Joined: 24 Mar 2010
Location: Born Glasgow/living in West Yorkshire
|Posted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 10:44 am Post subject: The Revolutionary Burns
|It has sometimes been asked why Robert Burns a radical and republican, joined the Royal Dumfries Volunteers.
The poet Hugh MacDiarmid explains it quite simply. It was so he could spy on them!
A few months before Burns had tried to send four carronades to the French Assembly. He'd bought them at a sale of the smuggler's ship, the Rosamond, he'd help seize in his role as an exciseman.
Burns also wrote approvingly of the "deserved fate" of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.
And an informer had reported Burns after he was said to have joined in with the singing of a French revolutionary song, "Ca Ira", in the Dumfries theatre. He faced being sacked or worse. In the event he kept his exciseman's job but he was told to be "silent and obedient" in future.
What Burns did instead was go underground and build a secret network to get his seditious poems and articles published anonymously in Edinburgh and London (Burton 2009).