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 : 21-11-1799
Correspondent : Lady Jane CarrCorrespondent Location : East Parade, Leeds
Recipient : James Currie Recipient Location : Liverpool
Subject : Jane Carr, cousin of the Earl of Glencairn, offers Currie her co-operation in his biography of Burns.


[MS torn] from My Cousin Lady Elizabeth Cunningham I learn You are Engaged the [benevolent] design of publishing a New Editions of Burns Works = for the benifite of his Family – She mention’d at the same time that from the principal part her Brother, James Earl of Glencairn, acted in introducing him to the World. You wish’d to be informed of some of the leading traits of his Character,- From the very- uncommon degree of Affection which subsisted betwixt them She feels unable to give you herself a detail, of what at the same time, She appears anxious You should be fully acquainted with, and has wrote me, how much she wish’d I should give you Every information in My [J_____] – Conscious, I am unable to do justice to a character highly interesting & Aimiable & which only required being known to be beloved, I can merely say I am ready to reply to Every enquiry you chuse to make respecting him which I can do faithfully having been intimately acquainted w.~ Lord Glencairn fr[MS torn, missing 3 inch line] [recollection till] the hour of his Death & having lived great part of that time under the same rooff w.~ him –
      I shall only add I sincerly hope your benevolent purpose will be attended with the most ample [Success] and that Burns’s Family may derive from his genius Now, those advantages which (tho in his lifetime it conferr’d honor on his Country) it did not ↑then↓ procure them by encreasing his domestic comforts – If the Book is to be published by Subscription Mr. Carr begs his name may be first on the list.

         I am Sir

             Your Obed. Servant

                Jane Carr -

Notes :

James Cunningham, 14th Earl of Glencairn (1749-91): Born at Finlayston, he succeeded his father in 1775, his elder brother having died earlier. He was one of Burns’s foremost patrons. Burns wrote to Mrs. Dunlop, 22 March 1787, ‘The noble Earl of Glencairn, to whom I owe more than to any man of earth, does me the honor of giving me his strictures: his hints, with respect to impropriety or indelicacy, I follow implicitly’ (Letters I, 100). His death at Falmouth in 1791 prompted Burns’s ‘Lament for James, Earl of Glencairn’.

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

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