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The Burns Encyclopedia
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Maxwell, Dr William (1760 — 1834)

Second son of James Maxwell of Kirkconnell, he was educated at the Jesuit College at Dinant in France, and became a doctor. While on the Continent, he developed Republican opinions, becoming a member of the National Guard. In this capacity, he was present at the execution of Louis XVI, dipping his handkerchif in that unfortunate monarch's blood. In 1794, he returned to Scotland and settled in Dumfries, where he met Burns. Because of his Jacobin leanings, he was viewed with some suspicion by the authorities but his professional skill overcame these difficulties, and he eventually became a much respected practitioner. Maxwell attended Burns during his last illness, diagnosing the stabbing agonies of endocarditis as 'flying gout' and prescribing sea-bathing in country quarters and horseriding; 'cures' which probably hastened Burns's end. Shortly before his death, the poet presented Maxwell with his pair of Excise pistols, which are now in the Museum of the Scottish Society of Antiquaries. Jean Armour Burns called the son born to her on the day of her husband's funeral Maxwell, after the doctor, who attended her.

Together with Cunningham and Syme, Maxwell became one of the Trustees who collected money for a fund to ensuree that Burns's widow and children did not want.

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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
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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...