GRAHAM, James (1765–1811), poet. ALS to the Rev Andrew Thomson 1810

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GRAHAM, James (1765–1811), poet. Autograph letter signed to the Reverend Andrew Thomson, 3 sides with address panel on second leaf, 4to, Annan, August 19th 1810. Sending Thomson a hymn (written out on the first two sides of the letter) entitled "Out of the mouth of babes & sucklings thou hast ordained praise" for comment, and informing him of his move. "I was very much gratified indeed by your request that I should write a hymn to be sung by the orphans ....... My aim was to express those recollections and feelings which might be supposed to arise in the mind of an individual orphan .....  I have endeavoured to describe the contrast between the former desolate and the present protected state of the orphan ..... I go to Durham tomorrow. I am uncertain in what part of the town we shall take up our abode; but as it is a small place my name will be a sufficient direction." Letter with repaired splits along folds, and last page (bearing address panel and postal franks) soiled. 

Graham practiced as an advocate in Edinburgh, while writing verse as a means of recreation. He published a number of poems from 1797 onwards, of which The Sabbath (1804) won him the admiration of Sir Walter Scott. Finding limited success as an advocate, he resolved to enter the church, and in 1809 was appointed curate of Shipton Mayne, Gloucestershire. In August 1810 he became sub-curate of St Margaret's, Durham, but with declining health, he moved back to Scotland where he died in 1811. His correspondent, Andrew Mitchell Thomson (1779–1831) was acknowledged as the leader of the evangelical party in the Church of Scotland. Graham's “Poems on the Abolition of the Slave Trade” (1810) would have found much favour with Thomson, also an ardent abolitionist.

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