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Caledonia
or a Historical and Topographical Account of North Briton
From the Most Ancient to the Present Times

By George Chalmers (1887)


Introductary Note

In issuing this edition of Chalmers' Caledonia it is right to explain its character, and the extent of the matter now for the first time published. As is well known, the original edition of Caledonia is rare, and this fact, together with the esteem in which the work is held as an authority on all that concerns Scotland, makes its republication desirable. Chalmers' original scheme was not completed; three only of the four volumes he projected having been published when his death arrested the progress of the work. He left, however, in Manuscript the "Accounts" of most of the counties north of the Forth, and the "Topographical Dictionary of Places" to which he repeatedly refers. The permission of the Faculty of Advocates having been granted, the publisher proposes to issue the hitherto unprinted portion of Caledonia as left by the Author, carefully revised, and with the addition of much fresh matter. The Caledonia will then furnish a body of information relating to the history, topography, and antiquities of Scotland, such as the literature of no other nation supplies. The notices of parishes will be revised, verified, and brought up to date, and every care will be taken to make this portion of the work as accurate as possible. The purely historical portion, comprised in this and the following volume, is given without material change, as the interpolation of fresh matter would inevitably lead to confusion, and impair the value of the work as containing an original view of the History of the country. This section of the work is so full of controversial matter that it is felt it would be unwise to attempt to readjust or amend the conclusions of an author renowned as the exponent of a well-defined system of Scottish history. For the use of such readers as desire to compare Chalmers' opinions with the results of later research, a list of works by more recent writers is appended to this notice. From these, and the Additional Notes at the end of Volume II. of the present edition, a fair notion may be obtained of the many points with regard to which writers on the history and national antiquities of Scotland hold conflicting views. The only alterations which have been made in the historical part of Caledonia are connected with orthography and punctuation. The spelling of place-names has been modernised when the change does not interfere with the Author's etymological deductions, and the work throughout has been repunctuated. The titles of the more important authorities, imperfectly cited or abbreviated in the text, are given with greater fulness at the end of this notice; and a few notes have been inserted within brackets to explain obscure passages. In other respects the text is that of Chalmers.

Note.—The paging of Volume I. of the original edition runs through Volumes I and II. of this edition, and so on in the other Volumes.


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