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III. That the MS. was filched from his wife on false pretences after his decease, and never returned.
IV. That it was printed, probably in Dumfries, circa 1800, and a limited number put in circulation.
V. Presuming that it was a faithful reproduction of the MS., it contains 85 compositions in verse. Burns's name appears nowhere in the book, the title of which is:—"The Merry Muses of Caledonia—A Collection of Favourite Scots Songs (ancient and modem)—Selected for the use of the Crochallan Fencibles."
VI. Of these 85 compositions, only 40 appeared in any subsequent reprint, nor did any subsequent reprint pretend to be in any way connected with the first or "Crochallan" edition.
VII. That a collection of obscene songs was printed in Dublin prior to 1827, bearing the title, "Merry Muses," without any reference whatever to Burns.
VIII. That in 1827, a similar collection, with 42 additional pieces, was "privately printed" somewhere. On the title page we read:—"The Merry Muses—a choice Collection of Favourite Songs gathered from many sources—by Robert Burns—to which is (sic) added two of his letters and a poem—hitherto suppressed—and never before printed." One of the letters is dated March 3rd, 1788, and is addressed, from Mauchline, to Robert Ainslie; the other, dated May 25th, 1788, and addressed to James Johnson, will be found in any standard edition of the Poet's works.
We trust the intention of the present work has now been made sufficiently clear.