CUMBERLAND, Richard (1632-1718)

CUMBERLAND, Richard (1632–1718)

cons. 5 July 1691 bp. of PETERBOROUGH

First sat 27 Oct. 1691; last sat 22 Feb. 1716

b. 15 July 1632, s. of Richard Cumberland, tailor and citizen of Fleet Street, London and Marjory (Margaret, Mary), (surname unknown). educ. St Paul’s; Magdalene, Camb. matric. 1650, BA 1653, MA 1656, fell. 1656, BD 1663; incorp. Oxf. 1657; DD 1680. m. 22 Sept. 1670, Anne (d.1684), da. of [forename unknown] Quinsey (Quincy) of Aslackby, Lincs. 1s. 3da.1 (4 ch. d.v.p.). d. 9 Oct. 1718; will 15 Sept. 1714-9 Sept. 1717, pr. 4 Nov. 1718.2

Rect. Brampton-by-Dingley, Northants. 1658-91, St Peter’s Stamford, Lincs. 1670; preacher Univ. Cambridge 1661; chap. to Sir Orlando Bridgeman, bt.; vic. All Saints Stamford, Lincs. 1670-1718; lecturer Stamford, Lincs. 1670.

Elected mbr. lower house of Convoc. 1675; commr. Q. Anne’s Bounty 1705.3

Also associated with: Aldersgate, London; Brampton, Northants. 1658-70; Westminster c.1691-1718.

Likenesses: oil on canvas by Thomas Murray, 1706, the Palace, Peterborough; mezzotint, after Murray, by J. Smith, 1714, NPG D1609.

Richard Cumberland’s first biographer, his son-in-law and domestic chaplain Squire Payne, described how Cumberland, who had not sought promotion or frequented the court, read of his elevation in a coffee house newspaper.4 His reputation had been made in moral and political philosophy rather than ecclesiastical intrigue or polemic. Little of his correspondence survives and he left only one sermon in print and that many decades after his death.5 Any account of his life is heavily reliant on Payne and on a short account composed by the bishop’s playwright great-grandson and namesake.

Cumberland was a student at Cambridge during the Interregnum, where his friends included Samuel Pepys. There is no record of his episcopal ordination, whether before or after the Restoration. When preferred to the rectory of Brampton, Northamptonshire, by Sir John Norwich in 1658, he underwent an interrogation by three presbyterian ‘triers’ but this did not preclude the possibility that he had already been ordained by a bishop.6

While at Bampton, he maintained his connections with his Cambridge friends. In 1667 Samuel Pepys regretted that ‘a most excellent person… as any I know… should be lost and buried in a little country town’.7 Nevertheless, within a few years Cumberland had become chaplain to lord keeper Orlando Bridgeman, whose patronage obtained him his Stamford vicarage.8 Bridgeman’s history of negotiating a comprehension bill must have lent Cumberland an association with religious toleration. His major work of political philosophy, De legibus naturae disquisitio philosophica (1672) was dedicated to Bridgeman. Its argument, in which the doctrines of Thomas Hobbes were seemingly adopted only for them to be used to refute Hobbes’s position, has intrigued many generations of scholars, with Cumberland being variously claimed as a prophet of probability theory or of utilitarianism, and a secularist in ecclesiastical clothing. By the late twentieth century it was becoming recognized that Cumberland was arguing from Hobbes that rational enquiry demonstrated the active involvement of God in ordaining natural law, that human impulses tended towards the upholding of such natural law rather than offering no evidence for it and that the divine role in natural law could be demonstrated without recourse to scriptural authority.9 This apparent secularism went further than, but in the same direction as, some arguments made by Cumberland’s eventual ecclesiastical superiors Thomas Tenison, and John Tillotson, archbishops of Canterbury. Combining elements of the patriarchicalism beloved of royalists and high churchmen with a theory of knowledge associated with republicanism may explain why Tenison and Gilbert Burnet, bishop of Salisbury, characterised Cumberland at the time he was considered for elevation as a ‘moderate’.

Pepys had hoped that Cumberland would marry his younger sister Paulina, but he instead married into the Quincy family of Aslackby, Lincolnshire.10 He performed the response at the Cambridge university commencement in 1680, defending the theses that Peter was not given jurisdiction over the other apostles, and that separation from the Church of England was schismatic.11 Cumberland was so fearful for the future of the Church under James II that on one occasion he is alleged to have developed ‘a dangerous Fit of Sickness, one of the severest Fevers from which ever Man recovered.’ His edition of Sanchoniatho’s Phoenician History constituted a robust defence of Protestantism and though ready for publication in 1688, Cumberland’s bookseller was unwilling to issue so anti-Catholic a text in fear of royal reprisals.12

The Revolution created a political and religious context far more amenable to Cumberland. One contemporary claimed that he was ‘so modest and retired’ that he would never have achieved higher office without the intervention of his friend John Tillotson, a fellow rational divine.13 Tillotson recommended Cumberland as a clergyman who had experience on the ground in the diocese (but no experience whatever of service in the higher clergy) to replace Thomas White, bishop of Peterborough, the nonjuror. He was also supported by Gilbert Burnet (with whom he would remain very close throughout their lengthy careers on the episcopal bench) who described Cumberland as a ‘most learned and worthy minister … and always a moderate man’.14 On 22 Apr. 1691 the king issued the warrant for Cumberland’s election. The royal assent on 9 June was followed by consecration on 5 July.15

Enthroned in his new cathedral in September 1691, Cumberland travelled to Westminster to begin a parliamentary career in the House of Lords that spanned 25 years. He took his seat in the House on 27 Oct. 1691. He attended 26 sessions between 1691 and 1716, only two of them for fewer than half of all sittings. Usually present at the start of each session (for 22 of his 26 sessions), there was little other discernible pattern to his attendance, except towards the end of his life when travel to the House was clearly more of an effort. Throughout his career, he was named repeatedly to the sessional committees and to a wide range of select committees on both public and private bills. In the reign of William III alone he was nominated to more than 250 select committees and examined the journal on numerous occasions. In the parliamentary session that had opened five days before he took his seat, Cumberland attended 81 per cent of sittings. He was named to 19 committees and remained at Westminster until the end of the session on 24 Feb. 1692. During this session he signed the bishops’ petition to the king calling for the enforcement of laws against impiety and vice.16

Elevation to the episcopate appears to have made little difference to Cumberland’s lifestyle. He proved a diligent diocesan in the early years of his episcopate, conducting triennial visitations until he was 80 years of age. He insisted that his clergy should feel ‘easy’ and championed the cause of low-paid and overworked curates.17 He governed himself with a lively work ethic on the grounds that it was better to ‘wear out than rust out’, but consistently refused translation to a larger see.18 By 1718, when William Nicolson, bishop of Carlisle, was complaining at his own lack of promotion, Cumberland was the only bishop more senior to Nicolson who was still in his original see.19 Cumberland showed little interest in parliamentary elections. The dean and chapter of Peterborough were lords of the manor and held a major interest in the city, but they were overshadowed by the Whig Fitzwilliam interest and by the Tory influence of Cecil earls of Exeter, lords paramount of the soke of Peterborough and custodes rotulorum, renewed by John Cecil, 6th earl of Exeter, after 1710. Nor was Cumberland bound by a narrow Whig political interest in the 1690s. He supported the Church interest in 1695 in the person of Tory Gilbert Dolben, the son of John Dolben, archbishop of York, although it seems unlikely that Gilbert Dolben would have retained Cumberland’s support after refusing the Association in 1696.

Cumberland was present on the first day of the November 1692 session, attended nearly 84 per cent of sittings, and was named to the sessional committees for privileges, the Journal and petitions and to 31 select committees. Thomas Bruce, 2nd earl of Ailesbury, forecast he would support the divorce bill for Henry Howard, 7th duke of Norfolk. On 2 Jan. 1693 Cumberland voted for the reading of the bill. The following day he voted against the passage of the bill for free proceedings in Parliament (place bill). On 17 Jan. he registered his dissent against the resolution that Charles Knollys had no right to the earldom of Banbury. A staunch defender of the revolutionary regime, he voted on 25 Jan. to commit the bill to prevent dangers from disaffected persons.20 Present on 13 Mar., he missed only the last day of business that session.

In the diocese for the summer months, Cumberland was concerned with the payment of his first fruits and with pastoral matters, not least the rooting out (on the orders of Daniel Finch, 2nd earl of Nottingham) of a Peterborough clergyman who had been preaching that William and Mary had not been appointed as rulers by God, ‘but only permitted them [to reign] as He often does judgments for the sins of a nation.’21 Again present on the opening day of the November 1693 session, Cumberland attended 86 per cent of sittings, was named to the sessional committee for privileges and to 19 select committees. On 17 Feb. 1694 he voted against the reversal of chancery’s ruling in the Albemarle inheritance case (involving Ralph Montagu, earl of Montagu, and John Granville, earl of Bath). Cumberland remained at Westminster until the House rose on 25 April. He repeated this pattern in the following session, attending for nearly 85 per cent of sittings; he was named to 30 select committees, and to the committees for privileges and for the Journal. On 18 Apr. 1695 he helped to manage the conference on the bill to continue existing legislation, was present on the last day of the session, 3 May, and examined the Journal. On 8 Oct. Cumberland was the only bishop to be present at the prorogation.

Following the 1695 election Cumberland attended for the start of the session beginning in November. He attended 92 per cent of sittings, was named to the committees for privileges and for the Journal and to 32 select committees. On 6 Dec. he was the only bishop to be named to the committee to draw an address to the king for an army and navy list. He signed the Association on 27 Feb. 1696 and, on 10 Apr., the ‘repugnance’ at the absolution by nonjuring clergy at the execution of Sir William Parkyns and Sir John Friend.22 Little else is known of his parliamentary activity that session apart from his being a manager, on 6 Apr., of the conference on the privateers bill. He attended on 25 Apr. but missed the last two days of business.

Back at Westminster for the start of the next session in October 1696, Cumberland attended nearly 77 per cent of sittings. He was again named to the committees for privileges and the journal and to 21 select committees. On 23 Dec., as a firm adherent to the court, he supported the king in voting for the attainder of Sir John Fenwick. As a reliable presence in the House, he received two proxies during the session: on 3 Mar. 1697 from Whig John Hall, bishop of Bristol, and on 8 Mar. 1697 from the Tory Nicholas Stratford, bishop of Chester (both vacated at the end of the session). He was back at Westminster for the first day of the session that opened on 3 Dec. 1697, again attended for an impressive 87 per cent of sittings, was named to the standing committees for privileges and the Journal, and to 40 select committees. On 15 Mar. 1698 he registered his dissent against the resolution not to commit the bill to punish Tory financier, Charles Duncombe. Receiving the proxy on 16 June 1698 of James Gardiner, bishop of Lincoln (vacated at the end of the session), he remained at Westminster until the House rose on 5 July 1698.

The December 1698 and November 1699 sessions followed the now familiar pattern. Cumberland was present on the first day of each, attended 69 per cent and 84 per cent of sittings respectively and was named to the sessional committees and to 21 select committees in each session. On 8 Feb. 1699 he acted as teller for the contents in the division in the committee of the whole on the resumption of the House. On 23 Jan. 1700 he protested against the resolution that the judgment be reversed in the writ of error in R. Williamson v. the Crown and a month later, voted against an adjournment during the debate on the future constitution of the East India Company. During the summer recess of 1700 he was recorded on a printed list of party affiliation as a Whig who was a potential supporter of the new ministry. A more pressing concern for Cumberland at that time was the increasingly vociferous debates between high and low churchmen. He was a faithful acolyte of Archbishop Tension, especially in the partisan Convocation of 1701, and sat with Tension when he pronounced the sentence of suspension against Edward Jones, bishop of St Asaph on 18 June.23

Cumberland attended the House on the first day of the session beginning in February 1701 and thereafter was present for 79 per cent of sittings. He was named to 19 select committees and to the committees for privileges and the Journal. Cumberland rallied to the support of both John Somers, Baron Somers, and Edward Russell, earl of Orford. On 17 June he voted in favour of Somers’ acquittal against impeachment; six days later he followed suit with a similar vote in favour of the acquittal of Orford. At Westminster until the end of the session on 24 June, it is probable that he then returned to Peterborough. He was back on the episcopal bench for the first day of the December session, attending 70 per cent of subsequent sittings. On 26 Feb. 1702, consistent with the opposition to schismatics he had defended in Cambridge in 1680, he registered his dissent against the resolution to continue the 1696 Quaker Affirmation Act.

With the death of William III on 8 Mar. 1702, Cumberland reported from the committee on the address to Queen Anne on her accession. He attended the session for the last time on 19 May, six days before its end. Present for Anne’s first session of Parliament (in October 1702) he attended nearly 69 per cent of sittings. On 22 Nov. he attended the queen’s chapel in the politically mixed company of John Sharp, archbishop of York, Nathaniel Crew, bishop of Durham, Jonathan Trelawny, bishop of Exeter, and Humphrey Humphreys, bishop of Hereford. He also attended the 1702 St Stephen’s dinner at Lambeth.24 The atmosphere at ecclesiastical gatherings clearly transcended partisan politics, but in the House Cumberland was a consistent supporter of the Whig party line. On 3 Dec. 1702, in the division on Somers’ amendment to the occasional conformity bill (to restrict the act to those covered only by the Test), he voted to support the amendment.

Cumberland had retained his scholarly eye for detail and on 8 Jan. 1703 offered an amendment to a private bill during its third reading. He was stopped by Laurence Hyde, earl of Rochester, on the grounds that this was a procedural irregularity and should have been done at an earlier stage; lord keeper Nathan Wright subsequently allowed the amendment since it related only to a transcription error.25 As predicted by Nottingham, Cumberland voted on 16 Jan. 1703 for the Lords’ wrecking amendment to the penalty clause in the occasional conformity bill. Three days later, still firmly in the Whig camp, he registered his protest against the resolution concerning Prince George, of Denmark, duke of Cumberland.

In November 1703, after the summer recess, Cumberland was twice forecast by Charles Spencer, 3rd earl of Sunderland, as an opponent of a new attempt to pass an occasional conformity bill. Back on the episcopal bench for the first day of the 1703-4 session (during which he attended for 73 per cent of sittings), Cumberland rejected the passage of the bill on 14 December. Later in the session, on 25 Mar. 1704, he dissented from the decision to put the question on whether the failure to censure Ferguson encouraged enemies of the crown.

In his place for the start of the October 1704 session, he subsequently attended 69 per cent of sittings. On Sunday 5 Nov. he, Nicolson and Archbishop Tension were the only bishops to attend the House before the customary Protestant service of thanksgiving. Ten days later Cumberland received the proxy of Simon Patrick, bishop of Ely (vacated 16 Nov.) in advance of the reintroduction of the occasional conformity bill in December. Remaining at his London home over Christmas, he again attended the St Stephen’s dinner at Lambeth. Frequently in the company of Burnet and Nicolson, the three men attended the committee on 9 Jan. 1705 to discuss the private bill for Sir Robert Clayton (with Nicholas Stratford and Charles Howard, 4th Baron Howard of Escrick).26 The House rose on 14 Mar. 1705 and the following day Cumberland returned to ecclesiastical politics. He joined Burnet, John Moore, bishop of Norwich, John Williams, bishop of Chichester, and John Hough, bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, in informing the Tory clergy in Convocation that they must govern themselves according to the rules of the constitution, and not according to their own wishes.27

On 25 Oct. 1705 Cumberland was in the House for the start of the new session (and throughout the session attended nearly 65 per cent of sittings). He was present for the lengthy ‘Church in Danger’ debate of 6 Dec. 1705 and for the various divisions that day in the committee of the whole House. On 12 Jan. 1706 Cumberland and Nicolson together with Burnet attended the Lords’ committee on two naturalization bills. The traditional martyrdom service of 30 Jan. saw Cumberland (again with Burnet and Nicolson) accompany lord keeper William Cowper, Baron (later earl) Cowper, to the Abbey together with Trelawny and John Evans, bishop of Bangor. During February he also attended a Whitehall committee of Queen Anne’s Bounty. On 23 Feb., when the committee of the whole House debated the private bill of the archbishop of Dublin, Cumberland and the other bishops present except Burnet supported the archbishop in the division about the refunding clause. The following day he attended matins at Whitehall, the only bishop at a service attended by Robert Bertie, marquess of Lindsey, Charles Dormer, 2nd earl of Carnarvon, William Granville, 3rd earl of Bath, Robert Darcy, 3rd earl of Holdernesse, and Francis North, 2nd Baron Guilford.28 On 11 Mar., like the other peers present, he managed both conferences on Sir Rowland Gwynne’s Letter to Thomas Grey, 2nd earl of Stamford. Unusually, Cumberland missed the last two months of business, attending the session for the last time on 19 March.

Cumberland, present for the start of the autumn 1706 session, attended 74 per cent of sittings. On Christmas Day he and Nicolson took communion at St Margaret’s Westminster.29 The following short session (opening on 14 Apr. 1707) saw a slight drop in his attendance to 60 per cent of sittings. He attended the October 1707 session for 80 per cent of sittings.

His diocesan regime in Peterborough remained consistently whiggish. In 1707 the politically active White Kennett, the future bishop of Canterbury, was installed as dean of Peterborough and Cumberland installed his son Richard (already on the cathedral chapter since 1699) as archdeacon of the diocese. Cumberland remained relatively active in London: aside from his parliamentary attendance he attended the 26 Dec. 1707 dinner at Lambeth and in February 1708 was identified by Nicolson as an ally in his legal proceedings against Hugh Todd, prebendary of Carlisle, over the governance of the cathedral, and so was presented with a copy of the case.30

Cumberland’s Whig affiliations were recorded in A True List of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in May 1708, though this does not seem to have translated into direct involvement with the June 1708 general election. He was in his seat in the House at the start of the November 1708 session and attended 74 per cent of sittings in the course of the session. On 21 Jan. 1709 he voted with the opposition in the division on the voting rights of Scottish peers with British titles created since the Union, siding with Somers, Moore, William Wake, bishop of Lincoln and Tenison and those Whigs associated with the Junto. On 17 Feb. five bishops, including Cumberland, went to the Abbey with Cowper, 11 lay peers (nine of them Scots) and seven members of the order of the Thistle for a service of thanksgiving preached by Charles Trimnell, bishop of Norwich. Cumberland continued to vote consistently with the Whig bishops; in the 15 Mar. division on the bill of general naturalization and the clause including the word ‘parochial’, he voted with Tenison, Burnet, Hough, Moore and Trimnell in opposition to the clause proposed by Tory William Dawes, bishop of Chester. His sympathy for the Union was again demonstrated on 22 Mar. when he supported the northern lords against the court in the division on Scottish law (whether those accused of treason should have a list of witnesses before the trial) in the bill to improve the Union. Cumberland maintained his previous allegiances by voting with Burnet, Nicolson, Williams and John Tyler, bishop of Llandaff. He was present on 25 Mar. in the committee of the whole House when it debated the treason bill (specifically the question of Scottish marriage settlements); in the division on an adjournment, Cumberland, Nicolson and Burnet voted with Cowper and Sidney Godolphin, earl of Godolphin, for a resumption of the House. The House rose on 21 Apr. 1709 but Cumberland remained in London to attend the Easter Day service in the Abbey on the 24th.31

Back in the House for the first day of the November 1709 session, Cumberland attended 76 per cent of sittings and voted on strict party lines for a guilty verdict in the trial of Henry Sacheverell on 25 Mar. 1710. Meanwhile, Cumberland was coming under criticism for his ecclesiastical conduct. The Trinity ordination in the diocese was allegedly marked by a ‘laxity’ that allowed at least one prospective deacon to bypass the age qualification required.32 It later transpired that Cumberland had conducted a number of ordinations without first assuring himself of candidates’ fitness for a position in the Church.33

As usual, Cumberland was present on 25 Nov. 1710 for the start of the new session, but his level of attendance was now beginning to decline; he attended this session for 56 per cent of sittings. Throughout the debates on the war in Spain, he helped to defend the foreign policy of the duumvirs’ ministry. On 9 Jan. 1711, he voted, firstly, for a resumption of the House and, secondly, with the non-government Whigs, in opposition to the account of the war given by Charles Mordaunt, 3rd earl of Peterborough.34 Two days later, with nine Whig bishops (including Burnet), Cumberland twice registered his protest: against the rejection of the petitions of Henry de Ruvigny, earl of Galway [I], and Charles O’Hara, Baron Tyrawley [I], concerning the conduct of the war in Spain and against the resolution that defeat at Almanza was the consequence of their tactics and those of James Stanhope, later Earl Stanhope. On 12 Jan., he also registered his protest against the censure of the Whig ministry for having approved military hostilities. On 3 Feb., he protested twice against further resolutions: that the two regiments on the Spanish establishment at the time of Almanza were insufficiently supplied, and that the failure of ministers to supply material amounted to neglect. Five days later he registered his dissent against two more resolutions: to present to the queen a representation concerning the war in Spain and to retain the wording in the representation relating to the grant of ‘vast sums of money’.

Throughout the spring Cumberland continued with his round of parliamentary, ecclesiastical and social activities, examining the Lords’ journals on 24 Mar. 1711 with Nicolson and Tyler, attending the fast sermon in the Abbey and dining in April in Chelsea at the home of Jonathan Trelawny, with his friend Nicolson and staunch Whigs Trimnell, Kennet and Edmund Gibson, the future bishop of London.35 In an attempt to quash the stridency of the high-fliers (under the leadership of Francis Atterbury, the future bishop of Rochester), Cumberland advocated in a letter of 17 June that the crown exercise the royal prerogative in banning the discussion or preaching of any doctrinal issue not contained in the Church articles.36 Cumberland’s whiggery harmed his family’s position in the diocese as towards the end of the year his son, the archdeacon, was purged from the magisterial bench in Peterborough by John Cecil, 6th earl of Exeter.37

Cumberland was back at Westminster on 7 Dec. 1711 for the first day of the new session (which he attended for 58 per cent of sittings) and was listed as a supporter of presenting the address to queen containing the ‘No Peace without Spain’ motion. Later in the month he was forecast as opposing the claim of James Hamilton, duke of Hamilton [S] to sit in the House under his British title as duke of Brandon but was not listed as present when the House voted on the matter on 20 December. He voted along party lines on 26 Feb. 1712 when he divided against the Commons’ amendment to the Scottish toleration bill. On 21 May he received John Moore’s proxy (vacated 5 June) and on 27 May that of Trelawny (vacated on 2 June). He in turn registered his proxy with Trelawny on 4 June (it was vacated two days later). It is possible that this flurry of proxy giving was related to proceedings concerning Quaker affirmation. Cumberland missed the last five weeks of business and it is likely that he returned to Peterborough. Although the House was not in session during the autumn of 1712, Cumberland was back at Lambeth by 26 Dec. for the annual St Stephen’s dinner and in March 1713, unsurprisingly, was listed by the Robert Harley, earl of Oxford as an opponent of the Tory ministry.38 In April Cumberland was in his place for the start of the session, but attended only 20 per cent of sittings. During an acutely partisan period of divisions over foreign policy towards France, Oxford assumed that Cumberland would oppose the bill confirming the eighth and ninth articles of the French commercial treaty.

In February 1714 Cumberland failed to live up to his usual punctuality and arrived one week after the start of the session. He attended nearly 30 per cent of sittings, including that of 5 Apr. when the House divided over the question of whether the Protestant succession was in danger. It is not known how Cumberland voted, although his previous record suggests that it can be assumed that he was a supporter of the Hanoverian succession; he was not, however, nominated to the Lords’ committee to draw up a suitable address to the queen. He was in the House on 13 Apr. when the Lords considered the queen’s reply to the address on the danger from the Pretender, a danger perceived to be so threatening that even some moderate Tories deserted the ministry. It was reported that only two of the bishops (Francis Atterbury and Nathaniel Crew) supported the court.39 Cumberland attended the House for the last time that session on 4 May, thus missing divisions on the contentious Schism bill. On 8 May he deposited his proxy with Bishop Nicolson. On 27 May Nottingham forecast that Cumberland would oppose the measure, but Cumberland was absent on 11 June for the vote on extending the bill to Ireland. Nicolson claimed that Cumberland’s proxy was used to oppose the bill, but it is not clear from the proxy book who held the proxy on that day.40 On 14 June Cumberland registered his proxy with William Wake (vacated at the end of the session) who used it to oppose the passage of the bill on the 15th.

The summer of 1714 saw a watershed in Cumberland’s parliamentary career. After the accession of George I, Cumberland attended the House on only 11 days. He did not attend the session in August 1714 and then attended for a brief period only in April and May 1715. He sat in the House of Lords for the final time on 22 Feb. 1716.

Although it is impossible to determine his overall wealth, he was clearly rich in property, some of which had been owned by his father and bequeathed to Cumberland’s brothers, William and Henry.41 It is unclear how Richard Cumberland came to have these properties at his disposal (his brothers’ wills are unhelpful in this respect), but at his death he was able to bequeath houses and land in Westminster, Northamptonshire and Cambridgeshire.42 Following a period of physical and intellectual decline, on 9 Oct. 1718, at the age of 86, Cumberland suffered a massive stroke whilst reading the newspaper in his study; he died the same day.43


  • 1 TNA, PROB 11/566.
  • 2 Ibid.
  • 3 Nicolson London Diaries, 374.
  • 4 Sanchoniatho’s Phoenician History… With a Preface… by S. Payne, p. xii.
  • 5 R. Cumberland, ‘The motives to Liberality considered; an infirmary sermon’, The English Preacher, ix. 1773.
  • 6 LPL, ms 999, f. 643.
  • 7 Pepys Diary, viii. 118.
  • 8 Sanchionatho’s Phoenician History, p. vi.
  • 9 J.B. Parkin, Science, Religion and Politics in Restoration England; Revue historique de droit français et étranger, lxv (2) 233-52; L. Kirk, Richard Cumberland and Natural Law; Jnl. of the Hist. of Philosophy, xx. (1) 23-42.
  • 10 Pepys Diary, viii. 118; ix. 17.
  • 11 Sanchoniatho’s Phoenician History, pp. vi, x; CSP Dom. 1689-90, p. 104.
  • 12 Sanchoniatho’s Phoenician History, pp. xi, xxxvii.
  • 13 CUL, Add. 2, no. 148.
  • 14 CSP Dom. 1691-2, p. 50.
  • 15 CSP Dom. 1690-1, pp. 342, 408.
  • 16 Add. 70015, f. 276.
  • 17 Sanchoniatho’s Phoenician History, pp. xiv-xv; Add. 4274, f. 210.
  • 18 Sanchoniatho’s Phoenician History, p. xiv; Cumberland, Mems. (1907), 14.
  • 19 Add. 6116, f. 58.
  • 20 DWL, Stillingfleet ms 201.38, f. 37.
  • 21 Bodl. Tanner 305, f. 69; CSP Dom. 1693, p. 349.
  • 22 State Trials, xiii. 413.
  • 23 Bodl. Rawl. B 380, f. 211.
  • 24 Nicolson, London Diaries, 131, 153.
  • 25 Ibid. 161.
  • 26 Ibid. 219, 260, 273.
  • 27 LPL, ms 934, f. 37.
  • 28 Nicolson, London Diaries, 351, 367, 374, 384.
  • 29 Ibid. 404.
  • 30 LPL, ms 1770, f. 54v; Nicolson, London Diaries, 453.
  • 31 Nicolson, London Diaries, 478, 486, 488-9, 502.
  • 32 EHR, xlvii. 427, 432.
  • 33 Lansd. 990, ff. 17-18.
  • 34 Nicolson, London Diaries, 531.
  • 35 Ibid. 563-6.
  • 36 Christ Church Lib. Oxf. Wake mss 18, f. 374.
  • 37 Glassey, JPs, 215-16, 247.
  • 38 LPL, ms 1770, f. 128.
  • 39 Cobbett, Parl. Hist. vi. 1343.
  • 40 Nicolson, London Diaries, 612-3.
  • 41 TNA, PROB 11/304 ; Sanchoniatho’s Phoenician History, p. xviii.
  • 42 TNA, PROB 11/566; VCH Cambs. and Isle of Ely, iv. 186-97.
  • 43 Sanchoniatho’s Phoenician History, p. xxvi.