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Author's Preface-His ancestors-Doctor Richard Cumberland-Doctor Richard

Bentley-Swift's Battle of the Books—Anecdotes of Bentley-Collins-Ilis controversy with Bentley-Roger Cotes-Character of Bentley—Mrs. Bentley - Richard Bentley, the younger–His connection with Horace WalpoleCharacter of Walpole—Elizabeth Bentley-Joanna Bentley, Cumberland's mother-Author's reflections-His boyhood-His teacher, Arthur KinsmanAnecdote of-Cumberland at school-Joshua Barnes—Warburton-Death of Dr. Bentley-Cumberland's success in his studies—Attempts English verse -His home-His mother forms his taste in poetry-Goes to WestminsterVincent Bourne-Warren Hastings-Colman-Hinchliffe, Smith, and Vincent -Dr. Nichols-Execution of Lords Kilmarnock and Balmerino—Anecdote of Selwyn-Progress of the rebels—Westminster school-Eton school-Edmund Ashby - Cumberland goes to the play-Garrick-Death of Cumberland's sister-Enters Trinity College.

At the close of the year 1804, whilst I am still in possession of my faculties, though full of years, I sit down to give a history of my life and writings. I do not undertake the task lightly, and without deliberation; for I have weighed the difficulties, and am prepared to meet them. I have lived so long in this world, mixed so generally with mankind, and written so voluminously and so variously, that I trust my motives cannot be greatly misunderstood, if, with strict attention to truth, and in simplicity of style, I pursue my narrative, saying nothing more of the immediate object of these memoirs, than in honor and in conscience I am warranted to say.

I shall use so little embellishment in this narrative that, if the reader is naturally candid he will not be disgusted; if he is easily amused he will not be disappointed.

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As I have been through life a negligent recorder of dates and cvents relating to myself, it is very possible I may fall into errors of memory as to the order and arrangement of certain facts and occurrences; but whilst I adhere to veracity in the relation of them, the trespass, I presume, will be readily overlooked.

Of many persons with whom I have had intercourse and connection, I shall speak freely and impartially. I know myself incapable of wantonly aspersing the characters of the living or the dead; but, though I will not indulge myself in conjectures, I will not turn aside from facts, and neither from affectation of candor, nor dread of recrimination, waive the privilege, which I claim for myself in every page of this history, of speaking the truth from my heart. I may not always say all that I could; but I will never knowingly say of any man what I should not.

As I am descended from ancestors illustrious for their piety, benevolence, and erudition, I will not say I am not vain of that distinction; but I will confess it would be a vanity, serving only to expose my degeneracy, were it accompanied with the inspiration of no worthier passion.

Doctor Richard Cumberland, who was consecrated Bishop of Peterborough in the year 1691, was my great grandfather. He was author of that excellent work entitled De Legibus Naturæ,' in which he effectually refutes the impious tenets of Hobbes; and whilst he was unambitiously fulfilling the simple functions of a parish priest in the town of Stamford, the revolution having taken place, search was made after tbe ablest Protestant divines to fill up vacancies in the hierarchy, and rally round their late endangered church. Without interest, and without a wish to emerge from his obscurity and retirement, this excellent man, the vindicator of the insulted laws of nature, received the first intelligence of his promotion from a paragraph in the public papers, and, being then sixty years old, was with difficulty persuaded to accept the offer when it came to him from authority. The persuasion of his friends, particularly Sir Orlando Bridgeman, at length overcame his repugnance; and to that see, though very moderately endowed, he forever after devoted himself

, and resisted every offer of translation, though repeatedly made, and earnestly recommended. To such of his friends who pressed an exchange upon him, he was accustomed to reply that Peterborough was his first espoused, and should be his only one; and, in fact, according to his principles, no church revenue could enrich him, for I have heard my father say that, at the end of every year, whatever overplus he found, upon a minute inspection of his accounts, was by him distributed to the poor, reserving only



one small deposit of twenty-five pounds in cash, found at his death in his bureau, with directions to employ it for the discharge of his funeral expenses; a sum, in his modest calculation, fully sufficient to commit his body to the earth.

Such was the humility of this truly Christian prelate, and such his disinterested sentiments as to the appropriation of his episcopal revenue. The wealthiest see could not have tempted him to accumulate, the poorest sufficed for his expenses, and of those he had to spare for the poor; yet he was hospitable in his plain and primitive style of living, and had a table ever open to his

a clergy and his friends. He had a sweetness and placidity of temper that nothing ever ruffled or disturbed. I know it cannot be the lot of human creature to attain perfection; yet so wonderfully near did this good man approach to consummate rectitude, that, unless benevolence may be carried to excess, no other fail. ing was ever known to have been discovered in his character. His chaplain, Archdeacon Payne, who married one of his daughters, and whom I am old enough to remember, makes this observation in the short sketch of the bishop's life which he has prefixed to his edition of 'The Sanchoniatho.' This and his other works are in the hands of the learned, and cannot need any effort on my part to elucidate what they so clearly display, the vast erudition and patient investigation of the author.

The death of this venerable prelate was, like his life, serene and undisturbed : at the extended age of eighty-six years and some months, as he was sitting in his library, he expired without a struggle, for he was found in the attitude of one asleep, with his cap fallen over his eyes, and a book in his hand, in which he had been reading. Thus, without the ordinary visitations of pain or sickness, it pleased God to terminate the existence of this exemplary man.

He possessed his faculties to the last, verifying the only claim he was ever heard to make as to mental endowments; for whilst he acknowledged himself to be gifted by nature with good wearing parts, he made no pretensions to quick and brilliant talents; and in that respect he seems to have estimated himself very truly, as we rarely find such meek and modest qualities as he possessed in men of warmer imaginations and a brighter glow of genius, with less solidity of understanding, and, of course, more liable to the influences of their passions.

Bishop Cumberland was the son of a respectable citizen of London, and educated at St. Paul's school, from whence he was admitted of Magdalen College in Cambridge, where he pursued his studies, and was elected fellow of that society, to wbich I

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bad the honor to present a copy of that portrait from which the print hereunto annexed was taken.'

In the oriental languages, in mathematics, and even in anatomy, he was deeply learned ; in short, his mind was fitted for elaborate and profound researches, as his works more fully testify. It is to be lamented that his famous work, 'De Legibus Naturæ,' was allowed to come before the public with so many and such glaring errors of the press, which his absence and considerable distance from London disabled him from correcting. I had a copy interleaved and corrected and amended throughout by Doctor Bentley, who, being on a visit to my father at his parsonage-house in Northamptonshire, undertook that kind office, and completed it most effectually. This book I gave, when last at Cambridge, to the library of Trinity College; and if by those means it shall find a passport to the University press, I shall have cause to congratulate myself for having so happily bestowed it.

Of Doctor Richard Bentley, my maternal grandfather, I shall next take leave to speak. Of him I have perfect recollection. His person, his dignity, his language, and his love, fixed my early attention, and stamped both his image and his words upon my memory. His literary works are known to all, his private character is still misunderstood by many; to that I shall confine myself, and, putting aside the enthusiasm of a descendant, I can assert, with the veracity of a biographer, that he was neither cynical, as some have represented him, nor overbearing and fastidious in the degree, as he has been described by many. Swift, when he foisted him into his vulgar 'Battle of the Books,' neither lowers Bentley's fame nor elevates his own; and the petulant poet, who thought he had hit his manner when he made him haughtily call to Walker for his hat, gave a copy as little like the character of Bentley as his translation is like the original of Homer. That Dr. Walker, vice-master of Trinity College, was the friend of my grandfather, and a frequent guest at his table, is true; but it was not in Doctor Bentley's nature to treat him with contempt, nor did his harmless character inspire it. As for the hat, I must acknowledge it was of formidable dimensions,

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· Cumberland's pleasing sketch of his paternal ancestor is justified by his contemporary reputation. He was a man of varied and profound learning, elevated moral sentiments, and unaffected humility. From the year 1658, memorable for the death of Cromwell, until he was raised to the Bishopric, in 1791, he discharged the duties of a parish priest with zeal and unpretending piety. In addition to the TreatiseDe Legibus Naturæ,' he was the author of An Essay on the Jewish Weights and Measures;' “Sanchoniathon's Phænician History,' translated from Eusebius; and “Origines Gentium Antiquissima.'



yet I was accustomed to treat it with great familiarity, and, if it had ever been further from the hand of its owner than the peg upon the back of his great arm-chair, I might have been dispatched to fetch it, for he was disabled by the palsy in his latter days; but the hat never strayed from its place, and Pope found an office for Walker that I can well believe he was never commissioned to in his life.

I had a sister somewhat elder than myself. Had there been any of that sternness in my grandfather, which is so falsely imputed to him, it may well be supposed we should have been awed into silence in his presence, to which we were admitted every day. Nothing can be further from the truth; he was the unwearied patron and promoter of all our childish sports and sallies; at all times ready to detach himself from any topic of

| The essay of Sir William Temple, upon the subject of ancient and modern learning, was the occasion of a famous controversy between Dr. Bentley and Charles Boyle, afterwards Earl of Orrery. Sir William, in his essay, had highly commended the Greek epistles of Phalaris ; and Boyle subsequently published a new edition of them. The essay of Temple was answered by W. Wotton, B. D., with an appendix by Dr. Bentley. “In that appendix,' such is the account prefixed to Swift's Battle of the Books,' 'the doctor falls hard upon a new edition of Phalaris just out, by the Honorable Charles Boyle, to which Mr. Boyle replied at large with great learning and wit; and the doctor voluminously rejoined.' Bentley was opposed by the most celebrated wits and critics of his time; but it has long been conceded that he was victorious. The spuriousness of the epistles was successfully demonstrated. Swift's motive in attacking Bentley is apparent. He wished to vindicate the literary judgment of his patron, Sir William Temple, who had not escaped unscathed in the controversy. * Day being far spent,' such is Swift's description of the progress of the battle, and Bentley's appearance on the field,' and the numerous forces of the moderns half inclining to a retreat, there issued forth from a squadron of their heavyarmed foot a captain, whose name was Bentley, the most deformed of all the moderns; tall, but without strength or proportion. His armor was patched up of a thousand incoherent pieces; and the sound of it, as he marched, was loud and dry, like that made by the fall of a sheet of lead, which an etesian wind blows suddenly down from the roof of some steeple. His helmet was of old rusty iron, but the vizor was brass, which, tainted by his breath, corrupted into copperas, nor wanted gall from the same fountain ; so that, whenever provoked by anger or labor, an atramentous quality of most malignant nature was seen to distil from his lips. In his right hand he grasped a flail, and (that he might never be unprovided of an offensive weapon) a vessel full of ordure in his left. Thus completely armed, he advanced with a slow and heavy pace, where the modern chiefs were holding a consult upon the sum of things; who, as he came onwards, laughed to behold his crooked leg and hump shoulder, which his boot and armor vainly endeavored to hide, were forced to comply with and expose.'

The · Battle of the Books,' like all Swift's works, abounds with wit, satire, and coarseness.

Bentley's arrogance made him many enemies. The poets, especially, seemed to owe him a grudge. Pope introduced him into “The Dunciad,' and Dr. Garth thus assailed him in his Dispensary :

"So diamonds owe a lustre to their foil,
And to a Bentley 'tis we owe a Boyle.'


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