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The Life of William Roscoe

Vol I. Contents
Chapter I. 1753-1781
Chapter II. 1781-1787
Chapter III. 1787-1792
Chapter IV. 1788-1796
Chapter V. 1795
Chapter VI. 1796-1799
Chapter VII. 1799-1805
Chapter IX. 1806-1807
Chapter X. 1808
Chapter XI. 1809-1810
Vol II. Contents
Chapter XII. 1811-1812
Chapter XIII. 1812-1815
Chapter XIV. 1816
Chapter XV. 1817-1818
Chapter XVI. 1819
Chapter XVII. 1820-1823
Chapter XVIII. 1824
Chapter XIX. 1825-1827
Chapter XX. 1827-1831
Chapter XXI.
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Histories of the age of Leo X., Paulus Jovius, Fabroni.—Callings projected history.—Warton.—Robertson.—Mr. Roscoe urged to undertake it.—Letters to Lord Bristol and Lord Holland.—Motives which influenced Mr. Roscoe.—Progress of the work.—Materials procured by Lord Holland—letter to him.—Assistance rendered by the Italian scholars.—Mr. Johnson’s offer—correspondence with him—documents procured through him.—Information obtained at Paris by the Rev. William Shepherd.—Letter to Fabroni.—The progress of the work interrupted.—Sonnet.—Letter to Dr. Smith.—Publication of the work.—Letter to President Jefferson, and answer.—Letter to Dr. Smith.—Letter from Mr. J. C. Walker, and answer.—Letter from Mr. Mathias.—Other opinions in favour of the work.—Sonnet by Mr. Hayley.—Letters to Lord St. Vincent and to Dr. Parr:—Criticisms upon the work in the Edinburgh Review—in other publications.—Mr. Roscoe’s feelings on the occasion—his answer to the Edinburgh reviewers in the preface to the second edition.—Letter to Professor Smyth.—Prepares, but does not publish, an answer to his critics.—Letter from Mr. Mathias.—Reception of the work abroad—in Germany—is translated there—is translated in Italy by Count Bossi—French translation—American edition.—Effect of his literary labours on the health of Mr. Roscoe.—letters to Fuseli and Lord Buchan.

The age of Leo X., fertile as it was in brilliant events, and illustrated by the revival of letters and arts in Europe, was long ere it found an historian. The life of the pontiff had, indeed, been written by Paulus Jovius, but not upon the extended scale demanded by the subject; and again, after the lapse of two centuries, by the learned Fabroni. But neither of these works, however valuable as pieces of insulated biography, conveyed an adequate idea either of the political or of the literary history of that period. Such a work had, indeed, been meditated by several individuals, but it does not appear that any progress was ever made in the design. Collins the poet, about the middle of the last century, is said to have published proposals for such a history,—a project referred to by Dr. Warton, in his “Essay on the Life and Writings of Pope;” and mentioned also by Dr. Johnson, with the observation that probably not a page of the history was ever written.* The design was

* It appears, however, from a communication made by the late Mr. Hayley to Mr. Roscoe, that Collins had pro-

revived, after the death of Collins, by Dr. Warton, in conjunction with some of his learned and accomplished friends. “In a conversation,” says Mr. Roscoe*, “which I had the pleasure of enjoying with Dr. Warton, in the year 1797, the progress made in an undertaking which had been so long announced to the public became an object of my enquiry. By him I was informed that it had been the intention of himself, his brother, and several of their literary friends, to give a history of the revival of letters, not only in Italy, but in the principal countries of Europe, and that the history of English poetry by
Mr. Thomas Warton was only a part of this great design. When we advert to the various and excellent critical productions of these liberal and learned brothers, and consider, that amongst the names of their coadjutors would probably have been found those of West, of Walpole, of

ceeded so far as to prepare a preliminary dissertation to his work. “Though the countrymen of the poet Collins,” says Mr. Hayley, “must ever lament his calamity, they have now no reason to regret that his projected history of Leo was never completed,—a work towards which he had made a greater advance than his friends, the Wartons and Johnson, imagined; for one of my early companions informed me that an elder brother of his (intimate with Collins) had heard him read a preliminary discourse of great merit, which he intended to prefix to the work in question. I have reason to believe the discourse I speak of is irrecoverably lost.”

* Preface to the “Life of Leo X.

Mason, and of Gray, we cannot sufficiently lament the want of public encouragement, which was, in all probability, the chief cause which prevented this noble and extensive undertaking from being carried into complete execution.” At a later period, the history of the revival of learning was suggested to the attention of Dr. Robertson, but that accomplished writer does not appear to have encouraged the idea.

Other writers, amongst whom may be mentioned the author of the History of the League of Cambray, and Gordon, in his Lives of Alexander VI. and Caesar Borgia, had illustrated the political events of this period; while its literary history had been treated of in the invaluable pages of Tiraboschi, and of Mazzuchelli, but no adequate history had yet been given of the Age of Leo X.

To Mr. Roscoe this subject had been suggested from various quarters, immediately after the publication of the ‘Life of Lorenzo.’ He was strongly urged to the undertaking, both by Lord Orford and Lord Bristol; but it was some time before he resolved to engage in a work so laborious. In a letter addressed to the latter nobleman, in the month of April, 1797, he says, “Your Lordship’s recommendation to me to continue my narrative through the age of Leo X. is certainly entitled to great attention, and will have considerable weight in any determination
I may form in that respect. But the success of such an undertaking would not rest on myself alone. Whatever value my former work possesses chiefly arises, as your Lordship is well aware, from the documents which I have had the good fortune to obtain; and to retail amongst my countrymen a compound, elaborated from the works of
Jovius, or even the collections of Muratori, and the Histories of Guicciardini, &c., would not, I confess, gratify the literary ambition even of so humble an author as myself.”

To Lord Holland, who had liberally offered his services, in procuring from Italy any original documents which might be useful in throwing new light on the Life and Age of Leo X., Mr. Roscoe says, “It has been suggested to me that a further prosecution of the subject which has already been the object of my research, and an extension of it through the Life of Leo X., might not be uninteresting to the public; and it is certain that I am not unprepared with considerable materials for this purpose. But the great extent of such a work, the difficulty of obtaining original materials to give a sufficient degree of novelty, and the devotion of time which it will unavoidably require, have hitherto made me hesitate on the expediency of such an undertaking. The information in your note, of the favourable idea entertained, by learned and well-informed Italians, of my former exertions,
and the generous and unexpected offers of assistance in the acquisition of materials towards a further extension of the work, are powerful inducements with me to engage in such an undertaking; and should I eventually adopt this resolution, I shall avail myself of your Lordship’s recommendation to
Fabroni, with the hope that you will excuse the trouble I may then be under the necessity of giving you.”

The motives which influenced Mr. Roscoe in the decision to which he ultimately came, are adverted to in his preface to the “Life of Leo.” “The same considerations which have deterred others from engaging in so laborious and hazardous an attempt, would, in all probability, have produced a similar effect on myself, had I not been led, by imperceptible degrees, to a situation in which I could scarcely, with either propriety or credit, have declined the task.

“The history of the ‘Life of Lorenzo de’ Medici,’ the father of Leo X., had opened the way to a variety of researches, not less connected with the events of the ensuing period, than with those of the times for which they were immediately intended, and even that work was considered by many, perhaps not unjustly, as only the vestibule to a more spacious building, which it would be incumbent on the author at some future period to complete. Since that publication, the friendship and liberality of several dis-
tinguished characters, both at home and abroad, have supplied me with many valuable communications and original documents, which, without their countenance and favour, it would not have been in my power to obtain. To have withheld these materials from the public, would have defeated the purpose for which they were communicated; and to have shrunk from the task under such circumstances, would have given occasion for a construction almost as unfavourable to myself as the failure of success. These reflections have induced me, amidst the constant engagements of an active life, to persevere in an undertaking which has occasionally called for exertions beyond what my time, my talents, or my health, could always supply; and I now submit to the public the result of the labours of many years, in the best form in which, under the circumstances, it has been in my power to offer it to their acceptance.”

The additional leisure afforded to Mr. Roscoe by his retirement from business powerfully seconded these considerations, and in the autumn of the year 1798 he began to apply himself sedulously to his new labours. For these he was partially prepared by the researches which the “Life of Lorenzo de’ Medici” had demanded; and to the kindness of Lord Holland he was indebted for the first supply of original materials from the archives of Florence. “I have re-
ceived letters from Florence,” says his Lordship, in a letter dated the 12th of December, 1798, “in answer to your requests, and have every reason to hope that the business will be pursued with as much diligence as possible. The person who has undertaken to copy the manuscripts is highly flattered with the commission, and the Grand Duke has been so good as to facilitate his undertaking, by allowing him access at all times to the library, and by promising him any assistance he may require.
Mr. Penrose intended to return to Florence, in a few days after he received my letter, and has engaged to superintend the transcription, as well as to make all possible enquiries about the manuscripts at Rome, which, however, were always in a very confused state, and a great part of which have been either removed or destroyed by the French. At any rate, I confide in Mr. Penrose making all the exertions possible, as he is too much a man of letters and taste not to contribute all in his power for the purpose of inducing you to favour the public with another historical work.”

The manuscripts thus procured consisted of a series of letters and papers, forming two folio volumes, and illustrating, in a very copious manner, the early history of the Pontiff. “For this valuable collection,” says Mr. Roscoe, in the preface to the ‘Life of Leo,’ “I am indebted to
the obliging and disinterested interference of a nobleman, who adds dignity to his station, not only by the firm and consistent tenour of his public conduct, but by his encouragement of those literary studies in which he has himself made so distinguished a proficiency.”

The great scholars of Italy, with that liberality which adds grace to learning, generously contributed their advice and assistance in procuring materials for the work. “In adverting to the assistance which I have derived from the city of Florence,” says Mr. Roscoe, in his preface, “that cradle of the arts in modern times, I must not omit to notice the favours conferred on me by the late venerable and learned Canonico Angelo Maria Bandini, principal librarian of the Laurentian library there. . . . . To this eminent man, who retained his early and ardent love to literature to the close of his days, I am indebted for the communication of several scarce and valuable documents, both printed and manuscript, as well as for various letters, indicating to me, with the utmost attention and minuteness, those sources of information which his long and intimate acquaintance with the subjects of the following volumes had enabled him to point out.”*

* Some of the letters of Bandini are printed in the Appendix (No. VIII.) to the Illustrations of the Life of Lorenzo de’ Medici.


The state of public affairs on the Continent, at this period, was such as to afford Mr. Roscoe little hope of procuring from Rome the valuable information which the archives of the Vatican, and the other collections in that city, afforded. He had also lost the friendly assistance of Mr. Clarke, whose researches had contributed so much to the enrichment of his former work; but for this loss he was, in a great degree, indemnified by the unsolicited kindness of a stranger. When almost on the point of abandoning his work in despair, Mr. Roscoe received from Mr. John Johnson, a gentleman then travelling through Italy, the most gratifying offers of assistance. “Having learned,” says Mr. Johnson, “from Signor Bandini, that you are employed in writing the ‘Life of Leone X.,’ I take the liberty of informing you that I propose passing the ensuing winter in Rome, where it is probable that, from my acquaintance with the Cardinal Borgia, the Abbé Marini, Prefetto dell’ Archivio Vaticano, &c. &c., I may be able to procure you some materials for your work. I confess I should not have taken the liberty of writing to you, until I had been able to give you some efficient indication of my wish to serve you, but from the idea that you could render my researches more useful, by giving precise directions respecting any particular documents which you might wish to have examined. . . . .
I beg to repeat, that nothing should have tempted me to obtrude myself on your notice, but the hope of augmenting the literary means of an author who has given to the world a work, which the literati of Tuscany read and speak of with astonishment and delight.”

To this liberal and friendly communication, Mr. Roscoe replied in the following letter:—

“My very sincere acknowledgments are due for your obliging letter of the 1st of October, which should have been sooner answered, had I not been confined to my room by an attack of nervous fever, from which I am only just recovered. The interest which you are so good as to take in my researches respecting the Life of Leo X. encourages me to state to you, that, with respect to such information as the archives of Florence can supply, I am already, by the assistance of Lord Holland, possessed of copies of letters, &c. which compose two folio volumes, of upwards of 300 pages each. These, with such assistance as I occasionally derive from the respectable Canonico Bandini, will furnish me the necessary information. Yet, if any thing should occur to me, I shall take the liberty of addressing myself to the learned Abbate Fontani, to whose kindness I have before been indebted, and from whose very able assistance and advice I know I should derive great advantages.

“With respect to Rome, I have not yet had
an opportunity of obtaining any materials from that quarter, although the Vatican certainly contains an immense fund of information respecting the subject of my work. Your assistance in this respect will, therefore, be considered by me as a great obligation. As my work will contain a pretty full account of the pontificates of
Alexander VI. and Julius II., whatever relates to or elucidates either of their public characters will be of great use. With respect to the pontificate of Leo X., every thing that refers to it will be of importance to me,—whether it concerns his political transactions and negotiations, his encouragement of literature and art, his conduct, both in public and private life; in short, whatever has any connection with his history, or with that of any branch of his family. I find, that anecdotes and circumstances, trivial and unimportant in themselves, often acquire value from comparison with other parts of a person’s character and conduct; and I wish to collect all I can respecting this pontiff, in order to enable me to appreciate, so far as is in my power, his very extraordinary and equivocal character.

* * * * * * *

“I would not, if it had been in my power, have lost a single day in replying to your letter, as I shall send the first volume of my work to the press in the course of this winter. Whatever, therefore, relates to the times of Alexander VI. and Julius II. will be immediately wanted; but
any memorials of Leo X. will be in time, if they arrive during the course of the next summer.

“The freedom which I have taken will convince you that I place an implicit confidence in your obliging offers, which are indeed made with such frankness, that I cannot hesitate in availing myself of them.”

The feverish attack mentioned in the foregoing letter was induced by the unremitting devotion with which Mr. Roscoe prosecuted his biographical studies, from which he was for some time interdicted by his friend, Dr. Currie.

The documents obtained from Rome, through the intervention of Mr. Johnson, consisted both of manuscripts and of printed books. Amongst the former was the fragment of an unpublished Life of Leo, written in Latin, and carried down to the year 1516. Amongst the printed books were many scarce and valuable tracts, which could not have been procured in England. But the kindness of Mr. Johnson did not terminate here. Having visited Venice on his return to England, he used his good offices with the celebrated Abbate Morelli, librarian of the S. Marco, and procured from him a list of books and documents which might be found useful to a biographer of Leo X. This circumstance led to a literary intercourse with Morelli, productive of much pleasure and information to Mr. Roscoe.*

* A letter from Morelli is printed in the Appendix to the Illustrations of the Life of Lorenzo de’ Medici (No. IX.).


The National Library at Paris contributed also to the materials for the work. The Diary of Paris de Grassis, of which extracts only had been printed, existed entire in that collection; and Mr. Roscoe was very desirous of inspecting other portions of the manuscript. “It happened, fortunately for my purpose,” says Mr. Roscoe, in his preface, “that in the summer of the year 1802, my particular friend and neighbour, the Reverend Mr. Shepherd, well known as the Author of ‘The Life of Poggio Bracciolini,’ paid a visit to Paris. On this occasion, I scrupled not to request his assistance in examining for me the different manuscripts of the ‘Diary of Paris de Grassis,’ and making such extracts from them, in the original, as he conceived would be interesting. As no one could be better qualified for such a task, so no one could have entered upon it with greater alacrity. During his stay at Paris, a considerable portion of his time was passed in these researches, in which he met with every possible facility from the librarians; and, on his return, he brought with him several curious extracts, which have enabled me to throw additional light on the history of Leo X., and particularly on the singular circumstances attending his death.”

The assistance of various persons of intelligence and learning in England was also freely afforded; and the spirits of the writer, which oc-
casionally flagged in the course of his laborious task, were supported by the kindness thus extended to him. In transmitting to
Fabroni a copy of the Life of Lorenzo, he describes the progress he had then made in the biography of Leo:—

“I wait for your ‘Life of Leo’ with the impatience of a traveller by night, who expects the moon shortly to rise and direct his way. In the course of last winter I sketched the first volume of my work on the same subject, which places Leo on the pontifical throne; the remainder will, I apprehend, occupy two other volumes, and the fourth will be devoted to the appendix. This arrangement, you will easily perceive, will require much time to complete; and as I consider it rather as the offspring of my leisure than as my occupation, it will be some years before I can hope to lay my researches before the public. In the meantime, I have been assiduous, and not unsuccessful, in my enquiries. By the assistance of Lord Holland, and of Mr. Penrose, the British Resident at Florence, I have received numerous documents from the archives of that place, which have thrown great light on the life and early part of the pontificate of Leo X. These I have already employed in a great degree in my narrative, and I doubt not your learned and judicious work will furnish me with much additional information.”


Although for some time after its commencement the “Life of Leo” proceeded with rapidity, yet it was seldom that the regular and uninterrupted attention of the author could be bestowed upon it. At the conclusion of the year 1799 the work was, as we have seen, thrown aside for many months, in consequence of the important commercial engagements in which he became involved, and which continued afterwards to claim the greater portion of his time. He was also, upon more occasions than one, prevented from prosecuting his labours by illness, induced by the intensity of his application. But notwithstanding these checks, the work continued to grow under his hands, and the labour of years gradually approached its conclusion.

To this period may be referred the composition of the following

“O’er the deserted waste of ages past,
As lone I wander, hover round my head,
Ye mighty Spirits of the illustrious Dead!
Mail’d Warriors, laurell’d Bards, whose fame shall last
Through future times! For you the gay repast,
The social circle, and the downy bed
I quit, and, by your bright illusions led,
Pursue my course; or when the wintry blast
Sings o’er the heath, or Autumn browns the shade,
Or Spring returns the face of Heaven to cheer;
Ah, not in vain my ardent vows be paid,
And may your ripening honours full display’d,
The dearest guerdon to your votary bear,
For many a toilsome day, and many a patient year.”


The feelings of Mr. Roscoe at this time are described in a letter to Dr. Smith, written on the 1st of January, 1804.

“On the return of our honest friend Shepherd, I wrote you a hasty letter, intending to have followed it by one more expressive of what I felt for your kindness to him; but a most violent effort to free myself from the heavy task in which I am engaged, and the continual pressure of business, with my journeys between Allerton and Liverpool, have so devoured every moment of my time, that day after day has passed on, till the conclusion of the year, without my being able to fulfil my wishes. I am now, however, determined to be somewhat more my own master. Since you left Liverpool, I have copied and prepared for the press as much as will compose my two first volumes. The remainder is in great forwardness, and, if I enjoy my health for a few months, will, I hope, be completed. M’Creery begins to print with the new year, and promises to proceed with great rapidity. My arrangements with Messrs. Cadell and Davies are made to my satisfaction; and in the spring of 1805 I am in hopes I shall make my appearance before the public in the pompous shape of four splendid quartos. The labour of correcting, &c. I regard as nothing, in comparison with that which I have had in the collecting of materials, and in the composition of the work; and hence, though
much remains to be done, I find my mind lighter than it has been for some time, on account of the long and laborious road that lay before me. You, who have so frequently engaged in important literary undertakings, will know how to sympathise with a brother author, in the enthusiasm of his pursuit, the cheering prospect of success, the apprehensions of disappointment, and the lassitude of fatigue; and will easily perceive that, as the barometer rises or falls through these degrees, it is to us writers the foul or fair weather of human life.”

The long and tedious labour, which the composition of the work had required, rendered Mr. Roscoe, at its conclusion, sensible to little else than the relief which its completion afforded. “The work,” he says, to one of his correspondents, “was advertised for publication in London on Saturday last. What its reception may be I know not, nor do I distress myself by any uncommon anxiety on that head. An author who has been so long employed in preparing his works for the public, resembles, in some respects, a man who has been a long time sick, and cares not whether he lives or dies, so that he be released from his trouble. This indifference, however, does not extend to the particular friends, whom I have the happiness to know and esteem, and to whose pleasure and amusement I should be glad to think it was in my power to contribute.”


At length, in the summer of 1805, the work, which had been in the press upwards of two years, was published.* The first impression, which consisted of 1000 copies, being double the number of the first edition of Lorenzo, was nearly all disposed of soon after its publication; and the most gratifying expectations were entertained by the author, with regard to the success of a work which he looked upon as the completion of his former task, and the termination of his historical labours. “Although the ‘Life of Leo X.,’” he says, in an unpublished tract, “is given to the public as a separate and independent work, yet it is evident that I considered it as a sort of continuation of my former history of the ‘Life of Lorenzo de’ Medici.’ The transactions that occurred in the interval between the death of Lorenzo and the election of Leo include some events of the greatest curiosity and importance in modern history; and I was, therefore, unwilling to pass over them by a meagre and uninteresting narrative. Let me also confess, however it may subject me to the

* The time employed upon the composition of the “Life of Leo” may partly be gathered from the dates in the original MS., now in the library of the Athenæum, at Liverpool. The date at the commencement of the second volume is 5th December, 1800; of the third, 15th February, 1802; and of the fourth, 21st January, 1803. One half of his copyright in the work was disposed of to Messrs. Cadell and Davies for the liberal sum of 2000l.

charge of arrogance and presumption, that I was desirous of embracing, as far as my subject would allow, the history of the principal events in Europe, from the downfall of Constantinople to the accession of
Charles V.; and of thus connecting, although by a link of very inferior workmanship, the golden histories of Gibbon and of Robertson.”

Mr. Roscoe, as was his custom, presented copies of his new work to many of his friends, and to a few distinguished persons to whom he was anxious to show his regard. Amongst the latter was Thomas Jefferson, then President of the United States, to whom the volumes were sent accompanied by the following letter:—

“It is with particular pleasure that I avail myself of the opportunity afforded me, by the publication of my ‘History of the Life and Pontificate of Leo X.,’ of requesting you will do me the honour of accepting a copy, as a very humble but sincere mark of the respectful esteem and attachment of the author. In thus venturing to introduce my own productions to your notice, I am sensible I may be accused of presumption; but from such a charge I find a sufficient shelter in the reflection, that history is the peculiar study of those in high stations, whose opinions and conduct have an important influence on the destiny of mankind. I also flatter myself with the hope that the principles contained in this
work will be found in unison with those sentiments of enlightened toleration, liberal policy, and universal benevolence, which have been no less strikingly evinced in your practice, than energetically recommended and enforced in your public addresses to the nation over which you preside.

“I have transmitted these volumes through the hands of my particular friend, Mr. Ralph Eddowes, of Philadelphia; who some years since left this place to reside with his family in America, and whose talents, integrity, and temperate firmness would do credit to any country.”

“By some accident,” says Mr. Jefferson in reply, “which has not been explained to me, your letter of June 4. 1805, and the copy of your ‘History of the Pontificate of Leo X.,’ which you were so kind as to destine for me, have lain in one of our custom-houses near a twelvemonth. The letter is now received, and the book expected by the first conveyance. I pray you to receive my thanks for this mark of your attention; and I anticipate with pleasure the reading of a work, which, for its taste and science, will, I doubt not, stand worthily on the shelf with the ‘Life of Lorenzo de’ Medici.’ My busy countrymen are as yet too actively occupied to enter the lists in the race of science. When the more extended improvement of their country, and its consequent wealth, shall bring them the neces-
sary leisure, they will begin their career on the high ground prepared by their transatlantic brethren, from the days of
Homer to the present time. May the range of their flight be worthy of the height from which it commences; and may the due employment of the talent given them by their masters in that line merit to them the benediction of ‘Well done, good and faithful servants!’ I pray you to accept my salutations, and assurances of great respect and consideration.”

To his friend Dr. Smith, Mr. Roscoe thus wrote on the same occasion:—

“I have long intended to write to you, but have been prevented by a continual succession of unavoidable occupation and bodily indisposition, and sometimes by the junction of both.

Leo’s reckoning is now made, and he must be sent to his account with all his imperfections. In the course of a few days after this comes to hand you will receive a copy, which, from its size, would terrify a man of much less occupation than yourself; and which you will naturally lay aside, till you can muster courage and find time to make so formidable an attack. Of the reception of this work I am, in many respects, doubtful; but I do not suffer my apprehensions to render me miserable. I have taken all the pains in my power, to make it deserving of the public notice; and have endeavoured to express
the peculiar opinions which it may contain with decency, though with freedom. If all this will not do, I cannot help it; nor would I alter or suppress those opinions, to obviate censure or obtain applause. In one place or another, I have found an opportunity of expressing my sentiments on the great subjects of politics, morals, religion, and taste, as well as on a variety of inferior topics, which I hope are not impertinently introduced; and by these sentiments I am content to be judged, so long as my book may continue to be read.”

The most flattering testimonies of approbation, from those whose judgment on the subject was most worthy of regard, followed the appearance of the work.

“I should perhaps,” says Mr. J. C. Walker, “have acknowledged sooner the receipt of the inestimable present which you have done me the honour to send me; but the truth is, I was so powerfully captivated by the charms of the work, that I could not prevail on myself to suspend the perusal, even to perform a duty of gratitude. I will not, however, delay any longer to offer you my warmest thanks for the rich accession you have made to my collection. I was not entitled to, nor did I presume to expect, so magnificent a present. I was not, therefore, less surprised than delighted at the receipt of it. It has been my study day and night ever since it reached me.
‘It is,’ as
Mr. Hayley observes, ‘a noble work, worthy of its subject and its author.’

“I am astonished at the immense mass of curious and interesting information it contains, and charmed with the clearness of the arrangement, and the simple elegance of the style. You, and your friend Mr. Shepherd, have completed, in a most masterly manner, the history of the revival of letters. I hope it is not true that you do not mean to pursue your researches further into the literary history of Italy. Such a determination would be matter of general regret.

“During the perusal of your work it often occurred to me, that every admirer of the golden days of Leo has reason to rejoice that Dr. Robertson did not, as he once intended, occupy your subject. To the political part he might have done justice; but in the literary department, and in the history of the arts, he would certainly have failed. Robertson shines in the cabinet and in the field, but (if I may so express myself) he does not seem at home in the academy. He does not appear to have cultivated with ardour what is generally understood by the term elegant literature; nor does he seem to have had much taste in the fine arts*: so that his ‘History of the

* Hume appears to have held the same opinion as Mr. Walker. “As to the Age of Leo X.,” he says, in a letter to Dr. Robertson, “it was Warton himself who intended to

Age of Leo’ must have been very imperfect. It is no flattery to say that you have proved yourself qualified in every way for the great undertaking.”

“I have to thank you,” says Mr. Roscoe, in answer to another letter from the same correspondent, “for your obliging communication of the opinion of your Italian correspondent, and still more for that of Dr. Burney, on my late publication; there being few persons now living whose judgment I should so highly respect, or whose approbation I should be so earnest to obtain. I fear, however, that neither these, nor your own kind encouragement, will induce me to engage myself further in the history or literature of Italy. Having said all that I had to say, I feel not the slightest disposition to intrude myself again on the public notice. If my writings have any merit, they are certainly voluminous

write it; but he has not wrote it, and probably never will. If I understand your hint, I should conjecture that you have some thoughts of taking up the subject: but how can you acquire knowledge of the great works of sculpture, architecture, and painting, by which that age was chiefly distinguished? Are you versed in all the anecdotes of the Italian literature? These questions I heard proposed in a company of literati, when I enquired concerning this design of Warton. They applied their remarks to that gentleman; who, yet, they say, has travelled. I wish they do not all of them fall more fully on you.”— Stewart’s Life of Robertson: Appendix.

enough; if not, I have already done too much. Having so long claimed the attention of others, I shall, in my turn, willingly become a hearer; and shall expect with impatience the result of your further enquiries on those subjects which you have, in some of their branches, so happily illustrated.”

Amongst the various persons to whom Mr. Roscoe looked with anxiety for a judgment upon his labours, there was no one who held a more prominent position than Mr. Mathias; and it was therefore with peculiar satisfaction that he received the following letter, written immediately after the publication of the work:—

“I feel a very sensible pleasure in possessing this new and most interesting production of your genius, your learning, and your unwearied application for the essential interests of Italy and of this country; as it may be justly said of you, in the words of Ariosto to one of his friends—
“Tieni d’ ambe le lingue i bei segreti.”
“I have not yet had it in my power to gratify myself by the continued perusal of this great national work, but propose, when I return home from an excursion I am just about to undertake, to have that pleasure and satisfaction; the inspection of some detached portions of it have left me con la bocca dolce. It is peculiarly delightful to me,
that the Canzone which I addressed to you, expressing my sense of the obligations which this country and Italy must for ever feel for your unparalleled exertions, is not forgotten on the banks of the Mersey. It is also a consolation that my boldness in attempting to strike the lyre of Tuscany, and on such a subject, has met with that excuse I could scarce have expected.
A Te drizzai il mio stil; per te son oso
D’ esser primo a versar nei nostri lidi
Del divin fonte che, con tanto onore,
Gustò di Paradiso il gran pittore.”

You will pardon my altering a few lines of Alamanni as an apology for my presumption.”

From his publishers also Mr. Roscoe received very satisfactory information respecting his work. “Of ‘Leo X.,’” they say, “the accounts we have received from various quarters, including many of our most respectable literary friends, are of the most gratifying description. Dr. Gillies, Mr. Malone, Dean Vincent, Dr. Sturges, are amongst those who have very recently expressed their high satisfaction with the work.”

Nor were poetical testimonies to the merits of the work wanting. For the following sonnet Mr. Roscoe was indebted to the muse of Mr. Hayley.

“Joy and renown attend the happy hour
When Taste and Truth their finish’d task proclaim
Their English temple to the Tuscan name!
Roscoe! on thee may all the Muses shower
Due wreathes of glory, graced with every flower,
Worthy to crown their fav’rite, skill’d to frame
This grand Pantheon of historic fame,
Secure to triumph o’er Oblivion’s power.
’Tis thine departed merit to embalm,
And drive Detraction’s vultures from their prey;
Thine the historian’s, thine the poet’s palm,
As Nature’s mirror we thy work survey,
Faithful though vast! Thus Ocean, clear and calm,
Reflects each light and shade the heavens display.”

“I may well rejoice,” says Mr. Roscoe, in offering his acknowledgments to Mr. Hayley,—“I may well rejoice in the approbation of one of whose applause Gibbon was proud, and in whose friendship Cowper reposed with confidence; but I am too conscious of the defects of my publications to attribute to their merits that commendation, which is more properly the result of the liberality of your character and the benevolence of your disposition.”

Satisfactory as were these testimonies of individual approbation, Mr. Roscoe was well aware that there were portions of his work which would be received by many persons with very different feelings. The tone of political sentiment prevailing throughout its pages, and the views taken of the character of Luther, and of the conduct of the early reformers, were little
calculated to conciliate the favourable opinion of a large class of persons. That he was fully aware of the hazard he ran in treating of these subjects, appears from a letter addressed to
Lord St. Vincent* a few weeks before the publication of the work.

“Your Lordship’s repeated kindness encourages me to mention that a work on which I have been employed for several years, the ‘Life and Pontificate of Leo X.,’ is now nearly printed, and will, I expect, make its appearance in the course of two months. On referring to this period it will immediately occur to your Lordship, that a publication on this subject must comprise some topics of considerable delicacy, as well in religion and politics, as in morals and literature; or, in other words, must involve those questions which have given rise to dissension and persecution in all subsequent, times. In the account of the Reformation, I am well aware that my book will give satisfaction neither to the Catholics nor the Protestants; yet, of the two, I apprehend most the displeasure of the latter. The former have been so accustomed to be abused, that they will receive with patience any tolerable

* His Lordship was an enthusiastic admirer of the “Life of Leo.” “A friend of Lord St. Vincent’s,” say Mr. Roscoe’s publishers, “told us, two or three weeks ago, that the old hero was getting up every morning at five o’clock to read Leo X.”

degree of castigation; but the latter, who conceive their principles and conduct to be above all censure, will be surprised to find their early leaders accused of a spirit of intolerance and uncharitableness, which has, unfortunately, continued with but little diminution to the present day. Should your Lordship ever honour the work by a perusal, I shall hope for a liberal and candid construction of my opinions, both on this and other subjects; assuring your Lordship that, however contradictory some of them may appear to the received notions, both of characters and of events, they have not been hastily adopted, nor are they now delivered to the world without the most serious and deliberate conviction that, if they attract any notice whatever, they cannot but be favourable to the cause of civil and religious liberty, and have a tendency to soothe those animosities between nation and nation, and sect and sect, which have so long afflicted our quarter of the world.”

In a letter accompanying a copy of the Life of Leo presented to Dr. Parr, Mr. Roscoe thus alludes to the manner in which he has treated the character of Luther. “If the matter should have the good fortune to please you, I shall have less anxiety about the manner; and I flatter myself that, upon the most important topics, I shall not often be found greatly at variance with those liberal sentiments which you have fre-
quently so well expressed, and so eloquently enforced. In appreciating the character of Luther, I have followed the dictates of my own judgment, without desire to flatter or intention to offend; and whatever may be thought of my observations in other respects, they will not, I hope, be found to breathe that narrow and sectarian spirit which has characterised almost all preceding writers on this subject.”

The anticipations of Mr. Roscoe, with regard to the reception which his work was likely to experience in some quarters, were fully realised. In the Edinburgh Review*, although some partial commendation was bestowed upon it, the work was noticed in that spirit of asperity which seems to have been designedly adopted in the earlier stages of that publication. “Affectation of sentiment, or of profound philosophical reflection,” the critic observes, “is not less frequent, or less ridiculous, than the instances of affectation in style.” The author is accused of prejudice against Luther and of partiality towards Leo; and the alleged misdating of a letter of the former is adduced as a proof of this assertion. At the conclusion of the Review, the faults of the work are summed up in the following passage:—

“Upon the whole, then, these ponderous

* Vol. vii. p. 336.

volumes have disappointed our expectations of obtaining an adequate history of the revival of learning*,—worthy at least of the importance of the subject. The prevailing defect of the work is a minute and tedious prolixity, and the want of sufficient energy either of thought or of style. The accumulation of materials does not always add a proportionable value to history; and an author has learned but half the secrets of his trade who is ignorant of the art of blotting, to which the greatest writers have been indebted for their success. No labour can be too great to attain to perfection; and if, instead of endeavouring, in his preface, to extenuate the general defects of his history,
Mr. Roscoe had transcribed it over again, under the eye of some severe critic, and had resolutely reduced it to half its present size, the remainder, from the condensation of the narrative, would have acquired an additional value, when every idle anecdote or superfluous incident was carefully expunged, and the redundance of sentiment or of diction retrenched. As it stands, the history may please the dilettanti, to whom the medallions and verses

* “The Life and Pontificate of Leo X.” did not profess to be, nor was it intended by its author, as a history of the revival of learning; a subject which, as will be seen from a letter subsequently given, Mr. Roscoe regarded as embracing a much wider range than his own work, and to the elucidation of which he did not profess himself equal.

are, perhaps, a sufficient recommendation; but it neither will gratify the general reader, nor ought it to supersede any future efforts upon the subject, when the present edition has passed away. In general, however, its materials will always be valuable to future historians, by whom the author’s opinions, in matters of taste and criticism, will always be respected, and his writings impress us with one uniform conviction that he is a truly amiable and benevolent man.”

Such was the spirit in which the “Life of Leo X.” was noticed in a journal professedly devoted to the extension of the same liberal opinions, which it had been the constant object of the author of that work to inculcate in every page.

Other journals pronounced a judgment equally unfavourable to the merits of the work. The Christian Observer declared that its author was “uniformly hostile to Christianity,” and that “he had received a retaining fee from the Pope;” that “he was afraid of apparitions;” and that “he gave rise to a strong temptation to burn him.” The Critical Review asserted, that “to approve of the moral and religious part of his work, would render a person obnoxious to the Society for the Suppression of Vice;” and bestowed upon his style the epithet of “mawkish,” and upon the author the title of “Igno-
ramus.” Nor did he escape much better from the hands of the conductors of the
Literary Journal, who discovered in him “the victim of ill-directed studies,” and stated that “a well-informed child of ten years of age might give him the lie direct.”

Attacks of this nature few writers of any reputation have escaped; and it would scarcely have been worth while to advert to them, had it not been for the purpose of showing the manner in which they were received by Mr. Roscoe. That he felt them, is true; for the sting even of the smallest and most insignificant insect may occasion some degree of pain. But this feeling soon passed away from his mind.

The charge of misrepresentation and inaccuracy, preferred by the Edinburgh Reviewers, was the only one which could not be passed over in silence; and Mr. Roscoe took advantage of the opportunity afforded by the publication of a second edition, to give, in the preface, a full answer to the accusation. At the conclusion of this preface he thus notices the criticisms upon that portion of his work which relates to the Reformation, and which was, in fact, the source of all the animosity of his critics.

“I cannot, however, finally quit this subject without some notice of the charges which have been so generally connected with those before
mentioned, and by which it has been insinuated, or asserted, that I have endeavoured to discredit the characters of the early reformers, and to depreciate the beneficial effects of the Reformation, as well by a reference to the well-known persecution of
Servetus, as on other occasions. In answer to this, I must be allowed to observe, that the idea that the following work is hostile to the Reformation, is a misrepresentation industriously circulated by those who, under the pretext of a warm attachment to the cause of Protestantism, are as adverse to all religious liberty as the most bigotted Roman Catholic; and that whoever peruses the following pages with an impartial eye, cannot fail to discover that, so far from depreciating the beneficial effects of the Reformation, I have only had to regret that it was not carried to the full extent for which its promoters originally contended. To this I can add, with great sincerity, that in adverting to the persecutions of which Protestants have been guilty, my only object has been to excite that abhorrence of persecution, under every form and pretext, which is the surest safeguard against its return. If it should appear, as has been imputed to me, that I have animadverted with more severity on the Protestants than on the Papists, it is because better things were to have been expected from them; because they, who asserted the right of private judgment in themselves, ought not to
have denied it to others; because they, who have represented the cruelties and persecutions of the church of Rome as the greatest of her abominations, ought to have been peculiarly cautious how they gave rise to similar charges against themselves; and, lastly, because it is more painful to perceive a disgraceful blot among those with whom we are nearly associated, than among those who are further removed from us in principles and opinions. Hence the persecution of Servetus, conducted by
Calvin, and approved by Bullinger and Melancthon, has been exhibited in those colours which it so justly merits; and should, if it were in my power, be still further raised up, as a perpetual beacon, to guard mankind against the possible recurrence of an event which outrages at once the feelings of humanity, the dictates of common sense, and the religion of Christ. It is not on the doctrinal tenets of any established church, whatever its adherents may believe, that we are to rely for the rejection of those intolerant and persecuting principles which have for so many ages disgraced the Roman see. ‘Luther, Calvin, Cranmer, Knox, the founders of the reformed church in their respective countries, inflicted, as far as they had power and opportunity, the same punishments which were denounced against their own disciples by the church of Rome, on such as called in question any ar-
ticle in their creeds.’* To have freed the human race from the dread of violence and persecution, in the exercise of religion and the pursuit of truth, would have conferred greater honour on Luther than the enforcement of any dogmatical opinions whatever. To his good intentions and incorruptible integrity the following work bears uniform and ample testimony: but with the restraints of his superiors, Luther could not shake off the trammels of his education; and his highest aim was only to establish another despotism in the place of that from which he had himself escaped. In thus sanctioning, by his opinion and example, the continuance of an exterior and positive control over the consciences of mankind, he confirmed the pretensions of the Roman See; and may more justly be said to have shared its authority, than to have invalidated its unjust assumptions. But the principles of toleration are derived from higher views; from an enlarged idea of the Supreme Being; from the cultivation of generous and social affections; and, in short, from the exercise of the Christian religion as taught by its great Founder, and not as perverted by the ambition, the obstinacy, or the ignorance of his erring followers.

“I trust it will be understood, that I have not engaged in the foregoing discussions without

* Robertson’s Charles V., book ii.

great reluctance. To malicious interpretations, ignorant cavils, and illiberal abuse, I entertain the most perfect indifference; but in this instance an error of some importance has been gravely imputed to me. I could not expect that my readers in general should enter upon an examination of the different writers on this subject, and a long investigation of historical and ecclesiastical evidence, to determine between me and my censors; and I have therefore thought it necessary to illustrate the subject by further authorities, and to confirm the opinion which I have before advanced. I feel it a duty towards those who have honoured my writings with their approbation, not to suffer them to be depreciated by an unfounded charge in a point of historical fact; and a still greater duty not to relinquish the defence of those principles of liberty, of toleration, and of truth, which I have hitherto invariably asserted, and which I shall continue to maintain, independent alike either of censure or of praise.”

In a letter to Professor Smyth he says, “I must not, for a moment, allow you to think that my feelings can be hurt by any of the critiques that have yet been published on the ‘Life of Leo X.’ * * * To say the truth, I am more sensible to your observation, ‘that my history might have been condensed,’ &c. than I am to all the abuse of the reviewer. Yet I am by no means disposed to concede this point without stating, in a
few words, my reasons for the method adopted by me. Let me then be allowed to say, that I rather consider myself as, in some degree, an original historian, bringing before the public new documents, and laying before them full information on the subject which I have treated, than as a writer extracting the essence of other historians, and giving, in a few brilliant passages, a general result. On this account, I am sensible that I may at times appear prolix; but if I can give real information, I shall be well satisfied, without being considered as a shining writer. If I have been fortunate enough to lay a solid foundation, others may ornament the superstructure; but whatever may be thought of my workmanship, the materials I have furnished can never be dispensed with, whatever additions may be made to them.

“After all, if the importance of the facts which I have related, and the interesting nature of the topics of which I have treated, be considered, it will appear that I have dwelt on them very briefly, and that it is, in fact, the number and variety of the subjects of which I have had to treat, rather than the extent to which I have carried my discussions, that have extended my work to its present length; which, after all, will, in the new edition, be comprised (without the appendix) in four very moderate octavo volumes. You shall soon hear from me again, probably with some observations which I have already
drawn up, and which may be necessary to vindicate myself from those charges of inaccuracy and inattention brought forwards in such terms of triumph by the ‘
Edinburgh Review.’”

The observations mentioned in this letter were fully prepared for the press, and contained an answer, not only to the strictures of the Edinburgh reviewers, but also to those of his other critics. On a more mature consideration, however, he abandoned the idea of publishing a defence of a work which had been received by the public with approbation, and by all competent judges with the most gratifying encomiums. Many passages of this unpublished tract are written in his best style; and it is to be regretted that the subject was not such as to render it worthy of publication. In the concluding paragraph Mr. Roscoe has expressed his wishes with respect to the character in which, as a writer, it was his ambition to be regarded.

“With this publication, to which I have been reluctantly impelled, by the just defence of myself and my writings, I take a final and a grateful leave of the public in the character of a literary historian,—a character which I have been led to assume, rather by accidental circumstances, than by preparatory studies or deliberate intention. Having now laid before them what I had to
communicate, I have finished my task, and return with fresh ardour to the humbler but not unimportant occupations of private life. If my productions should still continue to experience the indulgence of my readers, few of them will be inclined to deny that I have now written enough. If the censures of my opponents be well founded, I have long since written too much; yet I would gladly flatter myself in the hope that my writings may preserve some faint memorial of their author, and may exhibit him as the friend of liberal studies, the admirer of whatever is excellent in the human character, and the advocate of truth, of liberty, and of virtue.”

Those upon whose taste and learning Mr. Roscoe could with safety rely encouraged him to receive these attacks upon his writings in silence. “I trust you will long continue,” says Mr. Mathias, “to reap the satisfaction and honour which must arise from all your well-directed literary labours, in a nation which should be grateful to you, and reject the idle attacks which are in vain directed against works which are permanent. If you will allow me on this occasion to use some expressions in the canzone I have written to Mrs. Wilmot, they will have additional force and truth in my opinion:—
‘Non paventar: ride del volgo i scherni
L’augel de’ vanni eterni
Di rugiada del ciel sparsi e nudriti:
Febo con alti inviti
Per strada non battuta e pellegrina
Più d’un palma a te largo destina.’”

“With respect to my own works,” says Mr. Roscoe, in his answer to the foregoing letter, “to which you so obligingly allude, I can truly say that whilst I retain the favourable opinion of yourself and a few other enlightened friends, whom I consider as perfect judges of their merits and defects, I feel no anxiety about the censures of such critics as have pretended to decide upon them in some of the periodical journals. In estimating these critiques with as much impartiality as the feelings of an author will allow, I find nothing of sufficient importance to deserve a serious reply, except a charge in the Edinburgh and some other reviews, that I have, either through negligence or prejudice, affixed an erroneous date to a letter from Luther to Leo X., and stated it to be of the 6th April instead of the 6th September, 1520. This charge, of some importance in itself, is rendered more so by its being made the pretext of throwing a general calumny on the historical part of my work; and I am therefore under the necessity of demonstrating, which I have it completely in my power to do, the correctness of my former statements, which
I shall throw into a preface to the new edition, which will appear in a few weeks. Of this new preface I propose to print a few copies in quarto, one of which I hope to have the pleasure of sending to you, to be annexed, if you think proper, to the first edition of the work.”

The reputation which the “Life of Lorenzo de’ Medici” had obtained on the Continent, and especially in Germany, where the translation of it by Sprengel had become very popular, prepared the way for the favourable reception of the present work. Soon after its publication in England, it found its way to the hands of a distinguished German scholar, M. Philip Henry Conrad Henke, whose acquaintance with the history of the revival of learning well qualified him for the task which he undertook. Having prevailed upon his friend Professor Glaser, whose proficiency in the English language was well known, to translate the work, he undertook to enrich the version, with a preface, notes, and dissertations; and, in the course of 1806, 1807, and 1808, it appeared at Leipsic, in three volumes, octavo. The manner in which M. Henke executed his task reflects the greatest credit on his erudition; and his approbation of the work, after his searching enquiries into its correctness, is one of the strongest testimonies that can be adduced in favour of Mr. Roscoe’s merits as an historian. In his preface, the
editor has entered largely into the character of the work, and his criticism may be usefully compared with that of the English reviewers. In particular he has done justice to the spirit in which the Life is written, to the correct appreciation of moral worth, to the reprobation of treachery and cruelty, to the exposure of all mean and grovelling vices, and to the uniform support of honour, truth, and virtue.

It was not until the year 1816 that a translation of the “Life and Pontificate of Leo X.” appeared in Italy. In the course of that year the first three volumes of a version into Italian, from the pen of the Count Luigi Bossi, were published at Milan. It was fortunate that the undertaking fell into hands so able, Count Bossi being distinguished by his attachment to the literary history of his country, and by the success of his own compositions. Like the German translator, he added, with industry and judgment, a variety of notes and documents illustrative of the original text; and the translation of the whole work was completed in the course of the year 1817, in twelve volumes, octavo, ornamented with numerous plates of portraits and medals. Of this translation upwards of 2800 copies have been dispersed in Italy, notwithstanding the denunciation of it by the pontiff, Leo XII., who consigned it to the Index Expurgatorius. Upon the receipt of
the earlier volumes of the version,
Mr. Roscoe addressed to Count Bossi the following letter:—

“I have had the pleasure of receiving your letter, accompanying the three first volumes of the translation into Italian of the ‘Life of Leo X.;’ and I assure you I am fully sensible of the honour done to my work in its being thought worthy of being adopted into the language of that country to which it more particularly relates. This satisfaction is greatly increased by the consideration that those literary studies and pursuits, that have been so long repressed by the calamitous state of public affairs, are again reviving, as well in Italy as in other parts of Europe, and that we may hope once more to enjoy that friendly intercourse which extends the family of mankind, and is indispensable to their improvement and happiness.

“For the favourable manner in which you have spoken of my work, and for the attention you have paid in giving a faithful version of it, I feel myself much indebted, and can add with pleasure that, as far as I have examined it, I find it rendered with sufficient accuracy:—of the propriety of dividing the chapters into sections I entertain some doubt. But if, on the one hand, it interrupts the thread of the narrative, on the other, it may, perhaps, tend to assist the recollection of the reader, which in a very long
chapter is not unlikely to be wearied; and in this view I feel reconciled to the alteration.

“The disadvantages incurred by your having commenced your work from a French translation is a subject of much greater regret, as some of the passages omitted are essential to the course of the narrative, or consist of those reflections which naturally result from it. The omission of those passages by the French translator would be unpardonable, were there not some excuse from the wretched state of subjugation to which the press has been reduced in France by the jealousy of her rulers. You have, however, done all that was in your power to repair this defect; and in case your work should be reprinted will, I doubt not, take care that these passages are properly restored, so that the work may be, as you express it, genuina ed intiera in tutte le sue parti.

“I should have been happy to have marked my approbation of your labours, by complying with your request of furnishing you, with such additional documents as have come to my hands since the publication of my last edition; but my opportunities of collecting additional information since the publication of my work have not been great; and I am more likely to be indebted to those who have done me the honour of translating them, particularly into the German and Italian languages, than they are to
be assisted by me. Allow me, then, to recommend to your attention, whenever you may have an opportunity of consulting them, the translations of the ‘
Life of Lorenzo de’ Medici’ by M. Sprengel; and that of ‘Leo X.’ by Professor Glaser, with the annotations of the late M. Henke. In the prefaces, dissertations, and notes on these works, you will find considerable information, and many questions candidly discussed. A taste for illustrating the literary history of Italy has of late made a considerable progress in Germany as well as in England; and I trust this taste will be still further extended, inasmuch as it is certainly to the labours of your distinguished countrymen, whose lives and works are thus commemorated, that Europe is chiefly indebted for the improvement and eminence she at this day enjoys.

“As a testimony of my respect, and of the sense I feel of the honour you have done me, may I beg your acceptance of a copy on large paper of the ‘Life of Leo,’ which I have ordered to be delivered to M. Vittore Lanetti, to be forwarded to you at Milan.”

A translation into French appeared at Paris in the year 1808, in four vols. octavo, from the pen of M. P. F. Henry, and a second and more correct edition was published in 1813. In the preface to the latter the translator says,

“Quant à ma traduction, je l’ai retouchée
avec tout le soin dont j’ai été capable, sans que toutefois je puisse me flatter de l’avoir rendue digne d’un ouvrage que son mérite reconnu a fait passer dans presque toutes les langues de l’Europe.”

In America the “Life of Leo X.” was reprinted soon after its publication in this country, with the omission of the documents contained in the appendix. It had not, however, the success which attended the American edition of the “Life of Lorenzo.”—“My edition,” says Mr. Bronson of Philadelphia, who had republished the Leo, “has met with tolerable success, though it has not sold as rapidly as I had reason to expect. I have, however, the gratification of finding that it is highly approved and relished by men who occupy the first rank of taste and literature in our country.”

The long and unintermitted labour which the composition of Leo had demanded, produced its natural effect on the mind of Mr. Roscoe, and some time elapsed before his health and his spirits resumed their usual tone. “For my own part,” he says in a letter addressed to Mr. Fuseli in the summer of 1805, “I am endeavouring to acquire the habit of idleness. After having finished my work, the sudden transition from extreme attention to a state of comparative leisure is not easy. The effects of that labour and fatigue, which I scarcely felt in the eagerness of
pursuit, have now overtaken me—the storm is over, but the waves swell. I am idle without being at rest, and am obliged to turn to other occupations for relief. Luckily, these are neither few nor unimportant. The drainage and improvement of some thousand acres of land, which I am about to commence, might satisfy the rage of any reasonable man; and with this I have other objects, as you well know, which require no small portion of my time. As an author I have taken my final farewell of the public.”

With the publication of the “Life of Leo X.” the enquiries of Mr. Roscoe into Italian literature terminated. Further labours of the same kind were suggested to him, but he declined to attempt them. “The history of the rise and progress of literature and the fine arts in Italy,” he says in a letter to Lord Buchan, “which your Lordship recommends to my consideration, is, indeed, a noble subject, but to execute it would require a fortunate union of talents, acquirements, and circumstances, which it has not fallen to my lot to enjoy. In what I have already done I have taxed my exertions to the height, and neither my health nor my leisure would permit me to engage in so extensive a work, or rather in two works. For perhaps the history of literature and of art should each be treated separately; and of these, if I were to make my choice, I should prefer the latter. An
excursion to Italy, or rather a residence there for some time, would be an indispensable preparatory measure; but this I must leave to younger men, and console myself in the hope of having shown that, in the literature and the fine arts of Italy, may be found a rich and unexplored mine, in which the intellectual exertions of my countrymen may be certain of meeting with an ample reward.”