LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Samuel Rogers and his Contemporaries
Chapter V. 1842-44.

Vol. I Contents
Chapter I. 1803-1805.
Chapter II. 1805-1809.
Chapter III. 1810-1812.
Chapter IV. 1813-1814.
Chapter V. 1814-1815.
Chapter VI. 1815-1816.
Chapter VII. 1816-1818.
Chapter VIII. 1818-19.
Chapter IX. 1820-1821.
Chapter X. 1822-24.
Chapter XI. 1825-1827.
Vol. II Contents
Chapter I. 1828-1830.
Chapter II. 1831-34.
Chapter III. 1834-1837.
Chapter IV. 1838-41.
‣ Chapter V. 1842-44.
Chapter VI. 1845-46.
Chapter VII. 1847-50.
Chapter VIII. 1850
Chapter IX. 1851.
Chapter X. 1852-55.
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Everett—Letters from Charles Dickens and Mrs. Dickens, and Sydney Smith—Sumner introduces Longfellow—Lady Russeil’s jeu d’esprit—Rogers’s Conversation—Recollections of it by Henry Sharpe—Lines by Lady Dufferin—Death of Sutton Sharpe, Q.C.—Lord Dalling on Talleyrand and Danton—Letters from Dickens and Thackeray—Southey’s Death—Wordsworth as Laureate—Judge Haliburton—Miss Edgeworth and Rogers on a Line of Pope’s—Letters from Prescott, Sumner, and Sir Henry Ellis—Dickens’s ‘Christmas Carol’—The late Dean Burgon in 1844—Lord Howden’s Letters—The Dissenters’ Chapels Bill—Rogers to his Sister—Letter from Italy by Charles Dickens—The ‘Marriage Brokers’ of Genoa—Rogers at Bowood—The Bank Robbery—Offers of Friends—Letters from E. Everett, Lord Lansdowne, Sydney Smith, and Lady Grey—Rogers to his Sister—Further Recollections of an Old Man’s Talk.

Such delightful gatherings as that which took place at Bowood at Christmas 1841 are comparatively few and far between, even in such a life as that of Samuel Rogers. Charles Greville tells us that Rogers and he left Bowood on the Monday after Christmas, and went to Badminton, where they found a party as dramatically opposite as possible to that which they left behind. We have already seen how he had previously contrasted the Bowood company with that which he had left at Woburn to join it. Mr. Everett, the new American Minister, lost little time in presenting the introduction which
Daniel Webster had given him, and early in March, Moore speaks of meeting him at breakfast at Rogers’s, with Lord Mahon, R. Monckton Milnes, Luttrell, and others. The crowded dinners at Holland House were talked of, and Lady Holland’s bidding people to make room, with Luttrell’s well-known reply, that it needed to be made, for it did not exist. Rogers expressed an opinion that the close packing of Lady Holland’s dinners was ‘one of the secrets of their conversableness and agreeableness.’ This may have been true, as Moore thinks, but Rogers did not act on it. At St. James’s Place, at any rate, you were delivered from the crowd.

Dickens was then in the United States, from whence he wrote the following letter.

Charles Dickens and Mrs. Dickens to Samuel Rogers.
‘Baltimore, United States: Twenty-second March, 1842.

‘My dear Mr. Rogers,—I know you will be glad to hear, under my own hand, that we are both well, though very anxious to get back to dear old home, our friends, and darling children. I am obliged to make, as perhaps you have heard, a kind of Public Progress through this country; and have been so oppressed with Festivals given in my honor, that I have found it necessary to notify my disinclination to accept any more, or I should rather say, my determination not to lead such a trying life. I have made one departure from this rule, and that is in the case of a body of readers in the Far West, at a town called St. Louis, on the confines of the Indian Territory. I am going there to dinner (it is
only two thousand miles off), and start the day after to-morrow.

‘If you ever have leisure to write a line saying that you have received this, and are well, I shall be truly delighted to hear from you. Any letter addressed to me to the care of David Colden, Esquire, 28 Laight Street, Hudson Square, New York, will be forwarded to me without delay.

‘They give me everything here but Time. If they had added that to the long catalogue of their hospitalities, I should certainly have inflicted a long letter upon you, which would have wandered into, it’s impossible to say how long a description of our travels and adventures. So you may consider yourself very fortunate.

‘I hope you are as well as ever, and as great a walker as ever, and as good a talker as ever; in short, as perfect and complete a Samuel Rogers as ever, which I don’t doubt in the least. I have made great exertions here, in behalf of an International copyright law, and almost begin to hope, from the assurance the leaders of the different parties at Washington have given me, that it may be brought about.

‘We have arranged to sail from New York for England, on the 7th of June, in the “George Washington” packet ship. We had so bad a voyage out that I have eschewed ocean steamers for ever.

‘The peace and quiet of Broadstairs never seemed so great as now. I could hug Miss Collins the Bather, as though she were a very Venus. Believe me, here and everywhere,

‘Faithfully your friend,
Charles Dickens.’

Mrs. Dickens writes on the flyleaf—

‘My dear Mr. Rogers,—I must add one line, to remind you of your kind promise to me, the last time we saw you before we left home, that when you wrote to Charles, you would also send me a few words of remembrance. I need not say what pride and pleasure it would give me.

‘We are both anxiously looking forward to the 7th of June, when we sail on our return to dear England. You may easily imagine how often our thoughts turn in that direction, and how often we long to see those dear little ones who I almost fear will have forgotten their truant parents before we get back to them. My impatient husband is hurrying me, as he wishes to put up the parcel, therefore I can only add that I am, dear Mr. Rogers,

‘Your affectionate friend,
C. Dickens.’

There are, of course, glimpses of Rogers and his friends in Moore’s Diary. One day Moore is at Rogers’s with Wilkie, who is looking over H. B.’s early caricatures. Wilkie had never seen them before, and he pointed to a bit in one of them which he said reminded him of Titian. ‘Politician,’ exclaimed Bobus Smith, who was sitting near. Another day Jeffrey and Lord John are there—‘Two of the men,’ says Moore, ‘I like best among all my numerous friends.’ Mrs. Butler, too, meets Sydney Smith, Hallam, with his daughter and niece, Edward Everett, Empson, and Sir R. H. Inglis, a sufficiently
striking and varied group as those around Rogers’s table so often were.

Sydney Smith published the second edition of his works in 1840. Two years later, he sent Rogers a copy with this letter—

Sydney Smith to Samuel Rogers.
‘56 Green St., Grosvenor Square: 12th April, 1842.

‘My dear Rogers,—I have always intended to send you these volumes, but have been always unwilling to place such ordinary matter upon a library table around which the great and the wise are so often gathered. I remember, however, that you are not only an author of the highest distinction, but a politician of unblemished honesty, and that if you thought little of my powers you would still value my principles—nor was my vanity forgotten, for I trusted your guests would say, “If Sydney Smith was not a Liberal and an upright man we should not find his books on the table of Samuel Rogers.”

‘Ever your sincere friend,
Sydney Smith.’

Rogers replied—

Samuel Rogers to Sydney Smith.

‘My dear Sydney,—A thousand and a thousand thanks for the three volumes. I need not say how welcome they are to me, for whenever I open them I shall, I am very sure, be the better for them, and I shall hear, too, the voice of a very old and dear friend. Every leaf when I turn it will recall what I felt on a first perusal,
and many of them will bring back to my mind the pleasant hours we have spent together with those who are gone.

Samuel Rogers.
‘13th April, 1842.’

Wordsworth was again in London in the spring, and Moore tells us of a breakfast at Hallam’s on the 21st of May at which there was a grand display of literati, the poets being particularly in force—Campbell, Wordsworth, Rogers, and Moore being of the party; but Moore, at least, was not in the mood to enjoy it, for he says, ‘Blue to look in upon, but the whole thing ordinary enough.’ When Dickens got back from America in July, Lord Lansdowne gave a Dickens dinner, and Moore and Rogers and Luttrell were there to join in his welcome.

Crabb Robinson writes in his Diary

April 29th, 1842.—Breakfasted with Sam Rogers, with whom I stayed till twelve. He was as amiable as ever, and spoke with great warmth of Wordsworth’s new volume, “It is all gold. The least precious is still gold.” He said this, accompanying a remark on one little epitaph, that it would have been better in prose. He quoted some one who said of Burns, “He is great in verse, greater in prose, and greatest in conversation.” So it is with all great men. Wordsworth is greatest in conversation. This is not the first time of Rogers preferring prose to verse.’

May 28th, 1842.—Dinner party at Kenyon’s. Wordsworth was quite spent, and hardly spoke during
the whole time.
Rogers made one capital remark; it was of the party itself, the ladies being gone. He said, “There have been five separate parties, everyone speaking above the pitch of his natural voice, and therefore there could be no kindness expressed; for kindness consists, not in what is said, but how it is said.”’

It is a little startling to be reminded that at this date Longfellow was so little known in England that he needed such a letter of introduction as Sumner writes.

Charles Sumner to Samuel Rogers.
‘Boston: 1st June, 1842.

‘My dear Mr. Rogers,—I took the liberty of forwarding to you by the last packet two volumes of poems recently published by my friend Mr. Longfellow. He was desirous that you should do him the favour to receive them as a token of his respect.

Mr. Longfellow is now at a German watering-place, where he has gone for his health, and expects to be in London for a day or two during the autumn on his way home. If you should be in town at this time, which is hardly possible (for who is a faithful friend to London at the end of September?), I hope he may have the pleasure of seeing you—Mr. Everett or Mr. Dickens will have the gratification of presenting him to you. He is a gentleman whom we prize much, not simply as a poet (though many place him at the top of our Parnassus) but also for his various gifts and accomplishments and high moral worth. I could write of him warmly as a friend for
whom I have the strongest affection; and I hope you will pardon to this feeling the liberty I take in thus addressing you. I owe you many thanks for your kind note of last summer. I have been happy to hear, through Mr. Everett, of your continued health. What can we send you from this side of the ocean?

Prescott still works on the “History of the Conquest of Mexico,” of which he has written upwards of two volumes. It will be three volumes in all.

‘Believe me, with warm recollections of your kindness to me, ever very sincerely yours,

Charles Sumner.’

Here is a pretty jeu d’esprit by the Countess Russell—then Lady John Russell—who had been married in the same month in the year before. There is but little correspondence in these volumes between Lord John Russell and Rogers, though the friendship between the great Whig statesman and ‘the oracle’ of Holland House had begun early and lasted to the close of the poet’s life. I am permitted to print these lines as illustrating the friendly, and even intimate, relations between Rogers and the great Reform Minister and his family. He had accepted an invitation to breakfast, did not appear, and sent afterwards a letter of apology.

Lady John Russell to Samuel Rogers.
‘When a Poet a lady offends,
Is it prose her forgiveness obtains?
And from Rogers can less make amends
Than the humblest and sweetest of strains?
‘In glad expectation our board
With roses and lilies we graced;
But, alas! the Bard kept not his word—
He came not for whom they were placed.
‘Sad and silent our toast we bespread;
At the empty chair looked we and sighed;
All insipid tea, butter and bread,
For the salt of his wit was denied.
‘Now in wrath we acknowledge how well
He, “The Pleasures of Memory” who drew
For mankind, from his magical shell
Gives The Pains of Forgetfulness too.
‘F. R.
‘32 Chesham Place: 6th July, 1842.’

On the 30th of July Rogers entered his eightieth year. He thought and spoke of himself as an old man, but he preserved his bodily activity, his good spirits, and his vivacity in a remarkable way. The characteristic feature of his conversation at this period and during his remaining years was its fulness of pleasant reminiscences of the men and the events among which he had lived. Of the tone and tendency of his talk in these years there is ample testimony, and all to the same effect. His nephew Samuel Sharpe says, ‘My uncle’s conversation could hardly be called brilliant. He seldom aimed at wit, though he enjoyed it in others. He often told anecdotes of his early recollections and of the distinguished persons with whom he had been acquainted. These he
told with great neatness and fitness in the choice of words, as may be understood by an examination of the prose notes to his poems. But the valuable part of his conversation was his good sense joined with knowledge of literature and art, and yet more particularly his constant aim at improvement, and the care that he took to lead his friends to what was worth talking about. I never left his company without feeling my zeal for knowledge strengthened, my wish to read quickened, and a fresh determination to take pains and do my best in everything that I was about.’ On this last sentence Mr.
Dyce, in his copy of Samuel Sharpe’s little book, has made the following note: ‘Yes; such was undoubtedly the effect of intercourse with Mr. Rogers, it was indeed improving.’

This seems a not inappropriate place to introduce some examples of the old man’s breakfast-table talk. As a rule the sharp sayings of Rogers have been preserved, his stories have been told and told again till everybody knows them, but very few sketches of his more serious conversation have been given to the world. Scores of illustrious or eminent visitors have told us how delightfully he conversed, but the sort of talk which seemed so delightful has rarely been reported. Perhaps a part of the charm was in the surroundings. Mr. Quillinan said to Crabb Robinson, ‘The living presence of Mr. Rogers at his breakfast table hardly more charms me than the Roubiliac bust which is one of his precious Lares Urbani.’ His nephew Henry Sharpe put on record, at various times, recollections of his uncle’s remarks at the breakfast table, and some of these
memoranda relate to the time when Rogers was just completing his fourscore years.

‘He said it was a great fault in young men not to listen to old ones who were talking together. A few days ago, at a dinner party, he was talking with the Archbishop of Canterbury, an old man like himself, and two young men sitting next them kept talking together all the time; if they had held their tongues and listened to the old ones they might have heard a great deal that was interesting. From his youth up, he had always listened to the conversation of older persons; there was more to be learned from conversation than from books; when a man talks, he gives you his best thoughts and observations; if you read his book, you may, perhaps, find the same, but there is so much about and about it, that it may not be worth looking for. He had begun early in life to keep a book in which he noted down all the striking things he heard in conversation; he fetched us down a very early volume, in which each page was headed, “Burke,” “Fox,” “Horne Tooke,” and so on, with an index at the beginning. In a new volume he had Talleyrand and others.

‘Speaking about German enthusiasm, he praised good sense as the most valuable quality of the mind; the state in which all the powers were in harmony, the head not too strong for the heart, and the heart not too strong for the head, neither the judgment nor the fancy overpowering the other. Any one quality carried to excess was likely to do more harm than good. He once said that my father was a man of talent but not of
sense; my
mother (his sister) had a great fund of good sense.

‘He set Schiller above Goethe, as poetry, however clever, is worth nothing unless it raises the feelings of the reader. Of Goethe he had read translations of “Faust,” and “Wilhelm Meister,” and thought they both contained something Satanic. In the “Sorrows of Werther,” he admired Charlotte for cutting bread and butter for her little brothers and sisters. He praised the Duke of Wellington as the greatest man in England; he met him once at a lady’s house just after the Whigs came in, in 1831, and the Duke said to him, with reference to resigning his situation at the Horse Guards or Ordnance, “They want me to become the head of faction, but that I will never be.” He said that the Duke always supported a proposition he thought good, just as willingly, though brought forward by a political enemy.

‘The difference between a modest man and a conceited one is that the modest looks up to something better and higher, the conceited man can imagine nothing above himself. H. R. conceives God Almighty only a few inches above his own head.

‘One of the ancients, when he felt he was dying, dashed down the lamp by his bedside, that the servant might not see him expire. In the same way, when his brother Henry, my uncle, was on his deathbed, he asked the maid who was watching by him, whether she had ever seen a person die; on her saying no, he sent her out of the room on some errand, and when she returned he was dead.


George the Second was very particular about the arrangement of his wardrobe and such trifles, and had the different articles of dress numbered to match. If they were brought to him out of order, he would cry out, “Shirt No. 4, stock No. 3! Am I king, or am I no king? If I am king, bring me shirt No. 4 and stock No. 3.”

‘Talking of our wars in Afghanistan and China, he said that from his childhood he had never wished success to His Majesty’s armies. When he was a boy, his father came home one day, and told them to throw up their caps, for the Americans had beaten the English at Bunker’s Hill, and from that time on he had rarely, if ever, seen our troops on the right side. He lost his mother when he was young, but he remembered her calling all his brothers and sisters around her, and saying, “Children, it does not signify whether you are rich and great, but try to be good.”

Coleridge, who was very German, said that no man knew what happiness was unless he woke in the night and wept.1

‘Upon Moore, the poet, saying that Milton was not to be mentioned with Shakespeare, my uncle, while admitting all Shakespeare’s merits, said that there were passages in Milton which Shakespeare could not have written. He quoted the following passage (among others)

1 This is evidently borrowed from Goethe’s lines in Wilhelm Meister:

‘Wer nie sein Brod mit Thränen ass,
Wer nicht die kummervollen Nächte
Auf seinem Bette weinend sass,
Der kennt euch nicht, ihr himmlischen Mächte.’
as particularly beautiful, and showing the highest and purest feeling—
‘Subverting worldly strong and worldly wise
By simply meek.

‘Talking of himself, he quoted from his father—
‘Old men must die, young men may.

Louis XIV. at Versailles made everything large but himself; to walk in his avenues he should have had seven-league boots; he remained a Lilliputian in Brobdingnag.

‘Ladies of rank are very fond of the admission of men of letters and wits into high society. One said, “We are always so glad at a dinner party to hear the iron step of a hackney coach, as we know it is somebody to entertain us.” He said one day to Sydney Smith, “If we were to strike, we should have all the ladies petitioning us to come back again.”

Talleyrand was a great admirer of Mme. Recamier and Mme. de Staël, the first for her beauty, the other for her wit. Mme. de Staël asked him one day, if he found himself with both of them in the sea on a plank, and could only save one, which it would be; to which he replied, “Vous savez nager, je crois.”

West the painter told an anecdote of himself when a child, which showed how the pursuit of his life was decided. He had been left by his mother to watch the baby sleeping in the cradle, being particularly enjoined not to let the flies settle on it. The baby’s smile pleased him very much, and he took a little piece of paper and
drew it. His mother returned and found the baby covered with flies, the young painter thinking of nothing but his picture. He expected a scolding, but she looked at the drawing and gave him a kiss, “and that kiss did it.”
Stothard did not remember when he first began to draw. His earliest recollection on the subject was that, when quite a boy, he was fighting a schoolfellow, and his second called out, “Well done, painter!”

‘When Wilkes was dining with the Prince of Wales the King’s health was given, and the Prince asked him, “How long have you drunk my father’s health.” “Ever since I have had the honour of knowing your Royal Highness.”

‘He would always recommend a man’s collection of pictures and other things being sold at his death; they then come into the hands of people who appreciate them, whereas his heir very probably has not the same tastes. People always value more what they buy themselves than what is given to them.

‘He had received from Prescott, the American, a copy of his “History of Mexico,’ and intended in his letter of thanks to refer to Hume’s letter to Gibbon on receipt of the first volume of his history, in which he expresses his astonishment at an Englishman writing so learned a book in an age when every one had given himself up to faction. My uncle did not mean to apply it to the Americans particularly, but just as much to ourselves. Except science nothing was now written with care. Calling on Dickens he found him engaged upon a new story, which was to go to the printer’s in a week, and which he had only begun three weeks before.


‘Talking of Hume’s and Gibbon’s sceptical works, he very much blamed their publishing them, and read a letter from Gray to his friend Mason, advising him not to visit Voltaire on his journey through Switzerland, as the men were not to be honoured who robbed mankind of their best consolation in life. “If an archangel were to whisper in my ear,” said Mr. Rogers, “that there was no future life, I would not reveal it.”

Dryden lived at 43 Gerrard Street, and I never pass the house without taking off my hat. He used to write in the parlour on the right hand of the hall.’

Major Price was an equerry of George III., who always spoke his mind. Walking one day in Windsor Park, the King pointed out a certain tree, and said he was going to have it cut down. ‘If you do, sir,’ said Price, ‘you will cut the finest tree in your park.’ ‘You always contradict me,’ said the King; ‘everybody contradicts me; I won’t be contradicted.’ ‘Don’t, sir,’ said Price, ‘and then you will never hear the truth.’

Mr. Rogers spoke with great reprobation and dislike of Dumas, Sue, and all the modern French novelists.

Somebody praising Morton the dramatist, lately dead, Mr. Rogers said, ‘I don’t like him; and I had never offended him, but he never met me without saying, “Well, what Duchess have you been dining with?” or some ill-natured thing. I do not ask for kindness from a man, but I have a right to expect good manners.’

Here are further illustrations of the affectionate relations in which the old man lived with the members of the family of Sheridan. Mr. Richard Brinsley
Sheridan and his wife both wrote in the summer of 1842 to ask his permission to call their new son after him, and on New Year’s Day, 1843, Lady Dufferin writes—

The Countess of Dufferin to Samuel Rogers.
‘From my bed,—
This 1st of January, 1843.
‘This thought woke with my waking hours,—
As on a feverish couch I lay,
“How barren is Life’s path of flowers!
How sadly dawns my New Year’s Day!”
‘When, as I breathed the impatient thought,
Lo! there thy fragrant gift appeared!
Then at the augury it caught—
The sad and sullen heart was cheered!
‘And doubly shall thy gift be dear—
(Of New-Year joys the seal and sum),
An omen for the present year!—
A Memory for all years to come!

‘And so, dear Mr. Rogers, I have put your violets into water, for this day, but shall keep them as a precious gift and remembrance for the rest of my life.

‘Ever yours sincerely and affectionately,
Helen S. Dufferin.’

This letter may be set over against that which is published in Mr. Hayward’s Correspondence,1 in which Lady Dufferin gives her reminiscences of Rogers, and says, among other things, that she could never lash

1 The Hayward Letters, vol. i., pp. 288, 289.

herself into a feeling of affection or admiration for him; and that there was a certain unreality in him which repelled her.

Early in this year death brought one of the few bitter disappointments of this most successful life. I have already given some account of the orphan family of his sister Maria Sharpe, of the heroic devotion to them of their elder half-sister Catharine Sharpe, and of the remarkable success in life which every one of them achieved. The eldest of the group was Sutton Sharpe. I have given so full an account of his distinguished career in my life of Samuel Sharpe, that I need not here re-tell his story. It is enough to say that having been called to the bar in 1822, he had speedily taken a leading rank among Counsel behind the Bar. In 1841 he became a Queen’s Counsel, and at once took the lead in Vice-Chancellor Wigram’s Court, and all his friends anticipated for him the highest honours to which the profession opens the way. But at the close of the Michaelmas term, in 1842, he was attacked with paralysis, the result of overwork in his profession, and died on the 22nd of February, 1843. He was buried in the cloisters of Lincoln’s Inn, of which he was one of the benchers. In the various notices of him which appeared in the newspapers after his death the highest appreciation was universally expressed. ‘His career,’ said the ‘Examiner,’ then the leading weekly journal, ‘was one of uninterrupted success, and the most brilliant professional prospects were before him, but prosperity never in the slightest degree spoiled him, and he never forgot an old friend, nor failed to return a hundredfold an old kind-
ness.’ As a nephew of Rogers he had many social advantages, and at the time of his death he was already contemplating that entrance on political life to which his friends had long urged him. Rogers and his
sister had indulged in the very highest expectations respecting him. They had followed his career with affectionate interest, and their esteem for him, and pride in him, were very great. I have elsewhere said of him that ‘his life is an unfinished story which breaks suddenly off just at the point at which it becomes most interesting to ordinary readers. It had but little incident. It had been spent in the diligent exercise of an arduous profession, it was little known except to the members of that profession, and a large group of attached personal friends; and it had not yet touched that larger and noisier world of politics in which most lawyers complete their success and extend and consolidate their fame.’ He died in his forty-sixth year.

There are two letters from Sir Henry Bulwer, afterwards Lord Dalling, in this spring, of very remarkable interest. He writes from Paris on the 22nd of March, 1843, to ask about a story told by Talleyrand of his escape from Paris after the 10th of August, and of the manner in which he procured a passport from Danton. The story had been told by Rogers, and Sir Henry Bulwer asks him to repeat it. The suspicion—justified by Chenier’s speech when he demanded that Talleyrand’s name should be removed from the list of émigrés—was that Talleyrand was in reality sent back to England as a secret agent of Danton’s. Rogers replied, sending the statement of a friend who was at Bowood when Talley
rand arrived. As to the date, he could hardly venture to say whether it was between the 10th of August and the 2nd of September, or after that horrible day, that M. de Talleyrand made his escape; but he added, ‘I well remember it was fine summer weather when he arrived at Bowood. By what means he effected his escape I don’t know, or how he obtained a passport from Danton. Danton was notoriously venal, which
Robespierre was not, and Talleyrand used to tell with a great deal of point that one of his adherents in the Assembly, while he (Danton) was pleading the cause of one of the proscribed by whom he had been bribed, exclaimed, ‘Danton, Danton, tu crois trop aisément à la vertu.’ Sir Henry Bulwer, in reply, says there can be no doubt Talleyrand was a secret agent or correspondent of the Republican Government from the time of his return in September (after the 10th of August) up to the end of November. ‘But,’ he adds, ‘I can find no positive proof of his being so after the 5th of December, when the accusation of having been in the confidence of Louis XVI. was brought against him. From what I can make out he inherited the intrigue of Mirabeau, who saw him upon it when dying, but he executed the part more cautiously and secretly than that violent man himself would have done.’

Here are two characteristic letters from great contemporary novelists. One of Rogers’s earlier friends had answered him in the same spirit. Jekyll wrote about a mistake in the day of one of his visits, that if when he came he was not let in, ‘I will “build me a willow cabin at your gate.”’ Two wits of a later generation write as follows—

Charles Dickens to Samuel Rogers.
‘Devonshire Terrace: Twentieth March, 1843.

‘My dear Mr. Rogers,—If I am not at your house at seven next Wednesday, write me down an ass.

‘Faithfully yours always,
Charles Dickens.’

The brevity of this answer was far excelled by one of Lady Dufferin’s. Rogers wrote to her, ‘Will you breakfast with me to-morrow?—S. R.’ Her answer was, ‘Won’t I?—H. D.’

Wm. M. Thackeray to Samuel Rogers.
‘73 Young Street, Kensington: 29th June.

‘My dear Sir,—The moment I had finished my work yesterday and had returned to this real world, I thought to myself, “Does Mr. Rogers remember that he invited me (that is, that I asked him to ask me and he asked me) to breakfast with him on the 30th?” The transaction took place at Mr. Sartoris’s: in the presence of witnesses—and to-morrow is the day. I shall not trouble Mr. Rogers to write to me (I reasoned with myself), but at 10 o’clock I will be at his door. I will say, “A gentleman who was invited a fortnight and a day ago comes to claim his breakfast. The host may have forgotten, but the guest has not.”

‘And I give you warning, my dear sir, that this visit is hanging over you, and that unless you fly from London you can’t help hearing my knock at your door at 10 to-morrow morning.

‘Always faithfully yours,
W. M. Thackeray.’

Southey died, after a long decline of his physical and intellectual powers, on the 21st of March, 1843. He had been Laureate for thirty years, during which period other poets, greater than he, had arisen, and of those associated with him some had increased while he had decreased. There could be no question who should be Laureate while Wordsworth lived, and to Wordsworth it was offered at once. He accepted it with some little flutter of feeling at the idea that he must appear at Court. As usual, Rogers was resorted to, and when the time for presentation came, Wordsworth came to London and went to Court from St. James’s Place. He was to have Rogers’s Court suit, and, as Talfourd told Haydon, Davy’s sword. When the eventful moment came, Moxon was there to assist in dressing him. It was a question of getting a big man into a small man s clothes, and great was the tugging and squeezing to get him in. But it was done, and the high-priest of mountain and of flood, as Haydon calls him, went through the ordeal with dignity and success.

Crabb Robinson writes in his Diary

June 4th, 1843.—Breakfasted by appointment with Rogers; Thomas Moore was there. The elder poet was the greater talker, but Moore made himself very agreeable. Rogers showed him some MS. verses, rather sentimental, but good of the kind, by Mrs. Butler. Moore began, but could not get on. He laid down the MS. and said he had a great dislike to the reading of poetry. “You mean new,” Rogers said.“No, I mean
old. I have read very little poetry of any kind.” Rogers spoke very depreciatingly of the present writers. Moore did not agree. He assented to warm praise of
Tom Hood by me, and declared him to be a punster equal to Swift.“But the article (poetry) is become of less value, because of its being so common. There is too much of it.”’

An eminent transatlantic writer, who was in London in 1843, and, like all the rest, had kindnesses to acknowledge from Rogers, sends him his portrait, with a complimentary letter—

Thomas C. Haliburton to Samuel Rogers.
‘6 Spring Gardens: 10th July, 1843.

‘My dear Mr. Rogers,—I send you a small print of myself, which I hope you will do me the favor to accept—I feel assured you will consider it a pardonable vanity that I should desire to be occasionally recalled to the recollections of one whose conversation and kindness has left an impression on my memory too strong to require any aid from the engraver.

‘In a new and poor country like my native land, we have no present and no past. We indulge in the visions of the future, but these pass away with youth—and are seldom realised.

‘London always sends me home loaded with “The Pleasures of Memory.” During this, as well as my last visit to England, the most prominent recollections will be
yourself, your conversation, your agreeable parties, and your kindness.

‘I am, dear Sir, yours always,
‘Thomas C. Haliburton.’

Here are a couple of letters expository of a line in Pope.

Maria Edgeworth to Samuel Rogers.
‘Edgeworth’s Town: 1st Oct., 1843.
‘Proud to catch cold at a Venetian door.

‘Dear Mr. Rogers,—Tell me, for I am sure you can, what kind of door a Venetian door is—or what did Pope mean by a Venetian door. The ignorant people here declare they never heard of such a thing. Now I declare that in my youth, in my childhood, I often heard my father talk of Venetian doors, and I thought I understood that what was meant was a concealed door, intended to be invisible or unnoticed, same colour as the hangings, paper, or wainscoting of a room.

‘But I am told that the door I endeavour to describe should be called a jib door. Now jib I cannot find in Johnson’s Dictionary; perchance it may be in the Slang Dictionary, with which I am not acquainted, nor perhaps are you.

‘Pray delay not, my dear Sir, to settle this important question by your decisive authority. I have profited by that authority before.

‘Your obliged,
Maria Edgeworth.

‘If I live, and am well as I am now, I hope I shall have the pleasure and honour of seeing you once more this winter or spring in town. I shall be with my sister at No. 1, North Audley Street, and trust I shall be better able to enjoy my friends’ society than I was last time I was with her. She has now quite recovered her health. I gratefully remember your kindness to us both.’

Samuel Rogers to Miss Edgeworth.

‘My dear Miss Edgeworth,—What he could mean by it I cannot conceive. I have caught cold through many a Venetian blind, and so probably had he. I am delighted to think that we shall meet so soon in London. I am just now embarking, not for Alexandria, not for Constantinople, nor for Jerusalem, but for Paris, and I am all alone. Now, if you had your wishing cap, we might go together, and how delightful it would be.

‘Yours ever,
S. Rogers.
‘Dover: 5th Oct., 1843.

Dr. Holland is gone to Jerusalem, and Sydney Smith is full of his jokes on the subject. I dare say that your guess is the right one. But why catch cold at it? In town I should consult Morant, the prince of cabinetmakers, but being here he is out of my reach.

‘P.S. I am assured by a knowing person that it meant a glass door that opened, like a French window, from top to bottom, in two halves. In short, a French window from the floor to the ceiling.’


There is literary interest in two letters from the United States, received this autumn.

W. H. Prescott to Samuel Rogers.
‘Boston: 15th Oct., 1843.

‘My dear Sir,—I have at length achieved the “Conquest of Mexico,” after a good deal more time than it took Cortes to do the work. I have directed my bookseller, Mr. Rich, to deliver you a copy on its publication in London, which will be early in November. Should it not be sent to you, you will greatly oblige me by letting me know it, as these things, I have found, sometimes miscarry.

‘I hope this second bantling of mine may find the favour in your eyes with which you have been kind enough to regard its elder brother; and, at all events, that you will receive it as a testimony of the great esteem I feel for one with whom I may, perhaps, never have the pleasure of being personally acquainted.

‘Believe me, my dear Sir,
‘Yours with sincere respect and regard,
W. H. Prescott.’
Charles Sumner to Samuel Rogers.
‘Boston: 1st Nov., 1843.

‘Dear Mr. Rogers,—At Dr. Hare’s request I enclose a piece of Laura Bridgman’s writing. I cannot thank you enough for all the kindness which you lavished upon him; though I cannot but be aware that his own merits must have preceded any introduction of mine.


‘My friend Mr. Hillard, of Boston, took the liberty, at my suggestion, to send to you a copy of an address recently delivered by him on a literary occasion. I trust you will not deem it unworthy of acceptance.

‘Mr. Greene, of Lancashire, a most amiable and gentlemanly person, who has passed several days in Boston, has promised to take a little book to you. It is a translation of ten cantos of the “Inferno” by a young man, Mr. Parsons, of Boston. He sends them forward as an experiment; if they should find favour he will proceed with the whole “Commedia.” I have thought the versification not inharmonious; and several passages preserve much of the Dantesque expression; though it seems to me difficult to preserve this without the peculiar melody and rhythm of Dante.

‘There is so large a circle in Boston under obligations to you for kindnesses enjoyed, that, if you should ever be willing to tempt the seas and come among us, you would find yourself among friends, while all would be earnest to offer you the tribute of admiration and respect. Lord Morpeth will smooth the difficulties of the voyage. I wish, dear Mr. Rogers, that you were here now, that I might have the pleasure of showing you the various autumn tints of the leaves. The country is rich in many colours.

‘Believe me ever, with sentiments of attachment, very sincerely yours,

Charles Sumner.’

Another piece of literary criticism is in the following letter, part of which has been published elsewhere.

Sir Henry Ellis to Samuel Rogers.
‘79 Great Russell Street: 14th Dec., 1843.

‘My dear Sir,—In looking at Dr. Farmer’s prepared copy for publication of the little “Hudibras,” the other morning, we glanced at the note respecting Ralph, the squire of Butler’s hero. Sir Roger l’Estrange says that in reality he was Isaac Robinson, a zealous butcher. Gray adds that in a key to a burlesque poem by Butler the squire is said to have been one Pemble a tailor, and one of the Committee of Sequestrators.

‘In a letter of Sir Samuel Luke, however, preserved in his copy-book of letters in the Museum, I find an allusion to a Ralph quite as likely to have been in Butler’s view as the butcher or the tailor, or the grocer’s apprentice in Beaumont and Fletcher’sKnight of the Burning Pestle.”

‘The following is the letter—

‘“Honest Sam,—I have received several Lettres from you, but cannot be content till I heare you are setled according to your heart’s desire, that you may as well have a place as a face that pleases you. I pray think of my fur’d coate, and doe the utmost you can for procureing it; and get Ralph Norton to see if he cannot regaine my Armes and other things which were lost after Newbury fight at Aldermaston. If I may bee usefull to you heare in any office of Love, none shall bee more ready to doe it than

‘“Yor assured loveing friend,
‘“S. L.
“13th March, 1644.”

‘No superscription of this letter is put down, nor is there any clue for ascertaining who this honest Sam was to whom the letter was addressed, but I cannot help suspecting that it might be Butler himself. At all events this letter supplies us with a real Ralph apparently attached to Sir Samuel Luke’s service.

‘Believe me, my dear Sir, most truly yours,

Henry Ellis.

Butler, you no doubt remember, had been in early life in Sir Samuel Luke’s household.’

In December Dickens published his ‘Christmas Carol,’ which took the world by storm. He sent a copy of it to Rogers, with this letter—

Charles Dickens to Samuel Rogers.
‘Devonshire Terrace: Seventeenth December, 1843.

‘My dear Mr. Rogers,—If you should ever have inclination and patience to read the accompanying little book, I hope you will like the slight fancy it embodies. But whether you do or no, I am ever,

‘Your friend and admirer,
Charles Dickens.’

He did read it, and his nephew Henry Sharpe records what he said of it in a conversation at Broadstairs soon afterwards—

Dickens’sChristmas Carol” being mentioned, he said he had been looking at it the night before; the first half hour was so dull it sent him to sleep, and the next
hour was so painful that he should be obliged to finish it to get rid of the impression. He blamed Dickens’s style very much, and said there was no wit in putting bad grammar into the mouths of all his characters, and showing their vulgar pronunciation by spelling “are” “air,” a horse without an h: none of our best writers do that.’

The late Dean of Chichester was in his younger days a personal friend of Rogers’s relations at Highbury. I have heard the late Samuel Sharpe speak of him with much affectionate esteem, and widely as their religious views and political associations differed as the years went on, the friendly feeling between them was never lost. His father was a Smyrna merchant, and the future Dean was his clerk. The business failed, and the clerk, having to choose another career, turned to the Church. The elder Mr. Burgon was (as I learn from Mr. Reginald Stuart Poole) a very able numismatist, and Rogers was asked to assist in getting him an appointment in the department of Antiquities at the British Museum. The application was not immediately successful, as the following letter shows; but in May, Mr. Burgon was made a supernumerary assistant in the department.

Lord Lyndhurst to Samuel Rogers.
‘George Street: 16th January, 1844.

‘My dear Mr. Rogers,—I have applied to the Archbishop on the subject of Mr. Burgon’s qualification to fill the vacancy in the Medal department, and find that he is inclined to place in that office Mr. Birch, who has been known as a scholar and antiquary all over Europe,
and as an Egyptian scholar is profoundly versed in hieroglyphics.

‘I have, however, again written to him on the subject of Mr. Burgon.

‘Believe me, my dear Mr. Rogers, very truly yours,


Two admirable letters of Lord Howden follow:—

Lord Howden to Samuel Rogers.
‘St. Leonard’s-on-Sea, 35 Marina: 21st Feb., 1844.

‘My dearest Mr. Rogers,—I am always troubling you, but do not hate me.

‘Your curious edition of “Theophrastus,” which you showed me, has brought to my recollection a remark attributed to him (I think) in which he says of Aristides something very like this, “that he was just and upright in all private matters, but not always in publick affairs where the interest of the State required injustice.”

‘Now this is a startling position in ethics, and especially so when coupled with the name of Aristides, about whom we are probably as much humbugged as about all other personages we read of; but I want the above remark for a particular purpose, and if possible in the Greek. Could you supply me with it, for, as you may suppose, “Theophrastus” is not in the circulating library here or even at Hastings! But how will you ever forgive me for this trouble? and, above all (I tremble to think of it), what will you say to me if I have confounded matters and the above bit of international morality be not in “Theophrastus” at all!


‘I am paying my mother a visit. How I wish you were here! I cannot express my feeling of your society otherwise than that it is to me the triumph of civilisation.

‘I know myself what I mean, and that must suffice. So believe me, with great truth, sincerely yours,

‘62 (bis) Faubourg St. Honoré, Paris: 29th March, 1844.

‘My dear Mr. Rogers,—A thousand thanks. I am really pained at having entailed so much trouble on you. I did so from having looked for the passage last year myself without success, and I had never before seen what appeared to be so good an edition of “Theophrastus” as that in your possession; I therefore thought that it might be found there. Entertaining, and indeed blood-stirring, as are Plutarch’s Lives, I believe him to have been extremely loose in his materials and mode of compilation. When we all meet together in the next world, if we are allowed to do aught save sing Hallelujahs, there will be few things more entertaining than to hear history and biography read aloud of an evening before the persons of whom they treat.

‘There is no news abroad here, and there seems no doubt but that Guizot is safe until a new Chamber. There are many diverse speculations on what will take place then, for there is one fact undeniable that, be the cause what it may, the pressure of general unpopularity upon Guizot is greater than what I recollect to have been that of Polignac. I have heard it said that nobody was really in love who knew the colour of his mistress’s eyes, but I believe that hatred is still stronger as a passion when
it springs from no definite reason. There seems to be a feeling that has infiltrated itself into all classes of society here, which, no matter how unfounded, must some day or another produce its effect, and that is a determination to believe that France is in a state of degradation, and that she is the slave of the stranger. The dislike against the English here has, if possible, increased since the business of Tahiti. Don’t believe what
Mrs. Dawson Damer and fine ladies say to the contrary. It is inextinguishable for one reason that must always exist—not our burning of the “Pucelle,” not Waterloo, not the incarceration of Bonaparte—these things may be forgotten—but because we prevent France being the first nation in the world. This fact is continually before their eyes, from the quotations of our funds being always three per cent, higher than theirs, down to the snug, light, noiseless English-built carriage that they see rolling in their streets. I have, however, often thought that it was a very legitimate cause of irritation for the indigènes of a capital to see all their best lodgings occupied by Englishmen, all their best boxes at the theatres ditto, all the best wines drunk ditto,—all this done from the better lining of their pockets, and accompanied by the very evident feeling (in which I entirely join) that Paris, agreeable as it is, would be much more so if there were fewer Frenchmen. It is, however, very amusing to see the way in which every now and then the people here catch at something going on in England, as if it was the beginning of a breaking-up in our Body Politic. ’Twas Ireland three months ago, ’tis now a Jacquerie in consequence of Lord Ashley’s motion. I believe the Govern-
ment would have done wiser to have admitted it; at the same time I cannot but think that all legislation on such matters is dangerous. “
The Times” has a singular article on the subject written quite in an “agrarian” spirit, and as for the forced and legislative attempt to rectify all evil, we first must understand how the existence of it comes to play so chief a part in the whole scheme of the world, before we assume the possibility of controlling it with any effect.

‘Always truly yours,

All Rogers’s Whig friends, most of the Conservatives, and many of his relations were interested in a measure which in the course of this year excited immense discussion in the country. It was called the Dissenters’ Chapels Bill, and was intended to prevent the alienation from the Unitarians, of the chapels and revenues they had inherited from orthodox ancestors, or from ancestors who erected the buildings and left the endowments at a period when the law did not tolerate heterodox worship. It originated in the Lords, where all the Law Lords were in its favour, and only nine votes were given against it in the solitary division which was taken. In the Commons it was supported by Sir Robert Peel, Mr. Gladstone, Lord John Russell, Mr. Shiel, Mr. Macaulay, and the late Lord Harrowby, then Lord Sandon. A petition was presented on behalf of the descendants of Philip Henry, the ejected clergyman. When it was handed to Macaulay for presentation, he at once thought of Rogers and asked if he had signed it. Rogers had signed it, and another from the Trustees of
the old Meeting House at Newington Green, where he had gone with his father and mother and listened to
Dr. Price. He had been made a trustee of the old chapel in his boyhood, and continued one till his death. His Nonconformist education was often the occasion of humorous remark by himself or his friends. Samuel Sharpe tells us that Wordsworth and Rogers were one day walking together in York Minster. Rogers praised its religious solemnity, with some echo probably in his words of Milton’sIl Penseroso.’ Wordsworth maintained that Rogers could not admire it properly nor feel its effect as he did, because of his Presbyterian training. Walking with Luttrell along George Street, Hanover Square, he complained of being thrust off the pavement by the projecting steps of St. George’s Church. ‘That,’ said Luttrell, ‘is one of your Dissenting prejudices.’ Dining one day with the Archbishop of Canterbury, and sitting next the son of an old schoolfellow who had become a churchman and a county member, Rogers nudged him and said, ‘You and I are probably the only Dissenters here.’

Two more domestic letters keep up the story of the year.

Samuel Rogers to Sarah Rogers.
‘Dropmore, Beaconsfield: Sunday, 25th Aug. [1844].

‘My dear Sarah,—I left Mincham last Wednesday, and hope to be at home on Tuesday. You must have seen Lady Essex, for she is at a loss what to do next, and wishes much to consult you. I wrote to you before I left home, and I wrote to you a long letter last Friday,
but it was intrusted to a private hand and lost on the road. You may have returned home and left it for aught I know.
Cary’s death1 and Madge’s marriage2 are the only events. I have heard to-day from Henry at Broadstairs and I should like to find myself there.

‘Yours ever,
‘S. R.’
Samuel Rogers to Sarah Rogers.
‘The Grange: 18th Oct. [1844].

‘My dear Sarah,—I am delighted to think you enjoyed yourselves at Torquay, and hope the fine weather we have had extended to you. Tom Rogers, when I desired him to call, wrote word that he had been confined for three weeks, and Edmund, whom I sent to him in my absence, said he looked very ill. Here follows my journal: September 28th, Rochester. 29th, Canterbury. 30th, Broadstairs, where I found Maltby sitting by the fireside in a nice apartment prepared for me by the hotel people. I then wrote to William, who, it seems, was touring in Ireland; also to Moxon, who came on Tuesday, October 6th, and enjoyed himself so exceedingly that when he came to town on the 9th nothing would satisfy his wife and sister but they must go too, and there they now are. October 9th, Maltby returned to town with me.

1 He died in London on the 14th of August.

2 The Rev. Thomas Madge, the eminent minister of the Unitarian chapel in Essex Street, married Ellen Bischoft, third daughter of James Bischoff, of 20 Highbury Terrace. Mr. Madge died in a venerable and revered old age on the 29th of August, 1870. My esteemed friend Mrs. Madge is still living. She has been an octogenarian for several years, and is still surrounded by a large circle of attached friends. I am indebted to her excellent memory for some interesting facts in this narrative.

10th, went to Abinger, where I found the Campbells and Currys.
Bobus came on the 12th; Fanny Smith walked over to see me with Hester, who is to be married in November. 14th, returned home, calling upon the Campbells at Ashtead on my way. All were very kind and pleasant, and you were much regretted. 15th, Maltby dined with me, and on the 16th I came by railroad to the Grange, where I now am, and where the only visitor is Lady Morley. My intention was to return home on Monday, when I had asked Caroline and Lucy (now at Newington) to dine with me, and then proceed next day to Bowood, but, on comparing notes with Lady Morley, who is going there too, and who has also changed her measures, I find that I shall just save 102 miles by going directly by post across the country. So I have written to put off my dinner, though very unwillingly, and on Monday shall go to Bowood in hack chaises, 48 miles instead of 150. There I think of staying perhaps a fortnight, and then returning home. I hope Patty is pretty well, as you don’t say to the contrary. You must not fatigue yourself, but I find that by walking and resting and walking a little again one can do enough in a day. Lord Ashburton has just offered me a quiet horse, and I long to ride, but a broken leg would be no joke at my age, and I declined it. You have a great advantage over me, for an open carriage would chill me to death, and I can scarcely keep myself alive in two shirts and a great coat. I think of next winter with dread. My love to Patty, and to Elizabeth and Becky.

‘Yours ever,
S. Rogers.’

The next letter needs neither introduction nor comment.

Charles Dickens to Samuel Rogers.
‘Albaro, near Genoa: Sunday, First September, 1844.

‘My dear Mr. Rogers,—We have been greatly concerned to hear through Mr. Forster of your having been unwell, and seriously so. But hearing from the same source that you had recovered, we were, like the town ladies in the “Vicar of Wakefield” (with a small difference in respect of sincerity), extremely glad again, and to the end that we may not be made sorry once more by any flying rumours that may shape their course this way, we entreat you to let us know, under your own hand, that you are in as good health, heart, and spirits as we would have you. Believe me, dear friend, you need not desire to be in better condition than that.

‘We are living very quietly out here, close to the seashore. I have taken a very commodious and spacious apartment in the Palazzo Peschiere for the next six months. Do you know that Palace? It is splendidly situated in the midst of beautiful gardens, and on the side of a steep hill. The grounds being open to the public for their recreation, I may say of it, altering three words of yours,
‘’Tis in the heart of Genoa (he who comes
Should come on foot), and in a place of stir;
Men on their daily pleasure, early and late,
Thronging its very threshold.

‘I wish you would come and pluck an orange from the tree at Christmas time. You should walk on the terrace
as early in the morning as you pleased, and there are brave breezy places in the neighbourhood to which you could transfer those stalwart Broadstairs walks of yours, and hear the sea, too, roaring in your ears. I could show you an old chest in a disused room upstairs where Ginevra’s sister may have hidden—alas, she was an only child! But where she might have hidden, had she ever lived and died, and left her memory to you. Come and see it.

‘A little, patient, revolutionary officer, exiled in England during many years, comes to and fro three times a week, to read and speak Italian with me. A poor little lame butterfly of a man, fluttering a little bit at one time, and hopping a little bit at another, and getting through life at some disadvantage or other always. If I question him closely on some idiom which he is not in a condition to explain, he usually shakes his head dolefully and begins to cry. But this is not what I meant to say just now, when I began to allude to him. He has initiated me in the “Promessi Sposi”—the book which Violetta read that night. And what a clever book it is! I have not proceeded far into the story, but am quite charmed with it. The interviews between the bridegroom and the priest, on the morning of the disappointment—and between the bridegroom and the bride and her mother, and the description of poor ’renzo’s walk to the house of the learned doctor, with the fowls and the scene between them, and the whole idea of the character and story of Padre Cristoforo, are touched, I think, by a most delicate and charming hand. I have just left the good father in Don Rodrigo’s boisterous
eating hall, and am in no little anxiety, I assure you.

‘You recollect the Church of the Cappuccini—l’Annunciata? It is being entirely repainted and regilded; and a marble portico is building over the great entrance. That part of the interior—some two-thirds—the redecoration of which is finished, is the most gorgeous work imaginable. Standing on a bright day before the Great Altar, and looking up into the three Domes, one is made giddy by the flash and glory of the place. The contrast between this temple and its ministers is the most singular and complete that the whole world could furnish, surely. But it is a land of contradictions in everything, this Italy.

‘Do you know of the Marriage Brokers among the Genoese? Sometimes they are old women—queer old women who are always presenting themselves mysteriously at unexpected times, like their sisterhood in the “Arabian Nights.” But there are men brokers: shrewd, hard, thorough-paced men of business. They keep formal registers of marriageable young gentlemen and marriageable young ladies; and when they find a very good match on their books—or rather, when one of these gentry does—he goes to the young lady’s father, and says, “Signore, you have a daughter to dispose of?” “I have,” says the father. “And you will give her,” says the broker, “fifty thousand francs?” “On fair terms,” replies the father. “Signore,” says the broker, “I know a young gentleman with fifty thousand francs embarked in business, who will take fifty thousand francs, and the clothes.” “Clothes to what value?” asks the father. “Clothes to the value of
five hundred francs,” says the broker, “and a gold watch. She must have a gold watch.” “His terms are too high,” says the father. “My daughter hasn’t got a gold watch.” “But, Signore, she has a cast in her eye,” says the broker; “and a cast in the eye is cheap at a gold watch.” “Say clothes worth two hundred and fifty francs,” retorts the father, “and a silver bracelet. I admit the cast in the eye, and will throw in the bracelet; though it is too much.” “We couldn’t do it, Signore,” says the broker, “under a gold watch. The young gentleman might have done better in his last negotiation; but he stood out for a watch. Besides, Signore, as a fair-dealing man, you must make some allowance for the ankles; which,” says the broker, referring to his books, “are thick. If I did rigid justice to my employer, Signore, and hadn’t a personal regard for you, I should require a hundred and fifty francs at least for each leg.” On such terms the bargain is discussed and the balance struck; and the young people don’t see each other until it is all settled.

‘In short, it’s very like the system of our own dear dowagers at home; except that the broker boldly calls himself a Marriage-Broker, and has his regular percentage on the fortune, which some of our own revered merchants in such wares wouldn’t object to, I dare say. I should like to start somebody I know at Fulham in business on those terms.

‘My dear Mr. Rogers, if you ever get to the end of this letter without leaping over the middle, forgive me. If you get to the end by a short cut, remember me not the less kindly; and however you get to the end, believe
me that, although it is all true, the truest part of the whole is the assurance that I am always, with great regard, your affectionate friend,

Charles Dickens.

‘P.S. Kate and her sister rebel at not being mentioned by name; I’m pretending to write long messages which would take another sheet at least.’

Samuel Rogers to Sarah Rogers.
‘Bowood: 1st Nov., 1844.

‘My dear Sarah,—I came down very snugly and comfortably in my own carriage and at an expense rather less than the old postage. I found the Shelburnes, Lady Kerry, Luttrell, and the Edens, not to forget Lady H. and a couple not yet announced as such, if they are to be such—Lady Louisa, much the most agreeable, and the best looking of the Howards, James H. He has since invited me in the name of his father, Lord Suffolk, and I think I shall go and pay them a visit for a day or two. I was unwilling to write till I saw Moore, who came yesterday and is just gone. He says Mrs. M. is much better, and was very sorry not to see you. He says he did not understand you, when I assured him that you offered to come in. But he is very strange—for when I offered to return with him to-day and to see her, he said, “Don’t come to-day—and don’t walk with me. I compose as I walk.” This place is really very splendid from the autumnal tints. The house is very much as you saw it. Next week the Bunburys come and I shall certainly stay till they come on Wednesday, and perhaps not return till
the week afterwards if I go to Lord Suffolk’s. As for my
Lady H[olland], Luttrell thinks her very cross, but I think her much as usual. Dr. Babbington attends her and her usual suite—her pony chaise, groom, etc. She engaged the double carriage, in one sat Lady H., Mr. Babbington, Luttrell, and Mrs. S——; in the other sat the four servants, Harold now and then reading the newspaper to her through the window.

‘Yours ever,
‘S. R.’

On the last Monday in November Rogers was startled by news which, in the course of the day, made an unusual stir in the City, and in the evening was the talk of all the social circles in London. Rogers’s bank had been robbed. I have fully told the story of the robbery in the Life of Samuel Sharpe, who was at that time the chief managing partner in the bank of which his uncle was the nominal head. On that morning, when the great iron safe in which all the valuables of the bank were kept was opened, it was found to be empty. On Saturday night 40,710l. in bank notes; more than 1,000l. in gold, and 5,000l. in bills of exchange had been locked up in it; and in the course of Sunday the safe had been opened with one of its own keys, the whole of the money and bills taken out, the door duly locked again and the key replaced. The sequel may be told in the words I have before used—

‘The thieves were prevented from profiting by their immense booty by the admirable promptitude with which the matter was followed up. It was a race
between the owners of the notes and the robbers, which should be first in reaching foreign banks. The thieves had the start, but so promptly were the numbers and dates of the stolen notes communicated to home and continental bankers, that the thieves were unable to make use of them. Their promptitude was shown in the fact that a single note which, in the haste, had been omitted from the list, was instantly cashed at the Bank of England before the firm had discovered the omission. Two months after the robbery the Bank of England repaid to Messrs. Rogers & Co. the value of the stolen paper, 40,710l., upon the usual guarantee of indemnity in case the notes should ever be presented for payment. In the end the actual loss was small, but until the notes had been recovered and cancelled at the Bank of England, a constant source of anxiety remained. A reward of 3,000l. was first offered. This failing, it was reduced to 2,500l.; and, at the end of about two years, just after notice had been given that on a day named it would be further reduced to 2,000l., the notes were got back and the 2,500l. was paid.’1

The time that passed before the recovery of the money was one of great anxiety to the partners in the Bank. Rogers did not put down his carriage, but changed it some months later for a brougham; and he knew too well the solid foundations of his fortune and the integrity and business qualities of his partners, to fear that any very large or serious change would have to be made in his habits. ‘I should be ashamed of myself,’ he said to some of his friends, ‘if I were unable

1 Samuel Sharpe, Egyptologist. &c. p. 165.

to bear a shock like this at my age. It would be an amusement to me to see how little I could live on if it were necessary. But I shall not be put to the experiment. Let the worst come to the worst, we shall not be ruined.’ The event, moreover, had its bright side. It showed the universal esteem in which he was held, for offers of help, expressions of regret, and assurances of confidence poured in on every side.
Mr. Everett, who was staying at Lord Ashburton’s, wrote at once.

Edward Everett to Samuel Rogers.
‘The Grange, Hants: 29th Nov., 1844.

‘My dear Mr. Rogers,—If anything would reconcile one to such a vexatious affair as that which has just befallen you, it must be the deep and unaffected interest which all your friends—that is all who are so happy as to enjoy some degree of your intimacy—take in it.

‘Everyone here speaks of it as he would if it had occurred within his own family circle.

‘It would be contrary to almost universal experience in such cases if the greater part of the money is not recovered. Lord Ashburton is confident (unless it is a thing which has long been going on in secret) that it will be recovered. If, unfortunately, it should turn out otherwise, it ought to be some consolation to you that it is the only part of your fortune which has gone for any other objects than those of benevolence, hospitality, and taste.

‘There is one treasure which thieves cannot break through and steal from you—the affectionate veneration
of your friends, among the sincerest of whom allow me to subscribe myself most faithfully yours,

Edward Everett.

‘We have all sadly missed you here. I return to town to-morrow P.M.’

Lord Ashburton wrote, at the end of a week, that his first impulse had been to go to town, but that he was prevented by considering how little probable it was that his presence could be of service. After discussing the chances of recovering the notes, he said that if any momentary difficulty was caused in the working of the ordinary machinery of a bank, ‘I am wholly at your service, and I could assist without any inconvenience to myself.’

Lord Lansdowne wrote—

‘It generally happens about this season of the year, and I find it is so at this moment, that I have a larger balance than usual at my banker’s, amounting, I believe, to some thousands will you allow me, if it can at all contribute towards meeting temporary demands, whilst making arrangements for the future, to transfer the greater portion of this to an account with your house, which I assure you I could do without inconvenience or anxiety, as I am sure I could without the least risk of ultimate loss. You would really do me a favour if I could make myself useful on such an occasion by letting me be so.’

Among large numbers of other letters are these—

Sydney Smith to Samuel Rogers.
[No date.]

‘My dear Rogers,—I have not called upon you because I cannot, but I request you to believe that none of your friends more sincerely regrets the misfortune which has befallen you than I do. You were one of the first persons of note who noticed me when I came to London, and the kindness you began has been steadily continued; but if I had known nothing of you I should have been quite unhappy to see such a fair specimen of human happiness so cruelly and so suddenly marred. My great hope is that it will end (as all these things have always done in my time) by compromise.

Mrs. Sydney and I send you the most sincere good wishes, and the kindest regards.

Sydney Smith.’
The Countess Grey to Samuel Rogers.
‘21st Dec. [1844].

‘My dear Mr. Rogers,—Lord Grey insists upon my writing to you at the risk of your being bored by it, to say how very sorry he was to hear of your having had so disagreeable an adventure, and to assure you that he must always take the most affectionate interest in all that relates to you. I need not assure you, dear Mr. Rogers, that my feelings towards you are precisely the same.

‘I have no doubt of your hearing constantly of Lord Grey, and that it has given you pleasure to be told that he is supposed to be going on well, and that we are
encouraged to hope that he may in time be restored to health. I try to believe their assurances, but his recovery is so slow I am often disheartened.

‘We are very anxious indeed about Sydney Smith. My last account of him was a better one, but it seems to be an alarming case. I have, too, been much affected by the death of my oldest and dearest friend, Lady Anne Smith; dear Mr. Rogers, it is melancholy to think how the circle of our friends is narrowed. Believe me always and affectionately yours,

M. E. Grey.

‘P.S. All my children that are here desire to be most kindly remembered to you.’

Rogers, as a letter from Mr. Everett shows, sometimes lent some of the memoranda which formed the volume of ‘Recollections.’ He acted on the advice Mr. Everett gave in this letter.

Edward Everett to Samuel Rogers.
‘46 Grosvenor Place: 22nd Dec., 1844.

‘My dear Mr. Rogers,—I write this to tell you, in case I should not find you at home, how much I am obliged to you for the privilege of reading the memoranda contained in your golden little manuscript, herewith returned. I was half tempted to page and index it for you; but such mechanical appliances, in a collection of this kind, would be like the railway among the lakes, against which poor Wordsworth is fighting.

‘You must not forget that one of these days you are
to show me your memoranda of the
Duke of Wellington. I rejoice in the hope that you have bestowed some of that care on yourself which you have so well given to recording the wit and wisdom of others. I see your “Journal” mentioned in the manuscript; and since it is necessary to look forward to the time (εσσεται ημαρ, may it be far distant) when your living intercourse will cease to be the delight of all around you, I trust you will feel it a kind of duty to leave behind you that which will, in some degree, supply the loss, and perpetuate your intellectual existence.

‘You must not, however, infer from this remark that I think your poems are not of themselves a sufficient acquittal of the debt which every man gifted like you owes to the world. I can easily prove to you that I feel all their worth, as I do most truly enjoy their calm, deep beauty, which suits my own subdued spirit better than the startling wonders (speciosa miracula) of the younger and more ambitious school. My secretary, Mr. Rives, left me the past week to pass the winter in Italy. I put into his hand at parting a beautiful copy of your “Italy,” with this inscription—
‘Francisco Roberto Rives,
Optime de se merenti
Italiam visuro,
Alter am hanc vix minus
Pulchram Italiam,
Opus poetæ eorum qui vivunt
Inter Anglos summi,
Amicitiæ pignus,
Eduardus Everett.
So that, you see, in begging you to preserve your journals and letters, I am not insensible to what you have already done—neither am I selfish, for, though some years your junior, the archers have planted more than one arrow in my side, and my life is worth little.

‘I hardly know what has given my pen this unwonted direction—the thought, I believe, that in a few months—but I must stop.—Adieu.

‘Believe me affectionately yours,
‘E. E.’

The year had a gloomy close. Rogers himself was ill, Sydney Smith was dying in his house in Green Street, Grosvenor Square, and his brother Bobus, infirm and blind, was only waiting for the summons. Lord Grey was lying ill at Howick, and Rogers felt, as old men must, that his friends were falling round him. Early in the new year, however, he writes to his sister in excellent spirits, commenting like a young man on the news of the day.

Samuel Rogers to Sarah Rogers.
‘Jan., 1845.

‘My dear Sarah,—Then, in deference to your opinion, I have resolved to continue the carriage till the 5th of April, and then to start a brougham, which I may do without much loss of dignity, as his lordship and the Duke of Devonshire exhibit themselves in theirs. I am very sorry that you are no better for the change. As for me, I dare not yet walk about, being not yet myself, though better; and as you think of returning so soon, perhaps I had better remain quiet.


Miss Martineau is now on a visit within three miles of Rydal. She and W[ordsworth], according to Robinson, have met at dinner, but neither of them spoke of mesmerism, nor has either of them mentioned the other since. All of the Rydal party are incredulous and sarcastic. She comes to town, and in her way means to show herself only in the larger towns. If she was Tom Thumb or the Lion Tamer she could not use grander language. I am sorry Mr. Young is ill—I suppose you mean the actor. He is greatly in error about me; for I thought myself cut by him. I am very very sorry indeed for your account of poor Fanny. Sydney Smith continues as before, confined to his bed, nor do I ever expect to see him again. I fear you have had a hurricane. Here the moons and the sunsets have been beautiful, and I was rejoicing at them on your account. Pray thank Patty for her very very kind letter, and, with my best love to all, believe me to be yours very affectionately,

‘S. R.’

Here are some further recollections, from the notebook of his nephew, Henry Sharpe, of the old man’s talk in his eighty-first and eighty-second years—

‘Talking of asking a favour by letter of a minister or great man, he said the great thing was to squeeze your matter into as small a compass as possible, not to turn over the page. He would spend three days in composing and abbreviating such a letter.

‘He always loved Cicero for his love of literature, and thought him in many respects similar to Petrarch, who
Homer to his bosom though he could not read Greek.

‘He praised “Tom Jones” and “Joseph Andrews” very much, and wished there were an edition with the objectionable parts left out, as they are now hardly books which a father could give to his children.

‘He said it was a great mistake of authors to represent characters as perfectly good or utterly bad. Miss Edgeworth had made Attorney Case in “Simple Susan” devoid of any good quality, which was unnatural. There was no man so bad as to have no good qualities. Shakespeare never drew anyone thoroughly bad. If it were not that it would frighten people, he would undertake to show that even Judas had redeeming qualities; he felt repentance and went and flung his thirty pieces of silver at his bribers, and then, being unable to live with the feeling of his iniquity, he destroyed himself. This showed he was not utterly lost.

‘He thought it a wicked doctrine to say that God Almighty would condemn any being to everlasting punishment. As every one had some seeds of good in him, he might require a long period for improvement, but he must be saved at last. We should not step at once from this life to the full enjoyment of Heaven; there must be different stages of probationary existence. Even the devil, if there were such a personage, could not be damned for ever.

‘Every man is good as he retains more or less of his mother in him.

Tacitus shows by his Life of Agricola that he was a man of tender feeling and affection.


‘“If there is one point in which a man should commit an excess of expenditure it is in the rent of his house. You should be very cautious in the choice of a situation. I took my house forty-four years ago: it cost me, perhaps, rather more than I could justify, but during all this time I have never once thought of leaving it, and three removals are as bad as a fire.”

‘A young lady said to me yesterday, we had nothing nice in the house to read. “Good God!” I exclaimed, “have all the thousands of books in the library downstairs been burnt?”

June 2nd, 1844.—He showed us a copy of the “Monthly Review” for 1786, containing a favourable notice of his first poem, the “Ode to Superstition,” then just published. “I was then twenty-three years old,” he said; “my sister took it up to my father, who used to sit alone reading in the evening from six till nine, when he came down to read prayers to the family. He said very little to me about it, but I thought he treated my opinions with more deference afterwards. In the course of the next six years I only sold sixty or seventy copies. In 1792 I published ‘The Pleasures of Memory,’ being then twenty-nine.” Mr. Mitford, the publisher of Gray’s “Letters,” asked if he had been occupied with the work during the whole of the six years; he said, “Yes; it was always before me.” “Italy I wrote a good deal upon the spot; I made one journey to Rome and Naples and back alone. Before I printed I showed my work to Wordsworth, Crowe, and Cary, who assisted me with criticisms as to the versification. I had great difficulty in getting out of the couplet into blank verse. I consider Crowe very
perfect in blank verse; at first he objected to a great deal, but when completed and ready to print he said he had no fault to find.”

‘I asked him what it was upon which Dryden’s fame as a poet stood. He said upon his great command of language and the beauty of his versification. As he wrote a great deal, there were many faulty parts, but there were passages not to be equalled in any other author. “Men are but children of a larger growth,” from one of his tragedies, was very happy. He quoted a stanza from Dryden’s translation of the twenty-ninth ode of the first book of Horace, beginning “Happy the man and happy he alone,” as excellent.1 If there had been no Dryden, there had been no Pope; Pope is full of lines copied from him. Fox was a great admirer of Dryden, and considered no expression could be correctly used in English composition which was not found in Dryden; you always found him with Dryden in his hand.

Fox took a writing-master after he got into office, that he might learn to write plainly; he was a painstaking man, as all men are who produce anything good. All men should write well, at least legibly; all can if they will.

Lord Byron was very fond of Lord Clare all his life
1 Happy the man, and happy he alone,
He who can call to-day his own,
He who, secure within, can say,
‘To-morrow, do thy worst, for I have lived to-day;
Be fair, or foul, or rain, or shine,
The joys I have possessed, in spite of fate, are mine;
Not Heaven itself upon the past has power,
But what has been, has been, and I have had my hour.’
because when at school together he had defended Clare from bigger boys—conferring a favour always makes you love the object of your kindness, though it is not always reciprocal. When Byron was leaving England never to return, he wrote to Lord Clare to come and take leave of him. Lord Clare wrote word back that he could not, as he was going a-shopping with his mother. But they afterwards met on the road in Italy, and shed tears together. “Byron was of a very generous nature, always ready to assist a friend in trouble.
Ward had written a very malicious article against me in the Quarterly, in consequence of some supposed offence. Byron was just publishing ‘The Giaour,’ and thereupon prefixed to it a dedication to me, full of the warmest praise and expressions of friendship.”

‘A traveller from Spain complaining of the great quantity of uncultivated land you meet with there, Frere answered, “I like sometimes to see land that God Almighty keeps in his own hands.”

Cowper’s translation of Homer. Prefers it very much to Pope’s. Has read it half-a-dozen times. How beautiful the language when the old nurse recognises Ulysses and drops his foot into the vase, spilling the water. “Thou art himself, Ulysses!” A lady who cannot read the original should get one of the Oxford literal translations, and then, when anything in Cowper strikes her as particularly beautiful, should turn to the place and see what were the very words of Homer. Of the two poems, the “Iliad” has the finest passages, but the “Odyssey” is the more pleasing subject. There is nothing in the “Odyssey” equal to the parting of Hector
and Andromache at the Scæan gate, or to the mourning of Andromache at Hector’s death—
‘nor gav’st me precious word
To be remembered day and night with tears.
Helen’s too—
‘Yet never heard I once hard speech from thee;
and the meeting of Priam and Achilles. Yet the “Odyssey” pleases more, because the story is so beautiful.
Fox was a great admirer of Homer; when asked which he had rather have written, the “Iliad” or the “Odyssey,” he said, “I know which I had rather read, the ‘Odyssey.’”

‘A gentleman remarked that he did not like the new fashion of building churches with open seats instead of pews; you might find yourself sitting next your coachman. “So you might in heaven,” replied Mr. Rogers.’