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the one by Ker, a teacher in a dissenting academy, the other, entitled, ' Aristarchus Anti-Bentleianus,' a nom de guerre assumed by Richard Johnson, a schoolmaster at Nottingham. Bentley's violent innovations upon the text of his author, were, after a long interval, animadverted upon with great learning and bitterness in a rival edition of Horace,' by Alexander Cunningham. In 1713 appeared Dr Bentley's reply, under the signature of Phileleutheros Lipsiensis, to Anthony Collins's
Discourse of Freethinking. This, though overrated at the time, is masterly performance. The argument, with one or two exceptions, is conducted with great force; while his immeasurable superiority in point of learning, enables him to expose the gross and frequent blunders of Collins with the happiest success. It is worthy of remark, that in this work he exposes with great severity an error on the part of Collins, into a repetition and obstinate, though ineffectual, defence of which, Bishop Horsley was betrayed in his controversy with Dr Priestly. Collins had translated “ ab idiotis evangelistis,” “ by idiot evangelists,' by which, says Bentley, “if he is sincere in this version, he proves himself a very idiot in the Greek and Latin acceptation of that word. idwans, Idiota, illiteratus, indoctus, rudis. See Du Fresne in bis .Glossaries,' who takes notice, that Idiota, for an idiot, or natural fool, is peculiar to your English law. What then must we think of our author for his scandalous translation here ?" Yet more than fifty years after the publication of this criticism, we find Bishop Horsley translating idiwrns, an idiot, and vindicating this unfortunate blunder with untameable pertinacity. For this reply to Collins, Dr Bentley received the thanks of the university of Cambridge. In 1714, the cause between Bentley and his college was brought to trial before the bishop of Ely, and the master's discomfiture appeared inevitable, but the sudden death of the bishop placed the matter once more sub judice. Fresh articles were prepared against the master, but the new bishop disclaimed all jurisdiction in the cause. In 1715, Dr Bentley preached and published his great sermon on popery, of which the logic is scarcely inferior to that of Chillingworth, while for spirit and eloquence it may bear a comparison with the best productions of South; of its learning it is enough to say, that it is worthy of Bentley.
When the regius professorship of divinity fell vacant, in 1717, by the death of Dr James, the master of Trinity, by a series of the most dexterous maneuvres, obtained it in spite of obstacles apparently insurmountable. On this occasion he delivered a prelection on the disputed text respecting the heavenly witnesses. It is proved beyond a doubt that he decided against its genuineness. In the same year, the master incurred additional odium, by demanding an extra fee of four guineas from each of the “incepting” doctors of divinity. This demand was undoubtedly illegal, though some specious arguments were alleged in its support. It was resisted by most of the candidates for the degree, and more particularly by Conyers Middleton, a man of great scholarship and powerful talents. They were most of them, however, prevailed upon to pay the sum, on receiving a written promise from the master that he would refund it, should his claim be found untenable. As Bentley refused to listen to expostulation, Dr Middleton commenced against him a process in the vice-chancellor's court, for the recovery of the exacted fee, and a decree for arresting the master was issued. This
decrec he contemptuously disobeyed; on which the vice-chancellor, with the concurrence of his assessors, pronounced him “suspended ab omni gradu suscepto." On his refusal to make proper reparation, the senate, by a large majority, deprived him of all his degrees. A paper war ensued, in which Mr Middleton distinguished himself as a controversialist of consummate ability. By a scandalous misappropriation of the college-funds, the master of Trinity succeeded in buying off one of his most formidable opponents, Serjeant Miller. He was guilty, at the same time, of a series of unjust and tyrannical measures, the only object of which was to reward his own partizans, and gratify his resentment against his opponents. In 1720, we find him busily employed upon a great undertaking which he had projected some years before. the preparation of an edition of the New Testament, the text of which should be restored to almost primitive correctness. With this view, he had engaged in laborious collations of manuscripts at home, while he despatched one of the fellows of Trinity abroad for a similar purpose. In October, 1720, he published his proposals for printing this new edition. These were attacked with great virulence by Middleton, in a pamphlet in which he accumulates every epithet and topic of reproach against Bentley. The master—who suspected that Middleton had been assisted by Dr Colbatch, a senior fellow of Trinity, and one of Bentley's most resolute opponents—replied in a strain of incredible scurrility; heaping upon the object of his suspicion abuse of every kind. To this, Dr Middleton rejoined in a short piece of very powerful writing. In the course of the following four years we find Dr Bentley engaged in no fewer than six different lawsuits with his enemies, into the details of which we forbear to enter. It is worthy of remark, however, that in every one of these he was successful. On the 26th of March, 1724, he was restored to all his degrees and privileges, by virtue of a “peremptory mandamus” to that effect from the court of king's bench. The following year produced Dr Bentley's edition of Terence. This author had been recently edited by Dr Hare, who, though formerly a warm friend and adınirer of Bentley, had been gradually alienated from him by a succession of petty misunderstandings and suspicions. To mortify Dr Hare, and to show his own superior knowledge of the Terentian metres, appear to have been the motives which prompted Bentley to this undertaking. The · Bentleian Terence, though not free from the peculiar and besetting sins of his usual style of criticism, is a noble performance. Many of his emendations display a “curiosa felicitas' almost unrivalled in the history of criticism ; while his .Schediasma' of the metres of Terence is a derfect miracle of genius. It is to be regretted that, with characteristic bitterness, he persecutes Dr Hare through the entire series of his notes, which are one continued strain of cutting and contemptuous irony. The “superbæ vices,” however, were waiting for the great critic himself. With the melevolent intention of forestalling Hare's projected edition of Phædrus,' Dr Bentley edited the Roman fabulist himself; with such haste and carelessness, however, as to lay himself open by a thousand incuriæ, to say nothing of the numerous unwarrantable alterations of the text, for many of
which he did not even attempt to assign any authority or reason. This crude performance, "præcipitatum magis quam editum,” to borrow an expression from Erasmus, was reviewed by Dr Hare in his Epistola Critica,' the unmeasured acrimony of which is in some degree extenuated by the provocation he had received.
On the death of Fleetwood, bishop of Ely, who had all along refused to interfere between Bentley and his college, the fellows of Trinity resolved to renew their complaints against the master. After long and vexatious litigation, in which enormous expenses were incurred, the cause was finally referred to the decision of the house of lords. Meanwhile, Dr Bentley had sent forth that immortal chef-d'æuvre of absurdity and arrogance, his edition of the Paradise Lost:' in which he has extirpated or altered many hundreds of lines, alleging, on the ground of their supposed inferiority, that they had been interpolated or corrupted by the person to whom Milton, by reason of his blindness, had committed the transcription of the poem. As it is impossible to suppose that Bentley himself believes this absurd hypothesis, we can only wonder by what judicial infatuation he should ever have been led to propound it seriously to his readers. To have excepted openly against the passages which he fancied he could improve, would have been infinitely more rational and manly than thinly veiling the audacity of his tasteless criticisms under so jejune and extravagant a fiction. As a specimen of his offered emendations, the following may, perhaps, suffice. In place of the celebrated line,
“ No light, but rather darkness visible," he proposes to substitute this exquisite improvement :
“ No light but rather a TRANSPICUOUS GLOOM.” We willingly acknowledge, however, that there are some acute remarks, and not infelicitous conjectures to be found in this extraordinary volume ; the occasional “flash and outbreak,” of that “fiery spirit" which, in its native regions, always blazed out with an effulgence
« οίος ουτε παμφαης
ιδειν ελαμψε χρυσαυγει δομω" ουθ' ήλιου τηλαυγής ακτινων σελας
τοιουτον εξελαμψεν.” After a minute and protracted examination of the articles exhibited by the fellows of Trinity against the master, the lords commissioned Dr Greene, the bishop of Ely, to try Dr Bentley upon twenty out of the sixty-four. After a few more delays interposed by the untameable master, the bishop finally sentenced him to be deprived of his mastership. Even this was insufficient to subdue the adamantine resolution of Bent. ley. Having discovered that the sentence of the visitor could, according to the letter of the statute, be put into execution by none but the vice-master, he introduced into that office his devoted follower, Walker, who was prepared to sacrifice every thing in the master's cause. This “fidus Achates,” in spite of rescript, commination, mandamus, &c. &c. obstinately refused to stir a step against his patron. The death of Bishop Greene in 1738, put an end to all the proceedings against the master, and left him in undisputed possession of the victory. Immediately after the termination of this protracted struggle, Dr Bentley sued his old adversary, Colbatch, for arrears due to the former in his capacity of archdeacon of Ely, and gained his cause. During these unhappy and disgraceful altercations, Dr Bentley had been engaged with great ardour upon his proposed edition of the New Testamient;
which, however, never saw the light. The Homeric poems seem to have occupied much of his attention, from the year 1726, to the close of his life. By the splendid discovery of the Digamma—a letter which had been lost out of the Greek alphabet for more than two thousand years—he had been guided to many inestimable emendations of the Homeric verses; and in the true Bentleian spirit of enterprise, at the age of seventy, he pledged himself to Lord Carteret to prepare a new edition of the Iliad and the Odyssey. This pledge, however, he did not live to redeem. The great critic was ridiculed with unsparing rancour by Pope and Arbuthnot, to whom, however, he seems to have given no provocation beyond a not uncharitable judgment upon the Homer of the bard of Twickenham. He did not, however, vouchsafe any thing in the shape of a reply. In 1739, Dr Bentley published bis long promised • Manilias :' a performance, the merits and blemishes of which closely resemble those of all his editions of the Roman poets. A short time before the death of Bentley, appeared the famous satire against him contained in the fourth book of the Dunciad; of which, however, we can scarcely hesitate to say that the wit is less pungent than the malignity is odious. For the last few years of his life, Bentley is said to have been disabled by paralysis. In July, 1742, he was seized with a pleurisy, and expired on the 14th, having exceeded the age of fourscore by nearly seven months.
It is unnecessary to enter upon any extended analysis of the intellectual and moral character of Dr Bentley. He stands undoubtedly the very first among all the philological critics of every age and nation, " in shape and gesture proudly eminent." No single individual ever contributed so much to the actual stores of the learned world, or gave so strong an impulse to the study of the ancient classics. With little either of sensibility or imagination, he possessed an understanding which for compass, strength, and subtlety, has rarely been matched. He was by no means destitute of generosity ; but all his better qualities were strangled by an arrogant and haughty spirit, which frequently carried him to the most indecent excesses of temper and acts of violence. His theological creed appears to have embraced all the leading doctrines of the gospel
. It is melancholy to add, that of that sanctification of the Spirit through the belief of the truth which lifts the soul above the world, forms it to the image of God, and fixes its regards on eternity, no traces are found in the records of his life and conversation. He left behind him a son, and two daughters, one of whom was the mother of the dramatist Cumberland.
John Hough, D. D.
BORN A. D. 1651.- DIED A. D. 1743.
John Hough,' an eminent and spirited prelate of the church of England, was born in London on the 12th of April, 1651, and received his education at the free school of Birmingham. He entered at Magdalene college, Oxford, on the 12th of November 1669, and
· Pronounced Huff.
was subsequently elected a fellow of the same foundation. He was or. dained deacon in 1675; and, in 1678, became domestic chaplain to the duke of Ormond, whom he accompanied to Ireland, where the duke was then lord-lieutenant. Mr Hough lived four or five years in this noble family. In 1682 he returned to England, and was collated, in 1685, to a prebend-stall in the cathedral of Worcester, and soon afterwards presented to the living of Tempsford in Bedfordshire,
In March, 1687, the presidentship of Magdalen college became vacant, and notice was given conformably to the statutes of the college, that the fellows would proceed to the election of a new president on the 13th of the ensuing April. But before the appointed day arrived, a mandamus was sent to the fellows, through a Roman catholic, Robert Charnock, recommending them to elect one Anthony Farmer. The fellows addressed a humble representation to the king, in which they urged that Farmer had never been a fellow of the college, and had not any of the qualifications for the office which the statutes required. No answer was returned to their petition ; and having waited till the 15th of April—which was the farthest delay allowed by the statutes--they elected the Rev. John Hough to the vacant office, observing all the forms contained in the statutes. On the 17th of the same month the new president was solemnly installed in the chapel of his college. But on the 22d of June following, notwithstanding the intercession of the duke of Ormond, Mr Hough's election was declared void by King James's commissioners for ecclesiastical causes,- a body of men appointed by royal authority only. The court finding, however, that Mr Farmer, whom they bad before designed for the office, was a man of bad character, had not the effrontery to persist in their prior declaration in his favour; but, on the 27th of August, issued mandamus to the fellow's to elect Dr Samuel Parker, bishop of Oxford, who was a papist. This the fellows refused to comply with. The king, being in Oxford in September, endeavoured to intimidate the refractory collegians, and, addressing them in no very courteous terms, threatened them with the utmost severity of his displeasure if they did not immediately choose the bishop of Oxford for their president. But they still persisted in their disobedience, with a constancy which did honour to the whole body, and especially to their president Hough. William Penn, the quaker, amongst other persons, attended King James to Oxford on this occasion, and seems to have made an effort to soften the incensed sovereign, and obtain for the fellows that liberty of conscience which he so highly valued. On the 9th of October a deputation from the college, of whom Dr Hough was one, had a conference with Mr Penn at Windsor, and submitted for his perusal the several papers necessary to elucidate the case. " These,” says Dr Hough, " he seemed to read very attentively, and after many objections, (to which he owned I gave him satisfactory answers,) he promised faithfully to read every word to the king, unless peremptorily commanded to forbear.” But whatever influence he might have had with the king, it was on this occasion, if exerted at all, exerted without effect, for Dr Hough and the fellows of Magdalen college were cited to appear on the 21st of November before certain lords commissioners appointed specially to visit the college. Dr Hough behaved with great temper and firmness in his examination. No solici. tation, no menace, no hope nor fear, could induce him to violate his oath