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 : 08-08-1800
Correspondent : James CurrieCorrespondent Location : Liverpool
Recipient : Cadell & Davies Recipient Location : London
Subject : Currie remarks that the edition is selling quickly.

Dear Sirs
      I am glad to hear the Life of Burns is favourably mentioned, and that the Works go off well. If your sale in London bears any proportion to the sale here, the edition will soon be disposed of. We took 150 Copies for Subscribers, all of which are delivered and the greater part paid for – Besides these, the Booksellers have had nearly 200 Copies, and in all the shops together, there are not four Copies on hand. Several of the Booksellers wish for supplies, which I hope will be furnished… Of the Copies sent to Scotland, I have heard nothing. I mean as to the sale – Two or three very obliging communications I have had from literary friends – You have had much expence with this Edition, but I cannot help wishing you had gone a little farther in the way of Advertisement. However, of this you are the best judges.
      I have looked into the new Edition of Ramsay, and have been much pleased with the critical dissertation prefixed to the poems, evidently by a different hand from the biography, of which I shall not offer any opinion. I wish you had consulted me on this Edition of Ramsay. If I mistake not I could have given you a hint or two that might have been of use.
      Mr Laing’s History is a Superior work, tho’ deficient in the domestic history of the people. The free spirit of it, deserves great praise; & the stile with a few exceptions, is clear & correct & dignified. Does it sell?
      What you mention of a translation of Gesner I have reflected upon — My young & amiable friend is soon to be married to a very deserving young man, who having instructed her in German, is now about to give her lessons of a still more interesting nature — She will however undertake the translation of Gesner, but cannot engage as to time but will perform it with attention & skill. I have promised to look over the sheets, & perhaps to give a prefatory article…
      But, it will be necessary that an understanding should previously take place as to the compliment you could make. The work should be printed with elegance, in three ↑small↓ Octavos, & with appropriate embellishments —
      On these points I shall be glad to hear from you at your convenience.
           I am Dear Sirs
                Yr. faithful St
                     Ja Currie

Notes :

Edition of Ramsay: The Poems of Allan Ramsay. A New Edition, Corrected and Enlarged; With a Glossary. To Which are Prefixed, A Life Of The Author, From Authentic Documents; And Remarks On His Poems, From a Large View of Their Merits. In two Volumes. London: Printed by A. Strahan, Printers Street, For T. Cadell Jun. And W. Davies, Strand. 1800. The Dissertation was by Fraser Tytler.

Mr Laing’s History: Malcolm Laing (1762-1818) published his History of Scotland in 1800.

Gesner: Salomon Gesner (1730-1788) a much translated German poet in the second part of the eighteenth century.

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