1838 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Henry Francis Cary

Samuel Rogers to Lord Holland, 25 December 1838; in P. W. Clayden, Rogers and his Contemporaries (1889) 2:173-74.



My dear Lord Holland,—

The more I reflect on it, the more I am convinced it could not be; for a gentler, meeker spirit does not exist than Cary's. He may write with warmth under a wrong impression — he may turn, when he thinks himself trodden upon — but, if ever I knew a man, and I have known Cary in all weathers, he cannot be what you say he was thought to be — insolent. His case is a very cruel one. He laboured long in a subordinate place; and, when a vacancy occurred, an under servant was put over his head. The measure was perhaps a just one — I cannot say it was not — but the reason could not be explained to him, though it was a reason to create an interest in every generous mind, and he gave in his resignation.

Well, there he was — a man of great merit, great learning and genius — such the cruelty of his case that the Trustees of the Museum went out of their way, opposite as most of them were to him in political sentiments, and recommended him as a proper object of bounty to the government — yet nothing has been done!

Was the Pension List Committee averse to such pensions? Quite otherwise, as I am assured by Lord John Russell.

But he has written a sonnet. What had not Montgomery done, when Sir Robert Peel gave him what he did? If Dryden and Johnson were still alive and pouring forth toryism and bigotry, would not I serve them, if I could? Cary has now withdrawn his friendship from me. He thinks I was his enemy in this matter, but that shall not make me less anxious to render him any service in my power. But power I have none.

Yours ever,

S. R.

Christmas Day, 1838.

He is now slaving for the booksellers.