3 pages, 4to, seal hole affecting three words, some light soiling." />
26 February 2004
BRUCE, James (1730-1794). Autograph letter signed ("James Bruce") to Joseph Banks, Kinnaird, 20 July 1790. 3 pages, 4to, seal hole affecting three words, some light soiling.
ON THE PUBLICATION OF HIS 'TRAVELS'
Bruce writes to Sir Joseph Banks, President of the Royal Society, about the mistakes in his newly published Travels, as Banks's copy on large-paper lacked a leaf. "General Elections, Horseraces & bad health have suspended for a time my constant wish to answer any demand of yours or to be any way serviceable to you. Instantly upon receipt of yours went to my list of imperfections as they are call'd & have retrieved your leaf that was deficient. It shall be carefully and clearly kept till it is delivered to you. It is for such deficiencies of the imperial copies alone I am answerable as having the deficiencies the sale copies are in the hands of the bookseller for his account. I observe what you say about my treatment from the Reviewers which is wonderful considering as you say the Great crime of reading the booksellers Mysteries & printing my own works." He humorously summarizes the trouble he has had with reviewers after deciding to publish the book himself: "There is nothing surprises me more than the weight given to reviews if you saw the Author in his coat & waistcoat & knew his face you would not suffer him to deliver his opinion in your presence, the moment he appears in his judicial figure stitched in blue paper all is reverence." He concedes that he will make use of helpful criticism when editing his second edition and passes on information for the Association for the Discovery of Africa about an explorer, Mr. Seton, whose story was related to him by "Michael my Greek servant," who begged Mr. Seton "not to attempt a project that he thought a mad one which would surely end in his death... Mr. Seton shall desist from his journey or never return."
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