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The Burns Encyclopedia
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Richmond, John (1765-1846)

Born at Sorn, he became a clerk in Gavin Hamilton's office and was in this job when Burns met him. Later, Richmond was clerk to an Edinburgh writer. Richmond introduced Burns to James Smith, and the three of them became close friends. They formed the notorious 'Court of Equity' of Burns's poem (see Court of Equity) and were also associated in the revelry which led to the writing of 'The Jolly Beggars'. In January 1785 Richmond had to do penance for his fornication with Jenny Surgeoner, who bore him a daughter. He married her six years later.

To Richmond, Burns wrote on 9th July 1786, telling him that he had: 'waited on Armour since her return home, not by — from any the least view of reconciliation, but merely to ask for her health.... The Mother forbade me the house....'

To Richmond, also, Burns told his plans to catch a ship for Jamaica. On 1st September 1786, he trounced Richmond for 'acting very wrong' in the matter of Jenny Surgeoner. See Surgeoner, Jenny.

On 27th September he told Richmond: 'I am going perhaps to try a second edition of my book. If I do, it will detain me a little longer in the country; if not, I shall be gone as soon as harvest is over.'

It was Richmond who heard of Burns 'running a drunken race on the side of Loch Lomond with a wild Highlandman' on horseback, in a letter of 7th July 1787, with the result that his 'Bardship' got 'a skinful of bruises and wounds'.

Asking Richmond in a letter, written from Edinburgh on 25th October 1787, how his daughter by Jenny Surgeoner was, Burns made his curiously casual reference to the death of the girl twin of Jean's second set: 'By the way, I hear I am a girl out of pocket... which has provoked me and vexed me a good deal.'

When Burns first arrived in Edinburgh, he went to the flat of Mrs Carfrae, in Baxter's Close, Lawnmarket, to share Richmond's room and bed.

After Burns's death, Richmond supplied Grierson with information about the poet and his associates, including Mary Campbell. See Campbell, 'Highland' Mary.

Buy the Burns Encyclopedia online
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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

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