in Glasgow mentioning that you had wrote him relative to the disposal of the Copies of Burns’ Work, in that quarter, which belong to the family proposing an Advertisement in the Glasgow news-papers intimating the speedy publication & delivery of the Work.
      The Trustees see the necessity of engaging a person at each of the principal towns whence the Subscriptions have come and are glad to find you have taken the trouble of procuring one so well fitted (as they believe Mr Reid is) for the large town of Glasgow. Mr. Cunningham it is expected will take the charge of the Edinb. District and I have agreed to undertake that of Dum-fries. Previous however to any proceedings it seems absolutely necessary that the transaction with Messrs. Cadell & Davies which you had the trouble of conducting should be completed in the legal forms of executing the proper deed. Mr Roscoe formerly made out a draft of such an agreement which I took the liberty to adapt more fully to the Circumstances in a few additions, and so far back as 1st March last transmitted a fair Copy to Mess. C. & D. requesting that they would get it extended upon the proper Stamp & ex[?…] it upon their part which would be done here on its being returned, or in case any thing required explanation or amendment, that they would communicate their ideas thereupon.
      It is probable they may have wrote to you on the subject, but if not it would be proper, the trustees think, that they should be [?] applied to, that every thing may be completed so as no possible blame can fall upon the Trustees hereafter, and they therefore are anxious that you should suggest the matter to the Gentlemen concerned.
           I am Dear Sir,
                Your mo: ob: Sr.

                Will Thomson

Mr Syme put your letter to him into my hand yesterday after the post had gone, but an im-pression of Burns’ seal is now sent addressed to Mr McCreary as you desire – Mr. Syme desires me [ms torn] to say that this is a busy time with him but you will have a full letter from him before Christmas –
      I have been just enquiring for Miss Currie & I am glad to understand that she is much easier to day –
                W.T.


Notes :

William Thomson: lawyer at Dumfries

Syme John Syme (1755-1831): of Ryedale, Distributor of Stamps in Dumfries, a close friend of the poet.

Reid: William Reid (1764-1831), poet and bookseller in Glasgow, from 1790 in partnership with James Brash in their business of ‘Brash & Reid’.

Cunningham: import note

Roscoe: import note

McCreary: import note

Miss Currie: Christian Currie (sister of James Currie) who had recently been suffering from consumption.

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