CUNNINGHAM, ALEXANDER (.1655-1730), Scottish classical scholar and critic, was born in Ayrshire. Very little is known of his uneventful life. It is probable that he completed his education at Leiden or Utrecht. He was tutor to the son of the first duke of Queensberry, through whose influence he was appointed professor of civil law in the university of Edinburgh. In 1710, the Edinburgh magistrates, regarding the university patronage as their privilege, appointed another professor, ignoring the appointment of Cunningham, who had been installed in the office for at least ten years. Cunningham thereupon left England for the Hague, where he resided until his death. He is chiefly known for his edition of Horace (1721) with notes, mostly critical, which included a volume of Animadversiones upon Richard Bentley's notes and emendations. They marked him as one of the most able critics of Bentley's (in many cases) rash and tasteless conjectural alterations of the text. Cunningham also edited the works of Virgil and Phaedrus (together with the Sententiae of Publilius Syrus and others). He had also been engaged for some years in the preparation of an edition of the Pandects and of a work on Christian evidences.
Life by D. Irving in Lives of Scottish Writers (1839).
The above must not be confused with Alexander Cunningham, British minister to Venice (1715-1720), a learned historian and author of The History of Great Britain (from 1688 to the accession of George I.), originally written in Latin and published in an English translation after his death.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)