1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Currie, James

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CURRIE, JAMES (1756–1805), Scottish physician and editor of Burns, son of the minister of Kirkpatrick-Fleming, in Dumfriesshire, was born there on the 31st of May 1756. Attracted by the stories of prosperity in America he went in 1771 to Virginia, where he spent five hard years, much of the time ill and always in unprofitable commercial business. The outbreak of war between the Colonies and England ended any further chance of success, and sailing for home in the spring of 1776 after many delays he reached England a year later. He then proceeded to study medicine at Edinburgh, and after taking his degree at Glasgow he settled at Liverpool in 1780, where three years later he became physician to the infirmary. He died at Sidmouth on the 31st of August 1805. Among other pamphlets Currie was the author of Medical Reports on the Effects of Water, Cold and Warm, as a Remedy in Fevers and Febrile Diseases (1797), which had some influence in promoting the use of cold water affusion, and contains the first systematic record in English of clinical observations with the thermometer. But he is best known for his edition (1800), long regarded as the standard, of Robert Burns, which he undertook in behalf of the family of the poet. It contained an introductory criticism and an essay on the character and condition of the Scottish peasantry.

See the Memoir by W. W. Currie, his son (1831).