Open main menu

Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 53.djvu/235

This page has been validated.
of John, Lord Somers, 1791; Maddock's Account of the Life and Writings of Lord-Chancellor Somers, 1812. Somers's character is delineated with laboured eulogy by Addison, ‘Freeholder,’ No. 39; with sobriety by Burnet, ‘Own Time,’ fol. ii. 107, 242, and in a tone of studied but ineffectual detraction by Swift, ‘Four Last Years of the Queen,’ bk. i., and ‘Examiner,’ No. 26. For other contemporary notices of him see Lady Marlborough's Private Correspondence, ed. 1838, ii. 148; Garth's Dispensary ad fin.; Defoe's Jure Divino; Macky's Memoirs (Roxburghe Club), p. 52, and Sloane MS. 4223, ff. 208–13. See also: Le Neve's Pedigrees of Knights (Harl. Soc.), p. 430; Clutterbuck's Hertfordshire, i. 457; Nash's Worcestershire, i. 209, ii. 54, 345; Peerage of England, 1710, ii. 137; G. E. C[okayne]'s Complete Peerage; Burke's Extinct Peerage, and Landed Gentry, ‘Severne;’ Gen. Dict. Biogr.; Biogr. Brit.; Foster's Alumni Oxon.; Doyle's Official Baronage; Luttrell's Relation of State Affairs; Evelyn's Diary, 19 March 1692–1693, 7 Dec. 1698, 24 April 1700, 20 June 1701; Lord Cowper's Private Diary (Roxburghe Club); Conduct of the Duchess of Marlborough; Lords' Journals, xiv. 299, xv. 291, xxxvii. 75; Lords' Protests, ed. Thorold Rogers; Commons' Journals, x. 246–251; Parl. Hist. vols. v.–vii.; Cobbett's State Trials, ix. 226, 234; Howell's State Trials, xii. 317, 646, 950, xiii. 939; Kemble's State Papers; Macpherson's Original Papers, ii. 33, 54, 134, 177, 390, 592, 643; Dalrymple's Memoirs, ii. 39, 152, 158; Mackintosh's Hist. of the Revolution in 1688; Dryden's Prose Works (ed. Malone), i. 202, 526; Pope's Works (ed. Elwin); King's Life of Locke, i. 434–7, ii. 3, 7, 9; Prior's Own Time, pp. 45 et seq., 176, 192 et seq.; Birch's Life of Tillotson, p. 366; Halifax's Works, and Life, pp. 69 et seq.; Tindal's Continuation of Rapin's Hist. of England, ii. 90; Noble's Continuation of Granger's Biogr. Hist. of England; Cooke's Hist. of Party; Memoirs of the Kit-Cat Club; De Garden's Hist. des Traités de Paix, ii. 223 et seq.; Klopp's Fall des Hauses Stuart, Bde. iv.–xiv.; Ranke's Englische Geschichte, Bde. xvi.–xvii.; Macaulay's Hist. of England; Stanhope's Hist. of England; Walpole's Royal and Noble Authors, ed. Park, and Anecdotes of Painting, ed. Wornum; Campbell's Lives of the Chancellors; Roscoe's Eminent British Lawyers (Cabinet Cyclopædia); Foss's Lives of the Judges; Weld's Hist. Roy. Soc. ii. 337–49; Notes and Queries, 2nd ser. xi. 443, 7th ser. x. 38; Genealogist, new ser. ed. Selby, i. 115; Seward's Anecd. ii. 247; Nichols's Lit. Anecd. and Illustr. of Lit. For Somers's correspondence and other remains, see Cole's Memoirs, Letters of William III (ed. Grimblot), Shrewsbury Correspondence and Marlborough Correspondence (ed. Coxe), Marlborough's Letters and Despatches (ed. Murray), Vernon's Letters (ed. James), Original Letters (ed. Ellis), 3rd ser. iv. 326; Hist. MSS. Comm. 1st Rep. App. p. 55, 2nd Rep. App. pp. 15, 71, 178, 3rd Rep. App. pp. 194, 217, 270, 430, 5th Rep. App. p. 319, 8th Rep. App. i. 36–8, 582, iii. 10, 23, 29; Harl. MS. 7191; Addit. MSS. 9828 f. 24, 12097 ff. 33–4, 17017 f. 125, 27382, 32095 f. 410, 34515 ff. 194–208, Stowe MSS. 222 ff. 383, 386, 241 f. 56, and 540 f. 59.]

J. M. R.

SOMERS, ROBERT (1822–1891), journalist and author, son of Robert Somers by his wife, Jane Gordon Gibson, was born at Newton Stewart in the county of Wigtown, on 14 Sept. 1822, being of English extraction on his father's side and Scottish on his mother's. In early life he was well known as a lecturer on social and political questions. In 1844 he published a pamphlet on the ‘Scottish Poor Laws,’ containing a criticism of the Poor Law Amendment Act then passing through parliament. After the publication of this pamphlet he accepted an offer of the post of editor of the ‘Scottish Herald,’ a weekly newspaper then being started in Edinburgh. The management of this journal was soon afterwards amalgamated with that of the ‘Witness,’ edited by Hugh Miller [q. v.], whose colleague and assistant in the conduct of the two papers Somers became.

In 1847 Somers proceeded to Glasgow to join the staff of the ‘North British Daily Mail.’ In the autumn of the same year he went to the highlands, as commissioner for that paper, to inquire into the distress in the north-west of Scotland occasioned by the failure of the potato crop in 1846. The results of his inquiry he published in ‘Letters from the Highlands’ (London, 1848). From 1849 to 1859 Somers was editor at Glasgow of the ‘North British Daily Mail’ and, for the next eleven years, of the ‘Morning Journal.’ He turned his attention especially to the study of monetary and commercial questions, in which he became a recognised authority; and from time to time he published pamphlets dealing with current phases of banking, educational, and labour questions.

In 1870–1 Somers travelled for six months in America investigating the effect on the economic condition of the southern states of the political changes introduced by the civil war. On his return he published ‘The Southern States of America’ (London and New York, 1871), a work of considerable research.

Somers died in London on 7 July 1891, after several years of impaired health. Besides the works mentioned he was the author of:

  1. ‘Sheriff Court Reform, or Cheap and Speedy Justice,’ Edinburgh, 1853, 8vo.
  2. ‘Results of an Inquiry into the State of Education in Glasgow,’ London and Glasgow, 1857, 8vo.
  3. ‘The Secular Theory of Education examined,’ Edinburgh, 1872, 8vo.
  4. ‘Scotch Banks and their System of Issue,’ London, 1873, 8vo.
  5. ‘The Martyr