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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume XI. The Period of the French Revolution.

XIV. Book Production and Distribution, 1625–1800

§ 21. Cadell, Strahan

Thomas Cadell, too, the successor of Andrew Millar, celebrated the completion of Gibbon’s Decline and Fall, in 1788, by a literary dinner at his house. Cadell, who was partner with William Strahan in many of his more important undertakings, was for nearly a quarter of a century at the head of his profession, and his name is associated with the leading historical writers of the time: Hume, Robertson, Gibbon, Blackstone, Adam Smith. This was a golden age for successful writers, and remuneration was on an unprecedented scale. For his History of Charles V, Robertson received £4500, and for his dull but popular history, Robert Henry was paid £3300; Hume’s History is said to have brought him upwards of £5000, and Gibbon had two-thirds of the very handsome profits on his History; Cadell and Strahan paid John Hawkesworth £6000 for his Account of voyagesin the Southern Hemisphere, and gave Hugh Blair £1100 for his three volumes of Sermons; and Charles Elliot, the Edinburgh bookseller, was venturesome enough to give William Smellie a thousand guineas for his Philosophy of Natural History when, according to Lackington, only the heads of the chapters were written.

At the end of the eighteenth century, the third Thomas Longman had recently entered on his successful career; the theological house of Rivington was in the hands of Francis and Charles Rivington, grandsons of the founder; Thomas Cadell, the younger, had succeeded his father, who was now enjoying well-earned leisure; the firm of Edward and Charles Dilly was represented by the surviving partner, Charles; George Robinson, the “king of the booksellers,” had yet a year to reign over his huge business in Paternoster row; and John Murray, lately come of age, had just assumed control of the business in Fleet street which his father, the first John Murray, had acquired in 1768.