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The Life of William Roscoe
Chapter XIV. 1816

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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Pecuniary embarrassments of Mr. Roscoe.—Letter to Mr. M’Creery.—General meeting of creditors.—Report of the committee.—Settlement of the affairs undertaken by Mr. Roscoe.—Sonnet, expressing his feelings at this time.—Sympathy of his friends.—Letter from Sir J. E. Smith.—Sale of his library, pictures, &c.—Sonnet on parting with them.—Sonnets addressed to him.—Catalogue of the library prepared—its principal contents.—The sale of the books.—Purchase of books by his friends for his use.—Mr. Shepherd’s letter.—Mr. Roscoe’s reply.—Books presented to the Athenæum.—Sale of the prints—description of them.—Sale of pictures and drawings—their nature and value.—Picture of Leo X., with the Cardinals Giulio de’ Medici and Rossi.—Its history—attributed to Andrea del Sarto.—Madonna and Child by Ghirlandajo, with a frieze by Michelagnolo.—Pictures by Fuseli.—Painting of the death of Lorenzo de’ Medici by him.—Letters from him respecting it.—Purchased by an unknown person, and presented to Mr. Roscoe.—Series of pictures bought by several gentlemen and presented to the Athenæum.—Letter from Mr. Singer.—John Gibson, the sculptor—letter from him.—Mr. Roscoe’s reply.—Letter from Mr. Gibson at Rome.—He presents a bust of Mr. Roscoe to the Liverpool Royal Institution.—Mr. Reynolds of Bristol—his death.—Letter to Mr. W. Rathbone on that occasion, and to Mrs. Rathbone.—Verses to his memory.

“It is only on occasions that deeply affect our feelings and our happiness, that the character of our minds is fully unfolded.”* One of these trying occasions now occurred in the life of Mr. Roscoe, when he was called upon to sustain a distressing reverse of fortune,—to see himself and all his family connections thrown at once upon the resources of their own personal exertions; and after the most determined and anxious efforts to retrieve his affairs, protracted to a period of upwards of four years, to witness the termination of them in bankruptcy.

Owing to various circumstances, amongst which may be reckoned the investment of considerable sums of money in landed and mining property, much difficulty was experienced at the end of the year 1815, by the banking-house in which Mr. Roscoe was a partner. The opening of the American trade had been the means of creating a great demand for capital, and this, cooperating with other circumstances, produced a

* Life of Pope.

scarcity of cash. Great exertions were made in the course of the winter to prevent the apprehended inconveniences—exertions which would in all probability have been successful, had not the distrust of numerous creditors been excited; as a natural consequence of which, large balances were suddenly withdrawn from the bank. This circumstance was decisive; and after struggling for a few days, in the hope of being still able to maintain their ground, the partners, on the 25th of January, suspended their payments. This event was communicated by Mr. Roscoe himself to several of the customers of the house; and amongst others, to his friend,
Mr. M’Creery, in the following letter:—

“My dear Friend,

“You will judge what the state of my mind must be, when I am compelled to announce to you, that from an unremitting demand upon our bank for several days, we have this day been obliged to suspend our payments, in order to prevent an unjust preference of those who were most clamorous in their demands.

“In this distressing situation my sole consolation is, that the funds of the house are sufficiently ample for all demands upon us, if our creditors do not by any severe or hasty measures prevent us from availing ourselves of them, which I have reason to believe will not be the case.


“God bless you, my dear old friend, in your peaceful and laborious occupation. May you be justly sensible of the blessings of your happy lot in the bosom of an affectionate family, and never experience the unfortunate fate and deep anxiety of your ever faithful and affectionate friend,

“W. R.”

It now became a momentous question, under what direction and in what manner the affairs of the house should be wound up. Contrary to the advice of many of his friends, who recommended that he should at once exonerate himself from such a burden, Mr. Roscoe resolved that he would, with the consent of the creditors, undertake the arrangement of the affairs himself. A general meeting of the creditors,—a very numerous body, was called, at which Mr. Roscoe attended, and explained to them at length the state of the concern. This meeting afforded a striking proof of the estimation in which his character was held, the conclusion of his address being attended with a general applause.

A committee of seven gentlemen was appointed at this meeting, to inquire into the state of the concern, and to make a report to the creditors. After a patient and minute investigation, and after taking the opinion of skilful persons with regard to the value of the various property belonging to the partners, these gentlemen re-
ported, that the house was solvent; and that, after payment of all the debts of the concern, there would remain a balance of £61,144. The general meeting of the creditors called to receive this report adopted it; and came to this resolution;—“that there were funds sufficient to pay all the debts, with interest.”

Under these circumstances, Mr. Roscoe rightly considered himself not only justified in maintaining the superintendence of his affairs, but imperatively called upon not to suffer the interests of the creditors to be committed to any other hands. He immediately drew up and issued a plan, by which he proposed, that the house should be allowed six years, in the course of which period the whole of the debts, with interest, would be discharged. To this proposal the assent of a great majority of the creditors was obtained. In taking this course, he was well aware of the great responsibility attending it, and of the harassing and distressing situation in which it might place him, but the hope of ultimately discharging all the demands upon the house, and a firm conviction that he was acting for the benefit of the creditors, prompted and sustained him in his resolution. Writing to one of his friends at this time, he says:—

“In the present state of things, it will be long before the principal can be wholly paid, but the greater part will be discharged in two or three
years; and as both principal and interest will be eventually paid to the very last farthing, I hope our friends will be satisfied, and that when I am called for, I may lay down my bones to rest in peace. In the mean time I keep up my health and spirits, and prepare myself to meet whatever may be destined for me with a conscience clear of offence, and with increased affection to those long tried friends who have accompanied me in adversity as well as in prosperity, and amongst whom you will ever be numbered.”

In a letter to another friend, he says, “I cannot for a moment delay my grateful acknowledgments for your most affectionate and welcome letter received this morning, and for the encouraging observations it contains, which, I assure you, have arrived at a time when they are peculiarly applicable and useful, as giving me additional courage and confidence in a line of conduct from which I have already perceived the best effects; and which, if persevered in, will yet, I trust, before I die, restore me in the estimation, not only of my dear and partial friends, but of the public. When I first professed my resolution to retain the management of our concerns, and continue our business, it was treated, even by those the nearest connected with us, as impossible and chimerical, and I was strongly pressed on all sides to resign the affairs into other hands, if not by the usual process of law, at least by a
trust deed. This I resisted, and chose rather to throw myself on the good will of the creditors at large, to explain matters to them vivâ voce, and show them how our interests were inseparably connected, than to have our estates and property torn in pieces—they deprived of a great part of our debts, and we of any surplus which might remain for ourselves and our families. More unanimity was, perhaps, never seen at such a meeting; only one person expressed his private dissent, and he has since acceded to the plan proposed. In the mean time our bank has never been shut; we have re-established our connection with the very safe house of Jones, Loyd, & Co.; we have fresh deposits lodged with us, and we draw bills on our own account. For the purpose of separating this from our former concern, and of obtaining additional assistance in our bank, we are negotiating to take into partnership a very respectable young man, who was brought up with us, and on whose diligence and integrity we have a perfect reliance. When this alteration is made, we have received assurances from many of our friends, that they will resume their transactions with us.”

The devotion of heart and mind with which Mr. Roscoe applied himself to the accomplishment of the proposed plan of liquidating the debts of the bank was such, that neither by day nor by night was it absent from his thoughts.
Many of the most important arrangements for the settlement of these affairs were projected and resolved upon, as he lay in the silence of night, unable to sleep. To accomplish this great object of his wishes seemed to be the sole aim of his life.

It was during this season of painful and almost overpowering exertion of mind and of body, that the following sonnet bears date.
“I wake, and lo! the morning’s earliest gleam
Salutes my eyes. What joy to many a heart
Its renovated lustre shall impart!
—But not to mine; for from its brightening beam
Gladly would I some intermission claim;
And, anxious, at its near approach I start
Like one when called, unwilling to depart,
Depressed his spirit and unnerved his frame.
—Yes—like some wanderer who has lost his way,
In life’s rude paths I long have gone astray,
And for the future fear. O God of love!
What this day may bring forth is all to me
Unknown; but oh! where’er my course may be
Do thou my steps direct, my toils approve.”

That Mr. Roscoe was, in the end, unable to accomplish all that he had proposed to himself, was the result of circumstances over which he had no control. The necessity of making the payments to the creditors by periodical instalments compelled the partners to force a sale of their property at times very unfavourable to such transactions,—the value of landed and other pro-
perty fell,—some of the mines in which they were interested turned out to be of less value than the report of the very skilful person* by whom they had been examined had led them to believe. Notwithstanding these drawbacks, Mr. Roscoe resolutely persisted in his endeavours, and, under his directions, large payments were made to the creditors. That at length he was compelled, as will be hereafter stated, to surrender the management of his affairs, was a circumstance which he never ceased to regret.

The intelligence of his failure was received with deep sympathy by his numerous friends, and some strenuous efforts were made, especially by one†, who had been long and warmly attached to him, to procure such assistance as might enable the house to meet their engagements, and at once to resume their station in the commercial world. Those efforts, however, failed of success; nor was there such a disposition evinced towards him in the town of Liverpool, as induced Mr. Roscoe to hope for any extraneous assistance. Many commercial houses have doubtless been supported under greater difficulties.

Amongst the many consolatory and supporting communications which Mr. Roscoe received at this time from his friends, was the following most kind letter from Sir James Smith:—

* Mr. Buddle. Mr. McCreery.


“The afflicting letters I have from my brother and sister Martin so alarmed and overwhelmed me at first sight, that when I read them and found that nothing had affected the life or health of you and Mrs. Roscoe, I could bear any thing else. How wide are the evils attendant on these wars, which you will ever have the consolation of knowing you have done all you could to prevent. We have all said, as you know, that the struggle would be when peace came. I was well aware that you felt no trifling alarm or solicitude when I was with you. If the whole commercial world feels the shock, how could you hope to avoid it? You have now to experience, more than you ever could in prosperity, how extensively you are respected and beloved. I feel, my honoured friend, that you will rise above this calamity. And your children, to whom you have imparted more precious treasures than all worldly prosperity could bestow, and which can never be taken from them, will now find their own strength; and derive happiness, support, and importance, from sources which they could never have been aware of, but for such an event. I feel confident that unexpected sources of comfort will present themselves; and that, in the common shock, your character, your abilities, and your connections must bear you up.

“You will readily believe that we and many
others here shall be anxiously solicitous to hear how you all are, and how things are likely to turn out. You cannot tell at once. Do not look too much on the dark side, but take time to consider every thing. I do not ask you to write, till you feel an inclination to do so. My
brother Martin will tell us how every thing goes on; you may rely on his unchangeable respect and esteem. These, he says in his last letter to me, are such as he cannot express. Farewell, my ever loved and honoured friend,—recall us most affectionately to the remembrance of Mrs. Roscoe, and every one of your family. You may be sure we shall be ever thinking of you; and if I cannot help you, I know it will be soothing to be remembered by your ever, &c.”

To the necessity of at once rendering available not only the assets of the concern but likewise the private property of the partners, Mr. Roscoe cheerfully yielded, and he resolved to offer to public sale, without delay, the whole of his personal effects, including his library, pictures, and other works of art, which he had employed himself in collecting, for nearly half a century. The loss of other portions of his property occasioned him, personally, little regret, but he could not avoid regarding with some grief the prospect of parting with those literary treasures which had contributed so largely both to his happiness and his fame. It was under the influence of
these feelings that the following sonnet was written:—
“As one who destined from his friends to part
Regrets his loss, yet hopes again erewhile
To share their converse and enjoy their smile,
And tempers, as he may, affliction’s dart,—
Thus, loved associates! chiefs of elder art!
Teachers of wisdom! who could once beguile
My tedious hours and lighten every toil,
I now resign you; nor with fainting heart—
For pass a few short years, or days, or hours,
And happier seasons may their dawn unfold,
And all your sacred fellowship restore;
When freed from earth, unlimited its powers,
Mind shall with mind direct communion hold,
And kindred spirits meet to part no more.”

This sonnet, which, unknown to Mr. Roscoe, found its way into the public prints, gave occasion to the following, which appeared soon afterwards in one of the Liverpool newspapers under the signature of Straniera:—
“Thou dost not mourn the loss thy friends deplore,
For thou from every letter’d page hast ta’en
That better part of learning’s sacred store
Which lifts the soul above all earthly pain,
And bids it view, resign’d, each woful scene
This universal theatre displays;
And thine has learn’d to breathe with brow serene
A calm farewell to friends of other days,
Proving the rich deposits they had left.
Oh, this has added to thy former name,
Which, like thine own Lorenzo’s, shall descend
To unborn ages; ne’er shalt thou be reft
Of that bright ray shed from the torch of fame
On learning’s patron, and the artist’s friend.”


A few other poetical offerings of the same kind appeared, from which the following beautiful sonnet is selected:—
“Thou art not friendless now—thou on whose head
The day-star of delight so long hath shone,
Friend of the friendless! though his beams be gone,
And o’er thy path dark clouds may lower instead.
Arm thy strong soul anew! with firmness tread
Thy destined road, and let thy manly breast
In the calm confidence of honour rest,
Rich in the only wealth it coveted.
Live on in hope! Seek thy pure treasure there—
There, where the good man garners up his trust;
And, if the record of his deeds be fair,
Esteems all else but vanity and dust;
Content to know, whate’er the fate he share,
That God appoints it still, and God is just.
“E. T.”

The labour of preparing for the press the catalogues of his collections was very considerable, and was almost entirely performed by Mr. Roscoe’s own hand, while under the pressure of innumerable other engagements. He felt anxious that the care he had formerly bestowed upon them should not be wholly thrown away, and that they should bear a higher character than the generality of mere sale catalogues. Even in form and appearance he wished them to be such as might be placed with credit on the shelves of a library. “I now,” he says, in a letter to his printer, Mr. M’Creery, “send you the beginning of my catalogue; which I was in hopes of making more legible, but have not had time, and
am apprehensive of being too late. I wish you to set up a sheet for me much in the same manner as you printed a short catalogue of the Strawberry Hill books—that is, the title of the book in a good sizeable type, and the annotations, &c. smaller. As it will contain many curious books, I do not mean it to be a common sale catalogue, but to make it a neat small octavo.
“‘One would not, sure, be ugly when one’s dead.’”

The library, which had been chiefly collected in the earlier part of Mr. Roscoe’s life with a view to his historical studies, though not extensive when compared with many private collections in this country, was particularly rich and copious in some of its departments. The classes of Italian poetry, Italian history, and modern Latin poetry, presented some very rare and valuable works. Amongst the Italian poets, some of the early editions of the works of the Pulci, and of Lorenzo de’ Medici, which Mr. Roscoe had obtained at a trifling expense, brought very considerable sums of money. A copy of the Rappresentazione Sacri, which had cost him a few shillings, sold for thirty guineas. The selection of classical authors also was valuable, and contained a considerable number of editiones principes. But the most curious part of the collection was the series of early printed books illustrating the rise and progress of the art of
printing. Amongst these were many highly valuable and beautiful works, two of the block books executed before the invention of moveable types, the Historia S. Johannis and the Biblia Pauperum, the Codex Psalmorum, or Psalter of 1459, printed by Fust and Schoeffer, the second book printed with a date, and of which only eight copies are known to exist; a beautiful copy of the Catholicon printed by
John Guttemberg at Mentz in 1460; the works of Lactantius, from the press of Sweynheyn and Pannartz, the first book printed in Italy, and of such rarity, that, when the celebrated bibliographer De Bure wrote, there was only one copy known in France; the Rationale Divinorum Officiorum of Durandus by Fust and Gernzheym, the third printed book known with a date; besides a variety of other books from the presses of Italy, Germany, and England, previous to the year 1500. At the conclusion of the catalogue a list is given of the printers of the fifteenth century, whose productions appear in the collection, with the years in which they began to print, and also a list of the editions of works in the library omitted by Panzer in his Annales Typographici—a proof of their great rarity. To this list Mr. Roscoe has added the following note:—

“The ‘Annales Typographici’ of Panzer consist of two parts: the first, in five volumes,
extending from the origin of the art of printing to the year 1500 inclusive: the second, in six volumes, from the year 1500 to the year 1586 inclusive; and are intended to comprehend a descriptive account of every edition published within those periods. When it is considered that this great work is the production of a single individual, it will be thought much more surprising that, on its first publication, it should be found so nearly complete as it now appears, than that some editions, comparatively very few in number, should be omitted. It is not, therefore, with a view of censuring its defects, but as a homage to its merits, that the following brief list is given; which it is hoped may set an example to those who have to examine and arrange more extensive collections, and contribute, on some future occasion, to render still more perfect the great work already so far advanced.”

In addition to the printed books the library also contained a small collection of manuscripts, the principal of which were two copies of the Sacred Writings executed in the early part of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. The first of these was highly decorated with historical designs by some artists of the school of Grotto, and had been presented to one of the supreme pontiffs. It is described in the catalogue as “certainly one of the finest and most highly ornamented manuscripts of the Sacred Writings
which has been handed down to the present times.”

The sale was attended by all the principal collectors of books in the country, either in person or by their agents, and the prices obtained were such as fully to satisfy Mr. Roscoe’s expectations. Lord Spencer, Mr. Heber, and other distinguished bibliographers, were frequent purchasers; and at the recommendation of Mr. Roscoe, a considerable number of books were bought on behalf of Mr. Coke, as necessary additions to the valuable library at Holkham. Amongst others the splendid manuscript of the Bible was purchased for the sum of 200 guineas, and deposited at Holkham, where it forms a distinguished ornament even of that inestimable collection of manuscripts.

At this sale the library of Mr. Roscoe was offered entire to the public, with the exception of a number of presentation copies of different works, which, after a valuation had been put upon them, Mr. Roscoe retained, judging it ungrateful and improper to dispose of these gifts, while it was in his power to prevent the sale of them. These, of course, formed a small and very miscellaneous collection, of little use to him, unless to remind him of those pleasant literary associations of which they were the token. Any other reservations he resolutely refused to make, and gave strict directions that
not a single volume should be bought in for his use.

“The books in the catalogue,” he says, in a letter to Mr. M’Creery, “(with some that are omitted by mistake, which will form nearly an additional day’s sale,) comprise my entire library, without reserve, as may be seen by the books mentioned in the catalogue. All that I keep out are such books as have been given me by my friends, and these I shall not part with until my grasp is relaxed by death or the law. The Press shall still continue to remind me of long tried friendship, and of the happy hours I have passed with its author.”

But while he was thus himself steadily resolved to part with those “loved associates,” those “teachers of wisdom,” over whose pages he had spent some of the happiest hours of his life, a few of his friends who loved and admired him, and who were unwilling to see him deprived of the literary treasures he so well knew how to employ, consulted together on the best means of preserving them to him. Application was made by them to a small number of other gentlemen, and a sum of money was with ease raised, sufficient, as it was supposed, to purchase all the useful part of the library. This fund was placed under the direction of the Rev. William Shepherd, whose long friendship and literary intercourse with Mr. Roscoe well
qualified him to select the works which would be most likely to prove useful and acceptable to him. This task he performed with the judgment which might have been expected from him, the selection being confined chiefly to works relating to the literary history of Italy, and the biography of the Medici.

Until after the sale Mr. Roscoe was not made acquainted with the intention of his friends; which, with the particulars of the purchases, was then communicated to him by Mr. Shepherd in the following letter:—

“My dear Sir,

“In the general sympathy excited by the untoward events which darkened your prospects at the commencement of this year, the idea of the dispersion of your library was a subject of painful contemplation to many of your friends. By some of these, plans were suggested to me for the retaining of it in your possession, the discussion of which, I well knew, you would not, were you apprised of them, allow to be for a moment entertained. An arrangement was, however, proposed which met with my concurrence, and in the promoting of which, though well knowing the various responsibility which I took upon myself, I have ventured to act. At the earnest solicitation of a select few of your most intimate acquaintances, I marked in your
catalogue such books as I knew would be of most essential importance in the correction of your standard works, which have so justly obtained for their author so large a meed of applause. Of the volumes thus marked, the greater number have, by the kind assistance of
Mr. J. B. Yates, been purchased for the individuals in question, who, by my medium, most respectfully request that you will make use of them in the prosecution of your favourite studies, till, under better auspices, you may be enabled to re-acquire or to replace them.”

To this letter Mr. Roscoe made the following reply:—

“My dear Sir,

“I know not how to express to you the various sensations to which your letter and its inclosures have given rise in my mind. From the moment that it became necessary to dispose of my library, I resolved, as I believe I informed you, not to repurchase any part of it on my own account; and accordingly not a single book was to my knowledge bought for me: those bid for in the name of Mr. Coke being for his library at Holkham, although, by his permission, I retain for the present such of them as appear to be necessary in the arrangement of his valuable manuscripts.

“Judge, then, of my surprise on finding what
had been done, and of the difficulties I feel in availing myself of the liberality of my friends in the manner I am sure they would wish. Be assured, my dear Sir, no one can be more deeply sensible than myself of the motives which gave rise to this measure, and of the delicacy with which it has been conducted; and if I cannot exactly conform to the terms proposed, I trust I shall be allowed to receive the kindness intended me in a manner less troublesome to my friends, and more satisfactory to myself. I am aware that when my library was first advertised, apprehensions were entertained that our proposed arrangements might not be accomplished; and that this measure was intended to prevent my being entirely deprived of those literary treasures which had constituted so great a portion of my happiness. Had such an event unfortunately occurred, I should most gratefully have accepted their friendly assistance; but the aspect of our affairs is now more favourable, the sale of my property has been made under my own directions, and if those distinguished and ever respected friends, to whose timely and considerate assistance I owe the most heartfelt obligations, will permit me to avail myself of the alternative mentioned in your letter, and repurchase the works bought for my use, it will relieve me from my present anxiety, and infinitely add to the obligations I already feel. In this point of view
I shall think myself fortunate that such a measure has been resorted to; the books purchased (as might be expected from their being chosen by the long and confidential associate of my studies) being selected with the greatest judgment, and such as I should, for the most part, certainly have retained, had I not thought it necessary to the character of the sale that the entire library should be offered to the public. May I beg you, my dear friend, to communicate this my request to your constituents, and at the same time to assure them, not only of my warmest gratitude, but of the satisfaction I must ever feel in the reflection, that, on such an occasion, I have been honoured by so distinguished a proof of the approbation of those, who, by their former kindness and friendship, had entitled themselves to my highest esteem, affection, and respect.

“I am always, my dear Sir,
“Most faithfully yours,
W. Roscoe.”

To the request thus pressingly urged upon them Mr. Roscoe’s friends yielded, and the contributions which they had so generously made for his service were returned to them. But the remnant of his library, which seemed to be again within his power, he was unable to retain; and his friend Mr. William Rath-
bone, assisted by a very few other individuals, having become the purchaser of the books, liberally presented them to the library of the Athenæum at Liverpool, where they are preserved as a separate collection.*

* Extract from the Books of Proceedings of the Athenæum:—

“The following letter being read to the Committee by the President:—

“‘Liverpool, 29th August, 1817.
“Dear Sir,

“‘I am requested by a few friends of Mr. Roscoe to present to the Athenæum the books of which I enclose a catalogue; reserving to him, during his lifetime, their use, and removal from the library, whenever he may have occasion for them.

“‘Mr. Roscoe’s friends are desirous thus to record their high respect for his talents, and their gratitude for the virtuous and indefatigable application of them to the advancement of the intellectual character of the town of Liverpool.

“‘May I trouble you to communicate the substance of this letter, and its confirmation, to Mr. Roscoe.

“‘Believe me, dear Sir,

“‘With very sincere respect,

“‘Your obliged and faithful

“‘William Rathbone.
“‘To the Rev. Jonathan Brooks,

“‘President of the Athenæum.’


“That it be recorded in the Minutes of this Institution, and that the President be requested to express to Mr. Rathbone, ‘the high and grateful sense which the Committee entertain of the splendid present which accompanied it; at the same time expressing their warmest concurrence in the sentiments


The sale of the prints took place immediately after that of the library, and occupied eleven

of respect and obligation to Mr. Roscoe’s literary talents, and the credit they have reflected on the town of Liverpool.

“That Mr. Rathbone be requested to communicate to the Committee the names of the individuals who have presented this munificent donation; and that a bookcase be prepared, in which they may be separately arranged, and on which the mode of receiving them may be recorded.

“That Mr. Roscoe be informed of the amount and conditions under which this donation has been made.

“At a monthly meeting of the Committee, held October 13. 1817, Rev. Jonathan Brooks in the chair, the following letter received from Mr. Roscoe was laid before the Committee, and ordered to be entered in their Minutes:—

“I have to request you will receive my sincere acknowledgments, and communicate the same to the Committee of the Athenæum, for the honour they have done me in the arrangements made respecting the books which some of my friends have had the liberality to present to the library of that institution, and for the obliging terms in which such information has been communicated to me.*

“In being enabled to avail myself of the use of these books in common with the other proprietors, I shall feel myself as fully accommodated as if they were under my own roof, whilst at the same time they will, I trust, be of more general benefit than while they were in the possession of an individual.

“‘In addition, however, to the favour already conferred on me, I must request the Committee will allow me to add to the collection a few books, of which a minute is enclosed, and which I am desirous should be preserved in the Athenæum, no less as an honour to myself than as a memorial of

days. The collection, which was sold in 1352 lots, and which produced 1915l. 1s., was thus described by
Mr. Roscoe himself:—

“Poesie del Magnifico Lorenzo de’ Medici tratte da Testi a penna della Libreria.
“Mediceo-Laurentiana. 4to. Liverpool. 1795.
“Canzoni Toscane, da J. T. Mathias. 4to. Lond. 1805.
“The Life of Lorenzo de’ Medici, by W. Roscoe. 8vo. 4 vols. Basil. 1799.
“Wilhelm Roscoe’s Lorenz von Medici, aus den Englischen von Kurtz Sprengel. 8vo. Berlin, 1797.
“Vie de Laurent de Medicis, traduite de l’Anglais de William Roscoe, par Francois Thurot. 8vo. 2 tom. Paris, l’an viii.
“Occasional Tracts on the War. 8vo. London. 1810.
“The Life and Pontificate of Leo the Tenth. 4 vols. 4to. Liverpool. 1805. On French paper, of which only six copies were printed.


“That a letter be returned to Mr. Roscoe by the President, communicating the thanks of the Committee for his very valuable present.”


“The prints and etchings comprise,—

“A series of prints from the works of the Greek and Italian painters, illustrative of the progress of painting in Italy, from the earliest to the later ages.

“A series of prints, illustrative of the progress of engraving in Italy, Germany, and Flanders: including choice specimens of every artist of eminence, from the earliest period to Agostino Caracci, in the Italian school; and from Francis Stoss to Edelinck, in the German and Flemish.

“A highly valuable collection of etchings, by the Italian painters, consisting of the works of the most eminent masters, who have etched their own designs, from Parmigiano to Carlo Maratti. Of the Flemish and Dutch painters in various walks of history, landscape, cattle, drolls, and interiors; and of the French school, including fine examples of Claude, Callot, Gaspar Poussin, Sebastian Bourdon, &c.

“An assemblage of fine prints, after Rubens, by the most celebrated engravers of his time. Choice impressions of the Vandyke heads. Several fine works of Rembrandt and his school. Rare specimens of wood and chiaro-scuro prints, by the Italian and German masters. Engravings from antique busts and statues,—a few select books of prints,” &c.


Perhaps the most curious and, indeed, the most highly prized portion of these collections was the series of original drawings and pictures, in the procuring of which Mr. Roscoe had taken the greatest delight. He has, himself, explained, in the advertisement to the catalogue, the nature and value of this part of his collection.

“The following works, as well as those comprised in the two former catalogues, have been collected during a series of years, chiefly for the purpose of illustrating, by a reference to original and authentic sources, the rise and progress of the arts in modern times, as well in Germany and Flanders as in Italy. They are, therefore, not wholly to be judged of by their positive merits, but by a reference to the age in which they were produced. Their value chiefly depends upon their authenticity, and the light they throw on the history of the arts; yet, as they extend beyond the splendid era of 1500, there will be found several productions of a higher class, which may be ranked amongst the chefs-d’œuvre of modern skill.

“With regard to the originality of the drawings, which form the first part of the following catalogue, it may be proper to observe, that as such productions were for the most part intended only for the use of the artist in his more finished compositions, and not like etchings or engravings for publication, he has seldom authenticated
them either by his name or mark. This deficiency has, therefore, been supplied in general, either by the friends and contemporaries of the artist, or by the persons into whose hands they have in subsequent times happened to fall, and who have endeavoured to assign each piece to its proper master; at the same time, frequently adding some note or mark, distinguishing the drawing as having formed a part of some particular collection. The authenticity of such drawings may, therefore, be considered as sanctioned by the different persons to whom they have successively belonged, and whose autographs or marks they bear; amongst whom may be enumerated the celebrated painters,
Georgio Vasari, and Benedetto Luti, together with the Duke of Modena, Padre Resta, and many others in Italy; M. Crozat, M. Marriette, and others in France; many collectors in Holland and the Low Countries, and King Charles I., the Earl of Arundel, Sir Peter Lely, Martin Folkes, Esq., Sir Joshua Reynolds, Mr. Barnard, and several others in this kingdom; and particularly that very worthy man and excellent connoisseur, Jonathan Richardson, who formed the finest collection of drawings ever brought together in this country. Thus, these works have been received as authentic, and have passed from one cabinet to another from the rise of art to the present day; and in
this state, a great part of the following collection is now brought before the public.

“Hopes had been indulged by the present possessor, that the works of literature and art included in this and the two preceding catalogues, might have formed the basis of a more extensive collection, and have been rendered subservient to some object of public utility; but the circumstances of the times are not favourable to his views, and they are now, therefore, offered to the public in detail, and without reserve. The catalogues may serve, however, to give an idea of the entire collection when the works that compose it are again dispersed.”

The drawings, consisting of 610 lots, and the paintings of 156, produced at the sale the sum of 2825l. 19s.

The most remarkable and valuable picture in the collection was a portrait of Leo X., with his cousin, the Cardinal Giulio de’ Medici and his nephew, the Cardinal de’ Rossi. Of the history of this painting Mr. Roscoe has given the following account:—

Vasari relates, that when Federigo, Duke of Mantua, passed through Florence, to pay his respects to Clement VII., he saw in the palace of the Medici the portrait of Leo X., with the Cardinals Giulio de’ Medici and Rossi, with which he was so highly pleased, that on his arrival at Rome, he requested it as a gift from the
Pope, who was then at the head of the Medici family, and one of the persons represented in the picture. The Pontiff generously complied with his wishes, and directions were accordingly sent to Ottaviano de’ Medici, at Florence, to forward the picture to Mantua; but he, being unwilling that the family should be deprived of such a treasure, sent to
Andrea del Sarto, and requested him to copy it, which he did with such success, that Ottaviano himself could not distinguish the copy from the original; concealing, therefore, the picture of Raffaelle, he sent to Mantua that of Andrea del Sarto, with which the Duke was perfectly satisfied, and even Giulio Romano, the favourite pupil of Raffaelle, who was then resident at Mantua, was not aware of the deception.

“In this error they might have remained, had not a singular incident led to an explanation. Vasari, then a young and rising artist, desirous of forming an acquaintance with Giulio Romano, paid a visit to Mantua, where he was received with great civility by Giulio, who, after gratifying him with a sight of the works of art which the city afforded, at length exhibited to him the picture of Raffaelle, as the greatest ornament of the place. ‘A beautiful work!’ cried Vasari, ‘but not by the hand of Raffaelle.’—‘How so?’ said Giulio. ‘Is it possible I should not recognise the touches of my own pencil upon it?’
—‘You are mistaken,’ replied Vasari: ‘this picture is the work of
Andrea del Sarto’ (under whom Vasari had studied at the time the copy was made); ‘and as a proof of it, there is a mark on it which I will show you. The picture was accordingly taken down, and the mark mentioned by Vasari discovered; upon which Giulio declared, ‘that he valued the copy no less than the picture of Raffaelle himself; nay,’ added he, ‘even more, because it is incredible that one painter should so perfectly imitate the manner of another.’

“In consequence of this artifice the picture of Raffaelle remained at Florence, till it was carried away a few years since to ornament the immense collection of the Louvre; that of Andrea del Sarto afterwards came into the possession of the Duke of Parma, from which city it was transferred to Naples, and formed a part of the royal collection at Capo di Monte, where it remained till that collection was dispersed by the revolutionary troubles, and is presumed to have found its way, in common with many other pictures from the same collection, into this country, where it became the property of a respectable dealer in London, who never would part with it in his lifetime, but after whose death it was purchased by its present possessor.

“During the time these pictures were in Italy, they were the frequent subject of comp-
arison and criticism.
Richardson, in his account of the works of art in Italy, (vol. iii. p. 665.) says, there are who pretend that the copy is preferable to the original, but to judge properly it would be requisite to see them together. He prefers the original, but at the same time he doubts whether he may not be prejudiced in favour of Raffaelle. The prelate Bottari, the learned editor and annotator of Vasari’s Lives of the Painters, relates, that by particular favour he obtained a sight of the picture at Naples, (about the year 1756,) and returned twice to examine it, but could not obtain permission to take it out of the frame. ‘I can however say,’ adds he, ‘that this is one of the most stupendous pictures I have ever seen, and appears not to have been painted more than six months. I have fresh in my memory the original of Raffaelle, which I saw not many years since, and I aver that, setting aside the names of the painters, and the knowledge of the facts, many good judges would take the copy in preference to the original, which is now turned rather black; whilst the copy, besides its freshness, is more soft and fleshy than the original.’ In his notes on the Lettere Pittoriche (of which he was also the editor), Bottari repeats his observations on these two pictures; ‘L’ originale di questo quadro (di Raffaelle) è nel Palazzo de’ Pitti; è la copia d’ Andrea è presso S. M. Rè di Na-
poli; e sto per dire che ora è più bella dell’ originale.’ (vol. ii. p. 400.)

“From the accounts of those who have seen the picture of Raffaelle, in the Louvre, its condition has not been improved since its arrival in France; and M. Landon, who has given an outline of it in the Annales du Musée, admits, ‘qu’elle a pâti,’ whilst the present picture still retains the freshness ascribed to it by Bottari, and appears not to have been painted more than six months.

“What was the mark by which Andrea distinguished his copy from the original, Vasari has not mentioned; but the prelate Bottari informs us, that he had heard Gabbiani, who was himself an eminent painter, and who was born soon after the middle of the seventeenth century, and had associated with many old professors, say, ‘that the mark set upon the picture by Andrea, was the writing his name on the edge or thickness of the pannel, which was covered by the frame; and that when Vasari had the picture taken out of the frame, Giulio read the inscription.’

“Notwithstanding these facts, the picture had been a considerable time in the possession of its present owner, before he examined whether any traces of such an inscription could be discovered. Having, however, been assured several times, as well by artists as others who had seen it at
Capo di Monte, that this was the identical picture, and several peculiarities being pointed out, which appeared too striking to be mistaken, he had, about two years since, the picture taken out of the frame, in the presence of some of his friends, when, on the left edge of the pannel, which is about three quarters of an inch thick, the remains of the inscription were still visible. This inscription was much obliterated, but, according to the best judgment that could be formed of it, had been composed of the letters
Andrea. F. P. . . . . . .
probably followed by the date of the year, which was, however, quite illegible.

“The coincidence of this fact with the relation of Vasari and the tradition of Gabbiani, was considered by the parties present as a sufficient evidence of this being the identical picture of Andrea del Sarto.

“It may be proper to add, that from the enquiries that have been made, it does not appear that the picture of Andrea is now either at Naples or Palermo, to which latter place a great part of the collection at Capo di Monte had been removed before the French obtained possession of Naples.”

Another picture to which Mr. Roscoe attached a very high value, was that of the Madonna and Child, by Ghirlandajo, with a frieze by Michel-
agnolo, mentioned in a letter to
Sir J. E. Smith, given in a preceding page. But perhaps the most striking picture in the collection was a Head of Christ, by Lionardo da Vinci, a composition of the noblest conception, and full of the deepest feeling. These three pictures, certainly the flowers of the collection, were purchased by Mr. Coke, and now adorn the walls of Holkham.

Many of the best productions of Fuseli’s pencil were found in the collection. Some of these had been painted at Mr. Roscoe’s request, and amongst others, a large painting representing the Death of Lorenzo de’ Medici. On commencing this picture, Fuseli addressed the following letter to Mr. Roscoe:—

“You will perceive by this short quotation, that I have been looking into your tenth chapter, which contains the event of the subject you propose to me for the chimney-piece of your dining-room, and which I think a very good one. The figures, half lengths, on a canvass of 6 feet by 4½ or 5. A Guercino size, I suppose. Not an upright posture. Lorenzo, Politiano, Pico. The most striking, and, for a painter, the most expressive moment of this scene appears to me that, when Lorenzo, grasping the hands of his friend, steadfastly regards him; whilst Politiano, to conceal his emotion and tears, turns his face aside. But at that moment Pico was not yet arrived; a circumstance, how-
ever, which, I think, need not be regarded; as his presence, both for expression and composition appears, if not indispensably necessary, highly important. And thinking that you will agree with me in this, I wish to know if you are possessed of good and authentic heads of either, at least of Pico; as the profile of Politiano, in your book, may perhaps answer. The whole, with its chiaro-scuro, is arranged in my head, and I shall, in a little time, set about it; but I would rather decline sending you a sketch, as they always raise expectations which no picture can answer; the firstlings of my hand shall be on the canvass, as in the Cardinal which Shepherd has; to whom I beg you will remember me.”

In consequence of this letter, some prints and medals of Lorenzo and his contemporaries were sent to Fuseli, whose observations upon them are contained in the following letter:—

“I take the opportunity of Mr. Johnson’s return to Liverpool, to inform you that I am not only alive, but alive for you,—whether it be life to any purpose for myself or you, which in this case is nearly the same thing, you will be able to tell, I hope, before the middle of next month. The conception of the moment remains unaltered, the same I had at first.

“‘Piobbe,’ says Dante, ‘nell’ alta phantasia;’—‘Alluxit nobis,’ says Vitellius. The business
which remains now, is to make the execution correspond; and, what of all others is the most difficult thing in art, to give the last deciding touches with felicity. It has been matter of some perplexity to me that nothing very characteristic of persons and costume occurs in the ‘
History of Lorenzo:’ that he was destitute of smell is, indeed, a personal peculiarity, but of less service to me than La Fleur’s knack at making spatterdashes was to Sterne. The medals and print your son (to whom commend me) left with me are, with regard to Lorenzo, abominable caricatures, do not suffice to Pico, and turn Politian into a fat schoolmaster. It will therefore be some merit to have done better, and yet to have preserved some likeness. After all, I suspect, between you and me, your hero to have been a d—d ill-looking fellow. The head of Attila, as we find it on medals, has elevation and beauty compared with the human reptile you sent to me. Pico, on the medal, has an air of age beyond what he attained, and looks not very unlike Mr. Whitbread.”

The picture, when completed, formed the chief ornament of the dining-room at Allerton, the walls of which were decorated entirely with paintings from the same hand. On the sale of the collection it was purchased in a name unknown to Mr. Roscoe, and, by the desire of the purchaser, presented to him, through the
Mr. Winstanley. To the letter announcing this gift Mr. Roscoe sent the following reply:—

“Dear Sir,

“May I beg you to express to the liberal but unknown donor of the picture of the death of Lorenzo de’ Medici by Fuseli, my most grateful acknowledgments for his very acceptable present; which will now be more valuable to me than ever, as, independently of the estimation in which I hold it on account of the subject and the painter, it will call to mind an act of generosity, which, although I am not permitted to acknowledge it to the giver, will always afford me the sincerest pleasure as having been the object of such an instance of disinterested kindness.

“Please to communicate the contents of this to the proper quarter, and to believe me,” &c.

By Mr. Roscoe’s directions this picture was presented, after his death, to the Athenæum at Liverpool, and is now placed in an excellent situation in the library of that institution.

A considerable number of the pictures, more especially those of the early masters, which, though highly curious as illustrating the history of art, were little interesting to the ordinary collector, did not meet with purchasers at the sale.
Those which afforded a series of specimens both of the Italian and German schools, were afterwards bought by the directions of the same gentlemen who had so liberally presented the collection of books from
Mr. Roscoe’s library to the Athenæum, and were by them given to the Liverpool Royal Institution, the walls of which they now adorn, and form one of the interesting objects which attract strangers to that establishment.

Amid the heavy anxieties in which the settlement of his affairs involved him, Mr. Roscoe’s mind was occasionally diverted, and soothed by communications which recalled the memory of those happier days devoted to the study of literature and of art. Acknowledgments of the pleasure and advantage derived from the perusal of his works, testimonies from unexpected quarters to their merits, and expressions of gratitude for services rendered, could not fail to be gratifying to his feelings.

From Mr. Singer he received, in the spring of this year, his beautiful and ingenious volume on the History of Playing Cards, which was dedicated to him in very flattering terms. This work was accompanied by the following letter:—

“I have much pleasure in offering to your acceptance the accompanying literary trifle. May I hope you will not deem it an intrusion,
that I have ventured to inscribe it with your name.

“The truth is that I have long sought an opportunity of showing some mark of the high sense I entertain of your worth, your talents, and your successful exertions as a true patriot and as a man of letters. I have only to regret that mine is not a more worthy tribute; for I owe to the influence of your writings upon my mind at an early age the chief of my literary pleasures. It was the ‘Life of Lorenzo de’ Medici’ that first inspired me with a desire to hear the swans of Arno in their harmonious native strains.

“Grateful for this, and full of admiration of your public conduct, no one can more sincerely wish that the evening of your bright day which has been passed so honourably to yourself, and so usefully to your country, may be attended with that tranquillity which is the best reward of such a course. With sentiments of the highest esteem, and best wishes for your health and happiness, believe me,” &c.

It was the good fortune of Mr. Roscoe to be amongst the first of those who observed and encouraged the genius of Gibson, whose works as a sculptor have since gained him such deserved celebrity. While yet studying the rudiments of his art he became known to Mr. Roscoe, who, quickly detecting his talents, encouraged him by
his advice and assistance to proceed with his studies. His visits to Allerton were frequent and welcome; and he had there free access to the various collections of works of art which Mr. Roscoe was delighted to look over in company with him. At the end of the year 1815 a scheme had been arranged for his visiting Rome, in the promotion of which Mr. Roscoe had promised to bear a part, which circumstances unfortunately prevented him from doing. That Gibson was not insensible to the kindness thus shown him will appear from the following letter written shortly before his going abroad:—

“Since my arrival in London I have often been on the point of writing to you, but my consciousness of the nature of your late engagements rendered me diffident of addressing you.

“Now, as I imagine the bustle of things has subsided with you, I venture to tell you that Mr. Fuseli received me as you could wish, and will give me a letter to Canova, and to others at Rome, and that I have been introduced by Mr. Christie to Mr. G. W. Taylor, who has employed me since my arrival in London. He is kind, liberal, and rich, and is, I think, determined to be of use to art in all its departments. He has expressed himself particularly delighted with what I have done for him—three busts of his children in marble. At present I am with him and his family here, at Earl Spencer’s villa,
modelling his lady and himself. When these are finished I go on to Rome.

“It is with the consciousness of the pleasure this will give you I thus write about myself. This consciousness is more fixed and heightened within me when I count the years you have honoured me with your attention and kindness.

“Whenever my imagination glides to Allerton, it is with a deep feeling of gratitude and respect; for it was there my inexperienced youth was led to the path of simple art; it was there it caught the flame of ambition; it was there the suggestion of Rome was given birth to: therefore, dear Sir, though fate has prevented you from indulging your generous intentions towards me on this occasion of going abroad, it has not lessened my gratitude, but has made me feel and value, with more warmth, the superior part of our nature, that divine generosity which, when deprived of those partial gifts of fortune, exists the same in the noble mind, and therefore ought to possess a superior, an exalted place in the estimation of true gratitude. Through life, dear Sir, gratefully and respectfully yours, J. G.”

“I was highly gratified,” Mr. Roscoe writes in reply, “by your obliging letter, as well from your kind remembrance of me as from the favourable account you give me of your own pro-
ceedings and prospects. As to what you are so good as to say respecting the advantages you suppose you have derived from my acquaintance, I cannot but be sensible with what caution I ought to receive it; but I will not deny that it affords me sincere pleasure, from the consciousness that it has ever been my wish to contribute, as far as in my power, to bring forward those talents, which, if patiently and duly cultivated, will confer lasting honour on your name.

“I rejoice to find you have now met with a friend who knows how to appreciate your merits. This morning I had the honour of a letter from Mr. Taylor, requesting that you would take a model of me for a bust in marble, to be executed by you at Rome,—a request which, under such circumstances, it is impossible for me to refuse. As I cannot, however, leave home at present, I should be glad of a line informing me when and where you can enter upon this undertaking; and remain with the sincerest esteem and best wishes, &c. &c. W. R.”

The favourable accounts from Rome, which from time to time Mr. Roscoe received of the growing celebrity of Gibson, afforded him the sincerest gratification, and it was seldom that the letters of the latter did not allude, with expressions of pleasure and gratitude very honourable to the writer, to the encouragement that had been extended to the studies of his
youth. “I shall see more,” he says, in a letter from Rome, dated May, 1818, “I shall do more, and I shall write more, said I to myself; and thus time flies away without my addressing my earliest friend. Now I have not forgotten the pathways that lead to Allerton. I have not forgotten your early attentions to me, and which brought me to the notice of those friends whose generosity has opened the gates of Rome to me. Yes, here I am, and could be contented for ever in Rome, for I like it more and more. I have not yet seen the third part of what this city contains, for I began to work soon after my arrival here, anxious to show
Canova something I have been designing and modelling. At present I have in hand the model of a shepherd-boy, sleeping (my own design), which I have been studying from nature. The Marquis was so good as to come to my studio to see it, and he seems much pleased with it. He says that I have made the body and the head beautiful.

“The Marquis is quite intimate with Roscoe. How I have wished I had a copy of the Address which you delivered at the opening of the Institution to show Canova. He said that I should make the hair of your bust* like that of Eu-

* In the year 1827 Gibson presented a bust of Mr. Roscoe, in marble, to the Liverpool Royal Institution, accompanying it with the following letter:—

ripides. I shall model it all anew, as I do not work by the piece. I have done
Mrs. Taylor’s all anew, and am cutting it in marble.”

It was the happy fortune of Mr. Roscoe to number amongst his friends many of the best men of his day. Of these there was no one for whom he entertained higher sentiments of esteem and respect than the late Mr. Reynolds, of Bristol. Those sentiments will be found expressed in the following letter to Mr. William Rathbone, the grandson of Mr. Reynolds, written on the occasion of the death of the latter.

“I am so fully sensible of what your mother

“Permit me to offer, through you, to the Committee of the Royal Liverpool Institution (as a grateful tribute to my first patrons—to those who enabled me to study my profession where I could best learn it), the accompanying bust, in marble, of their illustrious and venerable president, Roscoe.

“To that gentleman I am indebted for what little merit I may possess as a sculptor. He first inspired me with ideas worthy of my profession, and kindled within me an ardent love of fame in the pursuit of it.

“By this monument, if I have endeavoured to perpetuate the lineaments of an excellent man, I have hoped also to perpetuate the gratitude and respect of the artist whom he protected.

“I have the honour to remain, Sir,

“Your much obliged humble servant,

John Gibson.
“T. Martin, Esq., Secretary,

“Liverpool Royal Institution.”

has to go through on the present occasion, that I cannot think of intruding on her, and must therefore beg you to accept for her and yourself, your brother and sister, as well as for
Mr. Joseph Reynolds and his family, the assurances of that sincere sorrow and affectionate sympathy which we all feel for you on the loss of your most excellent and ever respected relative, a loss to be lamented not only by his family and surviving friends, but wherever his name and character have been known.

“And yet, my dear friend, if ever there was an occasion, on which the tears we shed are tears of affection and tenderness, rather than of grief and distress, it is the present; when a good man, full of years and honour, goes to receive the reward of his labours, leaving to those who are dearest to him the benefit of his example, the credit of his widely respected name, and the delightful hope, that, by following in his track, they will finally be admitted to his society again in a happier state of being.”

To Mrs. Rathbone, the daughter of Mr. Reynolds, he thus addressed himself on the same event:—

——“I have not been able wholly to repress my sentiments on this occasion, nor to resist the earnest desire of paying my tribute of affection and admiration to the character of your excellent and venerated father. How inadequate the en-
closed lines are to express what I feel, none but myself can judge; but I confide them to you as the best offering I have it in my power to make, and with the view (if you and Mr. Reynolds should not disapprove it) of printing a few copies in the form in which it is now sent, to be distributed to such of your father’s friends as you may think would be gratified by such a memorial, however humble, of a person universally and deservedly respected and beloved.”

The following are the lines adverted to by Mr. Roscoe.

“In Memory
Who died at Cheltenham, on the 10th of September, 1816,
aged 80 years.
“O let no plaint be heard, no murmurs rise,
When, ripe in years and goodness, Reynolds dies!
But ’mid the precincts of this sacred bound
Let calm and holy silence breathe around;
Whilst filial duty, bending o’er his bier,
Consigns to Gratitude the sorrowing tear;
And humble Hope, with feelings unexprest,
Owns the full promise through her thrilling breast.
“For, oh! if breathings of accordant airs,
The orphan’s offerings and the mourner’s prayers,
Blessings from fervent hearts, in secret paid,
For soothing comforts, and for timely aid;
For prompt compassion, vigilant to save,
For bounty, generous as the heart that gave:
If these, ascending towards the source of light,
May waft the spirit on its heavenward flight,
Thou, Reynolds, ’midst the mansions of the just,
Crown’d are thy labours, and confirm’d thy trust;
Then, the last shade of earthly doubt removed,
Thy deeds recorded and thy life approved,
Thou hear’st with joy thy Master’s blest decree—
‘What thou hast done for these, was done for me.’