Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Rogers, Frederic
ROGERS, FREDERIC, Lord Blachford (1811–1889), born at Marylebone on 31 Jan. 1811, was the eldest son of Sir Frederick Leman Rogers, bart. (d. 13 Dec. 1851), who married, on 12 April 1810, Sophia, second daughter and coheiress of the late Lieutenant-colonel Charles Russell Deare of the Bengal artillery. She died on 16 Feb. 1871. He went to Eton in September 1822, and left in the sixth form in July 1828. He was contemporary there with Mr. Gladstone, Bishops Hamilton of Salisbury and Selwyn of Lichfield, and with Arthur Henry Hallam. While at school he contributed, under the pseudonym of ‘Philip Montagu,’ to the ‘Eton Miscellany,’ which Gladstone and Selwyn edited. He matriculated from Oriel College, Oxford, on 2 July 1828. It is said that his choice of a college was due to the fact that John Henry Newman, then on the look-out for pupils of promise, had asked a friend at Eton to bring the college under the notice of his boys. He was a pupil of Hurrell Froude, a fellow Devonian; both Froude and Newman soon became his intimate friends, and remained so throughout life.
Rogers was elected Craven scholar in 1829, and graduated B.A. in 1832 (taking a double first, classics and mathematics), M.A. in 1835, and B.C.L. in 1838. In 1833 he was elected to a fellowship at Oriel, his examination being ‘in strength of mind’ one of the very best that Keble ever knew. He was admitted a student of Lincoln's Inn on 28 Oct. 1831, and called to the bar on 26 Jan. 1837 (Foster, Men at the Bar, p. 39), but he returned to Oxford in 1838, remained a fellow of Oriel until 1845, and became Vinerian scholar in 1834, and Vinerian fellow in 1840. In the last year he spent the winter in Rome with James Hope, afterwards Hope-Scott [q. v.] His friendship with Dean Church began at Oriel in 1838; they travelled together through Brittany during the long vacation of 1844, and their friendship continued unbroken until death. The tractarian movement had the sympathy and counsels of Rogers, and in 1845 he issued ‘A Short Appeal to Members of Convocation on the proposed Censure on No. 90.’ During the latter part of Newman's stay at Oxford Rogers became for a time somewhat estranged from him (Isaac Williams, Autobiography, pp. 122–3). Rogers was one of the little band of enthusiastic churchmen that started on 21 Jan. 1846 the ‘Guardian’ newspaper. They met together in a room opposite the printing press in Little Pulteney Street, wrote articles, revised proofs, and persevered in their unremunerative labour until the paper proved a success.
In 1844 Rogers was called to official life in London. He became at first registrar of joint-stock companies, and then a commissioner of lands and emigration. In 1857 he was appointed assistant commissioner for the sale of encumbered estates in the West Indies, and in 1858 and 1859 he was employed on a special mission to Paris, to settle the conditions on which the French might introduce coolie labour into their colonies. In May 1860 he succeeded Herman Merivale [q. v.] as permanent under-secretary of state for the colonies. That office he retained until 1871. George Higinbotham, an Australian politician, spoke in 1869 of the colonies as having ‘been really governed during the whole of the last fifteen years by a person named Rogers’ (Morris, Memoir of Higinbotham, p. 183). Honours fell thick on him. He succeeded his father as eighth baronet in 1851, was created K.C.M.G. in 1869, G.C.M.G. in 1883, and a privy councillor in 1871, and on 4 Nov. 1871 was raised to the peerage as Baron Blachford of Wisdome, and Blachford in Cornwood, Devonshire. Although he served as cathedral commissioner from 1880 to 1884, and was appointed in 1881 chairman of the royal commission on hospitals for smallpox and fever, and on the best means of preventing the spread of infection, he dwelt for the most part after 1871 on his estate in Devonshire. He restored the chancel of Cornwood church, and placed a window of stained glass in the south transept. He died at Blachford on 21 Nov. 1889. He married, at Dunfermline, on 29 Sept. 1847, Georgiana Mary, daughter of Andrew Colvile, formerly Wedderburn, of Ochiltree and Craigflower, North Britain. She survived him; they had no children.
Rogers was unswervingly honest and markedly sympathetic. While at the colonial office he took much trouble over the organisation and position of the church in the colonies. Walter enlisted Rogers on the ‘Times’ by the offer of constant employment (1841–4), but the labour soon proved distasteful to him (Dean Boyle, Recollections, pp. 286–7). He wrote for the ‘British Critic,’ and contributed some reminiscences of Froude to Dean Church's ‘Oxford Movement,’ pp. 50–6. An article by him on ‘Mozley's Essays’ appeared in the ‘Nineteenth Century’ for June 1879. His views on the conditions under which university education may be made more available for clerks in government offices appeared in No. iv. of the additional papers of the Tutors' Association (Oxford, 1854), and he set forth his opinions of South African policy in the ‘Edinburgh Review’ (April 1877) and the ‘New Quarterly Review’ (April 1879). A manuscript autobiography of his early years has been published, with a selection from his letters, under the editorship of Mr. G. E. Marindin (1896).[Lord Blachford's Letters, ed. Marindin, 1896; Foster's Alumni Oxon.; Guardian, 27 Nov. 1889, by Dean Church; Dean Church's Life and Letters; Letters of Newman, ed. Mozley; Sir Henry Taylor's Autobiography; T. Mozley's Reminiscences of Oxford.]