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The Burns Encyclopedia
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Dods, Captain

An officer stationed at Dumfries. One evening, at a private gathering in July 1794, Burns gave as a toast: 'May our success in the present war be equal to the justice of our cause.' Captain Dods interpreted the toast as an innuendo against the Government and took offence.

Burns had already had his loyalty to the Government questioned by the Board of Excise. He had been exonerated, but thought this contretemps with Dods might result in fresh trouble with the Board. Accordingly he wrote next morning to Samuel Clark, junior, the clerk of the Peace for Dumfries-shire acknowledging that he had been 'drunk last night' ;and appealing for his assistance:

'... you know that the report of certain Political opinions being mine, has already once before brought me to the brink of destruction. I dread lest last night's business may be misrepresented in the same way. You, I beg, will take care to prevent it. I tax your wish for Mr Burns's welfare with the task of waiting as soon possible, on every gentleman who was present, and state this to him, and as you please, shew him this letter. What after all was the obnoxious toast? "May our success in the present war be equal to the justice of our cause" — a toast that the most outrageous frenzy of loyalty cannot object to. I request and beg that this morning you will wait on the parties present at the foolish dispute. The least delay may be of unlucky consequence to me. I shall only add, that I am truly sorry that a man who stood so high in my estimation as Mr Dods, should use me in the manner in which I conceive he has done.'

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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...