From Robert Chambers to William Kemp   11 November 1847


Nov. 11, 1847.

Dear Sir,

I beg to thank you very earnestly for the great pains you have taken to comply with my wishes—the more so that I often fear that these wishes are far from reasonable. However, since you are so good as go cheerfully through all this work, I can only hope that the results in the long run to science will be to you a sufficient, if not exceeding great reward. You will be surprised in the mean time to learn that, with all your labour, the Eildon measurements are still in an unsatisfactory state. Many of them differ both from your first measurements and those I lately took to a startling degree. This you will say is because greater care has now been exerted; but that can hardly be the explanation, for were your present measurement of the highest terrace on the middle hill to be admitted (1332) the top (which I clearly found 43 feet above that terrace) would be 1375 feet high, an excess so great upon all former measurements that we must conclude it to be wrong. It seems to me as if you had made an error of 20 or 25 feet after passing your line at 610 from railway, or partly at that interval and partly in the next. I now think there is nothing for it but a survey by the professional person you told me of as residing at Melrose. I therefore beg you will communicate with that gentleman, to express my desire that he will proceed as soon as he can to ascertain the elevations of the principal shelves on the Eildons, together with such other lines as may be visible therefrom in the neighbouring country. By such a course we shall protect ourselves effectually from all cavilling. I am taking the same course with the Glenroy terraces, just to make sure against cavillers, for I do not expect to obtain different results, at least to any serious extent. Please tell this surveyor that 1 hope he will make his charges as light as possible, since it is for an object in which the public is concerned. How far it may be necessary for you to accompany him I cannot tell—if necessary, I hope you will kindly do me this further favour. As a guidance I return the sketch and table you have sent me. On the former you will find to the right of your column of measurements, one in which 328 feet is added for the height of the rails above the sea. On the other side I have placed a column of heights, as I think they will probably prove to be—this partly from my own observations, and partly from what I have seen in other districts. Let me note particularly that 822, 872 (or thereabouts) 998, and 1104, are heights which I have ascertained with tolerable clearness in districts altogether apart from Glenroy. I found a second example of 822 the other day, in this county, namely in the vale of Glencorse in the Pentland Hills. I hope, however, that our friend the surveyor will send me a more numerous list, including all the terraces noticed in the Journal.

I would thank you particularly for the sections on the Tweed, which are highly satisfactory.

Trusting to hear further from you ere long, I am, | dear sir, | yours very faithfully, | R. Chambers.

P.S. Excuse my enclosing a trifle to pay postages and other petty expenses incurred in this investigation.

Please cite as “KEMP74,” in Ɛpsilon: The William Kemp Collection accessed on 3 March 2024,