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 : 25-06-1800
Correspondent : Joseph E. PerochonCorrespondent Location : London
Recipient : James Currie Recipient Location : Liverpool
Subject : Joseph Perochon critiques Currie's edition, discussing the editor's take on the Scottish peasantry, marriage and
Dear Sir,
I had yesterday at Mr. Cadell the New Edition of Robert Burns, & after reading the dedication, & Introduction, I beg leave to offer the humble, & unaffected Homage of my respectfull admiration. The motives which induced you to make the dedication to Capt. Graham Moore are as Honorable to him, as your modesty is delicate in the expression of it. But, Sir, I am so impressed with your unexampled Benevolence in having given so precious a Value to the Works of that surprising Genius, by the observations upon the Scotch Peasantry, that I implicitly obey the dictates of my mind in expressing the satisfaction & interest which I felt in the utility which must derive from it. It exhibits to the legislator Objects [MS torn] most essential consideration, & I shall most fervently wish that it may lead to a radical Reform in the Establishment for the Poor. The least reflection must convince every one of itís defects, but the most injurious Effects are, in my Opinion, the total want of regard for the Affinity of Connection, & the most ungratefull Return for the Charitys conferred. The Poor claim it as a Debt, & I am sorry to add it is administered often in a very ungenerous manner.
Your annotations & remark upon the adopted legality of Marriage is a subject which deserves to be generally understood, & the speeches of some Members of the Commons would have conveyed more effectual remedy in referring to the Matrimonial, & Divorce Law of Scotland, than by the Pathetic tenderness for the Woman, & Religious quotations from the Scripture so emphatically introduced -As to the dissertation upon the effects of Calvinism upon the mind of the Peasantry, I must own, Sir, that I prefer the severity of these precepts, to the Established Forms here. The abuse of the Calvinist Persuasion by the Hypocrisy of some Ministers may create Gloom & Phrenzy, but, I think that viewing the whole system, it is the safest guard against the Errors so evidently existing in the Anglican High Clergy_
Sir, I perceive that I begin troubling you with my reflections, when my meaning in writing is only to offer those thanks which I am convinced, will be presented by every reader of your very interesting Introduction. They are Philosophical, Political, & above all adapted to the very subject so often discussed, & so little usefully acted upon I hope the subscription will be very numerous, & I must beg leave to observe that it might have been necessary to have sent notice to those subscribers in London: It was by mere chance I saw the work advertized, & in my mentioning some of the adresses to Mr Cadellís People, I was answered they could not send to any Body, as it would take much time. I am apprehensive that by these means many subscriptions will not be taken up. My wife who partook of the most del[MS torn] Pleasure in our Lecture, begs to offer her Kindest Compliments to you & Mrs. Currie. How happy will Mrs Dunlop be!

With respect & esteem I am most sincerely
Dear Sir
Your most obedient Servant
Joseph E. Perochon

Notes :

Joseph Elias Perochon:
A French royalist who married Mrs. Dunlopís eldest daughter, Agnes Eleanor. They lived at Castlebank, outside Dumfries. His wife was a close friend of Burnsís widow.

Graham Moore (1764-1843):
Glasgow-born distinguished naval officer, later knighted; son of Dr. John Moore (1729-1802) and younger brother to Sir John Moore of Corunna (1761-1809). Currie dedicated the edition of 1800 to him.

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