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 : 20-07-1800
Correspondent : Lady Elizabeth CunninghamCorrespondent Location : Coates
Recipient : James Currie Recipient Location : Liverpool
Subject : Elizabeth Cunningham praises Currie’s depiction of Burns and talks of the poet’s ‘hard fate’.

Sir –

[MS torn: I ought undoubtedly] before now, to have [expressed] my acknowledgements for the beautiful Present I lately received from You – But I felt, that something more was requisite to satisfy myself, than merely to thank You for it – and that it wou’d gratify me, to delay Even this, till I was in some degree sensible of its Value – I wish it were [possible] for me to give you an Idea, how much & how deeply I have been interested & affected, by this work – Tho’ such an Editor is far superior to my feeble Praise, Yet, as I was personally well-acquainted with the subject of Your Memoirs, it cannot be unpleasant to you to be [assured] that in my Opinion, you have faithfully delineated his [MS torn, 3-4 inches: his] Works speak it, in as forcible [Ms water damage: tho less] [___] Language than Yours - Poor Burns! His was a hard Fate – and I fear, that his extraordinary Abilities, the energy of his Mind, & the warmth of his Heart, instead of preserving him from it, rather precipitated him into it – He deserved such a Friend as You Sir, to do him Justice – And you have proved, that to speak of him as he really was, [Ms water damage: is doing him] the truest – You cannot fail to [MS water damage: reap the best reward from] Your undertaking, the [MS water damage: Approbation of your own mind- ] But I wish from my Heart, that [MS water damage: the [success] of this] noble undertaking, may indulge You [MS water damage: with the heart:felt] delight of reflecting, that you have preserved & supported the Family of such a Man, whose Children shall live I hope, to do credit to your Benevolence – once more, accept my warmest Thanks – And believe

              Me Sir, Your Most Obedt Servt

                 E. Cunningham

Notes :

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

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