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The Burns Encyclopedia
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Pattison, Alexander

A Paisley manufacturer whom Burns dubbed 'bookseller', because of his success in disposing of a considerable number of copies of the first Edinburgh Edition.

Burns visited Pattison on his return from Edinburgh in February 1788. In a letter to Clarinda from Kilmarnock, dated 22nd February 1788, Burns told her that Pattison — whom, incidentally, she did not know! — had been a 'zealous Anti-burgher; but, during his widowerhood. he has found their strictness incompatible with certain compromises he is often obliged to make with those Powers of darkness, the devil, the world, and the flesh: so he, good, merciful man, talked privately to me, of the absurdity of eternal torments, the liberality of sentiment in indulging the honest instincts of Nature, the mysteries of Concubinage, and etc. He has a son however, that at sixteen has repeatedly minted at certain priviledges, - only proper for sober, staid men, who can use the good things of this life without abusing them; but the father's paternal vigilance has hitherto hedged him in, amid a corrupt and evil world. His only daughter, who, 'if the beast be to the fore, and the branks bide hale', will have seven thousand pound, when her old father steps into the dark Factory-Office of Eternity with his well thrumm'd web of life; has put him again and again in a commendable fit of indignation by requesting a harpsichord —'O, these damn'd boarding-schools !' exclaims my prudent friend; 'she was a good spinner and sower, till I was advised by her foes and mine to give her a year of Edinr!"

'After two bottles more, my much-respected friend opened up to me a project, a legitimate child of Wisdom and Goodsense: 'twas no less than a long-thought-on and deeply-matur'd design to marry a girl, fully as elegant in her form as the famous Priestess whom Saul consulted in his last hours; and who had been 2nd maid of honor to his deceased wife. This, you may he sure, I highly applauded; so I hope for a pair of gloves by and by.'

Pattison emigrated to America, where, according to Ferguson, all trace of him is lost.

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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

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Scotweb Store

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