Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Rose, Samuel

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ROSE, SAMUEL (1767–1804), friend of Cowper, the poet, born at Chiswick, Middlesex, on 20 June 1767, was the second and only surviving son of Dr. William Rose (1719–1786).

The father, eldest son of Hugh Rose of Birse, Aberdeenshire, the descendant of an old Morayshire family, was educated at Marischal College, Aberdeen, and afterwards served as usher to the Earl of Dunmore at Dr. Doddridge's academy at Northampton. Thence, shortly after his marriage (to Sarah, daughter of Dr. Samuel Clark), he moved to Kew, and in 1758 to Chiswick, where he conducted a prosperous school until his death, 4 July 1786. Besides editing Dodsley's ‘Preceptor’ (2 vols. 1748), he issued a translation of Sallust's ‘Catiline's Conspiracy and Jugurthine War’ (London, 1757, 8vo). The work was commended in the ‘Bibliographical Miscellany’ and other reviews, and a fourth edition was edited by A. J. Valpy in 1830. Though a ‘sectary’ and a Scot, Rose was much liked by Dr. Johnson; but Johnson blamed his leniency with the rod, ‘for,’ said he, ‘what the boys gain at one end they lose at the other.’ Among Rose's pupils was Dr. Charles Burney the younger, who married his daughter Sarah. Among his friends was Bishop Lowth, and his executors were Cadell and William Strahan, the publishers. His classical library was sold by T. Payne on 1 March 1787.

Samuel was educated for a time at his father's school, and from 1784 to January 1787 at Glasgow University, living in the house of Dr. William Richardson, and gaining several prizes. He also attended the courts of law at Edinburgh, and was friendly there with Adam Smith and Henry Mackenzie, the ‘Man of feeling.’ On 6 Nov. 1786 he was entered as a student at Lincoln's Inn, and, after reading with Serjeant Praed from 1787 to 1790, was called to the bar in 1796. He went the home circuit, attended the Sussex sessions, was ‘encouragingly noticed’ by Lord Kenyon, and appointed counsel to the Duke of Kent. Rose was delicate from early life, and on 11 Jan. 1804, when engaged by Hayley to defend William Blake at the quarter sessions at Chichester from a charge of high treason brought against him by two soldiers, was seized in court by a severe cold. In spite of his illness he gained the case by a vigorous cross-examination and defence, but he never recovered from the attack (Gilchrist, William Blake, i. 193–8). He died of consumption at his residence in Chancery Lane, London, on 20 Dec. 1804, and was buried in the church of St. Andrew, Holborn; some lines were written on him by Hayley. He married, at Bath, on 3 Aug., 1790, Sarah, elder daughter of William Farr, M.D., a fellow student of Goldsmith. She survived him with four sons. Cowper Rose, R.E., the second child and the poet's godson, for whose benefit Hayley published in 1808 Cowper's translations of the ‘Latin and Italian Poems of Milton,’ was the author of ‘Four Years in South Africa,’ 1829, 8vo. The youngest son, George Edward Rose, born in 1799, was English professor at the Polish college of Krzemieniec, on the borders of the Ukraine, from 1821 until his retirement was compelled by the persecution of the Russian officials in 1824; he translated the letters of John Sobieski to his queen during the siege of Vienna by the Turks in 1683, and made researches for a history of Poland. He died at Odessa on 22 Oct. 1825 (Gent. Mag. 1826, i. 368).

In 1787, when travelling from Glasgow to London, Rose went six miles out of his way to call on Cowper at Weston, the main object of the visit being to give to the poet the thanks of some of the Scots professors for the two volumes which he had published. He developed a strong affection for the poet, and many letters passed between them (cf. Addit. MS. 21556; Notes and Queries, 1st ser. viii. 383). Rose was with Cowper in August 1788 (when he transcribed for the poet his version of the twelfth book of the Iliad), and paid him many subsequent visits, the last of all in March and April 1800. He got many names, especially from Scotland, as subscribers to Cowper's ‘Homer,’ and in October 1793 he carried Sir Thomas Lawrence to Weston Underwood, in order that he might paint the poet's portrait. The royal pension of 300l. per annum to Cowper was made payable to Rose, as his trustee, and Canning, so late as December 1820, called him ‘Cowper's best friend.’

The miscellaneous works of Goldsmith were collected by Rose and published in 1801, 1806, 1812, and 1820 in four volumes. The memoir prefixed was compiled under the direction of Bishop Percy, but numerous additions were made to it by Rose and others. Percy subsequently accused Rose of impertinently tampering with the ‘Memoir’ (Forster, Life of Goldsmith, i. 14, ii. 492).

Rose edited in 1792 an edition of the ‘Reports of Cases by Sir John Comyns,’ and in 1800 Sir John Comyns's ‘Digest of the Laws of England,’ in six volumes, of which the first was dedicated to Lord Thurlow (cf. Temple Bar, January 1896, pp. 42–3). He regularly contributed to the ‘Monthly Review,’ chiefly on legal subjects, and is said to have assisted Lord Sheffield in editing Gibbon's miscellaneous and posthumous works.

Rose's portrait was painted by Sir Thomas Lawrence in 1798, and was engraved in 1836 by H. Robinson, from a drawing by W. Harvey.

[Nichols's Lit. Anecd. iii. 387; Nichols's Illustrations of Lit. vi. 583–4; Prior's Goldsmith, vol. i. pp. xiii, 153; Faulkner's Brentford and Chiswick, pp. 349–54, 363–8; Hayley's Cowper (1809), iii. 449–58; Johnson's Life of Hayley, i. 457–72; Gent. Mag. 1790 ii. 764, 1804 ii. 1249; Wright's Cowper, pp. 449–50, 484, 615, 623, 631; Boswell's Johnson, ed. Hill, i. 46 n.; Thorn's Environs of London, p. 102.]

W. P. C.