LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Samuel Rogers and his Contemporaries
Sir James Mackintosh to Samuel Rogers, 18 August 1815

Vol. I Contents
Chapter I. 1803-1805.
Chapter II. 1805-1809.
Chapter III. 1810-1812.
Chapter IV. 1813-1814.
Chapter V. 1814-1815.
Chapter VI. 1815-1816.
Chapter VII. 1816-1818.
Chapter VIII. 1818-19.
Chapter IX. 1820-1821.
Chapter X. 1822-24.
Chapter XI. 1825-1827.
Vol. II Contents
Chapter I. 1828-1830.
Chapter II. 1831-34.
Chapter III. 1834-1837.
Chapter IV. 1838-41.
Chapter V. 1842-44.
Chapter VI. 1845-46.
Chapter VII. 1847-50.
Chapter VIII. 1850
Chapter IX. 1851.
Chapter X. 1852-55.
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‘Friday, August 18th, 1815.

‘Dear Rogers,—A thousand thanks for your beautiful verses, which call before my eyes our agreeable travels. The Lakes of Geneva and Lucerne are strongly and justly contrasted. The first naturally cheerful and surrounded by animated cultivation, or by places distinguished as the residence of men of talent. The second tremendously sublime—a fit scene for heroic virtue. I know not whether the Lake of Lucerne might not be characterised still more clearly, or, to speak more truly, whether its characteristic feature might not be more brought out. What morally distinguishes the Lake of Uri from most, if not all, other spots on the globe, is that it is perhaps the only place where the whole inhabitants, without excepting the most simple and least instructed, contemplate the scenes of the noble acts of their forefathers in far-distant times with a reverence which study, in most places, teaches the best very
imperfectly to feel and sometimes to feign. Fields of battle are, indeed, in many countries interesting to the vulgar, but mere acts of patriotic virtue have not rendered any spot mother countries the object of permanent popular veneration. I fear it could scarcely have happened in a Protestant country. A religion which tolerates hero worship was necessary to perpetuate the sanctity of
Tell’s Chapel. Travellers from the Isles of the Ocean come to announce to the people of Thessaly that the beach of Thermopylæ differs from other portions of their coast. Not many of the neighbouring inhabitants know what was done on Runnymede, and very few indeed pass over it with unaffected feeling. The inhabitants of Altdorf and Gersau look on the Chapel of Tell with probably stronger feelings than their ancestors who saw it rise from the ground.

‘In countries of industry and wealth the stream of events sweeps away these old remembrances. The solitude of the Alps is a sanctuary destined for the monuments of ancient virtue. Here all is quiet and unchanged. Six centuries have passed away unmarked by any events but three or four pure victories which guarded from profanation the temples of the patriots, and rooted still more deeply the devotion to their memory.

‘Excuse this talk, and believe me, dear Rogers,

‘Very truly yours,
J. Mackintosh.’