MS: Letter from Robert Burns to Robert Graham

Robert Burns, Author 
Object Number:


In this two page letter, Burns writes to Robert Graham to ask for his patronage in his application to become an exciseman. Graham, whom Burns had met the year before at Blair Atholl, had recently been appointed an Excise Commissioner and the support of a man of influence was needed to be successful.

Burns opens the first page by reminding Robert Graham that they last met at Blair Atholl and then uses a quote from Shakespeare to position his request for Graham's patronage. He explains that he has progressed to the first step with his application to the Commissioners and that if he is successful he will need a friend to advise as well as support him.

On this second page Burns repeats his request for Robert Graham's patronage until he reaches the point of being appointed to a Division in the Excise. This fairly advanced position is the one which Burns feels he must reach if he is to achieve the independence he has so far been unable to attain.

Burns reflects in this letter on his inability to have become a successful farmer and that his decision to look for another career is also explained by the miserable existence of his own father's experience where, had he not died when he did, might have ended in jail.

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