James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879)

James Clerk-Maxwell : [obituary]

                    of Edinburgh, Session 1879–80.


and foreseeing in the works of new writers, not only what was likely
to be acceptable to the public, but what was essentially good in itself.
During his thirty-four years of editorship and his twenty-nine years
of publishing, he is said to have hardly ever made a mistake, while
he frequently accepted works which had been rejected by other pub-
lishers, because he saw their merit, and the event proved him to
have been right. In business transactions he was at once prudent
and liberal, and always exhibited the qualities of a perfect gentle-
man. The result was a goodly and brilliant galaxy of great names
in literature, who were his clients, and whose immortal works were
first brought before the world under his auspices. The Royal
Society of Edinburgh, one of whose objects is the encouragement
of literature, must ever honour one who has been so faithful and
valuable a servant and minister of the muses. And this Society,
together with Edinburgh and the country at large, must deplore the
loss of John Blackwood, than whom few men could have been less
well spared.

                 JAMES CLERK-MAXWELL. By Professor Tait.

[JAMES CLERK-MAXWELL, born in 1831, was the only son of John
Clerk-Maxwell of Middlebie. His grandfather, Captain James
Clerk, was a cadet of the old Scottish family of Clerk of Penicuick,
being a younger brother of Sir John Clerk of Penicuick. Captain
James Clerk had two sons and a daughter–the Right Hon. Sir
George Clerk of Penicuick, Bart., the above John Clerk-Maxwell,
and Isabella, who married James Wedderburn, Solicitor-General of
Scotland. Sir George Clerk succeeded to the estate of Penicuick,
and the younger brother, John, to the estate of Nether Corsock,
part of the estate of Middlebie. This estate had come into the
family through the marriage in a former generation of a cousin of
the Penicuicks with a Miss Maxwell. Their daughter married Sir
George Clerk (grandfather of the present baronet) and was Lady
Clerk-Maxwell. John Clerk assumed the name of Maxwell on
succeeding to the property, which by the entail of Penicuick could
not be held by the owner of that estate. John Clerk-Maxwell was
called to the Scottish bar, but seldom practised, and he was a well-
known member of this Society. He lost his wife soon after his


2 R