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ESSAYS AND ILLUSTRATIONS

REFERRED TO IN THE

LITERARY ANECDOTES

OF THE

EIGHTEENTH CENTURY.

No. I.

EDWARD CAVE.

(See vol. II. p. 44; vol. IV. p. 95.)

« THE curiosity of the publick seems to demand the history of every man who has by whatever means risen to eminence ; and few lives would have more readers than that of the Compiler of The Gentleman's Magazine, if all those who received improvement or entertainment from him should retain so much kindness for their Benefactor as to enquire after his conduct and character.

EDWARD CAVE was born at Newton in Warwickshire, Feb. 29, 1691. His father was the youngest son of Mr. Edward Cave, of Cave's in the Hole, a lone house, on the Street-road in the same county, which took its name from the occupier ; but, having concurred with his elder brother in cutting off the intail of a small hereditary estate, by which act it VoL: V.

B

was

was lost from the family, he was reduced to follow in Rugby the trade of a shoe-maker. He was a man of good reputation in his narrow circle, and remarkable for strength and rustic intrepidity. He lived to a great age, and was in his latter years supported by his son.

It was fortunate for Edward Cave, that, having a disposition to literary attainments, he was not cut off by the poverty of his parents from opportunities of cultivating his faculties. The school of Rugby, in which he had, by the rules of its foundation, a right to be instructed, was then in high reputation, under the Rev. Mr. Holyock, to whose care most of the neighbouring families, even of the highest rank, entrusted their sons. He had judgment to discover, and, for some time, generosity to encourage the genius of young Cave ; and was so well pleased with his quick progress in the school, that'he declared his resolution to breed him for the University, and recommend him as a servitor to some of his scholars of high rank. But prosperity which depends upon the caprice of others is of short duration. Cave's superiority in literature exalted him to an invidious familiarity with boys who were far above him in rank and expectations; and, as in unequal associations it always happens, whatever unlucky prank was played, was imputed to Cave. When any mischief, great or small, was done, though perhaps others boasted of the stratagem when it was successful, yet upon detection or miscarriage the fault was sure to fall upon poor Cave.

At last his mistress, by some invisible means, lost a favourite cock. Cave was with little examination stigmatized as the thief or murderer ; not because he was more apparently criminal than others, but because he was more easily reached by vindictive justice. From that time Mr. Holyock withdrew his kindness visibly from him, and treated him with harshness, which the crime in its utmost aggravation could scarcely desérve, and which surely he would have

forborne,

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