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tune 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 now subsisted fifty years, and still continues 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. That they were not restrained by 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, and obtained, though not an equal, yet a considerable salet.
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 performers. The first prize was 501. for which, being but newly ac
* This was said in the beginning of the year 1781; and may be now repeated.
† The London Magazine ceased to exist in 1785.
quainted with wealth, and thinking the influence of 501. 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 camé, no name was seen among the writers that had ever been seen before; the universities and several private men rejected the province of assigning the prize*. 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 errours. 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 1751 his wife died of an asthma. He seemed not at first much affected by her death, but in a few days lost his sleep and his appetite, which he never recovered; but after having lingered about two years, with many vicissitudes of ainendment and relapse, fell by drinking acid liquors into a diarrhea, and afterwards into a kind of lethargick insensibility, in which one of the last acts of reason which he exerted was fondly to press the hand that is now writing this little narrative. He died on the 10th of January, 1754, having just concluded the twentythird annual collection t.
* 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 Gent. Mag. vol. vi. p. 59.
† Mr. Cave was buried in the church of St. James,Clerkenwell, without an epitaph ; but the following inscription at Rugby,
He was a man of a 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 a total abstinence both from strong liquors and animal food. From animal food he abstained about four years, and from
of Dr. Hawkesworth, is here transcribed from the Anecdotes of Mr. Bowyer, p. 88.
Near this place lies
The body of
Late of this parish;
Aged 79 years.
Content and Wealth.
By the native force of his own genius,
Assisted only by a classical education,
Of this Town,
strong liquors much longer ; but the gout continued unconquered, perhaps unabated.
His resolution and perseverance were very uncommon; in whatever he undertook, neither expense 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 surprised 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
Here also lies
And, in gratitude to his benefactor,
ning hen exe
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, it was not insidious, and though deliberate, not pertinacious.
His mental faculties were slow. He saw little at a time, but that little he saw with great exact
He was long in finding the right, but seldom failed to find it at last. His affections were not easily gained, and his opinions not quickly discovered. His reserve, as it
His reserve, as it might hide his faults, concealed his virtues : but such he was, as they who best knew him have most lamented.