1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Cave, Edward

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CAVE, EDWARD (1691–1754), English printer, was born at Newton, Warwickshire, on the 27th of February 1691. His father, Joseph Cave, was of good family, but the entail of the family estate being cut off, he was reduced to becoming a cobbler at Rugby. Edward Cave entered the grammar school of that town, but was expelled for robbing the master’s hen-roost. After many vicissitudes he became apprentice to a London printer, and after two years was sent to Norwich to conduct a printing house and publish a weekly paper. While still a printer he obtained a place in the post office, and was promoted to be clerk of the franks. He was at this time engaged in supplying London newsletters to various country papers; and his enemies, who had twice summoned him before the House of Commons for breach of privilege, now accused him of opening letters to obtain his news, and he was dismissed the service. With the capital which he had saved, he set up a small printing office at St John’s Gate, Clerkenwell, which he carried on under the name of R. Newton. He had long formed a scheme of a magazine “to contain the essays and intelligence which appeared in the two hundred half-sheets which the London press then threw off monthly,” and had tried in vain to persuade some publisher to take it up. In 1731 he himself put it into execution, and began the Gentleman’s Magazine (see Periodicals), of which he was the editor, under the pseudonym “Sylvanus Urban, Gent.” The magazine had a large circulation and brought a fortune to the projector. In 1732 he began to issue reports of the debates in both Houses of Parliament. He commissioned friends to note the speeches, which he published with the initial and final letters of personal names. In 1738 Cave was censured by parliament for printing the king’s answer to an address before it had been announced by the speaker. From that time he called his reports the debates of a “parliament in the empire of Lilliput” (see Reporting). To piece together and write out the speeches for this publication was Samuel Johnson’s first literary employment. In 1747 Cave was reprimanded for publishing an account of the trial of Lord Lovat, and the reports were discontinued till 1752. He died on the 10th of January 1754. Cave published Dr Johnson’s Rambler, and his Irene, London and Life of Savage, and was the subject of a short biography by him.