LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Samuel Rogers and his Contemporaries
Chapter VIII. 1850

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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The Laureateship—Letter from Prince Albert—Lord John Russell on Tennyson—Rogers’s Accident—He is lamed for life—Lord Brougham’s Letters on Public Affairs—Death of Sir R. Peel—Further Letters from Lord Brougham—Letters from Lady Russell, Hallam, Empson, Mr. Ruskin, Mrs. Jameson, E. Everett, and Sir H. Holland,—Rogers to the Bishop of London on his Accident—Signs of Decline—Letters from Lady Morgan, Lady Emily Pusey, Sir Charles Napier, Lord Brougham, and E. Everett.

One of the most gratifying events in a life which was unusually full of occasions for congratulation, was the offer by the Queen through Prince Albert of the Laureateship rendered vacant by the death of Wordsworth. Wordsworth had held it only seven years, and, as he was seventy-three when he was appointed, there was a precedent for offering it to an old man. Rogers, however, was seven years older than Wordsworth, and therefore fourteen years older than Wordsworth was when he was appointed in 1843. It was an unexpected honour to Rogers that at eighty-seven he should be thought of for the post, and every circumstance connected with it gave him satisfaction. In making the offer promptly, and in communicating it by the hand of the Prince Consort, Her Majesty gave emphasis to a choice which seemed in his old age to remind him how
his youthful wish to be known and recognised as ‘the Poet Rogers’ had been fulfilled. I am graciously permitted by Her Majesty to print the letter in which Prince Albert, on her behalf, made the offer—a letter which is as honourable to the Prince as it is to the aged poet to whom it was addressed.

H.R.H. Prince Albert to Samuel Rogers.

‘My dear Mr. Rogers,—The death of the lamented Mr. Wordsworth has vacated the office of Poet Laureate. Although the spirit of the times has put an end to the practice (at all times objectionable) of exacting laudatory Odes from the holder of that office, the Queen attaches importance to its maintenance from its historical antiquity and the means it affords to the Sovereign of a more personal connection with the Poets of the country through one of their chiefs. I am authorised, accordingly, to offer to you this honorary post, and can tell you that it will give Her Majesty great pleasure if it were accepted by one whom she has known so long, and who would so much adorn it; but that she would not have thought of offering it to you at your advanced age if any duties or trouble were attached to it.

‘Believe me always, my dear Mr. Rogers,

‘Yours truly,
‘Buckingham Palace: 8th May, 1850.’

The Laureateship was thus offered purely as a recognition of his established position and fame. There were precedents for declining it. Scott had done so in 1813; he had another career before him then. Gray had done
so on the death of
Cibber in 1757. Rogers was sorely tempted to accept it, but his shrewd common-sense, which never failed him all through life, suggested that the honour was in the offer, and that as he was approaching the close of his eighty-seventh year, it was his duty not to accept it. After much hesitation, therefore, he wrote the following letter, of which I find a copy in his own handwriting—

Samuel Rogers to Prince Albert.

‘How can you forgive me, Sir, for having so long delayed to answer a letter which I have had the honour to receive from your Royal Highness, but I was so affected by it as to be utterly unable to do justice to my feelings. Coming whence it came—in such words as were not soon to be forgotten—and under the sanction of one whose mind and whose countenance were from her earliest childhood no less heavenly than her voice—I felt as if it left me no alternative; but when I came to myself and reflected that nothing remained of me but my shadow—a shadow so soon to depart—my heart gave way, and after long deliberation and many conflicts within me, I am come, but with great reluctance, to the resolution that I must decline the offer,1 but subscribing myself, with a gratitude that will not go but with the last beat of my heart,

‘Yours ever most affectionately,
Samuel Rogers.’

1 Rogers had previously declined an offer by the Prince of an honour almost equally tempting to a man of culture and refinement. The Prince had been elected Chancellor of the University of Cambridge in 1847,


There was probably not much hesitation in the mind of monarch or of minister who should wear the laurel Rogers had thus put aside. Some years earlier Peel had granted to Mr. Tennyson a pension from the Civil List of two hundred pounds a year. In writing to inform Rogers of this event, Mr. Tennyson told him that Peel said the favourable impression his books produced upon him, ‘was confirmed by the “very highest authorities,” yourself and Hallam.’ Mr. Tennyson then says that he has only thanks to return for this practical kindness. ‘But my thanks,’ he adds, ‘mean more than most men’s.’ This circumstance explains a reference in the following letter to Rogers’s advice to Sir R. Peel. The letter is further of interest as showing first of all the care taken by a great minister in advising the Queen on so comparatively small a matter, and next the slow growth of Lord Tennyson’s universal fame.

Lord John Russell to Samuel Rogers.
‘Minto: Oct. 3, 1850.

‘My dear Rogers,—As you would not wear the laurel yourself, I have mentioned to the Queen those whom I thought most worthy of the honour. H. M. is inclined to bestow it on Mr. Tennyson; but I should wish, before the offer is made, to know something of his character, as well as of his literary merits. I know your opinion of the last by your advice to Sir Robert Peel, but I

and he instructed his secretary to write to Rogers and offer him the degree of LL.D. or M.A., to be conferred by mandamus. If he accepted the offer, his name was to be put on his Royal Highness’s list, and the degree conferred upon him in full congregation.

should be glad if you could let me know something of his character and position.1

‘We are both much interested in the progress of your recovery. I heard you were at Broadstairs, and hope the air agreed with you. Lady John desires to be affectionately remembered.

‘Yours very truly,
J. Russell.’

When this letter was received, Rogers was partially recovering from the serious accident which brought his active career to a close. He had kept up his energetic habits into his eighty-eighth year, and was frequently to be seen, late at night, walking home from a friend’s house at which he had been spending the evening. On his way home on Thursday night, the fourth of June, he was knocked down by a carriage, which proved to be that of a friend, and though not otherwise seriously hurt, he sustained a fracture of the thigh-bone in the socket, which lamed him for the rest of his life. The accident was the occasion of a remarkable expression of sympathy and esteem from all sorts and conditions of men. The high position which he occupied in the social life of London, and the interest which was felt in him among cultivated people in the United States and all over Europe, were strikingly shown in the calls at his door, the letters which poured in upon him, and the statements in the press. The picture I have been endeavour-

1 On his appointment Mr. Tennyson went to Court in Rogers’s Court dress. ‘I well remember’ says Sir H. Taylor, ‘a dinner in St. James’s Place when the question arose whether Samuel’s suit was spacious enough for Alfred.’ But it did for Wordsworth, and it sufficed for his successor.

ing to draw of Rogers in his relation to his contemporaries would be entirely incomplete without some selection from this correspondence, difficult as it is to make. I have given precedence to a series of remarkable letters from
Lord Brougham, which were written with the object of keeping the sequestered poet and politician fully informed of the public events in which he and his friends felt close personal interest. Lord Brougham’s letters are remarkable exhibitions of energy for a man of seventy-two; they are also illustrative of his character, and give curious and interesting glimpses behind the stage of public life.

Lord Brougham to Samuel Rogers.
‘Grafton Street: Tuesday [11th June, 1850].

‘My dear Rogers,—I cannot tell you how anxious I am, and all of us, to hear that you are not injured by this cursed accident. It is almost worth being ill to have so universal a feeling expressed as prevails. Make your people give me an answer.

H. Brougham.’
Lord Brougham to Samuel Rogers.
‘Sunday [16th June, 1850].

‘My dear R.,—I went to meet the Nepaul Embassy by invitation of the East India Company. The dinner was splendid, and we had a gallery of ladies to see the jewels and dress of the Indians and to hear our speeches.

‘The chief Indian spoke a long distinct speech in his own tongue, which half the company, having been in the
East, understood, and said it was much better than the interpreter made it. It pleased the East India Company much, for it lavishly promised all the Nepaul resources to us, and to stand by us against China.
Hobhouse spoke as if mightily contented with the Indian Prince, and said the Embassy would return home impressed with the benefits and beauties of our free constitution! This I thought strong, considering that the Prince had just dethroned, or at least subdued, his Master, and really reigned in his stead, and that he had forcibly brought away with him the leaders of the opposition to his usurpation—which leaders he did not suffer to dine with him, but they were at another table. By the way, all of them dined in a room by themselves and joined us after dinner. I hear that one of them, being asked how he liked our rifles, said he had one which he had used to kill a servant, and that it answered very well.

‘When it came to my turn to speak (called upon to return thanks for the judges and bar), I said that justice was everything, politics nothing. But I must say one word on that, too; and I said that, with the other lessons learnt, I hoped the Indians would carry back a most positive assurance that the Government here, and the people, and above all our hosts the East India Company, never would dream of extending their dominions by one acre, or of lessening by one inch the short distance which, we were just told, separates our Eastern Frontier from the Western Frontier of China (that distance being Nepaul); but that the world would see we had at length discovered the wisdom and the justice of never breaking the peace nor suffering others unpunished to break it.
This was really a right thing to say, and it was very well received—much better than might be expected.

‘Such was our Nepaul banquet. The ladies were, I doubt not, disappointed, for the Princes had not their jewels, and the speeches were as dull as possible.

‘Yours very affectionately,
H. Brougham.

Lyndhurst goes on well. Mind, I continue my interdict against your writing. Send only verbally how you go on.’

Rogers appears to have written a few lines, and Brougham sent him a reply the same evening—

Lord Brougham to Samuel Rogers.
‘Sunday Evening [16th June, 1850].

‘My dear Friend,—I am truly delighted to see your handwriting and hear of your welfare. But I do most positively interdict all exertion of writing, as I have to Lyndhurst even before his operation. It was performed by Dalrymple, which we thought right, rather than John Russell, not because he was more skilful, but as having attended him.

‘I will give you a letter every two days to keep you up to what is going on during your confinement. I have a very bad account of poor Luttrell.

‘Yours ever affectionately,
H. Brougham.

‘Our ladies desire their kind regards, and yesterday Lady Jersey nearly bit off my nose because I could not answer her so satisfactorily as I shall this evening.’

Lord Brougham to Samuel Rogers.
‘House of Lords: Tuesday [18th June, 1850].

‘My dear R.,—I am here sitting on causes at ten this morning, having only got to bed at half-past four. We had such a victory over my poor friend Pam as no man ever dreamt of. The Government said they should be beaten by 3 or 4; they were beaten by 37.1 Ominous number!—being my majority in 1816, by which I destroyed the Income Tax.

‘I was really sorry to be obliged to vote against Palmerston in a personal case, and I refused to debate it, and only made a panegyric on him when I announced my reluctant vote. No man ever was so ill-defended: Lansdowne excellent as always, but all the Lords were away at dinner. Beaumont and Eddisbury did him harm. Stanley very good; Canning also, but savage; Aberdeen good, but ditto.

‘Yours ever,
‘H. B.’
Lord Brougham to Samuel Rogers.
‘House of Lords: Friday [21st June, 1850].

‘My dear R.,—I was prevented by accident from sending you my two-day letter yesterday. First of the friends; next of the country. Lyndhurst’s bandages go off to-day. He saw well on the mat four days ago. He

1 This was a debate on the Don Pacifico case. Lord Stanley’s motion, regretting ‘that various claims against the Greek Government, doubtful in point of justice or exaggerated in amount, have been enforced by coercive measures directed against the commerce and people of Greece,’ was carried by 169 against 132.

will to-day be permanently released from his nine-months dark cellar. . . . and will experience his new birth.

‘Next of the country. This House of Lords defeat is a dreadful blow, both to the Government and [to] Pam especially. The attempt of Roebuck to set it aside in the Commons will be very embarrassing, for, if the motion is lost, the Government go, and we have a dissolution of Parliament as well as Ministry; if it is carried by a small majority, we have a conflict of the two houses, and the public with the Lords.

‘Yours most truly,
‘H. B.’
Lord Brougham to Samuel Rogers.
‘House of Lords: Tuesday [25th June, 1850].

‘My dear R.,—I wanted to see if I could give you any light as to the fate of the Government in the House of Commons—in the Lords their fate is fully decided.

‘I believe they will have a majority even considerable; some say as many as 50.1 I should little wonder, for the men vote with a pistol at their breasts, “your vote or your life”; that is, your Parliamentary life, for dissolution is the alternative, and many will not be reelected. But happen what may in their favour, the Lords’ vote is not to be got rid of. It is a millstone about our necks in all negotiations, and in all debates of the Lords it is a millstone round Lansdowne’s neck,

1 The division on Mr. Roebuck’s motion took place on the 28th of June. The numbers were 310 for the Government, and 264 against—a majority of 46.

for the Lords will be revenged for a counter vote of the Commons.

‘Yours truly,
‘H. B.’
Lord Brougham to Samuel Rogers.
‘House of Lords: Friday [28th June, 1850].

‘My dear R.,—I went to see L. Philippe at St. Leonards on Wednesday. I found him quite well and in excellent spirits, but so altered in appearance that I should certainly not have known him. However, the medical men think he is recovering, and that the disease was not organic. He is pleased with the flocking of men of all shades from Paris to visit him, and he has been of much use in forwarding the President’s dotation, holding that a refusal must have brought on a dreadful crisis and probably ended in an absolute monarchy.

‘I sat yesterday with Lyndhurst and found him in excellent health and spirits on recovering his sight. The attack of the lunatic on the Queen 1 will give us the plague of addresses and trials. It is rather a pity the mob were kept from killing the man, for sudden and summary justice would do more to prevent repetition of the offence than twenty trials, and all you do by such trials is example. A madman’s life is worth less than nothing to himself or the world.

‘Yours ever truly,
‘H. B.

‘No one can tell what is to be the majority to-night in the Commons. I believe it will be considerable.’

1 The attack on the Queen by Robert Pate took place on the 27th of June.

Lord Brougham to Samuel Rogers.
‘House of Lords: Tuesday [2nd July, 1850].

‘My dear R.,—I have a good account of you, which cheers us.

‘The Government had the folly yesterday to bring over Normanby from Paris, and Clanricarde on his crutches from his sofa, to be miserably defeated after a severe debate, though, to escape, our good friend Lansdowne (the best leader of a House I have ever known) began his reply at the close of the debate by giving up the Government measures, and divided only against the Opposition substitute, preferring a middle course. But the Government were defeated by seventy-two to fifty. So much for hatred of Romish priests to which I contributed my mite.

Peel has been in imminent danger almost all night. His son writes to me that he is a shade better, and they have hopes of his recovery; but plainly, not strong hopes.

Lady Jersey and myself are occupied with Lord Hardinge and others in making up a purse for Mr. Macfarlane, author of travels and other excellent works. He has fallen into difficulties and we have got a cadetcy for his son, and are raising money for his outfit. Your known benevolence makes us think of you. Say your pleasure.

‘Yours ever affectionately,
H. Brougham.’

The accident to Sir Robert Peel took place on Saturday the 29th of June. On the day before he had spoken
in the debate on
Mr. Roebuck’s motion, and had, of course, taken the side of the opponents of Lord Palmerston’s policy. He was out on Saturday afternoon for his usual exercise, when, on Constitution Hill, his horse reared and threw him, and he was so much hurt that he only lingered three days, suffering the severest agonies that a highly-strung nervous system could endure. He had seemed somewhat better on Tuesday morning, the day Brougham’s letter was written, but became suddenly worse, and died at eleven o’clock that night. When the news was spread all over the country on Wednesday morning, there was a general and most striking manifestation of public feeling. The church bells tolled, and men of all parties went about speaking in undertones of the country’s irreparable loss.

The division of which Brougham writes took place on the Parliamentary Voters (Ireland) Bill. The Government proposed to give the Parliamentary franchise for the Irish counties to occupiers of lands rated for the poor rate at a net annual value of 8l. or upwards. Lord Desart moved an amendment fixing it at 15l. Lord Brougham supported this proposal on the ground of the influence of the priests over the lower class of electors, and it was carried by seventy-two against fifty. Lord Lansdowne, speaking last, gave up the 8l. which had been adopted in the Commons. On the Bill going back to the Commons, 12l. was inserted instead of the 15l. which the Lords had fixed, and the Lords assenting, the Bill passed. Lord Brougham’s letters continue.

Lord Brougham to Samuel Rogers.
‘Sunday [7th July, 1850].

‘My dear Rogers,—Little has occurred since I last wrote. I forget if I mentioned the evil consequences of an injudicious yielding to feelings, instead of following the course pointed out by sense and reason, in regard to Peel’s death. The Lords must needs have a talk upon the subject; we had one praising the deceased because he spoke the truth, and another describing his travels with him in a “hack post-chaise.” These subjects require to be handled by artists, and you never can keep off clumsy hands which expose you to the risk of ridicule.

Mrs. Meynell (née Pigou) was anxious to hear how you get on, and, I suppose, called, but I dare say did not see you.

Sir B. Brodie tells me that Peel’s accident proved fatal from splinters of the broken bone injuring the vessels near the heart, so that he died of internal bleeding. He suffered the greatest pain almost all the time he lingered.

‘Yours ever sincerely,
H. Brougham.

‘The slaver of parasites is more mischievous than the tooth of enemies. Prince Albert will be hated as much as ever Prince was for this Exposition, and the consequent invasion of the park. A man in his very peculiar position should have the sense to know that repose and inaction is his only security against ridicule. But he must needs be disliked as well as laughed at.’

Lord Brougham to Samuel Rogers.
‘Thursday [11th July, 1850].

‘My dear R.,—You see we have got a Chancellor. The ministers had decided (as they do without decision) to have the Great Seal in commission till February, but the pressure from without (some half-dozen lawyers anxious to increase their fees but professing much regard for the public) pushed on the Government, and Wilde, Lord Eltham,1 is chosen. I have seen him, and he is a great friend of mine, and always was one of my favourite protégés and chums. He was sixth counsel for Queen Caroline with me, in 1820 and 1821. He was long a City solicitor, like his father before him, and knows somewhat of Chancery business accordingly. He is a very honest and honourable man, and will not, like ——, abuse and job his patronage to selfish, party, or worse, personal emolument. Indeed, the latter is almost impeachable if not indictable for his sordid proceedings. Wilde is of a very far higher nature. I only fear he can never get through the arrears in Chancery which Cottenham, retaining the Great Seal so long after he was unable to work, has accumulated, for it is Wilde’s failing to be long, and very long, about his business—a failing he had at the Bar and on the Bench, bringing it with him from his attorney’s days; for an attorney holds every one point in every one case to be the very pivot on which the cause turns—a dreadful fault for either advocate or judge.

1 Sir Thomas Wilde did not take the title Brougham here bestows upon him. He became Lord Truro.


‘I shall help him all I can in the House of Lords where I now am sitting. But when I run over to America it will not be quite so well. However, the Government may be out before that trip.

‘Yours ever sincerely,
H. Brougham.’
Lord Brougham to Samuel Rogers.
‘Tuesday [16th July, 1850].

‘My dear R.,—I have little to report these two days. The cry against our new Chancellor continues. Rolfe was certainly the fittest man, but Dean Swift says that quality is quite fatal to any candidate. Then he had no place to give up which any one wished to have. Wilde, Lord Truro of Bowes, in Middlesex (for the heralds are queer geographers) took his seat yesterday, and I ushered him in with Redesdale. Lyndhurst would have been my second, but he came late. The peers present observed that my friend has not the “air distingué.” But I predict that his kind and honourable nature and entire freedom from all affectation and conceit will make him a favourite. I only dread his working himself to death to get rid of the arrears, and he cannot do it, work how he may. I had ten times his bodily strength, and more than ten times his power of shortening business. His fault is in that direction.

‘Let me know by verbal message if you desire I should call on you. We have no news except that an ex-Maid of Honour advertises for a situation—as servant, I suppose.

‘Yours ever truly,
‘H. B.’
Lord Brougham to Samuel Rogers.
‘House of Lords: Wednesday [24th July, 1850].

‘My dear R.,—Palmerston’s dinner of Saturday was the greatest failure ever known. Not a single colleague nor any person in office, except Attorney and Solicitor-General. All the M.P.’s known Radicals. The rest utterly unknown. It is said there was a riot and fight, and the police called in. No news have occurred since I had the pleasure of seeing you.

‘I have been prevented calling with Lady Malet, by being a prisoner in this House, hearing causes daily from ten to five. I am working off Cottenham’s arrears. The new Chancellor does exceedingly well.

‘Yours affectionately,
H. Brougham.’

This was a dinner given to Lord Palmerston by the members of the Reform Club. It was limited to the first two hundred members who had signed the invitation, that being the number the dining-room of the club could accommodate. The chair was taken by Mr. Bernal Osborne.

Lord Brougham to Samuel Rogers.
‘Brougham: Monday [12th Aug., 1850].

‘My dear R.,—I was so occupied with deciding on the fate of railway gamblers the last week, that I could not continue my bulletins to you nor call on you as I wished, for I had to leave town at 9 on Saturday morning, and I sat all Friday, as all the week, in the Lords. (I want
your subscription for
Macfarlane—£10. Pray send it to Messrs. Bouverie & Co., Haymarket, for C. Macfarlane.) But I thought of you yesterday, while I was following your prescription of the flesh-brush, by which I daily profit; and it occurred to me that now all London is gone or going out of town (Lady M. will call before she goes), you will find your confinement irksome for want of visitors. So this idea came into my mind: There is no difficulty in having yourself transported to the railway station and taking the whole of a carriage in which your bed is to be put. You get here in eight hours; you have an apartment on the ground floor, close to a garden; and for the next two months there will be a succession of your friends here, besides ourselves. Do think of this.

‘Yours ever,
‘H. B.’
Lord Brougham to Samuel Rogers.
‘Brougham: Sunday [8th September, 1850].

‘My dear R.,—We all long to hear of you and how you get on. Mrs. Meynell is here, and desires, with Lady Malet, to be most kindly remembered to you. She did not like to call as she passed through town, for fear it might have troubled you; but I told her you would have been most happy to see her. Lady M. did call, but was not let in. We are all curious to know if it is really true that Luttrell is married. Pray satisfy our curiosity.

Lady W. Russell and her sons are here, and very agreeable they are. I have seen nothing of the Hollands, and learn that they are gone to Paris.

Metternich writes me his opinion of France, which
agrees quite with my own, that the entire want of provident views in that people makes it impossible to foresee what may any day happen to them, but that meanwhile
Louis Napoleon’s strength consists in possession being more to be trusted than expectation—or, as we say, holdfast being a better dog than brag.

‘I shall send you my letter to Denman on Law Amendment the moment it is out.

‘Believe me, sincerely yours,
‘H. B.’

From the many letters from other friends which served to lighten this time of suffering, I can only select a few. They cover the whole period of this correspondence with Brougham, and show the warm interest of Rogers’s friends in his welfare.

Lady John Russell to Samuel Rogers.

‘My dear Mr. Rogers,—You have often, when you were well, made me pass a pleasant evening; will you allow me—when you feel fit for it—to prevent you from passing a solitary one? Tuesdays and Fridays I am always in town, and I shall hope for a summons, though I dare not hope for it soon, as I know you must be very quiet for some time. I shall only add that, if thinking of you could have done you good, Lord John and I should have cured you long ago.

‘Believe me, dear Mr. Rogers, always affectionately yours,

Fanny A. M. Russell.
‘32 Chesham Place: 19th June, 1850.’
Henry Hallam to Samuel Rogers.
‘Wilton Crescent: Monday morn [June], 1850.

‘My dear Rogers,—Is it consistent with your surgeon’s injunctions that I should call to see you? I know that you have been visible to few only—do not, therefore, hesitate to say No if it ought not to be. If otherwise, I should greatly desire to shake your hand, as soon as you can admit me—at least, before I depart for the Continent. This will not be until the 10th of July. I am almost confident that you will be able to see me long before that time.

‘I need not say how much I was shocked by your accident, though I constantly now hear that you are going on well. I was once, as you know, a fellow-sufferer, and can bear witness to the irksomeness of long confinement to the bed of helplessness, though not of pain. But I trust, as your injury is less important, your recovery may be considerably quicker than my own. I have been at Oxford most of last week. Yesterday I dined with the Berrys at Petersham, but the Elder did not appear.

‘Yours, my dear Rogers, most truly,
H. Hallam.’
William Empson to Samuel Rogers.
‘E.I.C.: 16th June [1850].

‘My dear Friend,—Your accident has grieved us very much. Lady Rolfe and Mr. Moxon and other friends to whom I have applied assure me that you are doing well. God grant it be so! Those pleasant walks home at
night-time, which I have so often had with you and—in his London days—with

‘You will like to know that my wife keeps well, in spite of a sick nursery. She desires to be most kindly remembered to you, and I am always your much obliged and most affectionate

W. Empson.’
Mr. Ruskin to Samuel Rogers.
‘Park Street: 5th July [1850].

‘Dear Mr. Rogers,—I have long been wishing to write to you, and have suffered day after day to pass by, thinking that you would be not a little tormented by notes of condolence; which, however, I do not intend mine to be—for I have not the least doubt that you will be just as happy upon your sofa in your quiet drawing-room (with a little companionship from your once despised pensioners, the sparrows outside) for such time as it may be expedient for you to stay there, as ever you were in making your way to the doors of the unquiet drawing-rooms—full of larger sparrows inside—into which I used to see you look in pity, then retire in all haste. I am quite sure you will always—even in pain or confinement—be happy in your own good and countless ways: and so I am only writing to you to thank you for making me happy too in the possession of the two volumes which I found upon your hall table the first time that I came to inquire for you, and which make me some amendment even for not being able to see you, since the kind inscription of them enables me now to read them as if every line in them were addressed to myself—with special purpose and
glance of the eyes—such as I have so often met when I was going to be instructed or encouraged (or, when it was good for me, extinguished). And so helped, though I will not say that I can “pass the shut door without a sigh,” I can, at least, look forward patiently to the time when I may be once more allowed to sit beside you.

‘Believe me ever, dear Mr. Rogers, respectfully and affectionately yours,

J. Ruskin.’

To this generous tribute from the most distinguished living writer on artistic and kindred subjects may be added one from another eminent writer, whose works are among the classics of the art literature of England.

Mrs. Jameson to Samuel Rogers.
‘Ealing: 8th July [1850].

‘Dear Mr. Rogers,—Am I committing an indiscretion in writing to you, instead of leaving the usual bit of unfeeling pasteboard with a name upon it? It has been on my mind to do so for many days past, and I have hesitated, but something in my heart says write; so I venture. Dear Mr. Rogers, of those who have grieved to hear of your accident and its painful consequences, I am perhaps the most insignificant to you; yet, let me say that few can have thought of you oftener. You gave me some flowers the last time but one that I breakfasted with you; I am going to leave England the end of this month, and I take those flowers with me; the associations connected with them can never fade from my mind; I am sure, dear Mr. Rogers, that you believe me, and
feel that this is not a bit of sentiment I utter: yes, I do thank you from my heart for all the delight and improvement I have had in your society, and from the beautiful and glorious and precious things assembled round you, and which made of your house a temple and a sanctuary. None could more appreciate them than I have done, nor feel more strongly that, valuable as they are, their highest, dearest value, when I think them over and bring them before my mind, is derived from their association with you and your great and good gifts and your remembered kindness. How I wish at this moment there were anything in the world I could do to pleasure or to comfort you! Since that may not be, forgive me for being selfish and wishing to be remembered by you once kindly before I go from England.

‘God bless you, dear Mr. Rogers, and grant that I may find you, if not well, at best better, on my return. I shall leave this myself, and hear of you this morning.

‘Believe me truly yours,
Anna Jameson.”
Edward Everett to Samuel Rogers.
‘Cambridge, U.S.A.: 9th July, 1850.

My dear Mr. Rogers,—I cannot express to you with how much concern I heard from Dr. Holland of your late accident. . . . When you get well recovered of your accident, I shall read you a serious lecture, about your exposing yourself by walking home in the evening; but at present I cannot find it in my heart to utter a word of reproach. How I wish it were in my power to be near you on this occasion, and endeavour to relieve the
tedium of your confinement by my share of those assiduities which your friends will all be so happy to employ for your amusement. I was about writing to you at the time, on occasion of the recurrence of your birthday;—I am truly grieved to be obliged to give up so much of my letter to so different a subject. You are, however, so much of a philosopher as not only, with
Horace, to number your birthdays without repining, but even to meet them with equanimity when obliged to celebrate them in the present untoward circumstances.

‘I hope your ill-health has not prevented your seeing something of my friend Prescott. He would feel it as the greatest of privations to have to leave England without making your personal acquaintance, as I know you would yourself much regret it. But I am unwilling to think he has been so unfortunate.

‘The papers tell us that the Queen has offered you the vacant Laureateship. It is what one might expect from her taste and judgment. The lost honours of that appointment have been sufficiently retrieved of late years to make it not unworthy of you. I will not ask you to write to me; for that may for some time be too great an effort, but I shall be truly rejoiced when I hear from some friend that you are quite recovered.

‘In the meantime, my dear Mr. Rogers, I pray you to believe me, as ever, with sincere attachment, faithfully yours,

Edward Everett.’

Rogers did see Prescott, as the next letter shows.

Dr. Holland to Samuel Rogers.
‘25 Brook Street: Monday [July, 1850].

‘My dear Sir,—I have now been in London a week, but so incessantly occupied with arrears of business, added to by three journeys to patients in the country, that I have not before found time to tell you of my return, as you were good enough to ask me to do.

‘First of yourself—My last direct tidings of you were through Prescott, at whose house in Boston I dined on the 1st of this month, with Everett, Ticknor, and one or two other Boston worthies—a most agreeable close to my American excursion. Prescott spoke with much earnestness of your kindness to him, awakening much affectionate memory of the same in our friend Everett. Your portrait is in the drawing-room of the latter, opposite to that of Lord Aberdeen.

‘From Mr. Prescott’s report I infer favourably of your progress to that time. I shall rejoice in learning that it has continued the same since; and that you have gained good to your strength and to your general health by your stay at Brighton. All that relates, too, to the state of the limb, I shall gladly learn-—gladly, at least, if the account be good.

‘I lived with Everett at Cambridge, near Boston, both when disembarking in America and returning to Europe; and had great enjoyment in his society and in that of the learned and scientific of Cambridge congregated around him. In the interval between my visits to him I accomplished 3,900 miles of travel, stretching as far westwards as the great prairies between Lake Michi-
gan and the Mississippi; making a voyage of more than a thousand miles through the upper Lakes; revisiting Niagara; making a tour through some of the f1nest parts of Upper Canada, descending the St. Lawrence to Quebec, and finishing by a journey through the states of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. This is a naked outline; but it will show you that I have not been idle nor inattentive as an observer of this wonderful country, of the unparalleled progress of which few people here have any due conception. The changes and improvements since I was there five years ago are marvellous to me—and improvements in manners and habits, as well as in the physical conditions of the community.

‘I accomplished my travels without a single accident or misadventure of any kind, and with very great good to my health, both present and prospective, for the labours of the winter. The transition is indeed sudden: from prairies, forests, lakes, and rapids, to diarrhoea, catarrh, rhubarb, and antimony; but these changes are agreeable and refreshing to me, and the former make me better competent to deal with the latter.

‘Farewell, my dear Sir. Believe me, ever yours most faithfully,

H. Holland.’

Rogers was by this time sufficiently recovered to write notes in answer to inquiries. One of these notes is worth reproducing. It was in answer to a letter from the Bishop of London, who wrote on the 31st of July, saying that for three weeks he had been confined to the house and unable to call to inquire after him in person, and asking him to send him a report. Rogers replied.

Samuel Rogers to the Bishop of London.
‘3rd August, 1850.

‘My dear Lord,—What can I say to you? How can I express to you my sense of your great kindness? I can only thank you in the fulness of my heart, and assure you how much I lament your long illness—so severe an affliction to your friends and such a loss to the world.

‘As for myself, I am going on, I believe, as well as I can expect, being at length promoted from my bed to a chair; and if this is to be my last promotion, I shall endeavour to console myself, as Galileo is said to have done under a heavier dispensation—“It has pleased God that I should be blind; and ought not I to be pleased?”

‘Pray remember me most particularly to Mrs. Blomfield, and believe me to be

‘Most affectionately yours,
Samuel Rogers.’

There is a sign of failing powers in this letter. From this time forward many of his notes began in the same way. Lady Dufferin, in the very ill-considered letter which she wrote about him after his death, and which is published in Mr. Hayward’s ‘Correspondence,’ says that his letters ‘generally begin with “Pray, pray”—a form of exordium which alternated with “What shall I say?”’ This is absurdly false as to his life up to its eighty-ninth year, but it is true of the few closing years. Rogers’s memory has suffered from the fact that so much of what
has been called his ‘Table Talk’ belonged to the declining period, and that so many of the accounts of him which have been published refer also to his failing days.
Mrs. Norton’s letter in the same volume as that in which her sister’s is published, and the extracts from it which Mr. Hayward included in his ‘Edinburgh Reviewarticle may be advantageously compared—may I not say contrasted?—with her letters to Rogers himself in this volume. In mentioning this letter of Mrs. Norton’s, there is, however, one passage in it which I may quote with approval, as true of one aspect of his life. ‘He was the very embodiment of quiet, from his voice to the last harmonious little picture that hung in his lulled room; and a curious figure he seemed—an elegant, pale watchtower, showing for ever what a quiet port literature and the fine arts might offer, in an age of “progress,” when every one is tossing, struggling, wrecking, and foundering on a sea of commercial speculation or political adventure: where people fight even over pictures, and if a man does buy a picture, it is with a burning desire to prove it is a Raphael to his yelping enemies, rather than to point it out with a slow white finger to his breakfasting friends.’ 1 The picture is of Rogers in his old age, and especially after his further promotion from the bedroom chair to the familiar rooms in which he still entertained his friends.

On the 25th of October Hallam’s second son, Henry Fitzmaurice Hallam, died at Siena. When the news came Rogers wrote a letter of sympathy to his distinguished friend, and here is the answer.

1 The Hayward Letters, vol. i., p. 287.

Henry Hallam to Samuel Rogers.
‘Wilton Crescent: 26th Nov., 1850.

‘My dear Friend,—I have answered very few of the many kind letters my friends have written; the expressions of sympathy have been most general; and I hear that no such event has been ever more deplored. Nor is this wonderful. There are many who love me—full as many who knew how to love and admire him who has thus suddenly, thus almost mysteriously, been taken away. But this is the second blow that has fallen on me in almost the same circumstances, and just when the memory of one had been recalled and rendered familiar to all by Tennyson’s remarkable volume, the tribute of undying friendship, we are called on to lament a calamity not less bitter, and very similar in all respects. Yet not in all, alas! for one left behind him the living image of his talents and virtues, and seemed by the mercy of providence as it were restored in another person—while there is now nothing to fill the gap, nothing to take off from the solitude of my last days, or if I have still a blessing left that prevents solitude, nothing to preserve my name and memory when I go home and am no more seen. But I will not dwell on this.

‘You, as I have said, are one of those few friends whose friendship I cannot leave unnoticed. Of you I thought often during my absence, and heard very little. It was a great gratification to see the date of Brighton on your letter.

‘I hear now favourable accounts of your progress,
and especially of your general health. God preserve you long to us!

‘My dearest daughter has borne two lessons with resigned piety—a steady principle in her heart. She has been inspired not to think this world a home of mere pleasure.

‘Affectionately yours,
H. Hallam.’

Rogers had at this time removed to Brighton, and was so far recovered as to be able to see his friends, and to take the air in his carriage as well as to write his letters. Among the large number of ladies who wrote to him at this period was Lady Morgan, one of his admirers, who, after his death turned round and spoke contemptuously of him. Lady Morgan was visiting Lady Dungarvan at Marston, in the summer, and she wrote to Rogers after reading the poetical works of Lord Orrery, ‘in whose library,’ she says, ‘I am writing, with “the Orrery” of his famous descendant beside me, and the portrait of his philosophical ancestor, Robert Boyle, before me.’ She tells him that while all the fine ladies in London are besetting his door with anxious inquiries and personal attentions, ‘there are three, far away, who are most desirous to learn of your progress to perfect recovery, and who prove, by the interest they feel about you, that “les absents n’ont pas toujours tort.”’ These were Lady Dungarvan, Lady Morgan herself, and another, whom she represents as all belonging to the troop ‘who were called into being to flutter round you when here and think of you when absent.’ In a very different tone Jessie de
Sismondi writes from Tenby to ask after him and to assure him that ‘the secret benevolence of your life which Mackintosh has so often told us with affectionate admiration,’ gave them confidence that he would sympathise in their desire to express their honour, admiration, and affection. The ‘we,’ she says, ‘are Allens who have so often experienced your kind attention.’ Another friend writes.

Lady Emily Pusey to Samuel Rogers.

‘My dear Mr. Rogers,—I have felt very anxious about you ever since we left London. Some weeks ago I wrote to you, but I do not know whether you received my letter. Last week my brother went to London, and I begged him to call on you, that is, to make inquiries after you at your house. He brought me the pleasant intelligence that you had been able to leave London and were at Brighton. I am indeed rejoiced to hear that you had been able to move, and I trust that you have no difficulty in driving out every day.

‘I shall be greatly obliged to you if you will allow your servant to write me two or three lines to tell me how you are, and whether you go out. I conclude that you will pass great part of the winter at Brighton, where I hope you have found some of your friends.

‘Do not you think that our sober countrymen have gone a little mad on the subject of No Popery? I never was a Whig even in early days, yet I always disliked the anti-Catholic cry. I think Lord John, in his bitterness against my good brother-in-law and his friends, may have cause to regret the rashness of his letter, which I hear
is universally condemned. I must not, however, get into these subjects, nor weary you by writing too much, so I will only say again that few things would give me more pleasure than to hear that you were pretty well, and I remain, my dear
Mr. Rogers, with the kindest love of all my circle, yours very affectionately,

Emily Pusey.
‘Pusey, Faringdon: 17th Nov., 1850.’

Sir Charles J. Napier writes from Simla, as soon as the news of the accident reaches him, making affectionate inquiries. In the course of the letter he says:—

‘The union of cabs and macadamised streets is a perfect nuisance, and soon no one but Harlequin will be able to walk them without making a will. For my part, as I am very short-sighted, and the sense of hearing being of no earthly use against cabs that glide like noiseless ghosts, I expect to end my mortal career, not, like a gentleman, on the field of battle, but on a street crossing in the arms of a compassionate sweeper, broken on the wheel without the honour and glory of being publicly executed.’1

He adds in a postscript:—

‘I have had a little fighting since I left England, but thank God not much, and that little we ought not to

1 Mr. Justice Denman, who, in his undergraduate days, often walked home with Rogers from Lord Denman’s house in Portland Place, tells me that on the last time he did so, Rogers made a very long pause before he would venture to cross Margaret Street, saying, ‘I am sure I shall die of a cab.’ This was only a few days before his accident.

have had, at least so I think. There will be more yet ere many years pass.’

A letter from Lord Brougham, and one from Mr. Everett in reply to one from Rogers, may appropriately bring this chapter to a close.

Lord Brougham to Samuel Rogers.
‘Château Eleanor-Louise: 22nd Nov., 1850. Cannes, Var.

‘My dear Rogers,—I have heard nothing of you since I came to the country of the sun, but I conclude you have well-nigh finished your recovery, and I hope to find you in good force when I turn my face toward the fog and the frost.

‘You are, however, kept in some heat in England by the fury of contending sects. As for the Pope—his folly exceeds his impudence, but agreeing with J. Russell in his indignation, I also join him in feeling no alarm. Certainly, whoever supposed the anti-Catholic spirit to be gone down in England made an egregious mistake. It really seems as strong as ever, though the seventy years elapsed since Lord G. Gordon have so far improved our mob that Cardinal Wiseman may escape alive notwithstanding all that is doing and saying.

‘We have had in this remote quarter rumours of conspiracy, and even domiciliary visits—nothing close here, but a few miles off; and the persons arrested are sent to be tried at Lyons by a military commission, I suppose—that being one of the liberties enjoyed under a Republic. There has been at Lyons and thereabouts
a little, and but a little, foundation for these alarms of conspiracy and revolt.

‘I shall be much pleased to hear that my conjecture of your having got well is better founded than the No Popery alarm in England, and the Rebellion and associated stories in France.

‘Believe me ever yours truly,
H. Brougham.’
Edward Everett to Samuel Rogers.
‘Cambridge: 24th Dec., 1850.

‘My dear Mr. Rogers,—A thousand thanks for your kind letter of the 22nd November from Brighton. To know that you “are promoted from your bed to your chair,” from London to the seaside, and that you contemplate your remaining privations with serenity and cheerful acquiescence, is delightful. How I wish it were in my power to amuse occasionally one of your vacant hours! How I envy those who have the privilege of doing it! Mr. Prescott constantly speaks of the pleasure which he enjoyed in being admitted to your bedside. He has returned greatly improved in health, and in excellent spirits; and his friends are delighted to find that, in his case at least, the ill-natured adage, presentia minuit famam was not exemplified.

‘You are good enough to send your remembrance to all beneath my roof. You could not send it where it is more highly prized. I have been obliged, however, to speed it onward. My daughter (now, alas, my only daughter) has married and is living at Washington, where she is very agreeably settled. Her husband is an
officer in the Navy of the United States, the author of a sprightly book called “
Los Gringos,” of which I will try to send you a copy with this letter. He is at present attached to the United States Coast Survey, with a prospect of not being speedily ordered to sea. My oldest son got through College last summer, and is studying surgery; my second is to go to the University (or “go up,” as you say in England) next July, and my “youngest hope,” as you once called him, is at home, and going to an excellent day school. He will be next summer as well fitted for college as most boys of 17; but as he is yet but little over eleven, I shall, of course, not send him. His memory is truly wonderful. I mentioned to him the other day that, according to Mr. Fox, neither Homer nor Virgil speaks of the singing of birds. This, you recollect, is one of Mr. Fox’s sayings which you have treasured up. On my repeating it to Willy, he immediately said, “I think, Papa, that is an error as far as Virgil is concerned,” and quoted—
Et matutini volucrum sub culmine cantus.
It is very nearly two years since he read the eighth book of the
Æneid; and when he made the quotation—which was done instantaneously—his mind was on a totally different track: he was writing an article in his little commonplace book on the “Persian Lilac.”

‘I have had some slight thoughts of running over to England next spring, under the pretence of seeing the Exhibition, but mainly to see my dear English friends, whom I long to see once more with a desire “which passeth show.” I need not add that there is no one
among them whom I more wish to take again by the hand than yourself.

‘My wife joins me in affectionate regards. Your portrait, which hangs by our fireside, sheds its steady light on our little circle, and gives life to many a pleasant recollection.

‘Farewell, dear Mr. Rogers, and believe me, with sincere attachment, gratefully and ever yours,

Edward Everett.’