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Significant Scots
James Chalmers


James Chalmers James Chalmers was a native of Arbroath who moved to Dundee and established himself there as a bookseller, printer and publisher, eventually serving as a Town Councillor and becoming Convener of the Nine Incorporated Trades. Like many mild—looking people, he seems to have been a slayer of the dragons which retard progress, battling repeatedly in the cause of Burgh Reform, and fighting for the repeal of taxes on newspapers and newspaper advertisements, and the removal of the excise duty on paper.

His most burning enthusiasm, however, was postal reform, and to the delight of his fellow business-men, he managed to induce the authorities to speed up the mail between Dundee and London by a day each way, convincing them that this could be done without extra cost.

That he was far advanced in his scheme for an adhesive postage stamp in 1834, six years before the Penny Post was introduced, was later borne out not only by Dundee and Arbroath men of standing, but by employees in his printing-works. These afterwards recalled their work in applying gum to the slips and clipping the sample stamps apart—for the perforation was a subsequent refinement and came from another source.

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