Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Roche, Eugenius

ROCHE, EUGENIUS (1786–1829), journalist, was born on 23 Feb. 1786 in Paris. His father, a distant relative of Edmund Burke Roche, first baron Fermoy, was professor of modern languages in L'École Militaire, Paris, and survived his son. Eugenius was educated by his father in Paris, and at the age of eighteen came to London, where commenced writing for the press. In 1807 he started a periodical called ‘Literary Recreations,’ which was not financially successful. But in it Byron, Allan Cunningham, and other poets of note made their first appearance in print. In 1808 Roche began the publication of ‘The Dramatic Appellant,’ a quarterly journal, whose object was to print in each number three of the rejected plays of the period. In it will be found two of Roche's own contributions to the drama, ‘William Tell’ and ‘The Invasion.’ The former was being rehearsed when Drury Lane Theatre was destroyed by fire on 24 Feb. 1809. The ‘Dramatic Appellant’ was not a conspicuous success, and in 1809 Roche became parliamentary reporter of the ‘Day,’ an advanced liberal newspaper, of which he was appointed editor about 1810. Its name was afterwards changed to the ‘New Times’ and then to the ‘Morning Journal.’ While editing it he was imprisoned for a year for an attack on the government in reference to the case of Sir Francis Burdett [q. v.] On his release he became editor of the ‘National Register,’ a weekly paper. In August 1813 he accepted an engagement on the ‘Morning Post,’ becoming one of its editors shortly afterwards. He was also associated with the ‘Courier,’ for a time an influential organ of liberal opinion. He was recognised as one of the ablest journalists of his day. He died on 9 Nov. 1829 in Hart Street, Bloomsbury. A large sum was subscribed for his second wife and family, and his poems were collected and published, with a memoir and portrait, for their benefit, with a very distinguished list of subscribers, under the title of ‘London in a Thousand Years,’ in 1830.

[Gent. Mag. 1829, ii. 640; Memoir prefixed to London in a Thousand Years; Byron's Life and Correspondence, ed. Moore; Fox-Bourne's History of English Journalism; Grant's Newspaper Press.]

D. J. O'D.