From Robert Chambers to William Kemp   24 October 1847

Edinburgh,

October 24/47

Dear Sir,

Since my return to town, I have used endeavours to ascertain the relations of the datum of the Hawick branch of the N.B. railway to the level of the sea, and now I am on the point of ascertaining it to a nicety. Meanwhile I am aware that it is not greatly different from what I thought. The mystery accordingly remains to be solved—how should your measurements have been so conformable to other levels, while mine were not, although, from my coming to the same thing for the total elevation of the hill, we cannot see how special differences should have existed. There is nothing for it but a new survey of the hill, which I hope you will be able very speedily to execute. This time, I would have you to go up by the path we took on Wednesday afternoon, as well as by your own former line—starting in both cases from the bridge behind the town, and using it as a datum without the least regard to its elevation above the sea. Pray use all possible care, so as to exclude any chance of fallacy. The points I think most important on the Eildons are— 1st, the plateau above the quarry— 2, the line of changed vegetation— 3, the flat where the riddled earth occurs— 4, the point where you take up the flat or table land at Housebyres— 5, the shoulder or projection of north hill which conforms with the lower step on the profile of the Black Hill of Cowdenknows and the dyke with an open gate on Bowden Moor— 6, the terrace where we stopped on north hill— 7, the flat on central and north hills 160 feet from the top. The point thought to be the centre of the slope should in each case be assumed as the best approximation to the level of the terrace. It might also be worth while to make marks at the points where the levels were taken, in order that other persons desiring to test our observations may be able to do so without danger of assuming points different from ours. A small horizontal trench with a spade (taking care not to do what proprietors could consider as objectionab⁠⟨⁠le)⁠⟩⁠ might serve this purpose. Or a row of stones might serve. You will also feel how desireable it is to ascertain the height of the terrace at Old Galashiels, that at Selkirk, the Abbotsford one, &c. and I would suggest you likewise examining the Housebyres table land as soon as other things are attended to. You see I have no thought of sparing you.

The fact is, we are now in for it as to these terraces, and must work out the problem if we can. I feel much inclined to revisit the scene, and wish you would at least put it in my power to attend your surveying operations, by apprising me when they are to take place. If I could get away, I would come to Melrose for the purpose.

Believe me, | dear sir, | sincerely yours, | R. Chambers.

Please cite as “KEMP72,” in Ɛpsilon: The William Kemp Collection accessed on 12 April 2024, https://epsilon.ac.uk/view/epsilon-testbed/kemp/letters/KEMP72