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ever, in any part of his life, that he possessed the peculiar powers which can alone lead to distinction, and to the large usefulness which accompanies it, in the profession of the preacher. Mr. Dyce, in his recollections of Rogers's conversation-recollections which show on every page that they are chiefly gathered from Rogers's declining days-reports a freak which, small as it seems in the record, is interesting as showing that as a boy he was greatly under the influence of a strong imagination. There was a children's ball at his father's house, at which many older people were present. Samuel Rogers, then about thirteen, was dancing a minuet with a pretty little girl, and at the moment when he should have put on his hat and given both hands to his partner he threw the hat among the young ladies who were sitting on the benches, creating much surprise and confusion. This strange feat,' he said to Mr. Dyce, 'was occasioned by my suddenly recollecting a story of some gallant youth who had signalised himself in the same way.'
HIS IMAGINATIVE CHILDHOOD
He probably told this story because it showed an unregulated and childish form of the desire for distinction which was an important element of his character as a young man. There seemed but little chance of his distinguishing himself when he left school. He was the third son, and his proper place, in his father's view, was a stool in the shop,' as it was the custom to call the bank. To the bank, therefore, he went. His eldest brother, Daniel, had already gone to Cambridge. Daniel was intended for the bar. His father thought of him as the member of the family most likely to dis
tinguish himself, and probably anticipated his entering Parliament and reaching the higher ranks of the profession. But Daniel never took either to the law or to banking. He lived and died a country gentleman. Thomas and Samuel were to be the bankers, and they went to business instead of to the university. The London of those days was a very different place from the London of the present generation. Few of the merchants or bankers lived, as the Rogerses did, away in the suburbs. Some years later, when Mr. Jones Loyd came to London he dwelt over his bank in Lothbury, and there the late Lord Overstone was born in 1796. On Temple Bar there was a ghastly relic which testified to the barbarity of the times, for Rogers remembered seeing one of the heads of the rebels still exposed upon its pole. It was the London which Dickens has admirably described in 'Barnaby Rudge;' the London of the Gordon Riots. Rogers recollected the excitement and the horrors of the time. He had already gone to business when the riots occurred; and one of his most vivid recollections was that of seeing a cartload of young girls, in coloured dresses, passing through the streets on the way to execution at Tyburn. They had been condemned to death for taking part in the riots, though in all probability they had done little more than look on.
There is no reason to believe that Samuel Rogers exhibited any strong disinclination to go to business. The poetical temperament is often intolerant of drudgery, but he had been too dutifully brought up to allow him. to waste time and strength in protests against conditions
HE GOES TO BUSINESS
he could not alter. Such sentimental complaints as Kirke White afterwards indulged against the employment which was generously given him in Mr. Enfield's office at Nottingham, were not likely to arise from a boy nurtured in the atmosphere of the Stoke Newington home. It was a disappointment to Rogers that he was obliged to take to business when all his tastes and inclinations led him to literature, but he submitted without repining. If banking was to be his work, literature should be his recreation; and if the one was cheerfully done as daily duty, the other should be joyfully sought as a source of never-ending delight. He never comtemplated making literature his profession. He spoke of it as mere drudgery when it is made the business of life, but thought that when it is resorted to only at certain hours it is a charming relaxation. In these earlier years he was a banker's clerk, obliged to be at the desk every day from ten in the morning till five in the afternoon, but he never forgot the delight with which, after returning home, he turned to the reading and writing which occupied his evening leisure. In these days, too, he was not without a lively interest in politics. One day, in the general election of 1780, Wilkes came into the bank to canvass Mr. Rogers. He was out, but Samuel was able to assure the popular candidate for Middlesex of his father's sympathy; and felt proud at having shaken hands with him. Wilkes was a man of good manners, but ugly and with a squint. He was chamberlain of the city, and Rogers remembered seeing him going to the Guildhall on foot, in a scarlet coat, military boots, and a bag-wig-the hackney coachmen
calling to him 'A coach, your honour?' but calling in vain. When Wilkes called to canvass him Thomas Rogers was probably at Coventry, where he was one of the Whig candidates. His colleague was Sir Thomas Halifax, and the Tory candidates were Mr. Edward Roe Yeo and Mr. John Baker Holroyd, afterwards Lord Sheffield. The contest was one which attracted great notice at the time, and the accounts of it which have been preserved illustrate in a very striking way the political manners and customs of the age. Daniel Rogers writes to Samuel
'Coventry: Septr. 14th . 'Dear Sammy,-As I have no doubt you are anxious to hear of our health, and the particulars of our situation, especially at such a riotous period, I have taken this earliest opportunity of answering your kind letter to my father by return of post. Few words are necessary to acquaint you with the state of the election. . . . Yesterday and to-day the booth has been so encompassed with a riotous mob that the poll has been adjourned without proceeding to business. Every equitable proposition to prevent riot and confusion has been rejected by Mr. Holroyd and Mr. Yeo; but the sheriffs are determined to persevere in adjourning the poll from day to day till the freedom of election is restored. At present our voters are obstructed, beaten, stripped, and endangered by a hired mob of colliers and others of the like stamp. The whole affair will doubtless be misrepresented by our opponents in the London papers, but our friends are convinced we have the majority of voters; and Mr. Briggs, who has examined the subject, and been
THE COVENTRY ELECTION
remarkably active, is of the same opinion. . . . With compliments to Dr. and Mrs. Price,
'I remain, your ever affectionate
This letter was written on the fifth day after the poll opened. So great was the rioting that in nine days, from the 9th to the 18th of September, only eighty-three persons voted. The sheriffs, determined not to proceed with the election till peace was restored, closed the poll on the ninth day, and made no return. The new House of Commons met on the 31st of October, but there were no members from Coventry, and the sheriffs were accordingly summoned to the Bar of the House and eventually committed to prison, and on their release were reprimanded by the Speaker. In December another election was held, the same candidates being in the field. Party feeling still ran as high as ever, and the prolonged polling, which lasted more than a fortnight, gave occasion for all kinds of disturbance. The election is described in a letter from his father to Sam.
Thomas Rogers to Samuel Rogers.
'Coventry Saturday evening, 15th December, 1780. 'Dear Sammy,-I have received several kind letters lately from the Green, but, as yours was the last, I have laid my hand first upon it. I wish I could have the happiness to make one of your party this evening at the Green, but, alas! I am still confined to this region of discord and contention. Coventry seems to be the place where every unclean bird dwells, for of all the black