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Poem/Song by Robert Burns; 'The Five Carlins' (page 3 of 6)

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Poem / song by Robert Burns: 'The Five Carlins' (page 3 of 6)

Introduction:
In this poem Burns personifies the five Dumfriesshire Boroughs as five women each giving their opinion as to whom should be their Parliamentary representative at Westminster, The incumbent Sir James Johnston or the challenger Captain Patrick Miller, son of Burns' landlord.
Image Rights Holder:
National Trust for Scotland
Ref:
BMT331.07C
Project:
618:The Burns Manuscripts at Alloway
What:
Poem/Song by Robert Burns; 'The Five Carlins' (page 3 of 6)
Subject:
In the election of 1789, the candidates for the 5 boroughs (Dumfries, Lochmaben, Annan, Kirkudbright, Sanquhar) were Sir James Johnston of Westerhall (Tory) and Patrick Miller of Dalswinton (Whig). Though Whig by nature, Burns disliked young Miller, and heartily detested the Duke of Queensborough his patron. Gradually he swung to the Tory side during the election campaign, but the seat was won by Miller.
Who:
Robert Burns (1759-1796) (author)
Captain Patrick Miller (1769-1845) (MP)
Sir James Johnston (1726-1794) (parliamentary candidate)
When:
1789 (date written)
Where:
The Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, South Ayrshire
Background:
In the election of 1789, the candidates for the 5 boroughs (Dumfries, Lochmaben, Annan, Kirkudbright, Sanquhar) were Sir James Johnston of Westerhall (Tory) and Patrick Miller of Dalswinton (Whig). Though Whig by nature, Burns disliked young Miller, and heartily detested the Duke of Queensborough his patron. Gradually he swung to the Tory side during the election campaign, but the seat was won by Miller.
Description:
The third page expands on the pretensions and promises of Sir James. He would be powerful, outspoken and gregarious. Burns then turns to Patrick Miller who spoke modestly. He would not promise wealth or power nor make great speeches, but he had an honest and loyal disposition. How would they choose? Would they follow the dictates of their superiors or follow their consciences.