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by [?]

The Gentleman’s Magazine, which has now subsisted fifty years, and still continues to enjoy the favour of the world [60], 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 sale [61].

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 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 ever been seen before; the universities and several private men rejected the province of assigning the prize. At all this Mr. Cave wondered for awhile; 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 amendment and relapse, fell, by drinking acid liquors, into a diarrhoea, 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 twenty-third annual collection [62].

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 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

Assisted only by a classical education,
Which he received at the Grammar school
Of this Town,
Planned, executed, and established
A literary work, called
Whereby he acquired an ample fortune,
The whole of which devolved to his family,
Here also lies
The body of WILLIAM CAVE,
Second son of the said JOSEPH CAVE,
Who died May 2, 1757, aged 62 years;
And who, having survived his elder brother,
Inherited from him a competent estate;
And, in gratitude to his benefactor,
Ordered this monument to perpetuate his memory.