In 1791, when he calculated he was selling about one hundred thousand volumes each year at a profit of 4,000l. (Memoirs, p. 399), he published the first edition of his well-known ‘Memoirs,’ which give an interesting picture of bookselling life. The ‘original humourous stories and droll anecdotes’ with which the book is disfigured are said to have been furnished by the pen of a friend (P. Pindar, Ode to the Hero of Finsbury Square, p. 30). In 1794 appeared ‘The second volume of Lackington's Catalogue, from September 1793 to March 1794, consisting of above one hundred thousand volumes.’ His second wife, Dorcas, died 27 Feb. 1795, aged 45 (Gent. Mag. 1795, pt. i. p. 173), and on 11 June, with his usual promptness, he married a relative of hers (ib. p. 526). He is said to have advertised for a wife with 20,000l. (P. Pindar, Ode, p. 30). Lackington made over the whole of his part in the business to his cousin, George Lackington [q. v.], in 1798, retaining ‘no share or interest in it’ (Confessions, Pref. p. vii). He thereupon took up his residence at Thornbury in Gloucestershire. In 1804 were published his ‘Confessions’ to make amends for having ‘publicly ridiculed a very large and respectable body of Christians.’ The book is much less interesting than his previous volume; some prurient and entirely irrelevant remarks about girls' boarding-schools are appended. He subsequently purchased two small estates in Alveston, and in 1805 erected a small chapel for the Wesleyan methodists. He became a local preacher. In the following year he removed to Taunton, and built and endowed another chapel. A dispute arose between him and the conference in 1810. Two years afterwards he went to Budleigh Salterton in Devonshire, where he also erected and endowed a chapel. He died at Budleigh on 22 Nov. 1815, in his seventieth year (Memoirs, 1827, pp. 345–7; Gent. Mag. 1815, pt. ii. p. 640).
Lackington was a vain but warm-hearted, shrewd man of business, whose first object in life was to make money. As soon as he had acquired a fortune he seems to have lost any love of books which he may have had. A portrait by Scott, after Keenan, is prefixed to the ‘Memoirs’ (1792). There is a different portrait by Goldar and memoir in the ‘New Wonderful Magazine’ (iii. 119–32). In Peter Pindar's ‘Ode’ (1795) a caricature represents the bookseller stepping into his carriage, which bears the motto, ‘Small profits do great things.’
His works are: 1. ‘Memoirs of the first Forty-five Years of the Life of James Lackington, the present Bookseller in Chiswell Street, Moorfields, London, written by himself in a Series of Letters to a Friend,’ London , 8vo. ‘A new edition, corrected and much enlarged,’ London, 1792, 8vo, portrait; further enlarged, eight editions to 1794. ‘Thirteenth edition, with index,’ London [1810?], sm. 8vo. A German version, ‘Anekdoten,’ from the fifth edition, was printed at Hamburg in 1795, sm. 8vo. 2. ‘The Confessions of J. Lackington, late Bookseller at the Temple of the Muses, to which are added two Letters on the bad Consequences of having Daughters educated at Boarding Schools,’ London, 1804, sm. 8vo; Nos. 1 and 2 (the last in abstract) form vol. xviii. of the ‘Autobiography’ series, 1827, sm. 8vo. ‘Lackington's Confessions rendered into Narrative by Allan Macleod [pseudonym],’ London, 1804, sm. 8vo, is an attack upon Lackington in the form of a running commentary on his ‘Confessions.’
[J. Lackington's Memoirs, 1792, and Confessions, 1804; C. Knight's Shadows of the Old Booksellers, 1865; two articles by A. L. Humphreys in Bookworm, May and June 1888; Humphreys's History of Wellington, 1889, 8vo; C. H. Timperley's Encyclopædia, 1842, p. 862; New Wonderful Mag. iii. 119–32; Nichols's Lit. Anecd. iii. 646, Illustrations, viii. 516; Gent. Mag. 1815 pt. ii. p. 640, 1812 pt. i. p. 673; Notes and Queries, 2nd ser. iii. 50; Biog. Dict. of Living Authors, 1816, p. 193.]
LA CLOCHE, JAMES (fl. 1668), natural son of Charles II, was born in Jersey in 1647, when his father was just seventeen. According to Charles, the boy's mother was ‘a young lady of one of the noblest families in his dominions.’ Her name is unknown. He was brought up as a protestant in France and Holland. In 1665 he was removed secretly to London; but his equivocal position caused him much disquietude there, and he returned of his own accord to the continent in 1667. He carried with him a formal acknowledgment of his parentage, signed and sealed by the king on 27 Sept. 1665, and a deed of settlement, dated 7 Feb. 1667, assigning to him a pension of 500l. In the first document Charles writes of him as ‘our natural son James Stuart,’ and states that he has borne various feigned names, and was now to take that of ‘De La Cloche du Bourg de Jersey.’ A few months afterwards he was received into the Roman catholic church at Hamburg, under the auspices, it would seem, of Queen Christina of Sweden, and in the latter part of the same year he entered the novitiate of the Jesuit Society at Rome under the name of James La Cloche, apparently with the knowledge and approval of Charles. In August 1668 the king, in search of some secret means of entering into communication with Rome,