LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Samuel Rogers and his Contemporaries
Helen Maria Williams to Samuel Rogers, 24 April 1825

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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‘My dear Sir,—You have probably forgotten the handwriting of this letter, and even the remembrance of the signature must be almost lost in the lapse of time—yet, I venture in quality of our long, long acquaintance, to introduce to your notice a very amiable foreigner who goes to pass a few weeks in London, and who has claims to your attentions of far more value than my recommendation. M. Van S. Gouvensvert is one of the most distinguished men of letters of Holland, has translated Homer into Dutch verse, and is the author of many elegant poetical compositions confined to his own country only because they are written in that unknown language, Dutch. He wishes to know what is best worth knowing
in England, and I therefore address him to the author of the “
Pleasures of Memory.” The kindness you may show M. Van S. Gouvensvert will, like other good actions, bring its own reward, for you will, I am sure, be much pleased with his conversation and manners.

‘I last summer talked of you, a subject never indifferent to me, with Sir James Mackintosh, whom I saw here en passant. He told me a trait of your conduct towards a brother poet, that made me weep.

‘I lost not long since the last surviving member of my own family, Mrs. Purvis Williams, the most virtuous character I ever met with, if virtue consists, as I believe it does, in living only for others. She had always been to me a second mother. She was old, but I see no reason in that circumstance for regretting the objects of our affection less; we had passed life together, and had remembrances that were our own. I should now be quite alone in the world if my nephews did not still give interest to my life. I have passed some time in Holland with the eldest, who is a Protestant minister at Amsterdam,1 and has acquired very great celebrity as a preacher. He is certainly one of the first of the present day on the Continent. He is married, and surrounded by a little smiling race, who enter the world as gaily as if there was nothing to do in it but to be happy. My youngest nephew is deeply versed in the sciences, and has already obtained distinguished reputation in France as a writer. For myself, I am among the number of past things, but I can

1 This was Athanase Coquerel the elder, the leader of the French Unitarians, the popular preacher of the Oratoire; representative of Paris after the Revolution of 1848, who proposed in the Assembly the abolition of the punishment of death.

still hold my pen, and am scribbling a little sketch which will perhaps have some interest. I hope you still employ your elegant and happy leisure in courting the beautiful moral muse to whom you owe so many partial favours, and whom it would be ungrateful indeed were you to neglect. Pardon, my dear Sir, this long letter, and believe me, with the highest esteem,

‘Your faithful friend,
H. M. Williams.’
‘Amsterdam: April 24th, 1825.

‘Do you ever see the venerable Mrs. Barbauld? If so, I should wish to be recalled to her remembrance.