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The Burns Encyclopedia
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Burns, Lieut. Colonel James Glencairn (1794-1865)

Third surviving son of the poet.

Like his elder brothers he was educated at Dumfries Grammar School, and later at Christ's Hospital, London. He went out to India as a cadet in the East India Company's Service and rose to the rank of Major.

After a visit home, he returned to India in 1833, where he was appointed Judge and Collector at Cahar. On his retiral in 1839, he lived in London, but later, when a widower, stayed with his brother William Nicol, also a widower, at Cheltenham.

He married his first wife, Sarah Robinson, in 1818. She died three years later just after the birth of their daughter, Sarah, who became the wife of Dr B W Hutchinson. Another daughter and son had died in infancy.

In 1828, James Glencairn married his second wife, Mary Becket, who died in 1844. They had one daughter, Ann. He was made Lieut.-Colonel in 1855.

James Glencairn is buried in the Mausoleum.

Sarah Hutchinson, daughter of James Glencairn's first wife, writing from Cheltenham on 27th October 1893, to D M'Naught (the letters are reprinted in the Burns Chronicle for 1894) said: 'I was only 12 years old at my grandmother's death (ie Jean Armour's) consequently I have little recollection of incidents or anecdotes about my grandfather... My father often said it was disgraceful the statements made out by people who lived in the Poet's time, continuing, as they did, so much falsehood and exaggeration of the events of his life. Dr Currie had all the letters and papers sent to him by my grandfather when he wrote the Poet's life, but he never returned them to her, and her sons were too young then to ask for them; so other people became possessed of lettrs and poems of the Poet which ought to have been given back to the family. The copyright of Currie's Life of Burns ought to have been conferred upon his widow, but it was not' — an interesting comment on the methods employed by Dr Currie.

Mrs Hutchinson possessed David Allan's water-colour of 'The Cotter's Saturday Night', which she said the artist gave to Burns, as well as her grandfather's desk and the family Bible. Scott Douglas also asserts that the picture was a water-colour; Thomson refers to 'Allan's pencil', and Allan's latest biographer, T Grouther Gordon, asserts that there is an oil-painting of this scene in the Blunt Collection. Presumably, however, Mrs Hutchinson knew what she had in the house.

Mrs Hutchinson's son, Robert Burns Hutchinson, was the only direct make descendant of the poet's. He lived in America, where he was a clerk in a shipping office.`

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Robert Burns Store

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Complete Burns Songs

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