This eminently-accomplished Prelate "was born at Congreve, in the parish of Penkrich, in the county of Stafford, Jan. 13, 1719-20. [Author's note: This article (originally printed in the History of Leicestershire, in which, but not before it had been published, it was seen and sanctioned by the good Bishop) is now enlarged and corrected from some Particulars, in his own hand-writing, which were found after his decease, and endorsed by him, 'Some Occurrences in my Life. R. W.']
"He was the second of three children, (his Lordship's own words are here used) all sons, of John and Hannah Hurd: plain, honest, and good people; of whom he can truly say with the Poet — "Si natura juberet," &c.
"They rented a considerable farm at Congreve, when he was born; but soon after removed to a larger at Penford, about half way between Brewood and Wolverhampton in the same county. There being a good grammar-school at Brewood, he was educated there under the Reverend Mr. Hillman, and, upon his death, under his successor, the Reverend Mr. Budworth — both well qualified for their office, and both very kind to him. Mr. Budworth had been master of the school at Rudgely; where he continued two years after his election to Brewood, while the school-house, which had been much neglected, was repairing. He was therefore sent to Rudgely immediately on Mr. Budworth's appointment to Brewood, returned with him to this place, and continued under his care, till he went to the University. He must add one word more of his second master. He knew him well, when he afterwards was of an age to judge of his merits. He had been a scholar of the famous Mr. Blackwall of Derby, and afterwards bred at Christ's College in Cambridge, where he resided till he had taken his M.A.'s degree. He understood Greek and Latin well, and had a true taste of the best writers in those languages. He was, besides, a polite, well-bred man, and singularly attentive to the manners, in every sense of the word, of his scholars. He had a warm sense of virtue and religion, and enforced both with a natural and taking eloquence. How happy, to have had such a man, first, for his Schoolmaster, and then for his Friend. Under so good direction, he was thought fit for the University; and was accordingly admitted at Emmanuel College, in Cambridge, Oct. 3, 1733; but did not go to reside there till a year or two afterwards.
"In this College, he was happy in receiving the countenance, and in being permitted to attend the Lectures, of that excellent tutor, Mr. Henry Hubbard, although he had been admitted under another person. He took the degree of B.A. in 1738-9; proceeded M.A. and elected Fellow in 1742; was ordained Deacon 13 June that year, in St. Paul's Cathedral, London, by Dr. Joseph Butler, Bishop of Bristol and Dean of St. Paul's, on Letters Dimissory from Dr. Gooch, Bishop of Norwich; and was ordained Priest, 20 May, 1744, in the Chapel of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, by the Bishop of Norwich, Dr. Gooch."
The first performance which is known to have been written by Mr. Hurd was, "Remarks on a late Book, entitled, An Enquiry into the Rejection of the Christian Miracles by the heathens; by William Weston, B.D. Fellow of St. John's College, Cambridge, and Vicar of Campden, Gloucestershire; Cantab. 1746."
On the Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle, 1748, a copy of verses by Mr. Hurd is printed in the University Collection of 1749.
He took the degree of B.D. in 1749; and published, the same year, his Commentary on Horace's "Ars Poetica," in the Preface to which he took occasion to compliment Mr. Warburton in a stile that procured him the acquaintance of that Author; who soon after returned the eulogium, in his edition of Mr. Pope's Works, wherein he speaks of Mr. Hurd's "Commentary" in terms of the highest approbation , though not more than it was entitled to from its merit.
By Mr. Warburton's recommendation to the Bishop of London (Dr. Sherlock), he was appointed one of the Whitehall Preachers in May 1750.
"At this period the University was disturbed by internal divisions, occasioned by an exercise of discipline against some of its members, who had been wanting in respect to those who were intrusted with its authority. A punishment having been inflicted on some delinquents, they refused to submit to it, and appealed from the Vice-chancellor's jurisdiction. The rights of the University and those to whom their power was delegated, by this means becoming the subject of debate, several pamphlets appeared; and among others who signalized themselves upon this occasion, Mr. Hurd is generally supposed to have been the Author of 'The Academic; or a Dissertation on the State of the University of Cambridge, and the Propriety of the Regulations made in it, on the 11th day of May and the 26th day of June, 1750; London, printed for C. Say, in Newgate-street, near the Gate, 1750,' 8vo; and also, 'The Opinion of an eminent Lawyer concerning the Right of Appeal from the Vice-chancellor of Cambridge to the Senate, supported by a short historical Account of the Jurisdiction of the University; an Answer to a late Pamphlet, intituled, An Inquiry into the Right of Appeal from the Vice-chancellor of the University of Cambridge, &c. By a Fellow of a College, 1751,' 8vo.
He published the "Commentary on the Epistle to Augustus in 1751; and a new edition of both Comments, with a Dedication to Mr. Warburton in 1753.
In 1752, he published "The Mischiefs of Enthusiasm and Bigotry, a Sermon preached at the Assizes at Norwich, July 29, 1752, before the Hon. Sir Thomas Parker, by Richard Hurd. Printed for Creed, Norwich; and sold by Rivington, London."
In the next year he was presented to the donative curacy of St. Andrew's the Little in Cambridge, commonly called Barnwell; and published "A Sermon, preached at Trinity church, in Cambridge, March 28, 1753, being the time of the Annual Meeting of the Children. educated in the Charity-schools of that Town. By Richard Hurd, B.D. Fellow of Emanuel College, and Minister of St. Andrew's the Little, in Cambridge. Printed by desire of the Stewards of the said Charity. To which is annexed, A short Account of the Rise, Progress, and present State of the Charity Schools. Cambridge, printed by J. Bentham, Printer to the University, 1753," 8vo.
On the 27th of November, 1755, he had to lament the death of his Father, aet. 70.
The friendship which had taken place between Dr. Warburton and Mr. Hurd had from its commencement continued to increase by the aid of mutual good offices; and in 1755 an opportunity offered for the latter to shew the warmth of his attachment. Dr. Jortin, having spoken of Mr. Warburton with less deference and submission than the claims of an overbearing and confident superiority seemed to demand, was called to account for it in a pamphlet, intituled, "The Delicacy of Friendship, a Seventh Dissertation; addressed to the Author of the Sixth, 1755," 8vo. This was universally ascribed to Mr. Hurd; and the sense which the person in whose favour the attack was made had of the service , may be seen in the following extract of a letter to Dr. Lowth: "The Author is a man of very superior talents of genius, learning, and virtue; indeed, a principal ornament of the age he lives in: so that was I to wish a blessing to the man I was most obliged to, I could not wish him a greater, than the friendship of such a person. And I not only hold myself highly honoured and obliged to him, for this mark of his good-will towards me; but think the discourse very serviceable to men of letters, if they would condescend to make a proper use of it. He tries, in the finest irony in the world, to shame them out of that detestable turn of mind, which either out of low envy is unwilling to give merit its due, or out of mean and base apprehensions dare not do it, for fear of its being unacceptable to their superiors."
Though Mr. Hurd's reputation for genius and learning had been long established, we do not find that his merit had attracted the notice of the great, or that any disposition had appeared at this time to advance his fortune.
He still continued to reside at Cambridge, in learned and unostentatious retirement; till, in December 1756, he became, on the death of Dr. Arnald, entitled to the rectory of Thurcaston, as senior Fellow of Emanuel College, on Mr. Hubbard's declining it, and was instituted Feb. 16, 1757. At this place he accordingly entered into residence, perfectly satisfied with his situation; and the leisure which this rectory had given to its possessor soon appeared to have been not idly spent.
In 1757, he published "A Letter to Mr. Mason on the Marks of Imitation," 8vo; which was in the same year added to the third edition of the Epistles of Horace. And in this year also appeared "Remarks on Mr. David Hume's Essay on the Natural History of Religion, addressed to the Rev. Dr. Warburton," 8vo. This little tract was occasioned by some passages in Mr. Hume's Life of himself; and is a most excellent ridicule and display of Hume's bad logic and reasoning. It was published from the MS. of Dr. Warburton, with a Postscript by Mr. Hurd.
In 1759, whilst Thurcaston was benefited by the pastoral labours of one of the brightest ornaments of literature, Mr. Mason, in a most beautiful Elegy,
—chose to consecrate his favourite strain
To Him, who, grac'd by ev'ry lib'ral art,
That might best shine among the learned train,
Yet more excell'd in morals and in heart:
Whose equal mind could see vain Fortune shower
Her flimsy favours on the fawning crew,
While in low Thurcaston's sequester'd bower,
She fix'd him distant from Promotion's view:
Yet, shelter'd there, by calm Contentment's wing,
Pleas'd he could smile, and, with sage Hooker's eye,
"See from his mother earth God's blessings spring,
And eat his bread in peace and privacy."
In 1759, a volume of "Dialogues on Sincerity, Retirement, the Golden Age of Elizabeth, and the Constitution of the English Government," was published, anonymously, in 8vo; and was followed, in 1762, by two editions of "Letters on Chivalry and Romance."
On the second of November 1762, he had the sinecure rectory of Folkton, near Bridlington, Yorkshire, given him by the Lord Chancellor (the Earl of Northington) on the recommendation of Mr. Allen.
In 1764 he published "A Letter to the Rev. Dr. Thomas Leland, Fellow of Trinity College, Dublin. In which his late Dissertation on the Principles of human Eloquence is criticized; and the Bishop of Gloucester's Idea of the Nature and Character of an inspired Language, as delivered in his Lordship's Doctrine of Grace, is vindicated from all the Objections of the learned Author of the Dissertation."
His "Dialogues on Foreign Travel" were published anonymously in 1764; and re-published in 1765, with the Author's name, under the title of "Dialogues Moral and Political, with Letters on Chivalry," in three vols. 8vo; this edition contains a prefatory discourse, then first published, on the manner of writing Dialogue .
He was made Preacher of Lincoln's-inn , on the recommendation of Bishop Warburton and Mr. Charles Yorke, Nov. 6, 1765; and was collated to the Archdeaconry of Gloucester on the death of Dr. Geekie, by the Bishop, Aug. 27, 1767.
On Commencement Tuesday, July 5, 1768, he was admitted D.D. at Cambridge; and on the same day appointed to open the Lecture established by his friend Bp. Warburton, for the Illustration of the Prophecies; in which he exhibited a model truly worthy of the imitation of his Successors. His "Twelve Discourses" on that occasion, which had been delivered before the most polite and crowded audiences that ever frequented the Chapel, many of whom were frequently both Temporal and Spiritual Lords, were published in 1772, under the title of "An Introduction to the Study of the Prophecies concerning the Christian Church; and, in particular, concerning the Church of Papal Rome," in one volume, 8vo.
In a letter from Thurcaston, dated June 14, 1769, Dr. Hurd tells the Bishop of Gloucester, "in my way hither, I digressed a little (to let you see that I have the seeds of Antiquarianism in me), to take a view of Gorhambury, when I might with equal ease have taken a survey of the modern finery at Luton Hoo, and had it not in my power to visit both."
Then follows an interesting sketch of that once venerable place — of "Scenes that to Bacon could retreat afford!"
To which the Bishop answers, "Your account of Gorhambury is very graphical. The Library, according to your account, has been an heir-loom, ever since the time of Bacon. You say your antiquarian taste drew you thither. I rather think it was superstition and idolatry, such as I am seized with, whenever I think of Bishop's-Bourn: to which you and I must positively make a pilgrimage, if we live to next Spring."
In the same year Dr. Hurd published an edition of "Select Works of Mr. Abraham Cowley," with a Preface and Notes, in two small volumes octavo.
In 1773, Feb. 27, Dr. Hurd had to lament the loss of an affectionate Mother, who died at the very advanced age of 88.
It is well known that Dr. Hurd's noble Friend and Patron Mr. Yorke only enjoyed the Great Seal a few days. But a man of such real merit and genius could not be suffered to follow his own resolution of returning to a college life. Lord Mansfield seized the first occasion of cultivating his acquaintance: and soon after the mitre was placed, as it always ought to be, on the head of Genius and Learning. Dr. Hurd was consecrated Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry, Feb. 12, 1775. That this promotion was on his part unsolicited, and what was the sense entertained of it by the College which prided itself on his being one of their body, will appear from the following documents:
"Reverendo admodum in Christo Patri ac domino, domino Ricardo Episcopo Coventriensi et Lichfeldensi, Magister et Socii Collegii Emmanuelis Cantabrigiae, S.P.D.
Nunquam sane, dignissime Praesul, ampliorem vel gratulandi vel gloriandi materiam Divina Providentia nobis obtulit, quam quando te Episcopali Infula insignitum contemplamur.
Tibi igitur gratulamur, quod nulla sollicita ambitio, nulla Magnatum necessitudo, nisi quam tua virtus, tua et in Divinis et in humanioribus literis doctrina conciliaverit, viam ad tantam dignitatem munivit; ad quam bonorum omnium votis jamdudum expetitus, et quasi oculis designatus fueris; unde tuo exemplo discant omnes, apud optimum Principem nihil ad honores adipiscendos magis valere, quam meruisse.
Gratulamur Ecclesiae, quae eximium probitatis exemplar, et simul acerrimum, siquando indigeat, paratum habitura sit vindicem.
Gratulamur Academiae, quae filium, cui summos suns honores libentissime haud ita pridem detulit, majoribus jam auctum videt.
Quidni etiam nobis liceat gloriari, cum de spendore tuo nonnihil in hanc Musarum sedem reperenti nosse videatur? in qua, non hospes paucorum dierum, non paucorum annorum discipulus, sed ab ineunte juventute bonis literis imbutus, Socius deinde ejusdem per plures annos decus & ornamentum fueris; & in curam tandem animarum, tuo arbitrio, non tam emitti, quam ab invitis nobis avelli visus esses.
Quin & gratulemur venerandae isti urbanae Societati, quae te rure diutius delitescere non est passa; sed in lucem produxit publicam, quo facilius concionatoris munere fungendo, merita tua & dignosci possent & remunerari.
Nihil jam restat, nisi ut Deum Opt. Max. obnixe comprecemur ut diu vivas & valeas; in hoc enim voto, quodcunque felix faustumque sit (quantum quidem in te fuerit praesidii, & est certe maximum) pientissmio Regi, Reipublicae, Ecciesiae, Academiae, Collegio demum nostro (cujus te memorem nupero beneficio comprobasti) conclusum arbitramur. Dat. e Coll. Eman."
Mr. Farmer (afterwards Master) and Mr. Askew, Fellows of the College, went with this letter to London; presented it to the Bishop Feb. 16, 1775; and brought back the following answer:
"Reverendo admodum Magistro Sociisque dignissimis Collegi Emanuelis apud Cantabrigienses, S.P.D. R. Lichtfeldensis & Coventrensis.
Gratulationes vestras, viri gravissimi, mihi perplacere non est ut dubitem profiteri, qui, quasi sint elegantia conscriptae, & ex quanto vestrum omnium erga me profectae amore, plane video.
Verebar equidem, ut tantam hanc Episcopalis fastigii dignitatem, qua nec petentem nec ambientem cohonestari me voluit optimus Princeps, digne satis sustentare possem. Verum animum mire reficit benevolentia vestra, & facit ut de tenuitate mea Don nunc pertimescam; idque magis, quia laudibus vestris, etiamsi nimiis, non ignotum cumulatis aut disciplinae vestrae (de qua multa preadicare soleo) expertem. Quod cum mecum reputo, fidentior paulo ad capessendum hoc gravissimum munus accedo, non modo suffragiis vestris, sed institutis etiam munitus.
Videtis, viri ornatissimi, quanti me faciam, nec immerito; cum qualis qualis sum, vos me totum effinxistis. Ideo magis in vos, & vestrum, imo, nostrum, Collegium memoir me fore animo gratoque promitto: nec aliud mihi ex hujusce loci opportunitate prius exoptandum censeo quam ut quantum vobis vestrisque studiis faveam, aliqua saltem mei vel judicii vel voluntatis significatione, pluribus testari possum.
Vos autem, viri doctissimi, amicissimique, Valete!
Dat. Londini, ad XIII cal. Mart. MDCCLXXV."
In consequence of this well-deserved promotion, Mr. Mason thus again addressed his friend, with a copy of "Caractacus:"
Still let my HURD a smile of candour lend
To scenes that dar'd on Grecian pinions tow'r,
When "in low Thurcaston's sequester'd bower,"
He prais'd the strain, because he lov'd the friend:
There golden leisure did his steps attend,
Nor had the rare, the well-weigh'd call of Power,
To those high cares decreed his watchful hour,
On which fair Albion's future hopes depend.
A fate unlook'd-for waits my friend and me;
He pays to duty what is Learning's claim,
Resigning classic ease — for dignity;
I yield my Muse to Fashion's praise or blame.
In 1775 the new Bishop favoured the publick with a re-publication of Dr. Jeremy Taylor's "Moral Demonstration of the Truth of the Christian Religion," 8vo.
Early in 1776, he published a volume of "Sermons preached at Lincoln's-inn , between the years 1765 and 1776; and on the 5th of June was made Preceptor to the Prince of Wales and his brother Prince Frederick, 1776."
Very soon after entering into the Episcopal Office, appeared an excellent "Charge delivered to the Clergy of the Diocese of Lichfield and Coventry, at the Bishop's Primary Visitation in 1775 and 1776."
"The new Bishop preached before the House of Lords, Dec. 13, 1776, the first Fast for the War.
"He lost his old and best friend, Bishop Warburton, June, 1779."
"He published the Second and Third Volumes of Sermons in 1780. These Discourses were prepared for the use of the Society of Lincoln's-inn, and delivered in their Chapel, whilst he was their preacher. Upon his resignation of that office, the Master of the Bench requested him to publish them; [by complying with which, he put the world at large under considerable obligations.]
"He was elected Member of the Royal Society of Gottingen, Jan. 11, 1781."
[He preached before the Incorporated Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, at their Anniversary Meeting in the Parish Church of St. Mary-le-Bow, on Monday, Feb. 16, 1781.]
"The Bishop of Winchester [Dr. Thomas] died Tuesday, May 1, 1781 and Bp. Hurd received a gracious letter from his Majesty the next morning, by a special messenger from Windsor, with the offer of the See of Worcester, in the room of Bishop North (to be translated to Winchester); and of the Clerkship of the Closet, in the room of the late Bishop of Winchester.
"On his arrival at Hartlebury Castle in July that year, he resolved to put the castle into complete order, and to build a Library, which was much wanted. The Library was finished in 1782, and furnished with a collection of books, late Dr. Warburton's, and ordered by his will to be sold, and the value given to the Infirmary at Gloucester 1783. To these, other considerable additions have been since made.
"Archbishop Cornwallis died in 1783; and Bishop Hurd had "the offer of the Archbishoprick from his Majesty, with many gracious expressions, and was pressed to accept it; but humbly begged leave to decline it, as a charge not suited to his temper and talents, and much too heavy for him to sustain, especially in these times . The King was pleased not to take offence at this freedom, and then to enter with hum into some confidential conversation on the subject. It was offered to the Bishop of London, Dr. Lowth, and refused by him, as was foreseen, on account of his ill health. It was then given to Dr. Moore, Bishop of Bangor."
[In 1783, an excellent likeness of Bishop Hurd was engraved by Hall, from an original by Gainsborough in the possession of his Majesty; intended for publication after his death. Another portrait of his Lordship was given to Dr. Farmer, for the Master's Lodge at Emanuel College.]
"In 1784 he added a considerable number of books to the new Library at Hartlebury.
"In 1785 he added more books to the Library. And put the last hand to the Bishop of Gloucester's Life, to be prefixed to the new Edition of his Works then in the press.
"He confirmed Prince Edward (their Majesties' fourth son) in the Chapel of Windsor Castle, May 14, 1785.
"In this year, Dec. 24, he confirmed Princess Augusta (their Majesty's second daughter) in the Chapel of Windsor Castle; preached in the Chapel the next day (Christmas day), and administered the Sacrament to their Majesties and the Princess Royal and Princess Augusta.
"He preached before the Lords, Jan. 30 1786.
"He preached before their Majesties and Royal Family in the Chapel of Windsor Castle; and administered the Sacrament to them, on Christmas day 1786.
"In the end of February 1788 was published, in seven volumes, 4to; a complete Edition of The Works of Bishop Warburton." [The publication of the Life was at that time postponed.]
"March 13, 1788, a fine gold medal was given him by his Majesty at the Queen's house; the Kings head on one side. The reverse was taken from a seal of the Bishop's, which his Majesty chanced to see and approved. The die was cut by Mr. Burch, and the medal designed for the annual Prize-Dissertation on Theological Subjects in the University of Gottingen.
"This Summer the King went to Cheltenham to drink the waters, and was attended by the Queen, the Princess Royal, and the Princesses Augusta and Elizabeth. They arrived at Cheltenham in the evening of Saturday July 12, and resided in a house of Earl Falconberg. From Cheltenham they made excursions to several places in Gloucestershire and Worcestershire, and were everywhere received with joy by all ranks of people. On Saturday, Aug. 2, they were pleased to visit Hartlebury, at the distance or 33 miles or more. The Duke of York came from London to Cheltenham the day before, and was pleased to come with them. They arrived at Hartlebury at half an hour past eleven. Lord Courtoun, Mr. Digby (the Queen's Vice-Chamberlain), Col. Gwin (one of the King's Equerries), the Countesses of Harcourt and Courtoun, composed the suite. Their Majesties, after seeing the House, breakfasted in the Library; and, when they had reposed themselves some time, walked into the garden, and took several turns on the terraces, especially the Green terrace in the Chapel garden. Here they shewed themselves to an immense crowd of people, who flocked, in from the neighbourhood, and standing on the rising grounds in the Park, saw, and were seen, to great advantage. The day being extremely bright, the shew was agreeable and striking. About two o'clock, their Majesties, &c. returned to Cheltenham.
"On the Tuesday following, August 5, their Majesties, with the three Princesses, arrived at 8 o'clock in the evening at the Bishop's Palace in Worcester, to attend the charitable meeting of the three Quires of Worcester, Hereford, and Gloucester, for the benefit of the widows and orphans of the poorer Clergy of those Dioceses; which had been fixed, in consequence of the signification of the King's intention to honour that solemnity with his presence, for the 6th, 7th, and 8th of that month.
"The next morning, a little before ten o'clock, the King was pleased to receive the compliments of the Clergy. The Bishop, in the name of himself, Dean and Chapter and Clergy of the Church and Diocese, addressed the King in the Great Hall, in a short speech, to which his Majesty was pleased to return a gracious answer. He had then the honour to address the Queen in a few words, to which a gracious reply was made; and they had all the honour to kiss the King's and Queen's hand.
"Soon after ten, the Corporation, by their Recorder, the Earl of Coventry, addressed and went through the same ceremony of kissing the King's hand. Then the King had a Levee in the Great hall, which lasted till eleven, when their Majesties, &c. walked through the Court of the Palace to the Cathedral, to attend Divine Service and a Sermon. The apparitor general, two sextons, two virgers, and eight beadsmen, walked before the King (as on great occasions they usually do before the Bishop); the Lord in waiting (Earl of Oxford) on the King's right hand, and the Bishop in his lawn on the left. After the King, came the Queen and Princesses, attended by the Countesses of Pembroke and Harcourt (Ladies of the Bed-chamber), and the Countess of Courtoun, and the rest of their suite. At the entrance of the Cathedral, their Majesties were received by the Dean and Chapter in their surplices and hoods, and conducted to the foot of the stairs leading to their seat in a gallery prepared and richly furnished by the Stewards for their use, at the bottom of the Church near the West window.
"The same ceremony was observed the two following days, on which they heard sacred musick, but without prayers or a sermon. On the last day, Aug. 8th, the King was pleased to give £200 to the charity: and in the evening attended a convert in the College Hall for the benefit of the Stewards.
"On Saturday morning, Aug. 9, the King and Queen, &c. returned to Cheltenham.
"During their Majesties' stay at the Palace they attended prayers in the Chapel every morning (except the first, when the service was performed in the Church), which were read by the Bishop. The King, at parting, was pleased to put into my and for the poor of the City £50 and the Queen £50 more; which I desired the Mayor (Mr. Davis) to see distributed amongst them in a proper manner. The King also left £300 in my hands towards releasing the Debtors in the County and City jails.
"During the three days at Worcester, the concourse of people of all ranks was immense, and the joy universal. The weather was uncommonly fine. And no accident of any kind interrupted the mutual satisfaction, which was given and received on this occasion.
"On Saturday, August 16, the King and Royal Family left Cheltenham, and returned that evening to Windsor. In the beginning of November following, the King was seized with that illness, which was so much lamented. It continued till the end of February 1789, when his Majesty happily recovered. Soon after I had his Majesty's command to attend him at Kew; and on March 15, I administered the Sacrament to his Majesty at Windsor in the Chapel of the Castle, as also on Easter Sunday, April 12, and preached both days.
"At the Sacrament of March 15, the King was attended only by three or four of his gentlemen. On Easter-day, the Queen, Princess Royal, and Princesses Augusta and Elizabeth, with several Lords and Gentlemen and Ladies of the Court, attended the King to the Chapel, and received the Sacrament with him.
"On April 23 (St. George's day) a public Thanksgiving for the King's recovery was appointed. His Majesty, the Queen, and Royal Family, with the two Houses of Parliament, &c. went in procession to St. Paul's. The Bishop of London preached. I was not well enough to be there.
"May 28, 1790, the Duke of Montagu died. He was a Nobleman of singular worth and virtue; of an exemplary life; and of the best principles in Church and State. As Governor to the Prince of Wales and Prince Frederick, he was very attentive to his charge, and executed that trust with great propriety and dignity. The Preceptor was honoured with his confidence: and there never was the least misunderstanding between them; or so much as a difference of opinion as to the manlier in which the education of the Princes should be conducted.
"In October 1790, I had the honour to receive from the King the present of two fine full-length pictures of his Majesty and the Queen, copied from those at the Queen's House, St. James's Park, painted by the late Mr. Gainsborough.
"These pictures are put up in the great drawing-room at the palace in Worcester, and betwixt them, over the fire-place, is fixed an oval tablet of white marble with the following inscription in gold letters:
Imagines, quas contemplaris,
Georgii III et Charlottae Conjugis,
Ricardo Episcopo Vigorniensi
"The Bishop's younger brother, Mr. Thomas Hurd, of Birmingham, died Sept. 17, 1791; and his elder brother, Mr. John Hurd, of Hatton, near Shifnal, Dec. 6, 1792."
[The very admirable "Address of the Clergy of the Diocese of Worcester to his Majesty, on the late Proclamation, June 1, 1792," a production of no ordinary merit, may also without hazard be ascribed to the pen of this worthy Prelate.]
"My noble and honoured friend, the Earl of Mansfield, died March 20, 1793.
"My old and much esteemed friend, Dr. Balguy, Prebendary and Archdeacon of Winchester, died January 19, 1795.
"The Life of Bishop Warburton, which was sent to the press in Autumn 1794, was not printed off till the end of January, nor published till towards the end of February 1795.
"He printed in the course of this year, at the Kidderminster press, a Collection of Bishop Warburton's Letters to himself, to be published after his death for the benefit of the Worcester Infirmary. — The edition consisted of 250 copies, 4to — was finished at the press in the beginning of December.
"In the Summer of 1796, visited my Diocese in person, I have great reason to suppose for the last time; being in the 77th year of my age — 'fiat voluntas Dei!'
"Mrs. Stafford Smith, late Mrs. Warburton, died at Fladbury, September 1, 1796.
"Mr. Mason died at Aston, April 5, 1797. He was one of my oldest and most respected friends. How few of this description now remain!
"By God's great mercy, enter this day (24 Jan. 1799) into my 80th year. Ps. xc. 10. But see I Cor. xv. 22. Rom. viii. 18. 1 Pet. i. 3-5. [Greek Characters]. 2 Cor. ix. 15.
"It pleased God that I was able this Summer to confirm over all parts of my Diocese.
"And to visit my Diocese in person once more, June 6 to 17, 1800. — L.D.
"Lost my old and worthy friend Dr. Heberden, in the 91st or 92nd year of his age, May 16, 1801.
"Consecrated, on Tuesday the 15th of June, 1802, the new Church and Church-yard of Lower Eatington, near Shipston, in Warwickshire.
"My most deserving, unhappy friend, Dr. William Arnald , died at Leicester, August 5, 1802.
"1803, May 31 to June 3. Visited my Diocese by commission — Commissioners, Dr. Arnold, my Chancellor; and Dr. Evans, Archdeacon.
"St. James' day, July 25, 1804, held an Ordination in Hartlebury Chapel — three Deacons, five Priests — the last I can expect to undertake.
"1805. Confirmations by the Bishop of Chester (Dr. Majendie).
March 27, Stratford.
29, Hales Owen.
— by the Bishop of Hereford (Dr. Cornewall.)
June 14, Worcester
"1806. Visited my Diocese this year by Commission.
The Chancellor and Archdeacon.
Warwick, May 26.
"Sept. 26, 1807. The Prince of Wales visited Lady Downshire, at Ombersley Court, this month. I was too infirm to wait upon him either at Ombersley or Worcester; but his Royal Highness was pleased to call at Hartlebury, on Saturday the 26th of this month, attended by his brother the Duke of Sussex, and Lord Lake, and staid with me above an hour.
"April 23, 1808. Granted a Commission to the Bishop of Chester (Dr. Majendie), to consecrate the new Chapel and Burying-ground at Red Ditch, in the parish of Tardebig; which was performed this day, Thursday; April 21, 1808, the proper Officers of the Court and two of my Chaplains attending."
"To the preceding short narrative (the last paragraph of which was written by the Bishop only five weeks before his death) little more," says the faithful Editor of his Lordship's Works [author's note: Richard Hurd, Esq. his Lordship's nephew, and heir to the benevolence as well as to the fortune of his venerable Relation], will be added.
"So late as the first Sunday in February before his death, though then declining in health and strength, he was able to attend his parish church, and to receive the Sacrament. Free from any painful or acute disorder, he gradually became weaker; but his faculties continued perfect. After a few days confinement to his bed, he expired in his sleep, on Saturday morning, May 28, 1808; having completed four months beyond his eighty-eighth year. He was buried in Hartlebury Church-yard, according to his own directions.
"He had been Bishop of Worcester for almost twenty-seven years: a longer period than any Bishop of that See since the Reformation."
Of Bishop Hurd's character little more need be said. Where Calumny had not even ventured to insinuate a fault, and where Respect and Reverence were the constant attendants, it would be unnecessary to expatiate on good qualities.
As a Writer, his taste, learning, and genius, were universally confessed. His Sermons are read with not less advantage than they were delivered.
With his friends and connexions he had obtained their best eulogium, their constant and warm attachment; and with the world in general a kind of veneration, which, in times like the present, could neither he acquired nor preserved but by the exercise of great virtues.
And here let me be allowed to boast that, from the commencement of my typographic life to the day of his death, I had the honour of uninterruptedly enjoying his Lordship's patronage .
The late Reverend Stebbing Shaw, in his History of Staffordshire, vol. I. p. 280, enumerating the Bishops of Lichfield and Coventry, says, "Of this excellent and highly-esteemed Prelate, we could wish to say more; but, on a living character of such eminence, it only becomes us at present to add the classical sentiments of a deceased admirer."
"Viro reverendo doctoque Andreae Chappo, D.D. salutem plurimam dicet Thomas Seward, A.M. Canonicus Lichfieldiensis, die Augusti quinto, 1780.
Diocesi nostrae nunc feliciter praesidet Richardus Hurd; virum scilicet, quem uno omnes ore utcunque caetera dissentientes praedicant et admirantur; qui non modo ingenii et eruditionis fama, verum etiam morum innocentia, urbanitate, suavitate, venerabilis. In humanioribus studiis apud Academiam Cantabrigiensem facile princeps: critici enim acuminis et perampIae doctrinae quamplurima exemplaria adhuc juvenis edidit. Dialogos quosdam deinde historicos, politicos, et morales, scripsit, quos non sine summa voluptate perlegamus. Postea Prophetias Veteris et Novi Testamenti claro et insigni ordine digessit et explicuit. His ingenii et pietatis documentis et morum suavitate inductus, Comes de Mansfield (Judicum nostrorum merito Princeps) Regi commendavit nostro, ut fieret Praeceptor Principis Walliae et fratris ejus secularis Episcopi Osnabrugensis. Ex illo igitur Spes Britanniae nunc pendet, et exinde derivata virtus in patriam populumque fluat. Viventi sane nihil laudis afferimus, nisi id quod bonorum omnium votis continetur vita quae tot utilitatibus publicis impenditur diuturnitatem apprecantium."
"Amongst his other valuable productions," adds Mr. Shaw, "his Commentary on Horace's "Epistolae ad Pisones & Augustum" from a thorough knowledge of the Author, is allowed to be a most pure, classical, and masterly performance."
The following Epitaph, written many years before his Lordship's death, has been generally attributed to the ready pen of the Rev. Sir Herbert Croft, Bart.
the urn you have visited contains the heart of
—, Bishop of —;
a Prelate distinguished by every virtue, and
immortalized by every qualification that
could adorn the Christian, the
Gentleman, and the Scholar.
The Royal Pupils, whose confidence he
gained by the elegance of his manners,
and the sincerity of his counsels,
knew and admired the worth and
integrity of their Preceptor.
They cherished the man who had taught them,
the important lesson how to be beloved,
while the arrow of Death forebore to
vindicate its errand; and erected this
tribute to his memory, when robbed
of the felicity of contemplating
his living perfections.
In 1811, the Literary World was favoured with Three publications, for which they are indebted to the late Bishop of Worcester; namely,
1. "The Works of the Right Honourable Joseph Addison. A new Edition, with Notes by Richard Hurd, D.D. Lord Bishop of Worcester. In Six Volumes," 8vo.
Prefixed to these Volumes is the following truly classical Inscription, written in 1805:
Gratia, Fama, Fortuna commendato;
Humanioribus Literis unice instructo;
haud ignobili Poetae;
in Oratione solute contexenda
gravi sane, sed et perjucundo,
levioribus in argumentis
res etiam serias
lepore quodam suo contingenti;
Pietatis, porro, sincerae,
hoc est, Christianae,
Fide, Vita, Scriptis,
Eximio, proinde, viro,
Hoc monumentum sacrum esto.
2. "The Works of the Right Reverend William Warburton, D.D. Lord Bishop of Gloucester. A new Edition, in Twelve Volumes. To which is prefixed, A Discourse by way of General Preface, containing some Account of the Life, Writings, and Character of the Author; by Richard Hurd, D.D. Lord Bishop of Worcester, 8vo."
3. "The Works of Richard Hurd, D.D. Lord Bishop of Worcester, in Eight Volumes," 8vo. — These Volumes were arranged, and fully prepared for the press, by the Author himself; who has inserted in them his separate pamphlets.
This article shall be closed with some lines on the addition of a Library to the Episcopal House at Hartlebury; where the venerable Prelate had for several years passed the placid evening of life in elegant hospitalities and dignified retirement:
Thus Phoebus to Minerva said,
"By HURD in all things we're obey'd:
Nor Socrates, however fervent,
Was more than HURD your humble servant.
"Genius and Taste from me he drew,
But martial dignity from you;
Now, with propriety refin'd,
He manifests a grateful mind.
"Behold the hoary, Gothic seat,
Which rises in that green retreat!
To us a votive Temple there
Is finish'd by his filial care.
Whate'er in Literature is best,
The various treasures of the East,
The eloquence of Greece and Rome,
Shall dignify the spacious dome.
Whate'er in Learning's common-weal,
Of modern date hath had our seal,
Shall to this venerable fane,
Through HURD, a free admission gain;
Hence (whom we deem our special care)
Each British Genius shall be there.
There Locke and Newton claim your smile,
And Bacon, glory of the Isle;
There, Chiefs of the poetic band,
My Shakspeare and my Milton stand;
And Clarendon, with sterner pride,
Shall o'er th' historic ranks preside:
Thus, fill'd with all that's good and great,
The votive fane shall stand compleat."
The Maid replied — "If in our shrine
His modest merit should assign
To his own work a station due,
Your observation would be true."