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liBRAR> X. 

UiWvcrstty of CaWonwS 

IRVINE 



EMINENT ACTORS 

EDITED BY WILLIAM ARCHER 



CHARLES MACKLIN 



EMINENT ACTORS. 
Edited by William Archer. 

Crown 8vo, 2s. 6c/. each. 



WILLIAM CHARLES MACREADY. 

By the Editor. 

"The first complete biography of Macready that has yet been 
published. No 'series' of eminent men has made a more excellent 
beginning." — St. James's Gazette. 

"A full and accurate biography." — Graphic. 

" Ought to be acceptable." — Morning Post. 

II. 

THOMAS BETTERTON. By Robert 
W. Lowe. 

III. 

CHARLES MACKLIN. By E. A. Parry. 



London : Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., Lt" 



£H AR LES 

M A C K L I N 



BY 

EDWARD ABBOTT PARRY 



LONDON 

KEGAN PAUL, TRENCH, TRUBNER & CO., Li.'? 
1891 



EMINENT ACTORS. 

Edited by William Archer. 

Crown 8vo, 2s. dd. each. 



WILLIAM CHARLES MACREADY. 

By the Editor. 

"The first complete biography of Macready that has yet been 
published. No 'series' of eminent men has made a more excellent 
beginning." — St. y antes' s Gazette. 

"A full and accurate biography." — Graphic. 

" Ought to be acceptable." — Morning Post. 

II. 

THOMAS BETTERTON. By Robert 
W. Lowe. 

III. 

CHARLES MAC KLIN. By E. A. Parry. 



London : Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., Lt"* 



£H ARLES 

M A C K L I N 



BY 

EDWARD ABBOTT PARRY 



LONDON 

KEGAN PAUL, TRENCH, TRUBNER & CO., Lt?? 
i8qi 






{The rights of traitsiation and of repromiction are reserz'ed.) 



PREFACE 



In writing a biography of a man like Charles Macklin, 
one should, as it seems to me, endeavour to collect from 
the various records of the time contemporary portraits 
and criticism of the man and his fellows. These should 
be given in their own language and without paraphrase, 
wherever the scope and nature of the extracts make 
quotation possible. I must admit that the following 
out of this plan is apt to make a book appear, to a great 
extent, a work of paste and scissors, to which a kindly 
critic would perhaps add — and research. Be this as it 
may, I am still of opinion that the research, the scissors, 
and the paste, in the order named, are of greater value 
to the reader than the biographer's pen. And it is for 
this reason that I have endeavoured, wherever possible, 
to find and use the words of others instead of my own. 

EDWARD A. PARRY. 

Manchester, 
1890. 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER PAGE 

I. Early Days ... ... ... ... i 

II. First Appearances (to 1735) ••• '5 

III. James Quin (1693-1766) ... ... 31 

IV. Shylock (1741) ... ... ... 52 

V. An Actors' Strike (1743) ... ... 69 

VI. The British Inquisition (1754) ... 85 

VII. The Irish Stage ... ... ... 100 

VIII. Macklin the Playwright ... ... 127 

IX. Conspiracy (1773) ••• ••• ... 159 

X. The Seventh Age ... ... ... 178 



CHARLES MACKLIN. 



CHAPTER I. 

EARLY DAYS, 

When Charles Macklin, comedian, passed quietly away 
on the morning of the nth of July, 1797, it is doubtful 
if the world — even the metropolitan world — troubled its 
head much about the matter. He had tottered off the 
stage eight years before, and from that time had haunted 
the theatres and the coffee-houses, a mere specimen of 
human decay, waiting for his release. And the day of 
his respite from earthly ills was so long in coming, that, 
when it did come, only a few intimate friends knew or 
cared to know that Charles Macklin had gone to his last 
account. Very soon, however, the world began to con- 
sider, with not unnatural curiosity, about the man who 
had at length passed away; and before long memoirs 
began to be written, anecdotes to be remembered, and 
reminiscences to be recalled. 

Macklin was the contemporary of the eighteenth cen- 
tury. He lived to some extent side by side with Cibber 
and Booth, he was the companion and rival of Quin and 
Garrick, and was still upon the stage of life when the 
Kembles played in London. Such a life was unique in 

B 



2 CHARLES MAC KLIN. 

the annals of the stage, and it would have been curious 
indeed if writers of the day had refrained from stories 
and anecdotes of such a man. These, then, abound, 
vague and uncircumstantial after their kind, but never- 
theless, supplemented by facts, they give one a passable 
portrait of a remarkable man, and a not unsatisfactory 
history of an extraordinary career. 

At his death, Macklin was believed to be ninety-seven 
years of age ; but, not content with a life prolonged to 
these years, his biographers have endeavoured to show 
that he was at least a hundred and seven. The evidence 
for and against these positions is by no means important 
or conclusive ; but the question has occupied so much 
space in theatrical and other records, that it cannot 
now be lightly cast aside. So bewildering, however, do 
I find the warfare of histrionic antiquarians which con- 
tinuously rages round this knotty point, that I feel disin- 
clined to pronounce a definite opinion upon the matter, 
or indeed do more than sum up the testimony upon 
which the two assumptions are based, and leave the 
decision to a jury of readers. 

The main lines of the controversy are to be found in 
the three biographies of Macklin by Congreve, Kirkman, 
and Cooke. The memoir by Francis Aspey Congreve 
was published in 1798, and is a pamphlet of some sixty 
pages, containing an interesting and accurate account of 
the actor. With regard to the date of his birth, Con- 
greve states that the matter is involved in some doubt, 
but mentions the year 1699, at the same time telling us 
that his birthplace was " the Barony of Quinshoven, 
one of the northernmost districts of Ireland." James 
Thomas Kirkman, of the Honourable Society of Lincoln's 
Inn, published a second and somewhat inflated biography 
of Macklin in 1799. Kirkman describes himself as "a 



EARLY DAYS. 3 

near relative, bred up and living for upwards of twenty- 
years" with the actor; and John Taylor, in his "Records," 
explains the relationship by hinting that he was, in fact, 
Macklin's son. Be this as it may, he is the first person 
who publicly asserted that Macklin was a centenarian, 
in which he was followed by the actor's third biographer, 
William Cooke. 

William Cooke was a well-known amateur of the drama, 
as the old playgoers were called, a lover of the stage, a 
frequenter of the pit, and a keen critic. He was born at 
Cork, but his father was of English family. He came to 
London somewhat late in life, and was called to the 
bar in 1776. While a student at the Temple, he became 
acquainted with Dr. Johnson, Sir Joshua Reynolds, 
Garrick, Murphy, Macklin, and Foote, and was one of 
the members of the Essex-Head Club. He published 
several tracts on the French Revolution, a treatise on 
" The Elements of Dramatic Criticism," and the memoirs 
of both Foote and Macklin. His Life of Macklin, first 
published anonymously in 1804, is an entertaining and 
comparatively reliable volume, though we must not 
accept with implicit confidence all he has to say about 
Macklin's early years. Though less profuse and vague 
than Kirkman, he does not seem to me, in this part of 
his book, more trustworthy than his fellow-biographer. 
The fact is, that at the time of his death, very little was 
known of Macklin's early life. He had been born at a 
time and in a country where registers and records were 
almost unknown, and no one can read the complete 
details of his early life, as given by Kirkman, without a 
suspicion that the writer was a man of considerable 
inventive genius. Nevertheless, the statements of Kirk- 
man and Cooke should be set down, in order that every 
one may form his own opinion as to Macklin's age. 



4 CHARLES MACKLIN. 

Kirkman tells us that Charles Macklin, whose real 
name was Charles M'Laughlin, was descended from one 
Terence M'Laughlin, a landowner of County Down, 
whose son William married Miss Alice O'Flanagan, the 
daughter of John O'Flanagan, a proprietor of large estates 
in Westmeath. The M'Laughlins considered themselves 
to be descendants of the ancient kings of Ireland, and 
once a year the head of the family held a solemn court, 
which the relations attended. 

" I have myself been once at this meeting," said Macklin, 
in after years, "and could not help being exceedingly im- 
pressed with the ceremony of my introduction to our Chief, 
who, as a relation, received me most generously. I there 
beheld the union of state and simplicity, for which former 
ages were so remarkable ; and observed, that the Chief had 
all the great officers and every other appendage to a court. 
These meetings, Sir, ^yere known to Government ; but, as 
they were perfectly innocent, and their proceedings inoflFen- 
sive, they were tolerated." 

William M'Laughlin, continues Kirkman, commanded 
a troop of horse in the army of James II., and was 
greatly distinguished for his valour, loyalty, and zeal. 
He had one daughter, named Mary, and one son, 
Charles, who was bom two months previous to the battle 
of the Boyne — that is to say, in April or May of 1690. 
This is the date that Kirkman and Cooke seek to 
establish beyond doubt, and the following are some of 
the proofs put forward in support of their assertion. 
Kirkman revels in his self-appointed task, and it would 
be impossible to set down at length all the irrelevant 
conjectures and suppositions which he substitutes for 
evidence. In the first place, we are asked to remember 
that there were no registers of births, deaths, and 
marriages kept in Ireland in 1690, and that it was no 



EARLY DAYS. 5 

uncommon custom in Irish families to engrave the date 
of a child's birth upon brass or horn, or, for want of that, 
with gunpowder upon the child itself, that evidence of its 
age might be forthcoming. Unfortunately for us, and 
happily for Mr. Kirkman, who makes at least one good 
chapter of the matter, no such steps were taken about 
the birth of Charles Macklin. " Nevertheless," says the 
sanguine Kirkman, " the most satisfactory oral testimony 
can be brought forward." 

" Mrs. Elizabeth Macklin, relict of the late inimitable 
Shylock (under whose immediate auspices this work is given 
to the public), has assured the author, and is ready to testify 
the fact upon oath (were it necessary), that the actual 
circumstance of his having been born two months previous 
to the memorable battle of the Boyne, has been repeatedly 
communicated to her by a person of the name of Mary 
Millar^ who lived servant with the mother of Charles, during 
his minority, and who had her own age marked in her arm 
by gunpowder, which mark, or register, of birth Mrs. Macklin 
had frequent opportunities of seeing during the time Mary 
Millar lived servant with her in Dublin. And this circum- 
stance is the more accurate and remarkable, because the 
difference between the age of Charles and Mary Millar was 
known to be exactly ten years." 

No harm can be done by setting down Mr. Cooke's 
account of the same evidence, which is, perhaps, a little 
more explicit, though hardly less unsatisfactory than 
Kirkman' s. Cooke tells us that — 

"There was living in the city of Cork, about the year 
1750, a woman of the name of Ellen Byrne, the wife of a 
journeyman printer, who was a first cousin of Macklin's 
mother, and who lived in the family at the time of his birth ; 
and this woman, who always bore a decent and respectable 
character, has often declared to many people (and in par- 
ticular to the late Mr. Charles Rathband, editor of the 



6 CHARLES MAC KLIN. 

General Evening Post, a man of some research and unques- 
tionable veracity), that her cousin, Charles Macklin, was two 
months old at the battle of the Boyne, July i, 1690. And 
that, a few days previous to that celebrated battle, his 
mother, one of her brothers, and herself, travelled six miles, 
from Drogheda to a neighbouring village, for safety, carrying 
with them young Charley (as she called him) in a kish ; * 
and that they resided in this village some years afterwards." 

Besides this, there is a story that a strolling player 
named Ware, who was born about 1702, said, in his old 
age, that he remembered Macklin as a full-grown man 
when he himself was a boy, and this wretched hearsay, 
coupled with an anecdote about Dr. Berkeley, Bishop 
of Cloyne, is all that Kirkman and Cooke can produce 
in support of their theory. Cooke tells the Berkeley 
anecdote as follows : — 

"When Mr. Geo. Monk Berkley, grandson to the famous 
Dr. Berkley, Bishop of Cloyne, was a student in the Middle 
Temple, from the celebrity of Macklin's character as an 
actor and writer, he expressed a wish to be acquainted with 
him. Macklin fixed on an evening, and at the meeting thus 
accosted him : * Young man, I am happy to see you. I knew 
your famous grandfather very well. We were at college 
together, and he was always reckoned the cleverest lad in our 
university ; but alas ! alas ! he has long since gone, and I 
am here still.' 

" When Mr. Berkley visited his father in the long vaca- 
tion, he told this anecdote to him, at which he was much 
surprised, and said it was almost impossible, as the 
bishop, his father, had been dead near forty years, and was 
then turned of seventy ! ' He indeed might be a fellow 
when Macklin was a youngster, but not, I should think, 
otherwise.' ' I don't know,' said the son, ' Macklin's age ; 
but this I know, that his manner of calling him a pretty 
lad, and his often repeating it, struck me so forcibly that I 

* Wicker basket. 



EARLY DAYS. f 

could not but believe it, and at the same time, filled me 
with so much surprize that it brought me back to the days 
of Noah.' " 

Of these two stories the one about Ware is quite 
worthless, unless there is some proof of his age, and 
the Berkeley anecdote helps us very little, unless one 
knows the date at which it is supposed to have taken 
place. Bishop Berkeley was bom in 1685, and died 
in. 1 753; so this meeting with Mr. Berkeley ought, 
according to the text, to have taken place about 1793, 
when Macklin's memory was not in its best condition. 
Then, too, if we are to consider the story as anything 
more important than the pleasant invention of some society 
gossip, it is worth remembering that Macklin never was 
at college, except in the menial capacity of badgeman, 
and Kirkman suggests that this was somewhere about 
the year 17 10. Now, Berkeley was M.A. and Fellow of 
Trinity College, Dublin, in 1707, so that, even if we 
accept the anecdote as a faithful and accurate account 
of what Macklin said, we must convict him of romancing 
when he boasted that "we were at college together," and 
spoke of remembering the bishop as a " pretty lad." I 
confess that I regard the anecdote as of very little value. 
Its pedigree and history are too obscure to inspire one 
with confidence in its accuracy. The repetition of 
spoken words does not lead to exactness or precision, 
and, even when two parties enter a witness-box with the 
most faithful desire to repeat a conversation, one finds 
their stories coloured and altered by their own knowledge 
of outlying facts. I do not believe for a moment that 
Macklin, if he spoke of Berkeley at all, ever used the 
phrase " pretty lad." Whatever he did say, that, at 
least, is a gloss on the original anecdote. An old man, 
looking back to the time when he was a youth of, say, 



8 CHARLES MAC KLIN. 

fourteen or fifteen, does not remember his college seniors 
of nineteen or twenty as "pretty lads," but rather as 
grown men, giants whose shapes and actions look large 
indeed across the intervening space of years.* 

If it was generally believed in Macklin's later years 
that he was a centenarian, how came the enterprising 
publishers of Opie's portrait of the actor in 1792 to 

* It is possible to put a more favourable construction upon this 
anecdote. The date of Macklin's connection with Trinity College 
is purely conjectural. Kirkman, placing his birth in 1690, states 
that he remained a badgeman until he was twenty-one — that is, 
until 171 1. But he probably entered upon service as a mere boy, 
say at thirteen. Even supposing him to have been fifteen, his 
connection with Trinity College would date from 1705, when 
Berkeley was a youth of twenty, and was still two years short of 
his degree. The fact that Macklin spoke of him as a " pretty lad " 
seems to me the strongest (indeed the only considerable) piece of 
evidence in favour of the 1690 theory. Berkeley was noted for his 
beauty ; but, as the actor and the bishop moved in very different 
circles in later life, Berkeley's personal appearance would scarcely 
be known to Macklin, except as a reminiscence from early days. 
At any rate, we can scarcely suppose that when young Berkeley 
was presented to Macklin, the old actor set to work with deliberate 
ingenuity to tell a circumstantial lie. Can we conceive him saying 
to himself, " I never saw this young gentleman's grandfather, but 
I want to make it appear that we were at college together. Now, 
I know that Bishop Berkeley was a handsome man, so I shall be 
quite safe in saying that I remember him as a ' pretty lad ' at 
college"? This process of thought would imply an inconceivable 
alertness in the old man's faculties, as well as an incredible devotion 
to mendacity as a fine art. It is much simpler to suppose that 
Macklin actually remembered Berkeley as a "pretty lad," of from 
eighteen to twenty-two, at Trinity College. His use of the phrase, 
" We were at college together," implies a desire to leave his own 
academic status in the vague, but does not necessarily mean that 
he was simply romancing. Of course this argument proceeds 
entirely on the somewhat rash assumption that the interview between 
old Macklin and young Berkeley really occurred, and was correctly 
reported, so far as the phrase " pretty lad " is concerned. — W. A. 



EARLY DAYS. 9 

speak of him as "in his 93rd year"? What is even 
more astonishing is that, though Kirkman was one of 
the chief mourners at MackUn's funeral, his hterary 
executor, and a man of some authority, according to 
his own account, in the household of the deceased, he 
should yet have suffered the coffin-plate to be engraved : 

Mr. Charles Macklin, 

Comedian, 

Died I ith July, 

1797. 
Aged 97 years. 

This coffin-plate was a great stumbling-block to those 
who wished to believe in MackUn's hundred years ; and 
a story was current, told with more of less circumstance, 
of the mistake being discovered, and the plate hastily 
rectified before the coffin was placed in the grave. How- 
ever, in 1859, when alterations were being made at St. 
Paul's, Covent Garden, a copy was made of the inscrip- 
tion on the plate, which still contained the original 
words, wholly unaltered, "Aged 97 years." 

The fact is, the centenarian theory, whatever it may 
be worth, was clearly not started in MackUn's lifetime, 
and his friends seem to have been satisfied with his own 
statement, " that he was born in the last year of the last 
century." The all and sundry reasons given by his 
biographers, why Macklin at some period of his life put 
back the hands of time ten years, seem to show their 
little belief in their own conjecture. It was to please a 
mistress, to hide his want of education, or " for the 
accommodation of his daughter," who was becoming 
older than she cared to own. Any reason would do, 
and the biographers take no pains to agree upon an 
identical one. Nor do they attempt to meet what is in 



lo CHARLES MACKLIN. 

itself the main objection to their theory, that it makes 
Macklin — who was, from all accounts, a youth of a rest- 
less, energetic nature — content to remain at school until 
he is nineteen, to commence strolling player at the some- 
what cold-blooded age of thirty, and not to get any 
engagement in London until he is forty-three. All this 
is, to say the least of it, improbable, and nearly every 
anecdote that I have read of his early life accentuates 
the improbability. Indeed, it is upon a close considera- 
tion of the general probabilities of the case, rather than 
upon any destructive analysis of his biographers' hearsay 
evidence, that I see no reason for rejecting Macklin's 
own statement already quoted, " that he was born in the 
last year of the last century." 

It may be well to follow briefly Kirkman's statement 
of the early life and adventures of his hero and his 
family's history, without, however, placing a too implicit 
credence in all its details. It appears that William 
M'Laughlin, Charles's father, having commanded a troop 
of horse in James's army at the battle of the Boyne, still 
remained faithful to the losing side after that disastrous 
conflict, and was accordingly persecuted with the utmost 
rigoiu-, and his estates duly confiscated. Thereupon he 
seems to have retired to Westmeath, living there in 
obscurity, but, ultimately emerging with a view of better- 
ing his condition, he came to live in Dublin. Life in a 
town was, however, to his broken spirit even more diffi- 
cult and impossible than life in the country. " And 
although," says Kirkman, in a somewhat contradictory 
panegyric, " he was a man of extraordinary strength of 
body and equal vigour of mind, yet he never recovered 
his spirits after the battle of the Boyne. He died in 
December, 1704, literally of a broken heart — a victim to 
misapplied loyalty and mistaken generosity." I might 



EARLY DAYS. li 

here interject the statement of Cooke, that Macklin 
remembered his father as a rank Presbyterian, and his 
mother as a bigoted papist, doing so rather to call atten- 
tion to the difficulties one is placed in by some of these 
so-called recollections of Macklin than for any other 
reason. For it is hard to understand why a rank Presby- 
terian should command a troop of horse in James's army, 
and suffer afterwards for the Catholic cause. Be this as 
it may, Mrs. M'Laughlin having lost her husband, Kirk- 
man now tells us, with all the apologies of a genteel 
lodging-house keeper, how this poor but aristocratic 
lady, " to better the condition of her children, which was 
her darling object," condescended in 1707 to marry 
honest Luke O'Meally, the landlord of The Eagle in 
Werburgh Street, Dublin. Macklin, in after life, bore 
testimony to his having been a kind and tender father to 
him ; and though he seems to have caused the death of 
Mary M'Laughlin, the actor's only sister, by storming at 
her in a fit of ungovernable passion, there is no reason 
to believe that, when he restrained himself from these 
violent fits of temper, he was anything but a decent and 
kindly man. 

Young Charles, who was eight or eighteen, as the 
reader pleases, was now sent to board at an academy in 
Island Bridge, a small village about a mile west of 
Dublin. He had, perhaps, previously been taught to 
read in Irish or bad Enghsh by his mother's brother, 
who was a priest. The school at Island Bridge was kept 
by a Scotchman named Nicholson ; and Kirkman tells 
us that " it was from the cruelty of a pedagogue that 
Mr. Macklin, almost in infancy, imbibed that invincible 
prejudice against the Scotch which adhered to him 
through a long life." There may be some truth in this, 
though Macklin, in some manuscript notes, published 



13 CHARLES MACKLIN. 

after his death in the Monthly Mirror, mentions a prin- 
ciple of justice that Nicholson constantly enforced, 
which was, "Never offend or injure without making 
atonement." And Macklin remembers, with approval, 
that Nicholson took care that the. weakly boys were 
defended from the strong. 

But I can understand that Nicholson found Master 
M'Laughlin a tough subject to educate. He must have 
been something of a hero at that Island Bridge academy, 
and certainly a thorn in the flesh of the Scotch peda- 
gogue, who seems to have flogged him for six days in 
the week, and begged his mother to take him away on 
the seventh. For Charley M'Laughlin could not only 
box and cudgel, and swim like a duck, diving off the 
masts of ships, or leaping off the old bridge into the 
Liffey, but he had a nasty habit — " talent," Kirkman 
calls.it — of mimicry, "which he exercised to the con- 
tinual annoyance of the pedant, by counterfeiting alter- 
nately the voices of him and his wife Harriet, and calling 
aloud upon either, in the voice of the other so exactly, as 
to baffle all their vigilance in guarding against his pranks." 
He even gave the parrot hints in mimicry, and at length 
became so noted for all manner of hardiment and devilry, 
that he gained the nickname of " Charles a Molluchth," 
or in English, "Wicked Charley," which is really the 
most important and luminous fact that I have at present 
learned of his early history. 

It would be pleasant, however, to think that one might 
except the anecdote of his performance of Monimia from 
among the myths that surround his early life. Kirkman 
sets this performance down as occurring in 1708, but I 
have a shrewd suspicion that he arranges his earlier dates 
merely to suit his own theory of Macklin's age, and 
does not derive them from any more worthy sources of 



EARLY DAYS. 1 3 

information than his own imagination. Cooke's account 
of the incident is, in any case, preferable to Kirkman's, 
and the exact date of its occurrence is unimportant. 

" In the neighbourhood of Mrs. Macklin," says Cooke, 
"there Hved a near relation of the Besborough family, a 
widow lady of considerable fortune, taste, and humanity, 
who, seeing young Macklin running about her grounds, and 
observing him to be a boy of some spirit, sharpness, and 
enterprise, hospitably took him under her roof, in order to 
rescue him from those vices and follies which a life of idle- 
ness, particularly in young minds, is but too apt to produce. 
Here he was further instructed in reading and writing ; and 
here it was that Macklin (who often expressed his gratitude 
to his benefactress for this kindness) felt the first necessity 
of attending in some respect to education and the order of 
civilized life, by being under the example and restriction of 
a regular family, and the awe of a woman of her rank and 
kindness. 

"While he was under the protection of this lady, the tragedy 
of The Orphan was got up during the Christmas holidays, 
amongst some young relations of the family ; when, in cast- 
ing the parts (however strange to tell), the character of 
Monimia was assigned for young Macklin. To those who 
recollect the figure and the cast of countenance of the veteran, 
it must be difficult to reconcile the possibility of his perform- 
ing this part at any time of life with the smallest degree of 
propriety ; however, if we are to take his own word for it 
(which is all the authority that can be adduced), he not only 
looked the gentle Monimia, but performed it with every 
degree of applause and encouragement. The play was 
repeated three times with great applause before several of 
the surrounding gentry and tenants, and every time he felt 
himself acquire additional reputation." 

Kirkman gives much the same account of the perform- 
ance, except that he sets the scene of it at Mr. Nicholson's 
school, and gives us the lady's name as Mrs. Pilkington. 



14 CHARLES MAC KLIN. 

It was this first success, perhaps, that led Macklin to 
turn his attention to the theatre, and planted in his young 
mind that lasting ambition, which enabled him to con- 
quer, one by one, the obstacles, that nature and the 
accidents of his life placed between him and the highest 
honours of his chosen profession. 



( 15 ) 



CHAPTER II. 

FIRST APPEARANCES (tO 1735). 

We may pass lightly over the youthful adventures of 
Charles Macklin. They are neither well accredited, nor, 
indeed, are some of them altogether creditable to their 
hero. But we must remember that in those early years 
he lived a wild, roving, hand-to-mouth life, full of scrapes 
and disasters, but tending not unnaturally towards the 
footlights. He seems, after his debut as Monimia, to 
have run away from home with two scapegrace companions, 
and made for London, the adventurers' Eldorado, with a 
small capital, the bulk of which (;^9) Macklin had 
stolen from his mother. The runaways lived magnifi- 
cently in London for nearly a month, visiting all the 
places of entertainment, until they found their purse empty, 
their hopes at zero. One of his companions entered the 
army ; the second took to the road, which in due course 
led him to the Tyburn scaffold ; while Macklin entered 
the service of a buxom widow, who kept a public-house 
in the Borough. This house was frequented by a 
company of mountebanks, who exhibited low drolls, 
pantomimes, tumbling, etc. 

" Here," says Kirkman, " Macklin, by dint of genius and 
a high flow of spirits, became the delight of all who fre- 
quented the house. He sung for them, he danced, he 
mimicked, he spouted, and he played the droll, insomuch 



i6 CHARLES MACKLIN. 

that his fame spread abroad, and the house was every night 
filled with respectable opulent dealers. Clubs and meetings 
were instituted for the purpose of enjoying the entertainment 
he afforded. In short, he became a most pleasing and 
popular character in that circle, and more than trebled the 
income of the house by his talents." 

So valuable was the lad to the proprietress of the 
house, that she is said to have contracted a marriage with 
him at one of those '' Beggar-making shops," as they 
were called, which flourished at this time. A Fleet- 
marriage may have been performed, but we may doubt 
if Macklin was ever the legal husband of the buxom 
widow. Some friends of his family appear to have heard 
of his situation, and by threats and entreaties made him 
break away from the attractions of the Borough, and 
return to Dublin. Here, it is said, he for a time took a 
situation as badgeman at Trinity College, and maybe 
used the opportunities thus afforded him to pick up 
some crumbs of learning that were scattered about his 
master's table. Here it is possible he may have seen 
Berkeley, who did not leave Ireland until 17 13, even if 
he did not know him as a " pretty lad," as the story goes. 
It is a pleasant trait in Macklin's character, that he was 
never too proud to remember the menial position in which 
he then served, and in " Macready's Reminiscences " a 
story is told which seems to show that he did undoubtedly, 
at some period of his life, act as badgeman or scout * at 
Trinity College, and that the fact was well known in 
Dublin. 

" The custom was for these servants to wait in the courts 
of the college, in attendance on the calls of the students. To 
every shout of 'Boy!' the scout first in turn replied, 'What 

* I believe the modern name for a badgeman at Trinity College 
is a skip. 



FIRST APPEARANCES. 17 

number ? ' and, on its announcement, went up to the room 
denoted for his orders. After Mackhn, by his persevering 
industry, had gained a name as author and actor, in one of 
his engagements at the DubHn Theatre, some unruly young 
men caused a disturbance, when Mackhn, in very proper 
terms, rebuked them for their indecent behaviour. The 
audience applauded, but one of the rioters, thinking to put 
him down by reference to his early low condition, with 
contemptuous bitterness shouted out, 'Boy!' Poor Macklin 
for a moment lost his presence of mind, but, recollecting 
himself, modestly stepped forward, and with manly com- 
placency responded, ' What number ? ' It is unnecessary 
to add that the plaudits of the house fully avenged him on 
the brutality of his insulters." 

How long he remained at Trinity College I do not 
know. Kirkman says that, after a short period of this 
servitude, he made a second excursion to London, play- 
ing Harlequin and such-like parts with a strolling company 
of tumblers, wire-dancers, and mummers, at Hockley- 
in-the-Hole, near Clerkenwell Green. Throughout the 
eighteenth century Hockley-in-the-Hole was famous for 
bull-baiting, bear-baiting, sword and cudgel playing, and 
all kinds of rough and brutal sport. It Avas the home 
of the lowest class of women, who, with the rowdies 
and bullies of the city, frequented its neighbourhood. 
From this place Macklin was, it is said, again rescued 
by his friends, and restored to Dublin and his position 
of badgeman — a story which seems scarcely credible when 
one comes to know the independent character of the 
man. Kirkman wants us to believe that after this he 
refused an honourable position in the German army, 
which he might have obtained through a relation who 
was a captain in that service. I confess that I can 
place little or no reliance upon the alleged order of 
these events. For our purpose it is perhaps sufficient 

e 



l8 CHARLES MACKLIN. 

that, after some years of wild riotous youth, he found 
himself arrived at Bristol, probably early in the seventeen 
twenties, at a time when a company of strolling players 
had recently opened a small theatre there with permis- 
sion of the mayor. 

At this time there was certainly no regular theatre 
in Bristol, and, indeed, as late as 1773 we find the 
sober inhabitants of the city ineffectually petitioning 
the House of Commons not to grant a licence to the 
Bristol Theatre Royal. The earliest theatre in Bristol 
about which anything is known seems to have been 
the theatre at St. Jacob's Well, though Mr. Richard 
Jenkins, in his "Memoirs of the Bristol Stage" (1826), 
nientions the localities of some previous ventures in 
theatrical building. The erection of the St. Jacob's 
Well Theatre seems to have taken place about 1726, 
and it was built for Mr. John Hippisley, the original 
Peachum in The Beggars' Opera. 

" Mr. Hippisley's theatre," says Jenkins, " was situated at 
the foot of a pleasant hill, called Brandon, which is on the 
north-west side of this city (the boon, as it is said, of Queen 
Elizabeth to the fair maidens of Bristol). . . . Behind the 
theatre was another hill called Clifton, a field belonging to 
which was only separated from the back courtyard of the 
playhouse by a hedge and low wall. Here many curious 
but economic persons of both sexes stood for whole hours 
to catch a glimpse, however transient, of some favourite 
actor or actress as he or she went along the said yard, 
which (such was the inconvenience of the building) the 
performer was obliged to do on passing from the right-hand 
side of the stage to the left." 

This theatre was situated a quarter of a mile from the 
city, and, there not being any lamps in that direction, 
the audience had to trudge their way on dark nights 
along a dirty road called Limekilns-lane. When there 



FIRST APPEARANCES. 19 

was a benefit of a favourite performer, the stage (accord- 
ing to the general custom at that date) was partly fitted 
up with benches, scenery was an impossibility, and the 
actors played their parts on a few square yards of boards. 
Such was the state of the Bristol theatre about 1727, 
when, as a local satirist sings — 

" Av'rice sat brooding in a whitewashed cell, 
And Pleasure had a htit at Jacob's Well." 

The first Bristol playbill of which I have seen any 
record is dated 1743, and that refers to Mr. Hippisley 
as playing at Bristol. It is, therefore, more than probable 
that Macklin, when he first came to Bristol, had not 
even so good a theatre as that of St. Jacob's Well in 
which to exhibit his powers, and that Kirkman is right 
in suggesting that Macklin's company of strollers played 
in some convenient barn or temporary building. 

Macklin — who had not at that time given up his 
father's name, M'Laughlin — soon made the acquaintance 
of the players on his arrival at Bristol, and is said to 
have made '' his first appearance on any stage " as 
Richmond in Richard III. Kirkman, who is now 
approaching the region of facts and dates, gives the 
following extraordinary, but not perhaps over-coloured, 
picture of Macklin's life as a strolling player : — 

" Sometimes," he says, " he was an architect, and knocked 
up the stage and seats in a bam ; sometimes he wrote an 
opening Prologue, or a parting Epilogue, for the Company : 
at others, he wrote a song, complimentary and adulatory to 
the village they happened to play in, which he always 
adapted to some sprightly popular air, and sung himself ; 
and he often was champion, and stood forward to repress 
the persons who were accustomed to intrude upon and be 
rude to the actors. His circle of acting was more enlarged 
than Garrick's ; for, in one night, he played Antonio and 



ao CHARLES MAC KLIN, 

Belvidera in Venice Preserved, Harlequin in the entertain- 
ment, sung three humorous songs between the acts, and 
indulged the audience with an Irish jig between the play 
and the entertainment." 

These talents soon made him famous in Bristol, 
Wales, and the surrounding country. From 1725 to 
1730 he must have been continually adding to his 
renown in those districts, and taking possession of all 
the leading parts. He was already a "star," but he 
shone in a lonely and obscure corner of the world. 
Then, as now, an actor's ambition made him careless 
of the applause of country localities, except in so far 
as it paved the way to the metropolis, where alone glory 
and gold were to be won. 

The history of his first essays on the London boards 
is involved in obscurity. He may have appeared as 
early as 1725 at Lincoln's Inn Fields, in the part of 
Alcander in Dryden and Lee's CEdipus. Again in Sep- 
tember, 1730, he is said to have acted Sir Charles Free- 
man in The Beaux^ Stratagem, at Lee and Harper's great 
booth in the Bowling Green, Southwark. This was a 
noted place for theatrical entertainments situated behind 
the Marshalsea. During the annual fair time, which 
lasted about a fortnight in September, continuous per- 
formances were held there. Victor remembers Boheme, 
the actor, making his first appearance there in the part 
of Menelaus, "in the best droll I ever saw, called The 
Siege of Troy." 

" Harper and Lee their Trojan horse display, 
Troy's burnt, and Paris killed, nine times a day." 

Nine performances a day do not suggest a high class 
of drama, but no doubt the actors were glad of any 
engagement that brought them within the neighbourhood 



FIRST APPEARANCES. 21 

of the London theatres. From Southwark Macklin went 
to Lincoln's Inn Fields, where we know for certain that he 
played on December 4, 1730, in Fielding's Coffee House 
Politician. Cooke tells us that Macklin in his old days 
used to say that he made the play. Here I cannot but 
think that his memory must have been failing, or, rather, 
that he remembered with advantages the part he had 
taken in the success. In the printed edition of the play, 
his name — spelt Maclean — is put to Poser, a part of four 
and a half lines ; but his biographer, Congreve, says that, 
" Poser being over in the first act, he appeared again 
in the fifth, in the other part, Brazencourt." This was 
a similarly short part, but one containing some good 
lines, through which Macklin may perhaps have gained 
applause. From this time, however, we hear nothing 
more of Mackhn on the London stage until 1733, which 
seems to show that his share in the success of The Coffee 
House Politician cannot have been as great as he after- 
wards imagined. 

The fact is, Macklin was not a man to attract the 
ordinary manager. He was eminently a reformer, and 
the average stage-manager is, and always has been, a a 
red-tape Tory of a pronounced type. Already Macklin / 
had attempted, in the provinces, something more akin to 
nature than the style of acting that was current in his 
early days, and Rich, the London manager, had given 
him little encouragement. " I spoke so familiar, sir," 
says Macklin, in remembering those days, " and so little 
in the hoity-toity tone of the Tragedy of that day, that 
the manager told me I had better go to grass for another 
year or two." So he strolled away to his old haunts of 
Bristol and South Wales, until a theatrical revolution re- 
called him to London in 1733. 

During his apprenticeship in the provinces he seems 



22 CHARLES MAC KLIN. 

to have taken considerable pains with his education. 
There is httle doubt that he took great trouble to get rid 
of his natural brogue, and, this great step to English 
favour accomplished, he turned his serious attention to 
the practice of elocution. No man has ever been more 
respected for his good judgment in all technical matters 
of staging and elocution, and it is very probable, as 
Kirkman says, that, observing the deficiency of English 
actors in these matters, he, early in his career, gave them 
his most earnest consideration. 

It was probably during these years, too, that Macklin 
assumed the name by which he is always known. His 
family name of M'Laughlin was obtrusively Irish, and 
as the Irish were unpopular in England at that time, 
he found it advisable to assume the name Macklin. 
Some of the early playbills, 1733-35, spell his name 
Mecklin, or Mechlin ; but the name M'Laughlin appears 
to have been wholly abandoned before his arrival in 
London in 1733. 

At some time in his early career — Cooke places it at 
about the age of forty — he became a convert to Protes- 
tantism, and it is from the statement of the fact of his 
conversion, rather than from any more satisfactory evi- 
dence, that we gather that he was once a Roman Catholic. 
His father was a Presbyterian, and his mother a Catholic, 
and there is a suggestion that he received some educa- 
tion at an early age from his uncle, who was a Catholic 
priest. It is said that he grew up in his mother's religion, 
and continued in the same until the following accident 
converted him from a Catholic, careless of the ceremonies 
and injunctions of his faith, to a Protestant as keen and 
militant as any in the north of Ireland. He was strolling 
one day in Lincoln's Inn Fields, when he saw on a book- 
stall a little book entitled " The Funeral of the Mass." 



FIRST APPEARANCES. 33 

This he bought for the small sum of ninepence, and, says 
Cooke, " took it home with him and read it two or three 
times over very attentively ; the consequence of which 
was, that he deserted his mother Church, and became a 
convert to the Protestant religion," After which he used 
to boast that he was a Protestant " as staunch as the 
Archbishop of Canterbury, and on as pure principles." 
From this we may gather that the orthodoxy of "The 
Funeral of the Mass " was convincing and without 
reproach. 

The date of Macklin's marriage, like all the rest of the 
early Macklin chronology, is involved in obscurity, but 
it seems to me that Kirkman is probably right in his 
suggestion, that it was a year or two prior to his arrival 
in London in 1733. Cooke, however, says it was prob- 
ably between 1734 and 1736. Kirkman tells us that 
the lady was a Mrs. Ann Grace, the widow of a very 
respectable hosier in DubUn. Cooke, on the other hand, 
says her maiden name was Grace Purvor, that she was 
the friend of Mrs. Booth, and that at the time Macklin 
was paying his court to her, he came into jealous contact 
with His Grace John, Duke of Argyle, who had been 
powerfully attracted by her beauty. However this may 
be, Macklin found a thoroughly praiseworthy helpmate 
in his wife, and the theatre gained an actress of consider- 
able merit. The Nurse in Romeo and Juliet ; Lady 
Wronghead, Lady Wrangle, Lappet, in The Miser ; and, 
above all, the Hostess in Henry V. ; — these were parts in 
which, for a considerable number, of years, Mrs. Macklin 
was, in the public estimation, almost without a rival. 

After their marriage in Dublin, if we take Kirkman's 
account of the matter, they went to Chester, Bristol, and 
Wales, and ultimately settled for a time in Portsmouth. 
Here Miss Macklin was born, a lady whose abilities we 



24 CHARLES MAC KLIN. 

must discuss hereafter ; and it was from this place that 
Macklin was sent for to recruit the forces of Drury Lane. 

This year, 1733, saw the death of the great Booth, 
whose acting MackUn had had an opportunity of admiring 
in his early visits to London. Macklin used to speak 
with great delight of his performance of the Ghost in 
Hamlet, and notes that Booth used ** cloth shoes (soles 
and all), that the sound of his step should not be heard 
on the stage." Mrs. Oldfield, immortal in tragedy and 
comedy, had died in 1730, but Macklin was present, in 
1728, at her first representation of Lady Townly. Wilks, 
Norris, and Boheme he had known, and Colley Gibber, 
who retired in 1732. Quin and Theophilus Gibber were 
soon to know him as a rival, and it was in a measure 
through the instrumentality of Gibber that Macklin 
secured firm standing-ground upon the London stage. 

It appears that a man named Highmore, who had once 
had the misfortune to make a hit as Lothario in The Fair 
Penitent, and who was manager of Drury Lane at this 
period, had had a quarrel with Theophilus Gibber, which 
had ended in a revolt of the players to the Haymarket, 
headed by young Gibber. Highmore was shamefully 
treated in this transaction. He had bought from Golley 
Gibber his third of the patent at an exorbitant sum 
(;^3i5o), and now young Gibber, with all the actors and 
actresses, except Bridgewater, Mrs. Horton, and Mrs. 
Glive, opened the Haymarket in opposition to him. 
However, this action on Gibber's part was useful to 
Macklin, who, with his wife, joined the company at 
Drury Lane under very favourable circumstances. He 
made his first appearance on October 31, as Gaptain 
Brazen in The Recruiting Officer, and, during the five 
months which elapsed before the return of the seceders, 
he played several leading comedy parts, such as Marplot 



FIRST APPEARANCES. 25 

in The Busybody, Clodio in Love makes a Man, Teague 
in The Committee, and Brass in The Confederacy. Thus 
by the time that Highmore, impoverished and weary of 
the struggle, had sold his share of the patent to Charles 
Fleetwood, Macklin's position as an actor was established. 
On Fleetwood's advent to power, Gibber and the seceders 
returned to Drury Lane, reappearing on March 12, 1734. 

Macklin was, for the moment, ousted from Drury Lane 
by the return of the seceders, and joined a company 
with which Fielding opened the Haymarket in the spring 
of 1734. Here he is known, in April of that year, to 
have played Squire Badger, a rudimentary Squire Western, 
in Fielding's Don Quixote in England, At the beginning 
of the season 1734-35, however, he returned to Drury 
Lane, and devoted himself to the affairs of that theatre, 
soon becoming a firm favourite with the manager. 

Fleetwood was at first disposed to rely on the judg- 
ment of Gibber, but discovered this revolutionary to be 
by no means a safe adviser, and therefore displaced 
him, says Victor, " for Macklin, a man at that time of 
seemingly humble pretensions, but of capabilities suffi- 
cient to raise him to the office of lord high cardinal. 
This minister continued long in the highest favour with 
the manager, and the business of the theatre was 
conducted for some years, under his influence and direc- 
tion, with very considerable success." Thus, from an 
unknown stroller Macklin was now raised to the position 
of confidential adviser to the manager of Drury Lane. 

Fleetwood and Macklin seem to have devoted such 
of their time as could be spared from the toils of 
theatrical management to gaming, and they were both 
constant visitors to White's gambling-house, where they 
lost large sums of money. Fleetwood had inherited 
a patrimony of ;^6ooo, which he managed to squander 



26 CHARLES MACKLIN. 

very readily, and he then proceeded to borrow from his 
friends, not sparing his humble henchman Macklin. 
Fleetwood seems to have had the person, address, and 
manners of an accomplished borrower ; and in " one of 
those irresistible hours of solicitation," Macklin is said 
to have become his bondsman for no less a sum than 
;^3ooo. From this bond he escaped by a clever ruse. 
He somewhat meanly allowed the good-natured poet, 
Paul Whitehead, to take his place, the result being that 
when Fleetwood found his embarrassments too many for 
him and fled the country, Whitehead was forced to spend 
several years in prison. Macklin seems to have regretted 
this unavoidable misfortune of Whitehead. " But, sir," 
said he, in telling the story, " every man will save himself 
from ruin if he can, and I was glad of any opportunity 
to accomplish it." 

Meanwhile from 1734 to 1735 several pieces were 
produced, among which were Lillo's Christian Hero, 
Fielding's Universal Gallant, and a revival of Colley 
Gibber's amusing comedy. Love makes a Man; or, the 
Fofs Fortune, which was the chief success of the season. 
Quin now left Rich to come to Drury Lane, and although 
Macklin was in no sense his rival, he was already 
becoming a popular favourite. 

We have spoken of Macklin's wild, impetuous dis- 
position, and a painful instance of the effects of his 
uncontrollable temper is chronicled in the criminal 
records of this year. On May 10, 1735, he had the 
misfortune to kill Thomas Hallam, a fellow-actor, in the 
scene-room at Drury Lane Theatre. Both actors were 
playing in a farce entitled Trick for Trick, when they 
quarrelled about the possession of a wig. Hallam gave 
up the wig to Macklin, but continued to grumble at him ; 
Macklin, in a passion, thrust a stick he was holding 



FIRST APPEARANCES. 27 

through his eye, and the unfortunate Hallam died within 
twenty-four hours. Macklin was advised by his friends 
to keep out of the way, but, acting upon wiser and more 
honourable counsel, he wrote a letter to the manager of 
Drury Lane, expressing his deep sorrow, and his intention 
to surrender himself at the Old Bailey. There he was 
tried for the murder of Thomas Hallam, and as the 
depositions of the witnesses give a wonderful insight 
into the life and manners of the scene-room, I cannot 
do better than give one of these at length, choosing the 
evidence of Thomas Ame, which is the story of an eye- 
witness of the whole scene. 

" I have the honour to be the numberer of the boxes of 
Drury Lane playhouse, under Mr. Fleetwood. On Saturday 
night I delivered my accounts in at the property office ; and 
then, at eight at night, I came into the scene-room, where 
the players warm themselves, and sat in a chair at the side 
of the fire. Fronting the fire there is a long seat, where five 
or six may sit. The play was almost done, and they were 
making preparations for the entertainment, when the prisoner 
came into the scene-room and sat down next me, and high 
words arose between him and the deceased about a stock 
wig for a disguise in the entertainment. The prisoner had 
played in the wig the night before, and now the deceased 

had got it. ' D n you for a rogue,' says the prisoner ; 

' what business have you with my wig?' *I am no more a 
rogue than yourself,' says the deceased. ' It's a stock wig, 
and I have as much right to it as you have.' Some of the 
players coming in, they desired the deceased to fetch the 
wig and give it to the prisoner, which he did, and then said 
to him, ' Here is your wig. I have got one I like better.' 
The prisoner, sitting by me, took the wig, and began to comb 
it out, and all seemed to be quiet for about half a quarter of 
an hour ; but the prisoner began to grumble again, and said 

to the deceased, ' G d d n you for a blackguard, scrub, 

rascal, how durst you have the impudence to take this wig ? ' 



28 CHARLES MACKLm. 

The deceased answered, ' I am no more a rascal than your- 
self.' Upon which the prisoner started up out of his chair, 
and, with a stick in his hand, made a lunge at the deceased, 
and thrust the stick into his left eye, and, pulling it back 
again, looked pale, turned on his heel, and, in a passion, 

threw the stick into the fire. ' G d d n it ! ' says he ; and, 

turning about again on his heel, he sat down. The deceased 
clapped his hand to his eye, and said it was gone through 
his head. He was going to sink, but they set him in a 
chair. The prisoner came to him, and, leaning upon his left 
arm, put his hand to his eye. ' Lord ! ' cried the deceased, 
' it is out.' ' No,' says the prisoner ; ' I feel the ball roll 
under my hand.' Young Mr. Gibber came in, and imme- 
diately sent for Mr. Goldham, the surgeon." 

Other witnesses were called, who gave substantially 
the same account of the matter. Among them, Mr. 
Coldham, the surgeon, who admitted that " the prisoner 
shewed much concern, and desired me to take all possible 
care of the deceased." Macklin, who, as a man on his 
trial, had no right in those days to be represented by 
counsel, conducted his own defence, cross-examining 
the various witnesses to show the necessity of the wig for 
his own part, and tiie insulting and aggravating demeanour 
of the deceased. At the close of the case for the 
prosecution, Mr. Macklin addressed the court as follows : — 

"My lord, and gentlemen of the jury, — I played Sancho 
the night before, and the wig I then used was proper for the 
new farce, and absolutely necessary for my part, as the whole 
force of the poefs wit depends on the leaft, meagre looks of 
one that is in want of food. This wig being, therefore, so fit 
for my purpose, and hearing that the deceased had got it, I 
said to him, ' You have got the wig that I played in last 
night, and it fits my part this nights ^ I have as much right 
to it as you^ says he. I told him that I desired it as a favour. 
He said I should not have it. 'You are a scoundrel,' says I, 
* to deny me when I only ask you that as a favour which is 



FIRST APPEARANCES. 29 

my right.' * I am no more a scoundrel than yourself,' says 
he ; and so he went out of the room, and I went to the 
prompter's door to look for Mr. Cibber. Meanwhile the 
deceased went into the scene-room, and said I had used him 
like a pickpocket. The author persuaded him to let me have 
the wig, and the property-man brought him another wig. 
Upon this, he threw the first wig at me. I asked why he 
could not have done that before. He answered, ' Because 
you used me like a pickpocket.' This provoked me, and, 

rising up, I said, ' D- n you for a puppy ! get out.' His 

left side was then towards me ; but he turned about, unluckily, 
and my stick went into his eye. * Good God ! ' said I, ' what 
have I done ? ' and I threw the stick into the chimney. 
***** 

" I begged of the persons who were present to take the 
deceased to the bagnio ; but Mrs. Moor said that she had 
a room where he should be taken care of. I had then no 
idea that it would prove his end, but feared that his eye was 
in danger. But the next morning I saw Mr. Turbtitt, who 
advised me to keep out of the way, or I should be sent to 
gaol. I begged of him to get the advice of a physician, and 
gave him a guinea, which was all the money I had about me. 
From the beginning of the quarrel to the end it was but ten 
minutes, and there was no intermission." 

After this speech, the prisoner called Richard Turbutt, 
one of the players, and an eye-witness of the scuffle, who 
gave a very similar account of the matter to that sworn 
to by Thomas Ame. He then called Mr. Rich, Mr. 
Fleetwood, Mr. Quin, Mr. Ryan, Mr. Mills, and several 
others, to depose that he was a man of quiet and peace- 
able disposition, and the case was then left to the jury. 

At this time there was no such certainty on the subject 
of manslaughter and murder as there is to-day, though 
there was a great deal of learned writing in relation to 
killing per infortunium or se defendendo. In Hale's time, 
it was necessary for a jury to find the facts specially, if 



30 CHARLES MAC KLIN. 

they acquitted a man on either of these grounds. " Such 
a finding," says Mr, Justice Stephen, "still involved 
forfeiture, besides which the court might give judgment 
upon it that the prisoner was guilty of manslaughter." 
Sir Michael Foster, who published his discourses in 
1762, says that the practice of forfeiture did not in fact 
exist for a long period of time, and intimates that special 
verdicts had fallen into disuse, and that judges had " taken 
general verdicts of acquittal in plain cases of death per 
infortunium." Manslaughter was at this time a felony, 
punishable with burning in the hand, and imprisonment 
for not exceeding a year. 

These few legal facts are worth calling to mind, because 
of the somewhat extraordinary result of Macklin's trial. 
"The jury," says Kirkman, "found the prisoner guilty of 
manslaughter," and, as we find no record of his undergoing 
any punishment whatever, the court probably took a 
lenient view of the matter, and imposed no sentence upon 
the prisoner, or perhaps he was burned in the hand and 
discharged. Of this, however, there is no record ; all we 
know is that he was acquitted of the grave charge of murder, 
and was soon afterwards received at Drury Lane with 
affectionate applause, when he reappeared as Ramilie in 
Fielding's Miser. 



( 31 ) 



CHAPTER III. 

JAMES QUIN (1693-17 66). 

QuiN was the immediate predecessor of Macklin, and 
the last of that old school of actors which Macklin did 
so much to abolish. Some slight sketch of his career as 
a man, and his methods as an actor, will throw light 
on Macklin's difficulties, and exhibit more clearly the 
reforms Macklin made in elocution and stage manage- 
ment, by showing what was the accepted stWdard of 
perfection, which he helped to alter and replace by 
better things. 

It is to be regretted that no one has seen fit to compile 
a good biography of James Quin. A volume, published 
in 1766, reported by some to have been written by 
Goldsmith, is wholly unworthy of reference, and so dull 
and defective in picturesque qualities, that we may safely 
acquit the poet of having had any hand in its compila- 
tion. From what I can gather from various sources, not 
without fear, however, of further consolidating errors, 
the following is set down as an accepted outline of his 
life. 

James Quin was the descendant of an Irish family of 
good position. His grandfather, Mark Quin, was Lord 
Mayor of Dublin in 1676, and his father, after receiving 
his education at Trinity College, Dublin, removed to 
London, where he was called to the bar by the Honour- 



32 CHARLES MACKLIN. 

able Society of Lincoln's Inn. James Quin is often 
spoken of as an Irishman by birth, but the better opinion 
seems to be that he was born in King Street, Covent 
Garden, on February 24, 1693, and that shortly after- 
wards, on his grandfather's death, he was taken to Ireland 
by his father, who then came into possession of a very 
considerable fortune. In Dublin young Quin was 
educated by Dr. Jones, a teacher celebrated for his 
learning, and, being destined by his father for the bar, 
remained under his tuition until 17 10, when his father 
died. Whether he now came over to England and 
squandered his fortune in gaiety and dissipation, or 
whether, on the other hand, his legitimacy was challenged 
and his patrimony wasted in a Chancery suit, it is difficult 
to say. The probability is that his mother had two 
husbands at once, and that, in consequence, James Quin 
was illegitimate, and his father's heirs, knowing this, 
asserted their legal claims to what should have been 
young Quin's estate. Different authorities give different 
accounts of the matter; what is certain is that from 
some cause or other he lost his fortune, and was turned 
adrift upon the world at an early age, a well-educated 
adventurer. At this time he is described as having " an 
expressive countenance, an inquisitive eye, a clear voice 
full and melodious, an extensive memory, a majestic 
figure, and, above all, an enthusiastic admiration of 
Shakespeare." It is said that the study of Shakespeare's 
plays had, with Quin, been pursued in Temple Chambers, 
when he should have been poring over the crabbed folios 
of Coke upon Littleton ; but, however this may be, his 
tastes were formed, his talent was undeniable, and his 
opportunity soon presented itself. His first appearance 
upon any stage was made at the old Smock Alley 
Theatre in Dublin, in the part of Abel in the CommUtee. 



JAMES QUIK 3 J 

W. R. Chetwood, for twenty years the prompter at 
Drury Lane, tells us this in his " History of the Stage," 
with the following further details of his early career. 
He played, in his first season, Cleon in Shadwell's 
adaptation of Timon of Athens, and the Prince of Tanais 
in Rowe's Tamerlane. Chetwood saw and admired his 
genius; and at his suggestion Quin moved up to 
. London, where it is said he was introduced by Ryan to 
the managers of Drury Lane. His first recorded ap- 
pearance in London is as Vultur in Charles Johnson's 
Country Lasses, February 4, 17 15. Progress in this day 
was very much a matter of seniority, but Quin, by what 
was for him a lucky accident, received very rapid 
promotion. On November 5, 17 16, a grand revival of 
Tamerlane took place, in which Quin was cast for the 
small part of the Dervise. On the third night of its run. 
Mills, the Bajazet, was taken ill, and Quin was allowed 
to read the part. Probably not one of the older actors 
saw what an opportunity this was for Quin, who was 
then in the condition of a " faggot," as novice performers 
were called, and had in all probability never before had 
a chance of doing more than speak a few unimportant 
lines. His reading of the part was received with the 
greatest applause. Before the next night he made him- 
self perfect in the words, and his accidental triumph 
was ratified by large and enthusiastic audiences. The 
company, however, was at this time too strong in leading 
actors, and there was no room for Quin, who transferred 
his allegiance to John Rich, and almost at once undertook 
leading parts. 

His first appearance at Lincoln's Inn Fields was on 
January 7, 17 18, as Hotspur, and he remained with Rich 
from this date until 1734. In 1720, it was proposed 
that the company should revive The Merry Wives of 

D 



34 CHARLES MACKLm. 

Windsor, but there was no actor who would attempt 
the part of Falstaff. Rich was iaclined to give up the 
revival for want of a Falstaff, when Quin offered to 
undertake the part. John Rich demurred to this, at 
first, very strongly. " You attempt Falstaff ! " he ex- 
claimed, interjecting his remarks with expressive pinches 
of snuff; " why, you might as well think of acting Cato 
after Booth ! The character of Falstaff, young man, is 
quite another character from what you think ; it is not 
a little snivelling part that — that — in short, any one can 
do." However, Quin over-persuaded the manager, 
much to his own advantage, for the piece was revived, 
and, thanks to Quin's Falstaff, drew crowded houses 
during no less than eighteen nights of the season 
1720-21. Davies tells us that — 

" The great applause that Quin gained in this the feeblest 
portrait of Falstaff, encouraged him to venture on the more 
high-seasoned part of the character in the First Part of 
Henry IV. Of this large compound of his, bragging and 
exhaustless fund of wit and humour, Quin possessed the 
ostensible or mechanical part in an eminent degree. In 
person he was tall and bulky ; his voice strong and pleasing ; 
his countenance manly, and his eyes piercing and expressive. 
In scenes where satire and sarcasm were poignant, he greatly 
excelled ; particularly in the witty triumph over Bardolph's 
carbuncles and the fooleries of the hostess. His supercilious 
brow, in spite of assumed gaiety, sometimes unmasked the 
surliness of his disposition ; hpwever, he was, notwithstand- 
ing some faults, esteemed the most intelligent and judicious 
Falstaff since the days of Betterton." 

As long as Booth lived, it was impossible for Quin to 
claim the first position on the English stage, but he led 
the forces with which Rich carried on the struggle at 
Lincoln's Inn Fields against the more powerful and 
popular company at Drury Lane. Booth retired in 1728, 



JAMES QUm. 35 

and during the ensuing thirteen years, until Garrick's 
debut in 1741, Quin was the leading actor of the day. 

When Rich moved to Covent Garden in 1732, Quin 
opened the new theatre by his performance of Fainall in 
Congreve's Way of the World. Here, on January 18, 
1734, he challenged the memories of the old playgoers 
by performing Cato — an experiment highly dangerous, 
one would think, seeing in what estimation the veteran 
Booth had been held in this character during his lifetime. 
Quin had the wisdom, as well as the good taste, to 
announce that "the part of Cato would only be attempted 
by Mr. Quin;" and doubtless the audience, flattered by 
this tribute to the memory of Booth, were inclined to 
view the attempt graciously. His success was marked ; 
and when he declaimed the line — 

" Thanks to the gods, my boy has done his duty ! " 

there was a universal shout of, " Booth outdone ! " And, 
it is said, the audience were so excited, that they went 
the length of encoring the famous soliloquy. From 
that moment the part of Cato belonged to Quin as it had 
formerly belonged to Booth, and it became one of his 
most favourite representations. 

When Fleetwood became patentee of Drury Lane, in 
1734, he offered Quin the enormous salary — as it was 
then considered — of ;^5oo a year. Quin was at that 
time receiving only ^^300 from Rich, and offered him 
his services at the higher figure, but the manager replied 
that no actor was worth more them ;^3oo a year. So 
Rich and Quin parted company, and Quin went across 
to Drury Lane, where he appeared as Othello on Sep- 
tember 10, 1734. Here he continued until the end of 
the season 1740-41, when he went to Ireland for two 
seasons. It was at Drury Lane that he first met Macklin, 



3$ CHARLES MACKLIN. 

who soon became a somewhat formidable rival. When 
he returned to England in 1742, his supremacy was no 
longer acknowledged. Macklin had already appeared in 
Shylock, and Garrick had made his debut. The rivalry 
of Garrick and Quin, and their joint performance in 
1746, are matters that cannot here be dealt with at 
length. Suffice it that Quin recognized the superiority 
of Garrick, or, perhaps we should say, his greater popu- 
larity, and withdrew to Bath. During the next year, 
when Garrick was patentee of Drury Lane, Quin was 
desirous once more of playing against him, and, thinking 
that Rich would jump at the suggestion, wrote as 
follows : — 

" Dear Rich, 

" I am at Bath. 

" Yours, 



" James Quin." 



To which Rich replied — 

" Dear Quin, 

" Stay there and be damned. 
" Yours, 



" John Rich." 



In 1748, however, Quin returned to Covent Garden, 
where he played for three seasons, receiving in 1750-51 
a salary of ;^iooo a year, the largest amount ever 
known to have been paid up to this time. Here he 
struggled against Garrick, who, once at least, made him 
offers to come over to Drury Lane, although he can 
never at this time have been a very serious rival. At 
length, recognizing that without doubt his day was over, 
Quin withdrew from the contest without any ceremonious 
farewell to the stage, playing for the last time as a 



JAMES QUIN. 37 

salaried actor the part of Horatio in The Fair Penitent, 
on May 15, 1751. 

During Fleetwood's management Macklin and Quin 
had many bitter quarrels, which were crystallized in 
epigram and anecdote, of which the following is a 
specimen : — 

" ' Your servant, sir,' says surly Quin. 
' Sir, I am yours,' replies Macklin. 
' Why, you're the very Jew you play, 

Your face performed the task well.' 
' And you are Sir John Brute, they say, 

And an accomplished Maskwell.' 
Says Rich, who heard the sneering elves, 

And knew their horrid hearts, 
' Acting too much your very selves. 

You over do your parts.' " 

The epigrammatist hit them off not kindly, but well. 
They were both rough and surly, self-opinionated and 
sarcastical. Quin loved good living and the aristocracy ; 
Macklin pretended to literary tastes. They were con- 
temporaries and rivals, hating each other not a little, 
and, I dare say, exhibiting some of the qualities of 
their favourite parts when they spoke of each other to 
strangers. 

Quin, with his sharp tongue, had given Macklin plenty 
of cause for offence. When he was playing Antonio to 
Macklin's Shylock, he had said of his brother actor, " If 
God Almighty writes a legible hand, that man must be a 
villain." And when some one observed that Macklin 
might make a good actor, having such strong lines in his 
face, Quin replied, " Lines, sir ! I see nothing in the 
fellow's face but a d — n'd deal of cordage ! " Then there 
was the bon mot when Macklin accepted the part of Pan- 
dulph, the Pope's legate, in a revival of King John, that 



38 CHARLES MAC KLIN, 

he was " a cardinal who had originally been a parish 
clerk ;" and I dare say a hundred other good things that 
Quin said of Macklin, which the latter's friends had 
repeated to him, and which he had treasured up in his 
mind, swearing never to take the fellow's hand in friend- 
ship as long as he lived. 

The original quarrel, however, took place early in 
Macklin's career, probably about 1738, and is best told 
in his own language as he used to recall it in old age 
to his broken memory. Sitting in the Rainbow Coffee 
House in King Street, Covent Garden, in the year 1787, 
some one asked old Macklin if he and Quin had ever 
quarrelled. Very possibly the questioner had heard the 
old gentleman tell the story before, and asked the ques- 
tion for the benefit of the bystanders, who quickly 
crowded round to listen to the story, and help the old 
man's failing memory when he paused in his narrative. 

*' Yes, sir ; I was very low in the theatre, as an actor, when 
the surly fellow was the despot of the place. But, sir, I had 
— had a lift, sir. Yes, I was to play — the — the — the boy 
with the red breeches. You know who I mean, sir — he whose 
mother is always going to law ; you know who I mean ! " 

" Jerry Blackacre, I suppose, sir ? " 

" Ay, sir, Jerry. Well, sir, I began to be a little known 
to the public, and, egad ! I began to make them laugh. I 
was called the Wild Irishman, sir, and was thought to have 
some fun in me ; and I made them laugh heartily in the boy, 
sir — in Jerry. 

" When I came off the stage, the surly fellow who played 

the scolding Captain in the play. Captain — Captain 

You know who I mean." 

" Manly, I believe, sir ? '' 

"Ay, sir, the same — Manly. Well, sir, the surly fellow 
began to scold me ; told me I was at my damned tricks, and 
that there was no having a chaste scene for me. Everybody, 
nay, egad ! the manager himself, was afraid of him. I was 



JAMES QUIN. 39 

afraid of the fellow, too ; but not much. Well, sir, I told 
him that I did not mean to disturb him by my acting, but 
to show off a little tnyself. Well, sir, in the other scenes I 
did the same, and made the audience laugh incontinently, 
and he scolded me again, sir. I made the same apology ; 
but the surly fellow would not be appeased. Again, sir, 
however, I did the same ; and when I returned to the green- 
room, he abused me like a pickpocket, and said I must leave 
off my damned tricks. I told him I could not play otherwise. 
He said, I could, and I should. Upon which, sir, egad ! I 
said to him flatly, ' You lie ! ' He was chewing an apple at 
this moment ; and, spitting the contents into his hand, he 
threw them in my face." 

" Indeed ! " 

"It is a fact, sir ! Well, sir, I went up to him directly 
(for I was a great boxing cull in those days), and pushed him 
down into a chair and pummelled his face damnably." 

" You did right, sir." 

" He strove to resist, but he was no match for me ; and I 
made his face swell so with the blows, that he could hardly 
speak. When he attempted to go on with his part, sir, he 
mumbled so, that the audience began to hiss. Upon which 
he went forward and told them, sir, that something very 
unpleasant had happened, and that he was really very ill. 
But, sir, the moment I went to strike him, there were many 
noblemen in the greenroom, full dressed, with their swords 
and large wigs (for the greenroom was a sort of stateroom 
then, sir). Well, they were all alarmed, and jumped upon 
the benches, waiting in silent amazement till the affair was 
over. 

" At the end of the play, sir, he told me I must give him 
satisfaction ; and that, when he changed his dress, he would 
wait for me at the Obelisk in Covent Garden. I told him I 
would be with him, but, sir, when he was gone, I recollected 
that I was to play in the pantomime (for I was a great 
pantomime boy in those days). So, sir, I said to myself, 
' Damn the fellow, let him wait ; I won't go to him till my 
business is all over. Let him fume and fret, and be damned.' 
Well, sir, Mr. Fleetwood, the manager, who was one of the 



40 CHARLES MAC KLIN. 

best men in the world — all kindness, all mildness, and gracious- 
ness and aflfability — had heard of the affair, and, as Ouin 
was his great actor, and in favour with the town, he told me 
I had had revenge enough ; that I should not meet the surly 
fellow that night, but that he would make the matter up 
somehow or other. 

" Well, sir, Mr. Fleetwood ordered me a good supper and 
some wine, and made me sleep at his house all night, to 
prevent any meeting. Well, sir, in the morning he told me 
that I must,7^r his sake^ make a little apology to Quin for 
what I had done. And so, sir, having given him a bellyfui, 
I, to oblige Mr. Fleetwood (for I loved the man), did, sir, 
make some apology to him, and the matter dropped." 

This story, with all its extravagance, undoubtedly 
represents a serious quarrel between Quin and Macklin, 
which, with its attendant insults on both sides, would long 
embitter one against the other ; but it is pleasant to 
believe that the two were ultimately reconciled. There 
had for many years been an avoidance of all unnecessary 
intercourse between them. When they met at rehearsal, 
it was " Mr. Quin," " Mr. Macklin ; " and they treated 
each other with the studied courtesy of strangers. It is 
said that this was broken through when they were both 
attending the funeral of a brother player, and, after the 
interment, met again at a tavern in Covent Garden. 
Neither man was an early riser from the supper-table, 
and six a.ra. came to find the rest of the company gone, 
and the two actors alone sitting at the table with the 
bottle between them. Quin broke ground and drank 
Macklin's health, and Macklin returned it. After a pause, 
Quin said to his companion, " There has been a foolish 
quarrel between you and me, sir, which, though accom- 
modated, I must confess, I have not been able entirely 
to forget till now. The melancholy occasion of our 
meeting, and the circumstance of our being left together, 



JAMES QVLV. 41 

I thank God, have made me see my error. If you can, 
therefore, forget it, give me your hand, and let us live 
together in future Uke brother performers." This was a 
long speech for Quin at this hour in the morning, and 
Macklin was ready at the conclusion with outstretched 
hand. There was a reconciliation, and another bottle, 
and the curtain falls on Macklin trying to carry Quin 
upon his shoulders to his lodgings in the Piazzas in 
Covent Garden. 

The two men were naturally and professionally antago- 
nistic. Quin, as an actor, was the last of the orthodox 
conventional school ; while Macklin, in all his parts, 
and especially in his Shylock, made some steps towards 
natural acting. He was, as it were, the connecting link 
between Quin and Garrick, the first and greatest of 
natural actors. Quin was an exponent of the grandi- 
loquent or artificial style, exhibiting the form rather than 
the soul of tragedy. He was successful in the more 
solid characters, such as Coriolanus and Cato, but 
not in emotional and complicated parts, such as Lear, 
Richard, and Macbeth. Cumberland, in his memoirs, 
gives us a capital picture of Quin in tragedy, who 
"presented himself, upon the rising of the curtain, in a 
green velvet coat embroidered down the seams, an 
enormous full-bottom periwig, rolled stockings, and high- 
heeled square-toed shoes. With very little variation of 
cadence, and in a deep full tone, accompanied by a saw- 
ing kind of action, which had more of the senate than 
of the stage in it, he rolled out his heroics with an air of 
dignified indifference that seemed to disdain the plaudits 
that were bestowed upon him." His great parts in tragedy 
were Cato, Brutus, Pyrrhus in the Distressed Mother, 
Pierre in Venice Preserved, Horatio in The Fair Penitent 
Ventidius, Rowe's Tamerlane, and Bajazet. Davies 



42 CHARLES MAC KLIN. 

agrees with other critics that, although he was "a very 
natural reciter of plain and familiar dialogue, he was 
utterly unqualified for the striking and vigorous characters 
of tragedy ; could neither express the tender nor violent 
emotions of the heart ; his action was generally forced 
or languid, and his movement ponderous and sluggish. 
But it must be confessed that he often gave true weight 
and dignity to sentiment, by a well-regulated tone of 
voice, judicious elocution, and easy deportment." Earl 
Conyngham, in speaking of the quarrels between Brutus 
and Cassius, when Quin and Garrick were playing 
together, used the following expressive simile : " Quin 
resembled a solid three-decker, lying quiet and scorning 
to fire, but with the evident power, if put forth, of sending 
its antagonist to the bottom ; Garrick, a frigate turning 
round it, attempting to grapple, and every moment 
threatening an explosion that would destroy both." 
Smollett gives an excellent account of the same scene 
from his own modern point of view in " Peregrine Pickle," 
putting his criticism into the mouth of the Knight of 
Malta, whom Peregrine meets in Paris : 

" Yet one of your graciosos^^ says the Knight, referring to 
Quin, " I cannot admire in all the characters he assumes. 
His utterance is a continual sing-song, like the chanting of 
vespers ; and his action resembles that of heaving ballast 
into the hold of a ship. In his outward deportment, he seems 
to have confounded the ideas of dignity and insolence of mien ; 
acts the crafty, cool, designing Crookback, as a loud, shallow, 
blustering Hector ; and in the character of the mild patriot 
Brutus, loses all temper and decorum ; nay, so ridiculous is 
the behaviour of him and Cassius at their interview, that, 
setting foot to foot and grinning at each other, with the 
aspect of two cobblers enraged, they thrust their left sides 
together with repeated shocks, that the hilts of their swords 
may clash for the entertainment of the audience ; as if they 



JAMES QUIN. 43 

were a couple of merry-andrews, endeavouring to raise the 
laugh of the vulgar, on some scaffold at Bartholomew Fair. 
The despair of a great man, who falls a sacrifice to the 
infernal practices of a subtle traitor that enjoyed his confi- 
dence, this English iEsopus represents by beating his own 
forehead, and bellowing like a bull ; and, indeed, in almost all 
his most interesting scenes, performs such strange shakings 
of the head, and other antic gesticulations, that when I first 
saw him act, I imagined the poor man laboured under that 
paralytical disorder, which is known by the name of St. 
Vitus's dance. In short, he seems to be a stranger to the 
more refined sensations of the soul, consequently his expres- 
sion is of the vulgar kind, and he must often sink under the 
idea of the poet ; so that he has recourse to such violence of 
affected agitation as imposes upon the undiscerning spectator ; 
but to the eye of taste, evinces him a mere player of that 
class whom your admired Shakespeare justly compares to 
nature's journeyman tearing a passion to rags. Yet this 
man, in spite of all these absurdities, is an admirable Falstaff, 
exhibits the character of the eighth Henry to the life, is 
reasonably applauded in the Plain Dealer, excels in the part 
of Sir John Brute, and would be equal to many humorous 
situations in low comedy, which his pride will not allow him 
to undertake. I should not have been so severe upon this 
actor, had I not seen him extolled by his partisans with the 
most ridiculous and fulsome manifestation of praise, even in 
those very circumstances wherein, as I have observed, he 
chiefly failed." 

Peregrine himself roasts poor Quin in grand style in a 
later passage, giving in ludicrous detail an account of his 
performance of Zanga ; but this is less worthy of quotation 
as a critical estimate of the actor, as it is purposely written 
in the extravagant language that Smollett so often puts 
into the mouth of his lively young hero. 

Quin's excellence in Falstaff and other comic characters 
was undenied. He had a great command of facial 
expression, was happy in his stage business, keeping it, 



44 CHARLES MACKLIN. 

however, well within bounds, and never descending to 
grimace and buffoonery. Davies speaks especially of 
the " impudent dignity " of his Falstaff, which suggests 
that he was successful in the essential characteristics of 
the part. He had a great contempt, however, for the 
extraneous aids of make-up and costume, and is reported 
to have played young Bevil, in Steele's Conscious Lovers, 
in the same suit in which he acted the Old Bachelor. 
One of his favourite characters, after Falstafif, was Sir 
John Brute in The Provoked Wife; but Davies does not 
speak of his performance of this part in terms of un- 
qualified praise. He "seemed to have forgotten," says 
Davies, " that Sir John Brute had ever been a gentleman, 
of which part of the character Gibber and Garrick 
retained the remembrance through every scene of riot 
and debauchery. Quin, besides, in this part, wanted 
variety, and that glow and warmth in colouring the ex- 
travagance of this merry rake, without which the picture 
remains imperfect and unfinished." At the same time, 
Horace Walpole, no mean critic, preferred his performance 
of this character to that of Garrick. Among his other 
important characters were Henry VHI., Jacques — in 
which his admirable elocution and somewhat monotonous 
manner must have stood him in good stead — Thersites, 
Apemantus, Volpone, Manly, Heartwell, Maskwell, and 
Old Knowell in Every Man in his Hu7nour. In his time 
he played a wide range of characters, was undoubtedly 
a great comedian, 'and a successful tragedian of the con- 
ventional school. 

I confess that I cannot in any way share the belief 
that Quin was, in character, a harsh, unkindly man. 
True, his jokes were often coarse and brutal enough, but 
he was a licensed wit, and doubtless thought more about 
the force and point of his jest than about its humanity. 



JAMES QUIN. 45 

But it is absurd to suppose that he was in any way a 
surly man. He was handsome, popular, witty, " beloved 
by his friends, and always on joyous terms with himself. 
Few understood the inclinations of men better, and 
none could be more indulgent to unpremeditated error. 
While he cherished a little affectation in himself, to 
conceal the warmth and mildness of his disposition, he 
discerned every degree of it in others with a shrewd eye. 
I think he was an accomplished specimen of a man of 
the world of the right sort, for he was more amiable than 
he really seemed to be." This is the estimate of a 
warm admirer, but one who seems to have been a sound 
judge of his character. Perhaps the broils and quarrels 
in which he was engaged may have given him a bad 
name among his contemporaries, though it is hard to 
say how far he was to blame in some of these adventures. 
On two occasions he had the misfortune to kill a brother 
actor. In 1718, he caused the death of William Bowen 
in a kind of duel. It is said that Bowen, who was very 
jealous of his reputation, was driven to fury by Quin's 
assertion that some other actor played Jacomo in The 
Libertine better than Bowen did. Enraged at this, he 
got Quin into a room in a tavern alone, set his back 
against the door, and insisted on satisfaction for the 
insult. He then assailed Quin with such blind fury that 
he ran upon his sword and was killed — generously, with 
his dying words, acquitting Quin of all blame in the 
matter. The coroner's inquest found se defendendo, 
but the Old Bailey jury returned a verdict of man- 
slaughter, and it is said Quin was burnt in the hand. 
This was the statutory punishment for manslaughter, 
which was not abolished until 19 Geo. III. c. 74. A T 
was burnt with a hot iron in the brawn of the thumb of 
the left hand. This was often done by the executioner, 



46 CHARLES MAC KLIN. 

in open court, before the prisoner was discharged. 
The sentence, in Quin's case, was at least nominally 
executed; but, perhaps, as was not infrequent with 
favoured offenders, a cold iron was used. On another 
occasion he was perhaps more to blame. He was 
playing Cato at Drury Lane, and a Welshman named 
Williams was cast for the part of the Messenger. This 
man pronounced Cato Keeto, and when he gave the line 
" Caesar sends health to Keeto," Quin somewhat 
brutally retorted on the public stage and with tragic 
accent, " Would he had sent a better messenger." Poor 
Williams was greatly affronted by this indignity, and 
followed Quin into the greenroom, demanding satisfac- 
tion. Quin, with his usual nonchalance, tried to laugh 
the matter off as a good jest, but only succeeded in 
making the Welshman still more furious. In the end 
Williams waited for him under the piazza, where he drew 
his sword and insisted on fighting Quin, who, in the 
scuffle that ensued, for a second time killed one of his 
fellow-actors. Again he was tried, and this time seems 
to have been wholly acquitted. 

These stories may perhaps have raised a prejudice 
against his good nature that ought not to exist. No one, 
with his extravagance of humour, could help making 
enemies, and, in that age, being brought into quarrels 
more or less disreputable. But I cannot set these down 
as outweighing the many well-known but less picturesque 
acts of kindness with which he is credited. His affection 
for and generosity to Thomson the poet, who has im- 
mortalized his benefactor in the Castle of Indolence, 
where he hails him as " the ^sopus of the age ; " his 
fatherly kindness to Miss Bellamy, when, a mere girl, she 
first appeared upon the Covent Garden stage; these, 
and many other pleasant traits in his character, deserve 



JAMES QUm. 47 

consideration as well as its rougher and less pleasing 
characteristics. 

Even his love of good eating and drinking is not an 
unpleasing feature of the man, and has certainly given 
us some of his best sayings. It is said that he thought 
angling a very barbarous diversion; for, said he, "sup- 
pose some superior being should bait a hook with 
venison and go a Quinning, I should certainly bite, and 
what a sight I should be, dangling in the air ! " Every one 
knows his plaintive wish as he passed beneath West- 
minster Bridge, " Oh that my mouth were that centre 
arch, and that the river ran claret ! " So keen was he 
about certain kinds of food, that he is reported to have 
visited Plymouth on several occasions, merely for the 
purpose of eating John Dories. He was once staying 
at an inn in Plymouth which happened to be much 
infested with rats. "My drains," said the landlord, 
"run down to the quay, and the scents of the kitchen 
attract the rats." " That's a pity," said Quin. " At some 
leisure moment before I return to town, remind me of 
the circumstance, and perhaps I may be able to suggest 
a remedy." In the mean time he lived expensively, and 
at the end of eight weeks he called for his bill. "What ! " 
said he, " one hundred and fifty pounds for eight weeks 
in one of the cheapest towns in England ! " However, 
he paid the bill, and stepped into the chaise. "Oh, Mr. 
Quin," said the landlord, " I hope you have not forgot 
the remedy you promised me for the rats." " There's 
your bill," replied Quin ; " show them that when they 
come, and if they trouble your house again, I'll be 
damned ! " Garrick, who wrote epigrams on the foibles 
of all his friends and contemporaries, has a capital mock 
soliloquy of Quin, " On Seeing the Embalmed Body of 
Duke Humphrey at St. Albans' : " 



48 CHARLES MAC KLIN. 

" O plague on Egypt's arts, I say ! 
Embalm the dead ! On senseless clay 

Rich wines and spices waste ! 
Like sturgeon, or like brawn, shall I 
Bound in a precious pickle, lie, 

Which I can never taste ! 

" Let me embalm this flesh of mine 
With turtle-fat, and Bordeaux wine, 
And spoil the Egyptian trade ! 
Than Humphrey's Duke more happy I — 
Embalmed alive, old Quin shall die, 
A mummy ready made." 

Quin's epicurean propensities were a great theme for 
Garrick's jokes. When Lord Halifax had sent Garrick 
a turkey, which his health did not permit him to enjoy, 
Garrick, in writing to thank him, told his lordship he 
would take it with him to Bath, saying, " When our old 
friend Quin was on one occasion ill and had received a 
present, I believe from the same bounteous hand that 
has sent m& mine, his doctor told him that he would not 
be fit to touch such a thing for a fortnight. * Shan't I ? ' 

says Quin ; ' then, by G d ! it shall travel with me till 

I am fit.' " 

Of his gallantry, too, there are many excellent stories. 
He may be credited with having said some of the 
prettiest things to women, and some of the coarsest things 
^them. When a lady asked him why there were more 
women in the world than men, he promptly replied, 
" It is in conformity with the arrangements of Nature, 
madam ; we always see more of heaven than of earth." 
Again, when discussing the doctrine of Pythagoras with 
some lady of his acquaintance who was famed for the 
beauty of her neck, she put the question to him, " What 
creature's form would you hereafter prefer to inhabit ? " 



JAMES QUIN. 4^ 

Quin was equal to the occasion when he answered softly, 
" A fly's, madam ; then I might have the pleasure of 
sometimes resting on your ladyship's neck." But his 
jests were not all of this frivolous nature. Walpole, in 
writing to George Montagu on April 5, 1765, tells us of 
some of his best sayings, and we can only regret that 
Quin was not troubled with some Boswell-minded 
companion, who could have handed down to posterity 
all his witty sayings, wild, wise, and otherwise. 

" Though I have little to say, it is worth while to write 
only to tell you two bon-niots of Quin, to that turncoat, 
hypocrite, infidel. Bishop Warburton. That saucy priest was 
haranguing at Bath in behalf of prerogative. Quin said, 
' Pray, my lord, spare me ; you are not acquainted with my 
principles. I am a republican ; and perhaps I even think 
that the execution of Charles I. might be justified.' .'Ay,' 
said Warburton, ' by what law ? ' Quin replied, ' By all 
the laws he had left them.' The Bishop would have got off 
upon judgments, and bade the player remember that all the 
regicides came to violent ends ; a lie, but no matter. ' I 
would not advise your lordship,' said Quin, ' to make use 
of that inference ; for, if I am not mistaken, that was the 
case of the twelve apostles.' There was great wit ad 
hominetn in the latter reply, but I think the former equal to 
anything I ever heard. It is the sum of the whole con- 
troversy couched in eight monosyllables, and comprehends 
at once the king's guilt and the justice of punishing it. The 
more one examines it the finer it proves. One can say 
nothing after it ; so good-night ! " 

It was on a similar occasion, when Quin was dining 
with his great friends, that some dunder-headed peer, in 
the midst of the laughter, exclaimed, " What a pity it is, 
Quin my boy, that a clever fellow like you should be a 
player ! " Quin flashed his eye, and replied, " What 
would your lordship have me to be — a lord ? " The 

E 



50 CHARLES MACKLIN. 

actor was fond of fine company, but proud of his pro- 
fession nevertheless. 

After he had retired to Bath, he twice returned to the 
stage to play Falstaff for his old friend Ryan's benefit, 
and his appearance on one of these occasions, on March 
19, 1753, was the last time he ever trod the boards. 
Next year, when Ryan asked him to play Falstaff again, 
Quin had lost his front teeth, and wrote to Ryan — 

" My dear Friend, 

" There is no person on earth whom I wou'd 
sooner serve than Ryan ; but, by God, I will whistle 
Falstaff for no man." 

It was soon after this that he gave Ryan ;!£'iooo, 
saying he had left him that sum in his will, but Ryan 
might cheat the Government of the legacy duty if he 
liked. During his last years he was on terms of friendly 
intimacy with Garrick, and spent some days every year 
at his villa at Hampton. His last excursion was in 1765. 
The next year he was suffering from an eruption which 
appeared on his hand, which the doctors feared would 
turn to mortification. Perhaps if he had been a more 
obedient patient, things might have gone better with him ; 
but anxiety and good living brought on a fever. The 
day before he died he is said to have drunk a bottle 
of claret, and expressed a wish that the last tragic scene 
was over, and a hope that he should be able to go 
through it with becoming dignity. He died in his own 
house at Bath, on January 21, 1766, and was buried in 
the Abbey Church. Garrick, his former rival, then his 
friend, wrote the epitaph, which is engraved upon his 
monument : 



JAMES QUIN. SI 

That tongue which set the table in a roar, 

And charmed the public ear, is heard no more ! 

Closed are those eyes, the harbingers of wit, 

Which spake before the tongue what Shakespeare writ : 

Cold is that hand which, living, was stretched forth 

At Friendship's call, to succour modest worth. 

Here lies James Quin. — Deign, reader, to be taught, 

Whate'er thy strength of body, force of thought ; 

In Nature's happiest mould, however cast. 

To this complexion thou must come at last." 



CHARLES MACKLIN. 



CHAPTER IV. 

SHYLOCK (1741). 

This year, 1741, was indeed a red-letter year in the 
history of the English stage. Garrick was to make his 
first appearance in London, at Goodman's Fields, on 
October 19, as Richard III. ; and on February 14, 
Macklin introduced Shylock to the public as a serious 
character. The theatre in England has, perhaps, never 
seen such golden days as those. The Licensing Act, 
1737, was scarcely yet in force ; it had not, as yet, closed 
the smaller theatres at Goodman's Fields and the Hay- 
market, nor had it taken any very active part in destroy- 
ing the freedom of contemporary authors. There was a 
large and critical race of theatre-goers, who knew by long 
experience a good actor from a bad. And already the 
old conventional, strength-of-lung delivery, that had 
found favour for so many years, was to give way to a 
more natural art, in the introduction of which Macklin 
may fairly be considered the forerunner of the greater 
artist Garrick. 

During the years preceding his performance of Shy- 
lock, Macklin had grown a strong favourite with the 
public. His Shakespearian parts had, however, been few 
and unimportant. Poins in Henry IV., the Second 
Gravedigger and Osric in Hamlet, a Sailor in The Tefnpest, 
a Witch in Macbeth, a Citizen m Julius Ccesar, Sir Hugh 



SHYLOCK . 53 

Evans, Trinculo, and, in the beginning of 1741, Malvolio, 
were the only Shakespearian characters he had attempted. 
But he had been cast for many important comedy parts 
in his years of apprenticeship in London. Mrs. Taylor, 
John Taylor's mother, remembers him at this time as 
" a smart-looking dark man, and a very sprightly actor, 
even in juvenile parts, but hard in his manner and apt 
to resort to his pauses." These pauses became very 
famous in after-years. For the present, however, it is 
sufficient to remember that he was rapidly coming to the 
front, and adding popular parts to his repertory. 

In 1737, he and his wife had played Peachura and 
Mrs. Peachum, in the ever-popular Beggar's Opera, and 
in the same year, he played Lord Froth in TAe Double 
Dealer. In 1738, he "got another lift," to use his own 
expression, when he played Jerry Blackacre in The Plain 
Dealer, in which, as we have seen, he gained the applause 
of the audience and earned the resentment of infallible 
Pope Quin, by his manner of " throwing off a little." 
The same year he played Lord Foppington in The Relapse, 
the character of the same name in The Careless Husband, 
Tattle in Love for Love, and Scrub in Farquhar's Beaux 
Stratagem. Scrub is a capital low-comedy part, " simple, 
yet cunning ; forward, though timid ; a tatler affecting 
secresy, and a fool assuming wisdom." The fact that 
he was allotted such characters as Jerry Blackacre and 
Scrub, shows that Macklin was, as early as 1738, con- 
sidered a low comedian of the front rank. Before 1739, 
he also played Ben in Love for Love, and Trappanti in 
She Would and She Would Not, " in which," says Cooke, 
" though he wanted the flippancy with which it is now 
generally played, he exhibited that low arch comedy and 
intrigue which belong to the original." The next year 
he played Marplot in Mrs. Centlivre's comedy, The Busy 



54 CHARLES MACKLIN. 

Body. His interpretation of this character must have 
been especially successful, and is said to have excelled 
that of Garrick, who, as Mr. Fox said of him, " could not 
look foolish enough for the part," and soon relinquished it. 
In the same season he played Gregory (the Mock 
Doctor) in Fielding's version of Le Medecin Malgre Lui ; 
and, in 1740, was cast for such important parts as Fondle- 
wife in The Old Bachelor, Lovegold (the Miser) in 
Fielding's version of L'Avare, and Sir Francis Wrong- 
head in Gibber's adaptation of Vanbrugh's comedy, The 
Provoked Husband. Of his performance of Lovegold, 
Cooke writes, that it gained him a considerable part of 
his early reputation, that he was to the last well received 
in it, and that it was always one of the stock pieces with 
which he engaged himself to perform in his articles with 
town and country managers. Of his Sir Francis Wrong- 
head, the same biographer says : " It was by far the best 
of modern times, because Macklin could remember the 
manners from which the original was composed. Fas- 
tidious critics, it is true, sometimes said the portrait was 
rather too coarse ; but they did not consider the differ- 
ence of the times, when country gentlemen were almost 
a distinct race of being from what they are now — their 
manners, their dress, their ideas, and conversation, all 
smelt of the honest plain sort they sprung from." Kirk- 
man describes him in the same part in the words of a 
" late excellent (but anonymous) critic," who says that 
" Consequential stupidity sat well painted in his counte- 
nance, and wrought laughable effects, without the paltry 
resource of grimace ; where he affected to be very wise, 
a laborious, emphatic slyness marked the endeavour 
humorously 3 while the puzzles between political and 
domestic concerns occasioned much food for merriment." 
It would be a matter of surprise to us nowadays if a 



SHYLOCK. 55 

comedian of so pronounced a type should be cast for 
Shylock. But when we consider the career of Shylock 
from the time of Shakespeare to the year 1741, it will be 
manifest that the present conception of the part was 
undreamt of, and the fact that Macklin was allowed by 
the manager to attempt it will not be very astonishing. 
To understand the position of Shakespeare's Merchant of 

Venice, it is necessary to say a few words about Lord 
Lansdowne's adaptation of the play, which had super- 
seded it. 

George Granville, Viscount Lansdowne, was only 
thirty-four years of age when he published The Jew of 

Venice in 1701. The restoration of Shakespeare's plays 
was at this date no uncommon pastime with men of 
letters. But, by way of excuse for what we must now- 
adays regard as acts of Vandalism, we may remember 
that Rowe, the first serious editor of Shakespeare, did 
not publish his edition of the plays until 1709, and it was 
many years before they were approached with that spirit 
of reverence to which we are accustomed to-day. The 
lofty patronage extended to the unfortunate poet by 
his aristocratic editor is well seen in George Granville's 
Advertisement to the Reader. 

"The foundation of the following Comedy," he writes, 
"being liable to some objection, it may be wondered that 
any one should make choice of it to bestow so much labour 
upon ; But the judicious reader will observe so many Manly 
and Moral Graces in the Characters and Sentiments, that he 
may excuse the Story for the sake of the Ornamental parts. 
Undertakings of this kind are justified by the Examples 
of those Great Men, who have employed their Endeavours 
in the same Way. The only dramatique Attempt of Mr. 
Waller was of this Nature, in his Alteration of The Maid's 
Tragedy ; To the Earl of Rochester we owe Valentinian ; 
To the Duke of Buckingham, The Chance; Sir William 



.S6 CHARLES MAC KLIN. 

Davenantand Mr. Dryden united in restoring The Tetnpest; 
Troilus and Cressida, Tiinon^ and King Lear, were the 
works of the three succeeding Laureates," etc., etc. 

The Jew of Venice was first performed by his Majesty's 
servants at the theatre in Little Lincoln's Inn Fields in 
1 701. Mr. Doggett was Shy lock; Mr. Betterton, Bas- 
sanio; and Mrs. Bracegirdle, Portia. One Bevill Higgins 
wrote a prologue, in the form of a rhymed duologue 
between the ghosts of Shakespeare and Dryden. The 
former, with a generous modesty not of this world, is 
made to say of his mangled drama — 

"These Scenes in their rough Nature Dress were mine. 
But now improv'd with nobler Lustre shine ; 
The first rude Sketches Shakspear' s pencil drew. 
But all the shining Master-Stroaks are new." 

But, however much we may prefer the rough nature of 
the rude sketches to the improvements made upon them 
by Lord Lansdowne's " Master-Stroaks," it must be 
admitted that the play is not hacked about and spoiled 
to so great an extent as in other cases ; nor can it be 
said that the character of Shylock is materially altered 
from an acting point of view. Lord Lansdowne's chief 
modifications were to cut out the characters of Launcelot 
and Old Gobbo, and to introduce a Masque of Peleus and 
Thetis, during which Shylock, supping at a separate 
table, drinks a toast to Money. These barefaced altera- 
tions are modest in comparison with the butchering 
that some of the plays have undergone, and Lord 
Lansdowne leaves so much of the original Shylock, that 
it is difficult to suppose his play suggested to the actor 
a new reading of the character. Therefore, if Shylock 
had been played as a serious part up to 1701, I find no 
justification in Lord Lansdowne's alterations for making 



SHY LOCK. 57 

the part a comic one. Certainly his lordship did all in 
his power to exalt Bassanio at the expense of Shylock, and 
in omitting Tubal and Shylock's powerful transitions from 
grief to joy upon receipt of Tubal's news, he cut away 
one of Shylock's finest tragic scenes. It may be, then, 
that, without intending to change the character of Shy- 
lock, he forced the actor of the past to attempt a comic 
or character interpretation of it, rather than allow it to 
sink into utter insignificance. Little or nothing is known 
of the earlier history of Shylock. Richard Burbadge, 
who died in 1618, is said to have played the part in 
a red wig, and posterity, jumping to a hasty and some- 
what illogical conclusion, suggests that therefore he 
played it as a comic character. Even admitting the fact 
of the red wig, I am by no means inclined to accept the 
inference. But the fact itself is very questionable. The 
lines from the funeral elegy on Burbadge : 

" The red-haired Jew 
Which sought the bankrupt merchant's pound of flesh. 
By woman lawyer caught in his own mesh," 

form the whole foundation of the red wig and comic 
Shylock theory; and as these lines do not appear in 
either of the contemporary manuscript copies, which are 
printed verbatim in the Huth Library Catalogue, it is 
more than probable that they were composed by Mr. 
John Payne Collier. That Doggett made Lord Lans- 
downe's Shylock a comic part, in 1701, seems probable. 
Downes, forty years prompter at Lincoln's Inn Fields, 
in his " Roscius Anglicanus," speaks of Doggett as " the 
only Comick original now extant : witness Solon, Nikin, 
the Jew of Venice," etc. More convincing is Rowe's 
remark, which must, I think, refer to the same actor : 
" Though we have seen the Merchant of Venice received 



58 CHARLES MACKLIN. 

and acted as a Comedy, and Shylock acted by an 
excellent comedian, yet I cannot but think that the 
character was tragically designed by the author." But 
the actors had drifted far away from the author's inten- 
tion, aided no doubt by Lord Lansdowne's version of 
the play, and when Kitty Clive came to play Portia, we 
know that she used to carry her contempt for the dignity 
of the character so far, as to mimic the leading lawyers 
of the day in her speeches in the Trial scene. 

This, then, was the state of things, when Macklin 
resolved to banish Lord Lansdowne and the comic Jew 
of Venice from the stage, and restore Shakespeare and 
Shylock in all the majesty of his cruel but human 
nature. The attempt, on the part of a low comedian 
like Macklin, to overrule the judgments of his pre- 
decessors, was a peculiarly bold and hazardous enterprise. 
It was the more so because, at this period, audiences 
were composed of men who knew the theatre well, who 
had fixed ideas about the way in which leading characters 
should be performed, and were outspoken and decided 
in their criticism. Sometimes, too, the noisier element of 
the audiences of that day, would make the disapprobation 
of the critical an excuse for riot and disorder. Macklin 
often spoke of these audiences in after-life, and always 
with respect and gratitude. " The audiences then," he 
said, " had their different complexions likewise : no 
indifferent or vulgar person scarcely ever frequented 
the pit, and very few women. It was composed of 
young Merchants of rising eminence. Barristers and 
Students of the Inns of Court, who were mostly well 
read in plays, and whose judgment was in general worth 
attending to. We had few riots and disturbances, the 
gravity and good sense of the pit not only kept the 
house in order, but the players likewise. Look at your 



SHYLOCK. 59 

Prologues, sir, in those days, and in the times long before 
them, and they all deprecate the judgment of the pit, 
where the Critics lay in knots, and whose favourable 
opinion was constantly courted." Macklin was loud 
in his praises of the pit as it existed in his early days. 
" Sir," he said to Taylor in after-days, " you then saw 
no red cloaks, and heard no pattens in the pit, but you 
saw merchants from the City with big-wigs, lawyers from 
the Temple with big-wigs, and physicians from the coffee- 
houses with big- wigs, and the whole exhibited such a 
formidable grizzle as might well shake the nerves of 
actors and authors." The reason of this was that the 
life of that time was favourable to constant critical and 
unchanging audiences. The City and West End of the 
town kept equal distances. The merchant lived in the 
City, and only when he had secured great fortune did 
he dare to venture as far as Hatton Garden. The 
lawyers lived in their Inns of Court or about West- 
minster. The players lived near the theatre. Quin, 
Booth, and Wilks lived almost all their lives in or about 
Bow Street, Covent Garden ; Colley Cibber in Charles 
Street ; Mrs. Pritchard in Craven Buildings, Drury Lane ; 
Garrick, a great part of his life, in Southampton Street. 
The smaller players lived or lodged in Little Russel 
Street, Vinegar Yard, and the little courts about the 
Garden. " I myself, sir," said the veteran, in detailing 
these circumstances to his biographer Cooke, "lived 
always about James Street, or under the Piazzas, so 
that," he continued, " we could all be mustered by beat 
of drum, could attend rehearsals without any incon- 
venience, and save coach hire." Thus at the various 
ordinaries around Covent Garden, where dinner could 
be had at dd. or xs. a head, there was much drinking in 
mixed company, the actors and their various critics 



6o CHARLES MAC KLIN. 

doubtless discussing the politics of the theatre, with the 
same freedom and energy, with which clubmen of to-day 
discuss the politics of the more universal stage. 

Inside the theatre, the men who frequented the 
ordinaries would seat themselves each according to his 
station. 

" None but people of independent fortunes and avowed 
rank and situation, ever presumed to go into the boxes, and 
all the lower parts of the house laid out in boxes were sacred 
to virtue and decorum. No man sat covered in a box, or 
stood up during the representation, but those in the last 
row, where no one's prospect could be interrupted. The 
women of the town who frequented the playhouses then 
were few (except in the galleries), and those few occupied 
two or three upper boxes at each side of the house. Their 
stations were assigned them, and the men who chose to go 
and badinage with them, did it at the peril of their character. 
' No boots admitted in those days, Mr. Macklin — no box- 
lobby loungers 1 ' ' No, sir ! ' exclaimed the veteran, ' neither 
boots, spurs, nor Worses; we were too attentive to the cunning 
of the scene to be interrupted, and no intrusion of this kind 
would be endured. But, to do those days common justice, 
the evil did not exist ; rakes and puppies found another vent 
for their vices and follies, than the regions of a theatre.' " 

It is not to be supposed that the prices of the different 
seats kept people in any particular place. But con- 
ventional respect for rank, and the knowledge that the 
small coteries in pit or boxes would readily boycott any 
rash intruder, probably made these distinctions practically 
regulations of the theatre. 

At this time tiie regulated prices of admission to the 
theatre were as follows : — boxes, 4^. ; pit, 2s. 6d. ; first 
gallery, \s, 6d. ; and second gallery, is. : but upon the 
first run of a new play or pantomime, the boxes were 
5J. ; the pit, 3^. ; the first gallery, 2s. ; and the second, is. 



SHYLOCK. 6l 

Mr. Fleetwood in 1744 took occasion to raise the prices 
to the higher scale, on the production of an old panto- 
mime which was revived without expense. This brought 
about a violent opposition for several nights. Where- 
upon the manager received a deputation from the pit 
in the greenroom, and terms were arranged. The 
advanced prices were to be constantly paid at the door, 
but the advanced portion of the money was to be 
returned to such persons as did not choose to sit out 
the whole of the entertainment. It need hardly be said 
that by this arrangement the astute manager practically 
gained his way. 

This, then, was Macklin's position, and the state of 
the theatre at the time when he proposed to Fleetwood 
that they should revive Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice, 
which for so many years had been superseded by Lord 
Lansdowne's adaptation. There is no means of knowing 
it for certain, but it is very probable that Macklin had 
for some time desired to play Shylock, and had long 
considered the high dramatic possibilities of the part. 
Certain it is that his enthusiasm overbore Fleetwood's 
immediate objections, and the manager gave orders for 
the play to be put in rehearsal. 

As deputy manager, Macklin would have to allot the 
parts to the various actors and actresses, and it must 
have gone to his heart to set down Kitty Clive for 
Portia. But the part belonged to her as of right, and 
there was no help for it. The audiences were used to 
her imitations of lawyers in the Trial scene, and were 
so enamoured of her acting, that they would even 
tolerate her in Ophelia and Desdemona. Kitty Clive, 
" a better romp than ever I saw in nature," as her old 
friend Dr. Johnson said, had established her reputation 
ten years before this, in an opera by Coffey, entitled 



62 



CHARLES MACKLIN. 



The Devil to Pay, For forty years as a country girl, a 
hoyden, a chambermaid, or an old woman, she was 
inimitable. Johnson was full of her praises. "What 
Clive did best," he said, " she did better than Garrick." 
But, with the accentuated feminine perversity with which 
all true artists seemed to be endowed, what she did best 
she liked least, and this " charming little devil " delighted 
in nothing so much as to play Ophelia or Desdemona, 
though her performances in these parts can have been 
little better than burlesques. Mr. Quin was, of course, 
marked out for Antonio, and the rest of the cast was 
not difficult to set out, with the exception of such 
characters as Tubal and the Gobbos, which had been 
lost to the stage for some forty years, and about which 
there could be no stage traditions. The cast as a whole 
stood thus : 

DRAMATIS PERSONS. 



Men. 



Anthonio * 

Bassanio 

Gratiano 

Shylock 

Launcelot 

GOBBO 

Salerio * 

morochius*. 

Lorenzo 

Prince of Arragon 

Duke OF Venice ... 

Tubal 

Salarino 



Mr. Quin. 

„ Milward. 

„ Mills. 

„ Macklin. 

„ Chapman. 

„ Johnson. 

„ Berry. 

„ Cashell. 

„ Havard. 

„ Turbutt. 

„ Wins tone. 

„ Taswell. 

,, Ridout. 



* The spelling of the names follows Kirkman, who probably 
copied his Dramatis Personse from a programme of the performance. 



SHYLOCK. 63 

Women. 

Portia Mrs. Clive. 

Nerissa „ Pritchard. 

Jessica „ Woodman. 

The play having been cast, Macklin ordered frequent 
rehearsals, and doubtless intimated to Fleetwood and 
some of the actors, his intention of playing Shylock as 
a serious character, though it is said that in actual 
rehearsal, he merely repeated his lines, and walked 
through his part without a single look or gesture, and 
without discovering the business which he had marked 
out for himself in his interpretation of the Jew. His 
friends shook their heads at his conceit; his enemies 
either laughed at him, or flattered him with hopes of his 
success the surer to. work his destruction. Quin bluntly 
told him he would be hissed off the stage for his pre- 
sumption, and many of the actors went about complaining 
"that the hot-headed, conceited Irishman, who had got 
some little reputation in a few parts, had now availed 
himself of the manager's favour to bring himself and 
the theatre into disgrace." Fleetwood at last got nervous, 
and begged that he would relinquish the idea, pointing 
out that he was flying in the face of an authority like 
Lord Lansdowne, and that the public had testified their 
admiration of the noble lord's play. Macklin, however, 
stuck to his guns. He had probably learned by this 
time, that it was his endeavour after natural acting that 
had won him public favour, and he was clear in his own 
mind that Lord Lansdowne's comic Jew of Venice was 
not even a poor relation of Shakespeare's Shylock. 

The 14th of February was fixed for the performance, 
and, some faint echo of the greenroom discussions spread- 
ing among the neighbouring coffee-houses, the frequenters 
of the theatre looked forward with considerable interest 



64 CHARLES MAC KLIN. 

to the production of the play. The story of the course 
of his triumph is best told in Macklin's own words, as 
he remembered it in days to come, when he used to 
fight his battles over again in the snug corner of some 
Covent Garden coffee-house. It is taken from his 
biography by Cooke, who was often one of Macklin's 
audience in the last year of the actor's life. 

" ' The long-expected night at last arrived, and the house 
was crowded from top to bottom with the first company in 
town. The two front rows of the pit as usual were full of 
critics, who, sir,' said the veteran, * I eyed through the slit of 
curtain, and was glad to see them, as I wished in such a 
cause to be tried by a special jury. When I made my 
appearance in the greenroom, dressed for the part, with my 
red hat on my head, my piqued beard, loose black gown, etc., 
and with a confidence which I never before assumed, the per- 
formers all stared at one another, and evidently with a stare 
of disappointment. Well, sir, hitherto all was right till the 
last bell rung ; then, I confess, my heart began to beat a little. 
However, I mustered up all the courage I could, and, recom- 
mending my cause to Providence, threw myself boldly on 
the stage, and was received by one of the loudest thunders of 
applause I ever before experienced. 

'"The opening scenes being rather tame and level, I could 
not expect much applause, but I found myself well listened 
to. I could hear distinctly in the pit the words "Very well — 
very well indeed ! This man seems to know what he is 
about," etc., etc. These encomiums warmed me, but did not 
overset me. I knew where I should have the pull, which 
was in the third act, and reserved myself accordingly. At 
this period I threw out all my fire, and, as the contrasted 
passions of joy for the merchant's losses, and grief for the 
elopement of Jessica, open a fine field for an actor's powers, 
I had the good fortune to please beyond my warmest expec- 
tations. The whole house was in an uproar of applause, and 
I was obliged to pause between the speeches to give it vent, 
so as to be heard. When I went behind the scenes after 



SHYLOCK. 65 

this act, the manager met me and complimented me very 
highly on my performance, and significantly added, " Macklin, 
you was right at last." My brethren in the greenroom joined 
in this eulogium, but with different views. He was thinking 
of the increase of his treasury ; they, only for saving appear- 
ances, wishing at the same time that I had broke my neck 
in the attempt. The trial scene wound up the fulness of my 
reputation. Here I was well listened to ; and here I made 
such a silent yet forcible impression on my audience, that I 
retired from this great attempt most perfectly satisfied. On 
my return to the greenroom after the play was over, it was 
crowded with nobility and critics, who all complimented me 
in the warmest and most unbounded manner, and the situa- 
tion I felt myself in, I must confess, was one of the most 
flattering and intoxicating of my whole life. No money, no 
title could purchase what I felt. And let no man tell me 
after this what Fame will not inspire a man to do, and how 
far the attainment of it will not remunerate his greatest 
labours. By G — d, sir, though I was not worth ;^5o in the 
world at that time, yet, let me tell you, I was Charles the 
Great for that night.' 

"A few days afterwards, Macklin received an invitation 
from Lord Bolingbroke to dine with him at Battersea, He 
attended the rendezvous, and there found Pope and a select 
party, who complimented him very highly on the part of 
Shylock, and questioned him about many little particulars 
relative to his getting up the play, etc. Pope particularly 
asked him why he wore a r^^hat. And he answered, because 
he had read that Jews in Italy — particularly in Venice — wore 
hats of that colour. 'And pray, Mr., Macklin,' said Pope, *do 
players in general take such pains ? ' ' I do not know, sir, 
that they do ; but, as I had staked my reputation on the 
character, I was determined to spare no trouble in getting 
at the best information.' Pope nodded, and said it was very 
laudable." 

This last story is probably apocryphal, for, although 
Macklin did wear a red hat as part of Shylock's costume, 
he cannot have told Bolingbroke so at Battersea, as he 

F 



66 CHARLES MAC KLIN. 

was then living in retirement at Fontainebleau. In the 
same way, the well-known epigram or epitaph attributed 
to Pope may or may not have been uttered by him. 
But it is not impossible that Pope witnessed his perform- 
ance, and if he did, any inventive wit, who was really the 
author of the couplet, did well to father it upon the poet, 
for Pope was an authority in the world, and the world 
would like to know that he too agreed with the public 
estimate of Macklin's performance. Certainly it was a 
magnificent success, and Macklin had done a great work. 
He had restored prosperity to the management, estab- 
lished his own reputation as an actor, revived and 
rescued from oblivion a great Shakespearian play, and by 
his manifestation of natural acting, done much to pre- 
pare the audience for the coming of Garrick. For the 
moment the play was the rage of the town. It ran for 
no less than twenty-one nights, and on the nineteenth, 
when Macklin took a benefit, he received handsome pre- 
sents of money from the noblemen who patronized the 
drama. But the applause and just praises of the critics 
were far dearer to his heart than these gifts of money ; 
and for nearly fifty years, whenever he appeared in Eng- 
land or Ireland in this character, he was sure of the 
hearty welcome of his audience. 

The theatrical portraits of a somewhat later date 
represent Macklin, in the character of Shylock, with a 
scowling countenance, the lines of his face, naturally 
harsh, accentuated by art, and wearing a short wispy- 
pointed beard, which adds eflfectively to the grasping, 
repulsive horror of his appearance.* Every one who saw 
him in this character was greatly moved by the terrible 
nature of the performance, and many critics have left us 

* The portrait by Zoffany, now in the National Gallery at Dublin, 
bears out this description. 



SHYLOCK. 67 

their recollections of its effect. John Bernard, in his 
" Retrospections," considers it a chef (Tceuvre that must 
be classed with the Lear of Garrick, the Falstaff of 
Henderson, the Pertinax of Cooke, and the Coriolanus 
of John Kemble. " I have seen many actors," he adds, 
"who surpassed him in passages, but none that sustained 
the character throughout, and presented on the whole 
such a bold and original portrait of the Jew. His suc- 
cess is generally referred to his having been the original 
on its revival. This is partly true ; but in any age he 
must have produced the same eflfect, for he possessed 
by nature certain physical advantages which qualified 
him to embody Shylock, and which, combined with his 
peculiar genius, constituted a performance which was 
never imitated in his own day, and cannot be described 
in this." 

The Dramatic Censor, who was no other than Francis 
Gentleman, said that Mr. Macklin, in Shylock, "looks 
the part as much better than any other person as he 
plays it. In the level scenes his voice is most happily 
suited to that sententious gloominess of expression the 
author intended, which with a sullen solemnity of deport- 
ment marks the character strongly. In his malevolence 
there is a forcible and terrifying ferocity. In the third- 
act scene, where alternate passions reign, he breaks the 
tones of utterance, and varies his countenance admirably, 
and in the dumb action of the Trial scene he is amazingly 
descriptive." 

An amusing proof of the terrific effect of Macklin's 
interpretation of Shylock upon the average mind of the 
day, is recorded in the following story as told by Ber- 
nard : " When he had established his fame in that cha- 
racter, George II. went to see him, and the impression 
he received was so powerful that it deprived him of rest 



m CHARLES MACKLIN. 

throughout the night. In the morning, the Premier, Sir 
Robert Walpole, waited on the king, to express his fears 
that the Commons would oppose a certain measure then 
in contemplation. * I wish, your Majesty,' said Sir 
Robert, * it was possible to find a recipe for frightening 
a House of Commons.' * What do you think,' replied 
the king, ' of sending them to the theatre to see that 
Irishman play Shylock ? ' " 

Whether the king's hint was taken or not, I cannot 
say, but the jest helps us to realize how novel and 
striking in that day was this interpretation of a terrible 
and terrifying Jew. All who saw him were impressed 
with awe and admiration at his acting, and the epigram- 
matist, whether Pope or another, set down the popular 
verdict quite satisfactorily, in the seven words of the 
well-worn couplet — 

" This is the Jew 
That Shakespeare drew." 



{ 69 ) 



CHAPTER V. 

AN actor's strike (1743). 

A FEW months after Macklin's extraordinary success as 
Shylock, Garrick made his debut at Goodman Fields. 
Macklin and he were old acquaintances, or rather 
friends, Macklin delighting so greatly in his vein of 
pleasantry and rich humour that he used to say, from 
the commencement of their acquaintance until the year 
1743, they were scarcely two days asunder. In their 
views of acting there must have been much in common 
between these two men. Macklin was the precursor of 
Garrick in trenching on the prescribed and conventional 
dignity of theatrical enunciation. But the natural style 
of acting that Macklin had struggled for many weary 
years to introduce, Garrick established the moment he 
placed his foot upon the stage, banishing thenceforth 
and for ever Quin and his mechanism and convention. 
What Macaulay did for the so-called " dignity of history," 
Macklin and Garrick did for the " dignity of theatrical 
enunciation," and from that time to the present day, 
natural acting, meaning thereby, not the dragging down 
ideal character to the vulgar level, but a representation 
of ideal character with such truthfulness that it affects 
the audience as real, has been the standard of perfection 
upon the English stage. 

Years after their disputes and quarrels, Macklin. 



70 CHARLES MACKLIN. 

would recall the pleasure with which he had witnessed 
that first performance of Richard III. at Goodman's 
Fields on October 19, 1741. " It was amazing," he 
used to say, " how, without any example, but, on the 
contrary, with great prejudices against him, he could 
throw such spirit and novelty into the part, as to convince 
every impartial person, on the very first impression, that 
he was right. In short, sir, he at once directed the 
public taste, and, though the players formed the cabal 
against him with Quin at their head, it was a puff to 
thunder. The east and west end of the town made head 
against them ; and the little fellow, in this and about 
half a dozen subsequent characters, secured his own 
immortality." 

In the spring of 1742, Garrick made an engagement 
with Fleetwood, and came to Drury Lane, where he 
played King Lear for the first time. Late in the same 
year the management applied to Fielding for a play, 
and he, harassed by the illness of his wife, gave them 
the Wedding Day, which he had written about a dozen 
years back, and was now in no humour to revise. This 
was produced February 17, 1743, but even Garrick's 
energy and prestige could not make the play go down, 
though he was supported by Macklin and his wife, Peg 
Woffington, and Mrs. Pritchard. Perhaps the best thing 
about the Wedding Day is the prologue, which Mr. 
Austin Dobson thinks was written by Macklin himself. 

Mr. Frederick Lawrence attributes the prologue to 
Fielding, in spite of the fact that in the Miscellanies it is 
headed " Writ and Spoken by Mr. Macklin." It is by 
no means certain that Mr. Lawrence is not correct in his 
belief that the doggerel was the work of Fielding himself, 
and in Arthur Murphy's edition of Fielding's works, 
there is no hint of Macklin's supposed authorship of 



AN ACTOR? S STRIKE. 71 

the prologue, which is simply headed " Spoken by Mr. 
Macklin." The piece seems too witty and clever a 
doggerel to have been the unaided work of Macklin, 
and it is at least curious that Kirkman, a great hero- 
worshipper, does not attribute it to him. In any event, 
it is worth quoting at length, as a good specimen of 
eighteenth-century prologues, and one can imagine that, 
whether or not; Macklin had written the piece, he was, 
of all actors, the man to give it adequate and conspicuous 
point, and it was manifestly written by one who thoroughly 
understood his peculiarities and his then position on the 
stage. 

THE PROLOGUE. 

{Spoken by Mr. Macklin) 

"Gentlemen and Ladies, 
" We must beg your indulgence, and humbly hope you'll not 

be offended, 
At an accident that has happened to-night, which was not in 

the least intended, 
I assure you : if you please, your money shall be returned. 

But Mr. Garrick to-day. 
Who performs a principal character in the play. 
Unfortunately has sent word, ' 'Twill be impossible, having so 

long a part. 
To speak to the Prologue : ' he hasn't had time to get it by 

heart. 
I have been with the author, to know what's to be done, 
' For, till the Prologue's spoke, sir,' says I, ' we can't go on.' 
' Pshaw ! rot the Prologue ! ' says he ; ' then begin with- 
out it.' 
I told him 'twas impossible, you'd make such a rout 

about it ; 
' Besides, 'twould be quite unprecedented, and I dare say, 
Such an attempt, sir, would make them damn the play.' 
' Ha ! damn my play ! ' the frighted bard replies, 



72 CHARLES MACKLIN. 

' Dear Macklin, you must go on, then, and apologize.' 
' Apologize ! not I ; pray, sir, excuse me.' 

* Zounds ! something must be done ! pr'ythee, don't refuse 

me ; 
Pr'ythee go on ; tell them, to damn my play will be a 

damned hard case. 
Come, do ; you've a good long, dismal, mercy-begging face.' 
' Sir, your humble servant ; you're very merry.' ' Yes,' says 

he ; ' I've been drinking 
To raise my spirits ; for, by Jupiter ! I found 'em sinking.' 
So away he went to see the play ; oh, there he sits ; 
Smoke him, smoke the author, you laughing crits. 
Isn't he finely situated for a damning Oh — oh ! a — a shrill 

Whihee ! Oh, direful yell ! 
As Falstaff says, ' Would it were bedtime, Hal, and all were 

well!' 
What think you now ? Whose face looks worst, yours or 

mine ? 
Ah ! thou foolish follower of the ragged Nine. 
You'd better stuck to honest Abraham Adams, by half : 
He, in spite of critics, can make your readers laugh. 
But to the Prologue. What shall I say? Why, faith in my 

sense, 
I take plain truth to be the best defence. 
I think, then, it was horrid stuff ; and in my humble appre- 
hension. 
Had it been spoke, not worthy your attention. 
I'll give you a sample if I can recollect it. 
Hip ! take courage ; never fear, man ; don't be dejected. 
Poor devil ! he can't stand it ; he has drawn in his head ; 
I reckon before the play's done, he'll be half dead. 
But to the Prologue. It began — 

* To-night the comic Author of to-day, 
Has writ a — a — a something about a play. 

And as the bee — the bee (that he brings by way of simile) — 

the bee which roves, 
Through — through ' Pshaw ! pox on my memory ! Oh, 

'through fields and groves, 
So comic poets in fair London town 



AN ACTOR'S STRIKE. 73 

To cull the flowers of characters wander up and down.' 
Then there was a good deal' about Rome, Athens, and 

dramatic rules, 
And characters of knaves and courtiers, authors and fools ; 
And a vast deal about critics, and good nature, and the 

poor author's fear ; 
And I think there was something about a third night, hoping 

to see you here. 
'Twas all such stuff as this not worth repeating. 
In the old prologue cant ; and then at last concludes, thus 

kindly greeting : 
To you, the critic jury of the pit. 
Our culprit author does his cause submit ; 
With justice, nay, with candour judge his wit ; 
Give him, at least a patient, quiet hearing. 
If guilty, damn him ; if not guilty, clear him." 

These last lines seem to me altogether outside 
Macklin's scope as an author, and the origin of the 
suggestion that he wrote as well as spoke the prologue, 
may have arisen from the fact that it was in some sort 
a joint production. 

The play, however, did nothing for the treasury, and 
Fleetwood, to the disgust and indignation- of the actors, 
turned to his friends of Hockley-in-the-Hole and Sadler's 
Wells, to furnish entertainment upon the classic boards 
of Drury Lane. Mr. Fleetwood's career seems to have 
been one of linked dissipation and degradation long 
drawn out. He had wasted his patrimony, wearied the 
aristocratic acquaintances who had allowed him to share 
their vices while he had money to lose, and now he was 
to be found among the pugilists, tumblers, and rope- 
dancers of Hockley-in-the-Hole. He continued to borrow 
money at an extravagant rate ; he farmed out the theatre 
to an ignorant and narrow-minded man named Pierson j 
the properties and dresses were more often in the hands 



74 CHARLES MAC KLIN. 

of the bailiff than in the possession of the manager ; the 
actors' salaries were in arrears ; and the players themselves 
displaced for the mummers of Sadler's Wells. 

In these circumstances, the principal actors met and 
consulted -about their grievances, sending from time to 
time deputations to the patentee. These were received 
by Fleetwood with smiles, courtesy, and promises of amend- 
ment ; but no amendment came, and, in the summer of 
1743, the players met in Mr. Garrick's rooms to agree 
upon a plan of campaign. About a dozen of the actors 
assembled, the chief of whom were Garrick, Macklin, 
Howard, Berry, Blakes, Mrs. Pritchard, and Mrs. CUve, 
with Mills and his wife. A formal agreement was 
proposed by Garrick, the effect of which was that they 
should all secede from Drury Lane, and that no one 
should accept of any terms from the patentee without 
the consent of all the seceders. Garrick at this time 
entertained hopes, which he laid before the assembled 
actors, that the Duke of Grafton, then Lord Chamberlain, 
would, upon representation of the ill-treatment they had 
undergone at Fleetwood's hands, be inclined to allow 
them to set up for themselves at the Opera House or 
elsewhere. Macklin at first objected to this agreement, 
and urged that they should go to the manager once 
more, and tell him what they intended to do if their just 
demands were not complied with. Doubtless he remem- 
bered the intimate terms on which he had hved with 
Fleetwood, and was loth to break with him openly after 
having acted for so long as his deputy and adviser. But 
whatever his scruples may have been, they were over- 
ruled, and a formal agreement in the terms of Garrick's 
proposals was drawn up, and signed by all the actors. 
The next step was to prepare a petition for the Lord 
Chamberlain setting forth their grievances. This, with 



AN ACTOR'S STRIKE. 1% 

the facts duly attested by affidavit, was laid before the 
Duke of Grafton, but his Grace turned a deaf ear to the 
actors' petition. For one thing, he did not understand 
what the grievances of these men were. He cross- 
examined Garrick as to the amount of his salary, and, on 
learning that it was ;^5oo a year, lifted up his hands in 
amazement. " And this you think too little ; whilst I 
have a son, who is heir to my title and estate, venturing 
his life daily for his king and country at much less than 
half that sum ! " A Lord Chamberlain of this kind 
was not likely to prove of much assistance to actors 
with grievances, and their petition was not unnaturally 
rejected. 

Meanwhile the manager was not idle. Paul White- 
head, who, as we have seen, had a deep personal interest 
in Fleetwood's welfare, drew his pen for the manager, 
and William Guthrie, the historian, replied on behalf 
of the actors. Fleetwood himself, rejoicing doubtless 
at the snub the actors had received from the Duke of 
Grafton, gathered together some sort of company from 
the highways and by*-ways, and opened the theatre on 
September 13, with The Conscious Lovers, Mrs. Bennet, 
a useful actress, leaving the seceders to play the chief 
part. The public were kind to the manager in distress, 
and the performance, though bad, passed off with partial 
approbation. 

When the actors saw how things were tending, they 
became as eager for a reconciliation as they had been 
for a strike. Garrick, who, with all his genius, was 
naturally somewhat mean and selfish in disposition, set 
at nought the solemn agreement that he had entered 
into with his fellow-actors, went privately to Fleetwood, 
and sold the little garrison of players, whom he had led 
to destruction, for a substantial rise in his own salary. 



76 CHARLES MAC KLIN. 

The actors then surrendered, with the exception of 
Macklin, on Fleetwood's own terms. Garrick's salary 
was raised to six or seven hundred pounds ; several of 
his friends were taken back at the annual stipends they 
had formerly received ; the smaller fry, rather than starve, 
came back on any terms they could obtain; and Mr. 
Macklin, who alone had stood out against the strike, 
was doomed by Fleetwood to perpetual banishment 
from the very theatre he had raised to a condition of 
prosperity. This is the account of the matter which 
Macklin and his friends give, and it is probably more 
or less accurate. The fact is undisputed that the manager 
beat the strike, and Garrick and the other actors gave 
in. Garrick's friends have endeavoured to palliate his 
conduct towards Macklin, who, with characteristic 
obstinacy, was for fighting the thing out to the bitter 
end. But these excuses are not very worthy, nor is 
there any reason to suppose that Fleetwood's resentment 
might not have been overcome, if Garrick had cared 
as much for the honour of his word as he did for the 
extra hundreds to be added to his salary. 

Macklin was not the kind of man to sit down, under 
an injury of this kind, in a meek and patient spirit. He 
created a party against the manager and his principal 
actor, and, as was the fashion of the day, pamphlets, 
the ready weapons of partisans, displayed the venom of 
the opposing parties to an eager and admiring public. 
Garrick offered Macklin an allowance out of his own 
salary, and obtained a promise of an engagement for 
Mrs. Macklin from Mr. Rich; but these offers were 
really only added insults, looking to the position in 
which Macklin was placed, and were probably proposals 
framed only to be refused, and to throw dust in the 
eyes of the public. Macklin was a militant spirit, and 



AN ACTOR'S STRIKE. 77 

I dare say got a certain amount of pleasure out of a 
struggle of this kind, where his position was a strong 
one, and for a time his friends rallied round him with 
eager zeal. Dr. Barrowby, a noted critic and frequenter 
of the pit, headed his party, and they determined that, 
come what might, Garrick should be driven from the 
stage. 

Dr. Barrowby was a physician of some intelligence, 
but his rage for the theatre and things theatrical, his 
love of wine and good company, and, above all, his own 
wild imprudent humour, had done much to destroy his 
general practice. At this time he had deserted Batson's 
and Warwick Lane, for the purlieus of Covent Garden, 
and his patients were almost entirely the performers of 
the theatres and their connections. There are many 
wild stories of this remarkable man, but his characteristic 
reply to a Jew acquaintance, who asked him " how he 
could eat pork with such a gout ? " well expresses the 
recklessness of his humour. " Because I like it ! " he 
replied ; " and all I'm sorry for is that I was not born 
a Jew, for then I should have the pleasure of eating 
pork-chops and sinning at the same time ! " A man 
thoughtless, in speech, of what was wise for himself or 
owing to others, a man full of biting wit and rash 
humour, — this was the kind of general that headed 
Macklin's forces in his struggle with Garrick and the 
manager. 

Garrick's appearance was announced in The Rehearsal, 
and both parties prepared for warfare. Fleetwood, who 
" trusted more to the arm of flesh than the ablest defence 
of the greatest writer, was now determined to try the 
courage of his friends of Hockley-in-the-Hole. They 
and their associates were distributed in great plenty in 
the pit and galleries, armed with sticks and bludgeons, 



78 CHARLES MAC KLIN. 

with positive orders from their commanding officers to 
check the zeal of Macklin's friends by the weightiest 
arguments in their power." 

" As soon as Mr. Garrick entered," continues Davies, 
" he bowed very low several times, and with the most 
submissive action entreated to be heard. He was 
saluted with loud hisses, and continual cries of ' Off ! 
off ! off ! '" Peas were thrown upon the stage to render 
walking on it insecure and dangerous. During the first 
night of this struggle for victory, nothing was heard but 
hisses, groans, cat-calls, and all manner of uncommon 
and outrageous clamour and uproar. All Mr. Garrick's 
attempts to pacify the audience were rejected with out- 
rage, Garrick himself standing at the back of the stage, 
out of the way of the rotten eggs and apples, which flew 
from all sides of the house across the footUghts. 

This theatrical tempest lasted for two nights, and 
then the manager triumphed. Macklin's friends grew 
tired of rioting, the eagerness to see Garrick play pre- 
vailed, and Macklin was beaten. Even Dr. Barrowby 
saw that the game was hopeless, and told Macklin that 
" a continuance of these riots would not only shut him 
out of Drury Lane Theatre for ever, but perhaps shut 
him up in a. prison, which was much worse." The riots 
had failed to drive Garrick from the stage, and the fight 
between Macklin and his enemies sputtered on in the 
casual interchange of pamphlets, until the public, and 
even the parties themselves, grew tired of the dispute. 

But Macklin, though expelled from Drury Lane, did 
not waste his time in idle lamentations, but set to work 
to realize an idea that he had been considering for some 
time. Mr. Thomas Davies, in his life of Garrick, speaks 
of Macklin as " the only player I ever heard of that 
made acting a science." Macklin seems, indeed, to have 



AN ACTOR'S STRIKE. 79 

been the first actor who set himself seriously to consider 
the nature of the character he had to represent, and then 
applied his wide knowledge of the technical means of 
representation to the interpretation of that character. 
A man of this kind, a master of technique, who at the 
same time had sufficiently lofty ideals to prevent him 
becoming a slave to convention, was eminently fitted 
to take a position in the theatrical world as a professor 
of acting, a position in which he deserved the support of 
all friends of the drama. 

No sooner was he expelled from Drury Lane, than he 
set to work to surround himself with raw recruits, most 
of them wholly unacquainted with the business of an 
actor. This ragged contingent he drilled and lectured 
on the practice and theory of acting, and with a company 
formed from such material he commenced manager, and 
was enabled to open the Haymarket Theatre on the 
6th of February, 1744. The Licensing Act prevented 
him taking money at the doors, but the public were 
admitted by '' tickets delivered by Mr. Macklin ; " and 
by advertising and beginning with a concert, the pro- 
visions of the Act were sufficiently evaded. The little 
company had no mock modesty about it. Othello was 
the play chosen, with MackUn as lago, and " a gentle- 
man," afterwards known as Samuel Foote, as Othello. 
This was Foote's first appearance on the stage ; and Mr. 
(afterwards Dr.) Hill also made his first appearance as 
Lodovico. 

This latter gentleman seems to have been the only 
person who regarded the experiment as a success. In 
a little volume, entitled "The Actor," published in 
1750, and a sequel .published in 1755, he makes many 
allusions to Macklin and his Haymarket company. No 
doubt Macklin did great things, considering the difficulties 



8o CHARLES MAC KLIN. 

he had to contend with, and many of his actors owed 
him a great deal. A man named Yorke, who played 
the small part of Montano, spoke his few lines with so 
much propriety of effect, that the managers engaged him 
from that one performance. He had better perhaps 
have remained where he was, for his merit was due to 
education rather than genius. Macklin had raised him 
from a scene-shifter to a very capable Montano, but he 
could not climb further by his own unaided ambition. 
He tried loftier parts, for which he was wholly unfitted, 
and never gained any more applause. Dr. Hill has 
written his epitaph in the following histrionic morality : 
"It is better to be applauded in a livery than laughed 
at in embroidery." 

The general verdict on Foote's Othello was that it 
was a failure ; but Dr. Hill says that, " tho' not without 
faults, yet perhaps it had more beauties than have been 
seen in it since. He owed much of the peculiar manner 
in which he spoke many of the more pathetic speeches 
in this character, to the instruction of Mr. Macklin, who 
was then labouring at a scheme which our greatest players 
have since very judiciously given in to, though they have 
not very gratefully acknowledged to whom they owed it ; 
we mean, that of bringing playing nearer to nature than 
it used to be." 

Macklin's lago had perhaps some academic virtues. 
For the first time, says Dr. Hill, he gave the speech 
beginning — 

" If I can fasten but one cup upon him," 

in which he sets forth his plot against Cassio, " plainly 
and without ornament;" though formerly it had been 
the subject of " a world of unnatural contortion of face, 
and absurd by-play." In this innovation he was fol- 



AN ACTORS STRIKE. 8i 

lowed by Garrick, who also recognized that there had 
been a tendency to overdo lago, and make too much 
capital out of his villainy. 

There is a very pleasant picture of Macklin instructing 
his pupils in John O'Keeffe's "Recollections;" and, 
although it is of a later date than this, the incidents 
happening about 1765, it is probably more in place here 
than anywhere else. Macklin's pupils, Miss Ambrose 
and Mr. Glenville, came for instruction to his house in 
Dublin, in Dorset Street, far on as you go to Drum- 
condra ; next to his house was a nunnery. 

" In Macklin's garden there were three long parallel walks, 
and his method of exercising their voices was thus : his two 
young pupils with back-boards (such as they use in boarding 
schools) walked firmly, slow, and well up and down the two 
sidewalks; Macklin himself paraded the centre walk. At the 
end of every twelve paces he made them stop ; and, turning 
gracefully, the young actor called out across the walk, ' How 
do you do. Miss Ambrose ? ' She answered, ' Very well, I 
thank you, Mr. Glenville !' They then took a few more 
paces, and the next question was, ' Do you not think it a 
very fine day, Mr. Glenville?' 'A very fine day indeed, 
Miss Ambrose ! ' was the answer. Their walk continued ; 
and then, ' How do you do, Mr. Glenville?' ' Pretty well, 
I thank you, Miss Ambrose ! ' And this exercise continued 
for an hour or so (Macklin still keeping in the centre walk), 
in the full hearing of their religious next-door neighbours. 
Such was Macklin's method of training the management of 
the voice ; if too high, too low, a wrong accent, or a faulty 
inflection, he immediately noticed it, and made them repeat 
the words twenty times till all was right. Soon after this 
Mr. Glenville played Antonio to his Shylock, in the Merchant 
of Venice J and Miss Ambrose, Charlotte, in his own Loved- 
la-Mode." 

Dr. Hill, writing of Macklin's educational efforts in 
1744, speaks of them in strong praise. He refers to the 

G 



82 CHARLES MAC KLIN. 

olden days, when " the gestures were forced, and beyond 
all that ever was in nature ; and the recitation was a 
kind of singing." The abolition of these deadening 
conventionalities he attributes in great measure to 
Macklin, who certainly did much to destroy the tragedy 
recitative. " It was his manner," writes Dr. Hill, " to 
check all the cant and cadence of tragedy. He would 
bid his pupil first speak the passage as he would in 
common life, if he had occasion to pronounce the same 
words ; and then giving them more force, but preserving 
the same accent, to deliver them on the stage." This, 
we take it, means that he insisted on the nature and 
character of the phrase being first ascertained, and then 
taught his pupil how to retain that, while he recited his 
phrase with due attention to the requirements of a theatre. 
There is no reason to suppose that Macklin threw aside 
convention, in so far as it is necessary for theatrical 
expression, but he was living in a time of a somewhat 
deadening orthodoxy, and this he did much to destroy. 
Although this early experiment of Macklin soon came to 
an end, he constantly, in after-Hfe, schooled young 
actors for the stage — Sam Foote, Spranger Barry, Mack- 
lin's own daughter, Taswell (a famous Dogberry, known 
to stage students as the author of the Deviliad), and a 
hundred other more or less famous actors, belong to the 
MackUn school, and owe their success in a great measure 
to his tuition. 

It is almost to be regretted that his first school came 
to so rapid a conclusion. But the public were eager to 
see him at Drury Lane. Fleetwood, the bankrupt 
manager, had fled the country in debt and disgrace ; his 
share in the theatre had been sold to two bankers named 
Green and Amber ; and Mr. James Lacy, assistant- 
manager to Mr. Rich of Covent Garden, had been 



AN ACTOR'S STRIKE. 83 

allowed a thiid share, on condition that he managed 
the theatre until the debts should be discharged. Mr. 
Garrick, too, was going over to Dublin, to enter into 
partnership with Sheridan, so that there was no obstacle 
to the return of Macklin. On December 19, 1744, he 
reappeared at Drury Lane, in the Merchant of Venice, 
speaking the following prologue, which, Kirkman says, 
was written by the Rev. Mr. Dunkin. Whether this is 
so, or, as others say, he wrote it himself, matters little. 
It was spoken by Macklin to a crowded house, who con- 
stantly interrupted him with plaudits and acclamation, 
and it shows us to-day the strong personal interest that 
the audiences of that time took in the politics of the 
stage, and the fortunes of their favourite players. 



THE PROLOGUE. 

" From scheming, fretting, famine, and despair. 
Behold, to grace restored, an exil'd player ; 
Your sanction yet his fortune must complete. 
And give him privilege to laugh and — eat. 
No revolution plots are mine again ; 
You see, thank Heaven ! the quietest of men : 
I pray, that all domestic feuds may cease ; 
And, beggar'd by the war, solicit peace. 
When urged by wrongs, and prompted to rebel, 
I fought for freedom, and for freedom fell. 
What could support me in the sevenfold flame ? 
I was no Shadrac, and no angel came. 
Once warn'd, I meddle not with State affairs, 
But play my part, retire, and say my prayers. 
Let nobler spirits plan the vast design ; 
Our greenroom swarms with longer heads than mine. 
I take no part ; no private jars foment. 
But hasten from disputes I can't prevent : 



84 CHARLES MACKLIN. 

Attack no rival brother's fame or ease, 

And raise no struggles — but who most shall please. 

United in ourselves, by you approv'd, 

'Tis ours to make the slighted muse belov'd ; 

So may the Stage again its use impart, 

And ripen Virtue as it warms the heart. 

May Discord, with her horrid trump retreat, 

Nor drive the frighted beauty from her seat ; 

May no contending parties strive for sway. 

But Judgment govern, and the Stage obey." 



{ 85 ) 



CHAPTER VI. 

THE BRITISH INQUISITION (1754). 

The ten years of Macklin's life that followed his return 
to Drury Lane in 1744 were comparatively uneventful. 
Garrick and Spranger Barry were the great favourites of 
the public, and, though Macklin held a very respectable 
position in popular estimation, it cannot be said for a 
moment, that he was, during this period, regarded as 
the rival or equal of little Davy. Barry, who had 
already appeared in Dublin as Othello, came to England 
in 1746, and was engaged by Lacy to play the Moor with 
Macklin as lago. His debut on the English stage, on 
October 4 of this year^ was a considerable success. On 
arriving in England, he had placed himself very wisely in 
Macklin's hands, and accepted him as his theatrical 
guide, philosopher, and friend. Before he made his 
first appearance at Drury Lane, he used to be seen in 
company with Macklin, walking in St. James's Park sind 
other places of public resort ; and, his manly, noble ap- 
pearance attracting the attention of the loungers, Macklin 
informed them, in answer to their inquiries, that his 
friend was an Irish nobleman — to wit, the Earl of 
Munster. This gave the public a somewhat factitious 
interest in his appearance on the stage, as the knowing 
ones whispered about the theatre that the debutant was 
a well-known Irish peer ; but Barry wanted no advertise- 



86 CHARLES MACKLIN. 

ment of this sort, and the discovery of the jest in no 
way diminished the public interest in his performances. 

The Rebellion of 1745 was the ruin of Messrs. Green 
and Amber, the new patentees, and the theatre was, 
throughout the year, almost wholly deserted. Macklin, 
making his first attempt as an author, produced his 
tragedy oi Henry VII.; or, the Popish Impostor in 1746. 
In the same year he wrote a farce, entitled The Suspicious 
Husband ; or, the Plague of Envy, by way of criticism 
on Dr. Hoadley's comedy, The Suspicious Husband. Of 
these dramatic ventures we shall speak more fully when 
we come to treat of Macklin as an author. Messrs. Green 
and Amber becoming insolvent in 1 747, the theatre passed 
into the hands of Mr. Lacy and Mr. Garrick, and several 
of the most notable players, including Mr. and Mrs. 
Macklin, signed articles with the new patentees. On 
September 15 of this year the theatre was opened under 
the new management, Garrick speaking Dr. Johnson's 
well-known prologue ; and at last Drury Lane was under 
the direction of men who were both eager and able to do 
their best for the highest interests of the stage. 

It was probably at this time — though Cooke places it 
at an earlier date — that Garrick, Macklin, and Mrs. 
Woffington lived together in lodgings in Bow Street, and 
formed a kind of social triumvirate for the improvement 
of theatrical taste, and for the wider diffusion of histrionic 
science. They are said to have had a common purse ; 
and many curious stories of their mode of life, scandalous 
and otherwise, are found in the stage anecdotes of the 
day. The arrangement, such as it was, soon came to an 
end, the public purse being ultimately found to contain 
nothing more than a deficit of some hundred pounds. 
In the spring of 1748, Macklin and his wife made a 
visit to Ireland, being engaged at a salary of ;^ 800 by 



THE BRITISH INQUISITION. 87 

Sheridan, the manager of the Smock Alley Theatre. 
Sheridan and Macklin soon quarrelled, and the latter 
cancelled his agreement, returning to England in 1749. 
In 1750 he engaged himself to Rich at Covent Garden, 
in whose company were Barry, Quin, Mrs. Gibber, and 
Mrs. Woffington. It was in this year that the famous 
contest of the Romeos took place. Barry and Mrs. 
Gibber played the lovers at Govent Garden, and Garrick 
and Miss Bellamy — then a rising young actress with 
promising powers — at Drury Lane. Every one, be he 
high or low, had his say about the two performances. 
Garrick had to fight against Barry's good looks ; and 
the feminine verdict was doubtless that of the lady 
of fashion, who said : " When I saw Garrick, if I had 
been his Juliet, I should have wished him to leap up 
into the balcony to me ; but when I saw Barry, I should 
have been inclined to jump down to him." Macklin 
played Mercutio at Covent Garden with success, and Mrs. 
Macklin was doubtless an excellent Nurse ; but the audi- 
ences came, during the twelve nights' run of the two 
performances, mainly to form an opinion of the rival 
Romeos, and we do not hear much of Macklin's inter- 
pretation, which must, one would think, have been a 
trifle dull and heavy. Macklin used to give his view of 
the different performances in these two descriptions of 
the garden scene : " Barry comes into it, sir, as great as a 
lord, swaggering about his love, and talking so loud that, 

by G d, sir, if we don't suppose the servants of the 

Capulet family almost dead with sleep, they must have 
come out and tossed the fellow in a blanket. But how 
does Garrick act this ? Why, sir, sensible that the 
family are at enmity with him and his house, he comes 
creeping in upon his toes, whimpering his love, and 
looking about Wxnjiist like a thief in the night." 



88 CHARLES MAC KLIN. 

Macklin, during this period of his life, added to his 
income by giving lessons in elocution, not only to those 
who aspired to tread the boards, but, as his biographers 
note with pride, to "people of the first rank and cha- 
racter." In 175 1, some of these ladies and gentlemen of 
fashion "became desirous of performing in public in 
order to display their own acquirements and abilities, 
and at the same time to give an incontestible proof of 
Mr. Macklin's eminence in theatrical instructions." "A 
play performed on the common stage by persons of 
distinction," says Kirkman, " is an incident that this 
nation has, perhaps, the honour of having first produced 
to the world." Be this as it may, the account of the 
performance has a somewhat modern ring about it, and, 
in these days of amateur theatricals, will doubtless have 
an interest for our readers. The play chosen was Othello, 
and the part of the Moor was assigned to Sir Francis 
Delaval, a well-known character of the day. He was a 
boon companion of Samuel Foote, and there are a 
hundred extravagant and scandalous stories of their witty 
orgies, and more or less disreputable jests. He was the 
leading showman of the day, and his ambition desired 
to be nothing better. He was an agreeable, gay com- 
panion, reckless, and perhaps generous in small things, 
mean and contemptible in the greater affairs of life. 
Foote himself was to have played, but for some reason 
did not, and the cast was as follows : — 



Men. 

Othello ... ... ... Sir Francis Delaval. 

I AGO ... ... ... yohn Delaval, Esq. 

Cassio ... ... ... ... Delaval, Esq. 

Brabantio and LODOVICO ... Sim Pine, Esq. 

RODERIGO Capt. Stephens. 



THE BRITISH INQUISITION. 89 

Women. 

Desdemona Mrs. Quon. 

-(Emilia Mrs. Stevens. 

About a thousand tickets were issued for the notable 
performance ; Drury Lane was taken for one night at 
a cost of ;!^i5o, and nearly jT^xooo was spent upon 
the dresses. On the night, the house was filled with 
persons of the first fashion ; the Prince and Princess of 
Wales, and other members of the royal family, were in 
the stage-box, stars and garters glittered from the upper 
galleries, diamonds and embroidery shone from every 
corner of the house. Lord Orford, in his Memoirs, 
says that there was so much fashionable excitement 
about the performance that, though the 7th was fixed for 
the Naturalization Bill, yet " the House adjourned to 
attend at Drury Lane, where Othello was acted by a Mr. 
Delaval and his family, who had hired the theatre on 
purpose. The crowd of people of fashion was so great 
that the footman's gallery was hung with ribands." So 
large was the crowd outside, that the ladies and gentle- 
men had to leave their coaches and chairs and wade 
through dust and filth to get to the house ; and " many 
stars and garters appeared in the public-houses adjacent 
to the theatre, to wait for entrance with greater safety." 
All this was, we must remember, in honour of Mr. 
Macklin's eminence as a theatrical instructor ; and, could 
we but believe the criticisms on the performance that 
have come down to us, it was indeed worthy of such an 
audience. " There was a force," says Kirkman, " that 
no theatrical piece acted upon any private Stage ever 
came up to." Sir Francis Delaval's Othello was " doubt- 
less one of the finest ever produced on a stage ; " " his 
expression of anguish by the monosyllable ^ OhT was 



90 CHARLES MAC KLIN. 

truly affecting." His manner of asking Cassio's pardon 
in the last act " had something in it so Uke the man of 
honour, and so unHke all imitation, that the audience 
could not be easily reconciled afterwards to the hearing 
it from anybody else ; " and when he embraced Desde- 
mona, on their meeting at Cyprus, " he set many a fair 
breast among the audience a-palpitating." All the rest 
acted their parts with equal efifect ; and doubtless Mack- 
lin gained a capital advertisement for his elocution 
lectures by successfully exhibiting his fashionable pupils 
before so splendid an assembly. 

Macklin's daughter was, however, his best pupil, and 
an actress of considerable merit. She made her first 
appearance in a woman's part, in the character of 
Athenais in Lee's tragedy of Theodosius, in 1750, and 
until her death in 1781, remained in the front rank of 
leading ladies. She is said to have been born at Ports- 
mouth in or about 1734. Her father dedicated her to 
the stage; and she played the little Duke of York in 
Richard III. in 1742, and in the next year Arthur in 
King John. It is recorded that she played several other 
child's parts ; but she does not appear to have acted 
between 1746 and 1750. During these four years her 
father spared no expense to give her a good education. 
French, Italian, music, dancing, and, indeed, any accom- 
plishment that he considered might be useful to an actress, 
she was taught by the best masters. At Macklin's bank- 
ruptcy, he was found to have spent no less a sum than 
;^i2oo on his daughter's education. She was talented, 
and well instructed, but does not appear to have had any 
real touch of genius. Her elegant figure, her taste, her 
music, her just emphasis, and her melodious voice — ■ 
these are the qualities she is credited with, rather than 
any powers of moving the feelings of her audience ; and 



THE BRITISH INQUISITION. 91 

it is impossible to suppose she would have been drawn 
to the stage, if it had not been for her early training. 
Nevertheless, she was an excellent actress, capable of 
sustaining the most important parts ; and we find her 
acting Monimia, OpheUa, Portia, Helena in AlVs Well 
that Ends Well, Juliet, Lady Anne in Richard III., 
and Desdemona. She created several characters, the 
most successful of which was Lucinda in Foote's Eng- 
lishman in Paris. This was a breeches-part, written to 
show off her peculiar powers of singing and dancing. 
She first played this in 1752-3, and continued to play it 
during the rest of her career with great success. She 
often assumed men's attire, being very popular in such 
parts, and indirectly this habit, it is said, led to her 
death. Through " buckling her garter too tightly, a large 
swelling took place in her knee, which, from motives of 
delicacy, she would not suffer to be examined till it had 
increased to an alarming size." An operation was then 
permitted, but unfortunately it was too late, and she died 
on July 3, 1781, in the forty-eighth year of her age. 

She had borne through life an unblemished reputation, 
and every historian of the theatre speaks with pleasure 
of her excellent character. She seems to have been a 
woman of religious sympathies, and to have led a careful 
and quiet life. She died worth a considerable sum of 
money, but left it by will away from her father, unless, 
indeed, he should survive certain other legatees. Seeing 
that at this time he was a man of over eighty, it seems 
almost a mockery to have done this. Moreover, when 
we know that Macklin was by no means well provided 
for at this time, it is difficult to guess why his daughter 
should have left him nothing. There are rumours of 
quarrels between them, which are certainly not borne out 
by Macklin's letters to his daughter, and I doubt whether 



92 CHARLES MAC KLIN. 

there is any foundation for them. Taylor, in his record 
of Mary Macklin, says that MackUn was a severe father. 

" He gave his daughter, indeed, an accomplished educa- 
tion, and for some years came annually from Dublin, his 
head-quarters, to play his Shylock and Sir Archy for her 
benefit, but he always made her pay for the journey and his 
performance, and she was always obliged to lend her gold 
watch to a friend during his stay in London, lest he should 
insist upon having it, as he was too austere for her to dispute 
his will. Her figure was good, and her manner easy and 
elegant ; but her face was plain, though animated by ex- 
pression. She was a very sprightly actress, and drew from 
real life. Her character throughout life was not only unim- 
peached, but highly respected." 

Bernard, too, a pecuharly unreliable man, knows the 
origin of the quarrel between them, which, as it is amusing 
enough, is best given in his own words. He was a young 
strolling actor in Suffolk when he says that he met Miss 
Macklin, and he wrote his retrospections in a green old 
age. 

" At Needham, our next remove, I became acquainted with 
Miss Macklin, the actress, who had retreated to this little 
haven from the troubled element of public life, to live upon 
the income she had accrued by her professional labours. 
She was an admirable reader (with a true Shakespearian 
attachment), and her voice and figure led me to perceive 
some of the grounds upon which she had founded her popu- 
larity. She was not at this time upon good terms with her 
father, which was owing to a domestic occurrence ; but their 
original disagreement, as she informed me, grew out of a 
reading in Portia. She always said that ' Mercy was 
mightiest in the mightiest^ but he, maintaining it 'was 
mightiest in the mightiest,' showed her no mercy, but instantly 
renounced her." 

I cannot but think that these rumours sprang from 



THE BRITISH INQUISITION. 93 

Miss Macklin's peculiar will, and that, whatever quarrel 
there may have been between them, we are not able now 
to learn what caused it. Certainly no daughter could 
have had a wiser and kinder father than Macklin appears 
to have been in many respects, and his letters to her at 
different periods throughout her life, seem to us written 
in a spirit that speaks of a real friendship existing between 
father and daughter. 

After a few more uneventful years upon the boards, 
Macklin, who appears to have lectured himself into a 
strong belief in his own wisdom, determined, in 1753, to 
quit the stage to carry out a wild scheme for instructing 
the public and making his own fortune at the same time. 
He was tired of lecturing to stage aspirants and fashion- 
able amateurs; he longed to teach the world. Filled 
with this ambition, he closed his dramatic career (as he 
thought) on December 20, 1753, ^^ ^ farewell benefit at 
Drury Lane, and, commending his daughter to the pro- 
tection and indulgence of the public, left the stage to 
set on foot the British Inquisition. 

Macklin intended to carry out a great scheme that had 
evidently been revolving in his mind for some time. He 
had visions of fame and fortune, and, to realize these, on 
March 11, 1754, he opened a public ordinary, and com- 
menced tavern-keeper. The sight of so famous an actor 
drew the public when the place first opened, and, had 
Macklin thought more of fortune than of fame, the thing 
might perhaps have been a pecuniary success. But the 
tavern was only his first step towards the lecture-room, 
and his idea was to bring the wits, the Templars, and all 
the literary loungers of London together, over the dinner- 
table, that they might afterwards adjourn to listen to his 
words of wisdom from the rostrum. There is something 
touching in the sight of the great actor, the artist, as we 



94 CHARLES MAC KLIN. 

should now call him, standing behind the chairs of his 
guests and ministering to their gastric wants in the vain 
hope that they would afterwards listen with respect to 
his lectures on the Comedy of the Ancients, and the 
Stages of Greece and Rome. The conduct of his tavern 
has been well described by Cooke, who had the account 
he quotes from a " literary gentleman " who had dined 
at Macklin's ordinary. 

" Dinner being announced by public advertisement to be 
ready at four o'clock, just as the clock had struck that hour, 
a large tavern bell, which he had affixed to the top of the 
house, gave notice of its approach. This bell continued 
ringing for about five minutes ; the dinner was then ordered 
to be dished ; and in ten minutes afterwards it was set upon 
the table, after which the outer room door was ordered to be 
shut, and no other guest was admitted. 

" Macklin himself always brought in the first dish, dressed 
in a full suit of clothes, etc., with a napkin slung across his 
left arm. When he had placed the dish on the table, he 
made a low bow and retired a few paces back towards the 
sideboard, which was laid out in a very superb style, and 
with every possible convenience that could be thought of. 
Two of his principal waiters stood beside him ; and one, 
two, or three more as occasion required them. He had 
trained up all his servants several months before for this 
attendance ; and one principal rule (which he laid down as 
a sine gud non) was, that not one single word was to be 
spoken by them whilst in the room, except when asked a 
question by one of the guests. The ordinary, therefore, was 
carried on by signs previously agreed upon ; and Macklin, as 
principal waiter, had only to observe when anything was 
wanted or called for, to communicate a sign, which the waiters 
immediately understood and complied with. 

"Thus was dinner entirely served up, and attended to, 
on the side of the house, all in dumb show. When dinner 
was over, and the bottles and glasses all laid upon the table, 
Macklin, quitting his former situation, walked gravely up to 



THE BRITISH INQUISITION. 95 

the front of the table and hoped ' that all things were found 
agreeable ; ' after which he passed the bell-rope round the 
back of the chair of the person who happened to sit at the 
head of the tableland, making a low bow at the door, retired." 

But when he retired, it was only to read over the notes 
of the lecture that he was soon to deliver to these same 
guests. His ordinary, already in full swing, with its 
complement of cooks and waiters, was now supplemented 
by a lecture - room, and on November 21 the British 
Inquisition, which was to teach mankind universal wis- 
dom, with Macklin as professor of things in general, 
opened its doors to a public that was at least able to 
appreciate the humorous side of poor Macklin's self- 
conceit. The following advertisement will explain the 
project and the projector's measure of himself and the 
public. 

"At Macklin's Great Room in Hart Street, Covent Garden, 
this Day being the 21st of November, will be opened 

THE BRITISH INQUISITION. 

This Institution is upon the plan of the ancient Greek, 
Roman, and Modem French and Italian Societies of liberal 
investigation. Such subjects in Arts, Sciences, Literature, 
Criticism, Philosophy, History, Politics, and Morality, as 
shall be found useful and entertaining to society, will there 
be lectured upon and freely debated ; particularly Mr. 
Macklin intends to lecture upon the Comedy of the Ancients, 
the use of their masks and flutes, their mimes and panto- 
mimes, and the use and abuse of the Stage. He will like- 
wise lecture upon the rise and progress of the modern 
Theatres, and make a comparison between them and those 
of Greece and Rome, and between each other ; and he 
proposes to lecture also upon each of Shakespeare's Plays ; 
to consider the original stories from whence they are taken ; 



96 CHARLES MAC KLIN. 

the artificial or inartificial use, according to the laws of the 
drama, that Shakespeare has made of them ; his fable, moral 
character, passions, manners, likewise will be criticized, 
and how his capital characters have been acted heretofore, 
are acted, and ought to be acted. And as the design of this 
inquiry is to endeavour at an acquisition of truth in matters 
of taste, particularly theatrical, the lecture being ended, any 
gentleman may offer his thoughts upon the subject. 

" The doors will be open at 5, and the lecture begin 
precisely at 7 o'clock, every Monday and Friday evening. 

" Ladies will be admitted, price one shilling each person. 

" The first lecture will be on Hamlet. 

" N.B. — The questions to be debated after the lecture, will 
be whether the people of Great Britain have profited by 
their intercourse with or their Imitation of the French 
nation. 

"There is a public ordinary every day at four o'clock, 
price three shillings. Each person to drink port, claret, or 
whatever liquor he shall choose. 

" N.B. — This evening the public Subscription Card-room 
will be opened. Subscriptions taken in by Mr. Macklin." 

The thing took with the town at first, and there 
was a very large number of people present on the 
opening night The simple went to learn, the witty to 
laugh and sneer, the learned to wonder at Macklin's 
folly. Indeed, at first it took too well — well enough to 
cause imitation, and it was sufficiently popular to form 
the basis of a burlesque satire, by Foote at the Hay- 
market. ** The new madness," wrote Horace Walpole, 
on Christmas Eve of the same year, "is Oratories. 
Macklin has set up one under the title of * The British 
Inquisition ; ' Foote another against him ; and a third 
man has advertised another to-day." Foote's burlesque 
of Macklin's lecture gives in a distorted, unfair, but 
somewhat truthful way, the picture of what it was. The 
chief characteristic of the whole thing was its conceit 



THE BRITISH INQUISITION. 97 

and this Foote would burlesque in his own inimitable 
style, until even Macklin himself was driven to the 
Haymarket to see what Foote was doing to, make his 
Oratory so popular. 

Foote used to represent Macklin in his armchair, 
examining a pupil in classics. 

" Well, sir, did you ever hear of Aristophanes ? " 

"Yes, sir; a Greek Dramatist, who wrote " 

" Ay ; but I have got twenty comedies in those drawers, 
worth his Clouds and stuff ! Do you know anything of 
Cicero ? " 

" A celebrated Orator of Rome, who in the polished and 
persuasive is considered a master of his art." 

" Yes, yes ; but I'll be bound he couldn't teach Elocution." 

" Perhaps not, sir." 

" Perhaps, then, you have heard of one Roscius whom 
Cicero praised 1 " 

" Certainly, sir ; a very celebrated Actor." 

" Stuff ! he couldn't have played Shylock." 

This exhibition being laughed at and talked of greatly, 
it was very natural that Macklin himself should go to 
see it To escape observation, he placed himself in 
a back seat in the boxes. The important scene came, 
and, as Foote convulsed the house with his successful 
mimicry, MackUn writhed and muttered, not knowing 
whether to run out or upon the stage. Foote wound 
up this display with a kind of charge to his pupil, 

" * Now, sir, remember, I, Charles Macklin, tell you, there 
are no good plays among the ancients, and only one among 
the modems, and that is the Merchant of Venice, and there 
is only one part in that, and only one man that can play it. 
Now, sir, as you have been very attentive, I'll tell you an 
anecdote of that play. When a Royal Personage, who shall 
be nameless (but who doesn't live a hundred miles from 
Buckingham House), witnessed my performance of the Jew, 

H 



98 CHARLES MAC KLIN. 

he sent for me to his box, and remarked, ' Sir, if I were not 
the Prince — ha — hum — you understand ? — I should wish to 
be Mr. Macklin ! ' Upon which I answered, ' Royal Sir, 

being Mr. Macklin, I do not desire to be the ' Macklin 

could no longer contain himself, but, starting up, he stretched 

his body forward, and shouted, ' No, I'll be d d if I did ! ' 

In an instant the audience turned and opened on him like 
a pack of hounds. Hunted from the boxes, he speedily 
descended the stairs, and, in the manner of Sir Anthony 
Absolute, took six steps at a time." 

The thing was a burlesque, and a cruel one, but it 
served the people to laugh at, and probably did as much 
as anything to bring Macklin's experiment to a speedy 
termination. Foote, too, would sometimes attend Mack- 
lin's lectures on purpose to tease and annoy him by 
asking him ridiculous questions. There are many stories 
told of his jests in the lecture-room at Macklin's expense. 
On one occasion Macklin was lecturing on " Memory," 
and, as he enlarged on the subject, dwelt on the impor- 
tance of exercising memory as a habit. He took occasion 
to say that he himself could learn anything by heart on 
once hearing it, so perfectly had he trained his memory. 
Upon this Foote handed him up a piece of paper, on 
which was written the following immortal nonsense, and 
desired Mr. Macklin to read it, and afterwards repeat it 
from memory. 

" So she went into the garden to cut a cabbage-leaf, to 
make an apple-pie ; and at the same time a great she-bear, 
coming up the street, pops its head into the shop, 'What! 
no soap ? ' So he died, and she very imprudently married 
the barber ; and there were present the Picanninies and the 
Joblilies and the Garyulies, and the Grand Panjandrum 
himself, with the little round button at the top ; and they all 
fell to playing the game of catch as catch can, till the gun- 
powder ran out at the heels of their boots." 



THE BRITISH INQUISITION. 99 

How Macklin took this ridiculous jest history does 
not relate. Probably he refused to read the paper, and 
Foote handed it about afterwards ; but if he read and 
repeated it, his system of memory must have been a very 
complete one indeed. 

While Macklin was thundering curses at Foote and 
■ his follies from the platform of his great room at Hart 
Street, or poring over books and papers to prepare his 
lectures for the evening, his cooks and waiters plundered 
their foolish easy master at every turn. The ordinary, 
which might well have been a success in the hands of 
a man of business, became a ruinous failure under the 
management of the actor turned savant , and in the 
beginning of 1755 Macklin was face to face with bank- 
ruptcy. He had retired from the stage only to lose his 
hard-earned savings, and to find that the world would 
not take him as their philosopher and guide at his own 
valuation. Macklin was an honest man, and, seeing 
the condition of his affairs, he made no ineffectual 
endeavour to continue his scheme at the expense of his 
creditors. On January 25, 1755, he filed his petition, 
or went through whatever was the then equivalent form, 
and Charles Macklin, "vintner, coffeeman, and chapman," 
became, once more, an actor in search of an engagement. 



ICO CHARLES MAC KLIN. 



CHAPTER VII. 

THE IRISH STAGE. 

The Irish stage in the eighteenth century might form 
the subject of a volume of stage history of considerable 
interest. Dublin was highly favoured by the actors of 
this age, and we find Garrick, Barry, Mossop, Macklin, 
Peg Woffington, and a host of other celebrities, courting 
the favours of Dublin audiences. The subject is by no 
means foreign to a biography of Macklin, who not only 
was an Irishman by birth, but spent several years of his 
life as an actor in Dublin, was instrumental in building 
the Crow Street Theatre in that city, and may be 
regarded as the histrionic tutor of silver-toned Barry, 
who was perhaps the greatest actor Ireland ever produced. 
I propose, therefore, to sketch shortly the fortunes of 
the Irish stage, with especial reference to the periods at 
which Macklin took a leading part in making its history. 
To begin as nearly as possible at the beginning, one 
may mention that there was a Smock Alley Theatre in 
Dublin soon after the Restoration. The house in Smock 
Alley was built and rebuilt on many occasions, but it 
dated back at least to 167 1, when it is recorded that the 
gallery, being overcrowded, fell into the pit. The religious 
portion of Dublin regarded the theatre with puritanical 
suspicion ; the very alley in which it was built had been 
named by them on account of the supposed character 



THE IRISH STAGE. loi 

of its fair inhabitants, and, for some years after the 
accession of Charles II., the DubHn theatre does not 
seem to have been much more than a successful pro- 
vincial establishment. At first the Smock Alley play- 
house was managed by Ashbury, an actor of some merit, 
and afterwards by Tom Elrington. He was a great 
actor in the estimation of the old Dublin playgoers, who 
in a later age would shake their heads and say : "I have 
known Tom Elrington in the part of Bajazet to be heard 
all over the Blind Quay ; and I do not believe you could 
hear Barry or Mossop out of the house." The Smock 
Alley Theatre was opposed by a new house in Rainsford 
Street, in the " Earl of Meath's liberty," beyond the 
jurisdiction of the city, and afterwards by a theatre built 
in Aungier Street. This theatre was built about 1733, 
by a very large subscription of noblemen and gentlemen. 
None of these, according to Victor, knew anything about 
theatre-building, and the result was that they built "a 
very sumptuous but a very bad theatre," in which, when 
there was a full house, a great part in the galleries could 
neither see nor hear. Bad, however, as the house was, 
it served for Peg Woffington, her childhood being past, 
to make her first appearance in the part of Ophelia, in 
February, 1737. 

The Dublin theatres were so ill-directed after the 
deaths of Ashbury and Elrington, " that few performers 
of any degree of eminence either arose or resorted 
thither before the year 1740, and dramatic performances, 
until about that period, were sunk into contempt and 
almost wholly lost" In January, 1746, Garrick and 
Sheridan were sharers at the Theatre Royal, Dublin — 
the Aungier Street Theatre — and Barry was engaged at 
a salary. Garrick left Dublin in May, 1746, and in 
October of the same year Mr. Victor became treasurer 



I02 CHARLES MACKLIN. 

and deputy manager with Sheridan. From his " History 
of the Theatres in London and Dublin," we are able to 
gather much information about the Irish stage during 
the next fourteen years. 

In 1747, a great improvement was made in the conduct 
of the Dublin theatre, mainly owing, if we may believe 
his own account of it, to the stout heart and bold 
conduct of Mr. Victor. It appears that the stage was 
in danger of being ruined by the rowdyism of the young 
gentlemen of Dublin, and though Victor, with his English 
notions of law and order, exclaimed against the indecency 
of the admission behind the scenes of "every idler that 
had a laced coat," yet the custom continued ; so that, 
Victor tells us, he has seen "actors and actresses re- 
hearsing within a circle of forty or fifty of these young 
gentlemen, whose time ought to have been better 
employed." Victor proposed to the manager several 
methods of protecting the theatre from the wanton 
insults of this dissolute set, but they commonly met him 
with the unanswerable argument, "You forget yourself; 
you think you are on English ground ! " 

However, in January, 1747, an incident occurred which 
brought this nuisance to a termination. A young gentle- 
man — and this status of gentleman seems to have been 
the only defence ever urged for his conduct — went to 
the pit of the theatre " enflamed with wine," as Victor 
says. He appears to have climbed over the spikes on 
to the stage, and made his way into the greenroom, 
where he commenced to insult one of the actresses, " in 
such indecent terms aloud as made them all fly to their 
dressing-rooms," whither he pursued them with so much 
noise that the business of the scene was interrupted. 
Miss Bellamy, who was then wanted on the stage, was 
locked in her room in fear of this young gentleman, and 

I 



THE IRISH STAGE. 103 

Mr. Sheridan had to leave his character of ^sop for the 
moment, while he and the guard and his servants restored 
this young roysterer to his friends in the pit. From the 
pit he began to hurl oranges at Mr. Sheridan, who had 
to appeal to the public for protection ; and after the play, 
he waited on Mr. Sheridan with the purpose of abusing 
him, until Sheridan lost his temper, and broke the young 
gentleman's nose for him. 

It is needless to follow the course of events in detail. 
A party was formed of the young gentleman's friends, 
pamphlets and letters were written on both sides, the 
theatre became a place of riot, and sober citizens who 
came to enjoy their play were threatened with violence 
if they supported Mr. Sheridan. The college students 
seem to have taken the manager's part against this 
particular offender, who was not one of their set, and 
made matters much worse by executing a kind of lynch 
law upon some of the rioters, whom they captured and 
punished in the college precincts, with the approval, it 
is said, of " their good provost." 

Things came to such a pass that the Lord Justices 
shut the theatre, and the scene of the dispute was now 
shifted to the law courts. Sheridan was tried and 
acquitted for assaulting the young gentleman; and on 
the other hand, the judge having unpacked the jury, so 
to speak, greatly to the surprise of the players and of 
the young gentleman himself, he was found guilty and 
sentenced to three months' imprisonment, and to pay a 
fine of ;^5oo. *' This ample redress," says Victor, "was 
procured for the manager by obtaining that respect to be 
paid to the scenes of the Theatre Royal in Dublin which 
no other theatre ever had the happiness to maintain; 
for from that hour not even the first man of quality in 
the kingdom ever asked or attempted to get on the 



I04 CHARLES MAC KLIN. 

scenes, and before that happy era every person who 
was master of a sword was sure to draw it on the stage 
doorkeeper if he denied him entrance." 

In the winter of 1747 Woodward was engaged, who 
was, among other things, a great harlequin and composer 
of pantomimes, and from this class of entertainment the 
managers expected great things. But though the new 
pantomime was not produced until February 1748, after 
much preliminary puffing in the newspapers, it was 
played " to an audience under a hundred pounds." On 
the second night, when it was played with the Fair 
Penitent, in which Sheridan and Bellamy acted, there 
was only ;^2o in the house ; from which facts, mournful 
enough at the time, Victor draws wise conclusions of 
the intellectual superiority of Dublin audiences, and the 
folly of producing pantomimes before them. It is clear, 
whatever value we may put on Victor's conclusions, that 
Dublin at this time was a city of playgoers. The prices 
they paid, the companies they supported, and the eager- 
ness with which they took part in the politics of the 
theatre, go to show the reality of the audience's enthu- 
siasm. O'Keeffe gives the following interesting account 
of Dublin audiences : — 

" In my day there was no half price at a theatre in Ireland, 
so that a noisy fellow, for paying his bd. after the third 
act, as in the London theatres, could not drive a new comedy 
for ever from the stage by a hiss (for a single hiss may do that) ; 
neither could a critic come into the pit, or a man of fashion 
into the boxes, for his \s. 6d. or 2s. 6d., and censure the fourth 
and fifth act of a play, ignorant of the previous parts which 
led to the dhiouement. In Cork and Limerick there was no 
\s. gallery — only one gallery, and that 2s. ; so there was no 
seeing any part of a play under that price. In Dublin no 
females sat in the pit ; and none, either male or female, ever 
came to the boxes, except in full dress. The upper boxes, in 



THE IRISH STAGE. 105 

a line with the 2s. gallery, were called lattices ; and over them, 
even with the \s. gallery, were the slips called pigeon-holes. 
The audience part of the Dublin theatre was in the form of 
a horseshoe. In Dublin, oranges and nonpareil refreshed 
the audience ; in Limerick, peaches, which were brought in 
baskets to the box door. The price of a peach four inches in 
diameter was a \dP 

O'Keeffe can tell us, too, all about the habits and 
customs of Dublin audiences ; how they brought down 
the curtain by their applause on the stage death of a 
" star," and would never listen to Horatio's " Farewell, 
sweet Prince," or the moral of Romeo and Juliet ; how 
the men of fashion used to invade the greenroom, and 
how the house was filled on " Command nights," when 
the viceroy was present in person. From all of which 
we gather that this was a time of unexampled theatrical 
prosperity in Ireland, which the actors failed to benefit 
from, owing to their own vanity, jealousy, and unbusiness- 
like extravagance. 

Macklin's first theatrical visit to Dublin took place in 
1748. Sheridan, in the spring of that year, came over 
to London to engage new " stars " for the coming year, 
and Mr. and Mrs. Macklin were secured for two years at 
the very handsome salary of ;^8oo per annum. Several 
disputes, however, took place between Macklin and his 
manager, and he did not remain in the company for many 
months. Macklin's own account of the matter is that 
Sheridan dismissed him and his wife in the middle of a 
season, without giving them any notice, or without 
assigning any cause, and at the same time refused to pay 
Mr. Macklin the money that was due to him, which was 
^800, according to agreement. Congreve tells us that 
Macklin had at this time run mad about " marketable 
fame," that he used to measure the size of the letters in 



Io6 CHARLES MACKLIN. 

the playbills announcing himself and Sheridan, for fear 
the manager should have a hair-breadth's advantage ; 
and " at last, to show his thorough contempt for Sheridan 
as manager, he went on the stage one night after the 
play and gave out a comedy for his wife's benefit with- 
out either settling the play or the night with the manager." 
In the result Macklin filed a bill in Chancery against 
Sheridan, who paid ;^3oo into court, which Macklin took 
out rather than stay longer in Ireland, and returned to 
England, commencing manager at Chester for a short 
season prior to returning to Covent Garden. Sheridan 
was a quarrelsome fellow, but Macklin probaby showed 
his usual desire for mastery, which the manager had a 
right to resent, and there is reason to suppose that 
Macklin had no one but himself to blame for the loss 
of his engagement Besides the loss of Macklin and his 
wife. Miss Bellamy also left the company to play with 
Garrick in London. Dublin in those days was regarded 
as the nursery for London, and no player of any con- 
sequence stayed there longer than they could help, their 
ambition then, as now, being to appear in the metropolis. 
Miss Bellamy was replaced by Miss Danvers, who appeared 
with great success in the character of Indiana. 

In 1749, the company was reinforced by Theophilus 
Cibber, Mr. Digges, and Mr. Mossop. Cibber, of course, 
was a well-known actor, but Digges and Mossop were new 
to the stage. In the summer of 1 7 5 1 Mrs. Woffington came 
over from England, and was engaged by the manager, 
for the ensuing season only, at a salary of ;j^4oo. " The 
happy consequences of that engagement," says Victor, 
" are recent in the knowledge of every one who frequented 
the theatre at that time ; " and, he adds, by way of 
detail, that " by four of her characters, performed ten 
nights each that season, viz. Lady Townly, Maria (in 



THE IRISH STAGE. 107 

The Nonjuror), Sir Harry Wildair, and Hermione there, 
were taken above jT/ipoo — an instance never known in 
any theatre from four old stock plays, and two of them 
in which the manager acted no part." The next season 
Mrs. Woffington's salary was raised to ;^8oo, but the 
management had no reason to regret her engagement, and 
at the end of the year found their profits within ;!^2oo of 
the former season. 

We may pass lightly over the affairs that preceded the 
starting of the new theatre in Crow Street, in the foundation 
of which Macklin was so intimately interested. Much 
might be written of Mrs. Woffington, and the opening of 
the Beef Steak Club in 1753 ; of Digges in Mahomet and 
the Anti-Courtier riots, which drove Sheridan from the 
stage for a while; of Foote's appearance in 1756, and 
re-appearance in 1757 with Tate Wilkinson in his train, 
and the various fortunes of the managers during these 
years. But this would require a volume of Irish stage 
history, and we must content ourselves with a few pages 
on the subject, noting particularly the interest taken by 
Macklin in the Dublin theatre, and the effect of his 
occasional appearances and interferences among the Irish 
managers. 

Victor and Sheridan opened as usual in October, 1757. 
Honoured by the patronage of his Grace the Duke of 
Bedford, who was Lord Lieutenant, they looked forward 
to a successful season. In hopes of thwarting Barry's 
proposed plans of building a new theatre, they petitioned 
to Parliament that the number of theatres might be limited 
as in London. The opposition reminded the members 
and the public, that these very petitioners had opened the 
Smock Alley Theatre in 1733, in order that they might 
trade against the Aungier Street Theatre, which was built 
in 1728 by a subscription of the nobility and gentry; in 



io8 CHARLES MAC KLIN. 

fact, that they were petitioning against a crime that they 
themselves had committed. Besides, many of the members 
of Parliament were subscribers to the new theatre in Crow 
Street, and they, together with the public approval of 
the scheme, rendered useless the managers* attempts to 
destroy it. 

About the month of March, 1758,* it was reported that 
Mr. Barry's agents " were actually seen signing with the 
proprietors of the music-hall in Crow Street, for their 
property there, to build a new theatre." Sheridan and 
Victor were full of anxiety when they heard this rumoured 
contract, and Victor posted off on April 20, 1758, with 
intent to dissuade Mr. Barry from so rash an enterprise. 
He offered Barry the sole proprietorship of the united 
theatres in Aungier Street and Smock Alley, if he objected 
to partnership with Sheridan. Any reasonable terms 
would be granted him, if he would refrain from building 
a theatre. However, there was no reasoning with the 
headstrong would-be managers ; a new theatre they had 
planned, and a new theatre they would have, be . the loss 
what it might. 

The circumstances under which the new theatre was 
promoted were as follows. In 1757, Barry, who had tried 
his strength against Garrick in Romeo, and again in 
Lear, grew envious of Garrick's superiority of manage- 
ment, and was ambitious, as all great actors are at some 
periods of their career, to become manager. With this 
ambition in his mind, he entered into negotiations with 
the proprietors of the Crow Street Music-hall Dublin, 
for the purpose of erecting a theatre there. Macklin, 
who was now released from the duties of vintner and 
chapman, was quite ready for any new project, and was 
delighted to join with his friend and countryman Barry 
* Genest says 1757. 



THE IRISH STAGE. icg 

in the new scheme. Barry was then at the height of his 
reputation ; Macklin had, as it were, to begin the world 
again ; and with these two enthusiastic Irishmen was 
afterwards joined Woodward, the master of pantomime, 
who completed the triumvirate. 

Macklin now made it his business to gather together a 
company, and in his house, under the Piazzas in Covent 
Garden, he was at home to all the tyros of the profession, 
who were waiting for an opportunity to display their 
talents on the stage. From ten to twelve o'clock did the 
veteran sit and give audience to the strangest folk, who 
imagined they were the coming race of actors and actresses. 
Foote spread some of his best stories about the town, to 
torment his old preceptor Macklin ; of the aspirant who 
offered for the Cock in Hamlet ; the leading tragedienne 
who turned out to be a blackamoor; and the Othello 
who, when Macklin was listening to his speech before 
the Senate, " was observed to throw back his left arm 
with great violence pretty constantly. 'Pray, sir,' says 
Macklin, * keep back your left arm a little more ; you are 
now, consider, addressing the Senate, and the right hand 
is the one to give grace and energy to your enunciation.' 
'Oh, sir,' replied the candidate, very coolly, 'it is only 
the sleeve of my coat, which I forgot to pin back, as I lost 
my left arm many years ago on board a man of war.' " 
With these and many more stories did Foote amuse his 
hearers. Meanwhile Macklin gathered together his 
company one by one, and prepared to make a second 
descent on Dublin. 

Before the joint managers, Barry and Macklin, drew 
up indentures, Macklin gave in a list of parts, which 
roused Barry to pause on such an agreement. Besides 
the parts which he was in stage possession of, such as 
Shylock, Sir Paul PUant, the Miser, Ben in Love for Love, 



no CHARLES MACKLIN. 

Sir Gilbert Wrangle, Scrub, Trinculo, etc., he was for 
articling to play Hamlet, Richard, Macbeth, etc., occa- 
sionally. Seeing Barry rather surprised at this last pro- 
posal, " Not, my dear Spranger," says he, " that I want 
to take your parts from you, but by way of giving the 
town variety. You shall play Macbeth one night, and I 
another, and so on, sir, with the rest of the tragic cha- 
racters. Thus we will throw lights upon one another's 
performance, and give a bone to the lads of the college, 
who, after all, form a part of the most critical audience 
in Europe." Barry remonstrated with him in his most 
silky and conciliating manner, but Macklin was not easily 
shaken. Barry unfortunately suggested to Macklin the 
" risk " of taking up new characters " at his time of life." 
No sooner were these phrases out of his mouth than 
Macklin was on fire, his dignity and self-conceit were 
hurt. There was no risk ; in his view it was a certainty. 

And " By G d, sir, let me tell you, I think I shall be 

able to show the town something they never saw before ! " 
Foote would have mockingly echoed, " Very likely," to 
this boast of Macklin ; but Barry was too wise, and 
valued the man too well, to break with him altogether. 
The present engagement, however, was cancelled. Harry 
Woodward and Barry agreed as joint patentees and 
managers of the new theatre, and Macklin, through the 
mediation of a third person, was softened, and allowed 
himself to be engaged at a large salary, with the option 
of playing twice a week in any of the comic characters 
of the list that he had originally handed to Barry. 

In the spring of 1757, Macklin went to Ireland along 
with Barry, who was present at laying the foundation 
stone of Crow Street Theatre. Macklin stayed in Dublin, 
discoursing to the builders on the structure of the Greek 
and Roman theatres, and possibly, in many other more 



THE IRISH STAGE. ill 

practical ways, carrying out the plans of Barry and 
Woodward, who were now in England ; Barry having 
left Ireland in September, 1757, and not returning until 
the close of the summer of next year, when the theatre 
was ready to open. 

John O'Keeffe remembered the opening of the new 
theatre, and probably could have told us, if he would, 
of Macklin roaming about among the foundations, and 
lecturing the bricklayers and hodmen. " On the site 
where Crow Street Theatre was built," he writes, " once 
stood a fabric called the Music-Hall. I recollect seeing 
this building ; the front, with great gates, faced the end of 
Crow Street, and here Handel had his sublime oratorio 
performed, he in person presiding. I well remember 
seeing the bill of Handel's concert on the gate of this 
hall in 1758." I cannot but think his chronology here 
is a little doubtful. "Whilst the foundations of Crow 
Street Theatre were preparing on this spot, I, amongst 
other boys, Romulus-like, got jumping over them, little 
thinking that, on the very stage then erecting, would in 
process of time rise my own fabric of the Castle of 
Andalusia. Crow Street opened with Gibber's comedy 
of She Would and She Would Not. A man was pressed 
to death the first night going up the gallery stairs. 
Woodward was the Trappanti" This is O'Keeffe's ac- 
count of the new theatre. 

The other side were by no means ill prepared. They 
set their hopes on Digges, Mrs. Ward, a new pantomime, 
which was coming out from England, and, if possible, 
they intended to engage Mrs. Fitzhenry as leading lady. 
Victor arrived in Dubhn on October 14, and was obliged 
to open in honour of the anniversary of his Majesty's 
coronation on the 22nd. The new theatre, which was 
to have been completed in the summer, had still several 



112 CHARLES MACKLIN. 

workmen in it, but, nevertheless, the management had 
advertised their first performance for October 22. 
" They opened with the comedy of She Would and She 
Would Not ; or, The Kind Impostor, to a house about 
half full j " and the second night played the Beggar's 
Opera, to a house of less than j£,'io. " This," continues 
Victor, "brought the managers forward much sooner 
than they had intended ; and when they performed, 
the people must have wanted taste indeed not to have 
crowded thither." 

Mrs. Macklin, who was engaged by Barry and Wood- 
ward, died about this time, before she was able to play 
any part at the new theatre, and at her death Macklin 
lost a faithful wife and the stage a very capable actress. 
As soon as decency would permit, Macklin joined his 
fellow-actors in DubUn ; but he soon quarrelled with his 
friends, and retmrned to London in 1759. So deep was 
his quarrel with his former allies, that we find him in a 
few months in treaty with Victor, to play along with his 
daughter, at the Smock Alley Theatre, an arrangement 
which, owing to Miss MackUn's ill health, was never 
carried out 

The old managers might indeed have made headway 
against the new theatre, but for a shocking accident that 
befell some of the company on their way to Ireland. 
The Dublin, Captain White, was driven by stress of 
weather on the coast of Scotland, where she foundered 
with all on board. Among the seventy passengers were 
Theophilus Gibber, Maddox, and other English aux- 
iliaries. ** Our loss of Maddox," writes poor Victor, 
" was almost irretrievable, because with our Harlequin 
went the music, and the business, and the plot of the 
Pantomime ; as also, among the geniuses, the man who 
played on the twelve bells fastened to his head, hands, 



THE IRISH STAGE. 113 

and feet, etc." However, the scenery of the pantomime, 
which came by water from London, arrived in due course ; 
Mr. Digges and Mrs. Ward, the originals of Douglas and 
Lady Randolph, appeared in Mr. Hume's new tragedy ; 
and the managers continued to struggle against their 
ill fate and the opposition at Crow Street. 

Mrs. Fitzhenry now agreed with the new managers, 
and this was the final blow to the old managers' hopes. 
They did indeed make some money out of their benefit 
nights, but the tide was against them, and the new theatre, 
if it had done very little for itself, effectually ruined the 
old houses. In March, 1759, Victor began to renew his 
correspondence with Macklin, about his coming over with 
his daughter, but nothing came of it. This last disap- 
pointment compelled the managers to close the season ; 
and on April 20 Sheridan and Victor dissolved their 
company. The actors, headed by Digges, strove in vain 
to carry on the theatre by themselves, but gave up the 
attempt after a few unsuccessful performances. As for 
Victor, he returned to England, after fourteen years' ex- 
perience of the sweets and bitters of a managerial life, 
fairly driven from the field by the new management. 

Barry and Woodward had now only one rival to dread, 
namely, Henry Mossop ; and for fear he should start in 
opposition to them, they engaged him for the season 
1759-60, at a considerable salary. The name of Henry 
Mossop is scarcely so well remembered as it deserves to 
be, seeing that he was at this time, in popular estimation, 
the rival of Garrick, playing, under his management, 
such parts as Richard, Zanga, and Horatio in the Fair 
Penitent, regularly, and on occasions, Macbeth, Wolsey, 
and Othello. Perhaps never in England has there been 
a time when the stage was so wealthy in tragedians of 
the first rank, and never was any theatre outside London 

I 



114 CHARLES MACKLIN. 

so bravely manned, as when Barry and Mossop alternated 
leading parts on the boards of the Crow Street Theatre 
in 1759-60. Though Mossop is almost forgotten, he 
lives in the memory of some of us as a man of misfortune, 
an actor, who, by his own undisciplined life, and through 
his senseless vanity and conceit, brought himself from 
the highest pinnacle of fame and good fortune, to miser- 
able poverty, despair, and a wretched death- bed. Both 
the man and the actor are important in connection with 
the subject on hand, and some short account of Henry 
Mossop will not be out of place. 

He was born in 1729, was the son of the Rector of 
Tuam, and was educated at Dublin, first at a grammar 
school in Digges Street, and afterwards at Trinity College. 
It is said that he was intended for the Church, but he 
made his election for the stage, and through the influence 
of an old schoolfellow, Francis Gentleman, then a member 
of Sheridan's stock company, received an invitation to 
appear at the Smock Alley Theatre in 1749. He was 
announced to appear on November 28 of that year, in 
the part of Zanga, in Dr. Young's tragedy of The Revenge. 
" This character," says Mr. R. W. Lowe, in an interesting 
sketch of Mossop, " was most judiciously chosen for 
Mossop's first appearance. It is one of strong passion, 
with little subtlety of characterization, but with an 
abundance of striking effects ; and it is eminently suited 
to a young actor who has fire and passion, but whose 
method is unformed. This was precisely Mossop's 
position, and he played the part with such beautiful 
wildness, and with occasional flashes of such brilliant 
genius, as clearly indicated his future greatness." He 
was an immediate success, and, supported by his fellow- 
collegian, he played Richard and other characters, so 
much to the mind of the audiences, that at the end of 



THE IRISH STAGE. 115 

the season the managers found themselves ;^2ooo more 
in pocket than in any preceding year. 

Unfortunately, no sooner had Mossop made his success, 
than his unconscionable vanity and self-sufficiency began 
to stand in his way, and he quarrelled with Sheridan, 
the first note of offence having been sounded by the 
manager saying that the white satin, puckered, in which 
he dressed Richard III., had a most coxcombly appear- 
ance. Nothing would do but his leaving Sheridan, and 
he appeared in England on September 26, 1751, in 
Richard III. He remained at Drury Lane, playing 
every season — except 1755-56, when he played in 
Dublin under Victor and Sowdon's management — until 
in 1759-60 he was engaged by Barry and Woodward for 
the Crow Street Theatre. 

Never had tragedies been produced in such a style 
of magnificence, and we learn that " the mere guards 
in Coriolanus cost ^£"3 lox. per night, and the guards 
and chorus-singers in Alexander, ^8." At the end of 
the season, however, Mossop, to the managers' chagrin, 
informed them that he was going to start as manager 
on his own account In vain they offered him the 
enormous salary of ;!^iooo to remain with them, " * Auf 
Ccssar, aut nullus.' There should be but one theatre 
in Ireland, and he would be at the head of it." 

Mossop entered on his career as manager in November, 
1760, opening with Venice Preserved, the part 'of Pierre 
being played by the manager, and Belvidera by poor 
Mrs. Bellamy, who had left Dublin in the zenith of her 
fame, to return a haggard, hollow-eyed woman, capable 
of rousing nothing but the curiosity of the audience. 
It was a miserable opening enough, and sealed Mrs. 
Bellamy's fate. " She left Dublin," says Tate Wilkinson, 
" without a single friend to regret her loss. What a 



ii6 CHARLES MACKLIN. 

change from the days of her youth ! and, as an actress 
of note, her name never more ranked in any theatre, nor 
did she ever again rise in public estimation." Mossop, 
however, was somewhat more successful after this, and, 
his cause being espoused by the Countess of Brandon, 
who made it her peculiar charge to fill his theatre, there 
was often money in the treasury. But what the countess 
brought to Mossop by her patronage, he lost with interest 
over the gaming-table, and many are the stories of the 
straits in which the management found itself, and the 
tricks adopted by the actors to obtain their salaries. 
Such a management could only come to one end, but 
for the time, though it is doubtful if Mossop ever made 
much more than his expenses, he managed to beat his 
adversaries from the field. Woodward left Barry in 
1762, and Barry himself gave up the theatre in 1767, 
when Mossop took both the houses. The public fancy, 
however, grew fickle, and the audiences left Mossop in 
1770, to follow Dawson, who reopened a little opposition 
theatre in Capel Street, which had been closed for many 
years. In 177 1 Mossop left Dublin, bankrupt in body 
and estate. He hung about in London, a wreck of his 
former self, too proud to ask Garrick for an engagement. 
The smart eagle-eyed Zanga dragged on a weary exist- 
ence, dejected, emaciated, and broken down, until in 
November, 1773, he was found dead in his bed at his 
lodgings in the Strand, with fourpence-halfpenny in his 
pocket. 

Poor Mossop must have been a great tragedian in his 
prime, and a worthy rival of the greater Garrick. Thomas 
Davies speaks of his fine full-toned voice, the warmth 
and passion of his sentiment, and his excellence in 
parts of turbulence, rage, regal tyranny, and sententious 
gravity. He seems to have relied greatly on study, and 



THE IRISH STAGE. 117 

not, like Barry, upon inspiration and physical power, 
and there is extant a speech of Wolsey, one of Mossop's 
parts, minutely marked by himself with his own business 
and directions. His chief fault as an actor, on which 
Churchill, Garrick's panegyrist, remarks with such insist- 
ence, was his stiffness and over-deliberation both in 
speech and action. The phrase " Mossop's minute-guns " 
expresses, in the language of the wits, the tendency to 
a too syllabic utterance that undoubtedly marked his 
elocution. Had he been more reasonable in his conduct 
of life, and less eaten up by vanity and conceit, he might 
have lived to rival Garrick in the memory of men, and 
to be remembered now as an actor of great achievement, 
rather than a man with a miserable history. 

To return, however, to the part played by Macklin 
himself in the annals of the Irish stage. Since his last 
visit to Ireland, Macklin had married a second time, 
his wife being a Chester lady. Miss Elizabeth Jones, to 
whom he was married on September 10, 1759. He 
did not return to Dublin until the season 1763-4, when 
he agreed with Mossop to play against his old friend 
Barry, with whom, it would appear, Sheridan was in 
partnership, and we find him writing to his daughter on 
November 18, 1763, of the state of affairs in Dublin. 
*' Never," he writes, "were there greater theatrical con- 
tests than at present, nor were parties among the ladies 
higher, insomuch that they distinguish themselves by the 
names of Barryists and Mossopians. The contention 
is between Barry and Sheridan on the one part, and 
Mossop and Sowdon on the other ; and between Dancer 
and Abington — the other women are neglected." 

In this season Macklin brought out his True-Born 
Irishman, of which we shall say more hereafter. He 
now resided in Drumcondra Lane, and was greatly 



Jl8 CHARLES MACKLIN. 

sought after by stage aspirants, and many of the new 
actors and actresses, during these years, were pupils of 
the veteran actor. In the season 1763-4, the celebrated 
Ann Catley made her appearance at the Smock Alley 
Theatre. She became a pupil of Macklin — sent to him, 
maybe, by her lover. Sir Francis Delaval — and she made 
her debut in Ireland under his auspices. We can gather 
the theatrical news of the time, from the following 
characteristic letter of Macklin to his daughter, dated 
Dublin, February 21, 1764 : — 

"Dublin, February 21, 1764. 

"Dear Poll, 

" Yours of the 28th of January, I received some time 
ago, and this instant that of the i6th instant ; and am glad 
to find that even the expectation of a new farce from me, 
or the hopes of seeing me in London, to play for your benefit, 
has had sufficient influence on you to make you punctual in 
answering my letter. As to lending you a new farce, I 
cannot pay so ill a compliment to you, the public, or my 
own fame, as to send you one that I had not been nice 
about ; nay, rather more so than if it had been for my own 
benefit or emolument as an author. Your character has 
been nicely conducted hitherto, even in your profession, as 
well as in that of real life ; and I hope you will scorn to 
offer the public a piece merely to fill your galleries or your 
houses. No, you have been nicely conducted, I say, hitherto ; 
continue it even about your benefits. 

" I have always loved the conscious worth of a good 
action more than the profit that would arise from a mean 
or a bad one ; and, depend upon it, there is a wealth in that 
way of thinking, and I feel the value of it at this instant, 
and in every vicissitude of my life, but particularly in those 
of the adverse kind. Had it been in my power to have sent 
you a piece worthy of your might and fame, be assured I 
would, but it was not in my power. I have written a great 
deal this winter, but I find the more I write and the older 
1 grow, the harder I am to be pleased. I do not know 



THE IRISH STAGE. 119 

whether I told you in my last that I am reduced in my 
sustenance entirely to fish, herbage puddings, or spoon meait, 
not being able to chew any meat harder than a French 
bouille. And now I have told you, what am I the better ? 
But old age and invalids think all their friends are obliged 
to attend to their infirmities. I am mightily glad to think 
that your house will be tolerable, at all events ; for I would 
not have you have a bad one for more than the value of it. 
Pray send me word what you think of taking for your benefit, 
and your day, as soon as ever it is fixed. Do not miss a 
post, and send me an exact account of the fate of ' Midas.' 
Youare the worst correspondent in the world ; you sent me 
no account of Miss Davis's illness, and of Miss Brent's ; nor 
the causes or theatrical consequences ; nor of Miss Poitier's 
engagement. Miss Haughton's leaving the stage. Miss 
Bellamy's promotion to infamy with Calcraft — all this is 
news — and such-like ; and all the theatrical tittle tattle and 
squibble squabble. With us. Miss Catley is with child, is 
in great vogue for her singing, and draws houses, and has 
been of great service to Mossop. 

" My True-Born Scotchman is not yet come out, but 
it is highly admired both by the actors and some ladies and 
gentlemen of the first taste and fashion, to whom I have 
read it, for its satire, characters, language, moral, and fable ; 
and indeed I think well of it myself, but not so well as 
they do. 

" On Monday, the 5th of March, I think it will be out 
I have just read the Philaster that was done at Drury Lane ; 
it is a lamentable thing. Oh, I had hke to have forgot ! 
The ship by which you sent the box is not yet come in. 
Pray, in your writing, never write couldfCt, sharCt, wouldn't, 
nor any abbreviation whatever. It is vulgar, rude, ignorant, 
unlettered, and disrespectful : could not, shall not, etc., is 
the true writing. Nor never write M, Macklin. Pray who 
is M. ? It is the highest ill-breeding even to abbreviate any 
word, but particularly a name ; besides the unintelligibility. 

" Pray how does this look .'' * I am, sr., yr. mt. obt. um'ble 
sevt.' Mind always write your words at length, and never 
make the vile apologies in your letters about being ^greatly 



120 



CHARLES MAC KLIN. 



hurried with business ; ' or, * and must now cofidude, as the 
post is this instant going out.' Then why did you not begin 
sooner ? You see, I am nothing with you if not critical ; and 
so at full length, 

" I am, my dear, 

" Your most affectionate 

" And anxious father, 

" Charles Macklin. 
" P.S. — Your account that you are in health and spirits 
rejoices me. I never was better in health or content. If I 
can contrive it, I shall be over with you, but do not depend 
on anybody but yourself." 

The following statement of accounts, too, said, by 
Kirkman, to be taken from Mr. Macklin's memorandum- 
book, is of considerable interest. It is to be noticed 
that the Beggar's Opera seems to have been revived this 
season with considerable profit, and it is said Mr. Macklin 
played Peachum with success. I do not exactly under- 
stand upon what principle Macklin's moiety is calculated, 
but the document as it stands, even without the key, 
throws considerable light on Macklin's popularity, both 
as actor and playwright, as may be seen by glancing 
at the receipts of February 6, December 22, and 
December 2. 



SMOCK ALLEY THEATRE, 







The receipt 

of the 

theatre. 


Macklin's 
moiety. 


1763. 

Nov. 9 

» 14 
„ 18 
» 21 
,. 23 


The Refusal, and True-Born Irish- 
man 
The Beggar's Opera 
The Beggar's Opera 
The Revenge ; True-Born Irishman 
The Merchant of Venice, and 
Saunders, Wire Dancer 


£ s. d. 

68 8 3 
7411 9 
7411 9 
83 8 4 

82 16 5 


£ s. d. 

H 4 i^ 
17 5 io| 
17 5 10* 
21 14 2 

21 8 2| 



THE IRISH STAGE. 



121 







The receipt 
of the 


Macklin's 






theatre. 


moiety. 


1763- 




£ s. 


d. 


£. s. d. 


N0V.25 


The Beggar's Opera 


93 10 


II 


2615 si 


„ 28 


Double Dealer; True-Bom Irish- 










man 


76 IS 


I 


18 7 6i 


Dec. I 


The Beggar's Opera 


45 16 


6 


218 3 


» 2 


Julius Caesar, Alderman 


100 





30 2 7J 


» 7 


The Brothers, Alderman 








,. 9 


The Beggar's Opera ; True-Born 










Irishman 


95 


2 


27 10 I 


„ 22 


By command, Lord Lieutenant, 










Revenge and True-Born Irishman 


113 2 





36 II 6 


„ 23 


The Beggar's Opera, Saunders, 










Wire Dancer 


8614 


s 


23 7 2| 


1764. 










Tan. 2 


Old Bachelor ; True-Born Irishman 


40 2 


9 


I Ak 


» 6 


The Beggar's Opera, Wire Dancing 


64 7 





12 3 6 


„ 20 


The Beggar's Opera 


97 13 


3 


28 16 7 


» 27 


Opera and Wire ... 


91 16 


9* 


25 18 4| 


Feb. 6 


Merchant of Venice ; Love k-la- 










Mode 


121 6 


8 


4013 4 


„ 10 


Beggar's Opera, Wire Dancing ... 


79 


7 


19 10 3J 


M 13 


Refusal; Love i-la-Mode 


63 8 


7 


II 14 3J 


M 17 


Opera 


7417 


2 


17 18 7 


„ 26 


Comus ; Love a-Ia-Mode ... 


73 3 


10 


16 II 9 



It was not to be expected that two such self-opinionated 
men as Macklin and Mossop would work in harmony 
for any length of time, and consequently it is not 
surprising to learn, that they were the plaintiff and 
defendant in a lawsuit, arising out of the profits of the 
theatre in the past season, in which, Mossop having no 
money, Macklin had the satisfaction of getting a verdict, 
but nothing more substantial. Macklin, in 1764, went 
back to England, where he had "the honourable dis- 
tinction of instructing H.R.H. the late Duke of York in 
the science of acting." Several plays were represented 
at the Privy Gardens by eminent and distinguished 



122 CHARLES MAC KLIN. 

amateurs under Mr. Macklin's direction. " But," as 
Kirkman eloquently says, " in the zenith of his distinc- 
tion, and whilst he was basking in the sunshine of 
royalty, and enjoying the beneficence of the noble duke, 
Mr. Macklin's prosperity received a mortal wound, and 
he had to deplore with the nation the sudden death 
of his royal patron." 

Under these circumstances, Macklin entered into an 
engagement with Barry, who was now (1765-6) deserted 
by Woodward, and produced The Man of the World, 
under the title of The True-Born Scotchman. Macklin 
acted on the same terms at Crow Street as he had at 
the Smock Alley Theatre, and probably with more profit 
to himself; for we find on one occasion, when The 
Merchant of Venice and Love a-la-Mode were played, by 
command of Lord Hertford, Macklin's moiety amounted 
to no less than jT^^'] xs. o\d. After this season Macklin 
spent the remainder of the year in study, and, we are 
told, in the composition of dramatic works. What these 
were it is impossible to say. The next year Barry left 
Dublin, and Mossop, as we have said, took both the 
theatres. 

Macklin did not visit Dublin again until 1770. He 
had been playing in Liverpool and Leeds, and arrived 
at Dublin on November 1 1. He first played at the little 
theatre in Capel Street. This theatre was built by a 
man named Stretch to exhibit his puppet show. It was 
known by the name of " Stretch's Show," and O'Keeffe 
says that when very young he much delighted in the 
puppets. The house was afterwards hired by Dawson 
and Robert Mahon. " Tae stage was deep, and it had 
pit, boxes, lattices, and two galleries, but no greenroom, 
the former company (the puppets) not having required 
one." The new company consisted, however, of flesh 



THE IRISH STAGE. 123 

and blood actors, to whom a greenroom was a necessity ; 
they therefore hired the back parlour of an adjacent 
grocer's shop. The company consisted, among others, 
of Macklin; Thomas Holcroft, actor and prompter, after- 
wards a successful London playwright ; Philip Glenville, 
a pupil of Macklin; Miss Ambrose, and Miss Leeson, 
afterwards Mrs. William Lewis, also his pupils ; and Miss 
Younge, afterwards Mrs. Pope. Macklin brought with 
him his own pieces in which he played, and a new 
tragedy which no one ever saw. For this tragedy he 
had brought some splendid dresses, made by the dress- 
maker of the Opera House in the Haymarket, which 
Dawson and Mahon bought up and used for the grand 
procession in Garrick's. " Stratford Jubilee," so they were 
not wasted. 

In March, 177 1, Dawson removed his company from 
the Capel Street to the Crow Street Theatre. Here 
Macklin revised The True-Born Scotchman, instructing 
Miss Younge in the part of Lady Rodolpha, which she 
acted with success. At this time Miss Leeson was under 
his tuition, and she accompanied Macklin to Limerick 
and Cork, where he carried out advantageous engage- 
ments. O'Keeffe says that " both in Limerick and Cork 
the drama and actors were in very high estimation. If 
a play, in its first representation in London, should be 
driven from the stage, and an actor fail in a trial part, 
and thereby be neglected, such play and such actors 
were never brought either to Cork or Limerick." The 
performers were generally rewarded by a free benefit, 
which produced them three or four hundred pounds. 
Garrick gave considerable offence by never leaving 
Dublin to play at Cork or Limerick, but most of the 
other leading actors and actresses paid a visit to these 
places. Outside Cork and Limerick the drama seems to 



124 CHARLES MAC KLIN. 

have been little appreciated or understood, and there 
does not seem at any time to have been a flourishing 
provincial stage in Ireland. 

The following playbill is too much of a curiosity not 
to be printed at length. It tells us something of the 
style of company that went on tour with Shakespeare in 
provincial Ireland in the eighteenth century. Although 
one would be rash in vouching for its genuineness, 
nevertheless, even as a parody or burlesque, it is probably 
as near to nature, in its way, as are the details of the 
management of Mr. Vincent Crummies at the Theatre 
Royal, Portsmouth. 

" Bill of Kilkenny Theatre Royal 

By his Majesty's Co. of Comedians, 

The last night, because the Co. go to-morrow to Waterford. 

On Saturday, May 14, 1793, 

Will be performed, by command of several respectable 
people in this learned metropolis, for the benefit of Mr. 
Kearns 

THE TRAGEDY OF HAMLET. 

Originally written and composed by the celebrated Dan 
Hayes of Limerick, and inserted in Shakespeare's works. 
Hamlet, by Mr. Kearns (being his first appearance in that 

character), who, between the acts, will perform several 

solos on the patent bagpipes, which play two tunes at 

the same time. 
Ophelia, by Mrs. Prior, who will introduce several favourite 

airs in character, particularly ' The Lass of Richmond 

Hill,' and 'We'll all be Unhappy Together,' from the 

Rev. Mr. Dibdin's ' Oddities.' 
The parts of the King and Queen, by the direction of 
the Rev. Father O'Callaghan, will be omitted, as too immoral 
for any stage. 
POLONius, the comical politician, by a young gentleman, 

being his first appearance in public. 



THE IRISH STAGE. 125 

The Ghost, the Gravedigger, and Laertes, by Mr. Sampson, 
the great London comedian. 

The characters to be dressed in Roman shapes. 

To which will be added an Interlude, in which will be 
introduced several sleight-of-hand tricks by Professor Hurst. 

The whole to conclude with the farce of 

MAHOMET THE IMPOSTOR. 

Tickets to be had of Mr. Keams at the sign of the Goat's 
Beard in Castle Street. 

*^* The value of the tickets as usual will be taken (if 
required) in candles, bacon, soap, butter, cheese, etc., as Mr. 
Keams wishes in every particular to accommodate the 
public. 

N.B. — No person whatsoever will be admitted into the 
boxes without shoes or stockings." 

Passing from this eccentric document to more trust- 
worthy and important matters, we must notice, in con- 
cluding this somewhat spasmodic account of the Irish 
stage, Macklin's last visit to Dublin in 1785. He was 
now at least eighty-six years of age, and yet the then 
manager of the Smock Alley Theatre, Mr. Daly, was so 
assured of his worth and popularity as an actor, that he 
was able to offer him the munificent salary of jC^<^o a 
night, to which was added a clear benefit. Seldom, if 
ever, in the history of the stage, has an actor of these 
years gone through so arduous a task as that which 
Macklin undertook. He played Shylock and Sir Archy 
one night, and on another occasion. Sir Pertinax. On 
August 22, his benefit night, he was advertised to 
appear in these two last characters, and as soon as the 
doors of the house were opened, it was thronged in every 
part. Everything went well until the middle of the 
second act, when, unfortunately, he was taken suddenly 
ill, and had to be assisted off the stage. This was the 



126 CHARLES MACKLIN. 

first time his memory showed any symptoms of decay, 
and a sympathetic audience were ready to accept a sub- 
stitute through the rest of the performance. In a few 
days he was sufficiently recovered, and the indomitable 
old actor was again delighting the public in his favourite 
parts. He always seemed to enjoy acting in his native 
city, and some of his most hopeful years were passed in 
Dublin, playing to audiences of his own countrymen. 
At one time he had intended to live in retirement there ; 
and as early as 1771 he writes to his son, "About the 
latter end of this month I shall remove my goods to 
Dublin, where I intend to settle for the remainder of my 
life ; nor shall I in all probability return even as a visitor 
to England for some years, if ever." These hopes were, 
as we know, not to be realized. Necessity compelled 
him to return to England, and he was never more than 
a sojourner in his native city of Dublin. 



( 127 ) 



CHAPTER VIII. 

MACKLIN THE PLAYWRIGHT. 

Although the education of Macklin was, as we have 
seen, somewhat neglected in his early youth, there is no 
reason to believe the stories that exist about his learning 
to read at the age of thirty-five. There is evidence that 
he was at a school for some considerable period. He 
himself has left notes of reminiscences about his school- 
master, and we may take it that in his early years he at 
least learned how to read and write, if nothing more. 
Macklin, too, was not a man to sit down beneath adverse 
circumstances and indulge in indolent lamentations. 
There was a good deal of intellectual pride about the 
man, and, as he worked his way up in his chosen profes- 
sion, we gather that he took advantage of the opportu- 
nities that presented themselves, reading any volumes of 
history, criticism, and poetry that fell in his way. An 
absolutely ignorant man, however limitless his self-conceit, 
would never have hit out the great Piazza scheme. But, 
on the other hand, this is just the kind of project one 
would expect, from a self-willed and self-educated man, 
who, knowing that he had made a wiser use of his spare 
moments than the men he associated with, and full of 
knowledge and conceit, burned to impart to the universe 
some crumbs of the information he had acquired with 
such difficulty, and to receive in return the homage due 
to a philosopher and a man of learning. 



128 CHARLES MACKLIN. 

If we are right in believing that his self-education was 
gradual, and dated back to the early days of his theatrical 
life, it is easy to understand his history as a playwright. 
There was an interval of fifteen years between the pro- 
ductions of Henry VII. and Love a-la-Mode, and during 
that time Macklin tried his hand at several dramatic 
compositions ; these were, without exception, failures. 
It was not until 1759 that he discovered that to write a 
play something other than mere plot, pen, ink, and paper 
was required. His earlier attempts are mere sketches, 
the work of a man who thinks he has only to sit down 
and knock off a successful drama as he would a note of 
invitation. And, indeed, Macklin's letters seem far more 
studied compositions than his earlier dramas. But this, 
again, is what one would expect from a self-educated, 
vain man, who knew the stage well, and fancied his 
literary powers were equal to his acknowledged acting 
worth. It is not until he rids himself of this notion, 
and applies to dramatic writing that insight, energy, and 
painful care that he gave to acting, that he is enabled 
to produce any composition that is really worthy of 
criticism. 

Macklin's first play was produced in 1746, the year 
after the Scotch rebellion. Theatrical entertainments were 
greatly deserted in this time of political excitement ; and 
at Lacy's suggestion Macklin employed himself for six 
weeks in producing a tragedy entitled King Hetiry VII. ; 
or, the Popish Impostor. It deals with the story of Perkin 
Warbeck, and, with unconscious humour, introduces 
him as a Popish impostor at a date when, of course, 
Protestantism was unknown. The tragedy was per- 
formed for six nights at Drury Lane, Macklin playing 
the part of Huntley. Mrs. Cibber, writing to Garrick 
about this time, tells him of the straits the theatre is in. 



MACKLIN THE PLAYWRIGHT. 129 

" It is surprising," she says, " that Drury Lane playhouse 
goes on acting ; one night with another they have not re- 
ceived above £,\o ; the actors are paid only three nights a 
week, though they play every night. But the top stroke of 
all was Macklin's play ! It was entirely new dressed, and 
no expense saved in the clothes. I shall say nothing of the 
piece, because you may read it ; but be as vain as you will 
about your playing Bayes, you never made an audience 
laugh more than Henry VII. has done." 

Quin had told him all along that his tragedy would 
never succeed, and when the event justified his predic- 
tion, Quin asked him what he thought of his judgment 
now. 

"Why, I think posterity will do me justice," said 
Macklin. 

" I believe they will," retorted Quin ; " for your play 
now is only damned, but posterity will have the satisfac- 
tion to know that both play and author met with the 
same fate." 

In the prologue to the piece, written and spoken by 
Macklin himself, the only excuse put forward for the 
tragedy was in the first couplet — 

" The temporary piece in haste was writ. 
The six weeks' labour of a puny wit." 

The audience, however, very rightly refused to be cajoled 
by such flimsy excuses, and the play was rightly and 
speedily damned. 

Tragedy having proved somewhat a failure, Macklin's 
ubiquitous ambition led him to try his hand at satire. 
Towards the close of the season 1746-7, the reputation 
of Dr. Hoadley's Suspicious Husband, which was pro- 
duced' at Covent Garden, disturbed the noble army of 
greenroom wits, who fancied they were "thrown at," to 
use Mr. Cooke's expression, and they retaliated as well 

K 



130 CHARLES MACKLIN. 

as they could by abusing the play. Macklin, who at 
that time haunted the Grecian Coffee-house, where a 
select circle of young Templars held their court, and 
who was probably welcome in many another similar 
coterie, thought this a good opportunity to make his 
mark as a satirist With this intention he produced a 
farce entitled The Suspicious Husband Criticized ; or, the 
Plague of Envy, which was produced at Drury Lane. 
Satire, however, was no more successful than tragedy, 
and the farce was never played a second time. 

About this time, too, he wrote a little farce entitled 
A Will or no Will; or, a Bone for the Lawyers, which was 
played at Mrs. Macklin's benefit, but never afterwards ; 
and in 1748 he produced another farce, called The Club 
of Fortune Hunters ; or, the Widow Bewitched. This was 
played two or three times for Macklin's benefit, but only 
met with a tolerable reception. These non-successes 
seem to have daunted Macklin's enthusiasm for dramatic 
writing, and, with the exception of a dramatic spectacle 
called Covent Garden Theatre ; or, Pasquin turned Draw- 
cansir, acted at Covent Garden in 1752, Macklin did 
nothing in the way of dramatic composition until after 
ten years, when he produced Love a-la-Mode. One can- 
not but regret, however, that one has to form an opinion 
of these early dramatic ventures from hearsay, as, with 
the exception of Henry VIL. ; or, the Popish Lmpostor, not 
one of them seems to have been printed. Henry VLL. 
was printed, it is said, in 1746, but I have not been able 
to find a copy of the play. 

Love a-la-Mode was the first play written by Macklin 
that can be chronicled a success. The story of the piece 
is simple enough, and its action purely conventional and 
in a sense stagey, but it is a good acting farce full of 
character and witty dialogue. Although it pretends only 



MAC KLIN THE PLAYWRIGHT. 131 

to be a farce, it is indeed a "comedy in little," and far 
more deserving to be classed in the higher category than 
many a more pretentious comedy, so-called, of recent 
years. 

Charlotte, a young lady of fortune, has four lovers, Sir 
Archy MacSarcasm, a Scotchman ; Squire Groom, an 
EngUsh country bumpkin ; Mr. Mordecai, a Jew ; and 
the hero of the piece, Sir Callaghan O'Brallaghan, an Irish 
soldier. The characters of the men are foreshadowed in 
their names. We see their methods of love-making, and 
are amused by their idiosyncrasies in the first act ; in the 
second, Charlotte pretends to lose her fortune, when the 
three first-named lovers desert her, and she falls into the 
arms of the chivalrous Irishman, who finds he has married 
not only a charming mistress, but an heiress as well. 
Such is the plot, simple, conventional, belonging to the 
stage ever since the stage was an institution, and only 
remarkable in this case, for its novel presentment, its 
capital acting characters, and its smart dialogue. 

There is a story of the origin of this piece given by 
Cooke, who has it from Macklin himself, which is perhaps 
worth preserving. It is as follows : — 

*' Some time before going to Ireland on the Crow Street 
expedition, Barry and Macklin had been spending the 
evening at a public-house in the neighbourhood of Covent 
Garden, when they were joined by an Irishman who had 
been some years in the Prussian service, and who from his 
first appearance attracted their notice. In his person he 
was near six feet high, finely formed, of a handsome manly 
face, with a degree of honesty and good humour about him 
which prejudiced everybody in his favour. 

" He happened to sit in the same box where Macklin and 
Barry sat ; and as Barry perfectly understood the Irish 
character, could tell many agreeable stories in that way, and 
was, beside, considered as no inconsiderable humbugger (a 



132 CHARLES MAC KLIN. 

species of wit very much attached to an Hibernian humorist), 
he soon scraped an acquaintance with his countrymen, and 
brought him out in the full blow of self-exhibition." 

The Irishman seems to have told the actors all his 
history in simple-minded honesty, while they, in return, 
abused his good nature by raillery and practical joking. 
It does not appear, however, that he had much in com- 
mon with Sir Callaghan, except that he had been a soldier 
in the Prussian service; but perhaps he suggested to 
Macklin the notion of an Irish hero, which at this date 
was a new one, Irishmen being then invariably pourtrayed 
on the stage as designing and mercenary fortune-hunters. 
Macklin was so keen about embodying this chance 
Irishman as the hero of a comedy, that he instantly 
communicated his idea to Barry, who was sufficiently 
pleased with it to offer to play the hero, and sufficiently 
eager for the piece to be written to wager Macklin a 
" rump and dozen " that he would not produce a comedy 
in the course of three months. 

" The wager," it is said, " was accepted ; and Macklin, 
according to his own account, produced a comedy of five 
acts, sketched out in plot and incidents without having all 
the parts of the dialogue filled up, in the course of six weeks, 
which Barry was so pleased with that he paid him his wager, 
Mackhn pledging himself, at the same time, to finish it 
before the end of the season." 

Macklin's earlier dramatic ventures had suffered, as we 
have seen, from hasty writing and scamped workmanship. 
He had learned at last that the dialogue of a play must 
be crisp, pointed, and rapid, and he was so far convinced 
of this as to be able to take the advice of his friends, 
and cut down his five acts to two. 

" His first design was to make it a play of five acts, and 
he disposed the business of it in this manner. However, 



MAC KLIN THE PLAYWRIGHT. 133 

before he brought it before the eye of the public he deter- 
mined to take advice ; and as there was nobody to whom 
he could with more friendship and propriety address himself 
than Mr. Murphy, who was, and is, considered as one of our 
first dramatic writers, he wrote a letter inviting him to dine 
with him on a certain day, in order to sit in judgment on 
his comedy. 

"This was in the summer of 1760 [this date should be 
1759]. Murphy had country lodgings in Kew Lane, and 
Macklin and his daughter lived upon Richmond Hill. They 
met two hours before dinner for this purpose, when Macklin 
began with great gravity to read his piece, first requesting 
the critic ' to use the pruning-knife, if necessary, with an 
unsparing hand.' Murphy accordingly called for pen, ink, 
and paper, and as Macklin read he made his remarks. They 
had not proceeded long in this manner, when Macklin (who 
from the beginning was on the tenterhook of expectation) 
called out, ' Well, sir, come, let's see what you have done ? ' 
' No, sir,' said the other ; ' read through, and then I will 
show you my remarks.' Macklin's impatience could not 
well brook this delay, and he talked ' of his having a rod 
over him, and that he should like to have some presenti- 
ment of his fate, and not perhaps be d d altogether.' 

Murphy remonstrated upon this, and told him 'that as his 
comedy could not be well judged of till it was entirely read, 
so his criticism would be imperfect till the whole was equally 
finished.' ' Well, sir,' said the growling author, ' I have 
put myself in your power — go on ! ' He accordingly read 
through his piece, when Murphy gave the following judgment. 

" That he in general approved of the plot, the characters 
and their appropriate discriminations, but that both plot and 
characters suffered considerably from being drawn out into 
five acts. From this extension the business lingered, and 
that eclat which would be produced by the bustle and inci- 
dent of a two-act-piece must suffer from a further continua- 
tion." 

Macklin, author-like, protested against so cruel a 
decision. He made a long dissertation on comedy 



134 CHARLES MACKLIN. 

ancient and modern, pleading skilfully, but in vain, 
for his five acts. Murphy was too much his friend, 
and too honest a critic, to recant, and insisted on the 
piece being cut down to a farce. Macklin took his 
opinion in writing before they parted, determining to 
think the matter over and consult some of his other 
critical friends before he took further steps. With this 
view, he laid his manuscript before Mr. Chetwynd, a 
mutual friend of Murphy, Foote, Sir Francis Delaval, 
and Macklin, and a well-known theatrical amateur. 
Chetwynd, who seems to have possessed common sense 
as well as learning, gave the same verdict as Murphy, 
and Macklin, with considerable wisdom and self-denial, 
turned his five-act comedy into a two-act farce. 

The piece was first played at Drury Lane Theatre, on 
Deceml^r 12, 1759. It was Macklin's first appear- 
ance at Drury Lane for six years. The following was 
the cast : — 

Sir Archv MacSarcasm Mr. Macklin. 

Squire Groom „ King. 

Beau Mordecai „ Blakes. 

Sir Callaghan O'Brallaghan „ Moody. 

Sir Theodore Goodchild ... „ Burton. 

and 

Charlotte Miss Macklin. 

As we have said, the characters are well drawn, and 
we cannot understand how any one, reading the play, 
could doubt that it would act well. Sir Archy Mac- 
Sarcasm, though not a character of the weight and force 
of Sir Pertinax MacSycophant, has his full share of 
witty lines, and is, indeed, a lighter caricature of the 
same character — the haughty, avaricious, clever Scotch- 
man. Sir Archy's description of the Squire is at least 



MACKLIN THE PLAYWRIGHT. 135 

good farcical writing. *' Why, madam, the Squire is the 
keenest sportsman in a' Europe : Madam, there is 
naething comes amiss tull him; he wull fish, or fowl, 
or hunt — he hunts everything — everything frae the flae 
i' the blanket to the elephant in the forest." Better still 
is his humorous lament about the law, which has added 
a phrase to an Englishman's vocabulary that seems as 
though it would outlast the law itself. " Oh, Sir, ye 
dinna ken the law — the law is a sort of hocus pocus 
science, that smiles in yer face while it picks yer pocket ; 
and the glorious uncertainty of it is of mair use to the 
professors than the justice of it." 

The quarrel between Sir Archy, with " his abominable 
Scot's accent, and his grotesque visage almost buried in 
snuff," and the bold boisterous cavalier Sir Callaghan, 
on the antiquity of their respective families, is almost 
worthy of Sheridan, and certainly deserves to be quoted 
as one of Macklin's happiest dramatic scenes. The 
quarrel arises out of a letter which the Irishman has 
written to Charlotte's father, and which he is reading 
to Sir Archy. In it he makes an unhappy allusion to 
the antiquity of his own family, and then proceeds — 

" You see. Sir Archy, I give him a rub, but by way of a 
hint about my family, because why, do you see. Sir Theodore 
is my uncle, only by my mother's side, which is a little 
upstart family that came in vid one Strongbow but t'other 
day — lord, not above six or seven hundred years ago ; 
whereas my family, by my father's side, are all the true ould 
Milesians, and related to the O'Flaherty's, and O'Shaugh- 
nesses, and the MacLauchlins, and the O'Donnaghans, 
O'Callaghans, O'Geogaghans, and all the tick blood of the 
nation — and I myself, you know, am an O'Brallaghan, which 
is the ouldest of them all. • 

" Sir A. Ay, ay ! I believe you are o' an auncient family, 
Sir Callaghan, but ye are oot in ae point. 



136 CHARLES MACKLIN. 

" Sir C. What is that, Sir Archy ? 

'^ Sir A. Whar ye said ye were as auncient as ony family 
i' the tree kingdoms. 

" Sir C. Faith, then, I said nothing but truth. 

'■'•Sir A. Hut, hut, hut awa' man, hut awa' ! ye mauna say 
that ; what the deel, consider oor families i' the North. Why, 
ye o' Ireland, sir, are but a colony frae us, an ootcast ! a 
mere ootcast, and as such ye remain tuU this hour. 

" Sir C. I beg your pardon. Sir Archy, that is the Scotch 
account, which, you know, never speaks truth, because it is 
always partial ; but the Irish history, which must be the 
best, because it was written by an Irish poet of my own 
family, one Shemus Thurlough Shannaghan O'Brallaghan, 
and he says, in his chapter of genealogy, that the Scotch 
are all Irishmen's bastards. 

'■'•Sir A. Hoo, sir ! bastards ! Do ye mak us illegeetemate, 
illegeetemate, sir 1 

" Sir C. Faith, I do — for the youngest branch of our 
family, one MacFergus O'Brallaghan, was the very man 
that went from Carrickfergus and peopled all Scotland with 
his own hands ; so that, my dear Sir Archy, you must be 
bastards of course, you know. 

''Sir A. Hark ye. Sir Callaghan, though yer ignorance 
and vanity wad mak conquerors and ravishers o' yer aunces- 
ters, and harlots and sabines o' oor mithers — yet ye sail 
prove, sir, that their issue are a' the children o' honour. 

" Sir C. Hark'e, hark'e. Sir Archy, what is that ye men- 
tioned about ignorance and vanity ? 

" Sir A. Sir, I denoonce ye baith ignorant and vain, and 
mak yer maist o't. 

" Sir C. Faith, sir, I can make nothing of it, for they are 
words I don't understand, because they are what no gentle- 
man is used to ; and therefore you must unsay them. 

" Sir A. Hoo, sir! Eat my words.? A North Briton 
eat his words ? 

" Sir C. Indeed you must, and this instant eat them. 

''Sir A. Ye sgU eat first a piece o' this weapont. [Draws. 

" Sir C. Poo, poo. Sir Archy, put up, put up — this is no 
proper place for such work ; consider, drawing a sword is 



MAC KLIN THE PLAYWRIGHT. 137 

a very serious piece of business, and ought always to be 
done in private. We may be prevented here ; but if you are 
for a little of that fun, come away to the right spot, my 
dear. 

^^ Sir A. Nae equivocation, sir ; dinna ye think ye hae 
gotten Beau Mordecai to cope wi'. Defend yersel', for, by the 
sacred honour o' Saint Andrew, ye sail be responsible for 
makin' us illegeetemate, sir, illegeetemate. 

" Sir C. Then by the sacred crook of Saint Patrick, you 
are a very foolish man to quarrel about such a trifle. But 
since you have a mind for a tilt, have at you, my dear, for 
the honour of the sod. Oho ! my jewel ! never fear us, you 
are as welcome as the flowers of May. \They fight P 

It is difficult to understand how Garrick, on reading 
a piece with so humorous a scene in it, could have 
expressed disapproval, but it is said that he declared 
it would not do, consenting, however, to its represent- 
ation if the author greatly desired it. It is not to be 
supposed that Macklin was greatly depressed by Gar- 
rick's unfavourable judgment, but it had this irritating 
effect, that their players, taking the cue from Garrick, 
publicly foretold its approaching destruction, and had 
any one but Macklin been stage-manager, the piece 
could never have succeeded. As it was, thanks to care- 
ful drilling and his own clever performance of Sir Archy, 
the piece was capitally received, and ran for several 
nights. It is related that its popularity even reached 
the ears of George II., who had for some time dis- 
continued his appearance at theatres, and that, hearing 
so much talk of Love a-la-Mode, " he sent for the 
manuscript, and commanded an old Hanoverian officer 
to read it to him. This person spent eleven weeks in 
misrepresenting the author's meaning. The German was 
totally void of humour, and was, besides, not well 
acquainted with the English language. The King, 



138 CHARLES MACKLIN. 

however, expressed great satisfaction at the Irishman 
getting the better of his rivals, and gaining the young 
lady." 

There was some shght objection to the farce at first, 
on the ground that the author exalted an Irishman 
above an Englishman in honour and valour. And there 
is a pamphlet in the British Museum, formerly the 
property of Toms's Coffee-house, in Devereux Court, 
criticizing the farce from the point of view of an angry 
Scot. The author naively informs us he has only been 
in England a fortnight, and goes on to suggest that the 
farce is " the impotent effort of the hard-bound brains 
of a low plagiary, whose memory is filled with the shreds 
and ill-chosen scraps of other men's wit." But this sort 
of thing was soon voted down as national prejudice, and 
English audiences welcomed a stage Irishman who was 
something other than a cruel caricature of human nature. 
Sir Callaghan is, we believe, one of the earliest Irish 
stage heroes, the legitimate ancestor of Sir Lucius 
O'Trigger and many another honest ridiculous fellow 
of less note. 

How carefully considered were all his characters, and 
how greatly in earnest Macklin was in his dramatic 
writing, may be gathered from the following letter, 
addressed at a later date to Mr. Quick, respecting his 
performance of Beau Mordecai. This letter, as it seems 
to me, evinces serious thought upon all stage matters 
which is of especial interest and value from being the 
result of long experience. The letter, too, is characteristic 
of the writer. It is polemical, crude, wanting in tact, 
and pedantic, but, at the same time, clear, just, and well 
considered in its terms and substance. It is copied 
verbatim from the Monthly Mirror of January, 1798, 
and begins without further preface thus : 



MAC KLIN THE PLAYWRIGHT. 139 

"In every profession or special community there exists 
a moral principle of kindness and brotherhood. This 
principle seems to me to be indispensable, and the man 
who departs from it cannot be deemed a true brother. 

" No profession can be more obliged to observe this prin- 
ciple, in the exercise of it, than actors, as the amicably and 
precisely settling at rehearsals what each actor in a scene 
means to do in his character, how he will do it, and the 
faithfully executing that, are the only means that can 
methodize and carry the art of actors into a resemblance 
of the characters and actions that the poet intended. 

" When you first acted the part of Mordecai in Love d-la- 
Mode, you thought yourself so young in the profession of an 
actor, and so inexperienced, as to suffer yourself to be 
directed by the author, how to dress, look, deport, and 
speak that character, for your acting of which you had his 
thanks, his praise, and his interest to get you retained in 
Covent Garden Theatre. 

" But such is the nature of your improvement in your 
profession, in that part in particular, that you neither dress 
it, look it, speak it, nor deport it as you were instructed, 
nor as you used to do ; nay, you do not even speak the 
words or meaning of the author. In short, friend Quick, you 
have made it quite a different character from what the 
author intended it, and from what it appeared when you 
'first acted it, and for some years after. 

" Actors often overrate their consequence in various 
instances. One mark of that disorder is that they care not 
whom they distress or injure in a scene, so they gratify 
their own overbearing vanity and avarice of fame. Another 
mark is that they are above being informed by their fellows 
— they look upon it as an insult to their understanding, their 
fame, merit, and consequence. This is a false principle ; 
the true one is that an actor is never too wise nor too old 
to be instructed, as the nature of his profession is to know 
all that passes in the mind of man, with its influence upon 
the body from the cradle to the grave, all which he is to 
imitate, by looks, tones, station, attitude, gait, and gesture. 

" Now, it is probable that no one actor has studied all 



140 CHARLES MACKLIN. 

these signs, or, if he has, that he has not retained them all ; 
therefore he may probably be informed sometimes even by 
an inferior brother. 

" You, sir, seem to be so high in your profession as to 
act in what manner you please, in a sense, without consider- 
ing how your acting affects the person in the scene with you. 
That is no affair of mine, unless it interferes with me as 
a brother — in that case I am as tenacious to be relieved as 
you are to offend ; and I think I am justifiable when I 
resolve that no actor shall indulge his consequence or his 
policy, by preventing the good effects of a scene, that I, by 
fair brotherly means, am endeavouring to produce. This 
prevention you have very often effected in Love d-la-Mode, 
and likewise in the trifling scene that you have with me in 
the Merchant of Venice, though often requested civilly to 
alter your conduct in it. I shall request of the manager 
that your scenes in Love d-la-Mode may be rehearsed before 
that farce is acted again, to the end that the character of 
Beau Mordecai may be restored to what it was intended to 
be, to the spirit and humour that you used to enliven it with. 
And that you may recollect distinctly what the character 
and manner are, I take the liberty of giving you the follow- 
ing outlines of each. 

" The character is an egregious coxcomb who is striving 
to be witty ; at the top of dress, with an awkward fancy of 
his own, so as to be as ridiculous and as badly matched or 
sorted as such a fellow ignorant of propriety can be. 

" His manner is very lively — singing, conceited, dancing — 
throwing out himself, body, voice, and mind, as much as 
conceit and impudence and ignorance can effect. 

" Instead of which, sir, you turn him into a fellow that 
neither sings, capers, nor flutters ; his voice, his utterance, 
his action, his everything, is shrunk into nothing but a dul- 
ness that has no effect but a flattening every part of the 
farce that he is concerned in ; all which is in your power to 
avoid, or you would never have been troubled with the part 
nor with this letter. 

" Should any part of this letter carry the mask of impro- 
priety of any kind, be assured I did not intend it ; my only 



MACKLIN THE PLAYWRIGHT. 141 

end in the expostulation is to carry on business with unity 
and fairness. Show it to any of our brethren — I shall 
implicitly submit to their determination ; but if we cannot 
carry on business with mutual harmony, we must avoid 
meeting in a scene as often as the service of the theatre 
will admit of such an indulgence. 
" I am, Sir, 
" With great respect and good wishes, 

" Your friend and fellow-actor, 
« C. M." 

The error of exalting the Irishman to the place of 
hero, which offended some ultra-loyal and patriotic 
theatre-goers in England, was perhaps the chief virtue 
of the piece in Dublin. Macklin produced the play there 
in the winter of 1762, with a really remarkable cast. 
Barry as Sir Callaghan, Woodward as Squire Groom 
Messink as Mordecai, and himself Sir Archy. Barry made 
a great hit in the Irish hero. " It was partly the character 
of the player himself in his convivial moments," as Mr. 
Cooke says, and the whole performance so delighted the 
town that " they followed it with unabating curiosity for 
a whole winter as one of their never-failing dishes of 
entertainment." 

Love a-la-Mode became the rage in England as well as 
Ireland, and we find in Tate Wilkinson's Memoirs a letter 
from David Garrick, endeavouring to tempt Wilkinson to 
play Sir Archy, and asking him " to study the part in all 
haste and secretly," in order that they might spring a 
surprise on Macklin by suddenly producing his piece. 
This plot, however, came to nothing ; but Macklin had 
at various times considerable trouble with strolling 
companies, who chose to act Love a-la-Mode without 
the author's permission. The following letter, written by 
Macklin on May 18, 177 1, to his solicitor, is at least 



142 CHARLES MACKLIN. 

interesting as bearing on the condition of theatricals in 
the provinces at this time : — 

"Dear Sir, 

" By the paper enclosed [a playbill] in this letter, 
you will find that I must again call the law to my aid in order 
to maintain my preclusive right to the property of Love d-la- 
Mode. The offender is one Whitley, whose christian name 
I know not. He is the master of a Strolling Company, and 
generally acts at Manchester, Derby, and Leicester, so that 
an acquaintance at any of those places might inform me of 
his christian name, should it be necessary to the filing of a 
bill, or, were I to write a letter to him, I suppose that would 
draw it from him. 

" The constitution of these Strolling Companies is that one 
man generally finds cloaths and scenes, for which he has 
four shares of the profits. Every performer is a sharer. 
The number of performances about sixteen or eighteen. 
The person who provides the cloaths and scenes is deemed 
the master of the company, who makes all contracts for rents, 
etc., and is responsible for all expenses and contingencies of 
every kind incidental to the undertaking. This is the 
character Whitley stands in." 



Intent on the destruction of the said Whitley, Macklin 
went down to Leicester, and indited a dignified ultimatum , 
to the offending manager, intimating that if he did not 
give up the performance of Love a-la-Mode^ and promise 
never to play it in future, he would invoke the powers of 
the law against him and every individual member of his 
company. To this Whitley, who was a clever rogue, 
having been bred an attorney, and acquired a fine literary 
style, sent the following delightful reply : - 



" Sir, 



MACKLIN THE PLAYWRIGHT. 143 

" To Mr. Charles Macklin. 

" Leicester, May 26, 1771. 



" If misconception had not hurried you into a 
labjrrinth of error, if your judgment was not jaundiced by false, 
mean, wicked agents such as Connor and Kenna, — I think 
you could not readily resolve to heap any kind of expense 
upon people totally innocent of intentional transgression. 

" If a man made invasion on my wardrobe, and sold a coat 
of mine in Monmouth Street, and an harmless, innocent man 
here bought it and paid honestly for it, I could not punish 
him for wearing it ; nor, in the judicious eye, would it appear 
that he invaded my property ; nor could any law condemn 
him for it ; but this, and much more of rational inference 
that might serve to convince, I shall waive and acquiesce with 
your own propositions, as I would rather heal than irritate 
grievances ; though, indeed, sir, I am as well persuaded I 
can exculpate myself as I am that the sun moves the earth, 
or the soul of man is immortal. 

" I shall not recriminate, and though I must' perceive the 
palpable pregnancy of some illiberal and unjust insinuations 
in your letter, as I am conscious of my own integrity, I can- 
not make the application to myself, but reply, qui capit tile 
facit. 

" I know that reason is the rock on which the law is, or 
ought to be, founded, and that unerring guide tells me that I 
have not invaded your literary property, or offended any part 
or parcel of the law, in looking on the exhibition, or by not 
preventing the performance of your farce. But, sir, my 
nature and education soar above the concession of wrongs. 
I should shudder at the shadow of an unprovoked injury ; 
and, as I am impatient of bearing insult, am ever cautious of 
affronting ; therefore, as a gentleman, born and bred above 
meanness, I shall make you this concession— that I will 
submit my conduct to the arbitration of any two sensible, 
honest men, and, in the interim, to wipe away your anxiety, 
solemnly promise that, as it disturbs your peace, Love d-la- 
Mode shall never be performed in my company without your 
concurrence. 



144 CHARLES MACKLIN. 

" Sir, were I single in this conflict, I could fearless face 
every impending consequence ; but as the debate is compli- 
cated, and you, like a gentleman, offer the alternative, I, as 
a gentleman, and the parent and protector of my people, do 
embrace the alternative, and shall be proud to meet Mr. 
Macklin for the future as a friend. 

" Consider, sir, the noble mind is above seeking for servile 
submission, and the virtuous mind too exalted to make it. 
" I am, with respect, sir, 

" Your most humble servant, 

"James Whitley." 

Whether or not Macklin was taken in by this bit of 
transpontine impudence, one cannot say. Perhaps the 
bombastic style of the manager tickled his vanity. Any- 
how, he was content to accept his promise, and did not 
give his solicitors orders to file a bill. 

The next play that Macklin produced was The Married 
Libertine. This comedy was first played at Covent 
Garden on January 28, 1761, Macklin playing Lord 
Belleville, the libertine, and his daughter a madcap part, 
evidently written to suit her abilities. The piece is 
spoken of as having been well written and carefully 
planned, but it was not a success. The plot, to modern 
ears, sounds very objectionable, and, as the play was 
never printed, we cannot learn how far the dialogue was 
worthy of the author of Love a-la-Mode. There was a 
determined opposition to the piece, partly on the ground 
that Lord Belleville was intended for a portrait of a well- 
known nobleman, then living. There seems no reason to 
believe that this was so. In spite of a strong and continued 
opposition, Macklin, with the assistance of an Irish party 
that rallied round him, was enabled to play the piece for 
the nine nights necessary to entitle him to his three 
benefits. 



MAC KLIN THE PLAYWRIGHT. 145 

In 1763, Macklin produced in Dublin a very successful 
play, entitled The True-Born Irishman. He himself played 
with great spirit a hospitable Irish country gentleman of 
unaffected manners. " The design of the piece," says 
Cooke, *' was to ridicule the affectation of the Irish fine 
ladies of fashion on their return from England (where 
they are never supposed to reside above a month or two), 
aping the pronunciation and manners of the English, 
in contempt of their own native dialect and customs. 
To this was added the character of a prejudiced English- 
man, who saw everything in Ireland with so jaundiced an 
eye 'that the fish was too ne^v for him, the claret too 
light, and the women too fair.' " 

Count Mushroom, the Englishman, was meant to ridicule 
Mr. Hamilton (Single-speech Hamilton), then the secretary 
to the Earl of Halifax, the Lord Lieutenant. Ryder 
played the part, and it was recognized as a strong likeness. 
Both parties, however, applauded the play, the opposition 
from piu:e delight, the Government party, among whom 
was Hamilton himself, to show that their withers were 
unwrung. Some years afterwards Macklin attempted 
to produce the piece in England, but it was only acted 
for one night. The mixed idiom of the brogue and the 
cockney, the personal ridicule of an Irish Secretary, had 
no charms for an English audience, and the piece was 
damned at Covent Garden November 28, 1767, in spite of 
a very excellent cast. Macklin took this defeat with great 
philosophy, saying in his downright manner, " I believe 
the audience are right ; there's a geography in humour as 
well as in morals, which I had not previously considered." 
Macklin could well afford to withdraw this piece, for 
he had already written his chef d'oeuvre. The Man of the 
World, which had been produced in Dublin in 1766 
under the title of The True-Born Scotchman. On this 



146 CHARLES MACKLm. 

piece he had bestowed great labour. For the last few- 
years he had been altering and embellishing the dialogue, 
and he refers in several letters of different dates to the 
fact that he is at work upon it. 

In the Monthly Mirror several extracts are printed 
from Macklin's notebooks and journals, from which it 
is seen how carefully he used to set down any idea as it 
occurred to him, in a form suggestive of further elabora- 
tion. Some of these refer to characters, others to 
politics or history, but all are made with a view to 
future literary use. Not a few of them relate to passages 
in The Man of the World. Thus he writes of " Party." 
"There is no reasoning with party or faction, for the 
first thing they attempt is to make a slave of reason ; — 
very implicitly do whatever party or faction commands ; 
— tyranny, disorder, injustice, violence, and habituated 
villany, are the political elements of all party and 
factions, which, like the enraged elements of nature, 
never leave off quarrelling till an ancient national officer 
— old General Ruin — sends them all to the devil." And 
again, of " Virtue and Vice " he says, ** We are prouder 
of our follies and our vices that are applauded by the 
ignorant million, than of our virtues that are praised only 
by the thinking few." And of "Truth" he writes, 
" The world is tired of truth ; it is so plain, so obvious, 
so simple, and so old ; it gives no pleasure." These and 
many other scraps of epigrammatic, if somewhat cynical, 
common sense, we recognize in altered guise in his 
plays, and it is evident that in his latter years he made 
many sketches and models, as it were, in his study, before 
he finally sat down to write an important passage in a 
lecture or play. 

The Man of the World had been undergoing this 
polishing process since its original production in 1764, 



MAC KLIN THE PLAYWRIGHT. 147 

and it had also been somewhat extended. In its original 
form it had been a great favourite in Dublin, and Sir 
Pertinax MacSycophant was considered by every one a 
strong and accurate portrait of a Scotchman. It is said 
that Macklin received a note from a young Scotch 
nobleman, with a suit of handsome laced dress clothes, 
saying, " that he begged his acceptance of that present, 
as a small mark of the pleasure he received from the 
exhibition of so fine a picture of his grandfather." How 
far this story is true, we cannot say, but it is clear that 
in Dublin The True-Born Scotchman was as popular in 
his day as The True-Born Irishman had been in his. 

About 1770, Miss Younge, afterwards Mrs. Pope, was 
engaged in the same theatre in Ireland with Macklin. 
Macklin recom.mended her to study the part of Lady 
Rodolpha, and Miss Younge put herself under his 
tuition. The Scotch accent and the Scotch manner 
were difficulties to be overcome, but Miss Younge proved 
herself equal to them, and her Lady Rodolpha was con- 
sidered, by all good judges, to be one of her finest 
characters. In company with Macklin, she played the 
part many times in Ireland, and when he produced The 
Man of the World in London, at Covent Garden, on 
May 10, 1 781, she was again the Lady Rodolpha. 

The full cast of the comedy was as follows : — 



Lord Lumbercourt 

Sir Pertinax MacSycophant 

Egerton (his son) 

Sidney (tutor to Egerton) 
Melville (father to Constantia) 
Counsellor Plausible 

Serjeant EiTHERSiDE 

Sam 

John 

TOMLINS 



Mr. Wilson. 

„ Macklin. 

„ Lewis. 

„ Aikin. 

„ Clarke. 

„ Wewitzer. 

„ Booth. 

„ 7. Wilson. 

„ Thompson. 

„ UStrange. 



148 CHARLES MAC KLIN. 

Ladv Rodolpha LUxMBERCOURt ... Miss Younge. 
Lady MacSycophant „ Piatt. 

CONSTANTIA MELVILLE „ Satchell. 

Betty Hint (a chambermaid) ... ... Mrs. Wilson. 

Nanny „ Davenett. 

It is an extraordinary thing for a man of eighty-two 
to have produced what was to a great extent a new 
play, and it is still more wonderful that the aged 
author should be the actor of the chief character in the 
comedy. The play would have been produced before, 
but for the licenser, who fancied there was too much 
criticism of courtiers in the text, to make it acceptable to 
the reigning powers ; and the unpopularity of the ministry 
at that time, gave double edge to the satire of the piece. 
However, when the play was produced, it was, in spite 
of an offended Scotch clique, a great success, and it has 
held the stage down to our own time. Among Macklin's 
papers was a copy of a note of protest, the substance of 
which he laid before the Lord Chamberlain. 

" The business of the stage is to correct vice and laugh at 
folly, and the Lord Chamberlain has a right to prohibit ; 
but such prohibition is not to arise from caprice, or enmity, 
or partiality. What he prohibits must be offensive to virtue, 
morality, decency, or the laws of the land. 

" This piece is in support of virtue, morality, decency, and 
the laws of the land. It satirizes both public and private 
venality, and reprobates inordinate passions and tyrannical 
conduct in a parent. 

"The Lord Chamberlain, when called upon, ought in 
justice to point out the passages that are offensive to Govern- 
ment, or to individuals, or to society at large. No man, in 
a public trust, should exercise his authority to the injury of 
another, or to the privation of any public right. 

" To seek the truth, to separate right from wrong, to de- 
termine, according to sound judgment, equity and justice, is 
the duty of a Chamberlain, and the end of his trust. 



MAC KLIN THE PLAYWRIGHT. 149 

" My copy being detained, I asked the Deputy, why ? or 
by what right he deprived me of my copy ? For some time 
he would not assign any reason. I told him that I should 
resort to the laws of my country for redress ; upon which 
he replied, ' That / should but expose myself, and that they 
kept the copy by the usage of the office.^ 

" I told him that I knew the stage before that law existed ; 
that it could not be by custom ; that it was the first time I 
had ever heard of an author being deprived of his copy ; and 
that I should not submit to it. 

" I also informed the Lord Chamberlain that I had acted 
the comedy in Ireland ; that they were as careful there as 
here about anything that affected Government ; that the 
Lords Lieutenants, who had seen it, laughed heartily at it, 
and deemed the satire generally pleasant and just. 

" Some little creatures in office, to make their court to 
Lords Lieutenants, pronounced it offensive to Government ; 
but their masters saw it again and again, and all the 
emotions they showed were laughter and applause." 

The reasoning of this is sound enough, and it is very 
difficult nowadays to understand why any one should 
have sought to keep the play off the stage. The cha- 
racter of Sir Pertinax is in itself repulsive, and to thin- 
skinned Scotchmen may have been irritating, but the 
vice of parties is aimed at, of types rather than indi- 
viduals, and the moral of the piece is excellent. 

Cooke gives the following account of the play, and of 
Macklin's performance of Sir Pertinax : — 

"The plot of this piece is briefly thus. A crafty, subtle 
Scotchman, thrown upon the world without friends, and 
little or no education, directs the whole of his observation 
and assiduity (in both of which he is indefatigable) to the 
pursuit of fortune and ambition. By his unwearied efforts 
and meannesses he succeeds, but, warned by the defects of 
his own education, he determines to give his eldest son the 
best that could be obtained ; and, for this purpose, puts him 



ISO CHARLES MACKLIN, 

into the hands of a clergyman of learning, integrity, and 
honour, who, by teaching him good precepts and showing 
him the force of good example, makes him the very reverse 
of what the father intended, viz. not a man educated the 
better to make his court to the great, and extend the views 
of false ambition, but to make himself respected, inde- 
pendent, and happy. Thus he defeats the views of his 
father, who wants to marry him to a lady of rank and fortune 
(Lady Rodolpha), but to whom he cannot direct his affec- 
tions, and marries the daughter of a poor officer, little better 
than a dependent on his mother, but who has virtues and 
accomplishments to adorn any situation. 

" Macklin's Sir Pertinax MacSycophant was only equalled 
by his Jew ; neither his age nor appearance obstructed the 
responsibility of the part. As the father of a grown-up 
family, he did not look too old for it, and the natural im- 
pression of his features corresponded with the cunning 
hypocrisy and violent temper of the character. Neither did 
the part, though long, suffer from want of his memory ; he 
was in full possession of it through every scene ; and, indeed, 
on the whole, exhibited a specimen of the human power 
unequalled in the annals of the theatre." 

There were certainly many scenes and passages in the 
play well suited to Macklin's acting powers. He must 
have taken especial pleasure in the delivery of all those 
political hits with which the dialogue abounds. Of 
these, none is more effectual than Sir Pertinax Mac- 
Sycophant's estimate of the political value of an oath, 
which he gives in a scene with Egerton, in the Fourth 
Act:— 

"Sir P. Why, you are mad, sir? You have certainly 
been bit by some mad Whig or other. Oh, you are young, 
vara young in these matters ; but experience will convince 
you, sir, that every man in public business has twa con- 
sciences — a religious and a political conscience. Why, you 
see a merchant now, or a shopkeeper, that kens the science 
o' the world, always looks upon an oath at a custom-house. 



MACKLIN THE PLAYWRIGHT, 151 

or behind a counter, only as an oath in business, a thing of 
course, a mere thing of course, that has nothing to do with 
religion ; and just so it is at an election : for instance, now I 
am a candidate, pray observe, and I gang till a periwig-maker, 
a hatter, or a hosier, and I give ten, twenty, or thraty guineas, 
for a periwig, a hat, or a pair of hose, and so on, through a 
majority of voters. Vara weel, what is the consequence ? 
Why, this commercial intercourse, you see, begets a friend- 
ship betwixt us — a commercial friendship — and, in a day or 
twa these men gang and give their suffrages ; weel, what is 
the inference ? Pray, sir, can you or any lawyer, divine, or 
casuist, ca' this a bribe ? Nae, sir, in fair political reason- 
ing, it is ainly generosity on the one side, and gratitude on 
the other ; so, sir, let me have nae more of your religious or 
philosophical refinements, but prepare, attend, and speak 
till the question, or you are nae son of mine. Sir, I insist 
upon it." 

Equally expressive of the fierce honesty of Macklin's 
hatred of the political corruption of the time, is the 
following description of Lord Lumbercourt, which is put 
in the mouth of Egerton : — • 

" A trifling, quaint, haughty, voluptuous, servile tool ! the 
mere lacquey of party and corruption ; who, for the prostitu- 
tion of near thirty years, and the ruin of a noble fortune, has 
had the despicable satisfaction, and the infamous honour, of 
being kicked up and kicked down, kicked in and kicked out, 
just as the insolence, compassion, or convenience of leaders 
predominated ; and now, being forsaken by all parties, his 
whole political consequence amounts to the power of franking 
a letter, and the right honourable privilege of not paying a 
tradesman's bills." 

In a different strain, but not less powerful from the 
fact that the words are put in the mouth of Sir Pertinax, 
is his sarcastic description of a levee — 

" Sir P. {with a proud, angry resentment). Zounds ! sir, do 
you nat see. what others do .-' Gentle and simple, temporal 



152 CHARLES MAC KLIN. 

and spiritual, lords, members, judges, generals, and bishops ; 
aw crowding, hustling, and pushing foremest intill the middle 
of the circle, and there waiting, watching, and striving to 
catch a look or a smile fra the great mon, which they meet 
wi' an amicable reesibility of aspect — a modest cadence of 
body, and a conciliating co-operation of the whole mon ; 
which expresses an officious promptitude for his service, and 
indicates that they luick upon themselves as the suppliant 
appendages of his power, and the enlisted Swiss of his 
poleetical fortune ; — this, sir, is what you ought to do, and 
this, sir, is what I never once omitted for this five and thraty 
years, let who would be minister." 

The great scene of the play is that in which Sir Per- 
tinax explains to his son how he rose in the world to his 
present position, and expatiates upon the philosophy of 
"booing." The scene is so excellent in itself, and so 
characteristic of the author, that no apology is needed for 
quoting it at length. 



ACT III. 

Scene I. — A library. 

Enter Sir Pertinax and Egerton. 

Sir P. Zounds ! sir, I will not hear a word about it ; I 
insist upon it you are wrong ; you should have paid your 
court till my lord, and not have scrupled swallowing a 
bumper or twa, or twenty, till oblige him. 

Eger. Sir, I did drink his toast in a bumper. 

Sir P. Yes, you did ; but how, how ? — ^just as a bairn 
takes physic — with aversions and wry faces, which my lord 
observed ; then, to mend the matter, the moment that he 
and the Colonel got intill a drunken dispute aboot religion, 
you slily slunged away. 

Eger. I thought, sir, it was time to go, when my lord 
insisted upon half-pint bumpers. 



MAC KLIN THE PLAYWRIGHT. 153 

Sir P. Sir, that was not levelled at you, but at the Colonel, 
in order to try his bottom ; but they aw agreed that you and 
I should drink oot of sma' glasses. 

Eger. But, sir, I beg pardon ; I did not choose to drink 
any more. 

Sir P. But, zoons ! sir, I tell you there was a necessity for 
your drinking main 

Eger. A necessity ! in what respect, pray, sir ? 

Sir P. Why, sir, I have a certain point to carry, indepen- 
dent of the lawyers, with my lord, in this agreement of your 
marriage — aboot which I am afraid we shall have a warm 
squabble— and therefore I wanted your assistance in it. 

Eger. But how, sir, could my drinking contribute to assist 
you in this squabble ? 

Sir P. Yes, sir, it would have contributed, and greatly 
have contributed, to assist me. 

Eger. How so, sir ? 

Sir P. Nay, sir, it might have prevented the squabble 
entirely ; for as my lord is proud of you for a son-in-law, and 
is fond of your little French songs, your stories, and your 
don-mots, when you are in the humour ; and guin you had but 
stayed, and been a little jolly, and drank half a score bumpers 
with him, till he had got a little tipsy, I am sure, when we 
had him in that mood, we might have settled the point as I 
could wish it, among ourselves, before the lawyers came ; 
but now, sir, I do not ken what will be the consequence. 

Eger. But when a man is intoxicated, would that have 
been a seasonable time to settle business, sir .? 

Sir P. The most seasonable, sir ; for, sir, when my lord is 
in his cups, his suspicion is asleep, and his heart is aw jollity, 
fun, and guid fellowship ; and, sir, can there be a happier 
moment than that for a bargain, or to settle a dispute with a 
friend ? What is it you shrug up your shoulders at, sir? 

Eger. At my own ignorance, sir ; for I understand neither 
the philosophy nor the morality of your doctrine. 

Sir P. I know you do not, sir ; and, what is worse, you 
never wuU understand it, as you proceed. In one word, 
Charles, I have often told you, and now again I tell you once 
for aw, that the manoeuvres of pliability are as necessary to 



J 54 CHARLES MAC KLIN. 

rise in the world as wrangling and logical subtlety are to rise 
at the bar; why, you see, sir, I have acquired a noble fortune, 
a princely fortune, and how do you think I raised it ? 

Eger. Doubtless, sir, by your abihties. 

Sir P. Doubtless, sir, you are a blockhead. Nae, sir, I'll 
tell you how I raised it : — sir, I raised it — by booing {pows 
very low) — booing : sir, I never could stand straight in the 
presence of a great mon, but always booed, and booed, and 
booed — as it were by instinct. 

Eger. How do you mean by instinct, sir ? 

Sir P. How do I mean by instinct ! Why, sir, I mean by 
— by — by the instinct of interest, sir, which is the universal 
instinct of mankind. Sir, it is wonderful to think what a 
cordial, what an amicable — nay, what an infallible influence 
booing has upon the pride and vanity of human nature. 
Charles, answer me sincerely : have you a mind to be con- 
vinced of the force of my doctrine, by example and demon- 
stration ? 

Eger. Certainly, sir. 

Sir P. Then, sir, as the greatest favour I can confer upon 
you, I'll give you a short sketch of the stages of my booing, 
as an excitement, and a landmark for you to boo by, and 
as an infallible nostrum for a man of the world to rise in the 
world. 

Eger. Sir, I shall be proud to profit by your experience. 

Sir P. Vary weel, sir ; sit ye down then, sit you down 
here {they sit, c.) ; and now, sir, you must recall to your 
thoughts that your grandfather was a man whose penurious 
income of captain's half-pay was the sum total of his fortune ; 
and, sir, aw my provision fra him was a modicum of Latin, 
an expertness in arithmetic, and a short system of worldly 
council ; the principal ingredients of which were a persever- 
ing industry, a rigid economy, a smooth tongue, a pliability 
of temper, and a constant attention to make every mon well 
pleased with himself. 

Eger. Very prudent advice, sir. 

Sir P. Therefore, sir, I lay it before you. Now, sir, with 
these materials I set out, a raw-boned stripling, fra the North 
to try my fortune with them here, in the Sooth ; and my first 



MAC KLIN THE PLAYWRIGHT. 155 

step into the world was a beggarly clerkship in Sawney 
Gordon's counting-house, here in the city of London, which 
you'll say afforded but a barren sort of prospect. 

Eger. It was not a very fertile one, indeed, sir. 

Sir P. The reverse, the reverse : weel, sir, seeing myself 
in this unprofitable situation, I reflected deeply ; I cast about 
my thoughts morning, noon, and night ; and marked every 
man, and every mode of prosperity. At last I concluded that 
a matrimonial adventure, prudently conducted, would be the 
readiest gait I could gang for the bettering of my condition, 
and accordingly I set about it. Now, sir, in this pursuit, 
beauty ! beauty ! — Ah ! beauty often struck my een, and 
played about my heart, and fluttered, and beat, and knocked, 
and knocked ; but the devil an entrance I ever let it get ; 
for 1 observed, sir, that beauty is, generally, a — proud, vain, 
saucy, expensive, impertinent sort of commodity. 

Eger. Very justly observed. 

Sir P. And therefore, sir, I left it to prodigals and cox- 
combs that could afford to pay for it ; and in its stead, sir, 
mark ! I looked out for an ancient, weel-jointed, superannu- 
ated dowager ; a consumptive, toothless, phthisicy, wealthy 
widow ; or a shrivelled, cadaverous piece of deformity in the 
shape of an izzard, or an appersi — and — or, in short, ainy 
thing, ainy thing that had the siller — the siller ; for that, sir, 
was the northstar of my affections. Do you take me, sir ? 
was nae that right ? 

Eger. Oh ! doubtless, doubtless, sir. 

Sir P. Now, sir, where do you think I ganged to look for 
this woman with the siller? Nae till court, nae till play- 
houses, or assemblies ; nae, sir, I ganged till the kirk, till 
the anabaptist, independent, bradlonian, and muggletonian 
meetings ; till the morning and evening service of churches, 
and chapels of ease, and till the midnight, melting, con- 
ciliating love-feasts of the methodists ; and there, sir, I at 
last fell upon an old, slighted, antiquated, musty maiden, 
that looked — ha, ha, ha ! she looked just like a skeleton in a 
surgeon's glass case. Now, sir, this miserable object was 
religiously angry with herself and all the world ; had nae 
comfort but in metaphysical visions and supernatural deli- 



156 CHARLES MAC KLIN. 

riums — ha, ha, ha ! Sir, she was as mad — as mad as a 
Bedlamite. 

Eger. Not improbable, sir ; there are numbers of poor 
creatures in the same condition. 

Sir P. Oh, numbers, numbers. Now, sir, this cracked 
creature used to pray, and sing, and sigh, and groan, and 
weep, and wail, and gnash her teeth constantly, morning and 
evening, at the Tabernacle at Moorfields : and as soon as I 
found she had the siller, aha, guid traith, I plumped me down 
on my knees, close by her — cheek by jowl — and prayed, and 
sighed, and sung, and groaned, and gnashed my teeth as 
vehemently as she could do for the life of her ; ay, and 
turned up the whites of mine een, till the strings almost 
cracked again. I watched her motions, handed her till her 
chair, waited on her home, got most religiously intimate with 
her in a week, married her in a fortnight, buried her in a 
month, touched the siller, and with a deep suit of mourning, 
a melancholy port, a sorrowful visage, and a joyful heart, I 
began the world again. And this, sir, was the first boo — 
that is, the first effectual boo — I ever made till the vanity of 
human nature {rise). Now, sir, do you understand this 
doctrine ? 

Eger. (£•.) Perfectly well, sir. 

Sir P. (r. c.) Ay, but was it not right ? Was it not ingeni- 
ous, and well hit off? 

Eger. Certainly, sir ; extremely well. 

Sir P. My next boo, sir, was till — till your ain mother, 
whom I ran away with fra the boarding-school ; by the 
interest of whose family I got a guid smart place in the 
Treasury, and, sir, my very next step was intill the Parlia- 
ment, the which I entered with as ardent and as determined 
an ambition as ever agitated the heart of Caesar himself. 
Sir, I booed, and watched, and barkened, and ran about, 
backwards and forwards, and attended, and dangled upon 
the then great mon, till I got intill the very bowels of his 
confidence ; and then, sir, I wriggled, and wrought, and 
wriggled, till I wriggled myself among the very thick of 
them. Ha ! I got my snack of the clothing, the foraging, the 
contracts, the lottery tickets, and aw the political bonuses : 



MAC KLIN THE PLAYWRIGHT. 157 

till at length, sir, I became a much wealthier mon than one- 
half of the golden calves I had been so long a-booing to ; 
and was nae that booing to some purpose ? 

Eger. It was indeed, sir. 

Sir P. But are you convinced of the guid effects and of 
the utility of booing ? 

Eger. Thoroughly, sir. 

Sir P. Sir, it is infallible. But, Charles, ah ! while I was 
thus booing, and wriggling, and raising this princely fortune, 
ah ! I met with many heart-sores and disappointments fra 
the want of literature, eloquence, and other popular abeeleties. 
Sir, guin I could but have spoken in the hoose, I should have 
done the deed in half the time, but the instant I opened 
my mouth there they aw fell a laughing at me ; aw which 
deficiencies, sir, I detearmined, at any expense, to have sup- 
plied by the polished education of a son, who I hoped would 
one day raise the house of MacSycophant till the highest 
pitch of ministerial ambition. This, sir, is my plan ; I have 
done my part of it ; Nature has done hers ; you are popular, 
you are eloquent, aw parties like and respect you, and now, 
sir, it only remains for you to be directed — completion 
follows. 

That a man of eighty-two years of age should imper- 
sonate such a character as Sir Pertinax MacSycophant is 
almost marvellous \ for, as has been well said, the cha- 
racter is essentially one calling for both energy and 
elaboration of detail. A slovenly Sir Pertinax would be 
impossible ; no audience would tolerate it. The author 
has not given him one popular speech ; he has not one 
graceful phrase, nor one redeeming point. The resources 
of the theatre have not been called in to aid the situa- 
tions of the character, or to enforce its points. " It is a 
character with which nothing can be done but by the aid 
of the purest art. It tests the actor in every word ; it 
demands in every line the consummate performer. It 
is admirably drawn, and contrives to rivet the attention 



IS8 CHARLES MACKLIN. 

for five acts, and to supply the place of plot, sentiment, 
and action." Such was the character which Macklin 
created ; and since his day only one or two actors have 
attempted it with success. Edmund Kean attempted it 
in 1822, but is said to have robbed it of its dialect. 
The performance of George Frederick Cooke in 1802 
was one of great merit, and, in our own day, Phelps, 
who revived The Man of the World in 185 1, must have 
nearly rivalled the author, in his emphatic and cha- 
racteristic impersonation of the part. Although Sir 
Pertinax remains to-day without a representative, it can- 
not be supposed that so admirable a comedy as The 
Man of the World has been laid on the shelf for ever. 



( 159 ) 



CHAPTER IX. 

CONSPIRACY (1773). 

Macklin, always changing and restless, wrote, on 
December 22, 1772, to Colman, who was now acting 
manager of Covent Garden, to offer his services to that 
theatre. Mr. Colman was only too ready to agree with 
Macklin, who, now in his seventy-fourth year, was from a 
manager's point of view, a certain " draw " in Shylock, 
Sir Archy, and other favourite parts. He therefore asked 
Macklin to be kind enough to dictate his own terms. On 
February 17, 1773, Macklin sent him his proposals, 
informing him, with a touch of buoyant egotism not 
unpleasing in a man of seventy-three, that "he had 
thought of Richard IH., Macbeth, King Lear, and other 
parts, such as would suit his time of life." Colman, prob- 
ably, passed laughingly over these suggestions of new 
parts, as the vain foolishness of an old man, and, glad to 
obtain so good an actor, agreed in a general way to the 
terms proposed. Macklin, however, regarded his debut 
in Macbeth and Richard III. in a very different light, 
and the question as to his right to these parts became a 
public matter of burning interest, owing to the following 
circumstances. 

It appears that in the spring of 1773, Mr. William 
Smith, comedian, disagreed with Mr. George Colman, 
manager of Covent Garden, and gave formal notice that 



i6o CHARLES MACKLIN. 

he should not act in the following season. Mr. Smith 
and Mrs. Yates then attempted to obtain a licence for 
the Opera House in the Haymarket, but failed. It was 
during Smith's absence from the company that Colman 
made this agreement with Macklin. In September, the 
disappointed Smith desired to return to Covent Garden, 
and then it was seen that there would be a difficulty 
about Macbeth and Richard IIL, for these parts had 
belonged to Mr. Smith. MackUn himself said that it 
would not be " a pleasing circumstance " to him, to per- 
form the parts of a fellow-actor, but, as these very parts 
had been his chief inducement to enter into this agree- 
ment, he would not resign them wholly. He then pro- 
posed that he and Smith should play Macbeth and 
Richard alternately, as Barry and Garrick had done, and 
to this Mr. Smith agreed. Mr. Smith having played 
Richard III., Mr. Macklin, on October 23, 1773, 
appeared as Macbeth. 

There is no doubt that, in the political circle that sur- 
rounded the theatres at this day, Macklin's right to play 
Macbeth had been much discussed. Macklin must have 
had plenty of enemies, within and without the theatre, 
and these saw an opportunity, as they thought, of bring- 
ing him low. His straightforward obstinacy, his tactless 
honesty, his indomitable energy, and strong self-conceit, 
were not qualities likely to make him much beloved, and 
the toads and tadpoles that hopped around the stage 
doors and made heroes of the smaller histrionic fry, 
thought that they would try a fall with this fine old actor, 
who came out of another generation, as it were, to invade 
the domains of their pigmy favourites. 

Macklin's Macbeth had nothing about it to rouse the 
animosity of the theatre-goers, unless, indeed, it was his 
kilt. But audiences were, we think, longing at that time 



CONSPIRACY. i6i 

for a little more reality in the staging of the play and the 
dressing of the characters, and no exception seems to have 
been taken to his mode of dressing the part. And yet the 
change must have been a startling one. For at this time 
English audiences were content with the suit of scarlet 
and gold, with a tail wig, that we may see in Zoffany's 
portrait of Garrick in this character. But actors and 
managers were beginning to be exercised in mind about 
accuracy of costume, and as early as 1757, Digges, on 
December 26 of that year in Edinburgh, produced Mac- 
beth " with the characters entirely new dressed after the 
manner of the ancient Scots." Nevertheless, if John 
Taylor is right, there had been no such revival in London, 
prior to Macklin's performance, for he says that : — 

"The character of Macbeth had been hitherto performed 
in the attire of an English general ; but Macklin was the 
first who performed it in the old Scottish garb. His ap- 
pearance was previously announced by the Coldstream 
March, which I then thought the most delightful music I 
had ever heard ; and I never hear it now without most 
pleasing recollections. When Macklin appeared on the 
bridge he was received with shouts of applause, which were 
repeated throughout the performance. I was seated in the 
pit, and so near the orchestra that I had a full opportunity 
of seeing him to advantage. Garrick's representation of 
the character was before my time ; Macklin's was certainly 
not marked by studied grace of deportment, but he seemed 
to be more in earnest in the character than any actor I have 
subsequently seen." 

This is Taylor's record of the performance, in which we 
can certainly find nothing that could tend to outrage the 
feelings of a critical and, at the same time, fair-minded 
audience. Arthur Murphy called his interpretation a 
"black-letter copy of Macbeth," and Cooke, his bio- 
grapher, says it was rather " a lecture on the part than 

M 



l62 CHARLES MAC KLIN. 

a theatrical representation." But every one crowded to 
see the performance, and George Stevens wrote to 
Garrick, " One hour I was squeezed to death at the 
door in Bow Street ; another spent I in the pit among half 
the blackguards about town ; and for the space of three 
and a half more, I was imprisoned to hear the lines of 
Shakespeare, elaborately pumped up from the bottom of 
a well as deep as that in Dover Castle." I doubt very 
much if his enemies cared what kind of a representation 
it was. They disliked the man, not the actor, and, egged 
on by Smith and his friends — some say by Garrick as 
well — determined to make an example of him. 

The Press of the day seemed to have damned his 
efforts before they saw them, and their after-criticisms are 
mostly jeers and gibes and paragraphs of ridicule and 
contempt. The Morning Chronicle does, indeed, give an 
interesting critical estimate of the performance, which 
ratifies the epigrams of Murphy and Cooke; and this 
journal notes especially the dresses, which it says " are 
new, elegant, and of a sort hitherto unknown to a London 
audience." The Evening Post makes an elaborate jest 
about poor Macklin mistaking Shakespeare's instructions, 
and as early as the first scene of the second act murder- 
ing Macbeth instead of Duncan ; while the St. James's 
Chronicle sets out a list oi jeune premier characters which 
it understands Mr. Macklin intends to enact, informing 
the public that he proposes to play Ranger " when he 
has learned to dance, and, when his years shall be suited 
to such characters, to play Master Stephen, Tony Lump- 
kin, the Schoolboy, and to conclude his theatrical life 
with playing the Fool," 

After the first performance, Macklin's friends wrote to 
the papers, openly charging Garrick with instigating the 
opposition, and during the contest much appeared in 



CONSPIRACY. 163 

the papers to lead the public to believe that Garrick 
was not unconnected with the conspiracy. There is no 
doubt that, whether Garrick had anything to do with it 
or not, his friends thought to please him by stirring 
up the public against Macklin. The following from the 
Monthly Mirror is an excellent example of the kind of 
flattery by abuse of his rivals, that the anti-Macklinites 
poured out in copious libations at the feet of Garrick. 
Whether the great little actor smiled at his sycophants 
and th-eir adulations it is hard to say; but if he did 
not, it is difficult to understand why their manufacture 
continued. 

Lines written during the Macklinite Controversy 

BY AN ANTI-MaCKLINITE. 

Eight kings appear and pass over in order, and Banquo 
the last. 

" Old Qm'n, ere fate suppress'd his lab'ring breath, 
In studied accents grumbled out Macbeth. 
Next Garrick came, whose utterance truth imprest, 
While every look the tyrant's guilt confest : 
Then the cold Sheridan half froze the part, 
Yet what he lost by Nature sav'd by art. 
Tall Barry now advanced towards Birnam Wood, 
Nor ill performed the scenes — he understood. 
Grave Mossop next to Forres shap'd his march ; 
His words were minute-guns, his actions starch : 
Rough Holland too, but pass his errors o'er, 
Nor blame the actor when the man's no more. 
Then heavy Ross essayed the tragic frown, 
But beef and pudding kept all meaning down. 
Next careless Smith tried on the murderous mask, 
While o'er his tongue light-tripped the hurried task. 
Hard Macklin late guilt's feelings strove to speak, 
While sweats infernal drench'd his iron cheek, 



l64 CHARLES MACKLIN. 

Like Fielding's kings * his fancied triumph past, 
And ail he boasts is that he falls the last." 

The newspapers had plenty of acrid stuff of this kind, 
for the iron-cheeked Macklin, before the 23rd of October, 
when he first played Macbeth, but the audiences did not 
as yet take it up. The anti-Macklinite party were hardly 
strong enough, and though the first performance was 
noisy, it was not a failure. The party appeared, how- 
ever, in great force on October 30, when Macklin played 
Macbeth for the second time. Macklin, before the 
commencement of the piece, appealed to the public for 
protection ; and the public, always pleased by a direct 
appeal to its powers, sat through the performance quietly, 
and left the most heated anti-Macklinites to express their 
disapproval in somewhat solitary anger. It appears that , 
on the first evennig a Mr. Sparks-, the son of an actor, 
with Reddish, the best stage villain of the day, were in 
the house, and Macklin was told that they hissed him. 
Whether or not it is " the birthright of Englishmen to 
hiss and clap," it was a clear breach of professional 
etiquette, for an actor of a rival house to come and hiss 
another actor, and when Macklin, in his appeal to the 
audience for protection, mentioned what Reddish and 
Sparks had done, it gave rise to considerable indigna- 
tion. Reddish and Sparks, however, denied the impu- 
tation, going the length of inserting affidavits of their 
denial in the newspapers; and on November 6, Macklin, 
in somewhat brutal taste, came forward with proofs of 
Reddish and Sparks' guilt in his hand, instead of an 
apology to them on his tongue. These proofs were 
affidavits of people who swore that they saw and heard 
Reddish and Sparks hissing. It afterwards appeared 

* In "Tom Thumb." 



CONSPIRACY. 165 

that these witnesses were in all probability mistaken in 
their men. The audience was enraged, the party was 
delighted, disturbance arose in every part of the theatre, 
and the performance went through with difficulty. The 
town was now in a state of ecstatic frenzy ; the party was 
reinforced by friends of Reddish and Sparks. Macklin 
was told if he did not prove his assertion against these 
men, he would be expelled the stage. As for Macklin 
himself, we can imagine him not wholly mournful at the 
stir he had raised. He knew he was rights — he always was 
right in his own estimation, — he knew he could fight these 
adversaries, and, on the whole, rather enjoyed the prospect 
than otherwise. On November 13 he appeared again 
as Macbeth, but the party was too strong for him. They 
would not hear him, and the evening passed in riot and 
disorder. The leadership of this business, as far as we 
can now make it out, appears to have fallen into the 
hands of one Thomas Leigh, a tailor, a brother-in-law of 
Sparks, and the landlord of the house where Reddish 
lodged. Two men, named Aldus and James, having 
been attacked by some women in the theatre on one of 
these riotous evenings, were also very prominent in the 
band of anti-Macklinites ; and a Mr. Miles or Mr. Clarke 
seemed to have been drawn into the affair, as doubtless 
many others were, from a spirit of riot and devilry. Leigh 
collected a band of tailors and others from the neigbour- 
ing alehouses, to whom he distributed drink, and " they 
were told that besides all this comfortable preparation, 
they should each of them have a shilling a piece for the 
night's work ; and after the work should be completed, 
and this old unknown villain of the name of Macklin 
should be driven to hell, these men should go to the 
Bedford Arms and have supper." This was the kind of 
rabble, and these were the leaders who, in these riotous 



i66 CHARLES MACKLIN. 

nights, formed the great majority of the audience in 
Covent Garden Theatre. Macklin and the manager 
hoped that by his giving up Macbeth the angry pubUc 
would be appeased, and the bills announced him for 
November i8, 1773, in his favourite characters oi Shy lock 
and Sir Archy MacSarcas?n. They must have been 
shaken in their belief when they saw the faces of the 
crowd ranged in battle array from pit to gallery, impatient 
for the riot. We may continue the account of the scene 
in the graphic language of Mr. Dunning, Macklin's 
counsel in the trial that arose out of this night's work. 

" If I could describe the Managers, I would attempt a 
little description of their situation upon this occasion. I 
conjecture, from the knowledge I have of some of them, that 
they were all by this time trembling alive in the greenroom, 
for they foresaw that, whatever might be the conquest, or 
whoever might be the victors, they were sure to profit little, 
and they were sure to be defeated, whoever might be 
triumphant. They looked at their chandeliers, probably 
wistfully, foreseeing that they were looking at them for the 
last time ; they looked at their benches, apprehending and 
fearing that those benches would soon come much nearer 
in contact with them, than while they remained in the 
situation in which they placed them. They kept off the 
important signal which was to commence hostilities. They 
kept the curtain down as long as they could, but persisting 
in the purpose of keeping the curtain down would equally 
have disobliged every part of the audience ; and after they 
yielded to the invincible necessity of the occasion, and the 
curtain arose, then the battle began. Gentlemen, you under- 
stand enough of the performance to know that Shylock does 
not make his appearance in the first scene. Other performers, 
who had offended nobody, nor meant to offend anybody, 
came forward to act their parts ; they were instantly saluted 
with a strong denunciation of this body of conspirators, 
' that if they would consult their own safety they had better 
get out of their reach.' When this vengeance was announced, 



CONSPIRACY. 167 

they were not in a humour to stay ; they hurried away, and 
probably overturned some of the managers in their escape. 
That threat being understood to go to Mr. Macklin, he, the 
delinquent, came forward with such feelings as I leave to 
better description ; — he came forward with those feelings 
which others feel at other places where they are to perform 
for the last time. 

" Mr. Macklin, however, came forward, and he tried, by 
all means that occurred to him to be proper, to deprecate 
the vengeance to himself, to excite their compassion, and to 
call for the protection of those that had called themselves or 
had been called by Aldus, ^ the candid, impartial audience.' 
He put himself in all the humiliating and supplicating 
postures he could ; he endeavoured to throw as much 
complacency in his countenance as his features would permit 
of. He tried to make himself heard, but he tried to still 
less purpose than I sometimes try when speaking in an 
audience like the present. No, hearing was not the busi- 
ness at all ; will soothing do? Will looking as you like do ? 
Why, none of these things will do. Well, what will do ? 
* Why, you old whoring rascal, you superannuated villain,' 
and abundance of epithets of that sort. * You must go to 
hell ; if you will consent to go there, all is well ; peace will 
be restored provided you will be the voluntary sacrifice for 
that peace.' Now, Mr. Macklin has never yet held himself 
forth to perform the part of Theseus, or of going to hell ; if 
that should ever be the case, it was the business of another 
time — it was not the business of the night. It was not the 
intention of Mr. Macklin to submit to the pleasure of the 
public in that trifling particular. Mr. Macklin retired ; the 
clamour increased. Mr. Macklin advanced ; the clamour 
increased still higher. Mr. Macklin all but kneeled — I do 
not know whether he did not go down upon one knee ; — this 
procured a momentary approbation ; but, as the other knee 
did not accompany it, the uproar increased. Mr. Macklin 
still had courage enough to distinguish himself from those 
performers who had preceded him and retreated, but he was 
speedily told that this was not a business of words — that 
noise was not all he had to apprehend. This intimation 



l68 CHARLES MACKLIN. 

was given him by an apple which hit him full in the face. 
Gentlemen, you need not be told that when one apple begins 
to fly in this place there are a thousand ready to fly, and 
the storm began to be genera!. It was time Mr. Macklin 
should consult his safety ; he did as many heroes before him 
have done — he thought running away was no bad policy, for 
then he might live to fight another day ; but if he stayed, 
the business would end there. 

" Those spectators that were disposed to see, remained 
for something to be seen and heard. The clamour at length 
grew distinct enough to point out to those within the sound, 
what it was that was expected and insisted upon — the 
dismission of Mr. Macklin was called for ; the managers 
were called out in order to consent to that dismission. The 
managers, who had, I believe, as little taste for apples as 
Mr. Macklin, thought it still right to be snug, but thought 
it prudent still to acquiesce, and they called for the assistance 
of one of the performers first. He painted a large board 
black, as a signal of the funeral occasion that produced it ; 
upon that there were in large legible white characters these 
words expressed: 'AT THE COMMAND OF THE 
PUBLIC, MR. MACKLIN IS DISCHARGED.' 

" One would have imagined that this should have been 
enough. No, even this was not enough ; ' for who knows 
who it is that has painted this black board and the white 
inscription upon it ^ ' All this while, Afacklin might not 
possibly be discharged. ' Let us, while we are in the 
moment of victory, see that that victory be complete ; that 
it be decisive : don't leave it to chance, and for them to tell 
us, by-and-by, that we shall have this battle to fight again.' 
The helter-skelter people, the light-horse troops that came 
forward, they and Macklin, the more formidable body, had 
been routed, but still the managers were skulking and hiding 
themselves. ' Let us make use of our victory with a 
deliberation, a coolness, and circumspection that becomes 
great officers,' as I have described them. They peremptorily 
insisted that the managers should come forth, and they were 
not content with the assurances that they had received, but 
they distinguished a worthy friend of mine, Mr. Cohnan, 



CONSPIRACY. 169 

and they insisted that he should come forth, Mr. Colman, 
with a reluctance which I do not wonder at, which in the 
same situation I should have felt, — Mr. Colman was dragged 
forwards, and obliged to make his appearance. Some of the 
benches had begun to be torn up ; one of the chandeliers 
had been attempted to be broken ; the mischief was instant, 
the ruin was inevitable. Nothing but an occasion so press- 
ing as that could have drawn my friend from his hiding- 
place ; that occasion did draw him ; out he came to receive 
the sentence of this public. He was the principal of those 
defendants that Mr. Aldus had made such, by his declara- 
tion filed in the Morning Post that morning ; he came to 
know what was their pleasure respecting him ; it seemed it 
was just that which Mr. Aldus hinted at in his letter in the 
morning ; namely, that he was to give that satisfaction to 
Mr. Aldus, for the injury he had received, that a candid, in- 
dependent audience should think him entitled to. This 
candid, independent audience thought Mr. Aldus entitled to 
that satisfaction, which consisted of a perpetual dismission 
of Mr. Macklin. Mr. Colman, finding that this was the 
sense of this impartial part of the audience, as soon as 
he was permitted to be heard, repeated that Mr. Macklin 
was dismissed ; that it was their object always to please 
the public, and their happiness to conform to their pleasure, 
when they knew what their pleasure was. 

" I don't wonder that my little friend did not distinguish 
the public from these people, who raised this clamour ; it 
was not a moment for nice distinctions, because, if they 
had been distinguished, it would have produced some 
personal outrage to himself, and some injury to his property. 
He found himself unable to contend with the stream, and 
Mr. Macklin was dismissed. This was the purpose for 
which this army was collected together. This purpose they 
completed ; therefore when this object was accomplished, 
they are dismissed ; the business was at an end ; the public 
went without any entertainment for the night." 

There was no doubt of the public victory and of 
Macklin's defeat. Leigh, the tailor, and his forces from 



170 CHARLES MACKLIN. 

The Dog and the Fhcenix, had driven Macklin from the 
stage, and a second time in his life he found himself an 
exile from the playhouse. But Macklin never recognized 
defeat, and promptly appealed to the strong arm of the 
criminal law to protect him, and in the next year, 1774, 
proceeded in the King's Bench against James, Clarke, 
Aldus, Miles, Leigh, and Sparks for conspiracy and riot. 
No cause being shown except in the case of Sparks, the 
information was duly exhibited against the other five, 
and they were convicted on February 24, 1775, Clarke 
of riot only, the rest of the whole information. 

But though it takes but two or three lines of print to 
express the judgment of the law on Macklin's enemies, 
it was no less than eighteen months between the day that 
Macklin was hissed off the stage and the day on which 
he was able to return. It had been his annual custom 
to play at his daughter's benefit, but even this had to be 
given up, until the slow delays of the law allowed the 
conspirators to be convicted of their crime. How irk- 
some this compulsory retirement from the stage must 
have been to a man of his nature may be gathered from 
the following letter to his daughter : — 

"March 14, 1774. 
" My Dear, 

" I could not answer your request sooner about 
your benefit. I have felt much more pain for you on that 
point than from all the losses and vexations besides, that 
have arisen to us from the malice of my persecutors. My 
counsel being out of town, my anxiety for your interest, my 
eager inclination to play for your benefit, and the fear of 
giving my enemies an advantage by a false step, perplex 
me greatly. I think I need not make use of any argument 
to convince you, or those who know that your welfare has 
ever had a place in my heart. You have a right to it by 
nature, which right you have established by a much dearer 



CONSPIRACY. 171 

tie, in my opinion — that of an irreproachable and amiable 
conduct, which never has cost me a pang, or even an 
apprehension. From hence, you must feel that I do my 
own peace a severe violence when I deny myself the satis- 
faction of contributing to your emolument. But so it is ; 
if I play at your benefit, I shall, as I am informed, be 
insulted again by my enemies, and my kindness to you will 
be turned into an argument against me in my pursuit of 
justice. Under these apprehensions, my dear, I cannot, 
as matters stand at present, attempt to assist you at your 
benefit. The loss of my not playing will, no doubt, be con- 
siderable — near ;^2oo, a great sum in a player's revenue. 
But consider what a disgrace it would be to you to have a 
disturbance at your benefit. Consider how it would distress 
your friends, and those who regard you, and the whole 
audience, my persecutors excepted ; and let me add, that 
I would not, on your account, contribute to such a disturb- 
ance for any sum that a theatre would afford. I was in 
hopes that those who had injured me would, before this 
time, have seen the inhumanity of their conduct, have 
repented, and have taken such measures as would have 
extenuated the odium of their unparalleled, unprovoked, 
and cruel outrage. Such a step would in my opinion have 
been pleasing to the public, and what men, guilty of such 
an enormity, owe to their own reputation ; but so far are 
some of them from such a humane measure, that, with 
menace and defiance, they have told me that I shall be 
pursued with greater resentment than before, for my having 
dared to mention some of their names in a court of justice, 
and in support of this resentment they plead the power of 
the law itself, which, they say, entitles them to hiss and 
explode, so as to drive whomsoever they please from the 
stage, by the law of custom. This is a point that I shall 
not dispute with them ; all I can do is, to keep it out of their 
power, till it is settled by those who have a right to adjust 
those matters. In the mean time I advise you to write to 
Mr. Colman ; let him know how you are circumstanced, or 
enclose my letter and send it to him ; that will inform him 
thoroughly of your situation and mine. Request him to 



172 CHARLES MAC KLIN. 

defer your night to the 27th of April, by which time some- 
thing may happen to be determined that may give a favour- 
able turn to my affairs, so as to enable me to play for you, 
which will be a greater satisfaction to me than either my 
tongue or pen can express. 

" I am, my dear, 

" Most afTectionately yours, 

"Charles Macklin. 

" To Miss Macklin." 

Judgment was at length moved for in the King's 
Bench on May 11, 1775. The matter had already come 
before Lord Mansfield, the presiding judge, on a former 
occasion, and he had then given the defendants a strong 
hint that they would do well to make Mr. Macklin a sub- 
stantial offer, and let the matter drop by pleading guilty ; 
but no notice had been taken of this suggestion, and the 
defendants now found his lordship in no very merciful 
humour. He was eager to refer the matter to the Master 
for compensation to be awarded, and if Macklin had 
not intervened, and suggested another course, it would 
have gone hard with the defendants indeed. 

"For," said Lord Mansfield, "there is ^1260 besides 
implied damages ; and this, in the sight of the public, is a 
very heinous offence. For, as I took care to say before, to 
be sure every man that is at the playhouse has a right to 
express his approbation or disapprobation instantaneously, 
according as he hkes either the acting or the piece ; that is 
a right due to the theatre — an unalterable right ; they must 
have that. The gist of the crime here is, coming by con- 
spiracy, to ruin a particular man — to hiss, if they were ever 
so pleased — let him do ever so well, they were to knock him 
down and hiss him off the stage. They did not come to 
approve or disapprove, as the sentiments of their mind 
might be, but they came with a black design, and that is 
the most ungenerous thing that can be. What a terrible 
condition is an actor upon the stage in with an enemy, who 



CONSPIRACY. 173 

makes part of the audience ! It is ungenerous to take the 
advantage ; and what makes the black part of the case 
is — it is all done with a conspiracy to ruin him ; and if the 
court were to imprison and fine every one of them, Mr. 
Macklin may bring his action against them, and I am 
satisfied there is no jury that would not give considerable 
damages ; but it is better for both sides to refer them to the 
Master, and I shall direct him to make a liberal satisfaction." 

With a judge in this humour about the business, the 
defendants may well have wished their victory of eighteen 
months ago had not been so easily won ; but Macklin, 
who was an old campaigner, understood stage effect as 
well as any man, saw his opportunity, and then saved 
them. I do not wish for a moment to discount the 
generosity of Macklin's conduct, but no one can read 
the account of the closing scene of the trial without 
seeing its effectiveness from a stage point of view. 

There has been a long argument before Lord Mans- 
field, about sending the matter before a Master on the 
question of damages, and the judge and counsel for 
Macklin, and for the defendants, having had their say, 
without coming to any sensible conclusion about the 
matter, the actor himself at length intervenes to the 
following effect : — 

" Mr. Macklin : My Lord, I shall always be happy in obey- 
ing any advice that comes from this court, but there is one 
circumstance that I think demands an explanation. What- 
ever falls from the tongue of an advocate is easily transferred 
to the report, and the credulity of the public. A gentleman 
has thrown out that I want revenge. My Lord, I have no 
such idea. I never had. If this matter had been submitted 
to me, they would have found me a far different kind of man. 
Not a man of revenge. In every stage of this business, my 
Lord, from the first to the last, I have felt a resentment, but 



174 CHARLES MACKLm. 

I have always felt a compassion, even for the people I vvas 
prosecuting. 

" I solicited them, my Lord, in every method that was in 
my power — with all humanity, and even with a meanness of 
spirit, my Lord, and now I am told that I want revenge. 

" My Lord, it has been said, too, by the advocate, that he 
has affidavits ; this is an imputation, my Lord, an innuendo, 
unwarrantable in a liberal mind. 

" My Lord, if he talks of affidavits, I have affidavits of a 
tremendous nature ; not affidavits, but witnesses, to show 
that this cause has not yet been bottomed. But, my Lord, 
I do not rise to contend, or for revenge. I never prosecuted 
for vengeance : I despise the idea. Let them here, in the 
circumstances that they stand in, produce me but an ordinary 
safety. 

" I prosecuted from the first law of nature, self-defence, 
and a public example. My Lord, I have a feeling and 
resentment too, but I have compassion. My Lord, I defy 
them to make me an offer, liberal in an ordinary degree, 
that I would not accept of, without troubling the Master. 
I have only my expenses in view. Besides, my daughter 
has suffered to the amount of ;^25o. I have now proposals 
from Scotland ; I have proposals from Ireland ; I could get 
money here ; but, if I am sent before the Master, I must 
lose all that opportunity, and more money than will, perhaps, 
arise from the interview with the Master. Therefore, with 
humble submission to the court — it is difficult to speak, 
circumstanced as I am, without impertinence, without 
digression — I am aware that no man, but he that has 
travelled in the paths of this court, knows what to say in 
it correctly ; but, in contradiction to the learned gentleman 
now in my eye, who says that I want revenge, and to show 
that he is ignorant of my disposition in this point, let any 
man of honour be appointed immediately. I will abide by 
everything that he suggests of justice. I want no revenge. 
And, my Lord, I have something further to say. This man 
before your Lordship, this Taylor, within these few days, has 
dared to tell me, before many witnesses — responsible trades- 
men, in Covent Garden, with an insolence unbecoming his 



CONSPIRACY. 175 

situation or character, 'Ah, ah, ah ! you will send me to 
gaol, then. It may be against the law to hiss, but it is not 
against the law to laugh ; for, depend upon it, when you 
play tragedy, you will have a very merry audience. Ah, 
ah, ah ! ' 

" I assure your Lordship, that this man, though he is but 
a Taylor, has a very sharp tongue, and a very quick mind. 

" My Lord, were I to utter his bon-mots upon me and 
my circumstances, you would laugh heartily indeed ; but of 
him I shall say no more. 

" The advice that fell from the Court, when the rule was 
m.ade absolute, though directed to the defendants, made a 
very deep impression on my mind. I felt the humanity, 
I felt the awfulness of that advice ; and from that moment, 
I solicited, with all the anxiety of my power, to bring them 
to a composition. Money was not my object then ; it is not 
my object now. 

" My Lord, I have gentlemen in court to prove that I laid 
a plan of general accommodation, and I will reveal it now. 

{Mr. Macklin here addressed himself to the defendants.) 

" Pay me my expenses — you have injured me as a man ; 
make some compensation to the managers of the theatre ; 
make some compensation to my daughter, whose benefit is 
depending. 

" My Lord, thus I projected it, as a means of general 
reconciliation ; with these gentlemen I would have contrived 
it, and I stated it to my advocate. I suggested it to the 
defendants, that the proposal might come from them, and 
that, consequently, they might obtain a general popularity. 

" But how is this compensation to be made ? What was 
the mode I suggested? It is this : 

" Let them take one hundred pounds' worth of tickets 
for Miss MacklitHs benefit ; she has lost £,1^0. Let them 
take one hundred pounds' worth of tickets for Mr. Macklin, 
and let them take one hundred pounds' worth of tickets, 
upon some night that he plays, as a kind of compensation 
to the managers. This was of no advantage to me. I can 
fill my house without it ; but I meant to give them the 
popularity of doing a justice to the man they had injured, 



176 CHARLES MACKLm. 

and of convincing the public that they would never do the 
like again, and that they were in amity, and not in enmity, 
with me. My Lord, I have nothing more to say. 

" Lord Mansfield: Then I think you have done yourself 
great credit, and great honour by what you have now said ; 
and I think your conduct is wise too, and I think it will 
support you with the public against any man that shall 
attack you. I think it highly becoming on your part ; for 
now what he proposes is, to give up all this litigation, only 
to be paid his costs, which, in a double sense, he ought to 
be paid — I say a double sense, because the prosecution was 
well founded, and particularly, because the defendants 
would not stop it when it was recommended to them — and 
a small satisfaction in this way to his daughter for her 
benefit. I think some single person has already offered 
more for his own share. 

" Mr. Macklin, you have done yourself great credit by it ; 
and the public, I am satisfied, especially in this country, 
love generosity. You will do more good by this, in the eyes 
of the public, than if you had received all the money that 
you had a right to receive. 

" I think you have acted handsomely, honestly, honourably, 
and done yourself great service by it. I think it is a most 
generous conduct. Mr. Blake, you will be able to settle it. 

"Mr. Macklin : If Messrs. Clarke, Aldus, and James will 
meet me ; I will not meet the Taylor, for it is impossible to 
confine his tongue. 

" Lord Mansfield : Mr. Macklin, see whether I cannot 
make peace between you. Now, suppose he undertakes to 
be bound by a rule of court, to stand committed if he ever 
so much as, by look or word, puts you in a passion. 

" The proposal, then, is to pay him his costs, and to take 
three hundred pounds' worth of tickets, in the way that he 
has mentioned. Let it be so. 

"Mr. Macklin, the house will receive so much benefit 
from it, perhaps they will pay you the arrears. 

" Mr. Macklin : My Lord, I never did quarrel with a 
manager for money yet ; I never made a bargain with a man ; 
whatever they offer me, 1 take. 



CONSPIRACY. 177 

''Lord Mansfield: You have met with great applause 
to-day. You never acted better P 

One can imagine something of the " bated breath and 
whispering humbleness" with which MackHn addressed 
the court, explaining his sense of the humanity, nay, the 
awfulness, of the advice he had received from the Bench. 
Nor can one believe that his generous offer to the defend- 
ants in the trial was given without some knowledge 
of the stage effect to be produced by his words. Even 
the judge himself seems to have been overwhelmed by 
the theatricality of the atmosphere, and to have delivered 
the * tag ' to his judgment as though it had been the 
blessing of a heavy father. But in all seriousness, 
Macklin had done the right thing, and the drama in the 
law courts was well ended in accordance with the 
dictates of poetic justice. The persecuted Macklin was 
once more restored to popular favour, and the wicked 
conspirators defeated. 



178 CHARLES MAC KLIN. 



CHAPTER X. 

THE SEVENTH AGE. 

Peace was no sooner concluded with the conspirators than 
Macklin entered into an engagement with Mr. Harris, in 
the spring of 1775, and made his appearance for his 
daughter's benefit, meeting with a very gratifying reception. 
This so pleased him that he afterwards played Richard 
III., but his success in- this character must have sprung 
from the special circumstances under which he attempted 
the part, and the performance was soon relinquished. 

During the next season, 1776, he performed but 
seldom. Even at this advanced age, his head was full of 
daring schemes, and plans that would have been con- 
sidered venturesome in a man of half his years. He 
seriously considered the advisability of taking a farm 
of three or four hundred acres near Cork, and applied 
to several Irish gentlemen to aid him in the matter ; but, 
finding nothing that exactly suited his wants, gave up 
the idea, not without regret. 

About this time, Henderson was brought to the father 
of the stage, who granted him an interview. He was still 
a young man destined for greater honours than those he 
had already attained. Macklin gruffly acknowledged his 
genius, but bade him unlearn all he had learned, that he 
might hope to learn to be a player. He played Shylock 
for the first time during the season of 1777. He is 



THE SEVENTH AGE. 179 

remembered as a great Shylock, and created some 
dissension among the critics by abolishing the phrase, 
" many a time and oft," and pointing the line thus : 

" Signer Antonio many a time, and oft on the Rialto." 

During the next year Mack] in gave an unnecessarily 
brutal interpretation of Sir John Brute, but otherwise 
made but little stir upon the stage, busying himself with 
his writing, and some preparation for a provincial tour. 
He was very anxious to play at Edinburgh, and with that 
view wrote to Tate Wilkinson : 

" I wish you would, in legible characters, and plain, clear 
common sense, let me know upon what terms I may play with 
you at Edinburgh. I shall have a new farce or two and a 
new comedy, with the London stamp of approbation or 
disapprobation upon them, to offer to the Edinburgh audience, 
before whom I have sincerely the warmest inclination to 
appear, for, sans compliment, I think that the purest, that is 
the most correct, audience now of the empire. Dublin, 
perhaps, from national partiality, or fair candour, may be on 
a par with them ; for the body of the law there, as in Edinburgh, 
is the bulk of the audience, and surely that is the most sensible 
part of an audience, if not of the nation. 

" Bad houses at both the theatres. Henderson has not had 
half a house yet — all the American War. Did I not say so it 
would be .'' 

" The Lord Chamberlain has refused to license a comedy 
of mine, being seasoned too highly respecting venality, and 
the other I have withdrawn, or rather suspended for a private 
reason." 

This was the Man of the Worlds which was, as we have 
seen, satisfactorily produced in 1781. 

Although this proposed journey to Edinburgh came to 
nothing, it is interesting to know that MackHn and the 
other great actors of the date considered a provincial tour 



i8o CHARLES MACK LI N". 

almost as valuable to their pockets and reputation as it is 
considered by " stars " of to-day. Dublin as a dramatic 
centre we have already spoken of, and Edinburgh, as 
readers of Mr. Dibdin's excellent "Annals of the Edinburgh 
Stage " will know, was no mean second ; York, under 
Tate Wilkinson, was a flourishing dramatic stronghold, 
and long remained so ; and even Manchester was at that 
date not unknown. Writing in the preface to The 
Modish Wife in 1775, Francis Gentleman gives Man- 
chester audiences much the same character that Charles 
Matthews and other actors of our own time have given 
them. 

" Manchester," he writes, " I have already mentioned as a 
place of opulence and spirit. The upper class are not very keen, 
yet they are very sensible and very candid critics ; they would 
rather praise than find fault, yet they expect somewhat more 
than bare decency. Attention is the chiefest part of their 
applause, and, indeed, the best any audience can give ; that 
cannot be obtained by puffing. The lower class, freed from 
their industrious avocations, are willing to receive relaxation 
in the most agreeable manner." 

Francis Gentleman once met Macklin at Chester, and 
not improbably acted there in his company. His 
reminiscences of the occasion are sufficiently interesting. 

"I reached Chester," he writes, "at a time when Mr. 
Macklin had brought an excellent company to that city. 
Knowing several of the members, and wishing to know others, 
I protracted my journey a matter of three months, which 
passed pleasantly and rationally, saved too great expense, 
loss of time, and a near chance of matrimony, which would 
then have been peculiarly indiscreet." 

He tells us, too, writing of Chester audiences, " that 
they are rather to be taken with a Theatre Royal name, 
than real merit without that very honourable addition." 



THE SEVENTH AGE. l8i 

Chester in those days was a stopping-place on the high- 
road to Dublin, and probably the Chester people from 
time to time saw all the great actors of the day. Macklin, 
of course, made several journeys to Dublin, and probably 
played at Chester on several occasions. He and his wife 
are known to have played there soon after their marriage. 

However, no provincial tour was arranged on this 
occasion, and Macklin remained in London, busying 
himself, among other things, with a Chancery suit against 
Harris, which commenced in 1776, and was not settled 
until 17 8 1. During these years Macklin lost many dear 
friends. Silver-toned Barry, his pupil and colleague, 
passed away in 1777; and two years later the remains 
of the great Garrick were carried to his resting-place in 
Westminster Abbey. Now in 17 81 his daughter died, 
after a painful illness. 

After the production of The Man of the World, and his 
visit to Ireland in 1785, Macklin returned to London, 
and, it is said, spent some time in endeavouring to 
prepare a " History of the Stage." It is greatly to be 
regretted that he had not, at some earlier period of his 
life, set himself to this work. No man could boast a 
longer experience, no man had lived among so many 
generations of actors, no man's judgment and discrimina- 
tion in matters theatrical were more to be relied on than 
his. However, at eighty-five it was too late to commence 
such a task, and his unique reminiscences were left to 
decay in his fading memory, and to be handed down to 
us through the medium of tavern hearsay. 

During these years he had in a great measure with- 
drawn from the stage, but, pressed by his friends to 
appear, he announced for the character of Shylock on 
January 10, 1788. All went well until the second act, 
when his memory failed hina. He was deeply affected, 



l82 CHARLES MACKLm. 

but managed to step before the audience, and address 
them somewhat as follows : — 

*' Ladies and Gentlemen, 

" Within these very few hours I have been seized 
with a terror of mind I never in my Hfe felt before ; it has 
totally destroyed my corporeal as well as mental faculties. 
I must therefore request your patience this night, a request 
which an old man may hope is not unreasonable. Should it 
be granted, you may depend that this will be the last night, 
unless my health shall be entirely re-established, of my ever 
appearing before you in so ridiculous a situation." 

Upon this, the applause of a sympathetic audience so 
roused Macklin that he was able to continue the part to 
the end. It was sad that a man of his age should have 
been compelled still to earn his living on the stage, but 
he could not afford to live in idleness as long as he was 
able to walk the boards. On October lo, 1788, he played 
Shylock and Sir Archy MacSarcasm, apparently without 
breaking down ; on November 26, he appeared as Sir 
Pertinax, but his memory failing him, he addressed the 
audience and retired; and on February 18, 1789, The 
Merchant of Venice was announced, but a handbill was 
issued stating that Macklin was ill and that the pro- 
gramme would be changed.* His last performance was 
on May 7, 1789, and the following account of this mourn- 
ful end to his theatrical career is given by Cooke : — 

" His last attempt on the stage was on the 7th of May 
following, in the character of Shylock, for his own benefit. 
Here his imbecilities were previously foreseen, or at least 
dreaded, by the manager ; but who, knowing the state of 
Macklin's finances, gave, with his usual liberality, this 
indulgence to his age and necessities, and, to prevent the 
disappointment of his audience (who, he knew from long 

* These facts are placed beyond dispute by the Covent Garden 
playbills in the British Museum — a complete set. 



THE SEVENTH AGE. 183 

experience, were always ready to assist in those liberal in- 
dulgences to an old and meritorious servant), he had the 
late Mr. Ryder under-studied in the part, ready dressed to 
supply Macklin's deficiencies if necessary. The precaution 
afterwards proved so. When Macklin had dressed himself 
for the part, which he did with his usual accuracy, he went 
into the greenroom, but with such a ' lack-lustre looking eye' 
as plainly indicated his inability to perform ; and, coming up 
to the late Mrs. Pope, said, ' My dear, are you to play to- 
night .-" ' ' Good God ! to be sure I am, sir. Why, don't you 
see I am dressed for Portia .'' ' ' Ah ! very true ; I had 
forgot. But who is to play Shylock ?' The imbecile tone of 
his voice, and the inanity of the look, with which the last 
question was asked, caused a melancholy sensation in all who 
heard it. At last Mrs. Pope, rousing herself, said, ' Why 
you, to be sure ; are you not dressed for the part ? ' He then 
seemed to recollect himself, and, putting his hand to his head, 
exclaimed, ' God help me ! my memory, I am afraid, has left 
me.' He, however, after this went on the stage, delivered two 
or three speeches of Shylock in a manner that evidently 
proved he did not understand what he was repeating. After 
a while he recovered himself a little, and seemed to make an 
effort to rouse himself, but in vain ; nature could assist him 
no further ; and, after pausing some time as if considering 
what to do, he then came forward, and informed the audience, 
' That he now found he was unable to proceed in the part, 
and hoped they would accept Mr. Ryder as his substitute, 
who was already prepared to finish it.' The audience 
accepted his apology with a mixed applause of indulgence and 
commiseration, and he retired from the stage for ever." 

On April 4, 1790, Macklin lost his only son, John 
Macklin, who had long been in a state of ill-health, 
brought on by his own reckless mode of life. John 
Macklin's career was a source of constant misery and 
anxiety to his father, who seems to have done all in his 
power by precept, education, and material assistance to 
render his son's life a prosperous one. He is said to 



i84 CHARLES MACKLIN. 

have been a young man of superior talents, but his 
conduct was marked throughout his life by selfishness 
and indolence. Perhaps Macklin did not sufficiently 
take into his consideration, when he mapped out his 
son's career, the weakness of his character and his want 
of self-control ; but it must be remembered that Macklin 
was ambitious, eager for his son to make a figure in the 
world, and too convinced of his own talents for com- 
merce and business to have any doubt about his son's. 

Having given his son an excellent education, he 
obtained for him the situation of a writer in the East 
India Company's service at Fort St. George. Thither 
he went towards the end of 1769, under the warm 
patronage of Mr. Hastings, and with smiUng prospects of 
good fortune before him. There are several letters from 
Macklin to his son during the next few years, which 
are printed in Kirkman's biography. They represent 
Macklin in a very amiable light. He is the fond but 
reasonable father, exhorting and admonishing his son in 
earnest and touching words, to lead a life worthy of him- 
self. There is deep pathos in his remonstrances, when 
his son draws upon him for money, which Macklin can 
ill afford to let him have, or, with even greater selfishness, 
neglects opportunities of writing to his father. It would 
be pleasing to print these at length, as letters always 
suffer from being published in extracts. However, space 
not permitting this, I have taken some characteristic 
passages, by way of exhibiting the personal character of 
Macklin in his relations towards his son. The letters 
range over a period from December, 1769, to November, 

1771- 

In his first letter, Macklin desires his son to pay his 
court to Mr. Hastings. " I repeat it," he writes, " let 
Mr. Hastings be your example and your guide, for his 



THE SEVENTH AGE. 185 

character is immaculate, his heart is good, and his under- 
standing solid — a composition seldom to be met with in 
one man in these times." In this year (1769) Warren 
Hastings was appointed second in Council at Madras, 
and in 1772 he attained the highest office in the Com- 
pany's service, namely, President of the Supreme Council 
in Bengal. Such a man was worth following, and young 
Macklin's fortune would have been made if he could 
have obtained his favour. 

No young man in the eighteenth century attempted 
to make his way in life without attaching himself to 
a patron. A patron was a necessity of custom; but 
Macklin is careful to advise his son not to join in parties 
and cabals. In the same letter he writes, with the 
earnestness of one who has learned his lesson by bitter 
experience : — 

" But do you not enter into any party or cabal whatever. 
Be of no party but that of gaining knowledge and making 
yourself useful to your employers ; that is a party that can 
offend none, and a party that can never forsake or betray 
you. Depend upon it that every other party will do one or 
other, or both. I have lived long in the world, have had 
much experience in parties in my own sphere, have observed 
upon those in the state and other societies, and I declare 
that I never yet met with a man or woman in theatrical 
parties that was not perfidious ; nor have I seen a party in 
the great world that has not made a sacrifice of them who 
ought to have been most supported ; so that I beg that you 
never will let any man know what your judgment is of the 
parties of the company. Enter into none ; pursue your 
study of making yourself useful ; you will then depend upon 
what cannot desert you." 

Writing of the vanity displayed in argument and con- 
versation, Macklin gives some good advice to his son, 
which has, at the same time, an autobiographical interest : 



1 86 CHARLES MACKLIM. 

" I have myself this disputatious desire to an offensive 
degree, and I believe that it has made me more enemies 
than all my follies or vices besides. I have at last seen my 
error, and I can/iow sit in company for hours, hear men of 
letters and high character in the world contend for the most 
false judgments, and which they believe in too — I say, I can 
now hear such conversations with great tranquillity, and 
never contradict or side with either party ; nay, I find a 
secret pleasure in my neutrality that gratifies even the vanity 
of men in public conversation, because everybody is fond of 
excelling in knowledge and eloquence. It is a long time 
before men learn the wisdom of neutrality in conversation, 
especially men of parts or information ; but it is wonderful 
how soon dull men and cunning men see the policy of it." 

The first letter that John Macklin writes home is a 
sore disappointment to his father. There is no mention 
of Mr. Hastings in it ; there is no mention of the journal 
which his father had charged him to keep, and '* made 
him a book for that purpose ; " but there are complaints 
that his living is expensive, and that he has no prospect 
of making money. These are embodied in a letter 
" blotted and scratched, with words omitted, sense imper- 
fect, and so deficient in matter, and incorrect in every 
respect," that his parents were ashamed to show it to 
their friends. A little later Macklin learns that his son 
gambled away much of his money on the outward voyage, 
and, as time runs on, his letters become less frequent, 
though more importunate in their demands for further 
supplies of money. 

In August, 177 1, Macklin writes — 

" The only account or hint of your being even alive, is a 
report which comes from Madras that you were about to 
come home. I asked the cause of your coming home, and 
was given to understand that it was your whim or caprice. 
Do you not think that this is a most alarming report to me 



THE SEVENTH AGE. 187 

and your mother ? You could not surely be so mad as to 
think of such an unpardonable, such an impolitic step — an 
indiscretion never to be atoned for." 

In this very letter mention is made of a draft for 
;^ioo forwarded to his son, and this is the indulgent 
way in which Macklin meets a request for ;^5oo for his 
son to trade with, hoping against hope that the request 
is evidence of a genuine desire on his son's part to make 
his way in the world. 

" I did desire you to get Mr. Hastings, or any grave 
gentleman in the Council, if you have deserved such a friend, 
to say in a letter to Mr. Sayer, or to any friend here, that 
you may be trusted with ^500 to trade with, and you shall 
have it though I were to borrow it. But were you to draw 
from me such a sum under the hypocritical pretext of trading 
with it, and game it away or dissipate it, it would be the 
greatest act of cruelty that a child could be guilty of to a 
parent. Age is advanced on me ; sickness and debility are 
its attendants ; and to strip me of that little which is to sup- 
port your mother and me in that day when age and debility 
cannot have any succour but from past labour and economy, 
would be a disgrace to you, that would wound my heart 
deeper than asking alms would my pride ; therefore think — 
ask your heart, ask your firmness — can you be trusted with 
that which is to support your mother and me in the hour of 
age's debility ? " 

He then speaks of his wife's illness, and continues — 

"... But she is recovering, to my great, great happiness ; 
for if ever a woman deserved the sincerest and warmest 
esteem as wife and mother she does. Take her blessing — 
she sends it to you. But pray, my dear, do not afflict us by 
not writing ; it is unkind, cruel. What can be the cause of 
it? If it be indolence. Heavens ! what must I think of you? 
It can be nothing else; for you have as many opportunities 
as any other person in the settlement." 

Soon after this, John Macklin, to his father's intense 



l88 CMARLES MACKLIN. 

disappointment, returned to England. During the rest 
of his life he made several fresh starts in new professions, 
but no one could help him to any self-control or power 
of application. Law he treated in the same spirit as 
commerce ; and the hours of work itt the Temple were 
entirely subservient to the more flattering amusements 
of Covent Garden. Having neglected the study of the 
law for some time, he is said to have gone into the army, 
and served in the American War. Cooke says he was 
in the army in India, but this is more than doubtful. 
It is not to be supposed that his early habits left him ; 
and there are several stories of his eccentricity and wilful 
folly while serving in the army. For some years he 
lived on his father, who tried every possible method of 
reclaiming him, all, unfortunately, to no purpose, and he 
ultimately died of a complication of disorders, some of 
which were directly attributable to his careless mode of 
life. His story was the common one of a young man 
of talents with excellent prospects, ruining his own life, 
and embittering the lives of his parents, to gratify his 
own selfish tastes. 

After his son's death, Macklin, who was over ninety, 
began to sink into decay. Unhappily, he was in 
straitened, almost indigent circumstances, scarcely able 
to satisfy his narrow wants. Although he had always 
received good salaries, and been well paid as actor and 
writer, yet his expenses had been heavy, he had engaged 
in several lengthy lawsuits, his son had dissipated what 
savings he had, and now in his old age he was extremely 
poor. About this date there came a time when he 
discovered that his whole fortune consisted in about 
^do in money, and an annuity of about ;^io. At this 
crisis his friends were consulted, and it was at first 
suggested that he should have a benefit at Covent 



TITE SEVENTH AGE. 189 

Garden. This plan was afterwards changed, and, 
instead, it was decided to publish a subscription edition 
of The Man of the World and Love a-la-Mode, which 
Mr. Murphy was kind enough to edit for his old friend. 
This edition of his two plays, which was delivered to 
subscribers in 1793, produced no less than ^1500, 
which was invested in an annuity of ;;^2oo for himself 
and ;^75 for his wife in case she survived him, and thus 
he was free from absolute want for the remainder of 
his life. 

Of his life during these last years, in his brighter and 
more collected moments, there are many reminiscences. 
He was always to be found at the taverns and the 
theatres, and was looked upon as a marvel and a show. 
A writer in the Monthly Mirror describes how, about 
this time — 

" Macklin came into Mr. Williams's coffee-house in Bow 
Street one night last winter after the play, and, having seated 
himself in the public room, he called lustily on the waiter 
to furnish him with a pint of white wine, a pint of water, 
some sugar, milk, and a basin of mashed potatoes. With 
these ingredients he went to work, emptied them all into a 
large bowl, and, having mixed them together for about a 
quarter of an hour to bring them to a proper consistency, 
he proceeded to take his supper. A few spoonfuls of this 
extraordinary dish soon gave him spirits, and he chatted 
with great humour with all the gentlemen present. But his 
conversation betrayed every moment the decay of his intel- 
lect ; he confounded terms, repeated sentences, and mingled 
subjects so perpetually, that it was nearly impossible to 
discover his meaning. He talked entirely of himself, of his 
acting, of his theatrical squabbles ; but, above all, his ex- 
amination at Westminster Hall before Lord Mansfield some 
years ago, and congratulated himself exceedingly on the 
shrewdness he evinced on that occasion. About one o'clock 
the company retired, and the old gentleman was escorted to 



I90 CHARLES MACKLIM. 

his residence in Tavistock Row, ' hot with the Tuscan grape, 
and high in blood.' " 

Cooke somewhat cruelly compares his condition in 
these last years to that of Swift's Struldbrugs, and, 
indeed, during the last three years of his life, his exist- 
ence must have been very melancholy to his friends, 
though he himself was too incapable to realize his own 
sad condition. But, insensible as he was to what was 
passing around him, he still crawled about the theatre, 
more perhaps from force of habit than from any other 
cause. 

" On these occasions," says Cooke, " the audience vene- 
rated his condition. On his appearance at the pit door, no 
matter how crowded the house was, they rose to make room 
for him, in order to give him his accustomed seat, which was 
the centre of the last bench near the orchestra. He generally 
walked home by himself, which was only on the other side 
of the Piazza ; but, in crossing at the corner of Great Russel 
Street, he very deliberately waited till he saw the passage 
thoroughly cleared of coaches." 

In these days he frequently imagined that he was 
opposed or injured, and he often made application at 
Bow Street for redress of his fancied wrongs. The 
magistrates used to hear him with compassion, but, even 
while they were talking to him about his wrongs, the 
whole subject would fly from his mind, and he was 
unable to recall the original causes of his application. 

In 1795, some over-zealous friends of the actor 
suggested that he should speak a congratulatory address 
from the stage to the Prince and Princess of Wales, on 
their first appearance at Covent Garden after their 
marriage. A short interlude was written, in which the 
characters were Time, Hymen, Cupid, and Macklin. 



THE SEVENTH AGE. 191 

It was a foolish piece of snobbery, and luckily Macklin's 
more sensible friends dissuaded him from attempting to 
play in it, and the little piece was never performed. 

The accounts of his last hours differ slightly in detail, 
but Cooke's account is perhaps as likely to be accurate 
as any other. 

"The hour at last arrived," he writes, "which was to 
number the days of this extraordinary old man. Some 
Httle time before this took place, he grew weaker and 
weaker ; he was unable to go downstairs, and contented 
himself with walking about his room, and resting himself on 
his bed (or rather his couch, where he generally slept with 
his clothes on night and day for many years). In one of 
these reposes some friends were talking of him in the room, 
thinking, from his state of insensibility for many days before, 
that he was incapable of hearing or understanding them, 
when he suddenly started up and ^answered with some 
sharpness. This was thought to forebode some recovery ; 
but it was only the last blaze in the socket. The evening of 
that day he composed himself, as it was thought for sleeping, 
but in this sleep he made his final exit without a groan." 

Thus died Charles Macklin, actor and playwright, on 
Tuesday, the nth of July, 1797. 

When one examines in detail Macklin's works and 
days, one cannot but admit that he had a good influence 
on the stage, both morally and theatrically. It is very 
tempting for a biographer to rate this too highly, to see 
in the records of the time but one figure, to make that 
figure, and that alone, the centre of all the movements 
with which it is in any way connected. To guard 
against this, I have, wherever it seemed feasible, given 
the exact words of those who knew and lived with the 
man, in preference to any paraphrases of my o\vn. If 
I am right in my estimate of Macklin's life, his chief 
and most important character was that of dramatic tutor. 



192 CHARLES MAC KLIN. 

Many laymen, among them, it is said, Edmund Burke 
himself, owe their powers of elocution to Macklin's 
guidance of their first steps; and, as we have seen, 
numerous actors were successfully introduced to the 
stage through his means. 

Not only was he a sound teacher, but he did much to 
introduce a more natural intonation and mode of delivery 
in stage elocution. Dr. Hill gives a very just account 
of the services he rendered to the stage in this respect. 

" There was a time, indeed," he says, " when everything 
in tragedy, if it was but the delivering a common message, 
was spoken in high heroics ; but of late years this absurdity 
has been in a great measure banished from the English as 
well as the French stage. The French owe this rational 
improvement in their tragedy to Baron and Madam 
Cauvreur, and we to that excellent player Mr. Macklin. The 
pains he took while entrusted with the care of the actors at 
Drury Lane, and the attention which the success of those 
pains acquired him from the now greatest actors of the 
English theatre, have founded for us a new method of the 
delivering tragedy from the first-rate actors, and banished 
the bombast that used to wound our ears continually from 
the mouths of the subordinate ones, who were eternally 
aiming to mimic the majesty that the principal performers 
employed on scenes that were of the utmost consequence, 
in the delivery of the most simple and familiar phrases, 
adapted to the trivial occasions which were afforded them 
to speak on. 

*' It is certain that the players ought very carefully to 
avoid a too lofty and sonorous delivery when a sentiment 
only, not a passion, is to be expressed ; it ought, also, as the 
excellent instructor just mentioned used eternally to be 
inculcating into his pupils, to be always avoided when a 
simple recital of facts was the substance of what was to be 
spoken, or when pure and cool reasoning was the sole 
meaning of the scene ; but, though he banished noise and 
vehemence on these occasions, he allowed that on many 



THE SEVENTH AGE. I93 

others, the pompous and sounding delivery were just— nay, 
were necessary, in this species of playing, and that no other 
manner of pronouncing the words was fit to accompany the 
thought the author expressed by them, or able to convey it 
to the audience in its intended and proper dignity." 

Of his powers of acting, of the parts he acted, and 
of his position as a playwright, enough has been said. 
Of his personal character it is difficult to form a just 
estimate. His enemies vilified him, his friends flattered 
him ; but, with a knowledge of the conduct of his life, 
and with the strongly painted portraits of the man before 
us, one is able in some sense to realize the man and his 
manners. Congreve seems to us to draw a not inaccurate 
picture of Macklin, the man, in the following words: — 

" In his person Macklin was rather above the middle 
height, not corpulent, but of a robust make of body. The 
lineaments of his countenance were strongly marked, and 
highly expressive of sensibility ; his complexion was cada- 
verous, and much resembling that of the Right Honourable 
Charles James Fox. His friend Fielding, who may be 
allowed to be a judge of physiognomy, has characterized 
him under the title of ' that sour-face dog Macklin.' There 
certainly was an austerity, if not moroseness, in his looks, 
which, however, seemed to change into complacency on 
a closer circumspection. He was remarkably upright in his 
stature, both off and on the stage, and disdained all that 
' turning of arms and tripping of legs,* etc., which modern 
actors make use of to aid their delivery." 

This being an honest but at the same time a friendly 
picture of Macklin, one can understand the following 
somewhat unkindly remarks of Lee Lewis, and discount 
them to their fair value : — 

"If a painter," says Lewis, "wanted a stern, sour counte- 
nance for the left-hand of a Resurrection piece, Macklin was 
always a fine subject. In his manner he was brutish ; he 

o 



194 CHARLES MACKLIN. 

was not to be softened into modesty either by sex or age. 
I have seen his levity make the matron blush ; beauty and 
innocence were no safeguard against his rudeness — ' At 
which the soft-eyed virgin has been cruelly obliged to shed 
the tender tear.' 

" When he entered the list of controversy (for he was one 
that would dispute on any subject with Sir Isaac Newton), 
he could only defend his opinions by dogmatic argument, 
and then so oratorically clumsy, as showed he could neither 
polish a paradox nor illustrate truth. What Danton said of 
Marat may be applied to him, ' He was volcanic, peevish, 
and unsociable.' " 

Yet, side by side with this, we should remember 
O'Keeffe's estimate of his character — and he knew him 
at least as well as Lee Lewis — when he tells us that his 
' ' conversation among young people was always perfectly 
moral, that he hated swearing, and discountenanced 
vulgar jests. 

Of the intellectual side of his character it would be 
easy to speak too highly. Dr. Johnson is said to have 
referred to Macklin when he spoke of one whose con- 
versation was a " perpetual renovation of hope with 
a constant disappointment." In truth, like many self- 
educated people, he overrated the value of his know- 
ledge. There was a want of humility about him that 
is seldom found in the really learned. He dogmatized 
with the freedom of Dr. Johnson, but without his 
authority. Nevertheless, he had amassed a considerable 
amount of knowledge in his time, was an observer 
of human nature, studied character, but from a some- 
what narrow and theatrical point of view, and was 
thereby enabled, as we have seen, to produce two plays 
much above the average in writing and construction. 
Strong minded, honest in purpose, keen to reform 
abuses, but, at the same time, hot headed, impetuous, 



THE SEVENTH AGE. 195 

and conceited, Macklin made many warm friends and 
many bitter enemies. Every one, however, speaks 
highly of his judgment, and many hail him as *' Nestor," 
or as " Father of the Stage." If he could not himself 
enact the various characters of tragedy, he could inspire 
others and show them how to perfect their impersona- 
tions. As his friend the Inspector said of him, " He 
knows the foundation of the art better than them all ; 
he designs it, less beautifully than some, more accurately 
than any. He better understands the nature of the 
human frame, and the situation and power of its muscles, 
than any man who ever played ; nor has any man ever 
understood it like him as a science." In character and 
in comedy he was great, and in all he attempted earnest 
and intelligent. 

" Dark was his col'ring, but conception strong; 
If hard his manner, still it ne'er was wrong. 
Warm'd with the poet, to the part he rose ; 
His anger fir'd us, and his terror froze. 
And more ; where quaintness shut out meaning's day, 
Macklin threw light with fine discernment's ray ; 
If these are truths which envy's self must breathe, 
Applause should crown him with her greenest wreath." , 



196 CHARLES MAC KLIN. 



LIST OF PLAYS WRITTEN BY CHARLES 
MACKLIN. 

1. King Henry the Seventh ; or, The Popish Impostor. 

Tragedy. 8vo. 1 746. 

2. A Will or No Will ; or, A Bone for the Lawyers. Farce. 

1746, (Not printed.) 

3. The Suspicious Husband Criticized ; or. The Plague of 

Envy. Farce. 1747. (Not printed.) 

4. The Fortune Hunters ; or. The Widow Bewitched. Farce. 

1748. (Not printed.) 

5. Covent Garden Theatre. Dramatic Satire. 1752. (Not 

printed.) 

6. Love k-la-Mode. Farce. 1760. 4to, 1793. 

7. The Married Libertine. Comedy. 1761. (Not printed.) 

8. The True-Born Irishman. Farce. 1763. (Not printed.) 

This was afterwards acted under the title of" The Irish 
Fine Lady." Farce. 1767. (Not printed.) 

9. The True-Born Scotchman. Comedy. 1766. (Not 

printed.) Afterwards acted at Covent Garden, under 
the title of " The Man of the World." Comedy. 1781. 
4to, 1793. 



CHARLES MAC KLIN. 



197 



THE PRINCIPAL CHARACTERS PERFORMED 
BY MACKLIN IN LONDON, FROM 1733 TO 
1781.* 



Drury Lane, 1733-34. 



Captain Brazen 
Marplot 

Clodio 

Teague 

* Colonel Bluff 

Brass ... 

Lord Lace 

Marquis 

Lord Foppington 



Recruiting Officer. 

Busy-Body. 

Love Makes a Man. 

Committee. 

Intriguing Chambermaid. 

Confederacy. 

Lottery. 

Country House. 

Careless Husband. 



* Squire Badger 



Haymarket, 1734. 
Don Quixote in England. 



Poins ... 
Abel ... 
Ramilie 
Mustacho 
Captain Strut . 
Sancho ... 
Clincher, junr. 
Thomas Appletree 
Petulant 

* Manly (Petruchio) 
Whisper 

Snip 

Sancho 

* Wormwood ... 



Drury Lane, 1734-35. 
Henry IV. 
Committee. 
Miser. 

Tempest (Dryden's). 
Double Gallant. 
Love Makes a Man. 
Constant Couple. 
Recruiting Officer. 
Way of the World. 
Cure for a Scold. 
Busy-Body. 
Merry Cobbler. 
Trick for Trick. 
Virgin Unmasked. 



* This list is founded on those given by Kirkman and Cooke, 
amplified and corrected by reference to Genest. A few obscure 
characters, which cannot be verified, are omitted. The characters 
marked with an asterisk are those which Macklin "created." 



198 



CHARLES MACK LI fT. 



Drury Lane, 1735-36. 

* Cheatly Connoisseur. 

Snap Love's Last Shift. 

Second Gravedigger Hamlet. 

Caliban (?) Tempest. 

Drury Lane, 1736-37, 

Young Cash Wife's Relief 

Razor Provoked Wife. 

* Captain Brag Darby Captain. 

Jeffery Atnorous Widow. 

Cheatly Squire of Alsatia. 

* Captain Weazel Eurydice ; or, Devil Hen- 

pecked. 

Subtleman Twin Rivals. 

*Asino Universal Passion. 



Quaint 

Lord Froth 
Francis 
Poins ... 
Jerry Blackacre 
Osric 
Peachum 
Count Basset ... 
Cutbeard 

Face 

Lory 

Coupee ... 
Orange Wench 

Jeremy 

Sir Hugh Evans 
Lord Foppington 

Scrub 

Setter 

Tattle 



Drury Lane, 1737-38. 

jEsop. 

Double Dealer. 

... Henry IV. 
Henry IV. {VTixtW:). 

... Plain Dealer. 

..: Hamlet. 

... Beggar's Opera. 

... Provoked Husband. 

... Silent Woman. 

... Alchemist. 

... Relapse. 

Virgin Unmasked. 

Man of the Mode. 

Love for Love. 

... Merry Wives. 

... Relapse. 

... Beaux' Stratagem. 

... Old Bachelor. 

... Love for Love. 



CHARLES MACKLIN. 



199 



Poet 

♦Bays 

Beau Mordecai 

Man of Taste (Martin) 

Roxana 



Mother-in-Law. 

Coffee-House. 

Harlofs Progress. 

Man of Taste. 

Rival Queans (burlesque). 



Drury 

Ben 

Sir Polidorus Hogstye 
Trappanti 

Numps 

Squib ... 

Teague ... 

Sir Philip Modelove ... 

Don Choleric ... 

Beau Clincher 

Old Mirabel 

Sir Fopling Flutter ... 
Mad Welchman 

John Moody 

Foigard 

Second Citizen 

Butler 



Lane, 1738-39- 
. . . Love for Love. 
... JEsop. 

. . . She Wotid and She Wot^d 
Not. 

Tender Husband. 
... Tunbridge Walks. 

Twin Rivals. 
... Bold Stroke for a Wife. 
... Love Makes a Man. 
... Constant Couple. 
. . . Inconstant. 
... Man of the Mode. 
. . . Pilgrim. 
. . . Provoked Husband. 
... Beaux' Stratagem. 
... fulius CcEsar. 
... Drummer. 



Drury 

Sir William Belfond ... 

Bullock 

Trincalo 

Jacomo 

* Drunken Man 

Lovegold 

Tom 

Trim 

Sir Novelty Fashion ... 
Sir Jasper Fidget 
Sir Francis Wronghead 
Clodpole 



Lane, 1739-40. 

... Squire of Alsatia. 

... Recruiting Officer. 

Tempest (Dry den's). 

... Libertine Destroyed. 

... Lethe. 

... Miser. 

... Conscious Levers. 

... Funeral. 

... Love's Last Shift. 

... Country Wife. 

. . . Provoked Husband. 

... Amorous Widow. 



CHARLES MAC KLIN. 



Drury Lane, 1740-41. 



Fondle wife 


... Old Bachelor. 


Sir John Dawe 


... Silent Woman. 


Higgin 


... Royal Merchant. 


Malvolio 


... Twelfth Night. 


Shylock 


... Merchant of Venice. 


Toby Guzzle 


... Rural Sports. 


Drury 


Lane, 1741-42. 


Old Woman 


... Rule a Wife. 


Sir John Brute 


... Provoked Wife. 


Touchstone 


... As You Like It. 


Gomez 


... Spanish Friar. 


Clown 


... Alls Well. 


Corvino 


... Volpone. 


Sir Paul Plyant 


... Double Dealer. 


•Zorobabel 


... Miss Lucy in Town. 


Dromio of Syracuse (?) 


... Cotnedy of Errors. 


Queen DoUalloUa 


Tom Thumb. 


Rigdum Funnidos 


... Chrononhotonthologos. 


Drury 


Lane, 1742-43. 


Mock Doctor 


... Mock Doctor. 


Noll Bluff 


... Old Bachelor. 


First Gravedigger 


... Hamlet. 


Brazen 


... Recruiting Officer. 


* Mr. Steadfast 


... Wedding Day. 


Gloster(?) 


... Jane Shore. 


Haymarket, 1744. 


lago ... 


... Othello. 


Loveless 


... Relapse. 


Ghost 


... Hamlet. 


Drury 


Lane, 1745-46. 


* Huntly 


... Henry VIL 


Stephano 


... Tempest (Shakespeare's) 



CHARLES MAC KLIN. 



Sir Roger 

Storm 

Lucio 

Sir John Airy ... 
Major Cadwallader 



Scornful Lady. 
Lying Lover. 
Measure for Measure. 
She Gallants. 
Humours of the Army. 



Drury Lane, 1746-47. 

Sir Gilbert Wrangle Refusal. 

Gripus Amphitryon. 

Witch Macbeth. 

Pandulph King John. 



Pandolfo 
Captain Flash 
Fluellin... 
* Faddle 
Sciolto ... 
Strictland 
Meleander (.'') . 



Drury Lane, 1747-48. 

Albumazar. 

Miss in Her Teens. 

Henry V. 

Foundling. 

Fair Penitent. 

Suspicious Husband. 

Lover's Melancholy. 



CovENT Garden, 1750-51. 



Mercutio 
Polonius 

Vellum , 

Don Manuel ... 

Sir Oliver Cockwood . 
Sir Wilfred Witwould 



Romeo and Juliet. 

Hamlet. 

Drummer. 

She Wou'd and She Wou^d 

Not. 
She Would if She Could. 
Way of the World. 



CovENT Garden, 1751-52. 

Barnaby Brittle Amorous Widow. 

Lopez ... ... ... ... False Friend. 

Lopez Mistake. 

Mad Englishman Pilgrim. 



202 CHARLES MAC KLIN. 

CovENT Garden, 1752-53. 

Renault Venice Preserved. 

Buck ... ... ... ... Englishman in Paris. 

Drury Lane, 1759-60. 

* Sir Archy MacSarcasm ... Love d-la-Mode. 

Covent Garden, 1760-61. 

* Lord Belville Married Libertine. 

Smock Alley, Dublin, 1763-64. 

* Murrough O'Dogherty ... Irish Fine Lady {True- Born 

Irishman). 

Covent Garden, 1773-74. 
Macbeth Macbeth. 

Covent Garden, 1776-77. 
Richard III Richard III. 

Covent Garden, 1780-81. 

* Sir Pertinax MacSycophant Man of the World. 



INDEX, 



Abington, Frances, I17 
Aikin, — (actor), 147 
Aldus,—, 165, 167, 169, 170, 176 
Amber, — , 82, 86 
Ambrose, Miss, 81, 123 
Ai^le, John, Duke of, 23 
Ame, Thomas, 27, 29 
Ashbury (Dublin manager), loi 

Barrowby, Dr., 77, 78 

Barry, Spranger, 82, 85, 87, lOO, 
loi, 107-110, 112, 113, 115-I17, 
122, 131, 141, 160, 163, 181 

Bedford, Duke of, 107 

Bellamy, Miss, 46, 87, 102, I04, 
106, 115, 119 

Bennet, Mrs., 75 

Berkeley, Bishop, 6 

Bernard, John, 67, 92 

Berry (actor), 62, 74 

Betterton, 34, 56 

Blakes (actor), 74, 134, 176 

Boheme (actor), 24 

Bolingbroke, Lord, 65 

Booth, Barton, I, 24, 34, 35, 59, 

147 

, Mrs., 23 

B')wen, William, 45 



Bracegirdle, Mrs., 56 
Brandon, Countess of, 116 
Brent, Miss, I19 
Bridgewater (actor), 24 
Buckingham, Duke of, 55 
Burbage, Richard, 57 
Burke, Edmund, 192 
Burton, — (actor), 134 

CasheH, — (actor), 62 
Catley, Ann, 118, 119 
Cauvreur, Baron, 192 

, Madame, 192 

Chapman, — (actor), 62 

Charles II., loi 

Chetwood, W. R., 33 

Chetwynd, 134 

Churchill, 117 

Cibber, Colley, i, 24, 26, 44, 54, 

59. I" 

, Mrs., 87, 128 

, Theophilus, 24, 25, 28, 29, 

106, 112 
Clarke, — (actor), 147, 165, 170, 

176 
Clive, Mrs., 24, 58, 61-63, 74 
Coffey, 61 
Coldham (surgeon), 28 



204 



INDEX. 



Collier, John Payne, 57 

Colman, George, 159, 160, 168, 
169, 171 

Congreve, Francis Aspey, 2, 21 

, William, 35, 193 

Conyngham, Earl, 42 

Cooke, George Frederick, 158 

, William, 3, 6, 21-23, 53, 54, 

59, 64, 67, 86, 94, 129, 131, 141, 
145, 161, 162, 188, 190, 191 

Cumberland, Richard, 41 

Daly, — (manager), 125 
Dancer, Mrs., 117 
Dan vers, Miss, 106 
Davenant, Sir William, 56' 
Davenett, Mrs., 148 
Davies, John, 34,^ 41, 44 

, Thomas, 78, 116 

Davis, Miss, 119 
Davy (actor), 85 
Dawson, — , 123 
Delaval, Sir Francis, 88, 89, 118, 

134 

, John, 88 

, Mr., 88 

Dibdin, Rev., 124 

, James C, 180 

Digges, 106, 107, III, 113, 161 
Dobson, Austin, 70 
Doggett (actor), 56, 57 
Dryden, 20, 56 
Dunkin, Rev., 83 
Dunning, — , 166 

Elrington, Tom, loi 

Fielding, Henry, 21, 25, 26, 30, 

54, 70, 164, 193 
Fitzhenry, Mrs., ill, 113 
Fleetwood (manager), 25-27, 29, 35. 



37. 39. 40. 60, 61, 63, 70, 73-77- 

82 
Foote, Samuel, 3, 79, 80, 82, 88, 

91, 96-99, 107, 109, 134 
Foster, Sir Michael, 30 
Fox, C. J., 54, 193 

Garrick, David, i, 3, 19, 35, 3^. 
41, 42, 44, 47, 48, 50, 52, 59, 66, 
67. 69, 70, 74-78, 81, 83, 85- 
87, 100, loi, 106, 108, 113, 116, 
117, 123, 128, 137, 141, 160-163, 
181 

Gentleman, Francis, 67, 69, 114, 180 

George II., 67, 137 

Glenville (actor), 81, 123 

Goldsmith, Oliver, 31 

Grace, Mrs. Ann, 23 

Grafton, Duke of, 74, 75 

Green, 82, 86 

Guthrie, William, 75 

Halifax, Earl of, 48, 145 
Hallam, Thomas, 26, 27 
Hamilton, — , 145 
Handel, 11 1 
Harper, — , 20 
Harris, — , 178, 181 
Hastings, Warren, 184-187 
Haughton, Miss, 119 
Havard (actor), 62 
Hayes, Dan, 124 
Henderson, 67, 178, 179 
Hertford, Lord, 122 
Higgins, Belvill, 56 
Highmore (manager), 24, 25 
Hill, Dr., 79-82, 192 
Hippisley, John, 18, 19 
Hoadley, Dr., 86, 129 
Holcroft, Thomas, 123 
Holland (actor), 163 



INDEX. 



205 



Horton, Mrs., 24 
Howard (actor), 74 
Hume, 113 

James, — , 165, 170, 176 
Jenkins, Richard, 18 
Johnson (actor), 62 

, Charles, 33 

, Dr., 3, 61, 62, 86, 194 

Jones, Dr., 32 

, Miss Elizabeth (M.'s second 

wife), 117 

Kean, Edmund, 158 

Kearns, — , 124, 125 

Kemble, John, 67 

King (actor), 134 

Kirkman, James Thomas, I, 3-6, 

10-13, 15. 17. 19, 22, 23, 30, 54, 

71, 83, 88, 89, 120, 122 

Lacy, James, 82, 85, 86, 128 

Lansdowne, Lord, 55-58, 61, 63 

Lawrence, Frederick, 70 

Lee, 20, 90 

Leeson, Miss. See Lewis, Mrs. W. 

Leigh, Thomas, 165, 170 

Lewis, Lee, 193, 194 

(actor), 147 

, Mrs. William, 123, 147 

Lillo, 26 

Lowe, R. W., 114 

L'Strange, 147 

Macaulay, Lord, 69 

Macklin, Charles, his biogra- 
phers, 2, 3 ; ancestors of, 4 ; 
birth — different theories concern- 
ing date of his birth, 5-10 ; boy- 
hood, 10-14 5 early performance 
of Monimia, 12 ; first visit to 



London, 15 ; party to Fleet- 
marriage, 16 ; badgeman at 
Trinity College, 16 ; second ex- 
cursion to London, 1 7 ; plays at 
Hockley-in-the-Hole, 17 ; goes 
to Bristol, 18 ; first performances 
at London theatres, 20 ; returns 
to Bristol, 21 ; changes his name, 
22 ; converted to Protestantism, 
22 ; marriage, 23 ; birth of Miss 
Macklin, 23 ; comes to Drury 
Lane, 24 ; joins Fielding's com- 
pany at Haymarket, 25 ; returns 
to Drury Lane under Fleetwood, 
25 ; manslaughter of Thomas 
Hallam, 26-30 ; first meets Quin, 
35 > epigram on Quin and Mack- 
lin> 37 ; Quin's witticisms on, 
37 ; quarrel with Quin, 38-40 ; 
his Shylock, 52-68; former 
Shakespearian parts, 52, 53 ; 
parts played 1737- 1 740, 53, 54; 
his Lovegold and Sir Francis 
Wronghead, 54; character of 
audiences in 1741, 58-61 ; cast 
of Merchant of Venice, 62, 63 ; 
performance described, 64, 65 ; 
portrait by ZofFany, 66 ; criticisms 
of his Shylock, 67, 68 ; compari- 
son with Garrick, 69 ; plays with 
Garrick, 1 742, 70 ; prologue of 
the Wedding Day, 71-73, attri- 
buted to Macklin, 70 ; strike of 
actors against Fleetwood, 74-78 ; 
mean conduct of Garrick, 75 ; 
surrender of the actors, 76 ; 
Macklin banished from Drury 
Lane, 76 ; riots at D. L., 77, 78 ; 
M. opens Haymarket in 1744, 
79 ; introduces Foote, 79 ; Dr. 
Hill's account of this company, 



2o6 



INDEX. 



79, 80; M.'s lago, 80; his 
method of instructing pupils, 81 ; 
returns to Drury Lane, 1 744, 83 ; 
introduces Barry, 85 ; first 
attempts as author, 86 ; life with 
Garrick and Mrs. Woffington, 
86 ; description of Barry's and 
Garrick's Romeo, 87 ; gives 
lessons on elocution, 88 ; manages 
amateur performance for Sir F. 
Delaval, 88, 89 ; educates his 
daughter, 90; retires from stage, 
I753> 93; opens British Inquisi- 
tion, 93 ; account of scheme, 93- 
99 ; burlesque by Foote, 97, 98 ; 
M.'s bankruptcy, 99; connection 
with Dublin, 100 ; first visit to 
Dublin, 1748, 105; Chancery 
action against Sheridan, 106 ; 
partnership with Barry and 
Woodward, 108; Crow. Street 
Theatre, 108 ; enlisting company 
for, 109 ; M. leaves the partner- 
ship, lio; in Ireland in 1757, 
1 10 ; Crow Street Theatre opened, 
III ; death of Mrs. M., 112; M. 
returns to London, 1759, 112; 
second marriage, 117; returns to 
Dublin, 1763, 117; letter to his 
daughter, 1 18-120; M.'s receipts 
at Smock Alley Theatre, 120 ; 
engagement with Barry, 122; 
revisits Dublin, 1771, 122; in- 
structs Miss Young, 123 ; last 
visit to Dublin, 1785, 125 ; writes 
Khig Henry Vl/., 128; writes 
Love h-la-Mode, 130; first played, 
1759, 134; read by George II., 
137 ; letter to Mr. Quick respect- 
ing his Beau Mordecai, 139; 
Love ci-la-Mode pirated, 141 j 



production of The Married 
Libertine, 144 ; production of 
True- Born Irishman, 145 ; writes 
The Man of the World, 145 ; 
produced at Covent Garden, 1781, 
147 ; protest to the Lord Cham- 
berlain, 148 ; his Sir Pertinax 
MacSycophant, 150 ; agrees 
with Colman to act at Covent 
Garden, 1773, 159 ; plays Mac- 
beth, 160; press criticisms on 
performance, 162 ; anti-Mack- 
linite riots, 164-177 ; trial of 
rioters, 1 70 ; judgment of Lord 
Mansfield, 172; plays Richard 
III., 1775, 178; proposes pro- 
vincial tour, 179; death of his 
daughter, 181 ; last performance, 
1789, 182 ; death of John Mack- 
lin, 183; M.'s letters to his son, 
184-187 ; ill health and poverty, 

188 ; publication of 7 hi Man of 
the World and Love h-la-Mode, 

189 ; death, 1797, 191 
Macklin, John (M.'s son), 183, 186, 

187 

, Mrs., 53, 105, 112 

, Miss Mary, 23 ; sketch of 

career, 90-93, 112, 134, 175, 181 
Macready, 16 
Maddox, 112 
Mahon, Robert, 122 
Mansfield, Lord, 61, 172, 173, 176, 

177, 189 
Matthews, Charles, 180 
Messink, — , 141 
Miles, — , 165, 170 
Mills, — , 29, 33, 62, 74 
Milward, — , 62 
Montagu, George, 49 
Moody (actor), 134 



INDEX. 



207 



Mossop, Henry, icxD, loi, 106, 113- 

117, 121, 122, 163 
Murphy, Arthur, 3, 70, 133, 134, 

161, 162, 189 

Newton, Sir Isaac, 194 
Nicholson, — (M.'s schoolmaster), 

II, 12 
Norris, — , 24 

O'Callaghan, Rev., 124 

O'Keeffe,- John, 81, 104, 105, iii, 

122, 123, 194 
Oldfield, Mrs., 24 
Omeally, Luke, 11 
Opie, John (artist), 8 
Orford, Lord, 89 

Pierson, — , 73 
Pilkington, Mrs., 13 
Pine, Sim, 88 
Piatt, Miss, 148 
Poitier, Miss, 119 
Pope, Alexander, 65, 66 

, Mrs., 123, 147, 183 

Prior, Mrs., 124 
Pritchard, Mrs., 63, 70, 74 
Purvor, Grace, 23 

Quick, — , 138, 139 

Quin, Mark (Quin's grandfather), 31 

, James, birth, descent, and 

early days, 31, 32; first appear- 
ance in Dublin, 32 ; first appear- 
ance in London, 33 ; his Falstaff, 
34 ; his Cato, 35 ; receives ^500 
a year from Fleetwood, 35 ; first 
meets Macklin, 35 ; receives 
;^looo a year at Covent Garden, 
36 ; last performance, 37 ; 
epigram on Macklin and Quin, 



37 ; his witticisms about Ma 
lin, 37 ; quarrel with M., 38-40 
style of acting, 41 ; criticism by 
Smollett, 42, 43 ; criticisms by 
Davies and Horace Walpole, 44 ; 
anecdotes of his wit and humour, 
45-50 ; manslaughter of William 
Bowen, 45 ; fatal fight with 
Williams, a fellow - actor, 46 ; 
death, 50; epitaph byGarrick, 51 
Quon, Mrs., 89 

Rathband, Charles, 5 

Reddish (actor), 164, 165 

Reynolds, Sir Joshua, 3 

Rich, John (manager), 26, 29, 33- 

37, 76, 82, 87 
Ridout (actor), 62 
Rochester, Earl of, 55 
Ross (actor), 163 
Rowe, Thomas, 33, 55, 57 
Ryan, 29, 33, 50 
Ryder (actor), 183 

Sampson, — , 125 

Sayer, — , 187 

Sheridan, — (manager), 83, 87, 

101-108, 113, 115, 117, 163 
Smith, William (actor), 159, 160, 

162, 163 
Smollett, — , 42 
Sowdon, — , 117 
Sparks, — , 164, 165, 170 
Stephen, Mr. Justice, 30 
Stephens, Captain, 88 
Stevens, George, 162 

, Mrs., 89 

Swift, Jonathan, 190 

Taswell, — (actor), 62, 82 
Taylor, John, 3, 53, 59, 92, 161 



2o8 



INDEX. 



Taylor, Mrs., 53 
Thompson (actor), 147 
Thomson (poet), 46 
Turbutt, Richard, 29, 62 

Victor, 101-104, 107, 108, 111-113 

Waller, Edmund, 55 
Walpole, Horace, 44, 49 

, Sir Robert, 68 

Warburton, Bishop, 49 
"Ward, Mrs., in, 113 
Ware (actor), 6, 7 
Wewitzer (actor), 147 
White, Captain, 112 
Whitehead, Paul, 26, 75 
Whitley, James, 142, 144 
Wilkinson, Tate, 107, 115, 141, 
179, 180 



Wilks (actor), 24, 59 
Williams (actor), 46 
Wilson, — , 147 

. F., 147 

, Mrs., 148 

Winstone (actor), 62 

Woffington, Peg, 70, 86, 87, 100, 

loi, 106, 107 
Woodward, Harry, 104, 109-113, 

115, 116, 122, 141 

Yates, Mrs., 160 

York, Duke of, 121 

Yorke, — , 80 

Young, Dr., 114 

Younge, Miss, 123, 147, 148 

Zoflfany (artist), 66, 161 



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