William Roscoe


William Roscoe, philanthropist and biographer of Lorenzo de Medici, came from a humble family and was largely self-educated. He studied with Mrs. Barbauld, sold vegetables, taught school, and worked as a bookseller's apprentice before being articled to an attorney in 1769. He was admitted to the King's Bench in 1774 and practiced until 1796 when he retired to pursue botany and literary studies. Roscoe joined a banking concern (1805), was M.P. for Liverpool (1806-07) and first president of the Liverpool Royal Institution (1817). Following a bankruptcy in 1816, his library of Italian literature was auctioned, fetching the vast sum of 5150.


1795The Life of Lorenzo de' Medici.
1806The Butterfly's Ball, and the Grasshopper's Feast.
1817The Butterfly's Birth-Day.
1824Estimate of the Poetical Character and Writings of Pope.


Mount Pleasant, a descriptive poem. 1777.
A general view of the African slave trade. 1787.
Wrongs of Africa. 1787, 1788.
A scriptural refutation of a pamphlet ... on the licitness of the slave trade. 1788.
Poesie ... finora inedite [Lorenzo the Magnificent, ed. Roscoe]. 1791.
The life, death, and wonderful achievements of Edmund Burke. A new ballad. 1792.
Thoughts on the causes of the present failures. 1793.
The life of Lorenzo de' Medici, called the Magnificent. 2 vols, 1795.
Lorenzo di Medici; and other poems. 1797.
The nurse ... translated from the Italian [Tansillo]. 1798.
An address delivered before the proprietors of the botanic garden in Liverpool. 1802.
Life and pontificate of Leo the Tenth. 4 vols, 1805.
The butterfly's ball, and the grasshopper's feast. 1807.
Considerations on the causes, objects and consequences of the present war. 1808.
Remarks on the proposals made to Great Britain for opening negotiations for peace. 1807.
The butterfly's birthday. 1809.
Brief observations on the Address to His Majesty. 1810.
Occasional tracts relative to the war betweeen Great Britain and France. 1810.
A letter to Henry Brougham ... on ... reform. 1811.
An answer to a letter from Mr. J. Merritt on ... Parliamentary reform. 1812.
A review of the speeches of the Right Honourable George Canning. 1812.
Lord Nelson's monument ... a description. 1813?
On the origin and vicissitudes of literature, science, and art, and their influence on the present state of society. A discourse. 1817.
Observations on penal jurisprudence. 1819; 1823.
Poems for youth, by a family circle. 1820.
Illustrations, historical and critical, of the life of Lorenzo de' Medici. 1822.
Memoir of R. R. Jones of Aberdeen. 1822.
Works of Alexander Pope. 10 vols, 1824.
A letter to ... W. L. Bowles ... in reply to his Final Appeal ... relative to Pope. 1825.
A brief statement of the causes which have led to the abandonment of penitentiary discipline. 1827.
Monandrian plants of the order scitaminae, chiefly drawn from living specimens. 1828.
Poetical works. 1853.
The dingle: a poem. 1860.