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 : 13-01-1798
Correspondent : Cadell & DaviesCorrespondent Location : London
Recipient : James Currie Recipient Location : Liverpool
Subject : Cadell and Davies discuss distribution arrangements for Currie’s edition.
Dear Sir,
      Since we were favoured with your last Letter we have written to Mr Creech on the Subject and received his Answer which informs us that whatever little Difference subsisted between Burns and him had been made up long before the Bard’s Death, and that he shall do every Thing in his Power to serve the Family – Indeed, when we were, ourselves, in Scotland about fifteen Months ago, we found Creech very active in collecting Subscriptions – We cannot have the smallest Objection to Mr Balfour’s Name also appearing, but, the rather, recommend it. – Mr Creech mentions Dunlop & Wilson’s as a proper House at Glasgow, perhaps it might also be proper to add Mr Mundell’s Name there – at Aberdeen we recommend Mr Brown – Mr Edwards and Mr Nicol most readily agree to the Insertion of their Names with ours – so much for the Booksellers – we have seen Mr Laurie who has no Objection to making one in the List of Gentlemen and he gave us the Hopes of obtaining Permission from Mr Heron and one or two others, but, though this was ten Days ago, we have not since seen or heard from him – It appears to us that the Prospectus you have sketched, will do extremely well – we have in one Place drawn a Line under a Repetition –
      With Regard to your own Volume – We have at this Time 120 Copies remaining, which, notwithstanding the Demand has of late been less rapid than at first will of Course soon be gone after the Work has been noticed by the Reviewers – so that there can be no Doubt of the Expediency of preparing for a second Edition – And as to the Copyright, we shall of Course be extremely ready to treat for the Purchase of any Work of yours – In Order to enable you to mention a Price for it, we will merely observe that, generally speaking, an Edition of 1000 Copies of an Octavo Volume yields a Profit, when all sold, of about One Hundred Pounds –
We are, dear Sir,

      Your faithful & obedt Servts

           Cadell & Davies

London Jany 13th - 1798

Notes :

Mr Creech: William Creech (1745-1815), Edinburgh publisher and bookseller who published the ‘Edinburgh’ edition of Burns’s Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect (1787).

Mr Balfour: Either Elphingston or John Balfour sons in the Edinburgh bookselling firm of John Balfour & Co.

Dunlop & Wilson: Glasgow booksellers at the Tron, visited by Robert Burns.

Mr Brown: Aberdeen bookseller, not further identifiable.

Mr Edwards and Mr Nicol: James Edwards (1757-1816), bookseller at Pall mall, London; George Nicol (?1740-1825), London bookseller.

Mr Laurie: Not identified.

Mr Heron: Robert Heron (1764-1807), In Observations made in a Journey through the Western Counties of Scotland (Perth, 1793) II, 349-50, heron singled out ‘The Cotter’s Saturday Night,. ‘Hallowe’en’, and ‘Alloway Kirk’ [‘Tam o’ Shanter’] for praise. His Memoir of the Life of the Late Robert Burns (Edinburgh, 1797) had first appeared, signed ‘H’, in the Monthly Magazine (June 1797), iii, 213-16 and 552-62; it was reprinted in the Edinburgh Magazine (1797) and the Philadelphia Monthly Magazine (1798). Following Thomson’s obituary, Heron adopted a lofty, moralising stance, emphasising what he regarded as evidence of the poet’s decadence.

your own Volume: Reports on the Effects of water in Febrile Disease (1797).

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