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Robert Burns Lives!
Email from Patrick Scott Hogg to Frank R. Shaw and his reply

Edited by Frank R. Shaw, FSA Scot, Dawsonville, GA, USA

Dear Readers,

I am growing a bit weary of receiving emails from Paddy Hogg. It is as if the world of Robert Burns hinges on everything Hogg says or that the Burns world will come falling down like an over-flowing Icelandic volcanic eruption if someone disagrees with him. When one is challenged for a particular view, it seems prudent for proof to be given to substantiate one’s challenged view. Such has not been forthcoming from Mr. Hogg, and below you will see where now we have entered the world of lawyers with a threat of a legal action.

Once again, redundantly I might add, I ask Mr. Hogg for the sources to back up his position in what could have been friendly jousting but is now bordering on the realm of ugliness. That said, the messages below will bring you up to date and the readers of Robert Burns Lives! are asked again to make up their own minds.

Email from Patrick Scott Hogg to Frank R. Shaw

13 April, 2010

Dear Frank

I have just read Mr Wilson's reply article. Given its abusive terminology stating that my research is dishonest and distorts history I would ask you to have the decency to remove such an article as it does not display the protocols of scholarship I would expect from a scholar. I am sorry to add that if it is not removed then I will have no choice but to get my lawyer involved because it is perfectly clear Mr Wilson has a personal problem with me and does not consider the evidence whatsoever. His writings in my view amount to a personal attack given the unpleasant and very unjustified language suggesting I am fraudulent in my scholarship.

I am well aware that a band of James Mackay followers still want my blood and blame me for Mackay being found guilty of plagiarism - as if the actual plagiarism of Mackay is okay to some people - but describing Burns as a radical gets up the noses of some elitist know alls who torture his political worldview into either a confused mess or a Winston Smith like Unionist Tory.

If people disagree with my view point they should at least have the decency to represent my argument fairly, which Wilson never has done. He sets up a false straw man and ignores the evidence I marshalled. It is evident from his reply that it is pointless trying to reason or debate with such a person.

So I ask that you, as the website owner, consider removing his insulting rant.

With best wishes

Patrick S Hogg

Reply from Frank R. Shaw to Patrick Scott Hogg

Dear Mr. Hogg,

Thank you for your email. I'm a little puzzled on two counts: first of all, Wilson makes it plain that he is not opposed to the political complexion you paint for Burns. Secondly, I don't understand the connection between Wilson and James Mackay. Why have you brought Mackay into the discussion? Is there something going on in Scotland that causes you to drag a dead man’s name into this exchange? Here in the States I am unaware of why this is necessary since Mr. Mackay can no longer defend himself. Are you telling me that there is some such connection (there is nothing apparent in Wilson's essays to point to this)?

Rather than you threatening recourse to law, Wilson would be instantly silenced, and indeed shown to be plain wrong, were you convincingly to answer his points directly. In particular, you might discuss his 'visitor'/'delegate' point by simply asking yourself have you made a mistake on this. If so, might it not be worth admitting the error? More widely on this issue, has Mark Wilson misrepresented your claims about 'Visitor Drummond'/John Drummond/the Dumfries Branch of the Friends of the People/and Burns's 'membership' of this branch? From recently looking at your book, I see that Wilson seems to be summarizing your core argument pretty accurately but you may know differently. Please feel free to reply to Mr. Wilson’s conclusions with reliable sources to bring this debate to an end.

Wilson's comments contain some conclusions that might be interpreted as personal. But given the thrust of his argument, this seems unavoidable, and it is up to you to show that Wilson has misread you on the Dumfries branch of the Friends of the People. So far, you have refused to deal with the evidence on this issue, something that any lawyer would immediately see, as I do as a layman. If, as you say in your email, “it is evident from his reply that it is pointless trying to reason or debate with such a person”, I suggest to you there was no need for your latest email.


Frank R. Shaw
(FRS: 4.28.10

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