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intrinsic merit, and the exertion of the author's friends, might give it a more universal circulation than any thing of the kind, which has been published within my memory. .
* The reader will perceive that this is the letter, which produced the determination of our bard to give up his scheme of going to the West-Indies, and to try the fate of a new edition of his poems in Edinburgh. А
copy of this letter was sent by Mr. Lawrie to Mr. G. Hamilton, and by him communicated to Burns, among whose papers it was found.
FROM'SIR JOHN WHITEFOORD.
Edinburgh, 4th December, 1786.
I RECEIVED your letter a few days ago. I do not pretend to much interest, but what I have I shall be ready to exert in procuring the attainment of any object you have in view. Your character as a man, (forgive my reversing your order) as well as a poet, entitle you, I think, to the assistance of every inhabitant of Ayrshire. I have been told you wished to be made a gauger; I submit it to your consideration, whether it would not be more desirable, if a sum could be raised by subscription for a second edition of your poems, to lay it out in the stocking of a small farm. I
am persuaded it would be a line of life, much more agreeable to your feelings, and in the end more satisfactory. When you have considered this, let me know, and whatever you determine upon, I will endeavour to promote as far as my abilities will permit. With compliments to my friend, the doctor,
Your friend and welwisher,
P. S. I shall take it as a favor when you at any time send me a new production.
No. No. XII.
220 December, 1786.
I LAST week received a letter from Dr. Blacklock, in which he expresses a desire of seeing you. I write this to
that no time in waiting upon him, should you not yet have scen him.
you may lose
I rejoice to hear, from all corners, of your rising fame, and I wish and expect it may tower still higher by the new publication. But, as a friend, I warn you to prepare to meet with your share of detraction and envy-a train, that always accompany great men.
For your comfort I am in great hopes that the number of your friends and admirers will increase, and that you have some chance of ministerial, or even * * * *
patronage. Now, my friend, such rapid success is very uncommon, and do you think yourself in no danger of suffering by applause and a full purse? Remember Solomon's advice, which he spoke from experience,
por fast hold of your rural simplicity and purity, like Telemachus, by Mentor's aid in Calypso's isle, or even in that of Cyprus. I hope you have also Minerva with you. I need not tell you how much a modest diffidence, and invincible temperance adorn the most shining talents, and elevate the mind, and exalt and refine the imagination even
of a poet.
I hope you will not imagine I speak from suspicion or evil report. I assure you I speak from love and good report, and good opinion, and a strong desire to see you shine as much in the sunshine as you have done in the shade ; and in the practice as you do in the theory of virtue. This is my prayer in return for your elegant composition in verse.
All here join in compliments and good wishes for your further prosperity.