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value of their property, and obtained therefore an injunction restraining the sale of this work :” an injunction which has obliged Mr. M., in the new and improved edition, to cut out long passages which he had borrowed from the Memoirs of Cumberland written by himself, and very dextrously to fill up the places thus made vacant by rehearsing the substance of the expunged extract, and by subjoining opposite observations; so that the paging of the second edition exactly corresponds with that of the first, and the index at the end is adapted alike to both.
For undertaking a new life of Cumberland, perhaps little apology would be required from Mr. Mudford. He who sits down to compile memoirs of himself may be better acquainted with the subject of his book than any body else : but it is not very proba. ble that he will tell all that he knows; and it may be fairly suspected, without a violation of candour, that judgment will at times be blinded by self-love. Different motives may be assigned for the same action, and a different colouring given to the same train of facts. It is manifest from the letters published in the appendix to this edition, that Mr. Cumberland did not reveal all the material transactions of his life ; and that his ministerial patrons are not chargeable with all that neglect of him of which he so bitterly complains in his Memoirs. His case of the Spanish mission, as told by himself, appears hard in the extreme, and a mystery is thrown over the affair which it is now difficult to unravel. The perplexing circumstance is not only that the king of Spain, to whose court Cumberland was sent, should offer to pay him his expenses, and that our court should withhold them: but that the king of Spain should make the proposal through his minister, accompanied by the declaration of a belief that these expenses would not be liquidated by the court of which Mr. C. was an aca credited agent.* It would hence appear that Cumberland did not execute bis delicate business as a diplomatist to the satisfaction of his employers: but if the ministry refused him the remuneration which he sought on that ground, they had previously allowed him to sell the patent of his office of provost marshal in the pro. vince of South Carolina, for a larger sum than he had expended in Spain, though this circumstance is not noticed in the account which he gives of himself. It will be said that his profitable sale of the patent of provost marshal was in 1770, and that his letter of recall from Spain was in 1781; and that the advantage obtaiged in one instance could not be fairly deemed a consideration for his loss in the other : but however the case really stood, it is a fact that not even a memorial to Lord Norih obtained him any re
* The expressions of the Spanish minister's letter to Mr. C. are remarkable : 'I have reason to apprehend you will find yourself abandoned and deceived by your employ ers.'
VOL. IV. Nen Series. 47
dress; and the singular assertion made by the king of Spain through his minister, on Cumberland's taking leave at Madrid, was verified. Will this curious affair be ever elucidated ?
The facts which Mr. C. has related of himself afford ground for biographical comment, and may be considered as materials in the hands of a writer who undertakes a more finished representation of him than his own Memoirs afford. “These,' says Mr. M., . will always be regarded as an authentic history of his private and public life, as far as he has thought it proper to disclose the particulars of either; and they will always be esteemed for that fund of literary anecdote which they contain, and in the detail of which Cumberland peculiarly excels. A great chasm, however, they must leave in every thing relating to his writings, except the simple statement of their production, or of the events connected with their success or failure: and this chasm it has been my object to fill up in the present work' We must allow that, in the filling up of this chasm, we find much to applaud ; and, if Mr. M. bad not descended to that minuteness of criticism in noticing many of his hero's inferior performances, to which we have already alluded, we should have been still better pleased. His opinion of Cumberland and of his literary productions is offered with great freedom; and he gives us to understand that, had his conduct as a critic been less unfettered, the proprietors of Mr. Cuinberland's works would not have applied for an injunction restraining the sale of the first edition. With this business, however, we have no concern. As little are we interested in the misunderstanding between Sir James Bland Burgess and the author. Mr. Mudford has shown a high spirit, and from the beginning of his work to the end manifests a determination to think and speak for himself. Regarding the incidents of Cumberland's life as so many pegs on which he might hang his remarks, Mr. M. digresses on every occasion into reflections, with the propriety and justice of which we have often been pleased. Blame as well as praise is applied to his hero; and sometimes he artfully contrives to lash other authors over that gentleman's shoulders, of which practice Dr. Drake and Mrs. Inchbald may probably complain.
The work commences with some notice of Mr. Cumberland's Literary ancestors, and particularly of Dr. Bentley, his maternal grandfather; and at the end of the first chapter we are directed to what is called a curious coincidence between a passage in one of Bentley's Boyle's Lecture Sermons and some lines in Pope's Essay on Man: but with this coincidence we are not so much impressed as Mr. M. seems to be; and we are surprised that he should object to Mr. Pope's introduction of the fiction of the « music of the spheres.” * This was allowable in a poet, though
not in a preacher. The beautiful line, so often quoted, “Die of a rose in aromatic pain," has no counterpart in Bentley's prose.
Having dismissed Mr. Cumberland's descent, the biographer comes, in the second chapter, to the professed object of his undertaking, which is to write something about him, his works, his as. sociates, and his friends, which he could not have written if he had wished, and which, perhaps, he would not have wished to have written if he could.? Mr. C.'s parental and school education pass in reveiw. The advantages which he drew from having a mother who possessed a cultivated mind are not passed over in silence; and Mr. M. contends for rendering our women so far accomplished that they may be proper companions for sensible husbands, and capable of instructing their children. He is averse to the plan of making · household cares and domestic management the chief business of a woman's life, to the utter exclusion of all ornainental, of all elegant, and of all useful acquirements. It is his opinion, also, that the business of the education of youth should be conducted more at home than it is at the present day; and, weighing the advantages and disadvantages of a public education, he decides against it.
“ The opportunities thus presented of laying the foundation of iotimacies with men capable and likely to advance our fortunes in after life, are among the strongest argunents which the supporters of a public system of education have to advance. They are indeed arguments of great weight and importance; but I fear the instances are fewer than might be hoped where school connexions have ripened into those of manhood; or where the poble playmate has remembered bis fellow when the lapse of years has led him to the possession of honours, wealth, and influence. Some cases, no doubt, may be adduced, in opposition to this, proving the ultimate benefit of friendships formed at so early a period of life between boys of elevated and inferior conditions: and wish, iudeed, that they may be numerous, for I am afraid they are the only advantages which can be plausibly urged against the many evils attendant upon public education. The almost certain ruin of the moral character, the contagion of vice, the destruietion of that simplicity of manners which is at once the offspring and the defence of virtue, the assumption of rude and boisterous habits which deform the outward man and corrupt his general demeanor, and the gradual relaxation of those ties of kindred by which social life is supported and adorned, are some of the evils to be expected from public education; while they may all be avoided, and every certain benefit secured (for that which may arise from serviceable connexions, is but contingent) by private instruction."
Women, whose natural duties are domestic, need not and ought not to be educated in crowds, or in public se ninarie : ; a situation
which is very likely to make them assured and masculine: but men, who are to go out into the world, and particularly those who are intended for any of the public professions, require more or less of a public education. The present fault seems to consist in their being sent too early to the public seminary, before their minds are sufficiently imbued with those moral and religious principles and habits, on the presence or absence of which depends their destiny. Solomon says, “ Train up a child in the way he should go:" but how many children are sent from home to be, in a great measure, their own masters before they are trained ? What mere boys go to our public universities ! What sums de they squander there, and how do they squander them? Is this education ?--All, however, who go to college have not the means of being profuse spendthrifts: but a few examples of profusion in our universities have a bad influence, which reaches much farther than it is commonly supposed to extend. Mr. C. and Mr. M. are at variance on the subject of academical education. We re fer the reader to p. 64. et seq.
We must not, we cannot, follow Mr. M. over the ground which we have already traversed with Mr. C. in his account of himself in bis own Memoirs; nor can we even glance at every digression or episode by which the present critical narrative is diversified. Enough, we think, will be effected by us in this article, if by a few selections we enable the reader to form some idea of the nature of Mr. M.'s undertaking, and of his merit in the execution of it.
It is well known that Mr. Cumberland's success as a dramatist, especially the fame which he acquired by “ The West Indian," introduced him to the society of Johnson, Burke, Goldsmith, Reynolds, &c. and other wits of the last age. When Mr. M. arrives at this period of his hero's life, he enters into a eulogy on Dr. Johnson's style, which is very natural for one who certainly strives to copy it. He says,
“ It has been the fashion, I know, to decry, in particular, the style of his Ramblers; but repeated perusals of that work have convinced me that though a uniformity in the construction of its sentences may some times prevail, yet it exhibits a continued and unbroken splendour of composition which no other work in the English language can produce in the same degree. That concentrated energy which belongs to it, that vigorous application of terms not then familiarized to the public ear, but most expressive and most desirable, and that sedulous rejection of expletives, from which none of the writings of his predecessors were free, together with the melodious collocation of the sentences, present a dazzling accumulation of excellencies which have outlived, and will continue to outlive, every attempt to obscure them, descending to posterity with increased and increasing lustre. I am not insensible to the few blemishes which may be justly said to pollute this perfection;
but they are so trivial, and are so nobly redeemed by the greatness of surrounding beauties, that I could never pause to dwell upon them, Dor will I now stop to specify them. I am aware that the latter productions of Johnson advance a step, and but a small step, beyond this excellence; and that advance arises solely from his having, towards the close of his career, disencumbered his style from the few spots that disfigured it, and presented what may be pronounced a pure and perfect model of writing."
On the living as well as on the dead, this eritic lavishes his strictures. Poor Miss Seward is handled rather roughly in a long note; and Mr. Walter Scott will, perhaps, think that Mr. M.'s appreciation of his merit will be of no service to his fame.
Many other persons and subjects will be found in this miscellaneous work, which the reader little expects. Inter alia, here are anecdotes of Lord Rodney, and a full account of that important improvement in naval tactics by which we have obtained very signal victories, viz. breaking the enemy's line; an idea which, it is well known, was first suggested by Mr. Clerk in big Essay on Naval Tactics, in 1782, and first practised by the admiral just mentioned.
When Mr. Cumberland returned from his Spanish mission, and found the surmise of Count Florida Blanca verified, by our ministry refusing to refund his expenses, which amounted to 4,5001. he was thrown into great difficulties, and obliged to sell his estate and retire from the capital. In this emergency, he chose Tunbridge Wells for the place of his residence, and sought refuge from the world in his library. In the poem called Retrospection, which he published not long before his death, he alludes to these circumstances ;
* Hail to thee, Tunbridge! Hail Hygeian fount;