William Tait was born in Edinburgh on 11 May 1793. He attended Edinburgh University briefly with the intention of following a law career and was articled to a Writer to the Signet. However he abandoned that path and became a bookseller with his brother, and began publishing. His principal works published were Brown's Philosophy of the human mind, Carlyle's German romance, and Tytler's History of Scotland . He is most well known for the literary and radical political Tait's Edinburgh magazine which first appeared in April 1832 and ran until December 1864. Contributors to the publication included John Stuart Mill, Cobden and Bright. Tait's shop was a meeting place for Edinburgh notables. William Tait retired from business in 1848 and he died at his Melrose estate of Prior Bank on 4 October 1864.
From the guide to the Letters of William Tait (1793-1864), 1832-1853, (Edinburgh University Library)