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The Scottish Nation

AITKEN, JOHN, for some time editor of Constable’s Miscellany, was born on 25th March 1793, in the village of Camelon, Stirlingshire. His first situation was in the East Lothian bank, and soon after he was sent to the banking office of Mr. Park, Selkirk, brother of Mungo Park the traveller, where he remained for several years. He was afterwards appointed teller in the East Lothian bank, where he had formerly been. He subsequently removed to Edinburgh, and became a bookseller. Having early displayed a predilection for literature, he now resolved to follow the bent of his mind, and commenced editing ‘The Cabinet,’ an elegant selection of pieces in prose and verse, three volumes of which were published. The taste and judgment evinced in this publication recommended him to Mr. Archibald Constable, as the fittest person to undertake the editorship of his Miscellany; and though for a time the failure of Messrs. Constable and Company postponed the publication, when the work at last appeared, it was under Mr. Aitken’s management.

      On the death of Mr. Constable, he, in conjunction with Mr. Henry Constable and Messrs. Hurst, Chance, and Company, London, purchased the work, and continued editor till 1831, when some new arrangements rendered his retirement necessary. He afterwards became a printer on his own account, with some prospect of success; but having caught cold, which produced erysipelas in the head, he died on the 15th of February 1833, in the 39th year of his age, leaving a widow and four children. Mr. Aitken wrote a few pieces of poetry of uncommon beauty and sensibility ; of these, perhaps the most touching is the address to his children, prefixed to the third series of the Cabinet.—Obituary at the time.

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