Edinburgh Bookshelf

Kay's Originals Vol. 2


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 475 degree owing to the liberal views, the professional talents, activity, and address of Mr. Constable-coqvinced, moreover, that the opinion of the public of this place is, in this respect, in unison with our own, we feel assured, that in offering to his memory this mournful tribute of our private regard and respect, we at the same time give utterance to feelings strongly felt by the community at large. . . . The author of Waverley has himself borne honourable testimony, in the introduction to one of his novels, to Mr. Constable’s merits ; and we are satisfied, that what he thus proclaimed in the prolegomena of a work of fiction, he would repeat, if the opportunity shall occur, with perfect sincerity, and perhaps greater force, in a work of truth. How it happened, that with all the splendid success, so beneficial and honourable to our literature, which attended Mr. Constable’s undertakings, his publishing career should have closed so disastrorisly, we ape not very able, nor much disposed at present, to inquire. We firmly believe that he proceeded onwards to that close, void of any apprehension of such an issue, and wholly unconscious of its near approach. He had just completed the plan of the Miscellany which bears his name, and waa busied seemingly, with well-founded hopes, in sanguine calculations of the returns which it would bring to his house. Its publication did not take place till after the failure of that establishment ; and we are happy to think that its subsequent succesa furnished some solace for his misfortunes, as well as some alleviation of his bodily sufferings ; his final undertaking thus proving to be his last and only means of support. We are not writing a full or elaborate character, and do not therefore feel ourselves called upon to point out all the features of Mr. Constable’s mind and conduct. We have only detailed a few particulars, calculated to justify the sentiments of grateful respect which we entertain for his memory, aij by far the most eminent publisher that Scotland ever produced. In that line we certainly do not expect soon again to see a man joining such professional abilities to such liberal and extensive views; so capable of appreciating literary merit, and so anxious to find for it employment and reward ; so largely endowed with the discernment, tact, and manners necessary to maintain a useful, honourable, and harmonious intercourse with literary men.”-CaZedonian. Ne~cury, July 23, 1827. In 1804 Mr. Constable assumed Mr. Hunter of Blackness as a partner, and from that time the business was carried on under the title of Archibald Constable and Co. In 1808 he established a London branch, which, however, was soon discontinued. In 181 1 Mr. Hunter retired from the partnership, and Mr. Cathcart of Drum, W.S., and Mr. Robert Cadell were assumed. The former of these dying, the year after Mr. Cadell was left sole partner. Mr. Constable was twice married, first, in 1795, to Mary, daughter of Mr. David Willison, a highly respected printer, whose office was situated in Craig’s Close, and where the Edinburgh Review was first printed (she died in lS14), and secondly, in 1818, to Charlotte, daughter of John Neale, Esq., who survived him. His family consisted of three sons and three daughters. Of the former, Thomas, the second son, still survives, and is not only the representative but the biographer of his illustrious father.’ The eldest daughter, Elizabeth, was married in 1817 to his partner, Mr. Robert Cadell. On leaving his ancient domicile in the High Street, Mr. Constable resided for several years at Craigcrook (afterwards the residence of Lord Jeffrey), and latterly in Park Place, where he died. “Archibald Constable and his Literary Correspondents : a Memorial by his Son, Thomas Constable,” 3 vols., 1873.
Volume 9 Page 634
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