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The Burns Encyclopedia
Home | Introduction | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

Sibbald, James (1745-1803)

Born in Roxburghshire, the son of a farmer, he began life as a farm labourer. Then he went to Edinburgh where he was employed in the shop of Charles Elliot, bookseller. Later, Sibbald set up in business on his own account in 1783, he founded the Edinburgh Magazine, and in 1792, became editor of the Edinburgh Herald. He wrote numerous articles on subjects of antiquarian interest, and in 1802 published a literary history, Chronicle of the Poetry of Scotland.

The October 1786 number of the Edinburgh Magazine, published on 3rd November, carried the first review of the Kilmarnock Edition to be published. It forestalled Henry Mackenzie's review in The Lounger by five weeks. Sibbald was thirled to the polite standards of his day. Even so, he realised that Burns was 'a striking example of native genius bursting through the obscurity of poverty and the obstructions of a laborious life'. He went on: 'To those who admire the creations of untutored fancy, and are blind to many faults for the sake of numberless beauties, his poems will yield singular gratification. His observations on human character are acute and sagacious, and his descriptions are lively and just. Of rustic pleasantry he has a rich fund, and some of his softer scenes are touched with inimitable delicacy...' Extracts from the poems appeared in subsequent issues.

Burns, delighted, wrote to Sibbald the following January: 'The warmth with which you have befriended an obscure man, and young Author, in your three last Magazines - I can only say, Sir, I feel the weight of the obligation, and wish I could express my sense of it.'

When Patrick Miller of Dalswinton left his anonymous ten guineas for Burns on the poet's arrival in Edinburgh, he deposited it, we learn from a letter to Ballantine Of 13th December 1786, 'in Mr Sibbald's hand'.

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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
Search our huge CD and music store for any Burns-related phrase!
Hint: Type "lang syne" or "peck maut" etc. into the Search box there for all artists, titles, descriptions or track listings with the words entered.
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...