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'When L, who had been sentenced to the pillory, saw Foote in the pump room at Bath, whither he had been ordered for the jaundice: "Your looks mend," says L———. "Yes," says Foote, "I am washing the eggs from my face."

'Murphy said: "I meant Foote in my character of Dashwold, where I have used his bon-mot to the Duke of Cumberland."

'Murphy met Costello at Lord Camden's. "My wife and I," said Costello, "quarrelled, and we agreed to divide. I said to her-'I will take one side of the house and you the other.' I took the inside and she took the outside."

CHAPTER IX.

Death of Rogers's Father - Richard Sharp

Rogers deciding on a West-end life--R. Cumberland, R. Merry, T. Cooper-Priestley's exile-Horne Tooke's Trial --William Stone's Trial-Mrs. Siddons and her epilogue-Dr. Moore-Early Correspondence with Richard Sharp-Rogers's Commonplace Book-Dr. Johnson and Dr. Priestley— 'My Club '-Rogers and Polwhele.

THE turning-point in Rogers's life had now come. At the beginning of his thirtieth year he had found himself recognised as a popular poet, and had begun to enjoy the kind of fame for which he longed. But no thought of the social celebrity he was afterwards to attain had as yet come into his mind. He was still the junior partner in the bank, and day by day was occupied with its business. He was on the unpopular side both in politics and in religion; and his prospects of wealth were remote. While his father lived,' says Samuel Sharpe, 'Mr. Rogers's friends had been as much chosen for their politics as for their literature,' and in the diary quoted in the previous chapter we find him frequently in the company of some of the chief Liberal politicians of that exciting and agitated time. The house at Stoke Newington was one in which Liberal politicians and Liberal divines -Whigs, latitudinarians, and Unitarians-found themselves at home. The elder Rogers was, in words which came into use at a later day, 'a Whig and something

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more.' Among the signatures to the celebrated Declaration of the Society instituted for the purpose of obtaining a Parliamentary Reform' under the title of Friends of the People,' that of Thomas Rogers comes immediately before that of the Hon. Thomas Erskine, M.P., and Samuel Rogers directly follows on the Right Hon. Lord John Russell, M.P. The names of John Towgood, who had married Samuel Rogers's eldest sister Martha, and of his friends Dr. Kippis and Richard Sharp also appear with those of Grey and Lambton and Sheridan and Mackintosh and Whitbread, among the hundred which constitute this illustrious catalogue. Dr. Priestley had come to London in the autumn of 1791; and the elder Rogers first, and his son afterwards, opened the house at Newington Green to the persecuted philosopher and divine. Thomas Rogers in one of his last letters to his son expresses constant sympathy with the French, but writing on the 13th of September, 1792, about the subscription for France which Horne Tooke and his friends. were getting up, he reasons conclusively against it, and tells his son: 'I would wish you not to have anything to do with it. It is of a piece with the rest of Horne Tooke's politics, which are more of the bravado than the man of true wisdom.' This is not the criticism of an opponent, but of a friend. It need not be taken to indicate any difference between father and son. In politics, as in religion and business, there seems to have been to the last the fullest confidence and sympathy between Thomas Rogers and his son Samuel. The beginning of the year 1793, to which part of the diary given in the previous chapter belongs, found Samuel Rogers still

DEATH OF HIS FATHER

275

living at Stoke Newington with his father, sisters, and younger brother, without any thought of change or any desire for it on his part or theirs.

This state of things might to all appearance have lasted many years longer, and had it done so the world. might never have known Samuel Rogers as the munificent patron of art and literature he afterwards became. But in the spring of 1793 his father was seized with a fatal illness, and died on the 1st of June. Thomas Rogers had not been a strong man, but his death in his fifty-eighth year was premature. There are no references to it in his son's diaries, nor in the family letters. It was the custom of the family to be silent on such events. There are, however, in the poems two stanzas headed Written in a Sick Chamber,' and dated 1793, which give the only account of his illness.

There in that bed so closely curtained round,
Worn to a shade, and wan with slow decay,
A father sleeps. Oh hushed be every sound,
Soft may we breathe the midnight hours away!

He stirs yet still he sleeps. May heavenly dreams
Long o'er his smooth and settled pillow rise-
Nor fly, till morning through the shutter streams,
And on the hearth the glimmering rushlight dies!

It is a remarkable testimony to Samuel Rogers's business faculty that so excellent a man of business as his father should have left him his own share in the bank and his estates. Thomas Rogers's will practically disinherited his eldest son Daniel in favour of his third son Samuel, who thus became head of the banking firm, and practically head of the family. He now found himself

in possession of about five thousand a year, partly derived from estates and investments, but chiefly from the bank in Freeman's Court. This was a considerable fortune in 1793, and gave Rogers the opportunity which probably woke the desire to live in the society of London. He soon felt that its possession set him free to follow the career to which-as he was not long in discovering-his inclination, his social talents, and his ambition led him. He had formed no definite plan. He probably found that the residence at Stoke Newington was a hindrance to the cultivation of the literary society in which he delighted, and therefore, without breaking away from the old home on the Green, he took chambers in Paper Buildings. The rooms had been previously occupied by Lord Ellenborough, and the range of buildings in which they stood has since been pulled down and a new one erected on the site. Rogers lived in these chambers between six and seven years. During this period he became intimate with many well-known persons, and particularly with four men, of different types of character, who probably exerted the greatest influence on his life. These were Fox, Sheridan, Tooke and Richard Sharp. Rogers not only belonged to Fox's school in politics, but was a devoted admirer of the great Whig statesman and orator. His Recollections' of Fox are among the most interesting and valuable of the treasures his tenacious memory has allowed him to preserve from oblivion, and to hand down to posterity. His intimate association with the Whig leaders for the first fifty years of this century was begun by his acquaintance with Fox, if it may not be said to have arisen out of it. With Sheridan his

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