LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Samuel Rogers and his Contemporaries
Chapter X. 1852-55.

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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Fables about Rogers’s Wealth—Appeals for his Patronage—Mr. Hayward’s Estimate of him—His Kindness to Servants—Friends of later years—Miss Coutts on Joanna Baillie’s Death—Tom Taylor on the Duke of Wellington—Lord Brougham—Death of Empson—Lord Glenelg—Lord John Russell’s ‘Memoirs of Moore’—Lady John Russell—Mrs. Sigourney—Other American Friends—Lord Shaftesbury—Mrs. Carrick Moore—The Napier Family—Lord Brougham—Rogers and Lord Denman—Lord Denman’s Death—Lord Brougham on France—Lady Ely—Lady Emily Pusey—Failure of Rogers’s Memory—Death of William Maltby—The Bishop of Durham—Mr. Everett’s, Lady Ely’s, and Lord Brougham’s last Letters—Death of Sarah Rogers—The Closing Scene—Hornsey Churchyard.

Rogers did not escape the penalties that are exacted from all prominent men. Whatever false statements have been circulated about him since his death, they are little more than the results of an inevitable reaction from the fables which were popularly believed about him while he lived. I have already spoken of some falsehoods which have been published as to his want of liberality to struggling genius. During his lifetime exactly the contrary was said of him. The story of his good deeds went out through all the land, and brought him innumerable applications for help and patronage. To many of these no answer could be returned, and the stories of his supposed hardness are thus easily accounted for.


The most exaggerated rumours were circulated as to his wealth. One of the most curious of these illustrates the absurd want of reflection which characterises the purveyors of popular scandal. Among the bundles of rhymed rubbish sent to Rogers from all parts of the world, and in his latter days preserved from the destruction it merited and handed down to his heirs, is a long poem by a lady in Scotland, founded on a story of vain and vulgar ostentation she had heard and believed about him. One of the things shown to every visitor to his house was Milton’s receipt for the five pounds paid to him for the copyright of ‘Paradise Lost.’ This receipt, framed and glazed, hung on one of his doors. This probably gave rise to the story, on which this lady wrote her poem, that the Bank of England had issued only four bank notes for a million sterling each, and that one of these, in a frame of solid gold, hung up in Rogers’s room.

This story has been told of others. It seems to be the form in which a certain class of minds realise the idea of enormous wealth. The widespread notion of Rogers’s power to advance the interests of poor authors was scarcely less absurd. He was supposed to be a kind of literary Jupiter, whose nod was immortality. It is impossible to look through a dead man’s papers without feeling, with the Preacher, that ‘all is vanity’; but this feeling is painfully intensified on opening a huge bundle of epistles, each made bulky by the enclosure of sheets of vapid verse which the writer takes for poetry, and which he asks ‘the greatest poet and patron of the age’ to read and to approve. Of all the names to these
letters—names of budding geniuses, of hard-working stragglers for bread, or of confident expectants of poetic fame—not one is known. They have all gone into utter oblivion; the pathetic story of their struggles, their hopes, their difficulties, and their aspirations has had some obscure ending, of which the world knows nothing. The few who wrote to him as strangers, and whose names stand out above the vanished crowd, are not in this category of suppliants for a favouring word. They ask for nothing. They merely send their works in recognition of Rogers’s great literary position, and not in quest of patronage or aid. Among these correspondents are most of the men and women whose names are held in honour by the new generation.

Mr. Hayward gives, from a private manuscript, some instances of the old man’s generosity. He quotes from the letter of a lady, of whom he says that she was ‘nurtured and domesticated with genius from her childhood,’ who writes: ‘I knew the kind old man for five-and-twenty years—I say kind advisedly, because no one did so many kind things to those who, being unable to dig, to beg are ashamed. The sharp things were remembered and repeated because they were so clever. He was essentially a gentleman—by education, by association; his manners were perfect. Once, when breakfasting with him, when taking our seats he called my daughter to his side, thus obliging a young man to leave his place; feeling that this was not courteous, he said, “I ask you to move because I love your parents so dearly that I feel as if you were my son.” He not only gave freely and generously, but looked out for occasions
of being kind. My father once saw him, and he asked after a mutual acquaintance: “How is K——?” The reply was, “As well as a man with nine children and a small income can be.” The next day
Mr. Rogers sent him fifty pounds. A friend once asked him to assist a young man at college; he gave immediately twenty pounds, and, after leaving the house, returned to say, “There is more money to be had from the same place, if wanted”!’

The writer of the article in ‘The Quarterly Review’ for October, 1888, already quoted, speaks of the thoughtful consideration with which, on every Antient Concert night, he fetched a gentle lady, diminished in means—the widow of an eminent scientific man—and took her to enjoy the feast of music doubly at his side. Another feature of his character was his kindness to servants. ‘He felt,’ says the Quarterly Reviewer, ‘that the odds between master and man are too unequal to justify harsh measures even towards an unrighteous steward; that what injured the one comparatively little, was irrecoverable ruin to the other.’ He not only preached this doctrine, but had himself practised it. The servant who had robbed him of his plate in 18351 was afterwards assisted by him to emigrate, with his wife and family, that he might have a new chance in another land. He used, also, in illustration of his plea for kindness to servants, to tell the story of an excellent servant, who had long served a cold and reserved master, and who at length gave notice to leave. The master was much distressed, and asked the man how he could think of leaving a place

1 See ante, pp. 118, 119.

where he was prized so much. ‘But how could I tell, sir, that you cared for me? You never told me so!’

Among the friends of his later years were some who are but rarely mentioned in these volumes. I find, for example, in Samuel Sharpe’s Diary, records of the company at his Tuesday breakfasts, in which are the names of the Rev. Alexander Dyce (compiler of the volume called ‘The Table Talk of Samuel Rogers’), the Rev. W. Harness, the Rev. W. Mitford (nephew of the historian), Gould, Spedding, Dr. Henderson, Mr. Donaldson, and Mr. Jesse—as well as those of Luttrell and other intimate friends. One of the friends who had known him from her earliest years and now helped to cheer his decay was Miss (now the Baroness) Burdett-Coutts. Early in 1851 he had taken Miss Coutts to see Mrs. Joanna Baillie, and on her death, on the 23rd of February, had at once written to tell her of the event. In her reply, Miss Coutts expresses her satisfaction that she had seen the venerable authoress, and says, ‘Her last words, as I left her, were that she looked forward to the time when she should be released with more pleasure than to anything else, and I thought to myself that I hoped that I might look as peaceful and happy as she did at that moment.’ In this and the two following years Miss Coutts sends him chatty and interesting accounts of continental tours, and on the flyleaves of one or two of her letters are brief notes pencilled by Rogers for Edmund Paine to copy, full of thanks and affectionate regard. Lord Harrington writes early in 1852 to invite him to spend some time at Elvaston Castle, and on the letter is a pencilled reply that he should be happy to fly to Elvaston on the
wings of the wind, but, alas, he is unable to do so. ‘In the spring,’ he adds, ‘when you come to town and I am in better health, pray, pray call upon me.’ On the fourteenth of September the
Duke of Wellington died. On the 25th Tom Taylor sent Rogers the lines which appeared in ‘Punch.’ ‘They were written,’ he says, ‘in much sincerity of admiration and respect, and as I know the mutual appreciation there existed between him and you, I have obeyed the impulse which prompts me to send you a copy of a tribute which, in itself, I feel has no claims to notice, but which at least shows that even in the light and satiric pages of a publication like “Punch,” admiration of a great man is allowed to express itself—becomingly, as I hope: honestly, as I feel.’ Meanwhile, Brougham wrote—

Lord Brougham to Samuel Rogers.
‘Scarborough: 2nd August, 1852.

‘My dear R.,—I long to hear of your well-being, whether in London or at Brighton.

‘I have been here these three weeks and more with my brother’s children, he being still detained in town. Except Denman, I have seen no one that I ever saw before; but I am far from complaining of that. Denman was here 10 or 12 days, and found the fine bracing air of the place agreed well with him. We often talked of you; and he said you were his great example. We also talked over this outrage lately committed by poor Langdale’s family—publishing such letters as L. himself would sooner have put his hand in the fire than made
public: some of his own, and some—much more improper—of his friend and benefactor

‘There is a book lately come out which I recommend to you—Mallet du Pan’s Memoirs—as containing curious matter. I had always a prejudice against him, though I recollect Romilly used to take his part, and I now think justly. Nothing in the book is more remarkable than the low estimate, in all respects, of the Bourbon Princes and the emigrants generally. Of Louis Philippe it is quite otherwise.

‘Believe me ever sincerely yours,
H. Brougham.’

There is some correspondence this year with Empson. He sends Rogers his Life of Jeffrey, and says, ‘I always connect you with Jeffrey, from the very true affection he had for you and because it was through him that I first began to know you, and to pretend to your friendship.’ At the end of October he writes again: ‘We are all better than usual, and Master Francis Jeffrey is exulting in a Shetland pony and button clothes. So moves on this changeful and transitory scene—one permanent landscape, with new figures in its foreground.’ Changeful indeed; for the next letter in which Empson’s name is mentioned is this—

Lord Monteagle to Samuel Rogers.
‘E. I. College: Wednesday night [December, 1852],

‘My dear Mr. Rogers,—Your kind heart will, I know, make you anxious to hear a renewed account of our excellent friend Empson. He has held his ground to-day
and is not worse, but still no hopes are held out to us of his recovery. With the exception of a painful hiccough now and then after taking food, he has no bodily suffering whatever, and his state of mind is as blest with calm happiness, trust, and resignation as if he were passing from his library into a garden of flowers. He often and most affectionately speaks of you, and when this evening, at his own desire, I read to him that beautiful 23rd Psalm, “The Lord is my shepherd, therefore shall I want nothing—though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil,” he said, “Tell Rogers that you read this to me. I read it once with him, he will remember. He was a good friend to me,” he added, “if ever I had one.” His heart is as warm and all his affections as fresh as they ever were, and his intellect and memory both bright and clear. Wrightson, who is one of his oldest friends, came down to-day. “It is you,” he said, “my own unchangeable Wrightson. Yet you now see a change which we must all come to.” I read to him, as arising out of one of
Arnold’s sermons which he had wished to hear, that wonderful 14th chapter of St. John’s Gospel, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. . . I go to prepare a place for you. . .; that where I am, there ye may be also.” He said, “Yes, those are plain, simple words that cannot be mistaken or misunderstood if read in simplicity.” In short, my dear Mr. Rogers, if we are to lose our friend, never was a more peaceful close of life. The setting of a summer sun over a calm sea is not more beautifully tranquil. Poor Charlotte bears up wonderfully and leaves no duty undischarged.


‘I have written more than I meant, but the message he directed me to deliver you must be my excuse, and when writing at all I could not omit what is not only interesting but profitable to us all.

‘God bless you, dear Mr. Rogers. With earnest good wishes for yourself, believe me always and most sincerely yours,


To this letter of Lord Monteagle’s, with the indications it gives of talk and thought on the great subjects of religion, it may be well to add another from Lord Glenelg, who continued, as it appears, his well-meant efforts to make Rogers understand what are called ‘Evangelical’ views. What Rogers’s opinions were I have shown. He had learned them from Dr. Price and he kept them to the last. One of the acts of his old age, still vividly remembered by the remaining members of the groups of children who were round the table, was to say to them just before the party broke up, ‘We have eaten together, we have played together, but we have never prayed together; let us do so now.’ And he made them kneel while he repeated the Lord’s Prayer.

Lord Glenelg to Samuel Rogers.
‘Wed., 22nd Sept., 1852.

‘My dear Mr. Rogers,—Will you pardon my intruding on you for a few minutes? I fear I did not explain clearly enough my meaning as to the question you put to us yesterday. Lest there should be any mistake, I will now shortly state what I think.


‘Forgiveness is promised to sincere repentance—that is, repentance followed by amendment—but this forgiveness is granted for the sake of the expiation made by our divine Lord and Saviour. The death of Christ is the only ground of hope for any of us, and that ground is sure and certain. The atonement and the intercession—that is the only refuge—but as the efficacy of that atonement is unlimited, so is the mercy of the Redeemer. “His blood,” we are assured, “cleanseth from all sin,” but the penitent must seek pardon and acceptance, trusting not in himself or his own virtue, or his repentance, but only on the mercy of the Supreme Being extended to us through the merits and mediation of his Son. To him must be our prayer. I will not enlarge further, but I should be sorry to be at all misunderstood on such a subject, though I feel it a subject too sacred for me to touch.

‘You will, I am sure, receive kindly these few words, as they are meant kindly and come from a sincere and affectionate friend.

‘With every good wish, believe me, ever yours,


In the later autumn he occupied himself in preparing his papers for Lord John Russell’s Memoirs of Moore.1 He sent him all the letters, telling him they were divided into two parcels, one marked with X, the other with O,

1 Moore wrote his Diary as a means of making some provision for his wife and family. Only his wife survived him; and thanks to Lord John Russell’s labour of love the Memoirs produced enough to make her comfortable.

the first containing passages of interest, and the second letters which might probably be omitted, but leaving them all to his better judgment. ‘With regard to my own,’ he said, ‘you cannot extract too little, and pray let me see the extracts. I hope that little will be there to offend anybody, as I am now withdrawn from the world.’ In the same spirit he sent to the
Rev. Christopher Wordsworth all Wordsworth’s letters, indicating a number of them which he thought should not then be printed. None of these interesting and characteristic letters were used in the baldest biography ever written of a great man. As the reasons for withholding any of them exist no longer, I have in these volumes published them all. With respect to Rogers’s letters to Moore, Lord John Russell writes to thank him for the trouble he had taken in looking through them, and says of his forthcoming volumes, ‘I hope the books will afford some amusement and no pain, that at least has been my object in my numerous erasures.’ The necessity for making these erasures arose from the promptitude with which Moore’s Diary and Letters were published. Many omissions were then necessary which would not be needful now; they were made with the greatest consideration and care, but they inevitably diminished the public interest in the Diary, and it might perhaps be worth consideration whether a new edition in which the eliminated passages were restored, might not now be issued. The fourth volume contained an admirable engraving by H. Robinson of Sir Thomas Lawrence’s portrait of Rogers. These first four volumes appeared in 1853. Rogers, when he had had time to look over
them, wrote to Lord John Russell expressing his approval, and this was the reply—

Lady John Russell to Samuel Rogers.
‘Chesham Place: 16th Jan., 1854.

‘Dear Mr. Rogers,—Your kind note made Lord John very happy, and me too. What he said was but the truth, and what you say is one of his pleasantest rewards for the trouble he has taken. You ought to have told us how you are, and whether as we hope you are coming. I must thank you for another note which I received some time ago, the kindness of which touched me deeply.

‘Yours affectionately,
F. Russell.’

The other note was on the occasion of Lady Minto’s death in the summer of 1853. Rogers never failed to write to his friends on such occasions, and the kind feeling which always dictated his letters is reflected in the very affectionate terms in which he was constantly addressed in return.

The year 1852 brought with it even more than the usual budgets of letters from the United States. Among these was one from Mrs. Sigourney, whose ‘Pleasant Memories of Pleasant Lands,’ published in 1843, had given an account of a European tour. On the title page she had quoted, as a motto, some lines of Rogers’s, and had spoken of him in the book itself. From her visit to him in 1841 onwards she had occasionally corresponded
with him. Her letters are all in the style of her book and of this letter.

Mrs. Sigourney to Samuel Rogers.
‘Hartford, Connecticut: 17th March, 1852.

‘My dear Mr. Rogers,—So long a time has elapsed since I had the pleasure of hearing particularly from you, that I cannot refrain from writing to inquire and to repeat the assurances of my vivid and affectionate remembrance. The public papers of our land conveyed the intelligence of your having sustained some injury by a fall from your carriage, and by various friends who have persuaded me to give them an introductory line that they might look upon your face, I have received occasional descriptions. But these are not sufficient to satisfy me, and if it should be fatiguing to you to write, will you have the goodness to direct some other pen to give me more particular statements of your health and welfare? You may not have been so fully aware as the friends in my native land, of the peculiarly deep interest and veneration I cherished for you, from our first meeting; and that to none of the distinguished literary characters in your realm, from whom I received undeserved attentions, does my heart turn with an equally fervent regard.

‘Perhaps you have not known what a deep sorrow has fallen upon me, the death of my only son, the “apple of my eye,” who fell in the bloom of nineteen, a victim to that foe of the young and beautiful, consumption. You will forgive me, that I send you a few mournful verses on the leaf of a periodical.


‘One jewel remains in the maternal heart’s rifled casket, his gentle sister. I have sometimes thought of taking her across the ocean, for a short summer excursion, as the avails of my writings would permit of such an indulgence. Should I decide to do so, might we hope for an interview with you? One of my chief objects in going would be to see you and to show you to her; for Wordsworth, and Miss Baillie, and Miss Edgeworth, whom I loved, are no longer there to take me by the hand.

‘An interesting anniversary has recently occurred in my native city (Norwich), the hundredth birthday of a valued friend of my own blessed father. They were born in the same year; but one left us at the age of 88, with unfrosted hair, and an elastic step; the other remains, with an ear quick to hear, and a calm enjoyment of all life’s comforts, though for the past few months his limbs have declined their accustomed services. His intellect is wholly undimmed, and on his centennial morning he received a levée of some two hundred friends, with much satisfaction and apparently without physical exhaustion.

‘Hoping that I may not have wearied your patience with this long epistle, and requesting soon to have the privilege of hearing from you,

‘I remain yours, with true and affectionate regard,

L. H. Sigourney.’

Other letters from the United States at this period were all written in a tone of affectionate solicitude, which gave Rogers much comfort. Daniel Webster begs him
to ‘accept anew assurance of my affectionate regard. Here, as elsewhere, everybody thinks and speaks kindly of you. Indeed, if good wishes are roses, then are you always “on a bed of heaped Elysian flowers.”’
Mr. Prescott sends by the Lyells, who had just been staying two months in America, a volume containing ‘an account of the residences of the New York bookmongers, and of mine among the rest.’ Prescott had only arrived in London in 1850, on the day after Rogers’s accident, ‘but I had still,’ he says, ‘the satisfaction of more than one pleasant interview to lay up in remembrance. At the last one you told me, I recollect, that you intended to humbug the doctors, and that you may long continue to humbug them as successfully is the wish, I assure you, of many a friend of humanity and genius on this side of the water.’ Washington Irving writes to introduce Mr. Henry Tuckerman, signs himself ‘ever very truly and affectionately yours,’ and in a postscript thanking him for kind attentions to his niece, Mrs. Storrow, during a visit to London, adds, ‘of which whenever she speaks her heart runs over.’

He did not live to see the abolition of American slavery, but his sympathies were all with the Abolitionists as a brief correspondence shows.

Samuel Rogers to Lord Shaftesbury.

‘My dear Lord,—It is now half a century since I expressed my admiration publicly for the speech of an ancestor of yours, in the reign of William the Third. May
I venture to express my admiration for what you have written on the subject of slavery in the Western world?

‘Yours, with great respect,
Samuel Rogers.
‘22 St. James’s Place.’
Lord Shaftesbury to Samuel Rogers.
‘11th November, 1852.

‘Dear Mr. Rogers,—I cannot permit an hour to pass without thanking you for your kind commendation of the few words I have written on behalf of the wretched negro in America. I heartily rejoice that you approve the tone and sentiments of the address, and it is indeed refreshing to observe the youthful sympathies and zeal of a green and gracious old age.

‘May God bless them to your comfort.

‘Yours very truly,

Though he had spoken of himself some time before as withdrawn from the world, the process of withdrawal was prolonged over a couple of years. There is, however, no story to tell of this period. The time had to be spent on the sofa or in the easy chair—articles of furniture he had never, till his accident in 1850, even had in the room in which he chiefly lived. His carriage was so adapted that he could be placed in it in his chair, and he enjoyed driving, even when his memory was so far gone that he had to ask his coachman the names of friends he met. In 1853 and 1854 he saw a few chosen friends, made a few visits, wrote a few letters, and travelled as
usual to and from Brighton. The few letters which have the chief interest are from old friends—some of them to announce the death of companions of the earlier time.

There are many letters from Mrs. Carrick Moore, full of the most affectionate gratitude for his kindness to her in a period of suffering and sorrow. There is a good deal of correspondence, too, with various members of the Napier family. During the last illness of Sir Charles James Napier, Rogers’s attentions and inquiries were incessant. He sent delicacies from his table, and affectionate messages to which ‘the acknowledged hero of a family of heroes,’ as the ‘Encyclopædia Britannica’ calls him, responded. Miss Napier in her letters pours out her feelings with the unreserve of intimate friendship. She keeps Rogers constantly informed of her brother’s condition, and at last announces his death on the 29th of August, 1853. At Christmas Lady Napier, Fox’s niece, who signs herself Caroline Napier née Fox, writes on behalf of Sir William to ask whether Rogers remembers seeing the Manuscript of ‘Harold.’ He had once promised to read it, and to give his opinion upon it. The Manuscript was afterwards found, and was published in 1858 under the title of ‘William the Conqueror, an Historical Romance.’

Lord Brougham occasionally reports how the world goes on.

Lord Brougham to Samuel Rogers.
‘Grafton Street: Saturday, 5th March [1853].

‘My dear Rogers,—I have been prevented from writing to you by the hope that I should have something
like better accounts to give of our excellent and much-loved friend
Denman. The general health is as good as possible; but, unhappily, there is very little, if any, progress in the restoration of his speech. I need hardly add that this state in which he had been all the time I was at Cannes, prevented me from going over to Nice, where my being, and unable to see or communicate with him, would have given him great pain.

‘The consequence was that our poor friend, the Duchess of Bedford, I did not see; she had been quite well five days before her death, but walked so as to heat herself, and then got a chill in the carriage.

‘The climate on our fine coast at Cannes has been marvellously cold.

‘My brother (whose family I left there) writes that they have had snow a foot deep, and often years pass without any snow at all, and never above a sprinkling.

‘I hear that Larpent’s book is worth reading. Douro (the new Duke) strongly recommends it. Lady Susan Hamilton is on her way home. I saw the Duchess—her mother—to-day quite well.

‘Yours ever sincerely,
H. Brougham.’

His old friend Lord Denman was at the time suffering from paralysis, with which he had been seized in the previous December. It was accompanied by complete loss of the memory for words. His biographer, Sir Joseph Arnould, tells us that he retained his emotional and intellectual faculties almost unimpaired, but that his powers of communication with others by speech or
by writing were entirely taken away. He read and understood the letters of his friends, but could only reply by copying, in a sort of formal print, parts of them which had pleased him. He retained his fondness for scenery, his delight in pictures, his passion for flowers, and he could read, and could clearly understand everything that was read or said to him. He liked to be written to, and Sir Joseph Arnould mentions three letters—two from
Samuel Rogers, and one from the Duke of Devonshire—which gave him peculiar pleasure. Rogers was within a few months of the completion of his ninetieth year; yet we are told the writing of the letter shows no signs of age or shakiness. The probability is, however, that the mere writing was Edmund Paine’s, which was scarcely to be distinguished from that of Rogers himself.

Samuel Rogers to Lord Denman.

‘My dear Friend,—How can I thank you for your kind inquiries after me, and for the little book, which I have read with great delight? Your friendship and your benevolence never sleep, night or day. As for me, I am as well as I can hope to be, and you are always in my thoughts. I can never forget you here or hereafter.

Samuel Rogers.
‘22 St. James’s Place: 14th March, 1853.’

Lord Denman was at Nice when this letter was written, but returned to Stony Middleton in April and replied from thence. His answer was written by Mrs. Hodgson, his widowed daughter, who, with her children, was living
at Stony Middleton; but the letter was read and approved by Lord Denman, though he could not have written or composed it himself. Rogers replied.

Samuel Rogers to Lord Denman.

‘My dear Friend,—I need not say with what delight I have read your letter from Stony Middleton.

‘Pray give my love to one and all there. As I am not with you, and must be elsewhere, I am consoling myself by the seaside, and wishing you all were with me, not omitting the young voices that are rejoicing you all day long.

‘I am as well as I can hope to be, but should be better if I could transport myself where you are; for so great a pleasure I would resign the waves of this beautiful sea, and the thousand “ladyes” on horseback, who are passing before me.

‘Ever most affectionately yours,
Samuel Rogers.

‘I cannot say how much I think myself obliged to her who has written your charming letter.

‘79 Marine Parade, Brighton.’

In a letter from the Duke of Devonshire to Lord Denman, written in February, 1854, acknowledging the receipt of some lines which Denman had copied and sent as his substitute for the letter he was unable to write, there is a glimpse of Rogers.


‘I must add, besides, that you have been the means of my having a great satisfaction—that of giving pleasure to poor Rogers on seeing him to-day. I read the verses out loud to him, and it appeared to me that he admired and liked them very much indeed. When he saw your handwriting he kissed it.’

Eight months later Lord Denman died, and his son, now Mr. Justice Denman, announced the event in a letter which is of interest as showing the relation in which Rogers stood to the family, and as recalling the virtues of a Lord Chief Justice of England who deserved the affection with which his contemporaries regarded him.

The Hon. George Denman to Samuel Rogers.
‘Stony Middleton, Bakewell: 24th Sept., 1854.

‘My dear Mr. Rogers,—I hardly know whether in your present state of health I ought to write to you about an event which will give you so much pain as that which I have to communicate; but if you ought not to know it, your kind and considerate attendants will keep it from you; and if you were to hear it first from a newspaper, I know it would be a greater shock.

‘My dear father was on Thursday evening last seized with another severe attack of apoplexy, and after more than twenty-four hours of unconsciousness, he died at half-past eight on Friday night. Up to the moment at which the attack became violent he preserved his calm and cheerful manner, seemed happy and contented and showed his usual sweet consideration of all around him.


‘Trusting, my dear Mr. Rogers, that you may soon be sufficiently recovered to enjoy a visit to the sea or country,

‘I am, as ever, sincerely yours,
George Denman.’

Lord Brougham continued a frequent visitor to Rogers when they were both in town, and a correspondent when they were away from home. He writes from Paris in the autumn of 1853.

Lord Brougham to Samuel Rogers.
‘Paris: 1st Oct., 1853.

‘My dear Rogers,—I was very unfortunate in calling as I passed through London a few hours after you had left town. But I had an excellent account of your health. I have been here a week and go to-morrow to the south. There are hardly any people of Paris here; but Lord Lansdowne, the Hollands, and one or two nice English, have made the place very agreeable. The appearance of things is pretty much the same as it has been these last eighteen months. No one seems to regret the loss of their Constitution except the members of the former government and former legislature. In fact, the parties had made their Parliament quite contemptible. On the other hand, the person at the head is taken as a mere necessary of political life which they can’t do without, although they don’t much relish it.

‘Believe me, sincerely yours,
H. Brougham.’

Other letters tell their own story.

The Marchioness of Ely to Samuel Rogers.
‘Marienbad en Bohème: 10th Sept. [1853].

‘My dear Mr. Rogers,—I hope this will find you pretty well. We have been here a short time now, and remain about ten days longer. I am afraid I have not much news to make my letter agreeable to you, but I hope to hear in return of you, and that will be a great pleasure to me. We found very few people left on our arrival here; very few English ever come here, but there are always a great many Poles and Hungarians. This year there is a poor Hungarian prisoner here, who is confined in the fortress at Olmutz, and has been allowed to come here to drink the waters; he returns to his fortress afterwards, and then he has still seven long years of captivity before him. His wife and children are in Hungary. He looks very sad and pale, but still, I believe, the Emperor has shown him great favour and kindness, for his was a case of desertion. I think after we leave this we shall go to spend a day or two with some friends we have in the Grand Duchy of Posen in Poland, but I will write to you again.

Lord Ely is much better since he has been here, but he begins to get rather tired of this place. Marienbad is very pretty, surrounded with large dark pine woods, so still and fragrant; every one wishes to go now except the poor prisoner, and he will regret the fresh breezes here, and his walks and comparative freedom, when he is obliged to return to his fortress; he has two soldiers here, and one never leaves him, and they relieve each other. A letter directed under cover to Lord Augustus Loftus,
British Embassy, Berlin, will always find me. Lord Ely desires his kind regards to you. I have sent you a view of this place, and with every kind wish to you, my dear
Mr. Rogers,

‘Believe me ever yours very truly and sincerely,

Jane Ely.’
Lady Emily Pusey to Samuel Rogers.

‘My dear Mr. Rogers,—It is so very long since I have heard of you that I can no longer refrain from writing to beg for a little news of how you are and where you are. I have not been in London for the last two seasons, or you would have been troubled with my visits. Last year I had the pleasure of hearing from a common friend that you were well and taking your daily drives; but this year I have not been so fortunate; and I now shall be most thankful to you for one line to say how you are. I sadly fear that there is no hope of your coming here, where we should be so delighted to see you. We are lately returned from Scotland, but the weather was so very variable that we could not visit the Lakes, as we had intended, and we are now settled at our home for the winter. The journey from London does not take more than two hours and a half. We could give you a bedroom on the ground floor, and we would do everything we could to contribute to your comfort. I must not give you the trouble of reading a long letter, but will conclude with kindest love from Mr. Pusey and my children.

‘My dear Mr. Rogers, ever yours very affectionately,

Emily Pusey.
‘Pusey, Faringdon, Berks: 10th Oct., 1853.’

It is a pathetic circumstance that Lady Emily and her husband both died before RogersLady Emily in November 1854, and Mr. Pusey in July 1855. Life was becoming less and less desirable to Rogers himself. Mr. Hayward says with complete truth of this period of gradual decline, that ‘although his impressions of long past events were as fresh as ever, he forgot the names of his relations and oldest friends whilst they were sitting with him, and told the same stories to the same people two or three times over in the same interview. But there were frequent glimpses of intellect in all its original brightness, of tenderness, of refinement, and of grace.’ He was quite conscious of this failure of his powers. A lady correspondent of Mr. Hayward’s told him that once, driving out with him in his carriage, she asked him after a lady whom he could not recollect. He pulled the check-string, and appealed to his servant: ‘Do I know Lady M——?’ ‘Yes, sir,’ was the reply. Turning to his companion in the carriage, and taking her hand, he said, ‘Never mind, my dear, I am not yet reduced to stop the carriage and ask if I know you.’ This forgetfulness grew upon him; and in the last eighteen months—that is, from about the middle of the year 1854—he was no longer able to enjoy the visits of his friends. He had hitherto lived alone, but then his niece, Martha Rogers, went to live with him and take care of him; and her watchful devotion did much to smooth his slow and painful journey through the shadow. Almost to the last his friends still wrote to him, and he sometimes sent them messages in reply. In December, 1853, Lady Ely writes—

The Marchioness of Ely to Samuel Rogers.
‘Osborne: 16 December [1853].

‘My dear Mr. Rogers,—I am quite ashamed of the time that has elapsed since I wrote to you; I hope you are pretty well, and have been so since you have been at Brighton. I do not know whether you have seen Lord Ely, who has been there for the last ten days. . . . Since I wrote to you we went to Paris, and while there we paid a visit to the Emperor and Empress at Fontainebleau: it is a beautiful place, and we enjoyed our visit there so much; we went long drives into the forest every day, and two days we had a large chasse. The costume the Emperor has chosen is very pretty. The Empress rides very well indeed, and looks lovely in it. We have had very changeable weather since we have been here, a great deal of rain and cold.

‘The Queen remains here till the 22nd, and then goes to Windsor. I am afraid I shall not see you at Brighton, as Lord Ely writes me he has settled to go to Paris for a short tune, but I hope when you come to London we shall meet very often, and if later we go to Brighton I will not fail to let you know. I hear Miss Coutts is returning immediately from Paris; I saw her when we were there. The Duchess of Wellington is gone with the Duke to Italy for the winter, and her sister is gone with them.

‘I hope you will believe how happy I shall be to hear some news of you, and that I am ever

‘Yours very truly,
Jane Ely.’

One of his earliest friends—the sole survivor of their schoolboy clays, the companion with whom he had knocked at Dr. Johnson’s door more than seventy years before, William Maltby—died on the 5th January 1854. He had succeeded Porson as librarian to the London Institution in 1809, and in 1834 had been superannuated, but continued to live in the building in Finsbury Circus till his death. The friendship between him and Rogers, begun at the Rev. James Pickbourne’s school1 at Hackney in the seventies of the eighteenth century, lasted unbroken to the end. It had led in very early days to a visit by Rogers to Winchester School, where another Maltby was a pupil. Rogers took this boy with him to an inn to dinner. He became afterwards Bishop of Durham, and used to say that he never ate such excellent duck and green peas as on that evening. He writes on the death of his relative.

The Bishop of Durham to Samuel Rogers.
‘Auckland Castle: 22nd Jan., 1854.

‘My dear Mr. Rogers,—We have much to condole with each other—I with you on the loss of an old and justly esteemed friend; you with me who have to mourn over a kind relative to whom I have been known and attached for more than seventy years. And we both lose a worthy man and kind-hearted friend, possessed of varied and curious knowledge. But the loss to both of us is softened by the feeling that if his life had been spared, his infirmities would have increased rather than

‘See Early Life of Samuel Rogers, pp. 29, 30.

diminished, and that he has been released from a state which no longer held out to him any prospect of enjoyment.

‘Mrs. Maltby joins me in hoping that you have not suffered from this unexpectedly severe winter, and my granddaughter, whom you allowed me to introduce to you from her admiration of your writings, and to whom you were so very kind, desires to add her warmest wishes for your health and happiness to ours.

‘Believe me, my dear Mr. Rogers, most sincerely your affectionate friend,

E. Dunelm.
‘Samuel Rogers, Esq.’

Mrs. Sigourney writes again.

Mrs. Sigourney to Samuel Rogers.
‘Hartford: 10th Feb., 1854.

‘My dear Mr. Rogers,—Your name is cherished with tender regard in this new Western World, and every passing notice in the public papers of him who enriched our common language and the treasury of poesy with “The Pleasures of Memory” and “Italy,” appreciated as it should be.

‘For myself, being able to add the memory of the countenance and the voice to these associations, I am often wishing for some more definite notices of your welfare than thus reach us fortuitously over the waves, “few and far between.”

‘Moved by the solicitation of friends visiting the Mother Land, I have sometimes given letters of introduction to yourself, which I should be happy to hear may
have not been too numerous, or deemed on my part too great a liberty.

‘Should I again cross the ocean, it will be, I hope, to find you in health; and trusting ere long to be assured by yourself that it still continues comfortable, and that the blessing of God rests ever on your venerable and endeared head,

‘I remain yours, with the greatest respect,
L. H. Sigourney.’

There are other letters from Mr. Everett in 1854, one introducing a friend, the other giving an account of his family. He had become, on the death of Daniel Webster, a senator for Massachusetts, and wrote with some pathos to Rogers announcing his return to public life. In the last letter there is a premonition that it is the final adieu.

Edward Everett to Samuel Rogers.
‘Boston: 13th May, 1854.

‘My dear and venerable Friend,—I am ashamed of myself for having allowed more than a year to pass without having acknowledged the receipt of your letter of the 22nd of March 1853, and thanked you for your ready compliance with the request of the literary executors of Mr. Webster. It is not necessary that they should have the originals of his letters in their possession, and they are grateful to you for sending the copies.

‘Although I have not informed myself directly relative to your health, our good friend Sir Henry Holland seldom writes to me without mention of it. I rejoice that you
continue to enjoy life, and contribute to its enjoyment by all who have the happiness of knowing and seeing you.

‘My own health is not satisfactory; and I am now in Boston to take advice of my family physician. Although there is a considerable difference in our ages, there will be no great difference in the time at which we cross the stream.

‘My wife has been for more than a twelvemonth confined to her bedroom a confirmed invalid. My eldest son is well married and entering upon his profession as a surgeon; my second son is about to begin his last year at college; and my “youngest hope,” as you used to call him, will enter college this year, not quite fifteen years of age. My daughter—now the mother of two children—is following the movements of her husband, who is an officer in our navy, and now in the Mediterranean. I write you of these children, all very dear to me, because you have signalised them by your kind remembrance.

‘Adieu, my venerable and beloved friend, and if you can spare a few moments, let me have a line or two to assure me that you have not forgotten your sincerely affectionate

Edward Everett.’

Mr. Everett survived his venerable friend a little less than ten years.

In the autumn Rogers removed as usual to Brighton, and was able to take the air in his carriage. His sister Sarah was near him, and he had the constant company
of his niece. But the end was drawing near. The last letter from Brougham was written in the succeeding January, and most appropriately is a recognition of a kindness done by Rogers to
Thomas Haynes Bayly.

Lord Brougham to Samuel Rogers.
‘Brougham: 16th January, 1855.

‘My dear R.,—Lady Jersey is desirous you should know how grateful poor Bayly is for your great kindness. He says, “particularly Mr. Rogers, on whom I had no kind of claim.” You are, indeed, the only benefactor whom he specially names.

‘I have been here a month, and though it is the depth of winter, I have seen but one day of cold; the rest were dark enough, with a hurricane or two of wind, but mild.

‘I hope you have had as tolerable a winter in the South.1

‘Believe me, most sincerely yours,
H. Brougham.’

There are other letters which were read to him when they arrived, and to some of which he partly dictated answers. Lord John Russell wrote, telling him of his intended journey to Paris: ‘I am going to-morrow morning by the “Fury,” a name which seems to portend a storm. I go straight to Paris, but whether I

1 It is worthy of note that about a week later than the date of this letter a severe frost set in which lasted through the whole of February and into March, making this winter one of the most severe and prolonged in modern times.

shall come back straight is not quite so certain. If I could find a pleasant companion by advertising, I might, perhaps, go to Rome; as it is, I shall probably go back to smoking Carthage.’ He came straight back; and the resignation of the Ministry took place at the end of January. He went again to Vienna in February, and
Lady John Russell followed in March. Rogers himself was all the winter at Brighton, where, on the 29th of January, his sister Sarah died. She had been able to take her drive as usual on the previous Friday, and she passed away on the Monday without any suffering. She was nine years younger than her surviving brother and was in her eighty-third year when she died. She had had a long period of decay, and her brother’s only remark when he heard that she was gone was, ‘What a great blessing! I wish I could die too.’ But he was to linger for nearly eleven months—months in which every day brought accounts of the loss of some one of his friends. He returned to St. James’s Place early in the spring, taking occasional interest in things around him, but altogether withdrawn from the world; and in the last months—the beginning of his ninety-third year—unable to concern himself with anything. His niece watched over his slow decline with self-denying assiduity, and his servant, Edmund Paine, admirably seconded her efforts. His relations, and a few near and dear friends of the younger generation—for all his actual contemporaries were gone—paid him occasional visits; but, though glad to see them, he was unable to enjoy their society. So the last summer and autumn passed away, and he was still in his London house, waiting without
fear—indeed, with actual desire—for the approaching change. It came on Tuesday morning, the 18th of December, when he passed quietly and peacefully away. He had been ninety-two on the 30th of July.
Dr. Beattie, writing on the same day, said: ‘A more tranquil and placid transition I never beheld. His devoted niece closed his eyes, and his faithful domestics stood weeping round his bed. Some of the attendant circumstances reminded me of the death of Campbell; but this was more calm, solemn, and impressive—quite in keeping with the scene in his “Human Life.”’ I have before shown that the pictures drawn in that poem are from his own experience. The boy is himself; the home is the home of his childhood, on Newington Green; the mother is the sweet and tender woman who has drawn her own portrait in her letters; the philosophy of the poem is that which the guides and instructors of his youth had taught him; and it was not the least happiness of his long life that its closing scene should be thus in keeping with the picture he himself had drawn—

They, who watch by him, see not; but he sees:
Sees and exults. Were ever dreams like these?
They, who watch by him, hear not; but he hears,
And Earth recedes, and Heaven itself appears.
’Tis past! That hand we grasped, alas, in vain!
Nor shall we look upon his face again!
But to his closing eyes, for all were there,
Nothing was wanting; and through many a year
We shall remember with a fond delight
The words, so precious, which we heard to-night;
His parting, though awhile our sorrow
Like setting suns, or music at the close.
Then was the drama ended. Not till then,
So full of chance and change the lives of men,
Could we pronounce him happy. Then, secure
From pain, from grief, and all that we endure,
He slept in peace—say rather, soared to Heaven,
Upborne from Earth by Him to whom ’tis given
In his right hand to hold the golden key
That opes the portals of Eternity.
When by a good man’s grave I muse alone
Methinks an angel sits upon the stone;
Like those of old on that thrice-hallowed night
Who sate and watched in raiment heavenly bright,
And with a voice inspiring joy not fear,
Says, pointing upward, Know, ‘He is not here.’

He was buried, in accordance with his own wish, in the same grave in Hornsey churchyard in which his brother Henry and his sister Sarah had been interred.