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The Anecdotage of Glasgow
John Smith, Bookseller, Glasgow, and Burns the Poet


John Smith, founder in 1742 of the firm of John Smith & Son, booksellers, which firm still exists, was long known as the father of The Trade in Glasgow. When Burns, the poet, published the first Edinburgh edition of his Poems, in 1787 he engaged Mr. Smith to distribute the copies to subscriber's in Glasgow and its vicinity, and to receive payment. On adjusting the accounts with the poet, Mr. Smith would only accept of five per cent. commission for his trouble. Burns, struck with, and surprised at such moderation, observed:

"Ye seem to be a very decent sort o’ folk, you Glasgow booksellers, but oh, they’re sair birkies in Edinburgh."


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