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The Burns Encyclopedia
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Adam, Dr Alexander (1741 - 1809)

Youngest son of a farmer, he has headmaster of George Watson's Hospital from 1760 to 1768. He then became Rector of the High School of Edinburgh, and held this position for the rest of his life. He died while teaching his class. He had a reputation as a fine teacher, and wrote philological books. Sir Walter Scott said: 'It was from this respectable man that I first learned the value of the knowledge I had hitherto considered only as a burdensome task.' Lord Brougham maintained that Adam was: ' one of the very best teachers he ever heard of, and by far the best he ever knew.' And Lord Cockburn said of Adam: 'He was born to teach Latin, some Greek, and all virtue.'

Burns, writing to Cruikshank, classical master of the High School, from Ellisland in December 1788, took a different view of Adam. The two masters had had a quarrel; Cruikshank had given his side of the affair and Burns reported: 'It game me a very heavy heart to read such accounts of the consequence of your quarrel with that puritanic, rotten-hearted, hell-commissioned scoundrel, Adam. If, notwithstanding your unprecedented industry in public, and your irreproachable conduct in private life, he still has you so much in his power, what ruin may he not bring on some others I may name?'

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Robert Burns Store

NEW!! robert burns store View our exclusive range of distinctive Robert Burns related products. Register with our Shopping Club for further offers and unique member offers.Click here...


Complete Burns Songs

linn recordings of burns Linn Records have completed their landmark recording of all 368 Burns songs, available as individual CDs or a 12 volume presentation box set. We have full details. Click here...


Burns Music & Recordings
Search our huge CD and music store for any Burns-related phrase!
Hint: Type "lang syne" or "peck maut" etc. into the Search box there for all artists, titles, descriptions or track listings with the words entered.
Burns Chess Sets

Burns Chess SetsUnique collectors' pieces based on Burns' life and works. (The ideal gift for your Burns Supper guests!) Click here...

Scotweb Store

ScotwebThe finest Scottish shopping site in the world, with the world's largest choice of kilts and tartans, exclusive jewelry, Highland Dress, Bagpipes and piping supplies, cashmere, and much more. Buying from these sites helps pay for the upkeep of Burns Country! Click here...