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The Burns Encyclopedia
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Candlish, James (1759 — 1806)

Born McCandlish, he was a boyhood neighbour and schoolmate of Burns. He studied medicine at Glasgow University, and in 1794, married Jean Smith (the sister of Burns's friend linen-draper James Smith) one of the Mauchline Belles. They had four children. About 1788, he settled in Edinburgh as a lecturer in medicine. In 1787, Burns sought his help in getting a song they had sung together at school, 'Pompey's Ghost' for the Museum. Candlish, in due course, did as he was asked, saying: 'Being myself unskilled in music as a science, I made an attempt to get the song you mentioned set by some other hand; but, as I could not accomplish this, I must send you the words without the music.'

In a letter to Peter Hill, dated March 1791, from Ellisland, Burns refers to Candlish as: 'the earliest friend except my only brother that I have on earth, and one of the worthiest fellows that ever any man called by the name of Friend.'

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Robert Burns Store

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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
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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...