1795 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

George Chalmers

Joseph Ritson to Mr. Paton, 19 January 1795; Letters of Joseph Ritson (1833) 2:66-67.



I am very much afraid that Mr. Chalmers undertakes so many literary adventures at once, he will never be able to achieve them either with satisfaction to his judgment or with safety to his health. I have not learned what progress he has made in the life of Allan Ramsay; but I find he is likewise engaged upon that of Thomson, as well as on the lives of all the political and commercial writers of Great Britain, and not the less occupied, at the same time, in a work of still greater magnitude and importance: a sort of Villare Scoticum, upon a most extensive, and, so far as I am capable of judging, most excellent plan: which will, unquestionably, prove of the greatest utility to Scotish history, of much greater indeed, that anything that has hitherto appeared: his object being to amass the utmost possible quantity of facts, verified by the best possible authorities. He has lately favoured me with your engraved portrait, upon which you may be assured I set no small value.