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period, and beciated with the for more tha
man on earth could have exhibited him; and this considera ation alone, in our opinion, outweighs every objection that can be advanced against auto-biography. We proceed to the volume before us.
The name of Richard Cumberland has been connected with the literature of this country for inore than half a century; and as he has associated with the most celebrated characters of that period, and been himself an adventurer in almost every province of popular composition, these memoirs will certainly awaken, and probably gratify, much curiosity. At the verge of man's limited life, Mr. Cuimberland has written the history of his past years; but we are informed that it would not have been published until after his death, had not an unmerited misfortune, which we shall notice in its place, reduced him to penury in his old age, and compelled his spirit to walk before his grave is dug. The principal events of his life, few in number, we shall briety detail.
Mr. Cumberland is honourably descended. His paternal great-grand-father, Doctor Richard Cumberland, was made Bishop of Peterborough, in 1691. His grand-father, by the mother's side, was the renowned Doctor Bentley, of critical and controversial memory, under whose roof, (the inaster's lodges of Trinity College), at Cambridge, our author was born, February 19th. 1732, and whose character he has affectionately and successfully vindicated, from the charges of moroseness and cynical severity. Of Bishop Cumberland, Dr. Bentley, and himself, Mr. C. has presented us with well executed portraits, His father was then 'rector of Stanwick, in Northainptonshire, and, with his family, divided his time between his flock, and his father-in-law. Mr. Cumberland received his first instructions in Latin and Greek, at Bury school, then under the conduct of the Rev. Arthur Kinsman, who was 'a very sufficient scholar,' and a very rigid master. At this early period our author discovered his talent for poetry ; but we cannot accuse his humble verses of giving any promise of future excellence, which his later attemps have disappointed. During the school vacations, when he was at home, his mother took great pains to form her son's "taste arrd ear for poetry,' by employing him to read to her 'select passages, froin the plays of Shakespeare, on which she commented with skill and enthusiasın. This kindled in his young breast that unguenchable devotion to thre Drama, which has burned in him through life; and he soon began to try his own strength in slight attempts, of which he has given us a curious specimen, composed when he was only twelve years old.
He was shortly afterwards transplanted to Westminster school, where he continued his studies with ardour and advantage for
about a year and a half; during which time he was once or twice allowed to go to the play, under proper convoy. Then, for the first time, he saw Garrick, just rising into fame. On this occasion, Mr. Cumberland's stage-devotion has tempted him to abuse a scripture expression in a way which we must severely reprobate ; for this sacrilege of phrase is so often inconsiderately committed by men of piety as well as of wit, that we cannot forego this opportunity of exposing it. After humourously describing the heavy pomp and lofty declamation of the old actors, and extolling the fire and vivacity of Garrick, the author adds :- This heaven-born actor was then struggling to emancipate his audience from the slavery they were resigned to, and though at times he succeeded in throwing some gleams of new-born light upon them, yet in general they seemed to love darkness better than light-If man must give account for every idle word of his own, let him beware of thus taking the WORD OF GOD in vain, by idle applications of it.
· Mr. Cumberland's next poetical exercise was, a translation, into blank verse, of Virgils' description of the Plague ainong the Cattle, in the third book of the Georgics; we give him credit when he says, that he 'submits it unaltered in a single instance, to the candour of his readers.-We only wish that he had altered, or omitted it altogether. In his fourteenth year Mr. Cumberland was admitted of Trinity College, Cambridge. We cannot follow him through his career of University honours, which he retraces with peculiar delight, for he was eminentlysuccessful; the triumphs of our youth are the glory of our old age. But while he was in the full enjoyment of these, with prospects of literary fame before him; in an evil hour, by the persuasion of his family, he accepted the office of private Secretary to the Earl of Halifax, then President of the Board of Trade. Mr. Cumberland most bitterly deplores this ill-advised step, which turned the stream of his life, from peacefully winding through academic groves, to spend itself in foaming through the rocky channel of politics. Yet who among us can say, 'My fortune had been fairer, if its course had not been changed by such or such an incident. We are acquainted with the dangers of the way which we have travelled, because we have encountered them; but those that we have escaped, in the path froin which we have been diverted, are undiscoverably hidden from our eyes.' The lot of no man is so bad, but that it would have been worse, if he had been the uncontrouled director of his own destiny.
Mr. Cumberland's secretaryship was an office of some trouble, little honour, and no profit. The only apparent advantage which he derived from it was an introduction to the Primeminister, the duke of Newcastle. . I waited,' says he, two
hours for my audience, and was then dismissed in two minutes, 'whilst his Grace, stript to his shirt, with his sleeves rolled up to his elbows, was washing his hands. Mr. Cuinberland now made his first small offering to the press, following the footsteps of Gray, in another Church-yard elegy, written on St. Mark's Eve, when according to rural tradition, the ghosts of those who are .to die within the year ensuing, are seen to walk at midnight across the church-yard.' Mr. Cumberland's Elegy itself was one of these, for its appearance was a sign thai it would die in less than a twelve month; and die it did, as the author very candidly acknowledges, unheeded and unwept. Not discouraged, however, by this failure, he began diligently to collect materials from the history of India for an epic poem, of which he has presented us with a long fragment. We are not sorry that he abandoned his project. - After the retirement of Lord Halifax from office, Mr. Cumberland being an ex-secretary of an exminister,' wrote his first legitimate Drama,' on the · Banishment of Cicero,' which Mr. Garrick thought “ unfit, and Bishop Warburton,' too good for a prostitute stage.'
In 1759, Mr. Cumberland was married to Miss Ridge, of Kilminster; and in the year following accompanied the Earl of Halifax, the Lord Lieutenant, to Ireland, as under-secretary, in which situation he acquitted himself with an integrity more to his credit than to his emolument. As a suitable reward for his services, he was meanly offered, what he wisely refused, the title of a baronet. His father, however, was appointed Bishop of Clonfert, and he himself, on his return to England, with difficulty obtained a seat at the Board of Trade, which, with the crown agency for Nova Scotia, produced him an income of four hundred pounds a year. He now turned his attention more particularly to dramatic composition, and his first comedy, * The Brothers,' was received with great applause; but the 'West Indian,' which was brought out the following season, with almost unexampled success, swelled his hopes, his purse, and his fame, to such a degree, that he tells us he was the Master Betty of the day; and, flushed with good fortune, produced playafter play, with various luck, till he had nearly run through his popularity. This appears to have been the most splendid and prosperous period of his life; the success of his 'West Indian' lifted him to a high rank among contemporary authors, and brought him into acquaintance with the most celebrated wits of that time, particularly Goldsmith, Garrick, Foote, Johnson and Soame Jenyns, of whom he has afforded us some original and entertaining anecdotes. From these we shall collect the following;
A disagreement about a name or a date will mar the best story, that was ever put together. Sir Joshua Reynolds luckily could not hear an interrupter of this sort; Johnson would not hear, or if he heard him, would not heed him; Soame Jenyns heard him, heeded him, set him right, and took up his tale, where he had left it, without any diminution of his humour, adding only a few more twists to his snuff-box, a few more taps upon the lid of it, with a preparatory grunt or two, the invariable forerunners of the amenity, that was at the heels of them. He was the man, who bore his part in all societies with the most even temper and undisturbed bilarity of all the good companions, whom I ever knew. He came into your house at the very moment you had put upon your card; he dressed himself to do your party honour in all the colours of the jay; his lace indeed had long since lost its lustre, but his coat had faithfully retained its cut since the days, when gentlemen (wore) embroidered figured velvets with short sleeves, boot cuffs and buckram skirts; as nature had cast him in the exact mould of an ill-made pair of stiff stays, he followed her so close in the fashion of his coat, that it was doubied if he did not wear them: because he had a protuberant wen just under his pole, he wore a wig, that did not cover above half his head. His eyes were protruded like the eyes of the lobster, who wears them at the end of his feelers, and yet there was room between one of these and his nose for another wen that added nothing to his beauty; yet I heard this good man very innocently remark, when Gibbon published his history, that he wondered any body so ugly could write a book. Such was the exterior of a man, who was the charm of the circle, and gave a zest to every company he came into.' pp. 247, 248.
• That celebrated oriental traveller and author (Dr. Pocock) was a man of mild manners and primitive simplicity : having given the world a full detail of his researches in Egypt, he seemed to hold himself excused from saying any thing more about them, and observed in general an obdurate taciturnity. In his carriage and deportment he appeared to have contracted something of the Arab character, yet there was no austerity in his silence, and though his air was solemn, bis temper was serene. When we were on our road to Ireland, I saw from the windows of the inn at Daventry a cavalcade of horsemen approaching on a gentle trot, headed by an elderly chief in clerical attire, who was followed by five servants at distances geometrically measured and most precisely maintained, and who upon entering the inn proved to be this distinguished prelate, conducting his horde with the phlegmatic patience of a Scheik.' pp. 171, 172.
• Hamilton, who in the English parliament got the nick-name of Single-speech, spoke well, but not often, in the Irish House of Commons. He had a promptitude of thought, and a rapid flow of wellconceived matter, with many other requisites, that only seemed waiting for opportunities to establish his reputation as an orator. He had a striking countenance, a graceful carriage, great self-possession and personal courage: he was not easily put out of his way by any of those viro accommodating repugnances, that men of weaker nerves or more tender consciences might have stumbled at, or beer checked by; he could mask the passions, that were natural to him, and assume those that did not belong to him : he was indefatigable, meditative, mysterious; his opinions were the result of long labour and much reflection, but he had the art of setting them forth as if they were the starts of ready genius and a quick perception : he had as much seeming steadiness as a partisan could stand in need of, and all the real flexibility, that could suit his purpose, or advance his interest.' pp. 169, 170.
Mr. C. has also given us some interesting information concerving the late Adiniral Rodney, and has decribed the interview, at which he first conceived or expressed his design of breaking the enemy's line of battle; a manæuvre which has been so often triumphantly repeated.
When Lord George Germain, afterwards Lord Viscount Sackville, was appointed President of the Board of Trade, though heretofore a stranger, he promoted Mr. Cumberland to the secretaryship, honoured him with his confidence, and till his death remained an uushaken friend.
But this golden age of our author's life was succeeded by one of iron. In the year 1780, Mr. Cumberland, unfortunately for himself, undertook a secret mission to Spain, for the purpose of negociating, if possible, a separate peace with that court, then in league with France and America, against this country. The history of this transaction occupies more than 130 pages of this volume: we must dispatch it in almost as few words. The experiment was unsuccessful, and Mr. Cumberland, who went out on the faith of government for indemnity, was abandoned by his employers, and compelled to sell his family estate to pay the expences of his embassy; after having nobly declined the munificent offer of the King of Spain to defray the charges of his journey! It is impossible to read Mr. Cumberland's narrative of his conduct in this delicate affair, but particularly his upheeded memorial to Lord North, setting forth his services and his injuries, without feeling that the honour of the country was forfeited on this occasion, by the meanness of its minister. And here we first discover the mortifying reason, why these Iremoirs have seen the light, before their author's eyes are closed in darkness. We shall transcribe the passage. In prudence and propriety these pages ought not to have seen the light till their author was no more; neither would they, could I have persisted in my resolution for withholding them, till that event had consigned them into other hands : but there is something paramount to prudence and propriety that wrests then from me,' 'My poverty and not iny will consents.'
“The copy-right of these memoirs produced to me the sum of five hundred pounds, and if, through the candour and protection of a generous public, they shall turn out no bad bargain to the purchaser, I shall be most sincerely thankful, and my conscience will be at rest.'
To complete our author's humiliation, the Board of Trade was dismissed soon after his return home, under the regulations of what is commonly called Mr. Burke's bill. Mr. Cumberland