Menu Close

Chambers's Edinburgh Journal

Published 1832-1956 Weekly, 1½d. Published and edited by William and Robert Chambers. Very popular and widely circulated. ‘Largely unsigned or excerpted articles with an emphasis on moral instruction . . . targeted at the lower and middle classes, particularly young people.’ Like its competitor, the Penny Magazine, a general-interest magazine. (See DNCJ, where all quotations appear, for further information and references to additional sources; online edition Proquest British Periodicals.)

“CURIOUS HISTORY OF AN EDINBURGH BOY.” Chambers’s, 0, no. 10: (7 April 1832): 74.
        Brief account of the life of John Oswald (1760-1793)- Scottish philosopher, writer, poet, and social critic.
“POPULAR INFORMATION ON HISTORY.” Chambers’s, 0, no. 41: (11 October 1832): 322–23.
        Brief history of the Jewish people and their faith.
“EXTRAORDINARY HISTORY OF WILLIAM FRASER.” Chambers’s, 0, no. 39: (17 October 1832): 308.
        Brief biography of a Scottish boy genius of the late eighteenth century; his life and premature death.
“HISTORY OF THE VIOLIN.” Chambers’s, 0, no. 39: (17 October 1832): 309.
        A brief piece on the history of the violin from 1514 to the nineteenth century.
“POPULAR INFORMATION ON HISTORY.” Chambers’s, 0, no. 40: (3 November 1832): 317–18.
        Brief history of ancient Egypt: mainly focused on the people and the culture.
“The Sacred History of the World.” Chambers’s, 0, no. 43: (24 November 1832): 341–42.
        Focuses on Sharon Turner’s book, by introducing its subject-matter; praises the book for its content and its usefulness to young readers and then offers a lengthy excerpt.
“POPULAR INFORMATION ON HISTORY.” Chambers’s, 0, no. 45: (8 December 1832): 354–55.
        Brief history of the Ancient Greeks: the rulers, the culture, the military campaigns.
“EXTRAORDINARY HISTORY OF MR THOMAS JENKINS.” Chambers’s, 0, no. 46: (15 December 1832): 361–62.
        A discussion of the life and accomplishments of Thomas Jenkins, son of an African king, sent to live and be educated in Scotland, later went to Mauritius as a missionary.
“POPULAR INFORMATION ON HISTORY.” Chambers’s, 0, no. 46: (15 December 1832): 366–67.
        Brief history of Ancient Athens and Sparta: battles, culture, and people.
“POPULAR INFORMATION ON HISTORY.” Chambers’s, 0, no. 48: (29 December 1832): 378–80.
        Brief history of the Turks: the people (their origin), rulers, Ottoman Empire.
“POPULAR INFORMATION ON HISTORY.” Chambers’s, 0, no. 51: (19 January 1833): 401–2.
        The Romans, part 1.
“POPULAR INFORMATION ON HISTORY.” Chambers’s, 0, no. 52: (26 January 1833): 411–12.
        The Romans , part 2.
“HISTORY OF DOMESTIC THINGS.” Chambers’s, 2, no. 53: (2 February 1833): 7–8.
        Brief history of the origin and use of forks, toothpicks, horse-drawn coaches, and tobacco.
“POPULAR INFORMATION ON HISTORY.” Chambers’s, 2, no. 56: (23 February 1833): 26–27.
        The Romans, part 3.
“POPULAR INFORMATION ON HISTORY.” Chambers’s, 2, no. 59: (16 March 1833): 49–51.
        The Romans, part 4.
“POPULAR INFORMATION ON HISTORY.” Chambers’s, 2, no. 61: (30 March 1833): 66–67.
        The Romans, part 5 (Constantinople).
“A PASSAGE IN THE HISTORY OF SOUTH AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE.” Chambers’s, 2, no. 75: (7 June 1833): 178–80.
        The adventures of a fleet of British seaman off the coast of Peru during the War of Independence in South America around 1818. Details the tribulations the fleet faced, a detailed description of their capture of the Spanish sea vessel Minerva and the spoils and riches they obtained upon victory.
“HISTORY OF THE ASSASSINS.” Chambers’s, 2, no. 80: (19 September 1833): 219–20.
        Focuses on the history of the secret society of assassins which originated in Persia. Discusses the origins of the group, of the name ‘assassin’, members of the society over time, their social class, and some of the campaigns they carried out.
“POPULAR INFORMATION ON ROMAN HISTORY.” Chambers’s, 2, no. 102: (11 January 1834): 394–95.
        A brief discussion of the games and leisure activities of the ancient Romans, including chariot races, circus, gladiatorial games, and plays. Discusses the details of the events, the venues, participants, and spectators.
“HISTORY OF AN OBSCURE POET.” Chambers’s, 0, no. 116: (19 April 1834): 93–94.
        A brief examination of the life of Stewart Lewis (1756-1818) including a discussion of his youth, family, personality, rise to fame, and excerpts of his poetry.
“WHAT DOES HISTORY TEACH?” Chambers’s, 0, no. 132: (9 August 1834): 221–22.
        An essay on historiography and pedagogy, arguing for teaching history as an enlightened philosophy and exemplary transactions, while downgrading sordid incidents and mere chronology.
“HISTORY OF COUNTING.” Chambers’s, 0, no. 144: (1 November 1834): 314–15.
        Beginning with origins in Chinese, Roman, Greek, and German cultures, to the contemporary system of numbers and counting, with detailed discussions of each transition over time.
“TRADITIONARY HISTORY OF ALASTER MAC COL.” Chambers’s, 0, no. 203: (19 December 1835): 373–74.
        Biography of a Scottish soldier in the royalist army (c1610-1647); includes a discussion of his youth, his rise to commander, and a detailed evaluation of his participation in the civil war.
“POSTHUMOUS HISTORY OF A ROYALIST CHIEF.” Chambers’s, 0, no. 336: (7 July 1838): 185–86.
        The story of the death and prolonged funeral of the Marquis of Montrose in seventeenth-century Scotland.
“POSTHUMOUS HISTORY OF A SAINT.” Chambers’s, 0, no. 361: (29 December 1838): 385–86.
        Biographical article on the sainthood of St. Cuthbert the seventh-century bishop of Lindisfarne (off the coast of Northumberland). Briefly discusses his life and death but focuses more on the pilgrimage of his body throughout the area for worshippers to praise, and the miracles, stories, and trickery connected to the saint over the ensuing decades.
“WADE’S BRITISH HISTORY.” Chambers’s, 0, no. 395: (24 August 1839): 245.
        Laudatory review of, and lengthy excerpt from, John Wade’s British History Chronologically Arranged, concerning the progress of the railway from the late eighteenth to the nineteenth century. Briefly discusses acts of Parliament concerning railways from 1801 to 1837, the cost of constructing railways, the new uses for railways, and the innovations that took place in creating locomotive carriages.
“A FEW THOUGHTS ON HISTORY.” Chambers’s, 0, no. 434: (23 May 1840): 137–38.
        Historiographical essay, comparing accounts written by those concerned in events with those drawn from the archival record. Discusses Scott, Hume and others.
“TRUE HISTORY OF MACBETH.” Chambers’s, 0, no. 558: (8 October 1842): 303–4.
        Compares the account in Collet’s Relics of Literature to the image of Macbeth presented in Shakespeare’s play. Uses the works of Buchanan and Holinshed, about the history of Scotland and Macbeth, to offer a more accurate account of the life including Macbeth’s family, reign, battles fought, and death.
“BOYD’S HISTORY OF LITERATURE -- ORIGIN OF TIME RECKONINGS.” Chambers’s, 0, no. 53: (4 January 1845): 12–14.
        This review (with extensive excerpts) of Sir William Boyd’s multi-volume work examines the history of the recognition of time; discusses the concept of time throughout history and within various cultures (Roman, Egyptian, Jewish). Specifically, looks at the effect of the solar system on time recognition, changing calendars, and the evolution of the concept of time.
“WRITING HISTORY FOR THE PEOPLE.” Chambers’s, 0, no. 68: (19 April 1845): 255–56.
        Using comments reproduced from the Athenaeum and excerpts from Alphonse de Lamartine’s book, this article focuses on the many problems with the writing of history and how it may be re-evaluated and rewritten to become useful and interesting to the general reader and not only for scholars.
“HISTORY OF THE FIREPLACE.” Chambers’s, 0, no. 70: (3 May 1845): 274–77.
        Spans from the middle ages until the time of Queen Mary; includes information on humankind’s initial interaction with fire and proceeds to means of containing fire and using it for various purposes, and thus to the development of the hearth/fireplace over time. Examines the evolution and use of the fireplace among Romans, English, Egyptians and Jews.
“THE HISTORY OF HOUSE LIGHTS.” Chambers’s, 0, no. 88: (6 September 1845): 153–56.
        Spans from prehistory to the invention of gas lighting; It includes an examination of the evolution from torches to lamps and candles and finally to gas lighting, identifying the advantages and disadvantages of each. Examines the evolution of lighting among the Romans, the Egyptians, the Jews and the English.
“HISTORY OF A NATIONAL MISTAKE.” Chambers’s, 0, no. 140: (5 September 1846): [145]-148.
        An examination of the union between Scotland and England with the treaty of 1707 and the effects the union had on both countries; Includes a discussion of the resistance of the Scottish people, the English reaction, and the benefits the union brought to the Scots.
“HISTORY OF PANTALOONS.” Chambers’s, 0, no. 165: (27 February 1847): 144.
        A very brief history of the garment with reference to the Romans, the Venetians, and St Pantaleon and how the garment came to be worn in English culture. Attributed to a posthumous volume of Southey’s Doctor.
“SKETCHES OF THE HISTORY OF EDUCATION.” Chambers’s, 0, no. 206: (11 December 1847): 372–75.
        An examination of the evolution of the educational system from the theories of Erasmus to the system in place in the mid 19th century. Focuses on the educational systems based on the theories of Cicero, Erasmus, Luther, and Trotzendorf; including their principles, how they were interpreted. and how they were changed over time.
“HISTORY OF A DESERTED SAILOR.” Chambers’s, 0, no. 213: (29 January 1848): 73–76.
        An account of the trials of a sailor left on an island in the South Atlantic in the 18th century; he left a journal recounting the problems and hardships he encountered.
“HISTORY OF THE BANK OF ENGLAND.” Chambers’s, 0, no. 238: (22 July 1848): 52–55.
        This account spans from the 1620s to the contemporary era and discusses the origin of keeping money outside the home and the evolution of the banking house.
“HISTORY OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY.” Chambers’s, 0, no. 241: (12 August 1848): 105–8.
        Review of the book by C. R. Weld (published by Parker), stressing the 17th-century origin and initial members of the Royal Society and discusses some of the things the organization did in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.
“NOTES TOWARDS A HISTORY OF THE BANK OF SCOTLAND.” Chambers’s, 0, no. 242: (19 August 1848): 121–23.
        Foundation and evolution of banking in Scotland from the 18th century.
“MACAULAY’S HISTORY OF ENGLAND.” Chambers’s, 0, no. 261: (30 December 1848): 425–28.
        A glowing review of, with lengthy excerpts from, Thomas Babington Macaulay’s first two volumes.
“SKETCHES OF THE HISTORY OF EDUCATION.” Chambers’s, 0, no. 263: (13 January 1849): 22–24.
        Discusses the evolution of education from memorization to a system involving more understanding and ability to apply learned material. Discusses the theories and methods of Montaigne (1533-1592) and Ratich (1571-1635) and how they affected educational systems.
“A SECOND GLANCE AT MR MACAULAY’S HISTORY.” Chambers’s, 0, no. 264: (20 January 1849): 34–38.
        A further discussion of Macaulay’s work, with comments on the style.
“HISTORY OF THE HIGH SCHOOL OF EDINBURGH.” Chambers’s, 0, no. 271: (10 March 1849): 151–53.
        Review of William Steven’s book (published Maclachlen and Stewart), which covers the history of the High School of Edinburgh from the early 16th century until the late 18th century.
“SKETCHES OF THE HISTORY OF EDUCATION.” Chambers’s, 0, no. 277: (21 April 1849): 249–52.
        A discussion of the theories, works, and contributions to the educational system of John Amos Comenius (1592- 1671).
“ART OF HISTORY.” Chambers’s, 0, no. 297: (8 September 1849): [145]-147.
        The history of the study of history and the evolution of the field from the time of the Hebrews (identified as the first historians) until the present. Signed L.R.
“EARLY HISTORY OF THE USE OF COAL.” Chambers’s, 0, no. 345: (10 August 1850): 95–96.
        The history of coal; its uses from ancient times until the 15th century and the methods used to mine it.
“HISTORY OF A CONTRIBUTOR.” Chambers’s, 0, no. 500: (30 July 1853): 72–74.
        Brief account of the latter part of the life of journalist Thomas Griffiths Wainewright (1794-1842) a contributor to the London Magazine. He is accused of being a serial poisoner.
“THE TRUE HISTORY OF COUNT CAGLIOSTRO.” Chambers’s, 0, no. 88: (8 September 1855): 156–58.
        The life of Count Cagliostro (Joseph Balsamo) 1743-1795, alchemist and forger, who travelled around Europe and was arrested many times.
“HISTORY OF STRAWBERRY STREET.” Chambers’s, 0, no. 106: (12 January 1856): 25–28.
        This account of the 30 year history of a London street traces its development from a quiet and quaint locale to a bustling and populated area. Examines some notable people who lived on or were associated with the street.
“THE HISTORY OF THE FOUR KINGS.” Chambers’s, 0, no. 193: (12 September 1857): 171–73.
        The history of playing cards from their origin in 12th century China. Evolution of the cards themselves and the games that they were used to play in various countries and in various cultures.
“CARLYLE’S HISTORY OF FREDERICK THE GREAT.” Chambers’s, 0, no. 264: (22 January 1859): 51–55.
        First part of a review (concluded in the 29 January 1859 issue) of Thomas Carlyle’s life of Fredrick II of Prussia (1712-1786), focusing on the large section which examines the ‘hero’s’ childhood and the life of his father, Fredrick Wilhelm (1688-1740).
“A DARK PAGE FROM RUSSIAN HISTORY.” Chambers’s, 0, no. 344: (4 August 1860): 77–79.
        The story of the late 18th century deception, torture and murder of Princess Tarranakoff (descendent of the Russian royal family) at the command of Catherine the Great.
“AN UNKNOWN PAGE IN HISTORY.” Chambers’s, 0, no. 385: (18 May 1861): 313–15.
        An account of the Northumberland town of Hexam, discussing events since the 15th century. The ‘unknown page’ refers to the Hexam riot of 1761.
“WHAT IS THE GOOD OF HISTORY?” Chambers’s, 0, no. 400: (31 August 1861): 136–37.
        Discusses the question of profiting from the lessons of history to prevent the repetition of errors. Offers examples from problems with respect to the American colonies in the late eighteenth century.
“HISTORY IN COMMON WORDS.” Chambers’s, 0, no. 501: (8 August 1863): 92–94.
        Alphabetical list of words derived from ancient languages which have been incorporated into English; their origin and meaning.
“THE HISTORY OF WOOD-ENGRAVING.” Chambers’s, 0, no. 73: (20 May 1865): 309–13.
        History of the art from ancient Egyptian times to the modern era in various countries; examines several significant artists.
“HISTORY VIA POETRY.” Chambers’s, 0, no. 280: (1 May 1869): 294–98.
        First part of an article reviewing and remarking on Matthew Browne’s book, Chaucer’s England . Here the focus is on learning history through Chaucer’s male characters. The second part, published on 8 May 1869, discusses the female characters.
“A REAL HISTORY OF MUSIC.” Chambers’s, 0, no. 569: (21 November 1874): [737]-740.
        Uses the publication of William Chappell’s History of Music to comment on earlier works on the same subject.
“HISTORY OF ADVERTISING.” Chambers’s, 0, no. 583: (27 February 1875): 131–34.
        Examines the existence of advertisements from ancient times until the 19th century and the evolution of the medium in various countries throughout its history.
“RECENT HISTORY OF THE PITCAIRN ISLANDERS: Chambers’s Journal of Popular Literature, Science and Arts.” Chambers’s, 0, no. 620: (13 November 1875): 730–32.
        Refers to the 1850s relocation of the descendents of the mutineers of the HMS Bounty (1789) from their original landing place on Pitcairn Island, to Norfolk Island.
“A STRANGE FAMILY HISTORY.” Chambers’s, 0, no. 713: (25 August 1877): 529–33.
        The story of the women of the Pearson family of Workington (off the Cumberland coast). The story spans two generations starting in the late 18th century and discusses the lives of Isabella Pearson (Day) and her daughter Isabella.
“HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF.” Chambers’s, 0, no. 794: (15 March 1879): 173–76.
        Article looks to disprove the idea that history repeats itself by using comparative examples from various countries from 14th century to the 19th century.
“DIFFICULTY OF VERIFYING HISTORY.” Chambers’s, 0, no. 815: (9 August 1879): 503–5.
        Discusses the difficulty of verifying historical fact and offers examples of accepted historical facts for which there is no actual evidence. Refers to the 1879 article ‘History Repeats Itself.’
“LIFE-LINKS OF HISTORY.” Chambers’s, 2, no. 97: (7 November 1885): 718–19.
        Examines the lives of a father (William Horrocks 1657-1752) and his son (James Horrocks 1744-1843) whose two lives spanned from the Cromwellian to the Victorian era.
“CONFLICTING VIEWS OF HISTORY.” Chambers’s, 6, no. 271: (9 March 1889): 145–47.
        Examines changing views on the philosophy and methodology of history. Includes discussions of Bacon, Locke, Voltaire, Macaulay, Dryden, and Carlyle. Comments on the great man theory, and on history as a science.
“THE EARLY HISTORY OF CLUBS.” Chambers’s, 8, no. 417: (26 December 1891): 817–19.
        Examines organized clubs in ancient Greece and Rome, and then from fourteenth to eighteenth century England. Includes a reference to ‘ladies’ clubs.’.
“HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF.” Chambers’s, 9, no. 432: (9 April 1892): 225–26.
        Discusses the idea and likelihood that history repeats within generations of a family.
“THE HISTORY OF NUGGET-FINDING.” Chambers’s, 10, no. 502: (12 August 1893): 511–12.
        Discusses the specifics of various significant discoveries of gold nuggets throughout various regions of the United States (mainly California) in the 19th century.
“THE PRESSGANG AND ITS HISTORY.” Chambers’s, 11, no. 572: (15 December 1894): 793–95.
        Examines the history of forced labour in the navy from the 13th to the 19th century in England. Includes a discussion of what the pressgang was faced with in terms of protecting the seaports and fighting pirates.
“A LOST PAGE OF BRITISH HISTORY.” Chambers’s, 12, no. 594: (18 May 1895): 317–19.
        The story of Charles II’s voyage from Holland to Britain in 1650 and his encounter with the people of the Garmouth district upon a stop for supplies.
“BLACKWOODS: THE HISTORY OF A PUBLISHING HOUSE.” Chambers’s, 14, no. 726: (27 November 1897): 753–56.
        Margaret Oliphant’s life of William Blackwood (1776-1834) and account of his publishing house includes an examination of what particular problems were faced by the firm and what works they published (focusing mostly on Blackwood’s Magazine, known as ‘Maga’).