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tained so much skill in his art, and gained so much the confidence of his master, that he was sent without any superintendant to conduct a printing-house at Norwich, and publish a weekly paper. In this undertaking he met with some opposition, which produced a public controversy, and procured young Cave reputation as a writer.
His master died before his apprenticeship was expired ; and, as he was not able to bear the perverseness of his mistress, he quitted her house upon a stipulated allowance, and married a young widow, with whom he lived at Bow. When his apprenticeship was over, he worked as a journeyman at the printing-house of Mr. Barber *, a man much distinguished and employed by the Tories, whose principles had at that time so much prevalence with Cave, that he was for some years a writer in ‘Mist's Journal,' which (though he afterwards obtained, by his wife's interest, a small place in the Post-office) he for some time continued. But, as interest is powerful, and conversation, however mean, in time persuasive, he by degrees inclined to another party f ; in which, however, he was always moderate, though steady and determined.
When he was admitted into the Post-office, he still continued, at his intervals of attendance, to exercise his trade, or to employ himself with some typographical business. He corrected the “Gradus ad Parnassum,” and was liberally rewarded by the Company of Stationers. He wrote an account of
* Of whom, see before, vol. I. p. 73.
+ This by no means confined to persons that move in such humble spheres. The appreciating author of the “Decline, &c.” has not only told us, p. 81. c. III. n. 15, that “ officers of the police or revenue easily adapt themselves to any form of government;" but, for fear lest a doctrine that adds so little to the Dignity of Human Nature (on which modern Philosophers lay so much stress) should not be readily admitted, has even condescended to furnish an instance of a person deep in the schemes of Opposition one week, and the next taking his seat at the Board of Trade and Plantations as a Lord thereof." T. F.
the Criminals, which had for some time a conside. rable sale; and published many little pamphlets that aceident brought into his hands, of which it would be very difficult to recover the memory. By the correspondence which his place in the Post-office facilitated, he procured country news-papers, and sold their intelligence to a journalist of London for a guinea a week.
He was afterwards raised to the office of Clerk of the Franks, in which he acted with great spirit and firmness; and often stopped franks which were given by Members of Parliament to their friends, because he thought such extension of a peculiar right illegal. This raised many complaints ; and having stopped, among others, a frank given to the old Duchess of Marlborough by Mr. Walter Plummer, he was cited before the House, as for breach of privilege, and accused, I suppose very unjustly, of opening letters to detect them. He was treated with great harshness and severity ; but, declining their questions by pleading his oath of secrecy, was at last dismissed. And it must be recorded to his honour, that when he was ejected from his office, he did not think himself discharged from his trust, but continued to refuse to his nearest friends
any information about the management of the office.
By this constancy of diligence, and diversification of employment, he in time collected a sum sufficient for the purchase of a small printing-office, and began The Gentleman's Magazine, a periodical pamphlet, of which the scheme is known wherever the English language is spoken. To this undertaking he owed the affluence in which he passed the last twenty years of his life, and the fortune which he left behind him, which, though large, had been yet larger, had he not rashly and wantonly impaired it by innumerable projects, of which I know not that ever one succeeded.
The Gentleman's Magazine, which has already subsisted three and twenty years, and still continues
equally equally to enjoy the favour of the world *, is one of the most successful and lucrative pamphlets which literary history has upon record, and therefore deserves, in this narrative, particular notice.
Mr. Cave, when he formed the project, was far from expecting the success which he found ; and others had so little prospect of its consequence, that, though he had for several years talked of his plan among printers and booksellers, none of them thought it worth the trial up. That they were not restrained by their virtue from the execution of another man's design, was sufficiently apparent as soon as that design began to be gainful ; for in a few years a multitude of magazines arose, and perished: only The London Magazine, supported by a powerful association of booksellers, and circulated with all the art, and all the cunning of trade, exempted itself from the general fate of Cave's invaders,
* This was written at the beginning of 1754, and it may still with justice be said, that The Gentleman's Magazine, after a period of almost eighty years, stands foremost for literary reputation, as the respectable Correspondence it uniformly continues to enjoy abundantly evinces.
t'" The invention of this new species of publication may be considered as something of an epocha in the Literary History of this Country. The periodical publications before that time were almost wholly confined to political transactions, and to foreign and domestic occurrences. But the Magazines have opened a way for every kind of enquiry and information. The intelligence and discussion contained in them are very extensive and various ; and they have been the means of diffusing a general habit of reading through the Nation; which, in a certain degree, hath enlarged the public understanding. Many young Authors, who have afterwards risen to considerable eminence in the literary world, have here made their first attempts in composition. Here, too, are preserved a multitude of curious and useful hints, observations, and facts, which otherwise might have never appeare: ; or, if they had appeared in a more evanescent form, would have incurred the danger of being lost. If it were not an invidious task, the history of them would be no incurious or unentertaining subject. The Magazines that unite utility with entertainment are undoubtedly preferable to those. (if there have been any such) which have only a view to idle and frivolous amusement."
and obtained, though not an equal, yet a considerable sale *.
1 Cave now began to aspire to popularity ; and, being a greater lover of poetry than any other art, he sometimes offered subjects for poems, and proposed prizes for the best performances. The first prize was fifty pounds, for which, being but newly acquainted with wealth, and thinking the influence of fifty pounds extremely great, he expected the first Authors of the kingdom to appear as competitors ; and offered the allotment of the prize to the Universities. But, when the time came, no name was seen among the writers that had been ever seen before ; the Universities and several private men rejected the province of assigning the prize f. At all this Mr. Cave wondered for a while; but his natural judgment, and a wider acquaintance with the world, soon cured him of his astonishment, as of many other prejudices and errors. Nor have many. men been seen raised by accident or industry to sudden riches, that retained less of the meanness of their former state.
He continued to improve his Magazine, and had the satisfaction of seeing its success proportionate to his diligence, till in the year 1751 his wife died of an asthma ; with which though he seemed not at first much affected, yet in a few days he lost his sleep and his appetite; and, lingering two years, fell, by drinking acid liquors, into a diarrhæa, and afterwards into a kind of lethargic insensibility, in which one of the last acts of reason he exerted, was fondly to press the hand that is now writing this little narrative. He died on January 10, 1754, æt. 63, having just concluded the twenty-third annual collection.
* This was actually the case in 1754 ; but The London Maga. zine ceased to exist in 1785. See vol. IV. p. 95.
† The determination was left to Dr. Cromwell Mortimer, and Dr. Birch ; and by the latter the award was made, which may be seen in the Magazine for the year 1736, vol. VI. p. 59.
He was a man of large stature, not only tall but bulky, and was, when young, of remarkable strength and activity. He was generally healthful, and capable of much labour and long application ; but in the latter years of his life was afflicted with the gout, which he endeavoured to cure or alleviate by å total abstinence both from strong liquors and animal food. From animal food he abstained about four years, and from strong liquors much longer ; but the gout continued unconquered, perhaps unabated.
His resolution and perseverance were very uncommon ; whatever he undertook, neither expence nor fatigue were able to repress him ; but his constancy was calm, and, to those who did not know him, appeared faint and languid ; but he always went forward, though he moved slowly.
The same chilness of mind was observable in his conversation ; he was watching the minutest accent of those whom he disgusted by seeming inattention ; and his visitant was surprized when he came a second time, by preparations to execute the scheme which he supposed never to have been heard.
He was, consistently with this general tranquillity of mind, a tenacious maintainer, though not a clamorous demander of his right. In his youth, having summoned his fellow-journeymen to concert measures against the oppression of their masters, he mounted a kind of rostrum. and harangued them so efficaciously, that they determined to resist all future invasions. And when the Stamp Officers demanded to stamp the last half sheet of the Magazines, Mr. Cave alone defeated their claim, to which the proprietors of the Rival Magazines would meanly have submitted.
He was a friend rather easy and constant, than zealous and active; yet many instances might be given, where both his money and his diligence were employed liberally for others. His enmity was in like manner cool and deliberate ; but, though cool,