MS: Letter from Robert Burns to an unknown recipient, dated Edinburgh 1788.

Robert Burns, Author 
Object Number:


This somewhat mysterious letter was sent to an unknown recipient by Robert Burns at an unknown date. However, it has been conjectured that the letter was sent to John Ballantine sometime after 21 January 1788.

In it, Burns writes of his recent injury caused by falling from a coach in Edinburgh and hurting his leg. He can barely walk even with the help of crutches and refers to himself as 'a Poet on stilts.'

Robert's brother Gilbert is facing financial difficulties and has asked Robert for assistance. Because of his injury, however, Burns is unable to visit his supporters to raise the funds. He instead asks the recipient of this letter if he can lend up to 'half a dozen pounds or more' to his brother in the meantime.

John Ballantine was an Ayr merchant and banker who became the Provost of Ayr in 1787. Ballantine was supportive of Burns's literary efforts and in turn Burns kept up a correspondence with him, detailing his experiences in Edinburgh.

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