MS: Letter from Robert Burns to John Mitchel, dated Ellisland, 1790

Robert Burns, Author 
Object Number:


This letter was written to John Mitchel, Robert's immediate supervisor in the Excise.

Burns writes of his latest difficult journey across his parishes. He has just returned home to attend the appeal of Thomas Johnston, who had been accused by Burns of illegally brewing alcohol.

The letter also illustrates the physical hardship endured by excisemen such as Burns. In the previous four days, Robert has ridden over ten parishes, with his exhausted horse repeatedly falling to its knees during the last twenty miles.

Burns describes his situation best: ‘In short, Sir, I have broke my horse's wind, & almost broke my own neck, besides some injuries in a part that shall be nameless, owing to a hard-hearted stone of a saddle...’

Bookmark and Share
Back to top