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quality; the country is on all sides beautiful, and the climate pre-eminently healthy, and in a most peculiar degree restorative to enfeebled constitutions. For myself, I can say that through the whole of my long residence at Tunbridge Wells I never experienced a single hour's indisposition that confined me to my bed, though I believe I may say with truth, that till then I had encountered as many fevers, and had as many serious struggles for my life, as have fallen to most men's lots in the like terms of years.
Some people can sit down in a place, and live so entirely to themselves and the small circle of their acquaintance, as to have little or no concern about the people amongst whom they reside. The contrary to this has ever been my habit, and wheresoever my lot in life has cast me, something more than curiosity has always induced me to mix with the mass, and interest myself in the concerns of my neighbors and fellow subjects, however humble in degree; and from the contemplation of their characters, from my acquaintance with their hearts and my assured possession of their affections, I can truly declare that I have derived, and still enjoy, some of the most gratifying sensations that reflection can bestow. The Men of Kent, properly so called, are a peculiar race, well worthy of the attention and study of the philanthropist. There is not only a distinguishing cast of humor, but a dignity of mind and principle about them, which is the very clue that will lead you into their hearts, if rightly understood; but, if mistaken or misused, you will find them quick enough to conceive, and more than forward enough to express their proud contempt and resolute defiance of you. I have said in my first volume of 'Arundel,' page 220, that they are 'a race distinguishable above all their fellow subjects for the beauty of their persons, the dignity of their sentiments, the courage of their hearts, and the elegance of their manner. Many years have passed since I gave this testimony, and the full experience I have now had of the men of Kent, ever my kind friends, and now become my comrades and fellow soldiers, confirms every word that I have said, or can say, expressive of their worthiness, or my esteem.
The house which I rented of Mr. John Fry, at that time master of the Sussex Tavern, was partly new and partly attached to an old foundation; it was sufficient for my family, and when I had fitted it up with part of my furniture, and all my pictures from Portland Place, it had more the air of comfort and less the appearance of a lodging-house than most in the place; it was by no means the least of its recommendations, that it was well appointed with offices and accommodations for those old and
ILL HEALTH OF MY WIFE.
faithful domestics, who continued in my service. There was a square patch of ground in front, of about half an acre, fenced and planted round with trees, which I converted into a flower garden and encircled with a sand walk; it had now become the only lot of English terra firma over which I had a legal right, and I treated it with a lover-like attention; it soon produced me excellent wall-fruit of my own rearing, and at last I found a little friendly spot, the only one as yet discovered, in which my laurels flourished. My true and trusty servant, Thomas Camis (more than ever attached, because more than ever necessary to me), had a passion for a flower-garden, and he quickly made it a bed of sweets, and a display of beauty. It was now, unhappily for me, too evident that the once excellent constitution of my beloved wife, my best friend, and, under Providence, the preserver of my life, was sinking under the effects which her late sufferings and exertions in attending upon me had entailed upon her; I had tried the sea-coast, and other places before I settled here, but in this climate only could she breathe with freedom and experience repose; the boundary of our little garden was in general the boundary of her walk, and beyond it her strength but rarely suffered her to expatiate; so long as she could have recourse to her horse, she made a struggle for fresh air and exercise, but when she had the misfortune to lose her favorite Spaniard, so invaluable and so wonderfully attached to her, she despaired of replacing him, and I can well believe there was not in all England an animal that could. He had belonged to the King of Spain, and came, by what means I have forgot, into the possession of Count Joseph Kaunitz, who gave him to Mrs. Cumberland; he was a most perfect war-horse, though upon the scale of a galloway, and whilst his eyes menaced everything that was fiery and rebellious, nothing living was more sweet and gentle in his nature; he could not speak, for he had not the organs of speech, but he had dog-like sagacity, and understood the words that were addressed to him, and the caresses that were bestowed upon him. Being entire, and of course prohibited from passing out of Spain, I am persuaded some villanous measures were practised on the frontiers towards him in his journey, for he died in agonies under so inveterate a strangury, that though I applied all the remedies that an excellent surgeon could suggest for his relief, nothing could save him, and he expired, whilst resting his head on my shoulder, his eyes being fixed upon me with that intelligent and piteous expression, which seemed to say: Can you do nothing to assuage my pain? I thank God I never angrily and unjustifiably chastised but one horse to my remembrance, and that creature (a barb given to me by Lord
Halifax), never whilst it had life forgave me, or would be reconciled to let me ride it in any peace, though it carried my wife with all imaginable gentleness. I disdain to make any apology for this prattle, nor am willing to suppose it can be uninteresting to a benevolent reader; for those who are not such, I have no concern. The man who is cruel to his beast is odious, and I am inclined to think there may be cruelty expressed even in the treatment of things inanimate; in short, I believe that I am destined to die, as I have lived, with all that family weakness about me, which will hardly suffer me to chastise offence, or tell a fellow creature he is a rascal, for fear the intimation should give him pain. I have been wrongfully and hardly dealt with; I have had my feelings wounded without mercy; I declare to God I never knowingly wronged a fellow creature, or designedly offended; if, whilst I am giving my own history, I am to give my own character, this in a few words is the truth; I am too old, too conscientious, too well persuaded and too fearful of a judg ment to come, to dare to go to death with a lie in my mouth; let the censors of my actions, and the scrutinizers of my thoughts confute me if they can.1
The children, who were inmate with me, when I settled at Tunbridge Wells, were my second daughter Sophia, and the infant Marianne, born to me in Spain; my three surviving sons, Richard, Charles, and William, were serving in the 1st regiment of guards, the 10th foot, and the royal navy. My eldest daughter, Elizabeth, had married the Lord Edward Bentinck, brother to the Duke of Portland, and at that time member for the county of Nottingham; of him were I to attempt at saying what my experience of his character and my affection for his person would suggest, I should only punish his sensibility, and fall far short of doing justice to my own. He is too well esteemed and beloved to need my praise, and how truly and entirely I love him is, I trust, too well known to require professions.
We do not always see ourselves as others see us. And while we may give Cumberland credit for sincerity, in this general exculpation of his character, it is proper to mention that while he was esteemed both for his honorable and benevolent principles, it was known that he was apt to be detractive; a reputation by no means desirable, and under which Cumberland was very restive. 2 It is said to have been one of Cumberland's weaknesses, and who is without them, to regard the higher ranks with overweening veneration. Sir Walter Scott, it is well known, and lamented by the most eminent admirers of his literary labors, unlike Johnson, who always asserted his own dignity, as a man and scholar, but, like Cumberland, evinced something more than proper deference to blood and rank. The first time that I was in company with Mr. Cumberland,' says Taylor, 'was at the Chaplain's table, in St. James's Palace. Among the party was Dr. or Mr. Jackson, one of his majesty's chaplains. Jackson, whose character resembled that of Mr. Cumberland in veneration for
I was now within an hour's ride of Stonelands, where Lord Sackville resided for part of the year, and as this was amongst the motives that led me to locate myself at Tunbridge Wells, so it was always one of my chief gratifications to avail myself of my vicinity to so true and dear a friend.
Being now dismissed from office, I was at leisure to devote myself to that passion which, from my earliest youth, had never wholly left me, and I resorted to my books and my pen, as to friends who had animated me in the morning of my day, and were now to occupy and uphold me in the evening of it. I had happily a collection of books, excellent in their kind, and perfectly adapted to my various and discursive course of reading. In almost every margin I recognized the hand-writing of my grandfather, Bentley, and wherever I traced his remains, they were sure guides to direct and gratify me in my fondness for philological researches. My mind had been harassed in a variety of ways, but the spirit that, from resources within itself, can find a never-failing fund of occupation, will not easily be broken by events that do not touch the conscience. That portion of mental energy which nature had endowed me with, was not impaired; on the contrary, I took a larger and more various range of study than I had ever done before, and collaterally, with other compositions, began to collect materials for those essays, which I afterwards completed and made public under the title of 'The Observer.' I sought no other dissipation than the indulgence of my literary faculties could afford me, and, in the mean time, I kept silence from complaint, sensible how ill such topics recommend a man to society in general, and how very nearly most men's show of pity is connected with contempt.
I had already published, in two volumes, my 'Anecdotes of Eminent Painters in Spain.' I am flattered to believe it was an interesting and curious work, to readers of a certain sort, for there had been no such regular history of the Spanish school
the higher ranks, began with asking how Lord Edward Bentinck was, that nobleman having married a daughter of Mr. Cumberland. Mr. Cumberland expatiated upon the health of his lordship, and nothing was heard but about his lordship for some time, his lordship's title adorning every inquiry, and closing every answer. At length, when his lordship had sufficiently wearied the company, Lady Edward was introduced in turn, and engrossed nearly as much of the conversation as his lordship, with as much repetition of her ladyship's title. When these subjects were exhausted, it became Mr. Cumberland's turn to inquire; and as Jackson was patronized by the Duke of Leeds, Mr. Cumberland, of course, thought it his duty to inquire after his grace. His grace then was echoed over the table as frequently as had been his lordship and her ladyship.' -Records of my Life, p. 327.
in our language, and when I added to it the authentic catalogue of the paintings in the royal palace at Madrid, I gave the world what it had not seen before, as that catalogue was the first that had been made, and was by permission of the King of Spain, undertaken at my request, and transmitted to me after my return to England.
When these 'Anecdotes' had been for some short time before the public, I was surprised to find myself arraigned for having introduced a passage, in my second volume, grossly injurious to the reputation of Sir Joshua Reynolds, and, I am sorry to add, that I had reason to believe that the misconception of my motives for the insertion of that passage was adopted by Sir Joshua himself. The charge consists in my having quoted a passage from a publication of Azara's, which, but for my noticing it, might have never met the observation of the English reader. I own I thought this charge too ridiculous to merit any answer, for I had not gone out of my way to seek Azara's publication; it was in the shops at London, and there I chanced upon it and purchased it. Azara was the friend of Mengs, and treats professedly of his character and compositions. A work of this sort was in no degree likely to preserve its incognito, neither had it so done before it came into my hands.
The following extract from my 2d vol. p. 206, comprises every word that has any reference to Sir Joshua Reynolds, and I am persuaded it cannot fail to acquit me in the judgment of every one, who reads it, most clearly and completely-this it is- Whether Mengs really thought with contempt of art, which was inferior to his own, I will not pretend to decide; but that he was apt to speak contemptuously of artists superior to himself, I am inclined to believe. Azara tells us that he pronounced of the academical lectures of our Reynolds, that they were calculated to mislead young students into error, teaching nothing but those superficial principles, which he plainly avers are all that the author himself knows of the art he professesDel libro moderno del Sr Reynold, Ingles, decia que es una obra, que puede conducir los Juvenes al error; posque se queda en los principios superficiales, que conoce solamente a quel autor. Azara immediately proceeds to say that Mengs was of a temperament colerico y adusto, and that his bitter and satirical turn created him infinitos agraviados y quejosos. When his historian and friend says this, there is no occasion for me to repeat the remark. If the genius of Mengs had been capable of producing a composition equal to that of the tragic and pathetic Ugolino, I am persuaded such a sentence as the above would never have passed his lips; but flattery made him vain, and sickness ren