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The Burns Encyclopedia
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Richardson, Gabriel (1759-1820)

A popular citizen of Dumfries, born at Kellobank, who became Provost of the town in 1801. He was a brewer, whose brewery Burns surveyed. Richardson complained that he had an unfair amount of tax to pay on his ale by comparison with outside brewers, and Burns took up the matter in a letter to David Staig, the Provost of Dumfries, in January 1793. The position was that there was a 'twa pennies' tax on ale brewed within Dumfries, but no tax on ale brewed in Bridgend and Annan: 'Your brewers here, the Richardsons, one of whom, Gabriel, I survey, pay annually in "twa pennies" about thirty pounds; and they complain, with great justice, of the unfair balance against them in their competition with the Bridgend, Annan and English traders. As they are respectable characters, both as Citizens and men of business, I am sure they will meet with every encouragement from the Magistracy of Dumfries.'

The tax was adjusted evenly, to the satisfaction of the Richardsons, and to the advantage of the town's revenue. Burns wrote a mock-epitaph on Richardson:

"'Here brewer Gabriel's fire's extinct,
And empty all his barrels:
He's blest - if as he brew'd, he drink —
In upright, virtuous morals.'

It was inscribed on a glass goblet, owned by the Richardson family, from which Cunningham printed it.

Sir John Richardson, the Arctic explorer, was the son of Gabriel Richardson.

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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...