Cadell, Thomas

, an eminent bookseller, and a striking instance of the effects of a strong understanding united with industry and integrity, was born in Wine-street, Bristol, on the 27th of October, 1742, O. S. After being educated in his native city, he was apprenticed, in 1758, | to Mr. Andrew Millar, at that time at the head of his profession in London, anil the steady patron of Thomson, Fielding, and many other celebrated writers. In Mr. Cadell he soon discovered a taste for business, a love of industry, and an understanding uncommonly acute, which embraced all the concerns of a trade that necessarily requires more than mere mechanical talents; and Mr. Millar being Dow advanced in life readily admitted Mr. Cadell into partnership in 1765, and in 1767, a year before his death, relinquished the whole to him. Mr. Cadell thus became, at a very early period, at the head of his profession, and by associating with himself the late William Strahan, esq. secured the advice and assistance of a printer of corresponding liberality and taste. Introduced at the same time by Mr. Millar to writers of the first rank in literature, to Johnson, Hume, Robertson, Warburton, Hurd, &c, he pursued the same commendable track, iind acting upon the liberal principles of his predecessor in respect to authors, enlarged upon it to an extent, which, at the same time that it did honour to his spirit, was well suited to the more enlightened period in which he carried on business. In conjunction with Mr. Strahan, already noticed, and afterwards with his son Andrew Strahan, esq. the present member for Aldborough, munificent remunerations were held out to writers of the most eminent talents, and, as Dr. Johnson was accustomed to aay, “the price of literature was raised.” The names of some of the writers whose works were brought forward under Mr. Cadell’s auspices have already been mentioned; nor was he less fortunate in the judicious connexions formed, upon the most liberal principles, with Blackstone, Burn, Henry, Gibbon, and many others whose works are to be found in every library. Although in success such as Mr. Cadell experienced, and which must depend ultimately on the pleasure of the public, chance may be supposed to have some influence, yet it is but justice to add that Mr. Cadell had acquired, by whatever means, an uncommon discernment in the value of books, which led him with apparent facility, and almost always with success, to predict the future fate of what was submitted to him; and when any plan of republication was discussed in conjunction with his brethren, we have the testimony of some yet living, and of many now off the stage, that no man could see more clearly than Mr. Cadell into the disposition and bias of the reading world, or | display more judgment in every arrangement of editions, &c calculated to gratify public taste. Hence, in his individual capacity, it was universally remarked that he gave the largest prices for the most successful works, and that at a time when their success could be only in his own contemplation; and when that success seemed to be delayed beyond all reasonable hope, even in such cases the final issue justified his original opinion, and proved that he had formed it upon substantial grounds.

In 1794 Mr. Cadell retired from business, in the full possession of his health and faculties, and with an ample fortune corresponding to the magnitude of the concerns he had so long carried on, and which were probably the greatest in Europe; and was succeeded by his only son, Thomas, and Mr. William Davies, who entered at that time into partnership. Accustomed, however, from his early days to business, Mr. Cadell senior, with a laudable ambition, sought, and most honourably obtained, a seat in the magistracy of the city of London, being unanimously elected, March 30, 1798, to the office of alderman of Waibrook ward; and the following year was elected master of the worshipful company of Stationers, whose hall he decorated with a magnificent window in stained and painted glass. At Midsummer 1800, a period when party-spirit ran high, he was elected by a very honourable majority on a poll, with his friend Mr. Perring (now sir John Perring, bart.) to the shrievalty of London and Middlesex: an office which he discharged with the entire approbation of his constituents. His conscientious attendance on its duties, for he was never absent a single Sunday from the chapel of one of the prisons, we are sorry to add, seems to have laid the foundation of that asthmatic complaint, which so fatally terminated at a period when the citizens of London, who justly esteemed him as an independent, humane, and intelligent magistrate, anticipated the speedy approach of his attainment to the highest civic honours. A sudden attack of the asthma proved fatal in the night of Sunday, Dec. 27, 1802, to the lasting regret of a numerous circle of friends, and to the loss of many public institutions of which he had been an active governor, and to which he had been a liberal contributor. He was interred in the family vault, in the church-yard of Eltham, Kent. 1


Nichol’s Life of Bowyer.—Personal knowledge.