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either procure or transmit riches and honours on the part of themselves or posterity. But it is far otherwise with literature. Not to mention the fate of many ancient poets and philosophers, it cannot be recollected without emotion, that Dryden lived in indigence, and that Otway died in want. Advancing nearer to our own times, it must not be forgotten, that the earlier part of Johnson's progress was spent in poverty, while the latter portion of Murphy's did not remain unvisited by domestic calamities. It is melancholy also to reflect, that the name of the individual, who is the subject of the present article, will perhaps be added hereafter to the list of those who have deserved well of their country, without sharing its favours; that he has contributed to amuse, enlighten, and instruct the age in which he lived, without any adequate remuneration: and that he is one of those whose fate ought to reflect a blush on the cheeks of their contemporaries.
While treating of the life of Mr. Cumberland, it happens luckily for his biographers, that they cannot justly complain of penury, in respect to materials: it is selection rather than abundance that is wanting. He passed upwards of half a century in public life, while his conversation and person were familiar to many hundreds of those who passed the spring season at Tunbridge Wells, or spent the winter in the metropolis. For many years his merits were annually discussed by the public, either as a writer of a play, a novel, or a farce; he was known and distinguished as a man of taste; the earlier portion of his existence called forth and exhibited all the stores of profound literature; during the latter, he attempted to excel in the more difficult station of a critic, and either in one shape or another, his name was constantly in the mouths of all those who possessed or affected a knowledge of the classical pursuits of the present age. Nor was he himself forgetful of his own fame. His life and adventures are consigned to posterity, in memoirs written by his own pen, and he will live long in the memory of his friends and his family, who, although perhaps not best able, on account of their partiality, to estimate his merits, are assuredly the most competent judges of his private virtues, his domestic habits, and his social converse.
Richard Cumberland was born on the 5th of February, O. S. 1732. He originally sprung from a citizen of London, and to adopt his own language, he was "descended from ancestors illustrious for their piety, benevolence, and erudition." Dr. Richard Cumberland, consecrated bishop of Peterborough in 1691, was his great grandfather. This learned clergyman is the author of a very admirable work, "De Legibus Naturæ," in which he has bestowed much pains to refute the doctrines of Hobbes. He had been a simple parish-priest in the town of Stamford, in Lincolnshire; and so little was he disposed to intrigue for advancement,
that he received the first intelligence of his preferment by means of a paragraph in the newspapers, at a period when he was sixty years of age, and in a disposition of mind that induced him rather to shrink from, than to accept of, a mitre. He was at length induced to episcopate by the persuasion of his friend, the celebrated Sir Orlando Bridgman: but he afterwards resisted every offer of a translation; and such was the virtuous simplicity of his life, that on the settlement of his accounts, at the end of every year, he distributed the surplus to the poor, reserving only the small deposit of twenty-five pounds in cash, found at his death in his bureau, with directions to employ it for his funeral expenses, a sum, in his mode of calculation, fully sufficient to commit his body to the earth. Such was the humility of this christian prelate, and such his disinterested sentiments, as to the appropriation of his clerical revenue!
Doctor Richard Bentley, the maternal grandfather of the subject of this memoir, was also a remarkable man, being the first critic of his age, and not only the friend of Meade, Wallis, and Newton, but celebrated by Swift in his "Battle of the Books," on account of his controversial intrepidity. Denison Cumberland, the younger son of Archdeacon Cumberland was his father, and Joanna, the younger daughter of Dr. Bentley, and the Phoebe of Byron's Pastoral, his mother. Their only son, Richard, was born in the Master's Lodge of Trinity College, "inter sylvas Accademi," under the roof of his grandfather Bentley, alluded to above, in what is called the "Judge's Chamber." During his infancy, he persisted in a stubborn repugnance to all instruction, and remained for a long time in a state of mutiny against the letters of the English alphabet! When turned of six years of age, he was sent to the school of Bury St. Edmunds, and remained for a considerable period there, under the tuition of the Rev. Arthur Kinsman, who formed his pupils on the system of Westminster, and was a Trinity College man. This worthy master first raised the spirit of emulation in his bosom, by reprimanding him for his ignorance and inattention, in the presence of all the boys; and his diligence being as usual followed by success, success in its turn encouraged him to fresh exertions. After this, he rose rapidly to the head of his class, and never once lost that envied situation, although daily challenged by those, who aspired to the chief place. Bishop Warren, and Dr. Warren, his brother, were two of the most formidable of the form-fellows.
About this period, young Cumberland first displayed a practical taste for the drama, by acting the part of Juba, while the virtuous Marcia "towered above her sex" in the person of a most ill-favoured wry-necked boy. Nearly at the same time he began to form both his ear and his taste for poetry, by reading, during
every evening to his mother, while at home, at the parsonage house of Stanwick, near Higham-Ferrars, in Northamptonshire. Shakspeare, at this period, was his favourite author, and he soon after resolved to try his own strength in slight dramatic attempts. His first composition was a Cento, which he entitled, "Shakspeare in the Shades," and was produced when only twelve years of age.
As his worthy old master at Bury School had intimated his purpose of retiring, the elder Mr. Cumberland transplanted his son to Westminster, where he was admitted under Dr. Nichols, and lodged in Ludford's boarding-house. On reading a passage in Homer, and another in Horace, he was immediately placed in the shell, which was no small honour; and among his contemporaries reckoned Cracherode, the learned collector, the late Earls of Bristol aud Buckinghamshire; the Right Honourable Thomas Harley, who sat on the same form; while the Duke of Richmond, Warren Hastings, Colman and Lloyd, were in the under school, together with Hinchcliffe, Smith, and Vincent, who have succeeded in rotation as head masters.
In the fourteenth year of his age, young Cumberland left Westminster school, and was admitted a member of Trinity College, Cambridge. His father accompanied him thither, and placed him under the care of the Rev. Dr. Morgan, an old friend of the family, and a senior fellow of that society.
"My rooms," says Mr. Cumberland; "were closely adjoining to his, belonging to that stair-case which leads to the chapel bell; he was kind to me when we met, but as a tutor I had few communications with him, for the gout afforded him not many intervals of ease, and with the exception of a few trifling readings in Tully's Offices, by which I was little edified, and to which I paid little or no attention, he left me and one other pupil, my friend and intimate, Mr. William Rudd, of Durham, to choose and pursue our studies as we saw fit. This dereliction of us was inexcusable; for Rudd was a youth of fine talents, and a well-grounded scholar. In the course of no long time, however, Dr. Morgan left college, and went to reside upon his living of Gainford, in the bishopric of Durham, and I was turned over to the Rev. erend Dr. Philip Young, professor of oratory in the University, and afterwards bishop of Norwich. What Morgan made a very light concern, Young made an absolute sinecure, for from him I never received a single lecture, and I hope his lordship's conscience was not much disturbed on my account, for though he gave me free leave to be idle, I did not make idleness my choice.
"In the last year of my being an under graduate, when I commenced Soph, in the very first act that was given out to be kept in the mathematical schools, I was appointed to an opponency, when at the same time I had not read a single proposition in Euclid; I had now been
* Memoirs, 4th edit. p. 69.