From William Kemp to Robert Chambers   12 October 1848


12 Octr. 1848


You complane in your last that your explanations have come back misrepresented. I must own the charge is just. I had Mr. Brockie’s paper before me and wrote from it. How sorrie I am that students of Nature should ever disagree about the little glimpses they are able at best to discover of her beneficient opperations. Amongst you and others I simply beg to clame without ostentation in this department of a new enquiry of assisting to lay a foundation which you have now raised with a master hand to the view of the world.

But to the purpose, I own you have given me ample credit for my early investigations. Your explanations are satisfactory, but there unfortunately you have iritated my friends by twice announcing that these observations were drawn up by a friend leading to a belief that save by that friend my pursuits had never been recorded or known beyond my own locality.

Sir I may have been mistaken in this matter for you may be assured my nature would not allow me to be ungrateful. It is not that you have said to little in my behalf that we complane off, but the manner of stating it. I speak not for myself alone but for many friends both here and at a distance to whom my original communications were sint as the facts were discovered. Some of these belong to Societies where my papers were read, hence the zeal in the case. Nor is it a fact that my discoveries lie dead in the obscure records where they were at first consigned. They were noticed in the Annals of Natural History, in the London Philosophical Magizine, and the Glasgow Historical Gazetteer &c &c—

The facts being new, as will as being promulgated by an obscure individual, they were certainly disputed by some, but I knew the time would come when their true character would be generally be acknowledged, as truth has triumphed in similar cases before. You have boldly faced that opposing current of opinion in your valuable work, for which you deserve the warmest thanks of all interested in the subject. If I am not altogether satisfied in your treatment in respect to my part therein. A noble sentiment in your last letter to me has disarmed all my hostility. Hence I hope there is no occasion to enter further into particulars.

I | am | Sir | with high respect | Your very | Humble Servant | William Kemp

Robert Chambers Esqre. | Edinburgh

Please cite as “KEMP90,” in Ɛpsilon: The William Kemp Collection accessed on 24 February 2024,