THE following interesting letter to the Provost, Bailies and Town Council of Dumfries, shows the sound appreciation Burns had of a good education for his children:-
“Gentlemen, – The literary taste and liberal sprit of your schools, as to make it a very great object for a parent to have his children educated in them. Still, to me, a stranger, to give my young ones that education I wish at the High School, fees which a stranger pays will bear hard upon me. Some years ago your good town did me the honour of making me an honourary burgess. Will you allow me to request that this mark of distinction may extend so far as to put me on the footing of a real freeman of the town in the schools? If you are so very kind as to grant my request, it will certainly be a constant incentive to me to strain every nerve where I can officially serve; and will, if possible, increase that grateful respect with which I have the honour to be, gentlemen, &c., – Robert Burns.
“That I may not appear altogether unworthy of the favour, allow me to state to you some little services I have lately done for a branch of your revenue, the two pennies exigible for foreign ale vended within your limits. In this rather neglected article of your income, I am ready to show that, within these last few weeks, my exertions have secured for you of those duties nearly the sum of ten pounds, and in this, too, I am the only one of the Excise (except Mr. Mitchell, whom you pay for this trouble) who took the least concern in the business.”