Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Davies, William (d.1820)

DAVIES, WILLIAM (d. 1820), book-seller, was for many years partner with Thomas Cadell the younger [q. v.] He held an important position in the employment of the elder Cadell, when he was selected by him in 1793 as a guide for his youthful son in the management of the business thenceforward carried on under the name of Cadell and Davies. The firm continued the former prosperity of the house of Cadell. The fourth to the eighth editions of Boswell's ‘ Life of Johnson’ were published by them, but G. Steevens, writing to Bishop Percy 9 Sept. 1797, proclaims that Cadell and Davies, ‘in spite of all their boasts, are not allowed to be at the head of their trade in the line of publication’ (Nichols, Illustrations, vii. 30). Nichols speaks of Davies as possessing superior abilities and as a liberal and straightforward man of business. These qualities were joined to a kindly disposition but rather pompous manner. He was for many years one of the stockkeepers of the Stationers' Company, and died 28 April 1820, leaving his family less well provided for than might have been expected from his commercial position. His wife, Mrs. Jessie Davies, died at Bushey, Hertfordshire, 14 Oct. 1854, aged 76.

[Nichols's Lit. Anecd. vi. 442; Nichols's Illustrations, viii. 493; Timperley's Encyclopædia, p. 945.]

H. R. T.