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^HE Recollections which form the
contents of the present volume
were left by Mr. Rogers in
manuscript, but in a state which showed
they were intended for publication.

It appears that from his first entering into
Society he noted down the conversation or
remarks of those among his intimate friends
in whose company he took the greatest plea-
sure; and subsequently, as these notes in-
creased, and he felt they might become gene-
rally interesting, he proceeded, from time to
time, to extract and collect those parts which
he thought most worthy of perusal by others.
In some cases the selection of the mate-
rials, though begun by him, was left incom-



plete at his death. He had, however, pointed
out by memoranda the names of the Indivi-
duals whose conversation he intended should
form the collection, and the order in which
they should stard.

There is an entry in his Note Book, in his
own handwritino;, in the follow ins; words :
" Fox, Burke, Grattan, Porson, Tooke,
" Talleyrand, Erskine, Walter Scott, Lord
" Grenville, Duke of Wellington." By this
and numerous other indications he has suffi-
ciently shown the course he wished should
be followed ; and a short preface, written by
him as an introduction to the Recollections,
makes clear his Intention that they should
not always remain unpublished.

Of the persons abovenamed, Mr. Burke
was the only one with whom Mr. Rogers
was not intimately acquainted, and whose
conversation was not taken down by him
from personal communication. He only knew


Mr. Burke as a public man, and was indebted
to friends for the Recollections of liim in-
cluded in this work.

With a view of rendering these Memorials
as valuable as circumstances will allow, as
well as of carrying out Mr. Rogers's appa-
rent design, the Editor has, in addition to
the extracts which he found already made
from the Diaries, selected some further pas-
sages in connection with the persons named
which appear of sufficient interest to be pre-
served, and which had probably been omitted
owing to the extracts not having been com-
pleted. In doing this it is possible he has
introduced some parts which Mr. Rogers
might not have thought important enough
to be put in print. It is hoped, however,
that the Reader will not complain of the
introduction of a few sentences which the
Author may have left out, through accident
or extreme caution ; but to which the lapse


of time has now given a value. The most
extensive of the additions so made are the
anecdotes of Burke by Dr. Lawrence, and a
few of the miscellaneous remarks by the
Duke of Wellington at p. 216 and the follow-
ing pages.

Mr. Eogers, at times, no doubt intended
that the Recollections should be published
in his lifetime, and perhaps at a period when
some of the persons described were living.
Accidental circumstances, or further conside-
ration, however, prevented the fulfilment of
this intention; and caused him to leave to
his Executors the agreeable task of laying
these pages before the Public : a pleasure
which has been kindly yielded to the Editor
by his Brother and Co-executor. The Edi-
tor therefore feels that by the course he is
now taking, he is only discharging a duty
which he owes to the deceased ; and he be-
lieves that the death of all the parties whose
conversation is recorded, and the distance,


in time, of the events described, will justify
the introduction of more than could have
been so well admitted at an earlier period.

Although it may be thought that the fol-
lowing Memorials want the point and interest
that so often enliven contemporary memoirs,
yet it is hoped they Avill be valued on other
grounds. It will be obvious to all who knew
Mr. Rogers well that they are in strict ac-
cordance with the best parts of his mind and
character. Nothing has been allowed by
him to stand that has any approach to per-
sonal scandal or to matters of merely tem-
porary interest ; except in a few instances
there is but little reference to the politics of
the day in which they were written ; many
passages, open to objection on some of these
grounds, that had found their way into the
original notes, were omitted from the cor-
rected copy ; and the Writer, who had the
amplest choice of subjects, has shown by the
Recollections he has preserved that the con-

versation he thought most worthy of being
put on record was that connected chiefly
with literary subjects, or with incidents and
remarks having for other reasons a perma-
nent vaUxe. The Editor trusts they will be
thought to afford agreeable and faithful pic-
tures of many Individuals with whom the
Reader will be glad to be more intimately

Mr. E,oo;ers so often referred in conversa-
tion to these remembrances of the anecdotes
and opinions of his early friends, that many
of them have been repeated by others either
verbally or in print, and may at first glance
appear familiar to the reader. But they
have been so frequently, and so much, altered
in repetition, that it seems not improper to
give them entire, in the very words in which
they were left, with that truth of expression
and in that concise and colloquial style in
which Mr. Rogers delighted to write his


It may add to the interest and value of
the Recollections, if, before their perusal,
attention is shortly called to some of the
principal events and dates in the private life
of the writer of them.

Samuel Rogers was born in the month of
August 1763, the third son of a London
Banker, whose immediate ancestors were
of a Worcestershire family, and members of
the Church of England; while through his
Mother he was descended from one of the
Ejected Ministers of the reign of Charles
the 2nd. It is, no doubt, to his maternal
descent that he alludes in the following
lines, introduced into the notes on the poem
of Italy : —

" What though his Ancestors, early or late,
" Were not ennobled by the breath of kings ;
" Yet in his veins was runnins; at his birth
" The blood of those most eminent of old


" For wisdom, virtue — those who would renounce
" The things of this world for their conscience'

From his Mother, who was taken from
him in his early youth, and of whom he
always spoke in terms of the greatest admi-
ration and affection, he imbibed a love of the
intrinsically good which guided him on many
an after occasion. And in one of his elder
Brothers, whom he lost soon after he attained
to manhood, and to whose memory he ad-
dressed those beautiful lines in the first part
of the Pleasures of Memory beginning,

" Oh thou ! with whom my heart was wont to

" From Reason's dawn each pleasure and each


he had an example of virtue and good sense
which strengthened his character and by
which he profited through life.


His Father and Mother were Dissenters,
and he was brought up in their persuasion ;
and always through life, Avhen occasion re-
quired an expression on the subject, he
described himself as a Presbyterian ; though
he never obtrusively put forward his opinions
on religion, and often expressed himself as
desirous of forgetting any little differences of
creed, and of uniting with the virtuous of all
sects and parties in one religion of Clu-istian

It is well known that Mr. Kogers was in
politics a Whig ; but in choice of friends he
did not confine himself to any party ; and
from the time when he first became known
as a writer, and entered much into society,
associated most intimately with persons of
all parties.

Although introduced when very young
into his Father's business, his love of poetry
was shown early. Long before he was


twenty he had put upon paper many lines
which afforded promise of his subsequent
performances. His first published poem, the
" Ode to Superstition," was begun before he
was of Age; ai:d the " Pleasures of Memory"
appeared while he was still a working partner
in the Bank.

Having lost his Father in 1793, whose
death-bed he has touchingly alluded to in his
" Lines written in a Sick Chamber," and,
having united with him In business his
younger Brother Henry, he soon afterwards
retired from all active management of the
affairs of the Banking House, and never re-
sumed it. He quitted his paternal residence
at Newington Green, where he was born,
and had spent the whole of his early life, and,
after living a short time in chambers in the
Temple, he removed, about 1803, to a house
in St. James's Place, looking into the Green
Park. This house he had altered and nearly


rebuilt according to his own taste ; and in it
he resided until liis death, on the 18th of
December, 1855.

He has been heard to describe how, on
some occasion after the death of his Father,
he detected himself makins; a calculation as to
the amount he might expect to accumulate
if he continued to devote his whole time to
the pursuit of wealth ; and he was so shocked
by the idea of being influenced by such mo-
tives, that he determined to desist from active
business, and to attend to it henceforth only
occasionally, or when matters of importance
made the assistance of his judgment desirable
in the affairs of the Bank : a resolution to
which he subsequently adhered.

This resolution gave hmi leisure to adopt,
and indulge in, those pursuits which were
more congenial to his taste and judgment ;
and to foster that love which, in the conclu-
sion to his poem of Italy, he has described


himself as having been gifted with by Na-
ture : —

" A passionate love for music, sculpture, painting,

" For poetry, the language of the gods,

" For all things he/e or grand or beautiful,

" A setting sun, a lake among the mountains,

" The light of an ingenuous countenance,

" And what transcends them all, a generous action."

With what success he profited by these
gifts, and Improved the advantages which he
has thus described, It must be left to others
to decide. His published works, and the re-
putation he enjoyed through a long life for
taste in literature and the fine arts, and for
genuine and unobtrusive benevolence, will
assist in arriving at a correct opinion, which,
it is hoped, will not be unfavourable.

The time occupied in the composition of
each of his several works was considerable,
as he was always ready to acknowledge. He
pursued a practice, which he often recom-


mended to others, of laying by his poems for
a length of time after they were written, in
order to reconsider them again and again, be-
fore thinking them complete. In illustration
of this custom, it may be mentioned, that in
his Common Place Book is the following
entry, giving the dates of publication of his
various works, his own age at the time, and
the number of years occupied in the composi-
tion and revision of each. These particulars
are here given in his own words : —

Date of



1785 .

Ode . . .

2 years


1792 .

P. ofM. . .

7 „


1798 .

Epistle . .

6 ,,


1812 .

Columbus . .

14 „


1813 .

Jacqueline .

1 „


1819 .

Human Life .

6 „


1834 .

Italy . . . .

15 „


From the year 1834, when, as he has thus
described, he completed his last important



work, until his death, he had frequent occu-
pation, while his health allowed, in preparing
for the press the repeated issues that were
called for almost annually of his previously
published volumes. After 1834 he wrote no
poem of length, though he often introduced
new lines and stanzas, or trifling alterations
in the successive editions of his works. These
changes or additions consisted in part of
poetry ; but the greater portion of his atten-
tion in the latter years of his life, as far as
related to his own productions, was given
to the notes to his Italy, which he made a
medium of recording his thoughts and senti-
ments on various subjects in connection with
the poem. In these notes he took great
interest ; and the style of them, and the
nature of the information conveyed, may
be considered as approved by his mature

As a proof of the opinion entertained to a


late period of his life of the continuance of
his powers of mind, and of his taste and judg-
ment in poetry, it may be mentioned that on
the death of Mr. Wordsworth in the year
1850, the post of Laureate was offered to him
by Her Majesty. This offer, made in a
letter from Prince Albert, was in such grati-
fying terms as to require great strength of
mind, and self-denial, on the part of Mr.
Rogers to refuse it. He felt, however, that
his time of life was so advanced, for he was
then 87, as made it imperative on him to
decline the honour intended him; and on
this ground alone, and after a considerable
struggle, he communicated his refusal to
His Royal Highness. The appointment
was afterwards conferred by Her Majesty
on Mr. Tennyson.

The following pages are not the produc-
tion of that part of Mr. Rogers's life to
which allusion has just been made; but.


although written at earlier periods, they
have the sanction of his later years; as,
until a short time before his death, it was
his habit to refer to them frequently, and
occasionally to select or arrange parts of
them with a view to future publication.
They will be interesting as showing who
were among his most valued friends, and
what conversation he thought most worthy
of being remembered, during that time of his
life when his faculties were the strongest,
and when, from his mixing most in society,
he had the widest field to gather from. And,
although they are but few and short, yet the
existence of them in manuscript has been
so often made known to his intimate friends,
and they are so characteristic of the mind
and thoughts of the Writer, that it is believed
that the publication of them may be felt as
not entirely unlooked for; and it is hoped
they may be favourably received as a slight


contribution to the biography of a generation
that has now passed away.

The extreme conciseness of some parts
of the Recollections often seems to render
explanation necessary ; and the Editor has
therefore ventured to add occasional notes,
containing dates or other references, wliich,
it is hoped, may assist in making clear
some otherwise obscure passages. These
notes are, however, very imperfect, and
additions might be made to them with ad-
vantage, as there are still several passages
which the Editor has not been able to
clear up, but which it is believed that
further search, or a more intimate ac-
quaintance with parties named, might assist
in explaining. For the information con-
veyed in several of these Notes he is in-
debted to the suggestions of Friends ; an


obligation he begs to acknowledge with


The few Notes by Mr. Rogers are dis-
tinguished by his initials, S. R., which he
had in many places subscribed to them him-

William Sharpe.

Highbury Terrace,
May, 1859.



Preface by Samuel Rogers 3


Charles James Fox 7

Edmund Burke 81

Henry Grattan 93

Richard Person 115

John Home Tooke 127

Prince Talleyrand 153

Lord Erskine 163

Sir Walter Scott 171

Lord Grenville 177

Duke of Wellington 195





)ORD Clarendon was often heard
to say that, next to the blessing of
Almighty God, he owed all the
little he knew and the little good that was in
him to the friendships and conversation of the
most excellent men ; and he always charged
his children to follow his example ; protesting
that in the whole course of his life he never
knew one man, of what condition soever, arrive
at any degree of reputation in the world, who
delighted in the company of those who were
not superior to himself. — Clarendon's Me-
moirs of his own Life}

' Abridged from a passage in the Life of Lord Claren-
don, written by himself, 3rd edit. vol. i. p. 29.


That such has been my practice through life,
if not with the same success, these pages can
testify. By many they will be thought of little
value ; but some may think otherwise. The
principal speakers here were men most eminent
in their day ; the transactions in which they bore
a part have now become history ; and some, who
were then unborn, may not be unwilHng to pas3
an hour or two in their company, to hear them
talk as they did, when they were most at their
ease — in a morning-walk or in an evening by the
fire-side — and to share in what so few, even of
their contemporaries, had the privilege of en-


I am well aware that these scraps of conversa-
tion have little to recommend them, but as serving
to shew his playfulness, his love of letters, and his
good nature in unbending himself to a young man.
They were read by his Nephew with tears in his
eyes. — S. E.


Seen him I have, but in his happier hour.
POPE, Epilogue to Satires.

ilNED at William Smith's/ March
19th, 1796, with him [Fox], Dr.
Parr,2 Tierney,'' Courtney,'* Sir
Francis Baring,^ Dr. Aikin,^ Mack-
intosh,'^ and Francis.*^ Sheridan 9 seixt an excuse.

' M.P. for Norwich, and for many years champion of
the rights of the Dissenters in the House of Commons.

* Kev. Samuel Parr, LL.D.

* George Tierney, afterwards a Privy Councillor and
Treasurer of the Navy, and since Master of the Mint.

* Probably John Courtenay, Secretary to Lord Towns-
hend while Lord Lieutenant of L-eland : a Commissioner
of the Treasiiry in 1806.

* Father of Alexander Baring, afterwards Lord Ash-

® John Aikin, a physician : of liberal politics : author
of very numerous works in science and general literature :
principal author of Aikin's General Biography. Mrs.
Barbauld was his sister.

' Afterwards Sir James Mackintosh.

^ Sir Philip Prancis. " Eichard Brinsley Sheridan.


Delighted with his fine tact, his feehng, open,
and gentlemanlike manner ; so full of candour
and diffidence, and entering with great ardour
and interest into the conversation.

Francis was an idolater of Don Quixote ; Fox
said he had not formerly admired it so much.
Read Spanish, and had acquired it with great
ease, by means of the Italian partly. Had read
the other works of Cervantes, and Quevedo,
who was very difficult.

Admired Gray's fragment on Government,'
but not so highly as Courtney, who thought it
the first 100 lines in the language, and quoted,
" Oft o'er the trembling nations." Thought
he could find better in the Religio Laici" — and
the Traveller, from which he quoted — " And
wondering man could want a larger pile," ^ &c.
— preferred that poem to the Deserted Village.

Was disappointed by Schiller's Robbers.

' Fragment of an Essay on the Alliance of Education
and Government : sent by Gray to Dr. Wharton in a
letter dated 19th Aug. 1748. See Gray's Memoirs, by
* Dryden.

^ " And, wondering man could want the larger pile,
Exults, and owns his cottage with a smile."

Goldsmith's Traveller.


When I hinted its having been suggested by
Massinger's Guardian, he remembered it in-
stantly, and said he should read it again.

Thought Massinger underrated and neglected
— had always admired him greatly, and preferred
him much to Beaumont and Fletcher.

Quoted largely from the Hind and Panther,*
and particularly with great emphasis Dryden's
" Happy the man, and happy he alone,"^ which
he preferred to the original of Horace. Was
fonder of Dryden than Pope.

Thought Pope's Eloisa to Abelard " about
half and half;" and particularly disliked " Give
all thou canst," &c. ; and " Oh ! make me mis-
tress to the man I love," only a common vulgar
sentiment, and not as it is in her letters '' the
wife of Abelard." Eloisa much greater in her
letters than Pope had made her.

Liked the Rape of the Lock and Prologue to

* Dryden.

* A verse in the paraphrase, by Dryden, of the 29th
Ode of the 3rd Book of Horace, beginning

" Tyrrhena regum progenies."

In the editions of Dryden's Works which I have seen, it
is said (erroneously) to be a paraphrase of the 29th Ode of
the 1st Book.


Cato ; but above all the Messiah. Thought the
Sylphs the prettiest things in the world.

Admired the flow of Dryden's verse, which
does not end with the Rhyme.

After recording the good as well as the bad
qualities of Addison, the last couplet is very
faulty — why laugh if there be such a man, why
weep if it be Atticus ? — The name cannot add
anything to our regret.^

When Francis said that Wilberforce, if it was
left to him to decide whether Pitt should go out
of office for ten months and the Slave-trade be
abolished for ever, or Pitt remain in — with the
Slave-trade, would decide for Pitt — " Yes," said
Fox, " I'm afraid he would be for Barabbas."

' This criticism will be better understood after reading
the lines in question, on the character of Addison, in Pope's
Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot, lines 193, &c; in which Addi-
son is described under the name of Atticus : —

" Peace to all such ! but were there One whose fires
True Genius kindles, and fair Fame inspires ;
Blest with each talent and each art to please.
And born to write, converse, and live with ease :
Should such a man, too ft)nd to rule alone.
Bear, like the Turk, no brother near the throne,
View him with scornful, yet with jealous eyes,
And hate for arts that caused himself to rise ;
Damn with faint praise, assent with civil leer.
And without snee.-ing, teach the rest to sneer ;


Mentioned the extreme uneasiness he felt, when
he spent even a single clay in a town where he
did not know the language. " You are imposed
ujDon," says Tierney, " without even the satis-
faction of knowing it." " Not only that," says

He reads all the Novels.

Thought Iphigenia the English for Iphigenia,
as Virgil is for Virgilius.

" I should not care," said he, " if I was con-
demned never to stir beyond a mile from St.
Anne's hill for the rest of my life."

Very fond of the society of boys ; as also
Mrs. Armstead." They have them over from

Willing to wound, and yet afraid to strike,
Just hint a fault, and hesitate dislike ;
Alike reserved to blame or to commend,
A tim'rous foe, and a suspicious friend ;
Dreading ev"n Fools, by Flatterers besieged.
And so obliging that he ne'er obliged;
Like Cato, give his little Senate laws,
And sit attentive to his own applause ;
While Wits and Templars ev'ry sentence raise,
And wonder ^v•ith a foolish face of praise —
Who but must laugh, if such a man there be ?
Who would not weep, if ATTICUS were he ? "

* Afterwards Mrs. Fox.

' " I called yesterday on Fox at St. Anne's, and found


Dined with him at Serjeant Heywood's, 10th
Dec. 1796. Present Lord Derby, Lord Stanley,
Lord Lauderdale, Wm. Smith, Dr. Aikin, * * *
Member for Durham, and Brogden.

I always say, and always think, that of all the
countries in Eu'-ope, England will be the last to
be free. Russia will be free before England.
The Russians know no better, and knowledge
might and would operate on them to good ; but
the English have the knowledge and the slavery

Property will always have its influence. Were
all the Landed men in the Country to unite in
a mass, you will say that they might effect any-
thing. Their income is twenty-five milHons ;
but the King's is the same, and though part
merges in the interest of the debt, still you will
errant it has its influence.

him drawing a pond to please an Eton boy, a son of the
Bishop of Down. I told him he was committing a double
crime, killing the poor fish and ruining Coss, for Coss has
a perpetual holyday there. He left off, and we had some
talk on the times. He has no hope."

Lord Erskine to S. R. July I7th, 1798.
[Dr. Dickson, Bishop of Down and Connor, was an inti-
mate friend of Fox. Their intimacy began at Eton, and
lasted till the bishop's death in 1804.]


A man must have a grand want of right feel-
ing and right thinking, who does not like popu-

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