Cumberland Richard, Dd

Cumberland Richard, D.D., bishop of Peterborough, a learned divine and archaeologist, was born in London in 1632, and was educated at St. Paul's School, and Magdalen College, Cambridge. He was made rector of Brampton, and in 1667 vicar of All Hallows, Stamford. In 1691 he was raised to the see of Peterborough without any solicitation on his part. He was previously known by his treatise De Legibus Naturae (Lond. 1672, 4to), in answer to Hobbes, and by his Essay on Jewish Weights and Measures (London, 1686, 8vo). He was indefatigable in performing his episcopal duties. Being advised, on account of his age and infirm state, to relax a little, he replied, "It is better to wear out than rust out." After his death appeared his Origines Gentiuin (Lond. 1724, 8vo), and his translation of Sanchoniatho's Phoenician History (London, 1720, 8vo). At the age of eighty-three, Dr. Cumberland, having been presented by Dr. Wilkins with a copy of his Coptic Testament, then just published, commenced, like another Cato, the study of Coptic. "At this age," says Mr. Payne, "he mastered the language, and went through great part of this version, and would often give me excellent hints and remarks as he proceeded in reading of it." He died Oct. 9, 1718. Cumberland's theory of morals is set forth in his treatise De Legibus Naturae. Tendency to effect the general good is made the standard of morality. To endeavor to effect the greatest amount of general good is the one great duty, or the one great "law of nature;" and we know, according to Cumberland, that it is a duty or law of nature, or law of God, because we know that an individual derives the greatest happiness from the exercise of benevolence, and that God desires the greatest possible happiness of all his creatures. Carrying out the fundamental principle that the greatest general good is to be sought, he deduces the several particular duties or particular "laws of nature." He founds government upon, and tests it by the same principle. An abridged translation of the work was published by Tyrrel in 1701. Maxwell, an Irish clergyman, published a translation in 1727. Barbeyrac published a French version in 1744. A third English translation, by the Rev. John Towers, D.D., appeared in 1750. On Cumberland as a moralist, see Mackintosh, Hist. of Ethical Philosophy, p. 70; Whewell, Hist. of Moral Philosophy, p. 52.

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