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 : 17-01-1805
Correspondent : James CurrieCorrespondent Location : Liverpool
Recipient : Cadell & Davies Recipient Location : London
Subject : Currie complains about the third and fourth editions of Burns being inaccurately done.
Dear Sirs I send you a copy of the first volume of my Reports, corrected for the press, that you may immediately begin to print it, and in a little time the second volume shall follow. I wish the volumes to be now separate & as far as may be, individually complete, each with its own Index, and the paging & number of chapters not to run thro’ both as at present, but each to have a series of its own .— The few Corrections I have made in this vol. I hope will be easily understood, & I hope you will let the corrector of the press be a man of understanding & of accuracy. I am sorry to say that your last edition of Burns as well indeed as the third (but in a still greater degree ^the last) is woefully incorrect – may I hope that you will give my volumes a decent paper & type – tho’ on a subject of science I really think this will contribute to a sale more than in proportion to the expence. I hope the Corrector of the press will pay especial attention to the Latin quotations, which McCreery contrived to mispel notwithstanding all my care. I wish him to run over the vol. ^immediately & if he finds any of my corrections unintelligible to write to me directly that they may be explained before the press overtakes them — In my ms the words that are merely directions and not to be printed are in general inclosed in a parenthesis, (thus). If I do not mistake, the sale will go on and increase. The events at Gibraltar are likely to have this effect – Direct for me for the present No5 Mall Bristol I am Dear Sirs Yr. faithful St. Ja Currie P.S. I met Dr Chisholm at Bath, and finding that he had not recd. the Copy of the Reports that was ordered for him, I directed Mr Hazard to send him one – so that you may dispose of the Copy ordered for him. I was much surprised to find many people at Bath who thought the work out of print – I am a good deal better, but not well yet. I lodge here at present, and drive into Bath twice a week.

Notes :

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

McCreery: John McCreery (1768-1832), a Liverpool Printer.

events at Gibraltar: at this time the Royal Navy was carefully impounding the cargoes of Spanish and other vessels, though how this relates to increased sales of his work is not immediately clear.

Dr Chisolm at Bath: Chisholm was a medical colleague of Currie’s, likewise interested in the effects of water and climate etc on the human body. He conducted experiments on body temperature in Demerara in South America. From 1805 Currie was increasingly spending time in the English spa town as his health declined.

Mr Hazard: not identified.

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