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BROW, JULY 12.-Letter to James Burness, Montrose, requesting a loan of £10, to meet the claim of a haberdasher, who had employed a law-agent to recover from the poet the price of his Volunteer suit.
BROW, JULY 12.-Letter to George Thomson to the same effect, soliciting a loan of £5.-"I do not ask this gratuitously; for, upon returning health I hereby promise and engage to furnish you with Five Pounds worth of the neatest song genius you have seen. I tried my hand on Rothemurche this morning. The measure is so difficult, that it is impossible to infuse much genius into the lines; they are on the other side. Forgive, forgive me!"
Fairest maid on Devon Banks.
Thus, only nine days before he expired, his mind reverts to the cause of estrangement between Margaret Chalmers and him :
"Could'st thou to malice lend an ear? oh, did not Love exclaim, 'Forbear!""
In the head-note to this song, Scott Douglas followed other authorities by giving Charlotte Hamilton the credit of possessing his last minstrelthoughts; but "Peggy Chalmers" was clearly the dying bard's "Fairest maid on Devon Banks."
DUMFRIES, JULY 18.-"Do, for Heaven's sake, send Mrs. Armour here immediately. My wife is hourly expecting to be put to bed. Good God! what a situation for her to be in, poor girl, without a friend! I think and feel that my strength is so gone, that the disorder will prove fatal to me. Your son-in-law.-R. B."-Letter to James Armour, Mauchline.
THURSDAY, JULY 21. -"Early in the morning, he sank into delirium; the children were brought to see their parent for the last time in life. They stood round the bed, while calmly and gradually he sank into his last repose. His last expression was a muttered reference to the threatening letter he had received from the clothier's law-agent."Information of Robert Burns' Junior.
"And thus he passed, not softly, yet speedily, into that still country, where the hail-storms and fire-showers do not reach, and the heaviestladen wayfarer at length lays down his load. We question whether the world has since witnessed so utterly sad a scene.”—Carlyle.
SUMMARY OF THE POSTHUMOUS HISTORY
OF ROBERT BURNS.
(ABRIDGED FROM "CHRONICLE" No. I., 1892.)
On the evening of the 25th of July, the remains of Burns were removed from his house to the Town Hall, and the funeral took place on the succeeding day. A party of the Volunteers, selected to perform the military duty in the church-yard, stationed themselves in the front of the procession, with their arms reversed; the main body of the corps surrounded and supported the coffin, on which were placed the hat and sword of their friend and fellow-soldier; the numerous body of attendants ranged themselves in the rear; while the Fencible regiments of Infantry and Cavalry lined the streets from the Town Hall to the burial ground in the southern church-yard, a distance of more than half-a-mile. The whole procession moved forward to that sublime and affecting strain of music, The Dead March in Saul; and three volleys fired over his grave marked the return of Burns to his parent earth! "Robert Burns was born at Alloway, in the Parish of Ayr, January 25th, 1759. "Jean Armour, his wife, was born at Mauchline, February 27th, 1767.*
'September 3rd, 1786, were born to them twins-Robert, their eldest son, at a quarter past noon, and Jean, since dead at fourteen months old. -March 3rd, 1788, were born to them twins again, two daughters, who died within a few days after their birth.-August 18th, 1789, was born to them Francis Wallace; so named after Mrs. Dunlop, of Dunlop he was born a quarter before seven, forenoon.-April 9th, 1791, between three and four in the morning, was born to them William Nicol; so named after William Nicol, of the High School, Edinburgh.— November 21st, 1792, at a quarter past noon, was born to them Elizabeth Riddel; so named after Mrs. Robert Riddel, of Glenriddel.
"James Glencairn, born 12th August, 1794, named after the late Earl of Glencairn.
"Maxwell, born 26th July, 1796, the day of his father's funeral; so named after Dr. Maxwell, the physician who attended the Poet in his last illness."-Inserted by W. N. Burns, 9th April, 1867 (two last entries only; rest in Poet's hand).-Family Register in Poet's Bible.
The Edinburgh Advertiser for July 26th, contained the following announcement: "The public are respectfully informed, that contributions for the wife and family of the late Robert Burns, who are left in circumstances of extreme distress, will be received at the houses of Sir William Forbes & Co.; of Messrs Mansfield, Ramsay & Co.; and at the shops of the Edinburgh Booksellers."
In Dumfriesshire somewhat more than £100 had been contributed within the first three months. In Liverpool, Dr Currie gathered seventy guineas. By the end of the year, Edinburgh had sent in about eighty pounds. In London, there was greater success, and the entire sum realised was £700. Mr. James Shaw, subsequently Sir James Shaw, Baronet, (a native of Ayrshire, to whose memory a statue was erected at the Cross of Kilmarnock) and Chamberlain of London, besides contributing £100, took upon himself the whole trouble con
*According to the Mauchline Parish Register, Jean Armour was born on 25th February, 1765. The Mausoleum bears 1765. The figure "7" in the Family Register has been substituted for another, evidently erased.
nected with the subscription in the metropolis. He purchased £400 of the per cent. Reduced Stock in June, 1797, at £50g, and £100 of the same Stock in October, 1799, at £59; and this £500 of Stock was transferred in May 1800, to the Magistrates of Ayr, for the benefit of the Poet's family. With Sir James's £100, which was also invested in the same stock, £676 19s. 10d., 3 per cents. stood in the name of the Provost and Bailies of the town of Ayr, for the benefit of the widow and children of Robert Burns. The worthy Baronet on learning that Burns had left two daughters, natural children, who had not hitherto benefited by the liberality of the public to their father's family, was induced to renew a subscription for making a small provision for the destitute girls. From the newspapers of the time we learn that "the subscriptions have amounted to £310 11s., at the head of which is fifty guineas from William Fairlie, Esq., Calcutta; with this sum £523 have been purchased in the reduced 3 per cents., which added to that already purchased in the same fund, and together standing in the name of the Provost and Bailies of the town of Ayr, makes a total of £1200, of which £800 is to be appropriated to the use of Mrs. Burns and her three sons, and £400 to the use of the two girls; one moiety payable to each on marriage, or on attaining the age of twenty-one, and in the event of either of them dying under these periods, the moiety due to her to go to the survivor."
In 1800 appeared "The Works of Robert Burns, by Dr. James Currie; with an account of his Life and a Criticism of his Writings, to which are prefixed some observations on the Character and Condition of the Scottish Peasantry. In Four Volumes." Two thousand copies were printed, price 31s. 6d. This realised £1,400 for the benefit of the Poet's family.
In 1813 a public meeting was held at Dumfries, General Dunlop, son of Burns's friend and Patroness, being in the chair; a subscription was opened, and contributions flowing in rapidly from all quarters, a costly Mausoleum was at length erected on the most elevated site which the church-yard presented.
Thither the remains of the Poet, and those of his two boys, Maxwell, a posthumous child, who lived two years and nine months, and Francis Wallace, who died in 1803, aged fourteen, were solemnly transferred on the 12th September, 1815. The original tombstone of Burns was sunk under the pavement of the Mausoleum; and the grave which first received his remains is now occupied, according to her own dying request, by the eldest daughter of Mrs. Dunlop-Mrs. Perochon, who died in October, 1825.
A ponderous Latin inscription was composed with the view of informing visitors that "Hoc Mausoleum" was built in æternum honorem Roberti Burns, Poetarum Caledoniæ ***." By the rarest good fortune it was never put up, although some of the Poet's biographers have quoted the whole inscription as "noted down from the original," and Allan Cunningham laments that "the merits of him who wrote Tam o' Shanter, and the Cottar's Saturday Night, are concealed in Latin!"
The Cenotaph which rears its graceful proportions CENOTAPH ON on the "Banks and Braes o' Bonnie Doon,' owes its BANKS OF DOON. creation to Alexander Boswell of Auchinleck, after1823. wards Baronet, and is a grand trophy of his love and indefatigable zeal to do honour to the memory of Burns. To the invitations issued for the preliminary meeting in the County town, the only response was the Rev. Hamilton Paul. These two constituted the assembly, Mr Boswell took the chair, and his solitary auditor was appointed secretary. A minute was drawn up, signed
officially by the two enthusiasts, and advertised in all the local and leading newspapers. Publicity at once wafted the enterprise into popular favour, committees were appointed, and subscriptions flowed in till the fund reached an aggregate of £3,300.
The foundation stone of the monument was laid on the 25th January, 1820, by Alexander Boswell of Auchinleck, supported by all the Masonic Lodges in the province, and surrounded by a vast concourse of spectators. An inscription on the tripod of the monument, dated 4th July, 1823, completes its history.
The proposal to erect a National Monument in Edinburgh to the memory of Burns, originated in Bombay, with Mr. John Forbes Mitchell, who commenced a subscription in the year 1812. A numerous meeting of noblemen and gentlemen, admirers of the genius of Burns, was held within the Free Masons' Tavern, London, on Saturday, 24th April, 1819, under the patronage of His Royal Highness The Prince Regent. His Grace the Duke of Athol, in the absence of His Royal Highness the Duke of Sussex, in the chair.
Subscriptions amounting to £1,500 were announced at a meeting of the committee in London, on the 26th May, 1821. In July, 1824, an agreement was entered into with John Flaxman, P.R.A.S., the first British Sculptor of his day, for a White Marble Statue, life-size, for which they were to pay fourteen hundred pounds. He did not live to complete his work, but left it unfinished at his death, on December 7th, 1826. It was in course of time completed by his brother-in-law and pupil, Mr. Denman. When the statue was ready, the committee finding a surplus of about £1,300 in hand, resolved to erect a monumental structure for its reception, the foundation stone of which was laid in 1831. The whole amount of the Statue and Temple is estimated to have been over £3,300. The Statue was removed to the National Gallery, and afterwards to the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Queen Street, Edinburgh, where its beauty, as a work of art, commands the admiration of visitors.
Mrs. Burns died on March 26th, 1834. At the BONNIE JEAN'S opening of the Mausoleum for the interment of Mrs. Burns, it was resolved by some citizens of Dumfries, with the concurrence of the nearest relatives of the widow, to raise the cranium of the Poet from the grave, and have a cast moulded from it, with the view of gratifying the interest likely to be felt by students of phrenology respecting its peculiar development. This purpose was carried into effect during the night between the 31st March and the 1st April, and a description of the cranium, drawn up at the time by Mr. A. Blacklock, Surgeon, one of the individuals present.
Lieut-Col. James Glencairn Burns, died 18th Nov., 1865
The sons rest in the Mausoleum, Dumfries; the daughters in Mauchline Church-yard.
DOON FESTIVAL. 1844.
On the anniversary of the Poet's birth, January 25th, 1842, a monument, which had cost about £100, raised by subscription, was consecrated to the memory of Highland Mary on the spot of her sepulture in the West Kirk-yard of Greenock.
On Tuesday, 6th August, 1844, a Festival was held in honour of the sons of Burns, on the banks of the Doon. A banquet was given at which the "princely Eglinton," the first man of rank who had spoken nobly of the Poet since his death, presided. He was supported on the right by Robert Burns, late of the Stamps and Taxes Office, Somerset House, London, eldest son of the Poet; Major Burns, youngest son of the Poet; Miss Begg, niece of the Poet; Henry Glassford Bell, Sheriff-Substitute of Lanarkshire; Mr. Robert Burns Begg, Teacher, Kinross, nephew of the Poet, and father of the present Sheriff-Clerk of Kinrosshire; Miss Begg, the youngest niece of the Poet; Mr. and Mrs. Thomson of Dumfries (Jessie Lewars of the Bard): on the left by Colonel Burns, second son of the Poet; Mrs. Begg, sister of the Poet, &c., &c. The Croupier, Professor Wilson of Edinburgh, was supported on the right by Archibald Alison, Esq., Sheriff of Lanarkshire, author of the " History of Europe"; Colonel Mure, of Caldwell, author of "Travels in Greece "; and others.
"To Scotsmen and Scotswomen everywhere-and to their posterity in the generations to come-this Centenary Celebration will, if universal, prove not only a source of the greatest delight, but a lasting bond of union between the inhabitants of Caledonia and those of every country and clime who sincerely adopt as their creed-'A MAN'S A MAN FOR A' THAT!""-Centenary Circular issued by C. Rae-Brown.
In Edinburgh, some ten Centenary celebrations took place the principal gathering being that which assembled in the Music Hall, under the genial auspices of Lord Admillan, who, most effectively and impressively, dealt with the toast of the evening. James Ballantyne, author of "Ilka blade o' grass," was present.
At the platform tables, in addition to the Members and Honorary Secretary of the Universal Centenary Celebration Committee, and many eminent citizens of Saint Mungo, there were seated, Colonel James Glencairn Burns; Mr Robert Burns Begg, and Mr Burns Begg, Jr.; Samuel Lover; Richard Monckton Milnes, (Lord Houghton); Sir David Brewster; Judge Haliburton; Blanchard Jerrold; Peter Cunningham, (son of Allan Cunningham); Rev. Dr. Norman Macleod; Dr. Charles Rogers; Henry Glassford Bell, etc., etc. Sir Archibald Alison, Bart., was Chairman.
Some twenty more meetings were held in Glasgow on this occasion, all largely attended. A number of meetings were held in Ayr, and in Kilmarnock and Dumfries-Colonel William Nicol Burns, the Poet's eldest son, being the "honoured guest" in the latter town.
To "Ballantine's Memorial Records of the Centenary," published by Messrs Fullarton, we must refer our readers for the full details of the Celebrations.
GLASGOW MEMORIAL. 1877.
The movement for the erection of a Burns Statute in Glasgow was suggested by an article in the Evening Citizen, of the 6th June, 1872. A committee was formed within a month, when an appeal was drawn up, and widely advertised; it was so successful that within twelve months, the fund amounted to £1,680. The cost of the finished memorial was fixed at £2,000, and Mr. George Edwin Ewing was com