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ravings, 1802. And a Life of Lord familiarity; and if it had ever been far." Selson, in one volume, published in ther from the hand of its owner than 806, enriched with some very curi: the peg upon the back of his great sus origiual letters of that eminent arm-chair, I might have been disattern of public and private worth. patched to fetch it, for he was dis
E. L. abled by the palsy in his latter days;
but the hat never strayed from its
place; and Pope found an office for Memoirs of the great Dr. Bentley, Walker that I can well believe he was and his family.
never commissioned to in his life.
I had a sister somewhat elder than From Mr. Cumberland's Memoirs of his
myself. Had there been any of that own Life,
sternness in my grandfather which of Dr. Richard Bentley, my ma is so falsely inputed to him, it may eraal grandfather, I have perfect re- well be supposed we should have collection. His person, his dignity, been awed into silence in his preiis language, and his love, fixed my sence, to which we were admitted arly alteption, and stamped both his every day. Nothing can be farther mage and his words upon my me- from the truth; he was the unweapory. His literary works are known ried patron and promoter of all our to all, his private character is still childish sports and sallies; at all times' niisunderstood by inany; to that I ready to detach himself from any toihall contine myself ; and, putting pic of conversation to take an inteaside the enthusiasm of a descendant, rest and bear his part in our amuseI can assert, with the veracity of a ments. The eager curiosity natural. biographer, that he was neither cyni- to our age, and ihe questions it gave cal, as some bave represented him, birth to, so teazing to many parents, por overbearing and fastidious in the he, on the contrary, attended to and degree, as he has been described by encouraged, as the claims of infant. many. Swift, when he forces him reason never to be evaded or abused; into his vulgar Baitle of the Books, strongly recommending, that to allo neither lowers Bentley's fame, nor such enquiries answer should be gielevates his own; and the petulant ven according to the strictest truth, poet, who thought he had hit his man- and information dealt to us in the ner, when he made him haughtily clearest terms, as a sacred duty never call to Walker for his hat, gave a to be departed from. I have broken copy as little like the character of in upon bim many a time in his hours Bentley, as his translation is like the of study, when he would put his book original of Homer. That Dr. Wal- aside, ring his hand-bell for his ser. ker, vice-master of Trinity-college, vant, and be led to his shelves to take was the friend of my grandfather, and down a picture-book for my amusea frequent guest at his table, is true; ment. I do not say that his goodbut it was not in Dr. Bentley's nature nature always attained its object, as to treat him with contempt, nor did the piciures which his books generalhis liarmless character inspire it. As ly supplied me with were anatomical for the hat, I must acknowledge it drawings of dissected bodies, very was of formidable dimensions, yet I little calculated to communicate dewas a customed to treat it with great light; but he had votling better to
produce; and surely such an effort own practice was the best illustration on his part, however unsuccessful,, of his doctrie; for he was the most was no feature of a cynic: a cynic patient hearer, and most favourable should be made of sterner stuff. I interpreter, of first attempts at argihave had from him, at tines, whilst ment and meaning that I ever knek. standing at his elbow, a complete aud When I was rallied by my mother for entertaining narrative of his school- roundly asserting that I never slept, bov days, with the characters of his I remember fail well his calling on different masters very humourously me to account for it; and when I er. displayed, and the punislıments de- plained it by saying I rjever knew scribed which they at times would myself to be asleep, and therefore wrongfully inflict upon him for seem- supposed I never slept at all, he gave ing to be idle and regardless of his me credit for my defence, and said to task, “ when the dunces," he would my mother, “ Leave your boy in say, “could not discover that I was possession of his opinion ; he has as pondering it in my mind, and fixing clear a conception of sleep, and at it more firmly in my memory, than least as comfortable a one, as the if I had been bawling it out amongst philosophers who puzzle their brains the rest of my school-fellows." about it, and do not rest so well.
Once, and only once, I recollect Though bishop Lowth, in the fliphis giving me a gentle rebuke for pancy of controversy, called the aumaking a most outrageous noise in thor of The Philoleutherus Lipsthe room over his library, and dis- cnsis, and detector of Phalaris, aut turbing him in his studies; I had no Caprimulgus aut fossor, his genius apprehension of anger from him, and has produced those living witnesses confidently answered that I could not that must for ever put that charge to help it, as I had been at battledore shame and silence. Against such idk and shuttlecock with Master Gooch, ill-considered words, now dead as the the bishop of Ely's son. “And I language they were conveyed in, the have been at this sport with his fa- appeal is near at hand; it lies no farther," he replied; “but thine lias ther off than to his works, and they been the more amusing game; so are upon every reading man's shelves, there's no harm done.” These are but those who would have looked inpuerile anecdotes, but any history it to his heart should have stepped into self is only in its non-age ; and even his house, and seen bim in his private these will serve in some degree to es. and domestic hours; therefore it is tablisi: what I affirmed, and present that I adduce these little anecdotes his character in those mild and upin- and trifling incidents, wbich thescribe posing lights, which inay prevail with the man, but leave the author to do those who know him only as a critic fend himself. and controversialist
Iis ordinary style of conversaAs flashing Bentley with his desperate hook- tion was naturally lofty, and his freto reform and soften their opinions quent use of thou and thee with his of him.
familiars carried with it a kiod of He recommended it as a very es. dictatorial tone, that savoured more sential duty in parents to be parti- of the closet than the court; this is cularly attentive to the first dawnings readily admitted, and this ou first apof reason in their children ; and his proaches might inislead a stranger;
but the native candour and inherent the anecdote of the thief, who robbed tenderness of his heart could not long him of his plate, and was seized and be seiled from observation ; for his brought before him with the very arfeelings and affections were at once ticles upon him: the natural process too impulsive to be long repressed, in this man's case pointed out the and he too careless of concealment road to prison ; my grandfather's to attempt at qualilying them. Such process was more summary, but not was his sensibility towards human quite so legal. While commissary sufferings, that it became a duty with Greaves, who was then present, and his family to divert the conversation of counsel for the college ex officio, from all topics of that sort; and if was expatiating on the crime, and he touched upon them hiniself, he prescribing the measures obviously was betrayed into agitations, which, to be taken with the offender, Dr. if the reader ascribes to paralytic Bentley interposed, saying, “ Why tell weakness, he will very greatly miss the man he is a thief? be knows that take a man, who to the last hour of well enough, without thy information, bis life possessed his faculties firm, Greaves.-Harkye, feliow, thou see'st and in their fullest vigour. I there- the trade which thou hast taken up fore bar all such misinterpretations as is an unprofitable trade, therefore get may atlempt to set the mark of infir- thee gone, lay aside an occupation mity upon those emotions, which had by which thou can'st gain notbing no other source and origin but in the but a halter, and follow that by which natural and pure benevolence of his thou may'st carn an honest liveliheart,
hood.” Having said this, he ordered He was communicative to all with him to be set at liberty, against the out distinction that sought infor- remonstrances of the bye-standers ; mation, or resorted to him for assis. and, insisting upon it that the fellow tance; fond of his college alnjost to was duly penitent for his offence, enthusiasm, and ever zealous for the bade him go his way, and never steal honour of the purple gown of Trinity. again. When he beld exaninations for fel- I leave it with those, who consider lowships, and the modest candidate mercy as one of man's best attributes, exhibited marks of agiiation and a to suggest a plea for the informality larm, he never failed to interpret can- of this proceeding; and to such I will didly of such symptoms; and on those cominunicate one other anecdote, occasions he was never known to press which I do not deliver upon my own the hesitating and embarrassed exa- knowledge, though from unexcepminant, but oftentimes on the con- tionable authority; and this is, that, trary would take all the pains of ex- when Collins bad fallen into decay of pounding on himself, and credit the circumstances, Dr. Bentley, suspecting exonerated candidate for answers and he had written him out of credit by interpretations of his own suggesting. his Philoleutherus Lipsiensis, secretly If this was not rigid justice, it was, contrived to administer to the necesat least in my conception of it, some- sities of his baffled opponent, in a thing better and more amiable. And manner that did no less credit to his how liable he was to deviate from the delicacy than to bis liberality, strict line of justice, by his partiality A morose and overbearing man to the side of mercy, appears from will find himself a solitary being in VOL. XLIX,
creation ; habits,
creation ; Dr. Bentley, on the contra- the character of sir Roger de Coverry, had many intimates. Judiciously, that he took his literary decease in forming his friendships, "", was most seriously to heart. She also faithful in adhering to them. With told me, that when, in conversation sir Isaac Newton, Dr. Mead, Dr. with him on the subject of his works, Wallis of Stamford, Baron Spanheim, she found occasion to lament that he the lamented Roger Cotes, and seve- had bestowed so great a portion of ral other distinguished and illustrious his tine and talents upon criticism, contemporaries, he lived on terms of instead of employing them upon oriuninterrupted harmony; and I have ginal composition ; he acknowledged good authority for saying, that it is the justice of ber regret with extreme to his interest and importunity with sensibility, and remained for a consir Isaac Newton, that the inestimable siderable time thoughtful, and seempublication of the Principia was ever ingly embarrassed by the nature of resolved upon by that truly great and her remark; al last, recollecting bimluminous philosopher. Newton's por self, be said, “ Child, I am sensible trait by sir James Thornhill, and I liave not always turned my talents those of Baron Spanheim and my to the proper use for which I should grandfather by the same hand, now presume they were given to me; yet hanging in the master's lodge of Tri- I have done something for the honity, were the bequest of Dr. Bentley. pour of my God, and the edification I was possessed of letters in sir Isaac's of my fellow-creatures; but the wit owy hand to my grandfather, which, and venius of those old heathens betogether with the corrected volume guiled me; and, as I despaired of of Bishop Cumberland's Laws of Na- raisiog myself up to their standard ture, I lately gave to the library of .upon fair ground, I thought the only that flourishing and illustrious college, chance I had of looking over their
His domestic babits, when I knew heads was to get upon:heir shoulders." him, were still those of unabated stue Of his pecuniary affairs lie took - dy. He slept in the room adjoining no account; he had no use for moto his library, and was never with his ney, and dismissed it entirely from family till the hour of dipner; at his thoughts: his establishment in the these times he seemed to have de- mean time was respectable, and his tached himself most completely from table affluently and hospitably serhis studies; never appearing thought- ved. All these matters were condudful and abstracted, but social, gay, ed and arranged in the best manner and possessing perfect serenity of possible by one of the best women mind and equability of temper. He living; for such, by the testiniopy of never dictated topics of conversation all who knew her, was Mrs. Bentley, to the company he was with, but took daughter of sir John Bernard, of then up as they came in his way, and Brampton, in Huntingdonshire, a fawas a patient listener to other people's mily of great opulence and respectadiscourse, however trivial or uninte- bility, allied to the Cromwells and , resting it might be. When the Spec- St. Johns, and, by intermarriages,
tators were in publication, I have connected with other great and noble heard my mother say he took great houses. I have perfect recollection delight in hearing them read to him, of the person of my grandmother, ani and was so particularly amused by a full impression of her maupers and babits, whicli, though in some degree Richard was a man of various and tinctured with hereditary reserve, and considerable accomplishment; he the primitive cast of character, were' bad a fine genius, great wit, and a entirely free from the hypocritical brilliant imagination: he had also the ant and affected sanctity of the Oli- manners and address of a perfect rerians. Her whole life was modelled gentleman ; but there was a certain on the purest principles of piety, be- eccentricity and want of wordly priijevolence, and Christian charity; and, dence in iny uncle's character, that n her dying moments, my mother involved him in distresses, and rebeing present, and voucher of the duced him to situations uncongenial act, she breathed out her soul in a with his feelings, and unpropitious kind of beatific vision, exclaiming in to the cultivation and encouragement apture, as she expired, It is all of his talents. His connexion with wright, it is all glorious!
Mr. Horace Walpole, the late lord I was frequently called upon by Orford, had too much of the bitter jer to repeat certain scriptural texts of dependence in it to be gratifying ind passages, which she had taught to the taste of a man of his spirit and ne, and for which I seldom failed to sensibility; the one could not be ab- • Je rewarded, but by which I was also ject, and the other, I suspect, was not requently most completely puzzled by nature very liberal and largeind bewildered: so that I much doubt minded. They carried on, for a long · f the good effects of this practice up- time, a sickly kind of friendship, in immature and infantine under- which had its hot fits and its colid; tandings will be found to keep pace was suspended and renewed, but I vith the good intentions of those who believe never totally broken and dopt it. One of these holy apoph- avowedly laid aside. Walpole bad by bėgms, viz. The eyes of the Lord nature a propensity, and by constitre in every place, beholding the evil tution a plea, for being captious and ind the good, I remember to have querulential, for he was a martyr to ost me many a struggle to interpret; the gout. He wrote prose, and pubind the result of my construction was listed it; he composed verses, and lirectly opposite to the spirit and circulated them; and was an author, neaning of the text. I was also oc- who seemed to play at hide-andasionally summoned to aitend upon seek with the public. There was a he readiogs of long sermons and ho- mysterious air of consequence in his nilies of Baxter, as I believe, and private establishment of a domestic thers of his period; neither by these printing press, that seemed to angur ras I edified, but, on the contrary, great things, but performed little. o effectually wearied, that, by noises Walpole was already an author with ud interruptions, I seldojn failed to no great claims to excellence; Bentender myself obnoxious, and obtaiu ley had those powers in embryo, that ny dismission before the reading was would have enabled him to excel, wer. The death of this exemplary but subinitted to be the projector of ady preceded that of my grandfather Gothic embellishments for Strawberry jy a few years only; and by her he Hill, and humble designer of drawad one son, Richard, and two daughi- ings to ornament a thin folio of a ers, Elizabeth and Joanna.
meagre collection of odes by Gray,
3 G 2