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Shades of departed joys around me rise,
These are early efforts in the direction of his later and more successful style. It may be objected to the stanzas written at midnight that tempests would not 'sigh' through a broken pane, and that 'falters on the faithless floor' is too alliterative. But the perturbed watcher sees his own agitation reflected in the moaning of the wind, which he thus exaggerates into a tempest; while the silence of the house is equally represented in his mind by the faltering of his step as he treads the floor, the creaking of which betrays his vigil.
The Bank Partnership-Hackney College-Dr. Kippis one of his Literary Sponsors-Helen Maria Williams and the Coquerels-Mrs. Barbauld— Joanna Baillie-Death of Thomas Rogers, junior- Letters from Thomas Rogers, senior Visit to Edinburgh Adam Smith, Robertson, H. Mackenzie-The Piozzis-Tour through ScotlandBurns-Henry Mackenzie and his works-Sir Joshua Reynolds and Burke.
THE few years that followed the publication of the 'Ode to Superstition' were the turning point in Samuel Rogers's history, the period at which all his prospects underwent a change, and life opened out before him with new and boundless opportunities. As the third son he had only the expectation of a share in his father's growing business. He had gone to the bank as a clerk, and in 1784, a few months before he had completed his twenty-first year, he had been taken into partnership. The partnership deeds show that Thomas Rogers the younger and his brother Samuel became members of the firm on the 19th of April, 1784. Mr. Olding, who had been principal clerk for many years, was made a partner in 1771, at a salary, and in June, 1778, his name had been added to that of the firm, and his remuneration fixed at one-sixth of the profits. In 1784, Thomas Rogers, jun., and Samuel
The deeds were in possession of the late Mr. Kemp Welch of Woodlands, Parkstone, Dorset, to whom I am indebted for a transcript of their contents.
Rogers were introduced on similar terms. The profits were to be divided into sixty-eight parts, of which nineteen were to go to George Welch, nineteen to Thomas Rogers, sen., and ten each to John Olding, Thomas Rogers, jun., and Samuel Rogers. The name of the firm was at the same time altered to that of Welch, Rogers, Olding, Rogers, and Rogers-Samuel Rogers being the youngest partner, and his name the last.
He was already the best known. The publication of the 'Ode,' and the reception it had met with from the reviewers, and especially from persons known or eminent in literature, to whom he had sent it, had already made him the literary member of the household and the firm. He was known to entertain literary ambitions, and his father at least sympathised with them, and did what he could to advance them. There may possibly have been a little feeling among his brothers and sisters, of impatience at his desire for distinction, or at the manner in which it occasionally appeared. This may account. for one statement recorded by Mr. Dyce. In my youth,' he reports Rogers to have said, 'just as I was beginning to be a little known, I felt much gratified by an invitation to breakfast with Townley, the statue collector, and one night at home I mentioned the invitation. "You have mentioned that before," was the remark'-in all probability a playful sally of his eldest sister, Martha. He told the story, too, of Sir Thomas Lawrence, who on receiving an unexpected prize from the Society of Arts, went with it into the parlour where his brothers and sisters were sitting, but finding that none of them would take the least notice of it, was so much mortified by their
affected indifference that he ran upstairs into his own. room and burst into tears. When he narrated this story of Lawrence to Mrs. Siddons, she in her turn exclaimed :Alas! after I became celebrated none of my sisters loved me as they did before.' Perhaps this coolness, where it arises, is less the fault of the family than of the individual. Fame is an exacting mistress, and demands an undivided service. Social success can only be purchased at a sacrifice, and the sacrifice sometimes is the pieties of home. In these early days, however, no such sacrifice was asked of Samuel Rogers, or was made by him. He could only have spoken of a temporary misunderstanding, due to his own eagerness; for there are no signs in the family letters, that any but the most affectionate relations existed between the father and the children, the brothers and sisters, at Newington Green.
Mr. Thomas Rogers had, at this time, entered into a new engagement which was very advantageous to his son Samuel. He had sent his eldest son Daniel to Cambridge; but he was fully impressed, as the Unitarians always were, with the inconvenience of the prevailing system of subscription to creeds, as a condition. of university education. As these barriers shut out their theological students from the national seats of learning, they endeavoured to provide means of academical instruction for themselves. With this object the Hackney College was founded, and Thomas Rogers became its chairman. There are frequent references to this college in his letters. Among the tutors there were the Rev. Gilbert Wakefield, and afterwards Dr. Kippis, the learned and accomplished editor of the Biographia
Britannica.' Dr. Kippis was in those days a frequent visitor at the house on Newington Green, and many of Samuel Rogers's early introductions to literary society came through him. He had friends among all parties; that hearty Tory, Boswell, while lamenting that he was a 'Separatist,' speaks of him as his friend, and in a note to his Life of Johnson,' in which he apologises for having carelessly joined in a censure which had been carelessly uttered, bears witness to the manly, candid good temper which marks his character.' Dr. Kippis frequently took Sam Rogers with him to literary parties; and Rogers himself followed up the introductions thus given. Dr. Price and Dr. Kippis were thus, as it were, his literary sponsors. They were both Fellows of the Royal Society, and had a large acquaintance among scientific men. Dr. Kippis was also a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. Samuel Rogers called for Dr. Kippis one evening at Robinson's (the bookseller's), to go with him to a meeting of that society. When Dr. Kippis came down he said, 'Tom Warton is upstairs,' and Rogers always regretted that he had not gone up to see the Laureate. The only letter from Dr. Kippis which has been preserved is dated from Westminster, the 14th November, 1787, and is to inform Rogers that 'Miss Helen Williams desires his company at tea on Monday next. She lives at Mr. Jacques's, the first house in Southampton Row, Bloomsbury, opposite Russell Street.' In 1789 he owed to Dr. Kippis an easy entrance into the best literary society of the Scottish capital.
Miss Helen Maria Williams to whom Dr. Kippis had introduced him, was at that time living in London with