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 : 16-03-1803
Correspondent : James CurrieCorrespondent Location : Liverpool
Recipient : Cadell & Davies Recipient Location : London
Subject : Currie talks about expanding his life of Burns and complains of other publishers printing material he has suppressed.

Messrs Cadell & Davies

Dear Sirs

      I am ashamed to have so long delayed replying to your letter, but the subject of the 4th Edition required some consideration wh. the extreme pressure on my time from the universal prevalence of the Influenza has prevented me from giving it —
      My wish is, at some future day to go again over the manuscripts of Burns in my hands and to extract from them such parts hitherto unpublished as the circumstances of the times & the recent death of the Bard rendered it proper to withhold in the original publication, and which yet may deserve to see the light. — I have at the present moment no time for this undertaking, and besides it is too early —
      In two years hence or even four or five it may be done to more advantage, & we will then enlarge perhaps the life in some particular points – You shall then also, if you please Gentlemen, improve your paper & your typography. But in the next edition I wish for no alterations and only one addition in the form of an <> <> advertisement from myself — This I wish to include two objects – the first, to give the public some account of the success of the attempt we have made to serve the family of Burns – the second, to express in suitable terms the indignation which I feel at the conduct of <> some of the Booksellers in Scotland in the surreptitious publication of poems wh. we had rejected, & also in the publication of the letters to Clarinda of which you perhaps have seen a copy.
      But even for this I have not leisure at present – It may be appended to the last sheet of yr. first or last volume, & I wish to know how long time you can give me to get it ready –
      The Medical Reports go on slowly for the reasons above stated —
      I am Dr Sirs yr. faithful St

           Ja Currie –

P.S. McCreery M.P. Park-[?place] will send a packet for me to your care wh. please do forward with your next package for the Athenaeum.

You may send me what Mr Creech has collected of Ms of Burns to add to my Collection, tho’it is probable I have already copies.
Nothing has been printed yet of wh. I have not Copies, except the letter to that late madam Clarinda.

Notes :

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

Sir John Flayers “Psychrolusia”: a treatise published c.1722 (by which time it undergone a fifth edition).

back to search