born in Ayrshire, was employed for some time in the customs house at Greenock. While travelling on the Continent he made the acquaintance of Byron (of whom he published a life in 1830) and later of Carlyle, who admired his work. He was secretary of the Canada Company, and between 1825 and 1829 he visited Canada as a member of a Government commission to evaluate the price of land. Galt produced poems, dramas, historical novels, and travel books, but is chiefly remembered for his studies of country life in Scotland: The Ayrshire Legatees (1821), Annals of the Parish (1821), The Provost (1822), The Entail (1823), and The Member (1832). Galt made a unique contribution to fiction with the subtlety and irony of his writing in the first person, and he was an acute observer of social change.