1808 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

George Chalmers

Alexander Murray to Archibald Constable, 3 August 1808; Archibald Constable and his Literary Correspondents (1873) 1:278-79.



With Mr. Chalmers I intend to enter into a close correspondence, as soon as I can do so conveniently. He is engaged in a kind of County History of the whole kingdom, but as our plans do not interfere, I hope we may be of mutual use to one another. Permit me to say that if his work meet not with encouragement it will be a disgrace to this country. I have read it over twice; I am engaged in a third perusal, and every time I have been more convinced of the immense labour which he has undertaken in order to elucidate the darkest parts of Scotch history. His success has been unprecedented. You will hear this assertion confirmed, in a short time, unanimously by all. His other volumes should be welcomed into the world with every possible speed and attention. If he is not encouraged to proceed, Scotland may not for many years produce another such; and though she did, she were unworthy of the good fortune. It is the custom of Foxites and Pittites to lay out great sums on venal patriots, while the honour and respectability of the country are generally neglected.