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Part 7: Correspondence and Papers, 1825-1846, of Robert Cadell
(NLS Mss 744-745, 793-803, 15980, 21001-21060, 21067-21071)

“As ‘a thorough man of business’, he was the first to see after the crash that the man who became Scott’s publisher could pay off Scott’s debts and make his own fortune, and Scott’s publisher he duly became.”
W E K Anderson
writing in the Introduction to The Journal of Sir Walter Scott (1972)

Described by Scott as “a faithful pilot”, it was Robert Cadell who emerged from the stormy waters of 1826 and charted a course for Scott’s financial salvation. Picking up the pieces following the bankruptcy of Constable & Co, Cadell tied himself to the renewed literary endeavours of Scott who was driven to write five novels, one collection of short stories, one play, a nine volume Life of Napoleon, a two volume History of Scotland, four series of Tales of a Grandfather, two volumes of essays, and a grand Magnum Opus edition of his works in just six years. This industry wiped some £50,000 off Scott’s total debts and turned
R Cadell & Company into a very profitable concern.

When Scott died in 1832 it was the end of an era, but through a deal with Lockhart, Cadell purchased Scott’s copyrights in 1847, finally clearing Scott’s debts, and Cadell continued to keep The Great Unknown in print.

The Cadell papers directly complement those of Constable & Co. We include: Correspondence of R Cadell & Co, 1825-1831; Account Books, 1829-1846; Sales Book of Scott’s life and works, 1842-1846; Correspondence of Basil Hall, 1824-1841 and Family Correspondence. There is also a twenty five volume sequence of diaries by Cadell, 1824-1849, a diary of a visit to France, and details of visits to London.


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