Which of the following best describes the function of the highlighted phrase in the context of the passage as a whole? A. It points out the most obvious implications of Johnson's letter to his patron. B. It suggests a motivation for Johnson's rejection of Chesterfield's patronage. C. It provides information that qualifies the assertion that Johnson's letter sharply defined of the end of a publishing era. D. It provides a possible defense for Chesterfield's alleged neglect of Johnson. E. It refutes the notion the patrons are found primarily among the nobility.