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 toinduce 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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