Young Sam Johnson


Samuel Johnson. Letter to Edward Cave. Nov. 25, 1734. Manuscript. MS Hyde 1 (17)

Still seeking a way to establish himself in a career, Johnson writes to the publisher of the Gentleman's Magazine, Edward Cave (1691-1754), under the pretext of representing someone unnamed wishing to write for the magazine, presumably because his own name carries no weight:

As You appear no less sensible than Your Readers of the defects of your Poetical Article, you will not be displeased, if, in order to the improvement of it, I communicate to You the sentiments of a person, who will undertake on reasonable terms sometimes to fill a column.

Cave apparently did not reply to this curious missive, but by 1738 Johnson would become a regular contributor and worked for Cave for several years.