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With, tils Grandson. 








" that I had a title good enough 
to keep his name company ! " 




All rights rtservtd 

riFf 2 1969 COPYRIGI ^ i893> 

Bv MA 


I.* 9 if. 


J. S. Gushing & Co. Berwick & Smith. 
Boston, Mass., U.S.A. 


Hatorence Eooie 







February 20, 1894 


ABOUT fourteen years ago, at the kind suggestion 
of my thoughtful friend Laurence Hutton, I wrote art- 
account of the Jefferson Family of Actors, which was pub- 
lished in 1 88 1, under the name of The Jeff ersons, as 
one of the American Actor Series, projected and super- 
vised by him. The present Memoir is a complete revision 
of that biography. The story has been rectified, aug- 
mented, re-arranged, and in part re-written, so that this 
work is, practically, new. It certainly is more ample and 
more authentic than its predecessor, and therefore more 
worthy of its interesting subject and of the public favour. 
In the composition of it I have drawn upon my dramatic 
zuri tings in the New York Tribune, since 1865, and in 
other publications, notably my Brief Chronicles. The 
beauty and greatness of the dramatic art and the possible 
dignity and iitility of the stage are better known and 
understood now than they were in former times, and I 
have assumed that the achievements of an exceptionally 
talented family of actors may be deemed worthy of com- 
memoration. The Jefferson family has been upon the 
stage, continuously, for five generations, and in this nar- 
rative an effort has been made to trace its history along 
one unbroken line, throughout that time. The English 
historic period traversed by this biography begins with 
the reign of George the Second, in 1727. The American 


period extends from \ 794 to the present day. The first 
Jefferson had his career in England, in the time of Gar- 
rick. The second was famous in the days of the old 
Chestnut Street theatre, in Philadelphia. The third did 
not attain to eminence. The fourth is tJie Rip Van 
Winkle and the Acres of contemporary renown, whose 
sons are also on the stage. Other members of the race 
have been distinguished actors, and tJicir names and deeds 
are recorded in this chronicle. The Garrick period has 
been so fully described by many writers that, in recount- 
ing what is known of the first Jefferson, I have preferred 
not to linger upon it. Select qiiotation from old chron- 
icles has, however, been deemed essential, as a basis of 
authority. The career of the second Jefferson recalls the 
storied days of the Chestnut Street theatre, an institu- 
tion which has not been surpassed, if ever it was equalled, 
in the history of the American stage, for dignity, intel- 
lectual resource, stateliness of character, and opulence of 
association. Ample materials exist, no doubt, in the manu- 
script journals of the elder Warren, for a minute account 
of that theatre and its dramatic luminaries ; but they are 
not accessible. The third Jefferson, his sister ElizabetJi, 
his wife, and his stepson, Charles S. T. Burke, are com- 
memorated in this book, and mention is herein made of 
all the known scions of the Jefferson race. The design has 
been to portray this family in its relation to the times 
through which it has moved, and thus to make an authen- 
tic basis for the researches and illustrative embellishments 
of future inquirers. Attention has been chiefiy given to 
the career of the fourth Jefferson, and to his impersona- 
tion of Rip Van Winkle, an artistic achievement which 
has fascinated the public mind for thirty years. No single 


dramatic performance of our time, indeed, not Edwin 
Boot/is Hamlet, nor Ristori s .Queen Elizabeth, nor Les- 
ter Wallaces Don Felix, nor Marie SeebacJt s Margaret, 
nor Charles Keans Louis, nor Adelaide Neilson s Juliet, 
nor Henry Irving s Mathias, nor Ada Reharis Rosalind, 
has had more extensive popularity, or has in a greater 
degree stimulated contemporary thought upon the influ- 
ence of the stage. The wish to honour it will be recog- 
nised in these pages, although the power may be missed. 
Every writer upon the history of the drama in America 
must acknowledge his obligation for guidance to the 
thorough, faitlifid, and suggestive Records made by the 
veteran historian, Joseph N. Ireland. In the composition 
of this biography reference has frequently been made to 
that work. Other authorities, likewise, have been con- 
sulted, and they are duly mentioned. I have profited by 
the personal recollections of several members of tJie Jeffer- 
son family, and by useful suggestions of friendly cor- 
respondents, among whom should be named Thomas 
J. McKee of New York, L. Clarke Davis and George P. 
Philes of Philadelphia, and my old, honoured, and la- 
mented friend, the late John T. Ford of Baltimore by 
whose sudden death I am admonished that the number 
of persons to whom any writings of mine can appeal with 
the confident expectation of sympathy is growing smaller 
every day. 

" Like clouds that rake the mountain summits, 

Or waves that own no curbing hand, 

How fast has brother followed brother 

From sunshine to the sunless land! " 

w. w. 

March 25, 1894. 

" In giving an account of the stage a good story may sometimes be admitted on 
slender authority, but where matters of fact are concerned the history of the stage 
ought to be written with the same accuracy as the history of England" GENEST. 

" The longest life is too short for the almost endless study of the actor" 

"A name 

Noble and brave as aught of consular 
On Roman marbles" BYRON. 

" First, noble friend, 

Let me embrace thine age ; whose honour cannot 
Be measured or confined" SHAKESPEARE. 

1 Noble he was, contemning all things mean, 
His truth unquestioned and his soul serene. 
Shame knew him not, he dreaded no disgrace, 
Truth, simple truth, was written in his face; 
Yet, while the serious thought his soul approv'd, 
Cheeiful he seem'd and gentleness he lov'd ; 
To bliss domestic he his heart resign' d. 
And with the firmest had the fondest mind. 
Were others joyful, he looked smiling on, 
And gave allowance where he needed none. 
Good he refused with future ill to buy. 
Nor knew a joy that caused reflection's sigh. 
A friend to virtue, his unclouded breast 
No envy stung, no jealousy distress' d ; 
Yet far was he from stoic pride remov'd, 
He felt humanely, and he warmly lov'd" CRABBE. 

" He is insensibly subdued 
To settled quiet : he is one by whom 
All effort seems forgotten ; one to whom 
Long patience hath such mild composure given 
That patience now doth seem a thing of which 
He hath no need" 

' He is retired as noontide dew, 

Or fountain in a noon-day grove ; 
And you must love him, ere to you 
He will seem worthy of your love" 


" We are a queen (or long have dreamed so) , certain 
The daughter of a /^^." 

" Upon my word, thou art a very odd fellow, and I like thy humour ex- 
tremely" FIELDING. .__ 

" With all the fortunate have not. 

With gentle voice and trow. 
Alive, we would have changed his lot 
We would not change it now." 


" If he come not, then the play is marred" SHAKESPEARE. 

" It is difficult to render even ordinary justice to living merit, without incur- 
ring the suspicion of being influenced by partiality, or by motives of a less hon- 
ourable nature. Yet, as what I shall say of this gentleman, whose friendship 
I have enjoyed for many years, and still possess in unabated cordiality, will be 
supported by all who are acquainted with him, I am under no apprehension of 
suffering by the suggestions of malice." JOHN TAYLOR. 

' / marvel how Nature could ever find space 
For so many strange contrasts in one human face : 
There's thought and no thought, and there's paleness and bloom, 
And bustle and sluggishness, pleasure and gloom. 

' There's weakness and strength, both redundant and vain ; 
Such strength as, if ever affliction and pain 
Could pierce through a temper that's soft to disease, 
Would be rational peace, a philosopher's ease. 

' There's indifference, alike when he fails or succeeds, 
And attention full ten times as much as there needs ; 
Pride where there's no envy, there's so much of joy ; 
And mildness, and spirit both forward and coy. 

' There's freedom, and sometimes a diffident stare, 
Of shame, scarcely seeming to know that she's there : 
There's virtue, the title it surely may claim, 
Yet wants heaven knows what to be worthy the name. 

' This picture from nature may seem to depart. 
Yet the Man would at once run away with your heart : 
And I for five centuries right gladly would be 
Such an odd, such a kind, happy creature as he." 




I. THOMAS JEFFERSON. 1 728-1807 i 

II. JOSEPH JEFFERSON. 1774-1832 47 


IV. JOSEPH JEFFERSON. 1804-1842 131 

V. CHARLES BURKE. 1822-1854 142 









Our Stage in Its Palmy Days 293 

Mr. H 296 

William Warren 298 

Hackett in England 303 

Notable Early Casts of Rip Van Winkle 305 

Jefferson as a Lecturer 309 

Chronology of the Life of Jefferson 312 

INDEX 315 


JOSEPH JEFFERSON IN 1894 Frontispiece 

From a photograph by Falk. 

Facing page 







As Dr. Smug/ace and Dr. Dablancour in The Budget of Blunders. 

PARK. STREET IN 1830 128 


At the age of twenty-eight. 



From a photograph by Sarony. 


From a photograph by Falk. 



From a photograph by Sarony. 





HOMAS JEFFERSON, the founder of 
the Jefferson Family of Actors, was the son 
of an English farmer, and was born at, or 
near, Ripon, Yorkshire, England, about the 
year 1728, in the beginning of the reign 
of George the Second. Little is known of his parents, 
or of his childhood, and stories of him that have sur- 
vived are meagre and contradictory. One person, how- 
ever, who had seen him, lived to our time, dying in 
1869, and gave an account of the beginning of his 
stage career. That person was Mr. Drinkwater Mead- 
ows, 1 a respected actor, who saw Thomas Jefferson, 
at Ripon, in 1806, a feeble old man, sitting by the 

1 MR. DRINKWATER MEADOWS, long a useful and esteemed comedian 
on the London stage, made his first appearance in London, at Covent Gar- 
den, in September, 1821, acting Scrub, in The Beaux' Stratagem. He 
was the original Fathom in The Hunchback (1832). His last appearance 
on the London stage was made at the Princess's theatre, in 1862, and he 
then retired from the profession. He occupied, for a time, the office of 
Secretary of the Covent Garden Theatrical Fund, discharging its duties 
with probity and courtesy. He died at his residence, Prairie Cottage, 
Barnes, on Saturday, June 5, 1869, at about the age of eighty. 

A I 


fireside, ill with gout, and tended by his relatives. 
Mr. Meadows was at Ripon, on a visit to one of the 
aged actor's sons, Frank Jefferson, a lieutenant aboard 
a royal yacht in Virginia Water, at Windsor; and 
from him he learned something of old Thomas Jeffer- 
son's life, which he lived to relate to Thomas Jefferson's 
great-grandson, whom he saw upon the stage as Rip 
Van Winkle, and personally met, in London, in 1865. 
According to the narrative of Mr. Meadows, Thomas 
Jefferson, when young, was a wild lad, dashing and 
gay, and capable of any intrepidity. His person was 
handsome, his bearing free and graceful, his intelli- 
gence superior, his temperament merry ; he was a frolic- 
some companion, a capital equestrian, and a general 
favourite. A time presently came when his skill in 
horsemanship, his good spirits, and his excellent faculty 
for singing a comic song were the means, if not of 
making his fortune, at least of prescribing his career. 
The rebellion of 1745, for Charles Edward Stuart, 
appears to have been a motive to his prosperity. A 
dispatch was to be conveyed from Ripon, or perhaps 
from neighbouring York, to London, and young Thomas 
Jefferson who could ride well, and whose thriving 
father could mount him on a thoroughbred steed, for 
the journey was chosen to be its bearer. He under- 
took the task, and he accomplished it, through what 
perils it were idle to conjecture ; but an equestrian trip 
of two hundred and twenty miles, through wild parts 
of the kingdom, what with bad roads and highwaymen, 
was a serious business ; 1 and it may be supposed that 

1 " In 1 707 it took, in summer one day, in winter nearly two days, to 
travel from London to Oxford, forty-six miles." Haydrfs Dictionary. The 


Thomas Jefferson was a man well satisfied with himself 
and with fortune, when at length his mission had been 
fulfilled, and he was taking his rest at a London inn. 
He had arrived just in time to grasp the extended hand 
of a singular good-fortune. On that night David Gar- 
rick, the wonder and delight of London, was feasting 
with a party of friends at that inn ; and presently to 
the merry circle of Roscius in the parlour, a laughing 
servant brought word of the jovial young fellow from 
the country, who was singing songs and telling stories 
to the less select revellers in the tap-room. A proposi- 
tion to invite this pleasant rustic, for a frolic over his 
bumpkin humour, met with the favour of Garrick's com- 
panions, and so it chanced that Thomas Jefferson was 
asked to sit at the table of David Garrick. Fancy 
dwells pleasurably on the ensuing scene of festal triumph 
for the sparkling country lad. He charmed his fas- 
tidious acquaintances of the parlour as much as he had 
charmed his careless comrades of the tap ; and the 
fancy that Garrick took for him, on that night, was 
destined not only to ripen into a lasting friendship, but 
to mark out his pathway in life. He returned no more, 

ride from Ripon to London, in 1746, could not have been made in less 
than five summer days. " In the year 1 763 the roads were so bad at par- 
ticular seasons of the year that they were, for want of proper forming, 
almost impassable; and it has been known, in the winter, to have been 
eight or ten days' journey from York to London." Tate Wilkinson's 
Memoirs, Vol. III., p. 142. Travel was not the expeditious business, in 
old times, that it is now. In the spring of 1623 Prince Charles, afterward 
Charles I. of England, being then at Madrid, to woo the Infanta of Spain, 
apprised his father, James I., that he had come safely from London to 
Madrid " in less than sixteen days." See Howel's Familiar Letter s^ Book 
I., Letter xv. 


for a long time, to Ripon ; but, with Garrick's advice 
and aid, he adopted the stage, and was embarked in 
professional occupation. 

There is a romantic air about that narrative which, 
possibly, implies a fiction ; but such is the story, as trans- 
mitted by Mr. Meadows, and so it remains. Another 
account says that Jefferson was educated for the bar, 
and began the practice of law ; but soon, by accident, 
discarded that profession, for the stage. According to 
this tale, he chanced one day to stroll into a barn in the 
neighbourhood of Ripon, where some wandering players 
had undertaken to enact Farquhar's comedy of The 
Beaux Stratagem, and there and then volunteered his 
services, in place of an actor suddenly disabled by ill- 
ness, to perform Archer. His offer was accepted. He 
had previously acted the part at a private theatrical club, 
and his success in it was so cheering that he determined 
to renounce the law and adopt the theatre. This legend 
furthermore states that Garrick, when accosted by the 
new-comer, promptly bestowed upon him an engagement, 
together with his personal friendship, and that Jefferson 
subsequently for a term of years shared the honours of 
the stage with its chieftain. The student of theatrical 
history, however, without reference to the comparative 
sterility of existing records of Jefferson's career, remem- 
bering what is authentically recorded of Garrick's tem- 
perament and habits, will prefer to accept the more 
rational and pleasing story related on the authority of 
the veteran of Covent Garden. 

Jefferson, it is certain, never at any time in his pro- 
fessional career divided honours with his great leader. 
The earliest record of his appearance at Drury Lane 


assigns it to October 24, 1753, when he performed Vain- 
love in The Old Bachelor. He acted Horatio, and also 
King Claudius, to Garrick's Hamlet ; the Duke of Buck- 
ingham, to Garrick's Richard the Third ; Paris, to Gar- 
rick's Romeo ; Colonel Britton, to Garrick's Don Felix ; 
and the Duke of Gloster, to Garrick's John Shore ; and 
this showing indicates his place in Garrick's company. 
He was "a well-graced actor"; he gained and held a 
good rank, when rank was hard to gain ; and he possessed 
Garrick's regard more fully than probably he would have 
done had he ever been, or seemed to be, a rival to that 
illustrious but not always magnanimous genius. Jeffer- 
son seems to have been early captivated by the idea of 
theatrical management in the provincial towns, and he 
may have left Garrick's company either as a strolling 
player, or with this vocation in view. There is an anec- 
dote, treasured by his descendants, that when he sought 
that great actor to say good-bye, Garrick, who had just 
ended a performance of Abel Drugger, in Ben Jonson's 
comedy of The Alchemist, took off his wig, after exchang- 
ing words of farewell, and threw it to him, saying, "Take 
that, my friend, and may it bring you as much good as 
it has brought me." This relic survived for a long time ; 
was brought to America by Joseph Jefferson, in 1795, 
passed into the possession of the next Joseph Jefferson, 
father of our Rip Van Winkle, and ultimately was 
destroyed, together with other articles of stage ward- 
robe, which had been entrusted by the latter to the care 
of Joseph Cowell, 1 the comedian, in a fire that burnt 
down the St. Charles theatre, New Orleans, in 1842. 

1 JOSEPH LEATHLEY COWELI. was born at Kent, England, August 7, 
1792, and passed his youth at Torquay, where he saw Nelson, of whom 


There is another version of Thomas Jefferson's exodus 
from Ripon, the details of which are sanctioned by sev- 
eral authorities. This account states that when a youth 
he was, for a short time, employed by an attorney in 
Yorkshire, presumably at Ripon, and that he went to 
London as an adventurous fugitive. The attorney had 
ordered him to prepare for a journey up to the capital, 
and this, to the gay lad, was a joyful prospect ; but, to 
his disappointment and mortification, he was presently 
apprised that the plan had been changed, and that the 
attorney himself would make the trip. Young Jefferson, 
not to be thus defeated, thereupon determined to go to 
London on his own account. A fortunate chance seemed 
to favour his flight. A fine charger had been bought, 
in the neighbourhood of Ripon, for a military magnate 
named General Fawkes, and Jefferson got permission 
to ride the horse to London. Thus provided, he bent 

he can find nothing better to say than that he was "a mean-looking 
little man, but very kind and agreeable to children." Cowell made his 
first appearance on the stage, at Plymouth, in 1812, as Belcour, in Cum- 
berland's comedy of The West Indian. He afterwards was on the York 
circuit, Tate Wilkinson's old ground, and eventually he became a 
member of the company at Drury Lane. In 1821 he came to America, 
under engagement to Stephen Price, for the New York Park theatre, and he 
remained in this country till 1844, when he returned to England. He was 
in New York in 1850, and appeared at the Astor Place opera house; and 
on April 23, 1856, at the old Broadway theatre, he took a farewell benefit 
and left the stage. His autobiography, entitled Thirty Years among the 
Players, was published by Messrs. Harper and Brothers, in 1844. He went 
back to England with his grand-daughter, Kate Bateman, and died in 
London, November 14, 1863, in his seventy-second year. He was popular 
as Crack, in The Turnpike Gate, a musical piece, by T. Knight, first 
acted at Covent Garden, in 1 799, and his portrait, in that character, 
painted by Neagle, is one of the illustrations of Wemyss's Acting American 


his course toward the capital, arriving there in January, 
1746 or 1747. In the spring of 1747 he was an inmate 
of the Tilt-yard coffee-house, when that building chanced 
to be blown up with gunpowder, a large quantity of 
which had been served to certain soldiers who were to 
guard that old reprobate, Simon Eraser, Lord Lovat, on 
his way to Tower Hill. 1 Several persons were killed by 
that explosion, but Jefferson was saved by the fortunate 
intervention of a falling timber, which protected him 
from being crushed. A little later he happened to 
attend a performance at Drury Lane, where he saw the 
fascinating Peg Woffington, as Ruth, in Sir Robert 
Howard's comedy of The Committee; whereupon his 
fancy was so captivated that he could think of nothing 
but the stage, and he determined to devote himself 
thereafter entirely to its pursuit. 

Thomas Jefferson's professional career was various 
and devious, but in general it was successful, and it 
seems to have been attended with happiness. He was 
a theatrical manager at Richmond, Exeter, Lewes, and 
Plymouth ; he frequently made strolling expeditions, 
and he acted at Drury Lane, intermittently, from about 
1750 to 1776. Soon after his first meeting with Gar- 
rick, he appeared at the Haymarket, London, as Horatio, 
in The Fair Penitent. The exact date of that meeting 
is unknown. Garrick made his great hit 2 in London, 

1 LOVAT, born in 1667, perished beneath the axe, on March 20, 1747. 
The other noted Scotch lords who suffered death in the cause of the Pre- 
tender Balmerino and Kilmarnock were beheaded earlier, August 18, 
1 746. The axe and block that were used in those executions are shown 
at the Tower. 

2 DAVID GARRICK, 1716-1779. In John Bernard's Retrospections of 
the Stage, Vol. II., chap. 6, mention is made of a spectator of the first 


at Goodman's Fields theatre, when he was twenty-five 
years old, on October 19, 1741, afterwards went to Dub- 
lin, and then was engaged by Fleetwood, for Drury Lane, 
where he remained till 1745. In that year he was again 
in Ireland, acting with Thomas Sheridan, father of the 
famous Richard Brinsley, in the theatre in Smock 
alley. But in 1746 he was acting, under the manage- 
ment of Rich, at Covent Garden, and it was not till the 
winter of 1747 that he became the manager of Drury 
Lane. Jefferson's meeting with him occurred in 1746 
or 1747. It is likely that, through Garrick's influence, 
Jefferson was early attached to the stage. He may at 
first have gone on a country circuit, and afterwards 
joined the Drury Lane company, when Garrick had 
become its manager, quitting that theatre at a later 
time to manage for his own benefit in the provinces. 
He must soon have learned, as others did, that it was 

appearance of Garrick in London. That was Philip Lewis, uncle of the 
English comedian, William T. Lewis. " He was the only man of my 
acquaintance," says Bernard, "who remembered the debut of Garrick; 
and it was . . . when sitting at my table, with Charles Bannister 
and Merry, he uttered an impromptu I have since heard attributed to 
others : 

" ' I saw him rising in the east, 

In all his energetic glows; 
I saw him sinking in the west 

In greater splendour than he rose.' " 

Hannah More [1745-1833], certainly a shrewd observer, came up to 
London, from her home at Bristol, to see Garrick's farewell performance, 
1776, and after her return she wrote these words: "I pity those who have 
not seen him. Posterity will never be able to form the slightest idea of 
his perfection. The more I see him, the more I admire. I have seen 
him within these three weeks take leave of Benedick, Sir John Brute, 
Kitely, Abel Drugger, Archer, and Leon. It seems to me as if I was 
assisting at the obsequies of the different poets." 



well-nigh impossible, in that epoch, for any actor to win 
a pre-eminent success, at the , British capital, in face 
of the overwhelming ascendency which Garrick then 

A reprint of the Drury Lane play-bill, which, follow- 
ing the authority of Genest, appears to assign Jefferson's 
first appearance at that theatre, under Garrick's man- 
agement, to October 24, 1753, will here be appropriate. 
It is a reduced fac-simile from an original. Almost 
every name in it is distinguished in theatrical history. 
Mrs. Pritchard was Dr. Johnson's " inspired idiot," 
the great Lady Macbeth of the eighteenth century, 
prior to Mrs. Yates and Mrs. Siddons. Foote was " the 
English Aristophanes." Woodward superb as Mer- 
cutio and fine as Touchstone was deemed the model 
of every grace. Palmer and Blakes are complimented 
even by the exigent Churchill in The Rosciad. Yates 
was the original Sir Oliver Surface, and died in 1796, 
in his 97th year. Mrs. Davies was the lovely wife of 
Thomas Davies, the actor, author, and bookseller, the 
man who introduced Boswell to Dr. Johnson ; and it is 
sad to think that, being left a widow, she fell into mis- 
fortune and died in an almshouse. Miss Macklin was 
Maria, daughter of Charles Macklin (1690-1797), the 
first great Shylock of the stage. William Havard, a 
conscientious actor and an estimable man, was the author 
of several successful plays, one of them on Charles the 
First, and he rests in Covent Garden Church, com- 
memorated by an epitaph from the pen of Garrick. 


Theatre Royal in Drury-Lane, 

This prefent Wednefday, being the 24th of Oftober, 
Will be Revived a COMEDY, call'd 


Fondlewife by Mr. FOOTE, 

Bellmour by Mr. PALMER, 

Sharper by Mr. HAVARD, 

Vainlove by Mr. JEFFERSON, 

Heartwell by Mr. BERRY, 

Sir Joseph Wittol Mr. WOODWARD, 

Noll Bluffe by Mr. YATES, 

Setter by Mr. B LAKES, 

Belinda by Mifs HAUGHTON, 

Araminta by Mrs. DA VIES, 

Sylvia by Mrs. COWPER, 

Lucy by Mrs. BENNET, 

Latitia by Mrs. PRITCHARD. 

In Act III. a DANCE proper to the Play, by 

Monf. GERARD, and Mad. LUSSANT. 

To which will be added a COMEDY in Two Acts, call'd 

The Englifhman in PARIS. 

Buck by Mr. FOOTE, 

Luanda by Mifs MAC KLIN, 

(Being the Third Time of her appearing upon that STAGE.) 

With a NEW Occafional PROLOGUE, 

Boxes 55. Pit 35. First Gallery 25. Upper Gallery is. 

PLACES for the Boxes to be had of Mr. VARNEY, at the Stage- 
door of the Theatre. 

t No Perfons to be admitted behind the Scenes, nor any Money to be 
returned after the Curtain M drawn up. Vi-vat REX. 


A period of about twelve years of itinerant acting and 
perhaps of desultory theatrical management, after Jeffer- 
son's arrival in London, is accordingly to be supposed. 
In 1758 he went to Ireland, and in 1760 he was a mem- 
ber of the Crow Street theatre, acting with a company 
which included Barry, Dexter, Foote, Heaphy, Macklin, 
Mossop, Sowden, Vernon, Walker, Woodward, Mrs. 
Dancer, Mrs. Fitzhenry, and Mrs. Kennedy. In that 
year, or a little later, he left Dublin, in order to assume 
the management of the Plymouth theatre, with which 
his name was afterward long associated. In 1764, still 
holding the Plymouth house, he joined with Mrs. Pitt, 
in the direction of a theatre at Exeter, and in 1765, 
conjointly with Josiah Foote, a tradesman of that town, 
he purchased Mrs. Pitt's interest in that property and 
renewed the lease ; but in 1767 he sold his share of the 
estate to his partner, Foote, and after that time he con- 
centrated his attention upon the care of the Plymouth 
theatre. He managed, indeed, at one or two other places, 
and he appeared at Drury Lane, his name being occa- 
sionally found in the casts of plays that were presented 
there, during the period from 1753 to 1776. But he 
never appeared in that theatre after Garrick left it 
June 10, 1776; and after Garrick's death, January 
20, 1779, when that resplendent career, of thirty -five 
years, was ended, he seems never to have cared again 
to associate himself with London theatrical life. He 
was now about fifty years of age, with his children grow- 
ing up around him, and his circumstances had assumed 
a character such as naturally restricted him to the safe 
fields of unadventurous industry. 

The rank of Thomas Jefferson among the actors of 


his time was with the best, setting aside the names 
of Garrick, Barry, Henderson, 1 and Mossop as excep- 
tional, and far above their comrades. The dramatic 
period was a storied one, and only a man of fine talent 
could have held a conspicuous position in the shining 
group of players which then adorned the British stage. 
Theatrical powers and enterprises in those days were 
more closely concentrated than they have been since, 
except, perhaps, in the best period of the Chestnut and 
the Park, in America, and were subjected to a more 
exacting attention, on the part of the public, than they 
receive, or, generally, are calculated to inspire, at present. 
The stock companies were few, and they were composed 
of performers who, for the most part, in the vastly 
extended theatrical area, and the vastly increased de- 
mand and remuneration for theatrical entertainments, 
would now be "stars." Jefferson's repute, if not sur- 
passingly high, like that of Garrick, was, nevertheless, 
that of sterling merit. He ranked with Barry in comedy, 
excelling Mossop, Sheridan, and Reddish, but he 
was not half so good as Barry in tragedy. His tragedy, 

1 "HENDERSON (1747-1785) was the legitimate successor to Gar- 
rick's throne, the only attendant genius that could wear his mantle. 
Though it is difficult to compare the others, owing to the peculiarities of 
their paths, Powell was best in the Romans and fathers; Holland, in the 
ardent spirits of lovers and champions, the Hotspurs and Chamonts; and 
Jefferson in the kings and tyrants. Of the four, Powell and Reddish were 
the cleverest. But Reddish was differently situated; he lived in Garrick's 
time, and was one of the many stars, in that Augustan era of acting, whose 
radiance was absorbed in the great luminary's. Powell, Holland, and 
Jefferson were all in the same predicament : Mossop, Barry, and Sheridan 
were the only ones who rose into notice from a collision with the Rose! us; 
but even their memories are fading." John Bernard's Retrospections of 
the Stage, Vol. I., p. 15. 



however, was accounted equal with that of Macklin, the 
first great Shylock of the British stage ; and he must 
have been important, if he could hold his rank against 
that competitor. The Thespian Dictionary (1805), 
recording, perhaps, the testimony of a contemporary, 
says that he " possessed a pleasing countenance, strong 
expression and compass of voice, and was excellent in 
declamatory parts." His abilities, obviously, were con- 
siderable, and they must have been versatile, for the 
chronicles show that he was sometimes accepted as a 
substitute for Garrick ; that he was even thought to 
resemble him in appearance ; and that he was accounted 
a competent actor throughout a wide range of parts. 

An indication of the professional rank of Thomas Jef- 
ferson, and also of that of his first wife, Miss May, is given 
in a Scale of Merits of the Performers on the Dublin 
stage, made about 1760-1763. This document was pub- 
lished in the London Chronicle, Vol. XV., and is quoted 
in Malcolm's Anecdotes of the Manners and Customs of 
London, during the Eighteenth Century, Vol. II., p. 247. 







Ir. Barry . . 

. 2O . 

. . 10 

Mrs. Dancer . 

. 14 . 

. . 16 

" Mossop . 


. . 6 


. 14 . 

. . 6 

Sheridan . 


. . 6 


O . 

. . 18 

Macklin . 

. 8 . 



IO . 

. . 12 

Sowdon . 


. . 12 


. 8 . 

. . IO 


. 10 . 

. . 12 

Keif . . 

. 8 . 

. . IO 

T. Barry . 

. IO . 

. . 8 


. 8 . 

. . 10 

Ryder . . 

. 6 . 

. . 12 


. 6 . 

. . 8 

Stamper . 

o . 

. . 12 



. . 8 



. . 12 

Mahon . 


. . 6 

Jefferson . 

. 8 . 

. . IO 

Roach . 

o . 

. . 6 

Heaphy . 

. 6 . 

. . 8 

Parsons . 

o . 

. . 6 

Reddish . 

. 6 . 

. . 8 

Walker . 

o . 

. . 8 



. . 8 

Mahon . 

. 4 . 

. . 6 


Thomas Jefferson was twice married. His first wife, 
Miss May, was the daughter of a member of the British 
Navy, and, according to Gilliland's Dramatic Mirror, he 
agreed, in marrying her, to forfeit ^500 to her father, in 
case she should ever appear upon the stage. That was 
at Lewes, where Jefferson acted for two seasons, under 
the name of Burton, in the dramatic company of a man- 
ager named Williams. A number of the ladies of that 
place, on a subsequent occasion, wished that Mrs. Jef- 
ferson should appear in a dramatic performance, and, 
finding Mr. May's bond an obstacle to their desire, they 
succeeded in persuading him to cancel it. Mrs. Jeffer- 
son thereupon acted Lady Charlotte, in Sir Richard 
Steele's comedy of The Funeral (1702). " The ladies," 
says the Mirror, " provided the females of the company 
with dresses for the piece, and it was played three 
nights, each person's share amounting to six guineas." 
The first appearance of Mrs. Jefferson on the London 
stage was made at Drury Lane, October 6, 1753, as 
Anne Bullen. 

Mrs. Jefferson was a beautiful woman, and of a lovely 
disposition, and that part of the married life of Thomas 
Jefferson which was passed in her society was happy. 
She bore two sons, John and Joseph. The former 
became a clergyman of the established church, and 
went as a missionary to some part of Asia, where he 
was presently slain by persons who opposed him in 
religious opinion. In Ryley's Itinerant (1808), men- 
tion is made of John Jefferson, a son of Thomas, who, 
it is said, " was very tall, very slim, very sallow, and a 
very poor actor" ; and it is further stated that he was 
of a religious turn of mind, and was called " The Parson." 


That may have been the pious John. The latter son, 
Joseph, became an actor, and, after a brief career in 
England, emigrated to America, and established the 
family in this country. The mother of those boys, 
whenever named in old theatrical chronicles, is named 
not merely with honour and affection, but with evident 
wonder that so much beauty could coexist with so much 
goodness. Even her death bore witness to the sunshine 
of her nature ; for she died of laughter. Davies, in his 
Life of Garrick, records the incident, and describes the 
heroine : 

" Britannia was represented by Mrs. Jefferson, the most complete 
figure, in beauty of countenance and symmetry of form, I ever beheld. 
This good woman for she was as virtuous as fair was so unaf- 
fected and simple in her behaviour that she knew not her power of 
charming. Her beautiful figure and majestic step, in the character 
of Anne Bullen, drew the admiration of all who saw her. She was 
very tall, and had she been happy in ability to represent characters 
of consequence, she would have been an excellent partner in tragedy 
for Mr. Barry. In the vicissitudes of itinerant acting she had been 
often reduced, from the small number of players in the company she 
belonged to, to disguise her lovely form and to assume parts very 
unsuitable to so delicate a creature. When she was asked what 
characters she excelled in most, she innocently replied, ' Old men 
in comedy,' meaning such parts as Fondlewife, in The Old Bach- 
elor, and Sir Jealous Traffic, in The Busybody. She died suddenly 
at Plymouth, as she was looking at a dance that was practising for 
the night's representation. In the midst of a hearty laugh she was 
seized with a sudden pain, and expired in the arms of Mr. Moody, 1 who 
happened to stand by, and saved her from falling on the ground." 

1 JOHN MOODY. He established a theatre in the island of Jamaica, 
in 1745, and was thus the means of introducing the acted drama into 
America. He was considered exceptionally fine as the Irishman Teague, 
in The Committee. In the print of The Immortality of Garrick he is 
represented as Adam. 


That is said to have occurred on July 18, 1766. It is 
a tradition in the Jefferson family that the proximate 
cause of the catastrophe was a rehearsal of Dicky Gos- 
sip, by Edward Shuter. That comedian, the original 
representative of Mr. Hardcastle, in She Stoops to Con- 
quer, and of Sir Anthony Absolute, in The Rivals, was 
thought by Garrick to be the greatest comic genius 
of his time. " I remember him," says John Taylor, 
(Records of My Life), " as Justice Woodcock, Scrub, 
Peachum, and Sir Francis Gripe. . . . His acting was 
a compound of truth, simplicity, and luxuriant humour. 
Never was an actor more popular than Shuter." " He 
was more bewildered in his brain by wishing to acquire 
imaginary grace, than by all his drinking," says Tate 
Wilkinson; "like Mawworm, he believed he had a call." 
Shuter, a devout Methodist, was also a fine Falstaff. 
The part of Britannia, mentioned by Davies as allotted 
to Mrs. Jefferson, occurs in a masque by David Mallet, 
first produced at Drury Lane in 1755. The music was 
composed by Dr. Arne (1710-1778). A prologue to the 
piece, written by Mallet and Garrick, and spoken by the 
latter, made a hit, by presenting a tipsy sailor reading a 
play-bill, with allusions to war with the French. Mrs. 
Jefferson is mentioned by Genest as having played 
Mrs. Fainall, in Congreve's comedy of The Way of 
the World (1703), at Drury Lane, on March 15, 1774, 
for the benefit of Mrs. Abington. Her attributes and 
rank as an actress may be inferred from those facts. 
Her death is said by one authority to have occurred 
in 1766; by another, in 1768. The birth of Joseph 
Jefferson is assigned to 1774 or 1776. It is known that 
he had a step-mother ; one cause of his leaving home 


and emigrating to America, indeed, was his dissatisfac- 
tion with his father's second marriage ; and there is no 
record that Thomas Jefferson was married more than 
twice. It is not questioned that the mirth-making race 
of Jefferson has descended from the lovely lady who 
died of laughter on the Plymouth stage ; but either the 
date of her death or that of Joseph Jefferson's birth has 
been incorrectly stated. The true date of her death, 
probably, is 1776. One account says that Joseph Jef- 
ferson was born literally upon the stage, and that his 
mother died shortly afterward. It is a coincidence, 
bearing on the question of descent, that the Jefferson 
of our day, Rip Van Winkle, suffers agony at the base 
of the brain, from inordinate laughter. 

Tate Wilkinson, 1 in his agreeable Memoirs -(1790), 
a work containing several allusions to Thomas Jefferson, 
pays a tribute to the first Mrs. Jefferson, when referring 
to the Exeter episode of Jefferson's career as a 
manager : 

"Early in December, 1764, I set off for Exeter, where Mr. 
Jefferson, my old friend and acquaintance in Dublin and London, 
was then become the manager, and everything then promised most 
flatteringly that he would soon make a fortune. But the substance 
is often changed for a shadow, nor are managers 1 gains so easily 
amassed as the public can gather it for them. His invitation had 
double allurement : first, novelty, which was ever prevalent ; and 
next, to see so pleasant and friendly a man as he had ever 
proved to me. I joined him and his new troop. Mr. Jefferson was 
at that time endeavouring not without encouragement to bring 
that theatre into a regular and established reputation. He had 
engaged Mr. Reddish 2 and many other good performers. Mrs. 

1 TATE WILKINSON was born on October 27, 1739, and he died on 
December i, 1803. 

2 SAMUEL REDDISH. He was born in 1740, became insane in 1779, 



Jefferson, his first wife, was then living. She had one of the best 
dispositions that ever harboured in a human breast ; and, more 
extraordinary, joined to that meekness, she was one of the most 
elegant women ever beheld." 

Jefferson's second wife was Miss Wood, sister to a 
public singer of that name, then distinguished in Lon- 
don. She was a worthy lady, though apparently less 
amiable than her predecessor, and though unpropitious 
toward her step-son. She did not attempt the stage. 
The children of that union were two sons, Frank and 
George, and two daughters, Frances and Elizabeth. 
Frank has been mentioned, as at one time an officer of 
a royal yacht in Virginia Water, at Windsor. George 
became an actor, and a respectably good one ; and he 
also displayed talent as a painter. It is said that a 
titled lady, resident near Ripon, established in her 
house a gallery of his works, and bought everything 
that he painted, binding him not to sell his produc- 
tions to any other person. Elizabeth died in youth. 
Frances was married to Mr. Samuel Butler, 1 manager 
of the Harrowgate, Beverly, and Richmond theatres, 
Yorkshire ; and in after time was known upon the 

and died in 1 785, in an asylum at York. John Taylor, who saw and knew 
him, records that he chiefly distinguished himself in the Shakespeare 
characters of Edgar, Fosthumus, and Henry the Sixth. 

1 In St. Mary's Church at Beverly, Yorkshire, is a tablet bearing this 
inscription : 



' A poor player, that struts and 

frets his hour upon the stage, and 

then is heard no more.' 

Obt. June 15, 1812. 

JEt. 6a." 


stage, both as manager and actress. F. C. Wemyss, 
when a youth of eighteen, joined Mrs. Butler's dramatic 
company (April 12, 1815) at Kendal, in Westmoreland; 
and he records in his Theatrical Biography, that he 
there was introduced by the lady to George Jefferson, 
her brother, who was stage manager. That branch 
of the Jefferson family, however, contributed nothing 
of great importance to the stage. Reference, though, 
should be made to the professional career of Samuel 
W. Butler, son of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Butler above 
mentioned, and grandson of Thomas Jefferson. That 
actor appeared at the Bowery theatre, New York, on 
December 14, 1831, as Coriolanus, and subsequently he 
played Virginius, and other parts. On November 4, 
1841, he came forward at the Park theatre, as Hamlet, 
and on November 9, he acted Walder, in Walder, the 
Avenger. Ireland says that, although " handsome in 
person, graceful in action, and correct in elocution, he 
still lacked the inspiration necessary to rank him as 
an artist of the first class." His wife, who accompanied 
him in America, surpassed him in public favour, 
acting Louisa, in The Dead Shot, and also Gil Bias. 
Mr. and Mrs. Butler returned to England. Samuel 
William Butler died on July 17, 1845, aged forty-one, 
and was buried in Ardwick cemetery, Manchester. 
Charles Swain wrote his epitaph, which is here tran- 
scribed from a valuable collection of Curious Epitaphs, 
made by the learned antiquary, William Andrews, of 
Hull, England, and published in 1884. Mr. Andrews 
mentions a sketch of the life of Butler, written by Mr. 
John Evans and printed in Papers of the Manchester 
Literary Chib, in 1877. This is the epitaph : 


" Here rest the mortal remains of Samuel William Butler, Tra- 
gedian. In him the stage lost a highly-gifted and accomplished 
actor, on whose tongue the noblest creations of the poet found 
truthful utterance. After long and severe suffering he departed this 
life the ryth day of July in the year of our Lord, 1845. Aged 
41 years. 

" Whence this ambition, whence this proud desire, 
This love of fame, this longing to aspire? 
To gather laurels in their greenest bloom, 
To honour life and sanctify the tomb ? 
'Tis the Divinity that never dies, 
Which prompts the soul of genius still to rise. 
Though fades the laurel leaf by leaf away, 
The soul hath prescience of a fadeless day ; 
And God's eternal promise, like a star, 
From faded hopes still points to hopes afar ; 
Where weary hearts for consolation trust, 
And bliss immortal quickens from the dust. 
On this great hope the painter, actor, bard, 
And all who ever strove for fame's reward, 
Must rest at last ; and all that earth have trod 
Still need the grace of a forgiving God." 

Thomas Jefferson had a long career. He was on the 
stage from about 1746 to almost the day of his death, 
in 1807, a period of sixty years. At first a rover, he 
saw many parts of the British kingdom, and became a 
favourite in the theatrical circles of many communities. 
He then settled into the groove of theatrical manage- 
ment, and there he remained till the last. His most 
prosperous days were those that he passed at Plym- 
outh, where he was established by chance. He had 
been asked to become the manager of the Plymouth 
theatre, for a salary and one-third of the profits, and he 
agreed, on condition that the interior of the theatre 
should be renovated. This was promised, and he there- 


upon sent forward carpenters and painters, from the 
theatre at Dublin, where (about 1760) he happened to 
be acting, to do the work. Before those artisans reached 
Plymouth, the owner of the theatre, Mr. Kerby, had died ; 
nevertheless they were permitted, by his representative, 
to proceed in their task. Jefferson soon followed, with 
his theatrical company, but on arriving was astonished 
to learn that the building materials used by his me- 
chanics had been supplied on the credit of his name, 
which was well known and highly respected, and that 
he now already owed ,261 to the tradespeople of the 
town. The heir-at-law refused to assume that debt, or 
undertake any responsibility in the matter ; and, thus 
hampered, Jefferson determined to secure a lease of the 
theatre, buying its scenery and wardrobe, and to 
make Plymouth his permanent residence. That project 
was fulfilled. He remained sole proprietor till 1770, 
when he sold one-third interest to Mr. Foote, of Exe-. 
ter, with whom, in the mean time, he had been asso- 
ciated in the ownership of the Exeter theatre, and 
another third to Mr. Wolfe, of Pynn. This partnership 
lasted till 1784, when, upon the death of Foote, Jefferson 
inherited half his share, and Wolfe the other half, in 
trust. Three years later, in the winter of 1787, John 
Bernard 1 purchased from Jefferson a third interest in 

1 JOHN BERNARD. This actor, famous in his day for the perfection of 
his dry humour and finished manners, and equally excellent in the lines 
of acting typified by Lord Ogleby and Dashwould, was born at Portsmouth, 
England, in 1756. He went on the stage in 1774, and left it in 1820. 
After a time of provincial tribulation, he succeeded in winning a good rank 
on the London stage, and was long a favourite at Covent Garden. Wignell 
engaged him to come to Philadelphia in 1797, and he was there connected 
with the Chestnut Street theatre until 1803, when he removed to Boston, 


the Plymouth theatre, for ^400, and thereafter Jeffer- 
son, Bernard, and Wolfe were partners in its manage- 
ment, till the season of 1795-96, when Bernard sold his 
share, apparently to another Mr. Foote, and emigrated 
to America. Jefferson, a sufferer from gout, had be- 
come infirm, so that he had to be helped in and out 
from house to theatre, and after Bernard's departure 
he did not long retain his Plymouth property, but sold 
it for the consideration of an annual benefit, clear of 
expenses, as long as he should live. That contract was 
fulfilled, and the veteran received a testimonial each 
year till his death. 1 He derived support, also, as an 
annuitant, from the Covent Garden Theatrical Fund, of 
which he had long been a member. His last days, 
notwithstanding illness and trouble, were marked by 
cheerful resignation. He was an entertaining compan- 
ion, and was always in good spirits. His last appear- 
ance on the stage was made in Aaron Hill's tragedy of 
Zara, as the aged, dying monarch, Lusignan, a character 
that he represented, seated in a chair. Wood mentions 

where he remained three years. In 1807 he appeared at the New York 
Park, and he was last seen in New York in 1813 at the Commonwealth 
theatre, corner of Broadway and White street. He returned to England, 
and died in London, November 29, 1828, aged seventy-two. His Retro- 
spections of the Stage, edited by his son, William Bayle Bernard, is a 
charming book, and one of the best contributions that have been made 
to the history of the English stage. He left papers, also, from which his 
son compiled and edited Early Days of the American Stage, first pub- 
lished in Tallis's Dramatic Magazine (December, 1850, et seq.~). Bayle 
Bernard died in London, August 9, 1875. ^ e was tne autnor of many 
plays, notably of two versions of Rip Van Winkle. 

1 " JEFFERSON'S benefit (at Plymouth) is always well and fashionably 
attended, and we are happy to add the last two years have been particularly 
lucrative." Gilliland's Dramatic Mirror. 


that incident, in his Personal Recollections, and refers to 
an acquaintance of his, who witnessed the ceremony of 
Jefferson's final retirement. (The tragedy of Zara, pro- 
duced at Drury Lane in 1736, was borrowed from Vol- 
taire's Zaire.} At the time of his death, which speedily 
followed his farewell, Jefferson was at Ripon, on a visit 
to his daughter Frances, Mrs. Samuel Butler, and it 
was there that he was seen by Drinkwater Meadows. 
His residence in Plymouth was a house adjoining the 
theatre. A view of those premises occurs in James 
Winston's Theatric Tourist, and Winston directs atten- 
tion to the comedian's bedroom window, which is visible 
in that print. It was in this theatre that the first Mrs. 
Jefferson dkd ; and it was in this house, no doubt, that 
Joseph Jefferson was born, the actor who first made 
the name conspicuous in American theatrical history. 
The old Plymouth theatre, a queer little two-story 
building, having two small doors and seven small win- 
dows, was burnt down in 1863. 

In Bernard's first season with Jefferson (1787) at 
Plymouth, the dramatic company, he says, was "more 
select than numerous. Jefferson, in the old men, serious 
and comic, was a host. Wolfe, my other partner, was 
a respectable actor, and Mrs. Bernard and myself were 
established favourites, from the metropolis. Among 
the corps was a Mr. Prigmore," who afterwards came 
to America. The same writer describes, in a sprightly 
strain, the average audience with which the actors at the 
Plymouth theatre were favoured : 

" Sailors in general, I believe, are very fond of play-houses. This 
may be partly because they find their ships work-houses, and partly 
because the former are the readiest places of amusement they can 


visit when ashore. I remember, oo^my first trip to Plymouth, I 
was rather startled at observing the effect which acting took on them, 
as also their mode of conducting themselves during a performance. 
It was a common occurrence, when no officers were present, for a 
tar in the gallery, who observed a messmate in the pit that he wished 
to address, to sling himself over and descend by the pillars, treading 
on every stray finger and bill in his way. When his communication 
was over, and before an officer could seize him, up again he went 
like a cat, and was speedily anchored alongside of ' Bet, sweet Blos- 
som.' The pit they called the hold; the gallery, up aloft, or the 
main-top landing ; the boxes, the cabin ; and the stage, the quarter- 
deck. Every General and gentleman they saluted as a skipper; 
every soldier was a jolly, or lobster; and the varieties of old and 
young men who were not in command they collectively designated 
swabs. Jefferson, being the eldest, was a Rear- Admiral, and I was 
a Commodore." 

The merry temperament of Jefferson and the drifting 
kind of life that he led, in common with his comrades 
of the sock, are suggested in this anecdote, from the 
same book : 

"On arriving at Plymouth (1791) I found, to my great surprise, 
the company collected, but no preparations for the opening of the 
theatre. Wolfe and Jefferson were away, on one of their temporary 
schemes, and their precise point of destination I could not ascertain, 
till Jefferson came over from the little town of Lostwithiel, bringing 
with him the pleasing intelligence that the result of the speculation 
had placed all our scenery and wardrobe in jeopardy. 1 I agreed to 

1 The cost of conducting a theatre, however, was much less, in old 
days, than it is now, because the salaries paid to actors were smaller. 
About 1680 the highest salary paid to an actor was six shillings and 
threepence a day. About 1773 the total payment, for a week, at Drury 
Lane, amounted to about ^523. In 1750 Quin was paid ^1000 a year, 
by Rich, at Covent Garden, the highest salary given to any actor on 
the English stage, up to that time. Dunlap states his total expenses, at 
the Park theatre, New York, in the season of 1798-99, at less than $1200 
a week. 


go back with him and play for iis benefit, taking with me our singer, 
a very pleasant fellow, of the name of West. 

" On crossing the ferry v^e bought a quantity of prawns, which we 
agreed to reserve for a snack at an inn, where Jefferson said there 
was some of the finest ale in the country. West and myself, how- 
ever, could not resist our propensities towards a dozen of the prawns, 
which, lying at the top, happened to be the largest, in the manner 
of pottled strawberries, to cover a hundred small ones. Coming to 
a hill, West and I jumped out of the coach, leaving Jefferson to take 
care of the fish. We had just reached the summit when we heard 
a great bawling behind us, and looking round perceived the coach 
standing still at the foot of the ascent, and Jefferson leaning out of 
the window and waving his hand. Imagining some accident had 
happened, down we both ran, at our utmost speed, and inquired the 
matter. Jefferson held up the handkerchief of diminutive prawns 
to our view, and replied, ' I wished to know if you wouldn't like a 
few of the large ones.' There was so much pleasantry in this reproof 
that we could only look in each other's face, laugh, and toil up the 
hill again." 

Ryley's Itinerant'*- gives pleasant glimpses of Thomas 
Jefferson : 

" Tom Blanchard came to play a few nights, and with him Jeffer- 
son of Exeter. During their stay we received an invitation to per- 
form The School for Scandal and An Agreeable Sitrprise, at Torr 
Abbey, on some grand public occasion which now slips my memory. 
Three chaises conveyed the major part of the company. Jefferson 
rode his own horse, and I walked, with my dogs and gun. During 
the journey, we thought of nothing but British hospitality and good 
cheer. Rich wines and fat venison were descanted upon, with epi- 
curean volubility : when, behold, we were shown into a cold, com- 
fortless servants' hall, with a stone floor. Jefferson, who was a 

1 SAMUEL WILLIAM RYLEY, born 1755, died 1837. Author of a musi- 
cal farce, called The Civilian, or Farmer turned Footman (1792), a comic 
opera on the subject of Smollett's novel of Roderick Random (1793), and 
a monologue entertainment entitled New Brooms, which contains several 
songs. His Itinerant, or Genuine Memoirs of an Actor, was published in 


martyr to the gout, looked around him with disgust ; and when the 
servant unfeelingly inquired whether we chose any dinner, he replied : 
' Tell your master, friend, that after his death he had better have a 
bad epitaph than the players 1 ill report while he lives.' So saying 
he remounted his horse, and left us to do the play as well as we 
could without him. This rebuke had a good effect, for the butler 
soon made his appearance, with an apology, and the players received 
courteous entertainment during their stay at Torr Abbey." 

One of the anecdotes told by Ryley, has been illus- 
trated with an etching by Cruickshank, published in 
The Humourist : 

" The last night of Jefferson's engagement, he played Hamlet, for 
his own benefit ; and Tom Blanchard, ever accommodating, agreed 
to double Guildenstern with the Grave-Digger. When Hamlet 
called for ' the recorders, 1 Blanchard, who delighted in a joke, instead 
of a flute brought on a bassoon, used in the orchestra. Jefferson, 
after composing his countenance, which the sight of this instrument 
had considerably discomposed, went on with the scene : 

' H. Will you play upon this pipe ? 

' G. My lord, I cannot. 

' H. I pray you. 

' G. Believe me, I cannot. 

' H. I do beseech you. 

' G. Well, my lord, since you are so very pressing, I will do my 

" Tom, who was a good musician, immediately struck up Lady 
Coventry's Minuet, and went through the whole strain, which fin- 
ished the scene ; for Hamlet had not another word to say for him- 

Bernard speaks of Benjamin Haydon, father of the 
painter, as a resident of Plymouth, in the days of his 
management with Jefferson, and as his friend and agent. 
The elder Haydon was in the habit of meeting Jefferson 
and Wolfe, for consultation with them on the business 
of the theatre, and regularly communicating with Ber- 


nard, in London. When Bernard lived at Plymouth, he 
often dined with Haydon, and he tells this story of the 
boy who afterwards became so distinguished as an 
artist : 

" His son, the present artist of celebrity, a spirited, intelligent little 
fellow about ten years of age, used to listen to my songs, and laugh 
heartily at my jokes, whenever I dined at his father's. One evening 

I was playing Sharp, in The Lying Valet, when he and my friend 
Benjamin were in the stage-box ; and, on my repeating the words, 

I 1 have had nothing to eat, since last Monday was a fortnight,' little 
Haydon exclaimed, in a tone audible to the whole house, ' What a 
whopper ! Why, you dined at my father's house this afternoon.' 
It was on this occasion, I believe, Mr. B. R. Haydon 1 first attracted 
the notice of the public." 

The memory of Thomas Jefferson is associated by 
Victor (Secret History of the Green-Room} with that of 
the brilliant actress, Frances Abington. That siren 
seems to have had many worshippers, and she remained, 
to the end of her days, a fascinating woman. She was 
born in London, in 1737, and died there, in Pall Mall, in 
March, 1815, and was buried in St. James's, Piccadilly. 
A life-like glimpse of her is given by John Taylor, in 
his Records of my Life, p. 230 ; and another by Henry 
Crabb Robinson, in his Reminiscences, p. 214. Her 
maiden name was Frances Barton. She married a 
musician named Abington. Her first appearance was 
made at the London Haymarket, in 1755, as Miranda, 
in The Busybody, and her last public appearance occurred 
on April 12, 1799. She was accounted a great Beatrice, 

1 BENJAMIN ROBERT HAYDON, born in 1786, committed suicide in 1846. 
His grave is in old Paddington churchyard, London, a little way from that 
of Sarah Siddons. The Lying Valet, mentioned by Bernard, is a comedy 
by David Garrick, first produced in 1741, at Goodman's Fields theatre. 


in Much Ado, and she was the original Lady Teazle, in 
The School for Scandal, a part that she made a fine 
lady, with no trace of rustic origin. Garrick referred 
to her as a " most worthless creature, as silly as she is 
false and treacherous." Robinson's picture of her is 
more agreeable : 

"June 16, 1811. Dined at Sergeant Rough's, and met the once 
celebrated Mrs. Abington. From her present appearance one can 
hardly suppose she could ever have been otherwise than plain. She 
herself laughed at her snub-nose ; but she is erect, has a large, blue, 
expressive eye, and an agreeable voice. She spoke of her retire- 
ment from the stage as occasioned by the vexations of a theatrical 
life. She said she should have gone mad, if she had not quitted her 
profession. She has lost all her professional feelings, and when she 
goes to the theatre can laugh and cry like a child ; but the trouble 
is too great, and she does not often go. 

" It is so much a thing of course that a retired actor should be a 
laudator temporis actt, that I felt unwilling to draw from her any 
opinion of her successors. Mrs. Siddons, however, she praised, 
though not with the warmth of a genuine admirer. She said : 
' Early in life Mrs. Siddons was anxious to succeed in comedy, and 
played Rosalind before I retired.' In speaking of the modern 
declamation and the too elaborate emphasis given to insignificant 
words, she said, ' That was brought in by them ' (the Kembles) . 
She spoke with admiration of the Covent Garden horses, and 
I have no doubt that her praise was meant to have the effect of 

" Of all the present (181 1) actors Murray most resembles Garrick. 
She spoke of Barry with great warmth. He was a nightingale. 
Such a voice was never heard. He confined himself to characters 
of great tenderness and sweetness, such as Romeo. She admitted 
the infinite superiority of Garrick, in genius. His excellence lay in 
the bursts and quick transitions of passion, and in the variety and 
universality of his genius. Mrs. Abington would not have led me 
to suppose she had been on the stage, by either her manner or the 
substance of her conversation. She speaks with the ease of a per- 




son used to good society, rather than with the assurance of one 
whose business it was to imitate tha,t ease." 

The Covent Garden horses, mentioned by Mrs. Abing- 
ton, were a number of steeds exhibited at that theatre, 
in 1811, in processions, in Blue Beard and The 
Forty Thieves. Sheridan referred to them in this 
couplet : 

" How arts improve in this degenerate age ! 
Peers mount the box, and horses tread the stage ! " 

Thomas Jefferson's life seems to have been simple, 
industrious, and kindly. Although he was well known, 
he never filled a place of great prominence in the public 
eye or in the records of his time. The man was, obvi- 
ously, more than the actor. To us, as his figure glim- 
mers forth in the dim retrospect of the vanishing past, 
he is far less remarkable for what he achieved than for 
the associations that cluster around his name, and for 
what we are enabled to perceive of those charming 
characteristics which have survived in his living de- 
scendants. It was a romantic period through which 
Thomas Jefferson lived. It was a time, in theatrical 
annals, of varied and brilliant activity. The old story 
of Garrick's dethronement of the classic style of acting 
makes its background. The great Newton, in science, 
and Betterton and Elizabeth Barry, in art, had but lately 
died, when Jefferson was born. Congreve was still alive. 
Gibber, with the courtly graces of the age of Queen 
Anne, was just passing from the scene, while Quin, 1 

1 JAMES QUIN, 1693-1766. The great Falstaff of the eighteenth cen- 
tury, and a man of sturdy intellect, imperious character, and caustic wit. 
He was buried in Bath Abbey, where the visitor may see his epitaph, 
written by Garrick. " I can only recommend a man who wants to see a 


with his Roman dignity and pompous declamation, 
was soon to follow. Fielding was writing his novels, 
and Sheridan his comedies. It was the time, in acting, 
of Garrick, Barry, Henderson, Woodward, Macklin, 
Foote, Weston, Mossop, Shuter, King, Mrs. Pritchard, 
Mrs. Gibber, Mrs. Woffington, and Mrs. Yates. It was 
the time, in poetry, of Cowper, Crabbe, Gray, Goldsmith, 
and Robert Burns. Burke and Fox and Pitt were tread- 
ing the stately heights of oratory, and the terrible Earl 
of Chatham was swaying the rod of empire. To Thomas 
Jefferson must have come, as news of the passing day, 
the thrilling martial story of Clive's exploits in India, 
and the strange and startling tale of Washington's auda- 
cious and successful rebellion in America. He might 
have heard of the glorious death of Wolfe, upon the 
Plains of Abraham, and his gaze may have followed the 
funeral cortege that bore that young hero to his grave 
in Greenwich church. He could have noted, as an 
incident of the hour, the suicide of Thomas Chatterton, 
in Brook street, Holborn. He possibly saw, in West- 
minster Hall, the historic pageant of the trial of Warren 

character perfectly played to see Quin in Falstajf." Foote. " His senti- 
ments, though hid under the rough manner he had assumed, would have 
done honour to Cato." George Anne Bellamy. One of his intimates 
was James Thomson, the poet, who wrote of him, in The Castle of Indo- 
lence, Canto I., stanza 67 : 

" Here whilom lagged the Esopus of the age: 
But called by fame, in soul yprick^d deep, 
A noble pride restored him to the stage, 
And roused him like a giant from his sleep. 
Even from his slumbers we advantage reap: 
With double force the enlivened scene he wakes, 
Yet quits not nature's bounds. He knows to keep 
Each due decorum. Now the heart he shakes, 
And now with well-urged sense the enlighten'd judgment takes." 


Hastings, and, in Westminster Abbey, the grief of a 
nation over the burial of David Garrick, and afterwards 
of Samuel Johnson. Some of the greatest men of the 
eighteenth century witnessed his acting, in the theatres 
of London and Dublin. Living from 1728 until 1807, 
he could have seen, as contemporary publications, the 
later writings of Pope and the earlier writings of Words- 
worth and Sir Walter Scott. He lasted until close upon 
the regency of George the Fourth, and passed away 
just as the accumulated force of Goethe and Niebuhr 
and the new powers of Coleridge, Byron, and Shelley 
were opening a great era in human thought. It cannot 
be otherwise than instructive to muse upon the experi- 
ence of a man before whose vision such memorable 
scenes and persons arose, and into whose life so much 
was crowded of impressive spectacle and admonitive 

One of the clearest impressions derived from the 
story of Thomas Jefferson's life is the impression of 
his docile amiability and droll humour. A manly, in- 
dependent spirit, a gentle disposition, and an invet- 
erate love of fun seem to have been the principal 
attributes of his character, and those attributes have 
marked his race. The apostles of heredity are some- 
what overfond of telling us about transmitted evil. It 
is a comfort occasionally to remember that good also can 
be inherited. Jefferson was scrupulously honest, but he 
had no economy. The will of the facetious Weston, 1 

1 THOMAS WESTON, 1727-1776, was a son of the chief cook to George 
the Second. After a wild, roving youth, he became an actor. He was 
in Garrick's company, at Drury Lane, and he was with Foote, at the old 
Haymarket. His excellence was shown in Scrub, Drugger, and Jerry 


that droll comedian, who almost rivalled Garrick in 
Abel Drugger, and for whom Foote wrote the character 
of Jerry Sneak, contains this clause : "Item. I having 
played under the management of Mr. Jefferson, at 
Richmond, and received from him every politeness; 
I therefore leave him all my stock of prudence, it being 
the only good quality I think he stands in need of." 

"I acted Bayes, at Exeter," says Tate Wilkinson, 
"and spoke a speech or two in the manner of old 
Andrew Brice, a printer of that city, and an eccentric 
genius. It struck the whole audience like electricity. 
Mr. Jefferson, who performed Johnson, was so taken 
by surprise that he could not proceed for laughter." 

Elsewhere in Wilkinson's Memoirs (Vol. III., p. 193) 
the reader sees Jefferson, in the full tide of innocent, 
sportive mischief, demurely charring the pompous and 
truculent Henry Mossop, a man of great ability, but 
one who lacked the sense of humour, and therefore was 
the easy prey of the joker. Both were members, at that 
time, of the Smock Alley theatre, in Dublin : 

" Jefferson, who loved a little mischief, said to Mossop one day, 
'Sir, I was last night at Crow Street, where Wilkinson, in Tragedy 
h-la-Mode and in Bayes, had taken very great liberties indeed,' and 
added that the audience were ill-natured enough to be highly enter- 
tained ; on which Mossop snuffed the air, put his hand on his sword, 
and, turning upon his heel, replied, ' Yes, sir ; but he only takes me 
off a little] and made his angry departure. After which Jefferson 
never again renewed the subject ; but was astonished, after his 
repeated and open threats of vengeance, he had not acted more 

Sneak. He seems, personally, to have been a compound of Charles 
Surface and Dick Swiveller. He was merry, comic, improvident, and too 
fond of the bottle for his own good. An interesting sketch of him is given 
in John Gait's Lives of the Players, Vol. I., p. 232. 


consistently. And after the said Jefferson's telling me that circum- 
stance I never heard more of Mr. Mossop's sword, pistol, or anger." 
Mossop had previously, in a comic interview with Wilkinson, in 
the street, threatened him with violence. " ' Sir,' said Mossop, 1 
' you are going to play in Crow Street theatre with Barry, sir, and, 
sir, I will run you through the body, sir, if you take the liberty to 
attempt my manner, by any mimicry on the stage. You must 
promise me, sir, on your honour, you will not dare attempt it. If 
you break that promise, sir, you cannot live ; and you, Mr. Wil-kin- 
son, must die, as you must meet me the next day, and I shall kill 
you, sir.' I told him it was impossible to comply with that his 

A reference to Thomas Jefferson, showing how near, 
for the second time, he came to a sudden, accidental 
death, occurs in a sketch of Theophilus Gibber, pub- 
lished in the Biographia Dramatica. Theophilus, the 
profligate son of the poet laureate, Colley Gibber, was 
drowned, in 1758, aged fifty-five, on a voyage from 
England to Ireland. In recording that catastrophe, the 
Biographia makes allusion to Jefferson : 

" Mr. Gibber embarked at Parkgate, together with Mr. Maddox, 
the celebrated wire-dancer, who had also been engaged as an auxil- 
iary to the same theatre, 2 on board the Dublin trader, some time in 
the month of October ; but the high winds which are frequent at 
that time of the year in St. George's channel, and which are fatal 
to many vessels in the passage from this kingdom to Ireland, proved 
particularly so to this. The vessel was driven to the coast of Scot- 
land, where it was cast away, every soul in it (and the passengers 
were extremely numerous) perishing in the waves, and the ship 

1 MOSSOP (1729-1773) died in London, in great penury, which, 
however, he kept a secret, and was buried in or near Chelsea church. 
I tried, in 1885, to find his grave, but without success. It is unmarked. 

2 Those performers were on their way to join the Theatre Royal in 
Smock alley, Dublin, managed by Thomas Sheridan, who needed recruits, 
as he had been much pressed, in that year, 1758, by the opposition of the 
new theatre in Crow street. Indeed, it ruined him there. 



itself so entirely lost that scarcely any vestige of it remained, to 
indicate where it had been wrecked, excepting a box containing 
books and papers which were known to be Mr. Gibber's, and which 
were cast up on the western coast of Scotland. [So said Mr. 
Baker, 1 but this was a mistake ; for we have since found that in 
this ship, in which Theoph. Gibber, Maddox, and others perished, 
Mr. and Mrs. Jefferson, Mr. Arthur and family, Mrs. Chambers, 
and some others were passengers, and, by leaping into a small boat, 
were saved."] 

A peculiarity in Thomas Jefferson's character, and a 
singular incident in his experience, are thus stated by 
his grand-daughter, Elizabeth Jefferson, in a letter to 
the present biographer : 

" My grandfather had a great aversion to litigation and lawyers. 
I remember having been told of an instance of this. He had paid 
a large sum of money to a creditor, but had mislaid the receipt ; 
and it happened that in time this same bill was again presented for 
payment. He explained and protested, but his creditor was posi- 
tive, and finally my grandfather was sent to jail. My father volun- 
tarily went there, along with him, to take care of him, and for a 
whole year they endured imprisonment. At last the missing receipt 
was found, and their prison doors were opened. My grandfather 
was now urged to bring an action for damages, and, doubtless, he 
might have recovered a large sum ; but his invincible repugnance 
to litigation restrained him, and he resolutely refused to proceed, 
being content with his liberty and with the contrite apology offered 
by his hard creditor. My father's devotion to him was never 
forgotten ; nor by his step-mother was it ever forgiven." 

Thomas Jefferson died at Ripon, January 24, 1807. 
Contemporary records of the event offer a strong con- 
trast to the kind of chronicle which is made, in modern 
journals, of the death of a notable man. The Gentle- 

1 DAVID ERSKINE BAKER, who projected and began the Biographia, 
bringing the record to 1764. ISAAC REED, F.A.S., subsequently continued 
this useful chronicle to 1782, and STEPHEN JONES brought it onward to 1811. 


mans Magazine^ for March, 1807, presents, for example, 
the subjoined obituary notice-: 

" Died. At Ripon, County of York, while on a visit to a daugh- 
ter, Mr. Jefferson, comedian, the friend, contemporary, and exact 
prototype of the immortal Garrick. He had resided many years at 
Plymouth ; and as often as his age and infirmities permitted, he 
appeared on that stage, in characters adapted to lameness and 
decay, and performed them admirably, particularly at his last bene- 
fit, when he personated Lusignan and Lord Chalkstone. We know 
not whether Mr. Hull or Mr. Jefferson was the father of the British 
stage ; they were both of nearly an equal standing. To the The- 
atrical Fund, 1 of which the former is founder and treasurer, the 
latter owed the chief support of his old age." 

1 THE THEATRICAL FUND of London was instituted at Covent Garden, 
December 22, 1765, and confirmed by act of Parliament in 1766. The 
plan of it was suggested by George Mattocks, and was carried into prac- 
tical effect by Thomas Hull. In the churchyard of St. Margaret's, near 
the north porch of Westminster Abbey, could once be read, on a grave- 
stone, this inscription, the lines by John Taylor : 

" Also to the Memory of 

Late of the 

Theatre Royal, Covent Garden, 
who departed this life 

April 22, 1808, 
In the ygth year of his age. 
" Hull, long respected in the scenic art, 
On this world's stage sustained a virtuous part; 
And some memorial of his zeal to shew 
For his loved Art, and shelter age from woe, 
Founded that noble Fund which guards his name, 
Embalmed by Gratitude, enshrined by Fame." 

At Chingford in Essex, within the precincts of a most interesting old 
church, now in ruins, I one day came upon a weather-beaten tombstone, 
bearing this inscription : 

" In memory of Mr. John Jefferson, late of this parish, who departed this life January 
27, 1794, in the 7151 year of his age. Also of Mrs. Mary Jefferson, wife of the above. 
June 2, 1775. Aged 48. Tom Jefferson. 1804. 81." 

These may have been relatives of old Thomas Jefferson. It seemed 
worth while to copy the records. 


A passing reference to the same bereavement is made 
in the Annual Register, for 1807 : 

" Mr. Jefferson was on a visit to a daughter, who is settled in 
Yorkshire, when death closed the last scenes of this honest, pleasant, 
much esteemed man." 

These notices of the life of Thomas Jefferson cannot 
better be embellished than with the suggestive reflec- 
tions made by Mr. James Smith, of Melbourne, a diligent 
and appreciative student of theatrical history, and one 
of the most sprightly and ingenious writers of the 
Australian world : 

" What times to have lived in," that moralist exclaims, "and what 
men and women to have known ! He saw Old Drury in the height 
of its glory, and Garrick in the zenith of his renown. He flirted 
with Kitty Clive, and supped with Fanny Abington. He listened 
to the silver tones of Spranger Barry, and was melted by the 
pathos of Susanna Gibber. He chuckled at the sight of Sam Foote 
mimicking everybody, and of Tate Wilkinson mimicking Sam 
Foote. He saw the curtain rise before an audience that included 
Lord Chancellor Camden and Lord Chief Justice Mansfield, William 
Hogarth and Charles Churchill, Edmund Burke and Edward Gibbon. 
He heard Goldsmith's child-like laugh and Dr. Johnson's gruff 
applause. He saw the courtly sarcasm sparkle in Horace Walpole's 
eyes, and the jest quivering on Selwyn's lip. He recognised the 
quaint figure of Sir Joshua Reynolds in the boxes, and the brilliant, 
homely face of Thomas Gainsborough in the pit. And, above all, 
he trod the same stage with the English Roscius, and was privi- 
leged to watch every movement of that marvellous face. This was, 
indeed, an uncommon and a happy fate! What pleasant hours he 
must have spent with Garrick, at Hampton, and what a fund of 
anecdote he must have accumulated, with which, in his age, to 
charm his cronies at Plymouth! He had seen King carry the town 
by storm as Lord Ogleby in The Clandestine Marriage, and Garrick 
take his farewell of the stage. He could recall the airy flutter of 
Dodd ; the rollicking Irish humour of Moody; the well-bred ease 



of Palmer ; the eloquent by-play of Parsons ; the versatility of Ban- 
nister ; the strong, melodious voice of Holland ; the ardour of 
Powell ; the whimsical drollery of Reddish ; Mossop's harmonious 
delivery, and Macklin's rumbling growl. He had seen the Abing- 
tons, the Baddeleys, the Gibbers, the Clives, and the whole splendid 
phalanx of the Garrick dynasty, pass from the scene ; and he had 
lived to view the rise of the Kembles, and to hear the thrilling 
accents of Mrs. Siddons, and the sweet, bubbling laugh of Dora 
Jordan. What reminiscences might have been written by Thomas 
Jefferson ! " 

Dramatic art is not the assumption of disguises, but 
the idealised exposition of nature and the poetic inter- 
pretation of character, by means of action. Human 
capacity in that art as experience and observation 
have amply shown is sharply limited ; for, in acting, 
everything centres in the personality of the individual. 
The best success of the best actor is gained in only a 
few characters, and those such as comprise, however 
intermingled with other ingredients, attributes sympa- 
thetic with his own. Thomas Jefferson acted parts of 
every description, from the Bleeding Soldier up to Mac- 
beth, and from Katherine's music-master up to Hamlet. 
In the course of the twenty-five years during which, at 
intervals, he performed in Drury Lane, he presented 
about sixty characters. In all of them he was efficient ; 
in some of them he was excellent ; in no one of them 
did he make an impression that has endured. Garrick 
is remembered as Don Felix and King Lear ; Kemble, 
as Coriolanus and Penruddock ; Edmund Kean, as The 
Stranger, Sir Edward Mortimer, and Othello ; Cooke, as 
Sir Giles Overreach ; Junius Brutus Booth, as Richard 
the Third ; Macready, as Macbeth ; Forrest, as Damon ; 
Edwin Booth, as Hamlet and Richelieu; Henry Irving, 


as Mathias in The Bells, Becket, Lear, Hamlet, Louis, 
and Dr. Primrose : but of Thomas Jefferson, the mem- 
ory is simply that of a clever, versatile actor, who 
followed the natural style of Garrick, excelled in the 
representation of kings and tyrants, and loved his joke. 
Some of the parts that he played, together with the 
titles of the plays in which they occur, and with occa- 
sional comment, are named in this catalogue. 



Aubrey, in The Fashionable Lover. Comedy. By Richard Cum- 
berland. Drury Lane, 1772. 


Balance, in The Recruiting Officer, one of the fine comedies of 
Farquhar. Drury Lane, 1705. The scene is Shrewsbury. Far- 
quhar was once a recruiting officer, and he is thought to have drawn 
his own character in that of Captain Plume. His Justice Balance 
was designed as a compliment to Mr. Berkely, then recorder of 
Shrewsbury; and Sylvia was drawn from Mr. Berkely's daughter. 
Jefferson acted Balance, on occasions of his benefit, in 1775 aij d 

Belford, and also Baldwin, in The Fatal Marriage, or The 
Innocent Adultery. Tragedy. By Thomas Southerne. 1694. 
Altered by Garrick, and called Isabella, or The Fatal Marriage. 
Drury Lane. 

Blandford, in The Royal Slave. Tragi-comedy. By William 
Cartwright, 1639. First acted in 1636, at Oxford, before Charles 
the First. 

Buckingham, in Gibber's alteration of Shakespeare's tragedy of 
Richard the Third. Drury Lane, 1700. 


Chalkstone, in Garrick's farce of Lethe, first produced at Drury 
Lane, in 1748. It had been presented three years earlier, in a 


different form, at Goodman's Fields theatre, under the title of 
AZsop in the Shades. Garrick was the original Lord Chalkstone. 

Cubla, in Zingis. Tragedy. By Alexander Dow. Drury Lane, 

Captain Worthy, in The Fair Quaker, or The Humours of the 
Navy. Comedy. By Charles Shadwell, 1710. Altered by Captain 
Edward Thompson. Drury Lane, 1773. 

Carlos, in The Revenge. Tragedy. By Dr. Edward Young, 
author of Night Thoughts. Drury Lane, 1721. 

Careless, in The Committee, or The Faithful Irishman. Comedy. 
By Sir Robert Howard. 1665. 

Careless, in The Doiible Gallant, or The Sick Lady's Cure. 
Comedy. By Colley Gibber. Hay market, 1707. 

Colonel Britton, in The Wonder. Comedy. By Susanna 
Centlivre. Drury Lane, 1713-14. 

Colonel Rivers, in False Delicacy. Comedy. By Hugh Kelly. 
Drury Lane, 1768. Jefferson acted this part for his benefit, in 1773. 

Colonel Lambert, in The Hypocrite. An alteration of Gibber's 
play of The Nonjuror, 1718, which, in turn, was based on Moliere's 
Tartuffe, made by Isaac Bickerstaff, 1768. The chief part in The 
Nonjuror is Dr. Wolf, a priest, who pretends to be an English 
churchman. In The Hypocrite Mawworm is the principal part, and 
that was acted, with great ability, by Thomas Weston. Drury 

Cleomenes, in Florizel and Perdita. Pastoral Drama, in three 
acts, altered from Shakespeare's lovely comedy of A Winter's Tale, 
by Garrick, and produced at Drury Lane, in 1756. 

Clytus, in Alexander the Great. Altered from Nathaniel Lee's 
tragedy of The Rival Queens, or The Death of Alexander the Great. 
Theatre Royal, 1677. Produced at both Covent Garden and Drury 
Lane, 1770. Roxana and Statira are in that play. Revived at 
Drury Lane, 1795. The author, a brilliant genius, died, at thirty- 
five, in 1691 or 1692, shortly after being released from Bedlam. 


Dolabella, in All for Love, or The World Well Lost. That is 
the tragedy in which Dryden imitated Shakespeare's Antony and 
Cleopatra, and which he said was the only one of his plays that 


he had written for himself. Theatre Royal, 1678. Dr. Johnson 
remarks of this play that the author, " by admitting the romantic 
omnipotence of love, has recommended as laudable and worthy of 
imitation that conduct which, through all ages, the good have cen- 
sured as vicious, and the bad despised as foolish." 

Don Frederick, and also Don John, in The Chances. Comedy. 
By Beaumont and Fletcher, 1647. Altered by the Duke of Buck- 
ingham, 1682. Altered by Garrick, 1773, who acted Don John. 
Drury Lane. 

Dunelm, in Athelstan. Tragedy. By Dr. John Browne, once 
Bishop of Carlisle. Drury Lane, 1756. 

Earl of Devon, in Alfred. Tragedy. By David Mallet. Altered 
by Garrick. Drury Lane, 1773. 

Emperor of Germany, in The Heroine of the Cave. Tragedy. 
Begun by Henry Jones, and finished by Paul Hiffernan. Acted, for 
the benefit of Samuel Reddish, March 19, 1774. 


Friar John, in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. This part is 
usually omitted: it was, however, restored by Irving (1882). 

Fail-field, in The Man of the Mitt. 1765. A burlesque opera, 
written by " Signer Squallini," in satire of The Maid of the Mill, 
by Isaac Bickerstaff, a comic opera, on the subject of Samuel 
Richardson's novel of Pamela. Covent Garden, 1765. 


Gloster, in Jane Shore. Tragedy. By Nicholas Rowe. Drury 
Lane, 1713. 

Mrs. Siddons told Dean Milman that one line in Rowe's tragedy 
of Jane Shore was the most effective she ever uttered : " 'Twas he 
'twas Hastings." 

In 1772 Mrs. Canning mother of the statesman, George Can- 
ning (1770-1827), then a child of two years made her first 
appearance on the stage, acting Jane Shore in that piece. Garrick 
acted Shore. An allusion to that incident occurs in Bernard's 
Retrospections, Vol. I., p. 13 : 


" At Drury Lane I remember seeing Jane Shore, on the evening that Mrs. 
Canning, the widow of an eminent counsellor, made her debut, as the heroine. 
She was patronised by numerous persons of distinction, and the house was 
very favourable towards her. But, independently of the personal interest which 
attended her attempt, Mrs. Canning put forth claims upon the approbation of 
the critical. One thing, however, must be admitted ; she was wonderfully well 
supported. Garrick was the Hastings, and Reddish (her future husband), the 
Dumont. I little thought as I sat in the pit that night, an ardent boy of sixteen, 
that I then beheld the lady who was destined, at some fifteen years' distance, to 
become the leading feature in a company of my own ; nor that in the Gloster 
of the night, admirably acted by Jefferson, I beheld my partner in that 
management. (Plymouth.) " 

Goodwin, in The Brothers. Tragedy. By Dr. Edward Young, 
author of Night Thoughts. Drury Lane, 1753. 

Gratiano, in Shakespeare's comedy of The Merchant of Venice. 

Heartfree, in The Provoked Wife. Comedy. By Sir John Van- 
brugh. Lincoln's Inn Fields, 1697. Quin was distinguished in it, 
as Sir John Brute. 

Horatio, in The Fair Penitent. Tragedy. By Nicholas Rowe. 
Lincoln's Inn Fields, 1703. 

I. AND J. 

lachimo and also Cloten, in Shakespeare's Cymbeline, altered by 
Garrick, 1761. 

Jarvis, in The Gamester. Comedy. By Susanna Centlivre. Lin- 
coln's Inn Fields, 1705 ; Drury Lane, 1758. There is an earlier play, 
with this title, by James Shirley (1637), which was altered by Garrick, 
and brought out at Drury Lane, in 1758 ; and there is a later one, by 
Edward Moore (1753), in which Mrs. Siddons acted Mrs. Beverley, 
and John Palmer was great as Stukeley. Moore died in 1757, and 
his grave is in the burial-ground which was given to London by 
Archbishop Tenison, in what was once called High street, Lambeth. 

Johnson, in The Rehearsal. This capital comedy, by George Vil- 
liers, second Duke of Buckingham (1627, 1688), was produced at the 
Theatre Royal, in 1672, and in after years it afforded to Garrick, in 
the character of Bayes, originally Bilboa, an opportunity, which he 
brilliantly improved, for satirical imitation of the noted actors of the 
time. The Rehearsal, as is well known, suggested to Sheridan the 
admirably humourous farce of The Critic, 


Jaques, in Shakespeare's comedy of As You Like It. 

Kathel, in The Fatal Discovery. Drury Lane, 1769. A tragedy 
by the Rev. John Home, author of Douglas so amusingly described 
by Thackeray {The Virginians, chap. n). Mr. Home was so un- 
popular, on political grounds, at the time of the production of this 
tragedy, that, when the fact of its authorship became known, the 
malcontents threatened to burn the theatre, if the piece was not 
withdrawn ; and Garrick, accordingly, withdrew it, after the twelfth 

King Claudius, in Hamlet, the Dane being acted by Garrick. 


Leonato, in Shakespeare's comedy of Much Ado About Nothing. 

Littlestock, in The Gamesters, a comedy by Garrick, 1758, altered 
from The Gamester, by James Shirley. 

Lord Morelove, in The Careless Husband. Theatre Royal, 1705. 
This is Colley Gibber's most polished comedy, and by some judges 
is considered his best. Lady Betty Modish occurs in it, in which 
part Mrs. Oldfield " excellently acted an agreeably gay woman of 
quality, a little too conscious of her natural attractions." Lord More- 
love is her devoted lover. 

Lord Trinket, in The Jealous Wife. Comedy, by George Col- 
man. Drury Lane, 1761. 

Lovemore, in The Way to Keep Him, a three-act comedy by 
Arthur Murphy. Drury Lane, 1760. Jefferson acted this for his 
benefit, in 1771. 

Lyon, in The Reprisal, or The Tars of Old England. Farce. 
By Tobias Smollett, the novelist. Drury Lane, 1757. Garrick had 
rejected a play by that author, entitled The Regicide, and Smollett 
had subsequently satirised him, as Brayer, in Mr. Melopyn's story, 
in Roderick Random. Garrick's acceptance of the poor farce of 
The Reprisal was, therefore, viewed as an act either of magnanim- 
ity or prudence. 

Mathusius, in Tamanthes. 


Megistus, in Zenobia. Tragedy. By Arthur Murphy. Drury 
Lane, 1768. Adapted from the French of Cre"billon. 

Mirabel, in The Way of the World. Comedy. By William Con- 
greve. Drury Lane, 1700. Jefferson acted this part for the benefit 
of Mrs. Abington. 

Mercury, in Amphytrion. This piece is from the Latin, of Plautus. 
It was adapted by Moliere, and afterwards by Dryden. An altera- 
tion of Dryden's piece, made by Dr. Hawkesworth, at Garrick's 
request, was produced at Drury Lane, in 1756. 

Music-master, in Shakespeare's comedy of The Taming of the 

Myrtle, in The Corsican Lovers. 


Orsino, in Shakespeare's comedy of Twelfth Night. 
Oswald, in King Arthur. 


Palamede, in The Frenchified Lady Never in Paris. Comedy. 
By Henry Dell. Covent Garden, 1757. Based on plays by Dryden 
and Gibber. 


Sir Tan Tivy, in The Male Coquette, or Seventeen Hundred Fifty- 
seven. Farce. By Garrick. Drury Lane, 1757. 

Siffredi, in Tancred and Sigismunda. Tragedy. By James 
Thomson, author of The Seasons. The plot of this piece is found 
in Gil Bias. Drury Lane, 1745. 

Sunderland, in The Note of Hand, or A Trip to Newmarket. 
Farce. By Richard Cumberland. Drury Lane, 1774. 

Sir Epicure Mammon, in The Alchemist. This piece was an alter- 
ation of Ben Jensen's comedy. Garrick acted Abel Drugger, and 
was famously good in the character. A fine painting of Garrick as 
Abel Drugger is in the club-house of the Players, presented to 
that institution by Joseph Jefferson (1890). Garrick's performance 
of Abel Drugger was so good that an infatuated young lady, who 
had begun matrimonial negotiations with him, became disgusted 
and abandoned her project ; while a gentleman from Lichfield, who 
had brought from Garrick's brother a letter of introduction to the 


great actor, would not deliver it, after seeing that impersonation, 
so great was his contempt for the person he then saw. 

Garrick's acting of the part is described as follows, by a contem- 
porary observer, Mr. Lichtenberg, who wrote some account of what 
he saw as a traveller in England, and whose observations were trans- 
lated by Tom Taylor : 

" Abel Drugger's first appearance would disconcert the muscular economy 
of the wisest. His attitude, his dread of offending the doctor, his saying noth- 
ing, his gradual stealing in further and further, his impatience to be introduced, 
his joy to-his friend Face, are imitable by none. When he first opens his mouth, 
the features of his face seem, as it were, to drop upon his tongue ; it is all cau- 
tion, it is timorous, stammering, and inexpressible. When he stands under 
the conjuror, to have his features examined, his teeth, his beard, his little finger, 
his awkward simplicity, and his concern, mixed with hope, and fear, and joy, 
and avarice, and good nature, are beyond painting." 

Trueman, in The Twin Rivals. Comedy. By George Farquhar. 
Drury Lane, 1703. 

Tullius Hostilius, in The Roman Father. Drury Lane, 1750. 
Tragedy, by William Whitehead, who succeeded Gibber, as Poet- 
Laureate, in 1757. It is based on the Roman story of the Horatii 
and the Curiatii, treated in Les Horaces, by Corneille, and made im- 
mortal by Rachel. 


Velasco, in Alonzo. Tragedy by the Rev. John Home. Drury 
Lane, 1773. 

Vainlove, in The Old Bachelor. Comedy. By William Congreve 
(his first piece). Theatre Royal, 1693. 

Thomas Jefferson's character developed itself along 
a conventional line. He had, indeed, the boldness to 
adopt the stage, against which, in his time and for 
many years afterward, the respectable British parent is 
found protesting with severity and contempt. But 
when he did that he was an adventurous lad, with no 
position to lose, and the vocation of the actor no doubt 


consorted as well with his necessities as with his 
humour and talents. It does not appear that there 
was either moral courage or mental prescience in the 
choice. He was a bold, high-spirited youth. He was 
fascinated by the playhouse, and he drifted into acting 
as a source of pleasure and a means of advancement. 
When thus embarked, he soon sobered to the practical 
English view of duty, and thereafter he ambled calmly 
in the beaten track. Through what is known of his 
intellectual life, the inquirer discerns no impulse of posi- 
tive originality, no exercise of creative power. His 
style as an actor was based on that of Garrick, and he 
could not have had a better model ; but he was scarcely 
more than a shadow of his great original. He took the 
parts as they came, and he applied to their illustration 
dramatic instinct of a fine quality and dramatic facul- 
ties of a good order. But he struck out no individual 
path. He resembled Garrick, as Davenport resembled 
Macready, or as Setchell resembled Burton : he was of 
the Garrick school, and that was all. His influence on 
the stage was not the influence of genius ; he did not 
come to destroy, but to fulfil, the tradition which he 
found. That he followed the lead of Garrick, and not 
of Quin, was significant rather of temperament than of 
deliberate choice : brilliancy and warmth allured him 
more than scholarship and formality : but, had he been 
attracted to the school of Quin rather than to that of 
Garrick, he still would have remained a disciple. His 
services to the stage, accordingly, were those of an able 
and generous man, working by conventional methods in 
a traditional groove. He sustained at a high level the 
dignity of his profession, and he was the more scrupu- 


lously careful of the integrity of the theatre because 
sensitive to the reproach under which it laboured. 
While he did not reject Archer, Careless, Woodall, 
Belmour, Scandal, and kindred shining scamps of old 
English comedy, he, evidently, was the kind of man 
who must have acted them, not from sympathy with 
vice, not from immoral intent, but because experience 
had shown them to be useful, and because they were in 
possession of the stage. He played them as he played 
everything else, as he played Jaques, and Horatio, and 
Orsino, and as, had he lived in our day, he would have 
played, with equal impartiality, Master Walter and 
Joseph Surface, Ludovico and Adrastus, Alfred Evelyn 
and Captain Bland. He was a thorough actor; he 
helped to build up the British stage : he held, to the 
end of a long life, the esteem of the public ; and he left 
to history and to his descendants an interesting and" 
honourable name. 



JOSEPH JEFFERSON, the second of the Jefferson Family 
of Actors, and one of the most honourably distinguished 
performers that have graced the theatre, was born at 
Plymouth, England, in 1774. His education was con- 
ducted with care, and he received, under the guidance 
of his parents, a thorough training for the stage. While 
yet a lad he acted in the Plymouth theatre, after 
Bernard had become associated with his father and with 
Mr. Wolfe in its management. His youth, so far as 
can be judged from the little that is known of it, was 
commendable for patience, industry, and filial devotion. 
He appears to have matured early, and to have been 
capable of far-sighted views and the steady pursuit of a 
definite purpose in life. He did not find his home 
comfortable after his father's second marriage, and also 
he sympathised with the republican drift of feeling, 
which, at that disturbed period, between the revolt of 
the British colonies in America and the French Revo- 
lution, was, to a slight extent, rife in England. Those 
causes of discontent impelled him to emigrate to Amer- 
ica. The opportunity was afforded by C. S. Powell, of 
Boston, who had come to England, in 1793, to enlist 



actors for the new theatre in that city. Powell agreed 
to pay the passage money, and a salary of $17 a week. 
Jefferson came over in 1795, and from that time his lot 
was cast with the people of this land. He never re- 
turned to England. His American career lasted thirty- 
seven years, and he deserved and received every mark 
of honour that the respect and affection of the commu- 
nity could bestow upon genius and virtue. His char- 
acter was impressive, and at the same time winning. 
His life was pure. His professional exertions were well 
directed, and for a long time his name retained a brilliant 
prestige. Domestic afflictions and waning popularity, 
indeed, overshadowed his latter days ; but, when we 
remember this, we must also remember that the fifth 
act of life's drama cannot be otherwise than sad, and 
that this actor, before it came, had enjoyed, in ample 
abundance, the sunshine of prosperity. 

The advent of Joseph Jefferson in America is asso- 
ciated with the infancy of the Republic and with an 
early period in the history of the American stage. In 
coming upon this incident, accordingly, the observer's 
thought is prompted to dwell for a moment upon the 
beginning of the theatre in this country. The acted 
drama came into America by way of the island of 
Jamaica, and the pioneer, if not the actual founder, of 
the American stage was the Irish comedian, John 
Moody, originally a barber, who, about the year 1745, 
came over from England to Jamaica, where, after a pre- 
liminary experiment with amateurs, he presently estab- 
lished a theatre, which he conducted with prosperity for 
four years. Moody had been an unsuccessful aspirant 
in tragedy, but subsequently he became distinguished 


.as a comedian. On his return to London, in 1749, he 
was employed in Garrick's company at Drury Lane, 
and he then leased his theatrical property at Jamaica 
to a theatrical company headed by David Douglas and 
inclusive of Mr. Daniels, Miss Hamilton, Mr. Kershaw, 
Mr. Morris, and Mr. Smith. Those successors to 
Moody came across the Atlantic in 1751. It was a 
year of destructive hurricanes in Jamaica, yet the adven- 
turous actors prospered there ; and soon the news of 
their prosperity, finding its way back to England, stimu- 
lated other active spirits to follow in their track. So 
far the drama had not yet made a genuine lodgement 
upon the mainland. Such spirits were the more will- 
ing to venture because goaded by the spur of neces- 
sity. Garrick, who had defeated and overwhelmed the 
elocutionists in acting, was in complete possession of 
the dramatic field in London, and, for a time, no theatri- 
cal enterprise or aspirant could withstand the sweep of 
his extraordinary power. Among other competitors who 
went down in the struggle was William Hallam, who 
had succeeded Garrick at Goodman's Fields theatre, but 
who could make no headway against the new dramatic 
chieftain, and who, therefore, in 1750, retired from the 
contest, a bankrupt and ,5000 in debt. The creditors 
of Hallam, however, being satisfied with his conduct, 
discharged him from debt, and presented to him the 
wardrobe and properties of the theatre. He was then 
enabled to begin business anew ; but, despairing of 
prosperity at home, and allured by tidings of theatrical 
success abroad, he determined to begin it in America. 
He collected a dramatic company, and setting sail from 
Bristol, aboard the Charming Sally, on May 17, 1752, 


landed at Yorktown, Va., in June of that year. The 
Governor of the Province was Dinwiddie. Hallam's 
company, led by himself and his wife, included his two 
sons, Lewis and Adam, and his daughter, Miss 
Hallam. The other members of it were Mr. Adcock, 
Mr. and Mrs. Clarkson, Mr. Herbert, Mr. Malone, Miss 
Palmer, Mr. and Mrs. Rigsby, Mr. Singleton, and Mr. 
Wynell. Hallam, proceeding to Williamsburg, obtained 
for his theatre a building in the outskirts of the town. 
It stood, indeed, so near to the woods that whenever 
he wished to have pigeons for his repast, the manager 
could, and often did, without leaving his doorstep, shoot 
them on the tree-tops. There, on September 5, 1752, 
occurred the first dramatic performance on the conti- 
nent of America, given by a regular company at a regu- 
lar theatre. 1 The plays performed were Shakespeare's 
comedy of The Merchant of Venice and Garrick's farce 
of Lethe. Lewis Hallam, the second, afterwards highly 
distinguished in American dramatic life, making his first 
appearance in that representation, totally failed from 
stage fright. 

The Hallam Family will always be named with respect 
in American theatrical history. The name is first asso- 

1 One authority declares, however, that the first regular theatre erected 
in America was at Annapolis, Md., a neat brick building tastefully 
built, which would contain about five hundred persons, and that a per- 
formance was given there on July 13, 1752, the first in our history of 
which any record has been found. The plays there acted were The 
Beaux' Stratagem and The Virgin Unmasked. The company included 
Mr. Wynell and Mr. Herbert, probably members of Hallam's company, 
who had repaired thither from Williamsburg. The prices charged were : 
boxes, ten shillings ($2.50); pit, seven shillings and sixpence ($1.87); 
gallery, five shillings ($1.25). 


ciated with a melancholy incident in the life of Charles 
Macklin, who, in 1735, accidentally killed Thomas Hal- 
lam, of the Lincoln's Inn Fields theatre, London, by 
thrusting a walking-cane into his eye. Thomas Hallam 
was an actor, and so was his brother Adam ; and three 
sons of the latter, William, Lewis, and George, adopted 
the same profession ; a fourth son entered the navy and 
rose to the rank of admiral. William Hallam came 
over to America in 1752 and established the family 
here ; but this adventurer remained only a little while 
in the American field; for, shortly after 1754, he sold 
his business to his brother Lewis, and returned to Eng- 
land. Lewis Hallam remained here, and so far pros- 
pered in management that for a time he was the leader 
of the American stage. He had been the principal low 
comedian at Goodman's Fields theatre ; his wife a rela- 
tive of Rich, of Covent Garden, and a woman of great 
beauty and talent had been leading lady there ; and 
both were experienced performers. They brought to 
America three of their children, a daughter and two 
sons, Lewis and Adam, but left their fourth child, an- 
other daughter, in the care of relatives in England. 
The immigrant daughter, then fifteen years old, at first 
played juvenile ladies, and in time she rose to a position 
of some prominence ; but she did not become a remark- 
able figure on the stage, and in 1774 she returned to 
England, and so vanished from the chronicle. The 
younger sister, who had remained here, went on the 
stage and became the celebrated Mrs. Mattocks. Lewis 
Hallam, the second, notwithstanding his disastrous first 
appearance, at Williamsburg, rose to eminence and had 
a brilliant career. He was the first theatrical manager 


in New York after the Revolution, swaying, in associa- 
tion with John Henry and Thomas Wignell, the fort- 
unes of the John Street theatre. Lewis Hallam, the 
first, his father, did not long survive his American expe- 
dition. He succeeded, however, in carrying forward 
the work that William Hallam had planned, in plant- 
ing the dramatic standard upon this continent; for, in 
the face of many and serious obstacles, he opened 
theatres in Williamsburg, Yorktown, Annapolis, New 
York, and Philadelphia. But, after all his efforts, he 
did not find himself adequately rewarded, and eventually 
he withdrew to the island of Jamaica, and there, in 
1756, he died. His widow presently became the wife 
of John Moody's theatrical successor in the West Indies, 
David Douglas ; and, as Mrs. Douglas, she was the most 
distinguished actress of her time in the western world. 
Douglas removed from Jamaica to New York in 1758, 
and opened theatres in that city and in Philadelphia, 
Newport, Perth-Amboy, Charleston, and Albany ; and 
throughout the extensive circuit thus indicated he 
reigned in affluence until the storm-clouds of the Revo- 
lution began to gather, and all the arts and graces of 
peace were submerged by the flowing tide of war. Mrs. 
Douglas died at Philadelphia in 1773, and soon after 
that calamity her husband abandoned the American 
dramatic field, and returned to Jamaica, where he be- 
came a magistrate, and so ended his days. His step- 
son, Lewis Hallam, had accompanied him, and so had 
Thomas Wignell, who was Lewis Hallam's second 
cousin : indeed, all the actors in the colonies, finding 
their occupation gone, were obliged to seek other 
places or new pursuits, and many of them went to 


Jamaica : but when the war was ended Lewis Hallam 
returned to New York, and, .in association with John 
Henry, re-opened and established, in 1785, the John 
Street theatre, an institution which, during the next 
thirteen years, with some changes of management, led 
the American stage. 

Charles Stuart Powell, 1 under contract to whom Jef- 
ferson came to America, was the first manager of the 
Boston theatre, in Federal street, which he opened on 
February 3, 1794; but sixteen months of bad business 
sufficed to make him a bankrupt, and on June 19, 
1795, he closed his season and left the theatre ; so that 
Jefferson, when he reached Boston, found the house 
in strange hands, and ascertained that his services 
were not wanted. The new manager, however, had 
engaged the company of Hodgkinson and Hallam, from 
the John Street theatre, New York, which acted at the 
Boston theatre, from November 2, 1795, till January 20, 
1796; and with those players Jefferson seems to have 
formed an early alliance. There is a tradition that 
Hodgkinson and Hallam, before their return to New 
York, on this occasion, gave performances at a few in- 
termediate towns, and that Jefferson, who had accepted 
employment with them as scene-painter, on condition 
that he might have one night for a trial appearance, 
acted La Gloire, in Colman's play of The Surrender of 
Calais, at one of those places, and made so brilliant a 
hit that Hodgkinson at once engaged him for the John 
Street theatre. But the authentic record of his first 

1 C. S. POWELL, the Boston manager, died in Halifax, in 1810. 
SNELLING POWELL, his brother, also a manager, died in Boston, April 
8, 1821, aged sixty-three. 


important appearance 1 in America assigns it to that 
theatre, in New York, on February 10, 1796, when he 
came forward as Squire Richard, in The Provoked Hus- 
band. That was the opening night of the season, and 
Mr. and Mrs. John Johnson, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Tyler, 
and Mrs. Brett, all from England, were also then 
seen for the first time in the American capital. Wil- 
liam Dunlap, the manager, saw that performance, and 
in his History of the American Theatre, made this men- 
tion of Jefferson : 

" He was then a youth, but even then an artist. Of a small and 
light figure, well formed, with a singular physiognomy, a nose 
perfectly Grecian, and blue eyes full of laughter, he had the faculty 
of exciting mirth to as great a degree, by power of feature, although 
handsome, as any ugly-featured low comedian ever seen. The 

1 JEFFERSON IN BOSTON. Reference to the advertisements in the 
Columbian Centinel (1795) elicits the information that, on December 21, 
in that year, Macbeth was acted at the Federal, with " Mr. Jefferson " as 
one of the witches; that, on December 23, The Tempest was given, with 
"Mr. Jefferson" in a minor character; and that on December 28, for the 
benefit of M. de Blois, " Mr. Jefferson " appeared, and sang the comic 
song of "John Bull's a Bumpkin." The minor character acted by Jef- 
ferson in The Tempest was Mustachio, a sailor mate. That part is one 
of several interpolations, made by Dryden and Davenant, in their version 
of Shakespeare's comedy, acted at Dorset Gardens, and published in 1670. 
Dorinda, a sister to Miranda, Sycorax, a sister to Caliban, and Hippolito, 
a youth who has never seen a woman, are among the persons introduced. 
That piece was long in use, but ultimately it gave place to John Philip 
Kemble's adaptations, made in 1789 and 1806. Garrick made an opera 
of The Tempest ; so did Sheridan; and there is a rhymed version of it 
by Thomas Dibdin. Mr. W. W. Clapp [1826-1891], whose careful and 
thorough record, The Boston Stage, covering the period from 1749 to 1853, 
is of permanent value to theatrical inquirers, apprised me that no particular 
mention of the name of Jefferson occurs in any of the papers that he 
consulted in making his chronicle of that time; while the only Jeffersons 
mentioned in his book are of the fourth generation. 


Squire Richard of Mr. Jefferson made a strong impression on the 
writer. His Sadi, in The Mountaineers, a stronger; and, strange 
to say, his Verges, in Much Ado About Nothing, a yet stronger." 

Among the references to Jefferson's career in New 

York is an anecdote told by Dunlap respecting the 

attempt of Mr. J. D. Miller, a young baker, to play 
Clement, in The Deserted Daughter : 

" Miller's de*but is connected with the admirable acting of Jeffer- 
son, in the character of Item, the attorney, whose clerk Miller 
represented. Worked up to a phrensy of feigned passion, Jefferson, 
a small-sized man, seized Miller by the breast, and, while uttering 
the language of rage, shook him violently. Miller, not aware that 
he was to be treated so roughly, was at first astonished ; but as 
Jefferson continued shaking, and the audience laughing, the young 
baker's blood boiled, and, calling on his physical energies, he seized 
the comedian with an Herculean grasp, and violently threw him off. 
Certainly Miller never played with so much spirit or nature on any 
subsequent occasion. 

" This may remind the reader of John Kemble's regret at the 
death of Suett, 1 the low comedian, who played Weasel to Kemble's 
Penruddock. The lament of the tragedian is characteristic, as told 
by Kelly : ' My dear Mic, Penruddock has lost a powerful ally in 
Suett. Sir, I have acted the part with many Weasels, and good 
ones too, but none of them could work up my passions to the pitch 
Suett did. He had a comic, impertinent way of thrusting his head 
into my face, which called forth all my irritable sensations. The 
effect upon me was irresistible.' Such was the effect of Jefferson's 
shaking upon Miller, and Jefferson found the Yankee's arm equally 

1 RICHARD SUETT died in 1805, at a ripe age. The date of his birth is 
not recorded. He was a native of London. He first acted in London in 
1781, as Ralph, in The Maid of the Mill. He became a favourite at York. 
Anecdotes of him may be found in Bernard's Retrospections. Charles 
Lamb says that " Shakespeare foresaw him when he framed his fools and 
jesters." Penruddock occurs in the comedy of The Wheel of Fortune, by 
Richard Cumberland; acted at Drury Lane in 1795. 


The John Street theatre first opened on December 
7, 1767, and finally closed on January 13, 1798 was 
the precursor of the Park. Jefferson was associated 
with it for nearly two years, and when it closed he 
transferred his services to "The New Theatre," as the 
Park was at first styled, which was opened on January 
29, 1798, under Dunlap's management. He received a 
salary of $23 a week, which, in the next season, was 
increased to $25. Hallam and Cooper, in the same 
company, received $25 each. The highest salary in 
Dunlap's list was $37, paid to Mrs. Oldmixon. The 
manager's main-stay, in tragedy, was Cooper, and in 
low comedy, Jefferson. 

On his arrival in New York, Jefferson had found a 
lodging in the house of Mrs. Fortune, in John street, 
adjoining the theatre. That lady, whose ashes, together 
with those of her husband, rest in the churchyard of 
St. Paul's, at the corner of Broadway and Vesey street, 
New York, was the widow of a Scotch merchant, and 
she had two daughters, who were residing with her at 
this time. One of those girls, Euphemia, soon became 
the wife of Jefferson. The other, Esther, about eleven 
years later married William Warren, being his second 
wife, and in that way the families of Jefferson and 
Warren, both highly distinguished on our stage, were 
allied. Warren, 1 born at Bath, England, in 1767, had 

1 WILLIAM WARREN, after the wreck of his fortunes at the Chestnut 
Street theatre, rapidly declined in strength and spirits, and soon died. 
His death occurred at Baltimore on October 19, 1832. His age was sixty- 
five. Five of his children became members of the stage : I. HESTER, first 
Mrs. Willis, afterwards Mrs. Proctor, died in Boston, Mass., in 1842. 
II. ANNA, who became the wife of the celebrated comedian, Danford 
Marble, and died in Cincinnati, March n, 1872. III. EMMA, first Mrs. 


acted under the management of Thomas Jefferson ; and 
now, arriving in America in 1796, he was destined to 
become the brother-in-law of Joseph Jefferson, the son 
of his former manager. Warren's son, William Warren, 
born of this marriage, in 1812, was long a favourite and 
much honoured and beloved in Boston. Mrs. Jefferson 
made her first appearance on the stage, December 22, 
1800, at the Park, as Louisa Dudley, in The West 
Indian. She was then twenty-four years old. She 
subsequently went, with her husband, to Philadelphia, 

Price, afterwards Mrs. Hanchett, died in New York, in May, 1879. 
IV. MARY ANN, who married John B. Rice, afterward mayor of Chicago, 
one of the most honoured and beloved of men. She retired from the 
stage in 1856. V. WILLIAM WARREN. He was born at his father's resi- 
dence, No. 12 (now, 1894, No. 712), Sanson street, Philadelphia, on 
November 17, 1812. He made his first appearance on the stage, at the 
Arch Street theatre, in his native city, in 1832, acting young Norval, in 
Home's tragedy of Douglas. He subsequently led a roving theatrical life 
in the West, till at length he settled in Buffalo, where he became a favourite 
comedian, at Rice's Eagle theatre. From Buffalo he went to Boston, 
making his first appearance there, as Sir Lucius OTrigger, in The Rivals, 
on October 5, 1846, at the Howard Athenaeum, under the management of 
James H. Hackett. In that theatre he acted for twenty weeks, but in 
August, 1847, ne joined the Boston Museum, and with that house he was 
associated until nearly the end of his life. He acted almost all the chief 
parts, of their day, in the lines of low and eccentric comedy and old men. 
The finest Touchstone on the stage of his period, grave, quaint, and 
sadly thoughtful behind the smile and the jest, an admirable Polonius, 
great in Sir Peter Teazle, and of powers that ranged easily from Caleb 
Plummer to Eccles, and were adequate to both extremes of comic eccen- 
tricity and melting pathos, Warren presented a shining exemplification of 
high and versatile abilities worthily used, and brilliant laurels modestly 
worn. He had a long career, crowned with prosperity and honour. He 
died at No. 2 Bulfinch Place, Boston, September 21, 1888, and was buried 
at Mount Auburn. Another of the elder Warren's children was HENRY 
WARREN, a theatrical manager, in Buffalo and elsewhere, hut not an 
actor. He died at Chicago, on February 21, 1894, aged eighty. 


where she was long an ornament to the theatre and 
society. She died in January, 1831, aged fifty-six. 

Jefferson's career at the Park extended through five 
regular seasons, ending in the spring of 1803. One of 
his hits was made as Peter, in The Stranger, which was 
performed for the first time in America in December, 
1798. Dunlap had obtained a sketch of the plot, 
together with a portion of the dialogue of Kotzebue's 
play, 1 then successful in London, as adapted and re- 
written by Sheridan, for Drury Lane ; and he promptly 
wrote a piece, upon the basis of those materials, telling 
no one but Cooper his secret. The work was produced 
anonymously, with the following cast : 

The Stranger Mr. Cooper. 

Francis Mr. John Martin. 

Baron Steinfort Mr. GHes L. Barrett. 

Solomon Mr. William Bates. 

Peter Mr. Jefferson. 

Mrs. Haller Mrs. Barrett. 

Chambermaid Mrs. Seymour. 

Baroness Steinfort Mrs. Hallam. 

Cooper produced a great effect ; Mrs. Barrett was 
powerful and touching ; Martin was correct ; and Bates 
and Jefferson pleased the lovers of farce, "for such," 
says Dunlap, "the comic portion of the play literally 

" One of his plays, The Stranger, I have seen acted in German, English, 
Spanish, French, and, I believe also, Italian. He was the pensioner of 
Prussia, Austria, and Russia. The odium produced by this circumstance, 
and the imputation of being a spy, are assigned as the cause of his assassi- 
nation, by a student of Jena. He was living (at Weimar, 1801), like 
Goethe, in a large house and in style. I drank tea with him, and found 
him a lively little man with small black eyes." Reminiscences of Henry 
Crabb Robinson, Vol. I., p. 74. 


was." The Stranger insured the success of the season, 
and the manager was so much pleased that he imme- 
diately learned the German language, and thereupon 
opened upon the Park stage a sluice of the sentiment 
of Kotzebue. The actors sneered at it as "wretched 
Dutch stuff," and well they might ; yet, for a time, it 
was almost as epidemic as the yellow fever, which in 
those days devastated, at intervals, the whole Atlantic 

Many other low-comedy parts and old men fell to 
Jefferson during his five years at the Park. He .played 
them in the most conscientious and thorough man- 
ner. Among his characters were Kudrin, in Count 
Benyowski ; the Fool, in The Italian Father ; John, in 
False Shame ; and Michelli, in Holcroft's Tale of Mys- 
tery. As La Fleur, in Dunlap's opera of Sterne's Maria, 
a singing part, he was especially brilliant. Mrs. Old- 
mixon, Miss Westray, Mrs. Seymour, Cooper, Tyler, 
young Hallam, and John Hogg J were in the cast. The 
ladies were singers, but only Jefferson and Tyler among 
the males could sing. Another of his admirable de- 
lineations was that of Jack Bowline, the Boatswain, in 
an adaptation from Kotzebue, blessed with the engag- 
ing title of Fraternal Discord?' Hodgkinson, who had 

1 JOHN HOGG, 1770-1813, a native of London, made his first appear- 
ance in New York, at the John Street theatre, in 1796. His grave is in 
Trinity churchyard, near the front porch. His son obtained a change of 
name, from Hogg to Biddle; and his grandson, George Edgar Biddle, has 
been pleasantly known on the contemporary stage, as George Edgar, in 
the characters of Othello and King Lear. 

2 Some of the old-fashioned, once popular, but now faded and forgotten 
melodramas bore wonderful titles. Sol Smith produced a piece entitled 
The Hunter of the Alps, or The Runaway Horse that Threw His Rider in 


joined the Park company in the autumn of 1799, acted 
Captain Bertram, a gouty mariner, and was accounted 
wonderfully fine. The two comedians seem to have 
been well matched, but Hodgkinson was the better of 
the two. " Jefferson's excellence," writes Dunlap, " was 
great, but not to be put in competition with Hodgkin- 
son's, even in low comedy." 

John Hodgkinson seems to have been the prince of 
actors, in that period. He was born at Manchester, 
England, in 1767, being the son of an inn-keeper, named 
Meadowcraft. In youth he was bound an apprentice to 
a trade ; but he ran away from home, adopted the name 
of Hodgkinson, and went on the stage, and his prodigious 
talents soon raised him to a position of importance. He 
was early joined to Mrs. Munden, whom it is said he 
alienated from the famous comedian, Joseph Shepherd 
Munden (1758-1832), and subsequently to Miss Brett, 
of the Bath theatre, whom, however, he did not wed till 
after they had come to America, in September, 1792. 
Hallam's partner, Henry, found them at the Bath the- 
atre, and engaged them for this country. Hodgkinson's 
first American appearance was made in Philadelphia, as 
Belcour, in The West Indian, and on January 28, 1793, 
he acted at the John Street theatre, New York, as 
Vapid, in The Dramatist, that comedy, by Frederic 
Reynolds, first given in 1789 at Covent Garden, which 

the Forest of Savoy. That, probably, was William Dimond's play, The 
Hunter of the Alps, presented at the London Haymarket in 1804, 
embellished with an extended title, for the provincial market. There is in 
print a play called The Lonely Man of the Ocean, which was acted with 
the supplementary title of The Night before the Bridal, with the Terrors 
of the Yellow Admiral and the Perils of the Battle and the Breeze. Melo- 
drama was introduced upon the English stage in 1793, by Thomas Holcroft. 



has been called the precursor of " the numerous family 
by which genteel and sprightly comedians have been 
converted into speaking harlequins." He was one of 
the managers of the John Street theatre, from 1794 to 
1798, and he acted in the principal cities along the 
Atlantic seaboard, from Boston to Charleston, and was 
everywhere a favourite. He died suddenly, of yellow 
fever, near Washington, on September 12, 1805, aged 
thirty-eight. Hodgkinson's life was sullied by wrong 
actions, and his last hours were very wretched. " He 
was in continual agitation," we are told, "from pain 
and excessive terror of death, and presented the most 
horrid spectacle that the mind can imagine. He was, 
as soon as dead, wrapped in a blanket and carried to 
the burying-field by negroes." So, prematurely and 
miserably, a great light was put out. 

Bernard, in his Early Days of the American Stage, 
pays a tribute to the memory of that great actor, as 
follows : 

"When I associate Hodgkinson with Garrick and Henderson (the 
first of whom I had often seen, and the latter had played with), I afford 
some ground for thinking he possessed no common claims. . . . 
Hodgkinson was a wonder. In the whole range of the living drama 
there was no variety of character he could not perceive and embody, 
from a Richard or a Hamlet down to a Shelty or a Sharp. To the 
abundant mind of Shakespeare his own turned as a moon that could 
catch and reflect a large amount of its radiance ; and if, like his great 
precursors, it seemed to have less of the poetic element than of the 
riches of humour, this was owing to association, which, in the midst 
of his tragic passions, would intrude other images. An exclusive 
tragedian will always seem greater by virtue of his specialty, by the 
singleness of impressions which are simply poetic. Hodgkinson had 
one gift that enlarged his variety beyond all competition ; he was 
also a singer, and could charm you in a burletta, after thrilling you 


in a play : so that through every form of the drama he was qualified 
to pass. . . . I doubt if such a number and such greatness of requi- 
sites were ever before united in one mortal man. Nor were his 
physical powers inferior to his mental ; he was tall and well-propor- 
tioned, though inclining to be corpulent, with a face of great mobility, 
that showed the minutest change of feeling, whilst his voice, full and 
flexible, could only be likened to an instrument that his passions 
played upon at pleasure." 

In the summer seasons of 1800 and 1801, while the 
Park theatre remained closed, Jefferson and his wife acted 
at Joseph Corre"s Mount Vernon Gardens, situated on the 
spot which is now the northwest corner of Leonard street 
and Broadway. That theatre was opened July 9, 1800, 
with Miss in Her Teens, or The Medley of Lovers, and 
Jefferson acted Captain Flash. In the regular seasons 
at the Park, which rarely opened before the middle of 
October, Jefferson's professional associates were Mr. and 
Mrs. Hodgkinson, Mr. and Mrs. Hallam, Mr. and Mrs. 
John Hogg, Mr. and Mrs. S. Powell, Mr. and Mrs. J. Har- 
per, Mr. Tyler, Mr. Fox, Mr. Martin, Lewis Hallam, Jr., 
Mr. Crosby, Mrs. Melmoth, Mrs. and Miss Brett, Miss 
Harding, and Miss Hogg. There, and afterwards at the 
Chestnut, he ranked with the best of his competitors ; 
and in looking back to those days of the stage, it 
should be remembered that at some seasons it would 
happen that every man in the company was a classical 

Jefferson's conspicuous hits, even at an early age, 
appear to have been made in old men ; and an anecdote 
which he related attests his success. A sympathetic 
lady called at the John Street theatre, with a subscrip- 
tion list, to entreat the managers " to withdraw that poor 
old Mr. Jefferson from the stage." She said she had 


seen him play Item, in The Steward?- a wonderful 
performance, and she thought it would be only a 
Christian charity to remove such an aged person from 
public life, and to provide for him. She had headed 
her list with a liberal gift, and she was now on her way 
to get additional subscribers, in order to provide a respec- 
table home for the infirm actor. Cooper, 2 who chanced 
to be present, told her, in reply, that such a scheme had 
been considered, and that the manager would gladly co- 
operate in any charitable effort to relieve the hardships 
of the aged Jefferson's condition. Just then Jefferson 
entered the room, and Cooper straightway introduced 
him to the lady, calling her his "kind friend and pro- 
tector, who had charitably undertaken to find him a 
home." Her amazement at seeing a slender, handsome 
young fellow instead of a senile mummy, was excessive. 
She stammered out a word of explanation, and tore her 
subscription paper in pieces ; and the scene ended in a 

The year 1803 was a crisis in Jefferson's life. Theatri- 
cal enterprise at that time was about equally divided 

1 An alteration of The Deserted Daughter. Comedy. By Thomas Hoi- 
croft. Covent Garden, 1 795. Jefferson acted Grime as well as Item, in 
that piece. 

2 THOMAS COOPER, one of the best and most admired tragedians of his 
time, was born at Harrow, near London, in 1776-77. He was educated 
under the care of William Godwin, the philosopher who figures in the life 
of Shelley, and he was befriended by Holcroft. He early adopted the stage 
(1792), but for some time was unsuccessful. He came to America in 1796. 
He received and used the middle name of Abthorpe, to distinguish him 
from another Cooper. He was the original Damon in America, and was 
deemed great in that character and in Virginius. He was famous also as 
Hamlet, Mark Antony, and Leon. He died at Bristol, Pa., April 21, 1849, 
and his grave is at that place. 


between Philadelphia, New York, and Boston. The 
Chestnut Street theatre, Philadelphia which city had 
only in 1800 ceased to be the capital of the Republic 
held the lead. The Park theatre, in New York, 
under Dunlap's management, was second ; while the 
Federal Street theatre, in Boston, rebuilt after the fire 
of 1798, and now managed by Snelling Powell, brother 
of C. S. Powell, was, for the first time, successful. On 
the New York stage Jefferson must have found himself 
as much overshadowed by Hodgkinson, who came and 
went like a comet, as his father had been, on the Lon- 
don stage, by Garrick. The opportunity of a new field 
now came to him, and, apparently, came at just the right 
time. Mrs. Wignell, left a widow by the sudden death 
of the great manager, was obliged, in the spring of 1803, 
to assume the direction of the Chestnut Street theatre, 
and a proposal was made to Jefferson to join the com- 
pany there, taking the place of John Bernard, who had 
repaired to Boston. At first he hesitated, being reluc- 
tant to leave a community where he had been much 
admired, and where he possessed many friends ; and 
also, perhaps, for he was a man of extreme modesty, 
apprehensive of being compared, to some disadvantage, 
with his accomplished predecessor. In the end he 
accepted the "Philadelphia engagement, for his wife as 
well as himself : and, after a summer season of about two 
months, passed at Albany, 1 he finally left the New York 

1 JEFFERSON IN ALBANY. Mr. H. P. Phelps, in his compendious and 
useful record of the Albany stage, entitled Players (tfa Century, notes that 
Jefferson was with Dunlap's company from the New York Park theatre, 
which acted in that city, in the Thespian Hotel, in 1803, the season lasting 
from August 22 till October 27. He reappeared in Albany, June 9, 1829, 
acting Dr. Ollapod and Dicky Gossip; but then he was in his decadence. 


stage. He was seen at the old Park, though, as a visitor, 
in the spring of 1806, when he acted, with splendid abil- 
ity, the favourite characters of Jacob Gawky, Jeremy 
Diddler, Bobby Pendragon, Dr. Lenitive, Toby All- 
spice, and Ralph ; and he came again in 1824, when, on 
August 5, at the Chatham Garden theatre, he took his 
farewell of the metropolis, acting Sir Benjamin Dove, in 
The Brothers, and Sancho, in Lovers Quarrels. The 
story of his life, after the year 1803, is the story of his 
association with the Chestnut Street theatre. 

Mrs. Wignell was the famous actress first known in 
London as Anne Brunton. That beautiful and brilliant 
woman, born at Bristol, England, in 1770, had made a 
hit at Covent Garden, October 17, 1785, before she was 
sixteen years old, and she was accounted the greatest 
tragic genius among women, since Mrs. Siddons. In 
1792 she became the wife of Robert Merry, author of 
the Delia Crusca verse, to which Mrs. Hannah Cowley, 
as Anna Matilda, had replied in congenial fustian, and 
which was excoriated by William Gifford, in his satires 
of The Baviad and Mczviad. Mr. and Mrs. Merry came 
to America in 1796, the lady being then in her twenty- 
seventh year, under engagement to Wignell, for the 
Philadelphia theatre. It is mentioned that the ship in 
which they sailed made the voyage to New York in 
twenty-one days. Wignell himself was a passenger by 
her, and so was the comedian Warren, whom also he 
had engaged. All those persons, surely, would have 
been amazed could they have foreseen the incidents of 
a not very remote future. Merry died in 1798, at Bal- 
timore, and on January I, 1803, his widow married 
Wignell. He, in turn, died suddenly, seven weeks after 



their marriage, and on August 15, 1806, the widow 
married Warren. She had a bright career on the 
American stage, and was greatly admired and esteemed. 
Her death occurred at Alexandria, Va., June 28, 1808, 
and her tomb is a conspicuous object in the Episcopal 
churchyard of that place. 1 Her sister, Louisa Brunton, 
who was seen on the London stage in 1785 as Juliet, 
became the Countess of Craven. 

When Jefferson joined the Chestnut Street theatre, 
the dramatic company was the strongest in America, 
and one of the best ever formed. Warren and Reinagle 
were directors, the former of affairs in general, the 
latter of the department of music. William B. Wood, 
who had been to England for recruits, was the stage- 
manager. The company comprised Francis Blissett, 

J. H. Cain, Downie, John Durang, Gilbert Fox, 

William Francis, Hardinge, Joseph Jefferson, 

L'Estrange, C. Melbourne, Louis J. Mestayer, Owen 

1 In the Dramatic Censor department of The Mirror of Taste, March, 
1810, was published an elegiac poem on Mrs. Warren, closing with the 
subjoined lines : 

" Although no civic aim was there, 

Yet not in vain that voice was given, 
Which, often as it bless'd the air, 

Inform'd us what was heard in heaven. 
" Sure, when renew'd thy powers shall rise, 

To hymn before th' empyreal throne, 
Angels shall start, in wild surprise, 
To hear a note so like their own." 

This is suggestive of Dr. Johnson's couplet, 

" Sleep, undisturbed, within this peaceful shrine, 
Till angels wake thee with a note like thine " ; 

and also, perhaps, of Dr. Johnson's remark on epitaphs : " The writer of 
an epitaph should not be considered as saying nothing but what is strictly 
true. Allowance must be made for some degree of exaggerated praise. 
In lapidary inscriptions a man is not upon oath." 


Morris, William Twaits, Luke Usher, William Warren, 

Warrell, William B. Wood, Mrs. Downie, Mrs. 

Durang, Mrs. Francis, Miss Hunt, Mrs. Morris, Mrs. 
Oldmixon, Mrs. Shaw, Mrs. Snowden, Mrs. Solomon, 
Mrs. Wood (late Miss Juliana Westray), and Mrs. Wig- 
nell. The union of powers thus indicated, for comedy 
acting, was extraordinary. The weight, dignity, and 
rich humour, with which Warren could invest such 
characters as Old Dornton and Sir Robert Bramble 
made him easily supreme in that line. He held the 
leadership, also, in the line of Falstaff and Sir Toby 
Belch. Blissett's fastidious taste, neat execution, and 
beautiful polish, made him perfection, in parts of the 
Dr. Caius and Bagatelle order, which he presented as 
delicate miniatures. Francis (1757-1826), a superior 
representative of comedy old men, was finely adapted 
for such boisterous characters as Sir Sampson Legend 
and Sir Anthony Absolute. Jefferson, conscientious, 
thorough, and brilliant, ranged from Mercutio to Domi- 
nie Sampson, from Touchstone to Dogberry, and from 
Farmer Ashfield to Mawworm, and was a consummate 
artist in all. Wood was the Doricourt and Don Felix. 
And Twaits, a wonderful young man, brimful of genius, 
seemed formed by nature for all such characters as Dr. 
Pangloss, Lingo, Tony Lumpkin, and Goldfinch. 

Dunlap observes that Twaits was an admirable oppo- 
site to Jefferson, and his description of that prodigy 
sharpens his apt remark : 

" Short and thin, yet appearing broad ; muscular, yet meagre ; a 
large head, with stiff, stubborn, carroty hair ; long, colourless face ; 
prominent hooked nose ; projecting, large, hazel eyes ; thin lips ; 
and a large mouth, which could be twisted into a variety of expres- 


sion, and which, combining with his other features, eminently 
served the purpose of the comic muse, such was the physiognomy 
of William Twaits." 

William Twaits, born April 25, 1781, at Birmingham, 
England, died in New York, August 22, 1814, of con- 
sumption, precipitated by his convivial habits. Twaits 
married Mrs. Villiers (Miss Eliza Westray), and he was 
manager of the Richmond theatre at the time of the 
fire that destroyed it, and with it at least seventy-one 
lives, December 26, iSii. 1 The mother of Rip Van 
Winkle Jefferson, who received instruction from him, 
and often acted with him, spoke with enthusiasm of his 
brilliant mental qualities and the fine texture of his dra- 
matic art. A three-quarter length painting of Twaits 
as Dr. Pangloss long existed among the possessions of 
the Jefferson family, but ultimately it disappeared. 

Another remarkable figure in that group was Francis 
Blissett, one of the most charming actors of that delight- 
ful dramatic period. Blissett was born in London, about 
the year 1773, and spent his early days at Bath. His 
father was a favourite comic actor, and the son early ex- 
hibited dramatic talent. He was taught music, and at 
first destined to that pursuit ; but, at the age of eighteen, 
he made such a successful dramatic essay, appearing 

1 The Richmond theatre was so built that persons in the boxes could 
not escape from them except by a long, winding passage, and a small, 
angular staircase. The catastrophe was awful. Many accomplished and 
beautiful women were among the victims. The governor of Virginia 
(George W. Smith) and other leading citizens perished. The public 
mind was everywhere deeply affected. The citizens of Richmond wore 
mourning for thirty days, and amusements of every kind were prohibited 
by law, for a period of four months. See the Mirror of Taste, for Decem- 
ber, 1811. 


as Dr. Last, on the occasion of his father's benefit, 
that it was thought best to devote him to the stage. He 
came to America in 1793, and joined Wignell's company, 
at the Chestnut, and with that company he was associated 
for twenty-eight years. In 1821, having, upon the death 
of his father, come into possession of a considerable 
inheritance, he withdrew from public life and established 
his residence in the island of Guernsey, where he died, 
in 1848, aged seventy-five. He was a thoughtful man, of 
melancholy temperament and reserved demeanour, fond 
of books and of music, and a skilful player of the violin. 
His style of acting was marked by exquisite delicacy 
and finish. He preferred to act little parts and make 
them perfect, rather than to exercise his powers upon 
those of magnitude. His humour was dry and quaint. 
He could speak with a capital Irish brogue, or with a 
French or a German accent. He was excellent as Dr. 
Caius, the Mock Duke, in The Honeymoon, the Clown, 
in As You Like It, Crabtree, David, in The Rivals, Crack, 
Verges, Dr. Dablancour, Sheepface, Dennis Brulgrud- 
dery, and the First Gravedigger. He was averse to 
society, seldom spoke, and was observed to be usually 
melancholy in manner. It is said he was born out of 
wedlock, and that this misfortune bred in him an 
habitual reserve. He was benevolent, but by stealth, 
and shunned ostentation. He cultivated but few friend- 
ships, yet was greatly respected and liked. No character 
of the group is more interesting than that of Blissett. 

Among authentic sources of information respecting 
the life of Jefferson after he settled in Philadelphia are 
William B. Wood's Personal Recollections of the Stage, 
and Francis Courtney Wemyss's Theatrical Biography. 


The former volume, published in 1855, in its author's 
seventy-sixth year, covers, discursively, the period from 
1797 to 1846, in Philadelphia theatrical history; the 
latter, published in 1848, in its author's fifty-first year, 
traverses, in part, the same ground, from 1822 to 1841, 
though, in the main, it is Wemyss's autobiography, 
beginning in 1797 and ending in 1846. Those writers 
were associated for several years. Wood, who had long 
been employed in Wignell's company, became stage- 
manager of the Chestnut in 1806, and a partner with 
Warren in the management in 1809. Wemyss was 
engaged for the Chestnut company, by Wood, in 1822, 
and after Wood had retired he became the stage-manager 
under Warren, in 1827. To both writers, accordingly, the 
affairs of the theatre were well known. They were not 
harmonious spirits, as their respective memoirs show ; but 
they concur, with reference to Jefferson, in admiration 
for his character and for his great abilities as an actor. 

Jefferson's first appearance under Mrs. Wignell's man- 
agement was made as Don Manuel, in Gibber's comedy 
of She Would and She Would Not. He was seen at 
Baltimore 1 as well as at Philadelphia, " at once estab- 
lishing," says Wood, " a reputation which neither time 
nor age could impair." During the season of 1808 he 
acted ten times, as Sir Oliver Surface, Charles Surface, 
and Crabtree. His personation of Sir Peter Teazle was 

1 The managers of the Chestnut had a theatrical circuit which included 
Baltimore and Washington, and they were accustomed to make regular, 
periodical visits to those cities. Cowell, in his Thirty Years, makes a 
characteristic jibe, in referring to this fact : " Baltimore had for years been 
visited by Warren and Wood, with the same jog-trot company and the same 
old pieces, till they had actually taught the audience to stay away." The 
allusion is to a later period. 


highly approved, but it appears to have been accounted 
inferior to that of Warren, probably because it excelled 
in quaintness and sentiment, rather than in the more 
appreciable qualities of uxorious excess and rubicund 
humour. In 1810-11 the performance for his benefit, 
at Baltimore, yielded $1403; in 1814, $1221; in 1815, 
$1618; in 1816, $1009; in 1822, $697. "The starring 
system," Wood says, "now began to show its baleful 
effects on the actors, whose benefits, after a season of 
extreme labour, uniformly failed." In the season of 
1 8 1 5-16, TheEthiop and Zembuca 1 were among the pieces 
presented at the Chestnut, and Wood records that 

" Much of their success was owing to the taste and skill of Jeffer- 
son, in the construction of intricate stage machinery, of which, on 
many occasions, he proved himself a perfect master, not unfrequently 
improving materially the English models. These valuable services 
were wholly gratuitous, all remuneration being uniformly declined. 
He felt himself amply repaid for the exercise of his varied talent by 
the prosperity of the establishment of which for twenty-five years he 
continued the pride and ornament. . . . The Woodman's Hut? 
with an effective conflagration scene designed by Jefferson, produced 
several houses of $700 each. . . . Holcroft's admirable comedy 
of The Man of Ten Thousand was revived for Jefferson's benefit, 
with unusual effect, to $1009." 

The first Philadelphia performance of Charles Lamb's 
farce of Mr. H. was given at the Chestnut Street thea- 
tre on February 19, 1812, with Wood as Mr. H., and 
Mrs. Jefferson, the grandmother of our Rip Van Winkle, 
as Melesinda. Lamb's farce was originally presented 
on December 10, 1806, at Drury Lane, with Elliston as 

1 Zembuca, a melodrama, by Isaac Pocock, was first produced on March 
27, 1815, at Covent Garden. Emery and Listen were in the first cast. 

2 The Woodmaris Hut, melodrama, by Samuel James Arnold, son of 
Dr. Arnold, the musician. First produced at Drury Lane, April 12, 1814. 


Mr. H. and Miss Mellon as Melesinda, and it was 
hissed, the author participating in the sibilation. 1 It 
is, nevertheless, a droll composition, and it has long been 
valued as one of the curiosities of the theatre. The first 
American edition of it was published in Philadelphia, in 
1813, that, indeed, being the first production of Lamb's 
printed in this country. That edition is exceedingly 
scarce. A copy of it was recently (1894) bought by an 
admirer of Lamb, who paid $25 for it, and who said he 
had been searching for it more than ten years. The 
following is a fac-simile of the title-page, and to that are 
appended, as dramatic curiosities, the cast with which 
it was acted at the Chestnut, and the official advertise- 
ment of its production : 

1 On the next day Lamb wrote to Wordsworth : " Mr. H. came out last 
night, and failed. I had my fears : the subject was not substantial enough. 
John Bull must have solider fare than a letter. We are pretty stout about 
it ; have had plenty of condoling friends ; but after all we had rather it 
should have succeeded. You will see the prologue in most of the morning 
papers. It was received with such shouts as I never witnessed to a prologue. 
How hard ! a thing I did merely as a task, because it was wanted, and set 
no great store by; and Mr. H.! ! The number of friends we had in the 
house my brother and I being in public offices, etc. was astonishing, 
but they yielded at length to a few hisses. A hundred hisses (damn the 
word, I write it like kisses how different !), a hundred hisses outweigh a 
thousand claps. The former come more directly from the heart. Well, 
'tis withdrawn, and there is an end." The hissing is thus described : 
" By this time I had become acquainted with Charles Lamb and his 
sister ; for I went with them to the first performance of Mr. H. at Covent 
Garden. . . . The prologue was very well received. Indeed, it could 
not fail, being one of the very best in our language. But on the disclos- 
ure of the name [Mr. Hogsflesh], the squeamishness of the vulgar taste in 
the pit showed itself by hisses; and I recollect that Lamb joined, and was 
probably the loudest hisser in the house. The damning of this play be- 
longs to the literary history of the day, as its author to the literary mag- 
nates of his age." Henry Crabb Robinson, Reminiscences, chap. x. 



MR. H. 




As performed at the 



A. Fagan, Printer. 


l8mo^>. 36. 





Mr. H. 
Mr. Belvil . 
Landlord Pry 
ist Gentleman 
2<3 Gentleman 
David . 

Mr. Wood. 

Waiters, Messrs. F. Durang, Lucas, Jones, &c. 



Old Lady . ... 

ist Lady 

2d Lady 

3d Lady 

4th Lady 

5th Lady 

Betty, maid to Melesinda 




Miss White. 
Mrs. Bray. 
Miss Pettit. 
Mrs. Francis. 

SCENE Bath. 
[Copy right secured according to act of Congress.] 


[From The Aurora, Philadelphia, January 5, 1812.] 



THIS EVENING, [Monday^ February 17. [1812.] 

Will be presented, (not acted here these seven years) 

an Historical Play, interspersed with Songs, called 


Founded on the Life of Gustavus Vasa, the Swedish Hero. 
Written by Mr. Dimond Junr. 

End of the Play the comic song of " The Tidy One," by Mr. Jefferson. 

An Epilogue on Jealousy, by Mrs. Twaits. 
" How to Nail 'Em" a comic song by Mr. Jefferson. 

To which will be added a Comic Opera (never performed here) called 


Or, He Would Be An Astronomer. 

Written by the late Wm. Milne, Esq. 

On Wednesday, (not acted here these 5 years) the celebrated 

play of THE CURFEW or, The Norman Barons, with 

(for the First Time} the new Farce of 

MR. H; 

for the Benefit of Mrs. Wood. 


[The Aurora, Philadelphia, Monday, February 17, 1812.] 



Wednesday Evening, February 19. [1812.] 

Will be presented, (not acted here these five years) 

a celebrated Comedy, in 5 acts, called 



Written by the late JOHN TOBIN, author of the HONEY-MOON, 

performed at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, 

with the most unbounded applause. 


Hugh de Tracey, a Baron Mr. Calbraith. 

Robert, his son Mr. Jefferson. 

Walter, toller of the Curfew Mr. Blissett. 

Matilda, the Baron's wife Mrs. Twaits. 

Florence, his daughter ' Mrs. Mason. 


Fitzharding, leader of a banditti Mr. Duff. 

(His second appearance here.} 

To which will be added, a New Farce, in 2 acts, never acted here, 

(performed in London and N. York, with. great applause.) 


MR. H; 


Mr. H Mr. Wood. 

Mr. Belville Mr. Barrett. 

Landlord Pry Mr. Blissett. 

Melesinda .... Mrs. Jefferson. 

On Friday [Saturday], a Comedy (translated from the French) 

called THREE & DEUCE, with (by desire) the BRIDAL RING. 

For the Benefit of Mrs. Twaits. 

" MR. H." was performed " for the 2d time here, by desire of many ladies and 
gentlemen," for the Benefit of MRS. TWAITS, which occurred Saturday evening 
(not on Friday as previously announced), February 22, 1812. 


One of the Chestnut casts of The School for Scandal 
shows the great strength of it company : 

Sir Peter Teazle Warren. 

Sir Oliver Surface Francis. 

Charles Surface Wood. 

Joseph Surface H. Wallack. 

Sir Benjamin Backbite .... Johnson. 

Crabtree . Jefferson. 

Rowley Hathwell. 

Moses T. Burke. 

Careless Darley. 

Trip John Jefferson. 

Snake Greene. 

Lady Teazle Mrs. Wood. 

Lady Sneerwell Mrs. Lafolle. 

Mrs. Candour Mrs. Francis. 

Maria Mrs. H. Wallack. 

Maid Mrs. Greene. 

This is given according to Wood's record. That of 
Wemyss also gives it, assigning Sir Benjamin Backbite 
to Thomas Jefferson. 

Sol Smith, in his Theatrical Management in the West 
and South for Thirty Years, mentions a memorable 
Chestnut cast, which he saw in 1823. "I witnessed 
that night," he says, "the performance of The Fortress^ 
and A Roland for an Oliver. The afterpiece was a rich 
treat to me. How could it be otherwise, with such a 
cast as the following : 

Sir Mark Chase Warren. 

Fixture Jefferson. 

Alfred Highflyer Wemyss. 

Selbourne Darley. 

Maria Mrs. Darley. 

Mrs. Selbourne Mrs. Wood. 

Mrs. Fixture Mrs. Jefferson." 

1 The Fortress is a musical drama, by Theodore Edward Hook, first 
acted at the Haymarket, London, in 1807. 



The company engaged at the Chestnut, for the season 
that opened on December 4, 1826, with The Stranger, 
included : 


Joseph L. Co well. 
John Darley. 
William Forrest. 


John Hallam. 
Hamilton Hosack. 
Lewis J. Heyl. 
James Howard. 
Joseph Jefferson. 
John Jefferson. 
William Jones. 
- Klett. 




Charles S. Porter. 
George Singleton. 
William Warren. 
William B. Wood. 
F. C. Wemyss. 
Charles Webb. 
J. Wheatley. 

N. M. Ludlow, in his Dramatic Life as I Found It, 
published in 1880, glances thus at the character of 
Jefferson's acting : 

"While in Philadelphia, in 1826, I had the pleasure of beholding 
a performance of ' Old Jefferson,' as he was then called. ... I had 
seen him in New York when I was a youth of seventeen, early in 
the year 1812, when Wood and Jefferson came to New York to per- 
form, while Cooper and others went from New York to Philadelphia 
for a like purpose. I was delighted with Jefferson when I saw him 
then, as a boy. I was not less so when I now beheld him with pro- 

Mrs. Anderson. 

Mrs. Co well. 

Mrs. Darley. 

Mrs. Greene. 

Miss Hathwell. 

Mrs. Joseph Jefferson. 

Mrs. John Jefferson. 

Mrs. Meer. 

Mrs. Murray. 


fessional eyes and some experience. The comedy that I saw played 
in Philadelphia was by Frederic Pillon, and entitled He Would be a 
Soldier, with the following cast of characters : Sir Oliver Oldstock, 
Warren ; Captain Crevett, George Barrett, for many years well known 
as a genteel comedian ; Caleb, Jefferson ; Charlotte, the beautiful 
Mrs. Barrett. All are now dead. In Jefferson's acting there was a 
perfection of delineation I have seldom, if ever, seen in any other 
comedian of his line of character ; not the least attempt at exagger- 
ation to obtain applause, but a naturalness and truthfulness that 
secured it, without the appearance of any extraordinary efforts from 
him. The nearest approach to his style is that of his grandson, of 
the same name." 

Macready came to act at the Chestnut in the season 
of 1826-27, and on the clay of his arrival was entertained 
at dinner by the manager, Wood, Jefferson being 
one of the guests. The next morning a rehearsal of 
Macbeth occurred, and Jefferson, who was lame with 
gout, appeared with a cane. That was an infraction 
of a well-known rule, but it was understood in the 
company that Jefferson was ill, and therefore the 
breach of stage etiquette was not regarded. The 
comedian was to enact the First Witch. Macready, 
a very tyrannical and passionate man, with a talent for 
profanity seldom equalled, observed the cane, and, 
with his customary arrogance, determined to assert 
himself. " Tell that person," he said, " to put down his 
cane." The prompter, thus commanded, delivered his 
message. "Tell Mr. Macready," said Jefferson, "that I 
shall not act with him during his engagement " ; and he 
left the stage. " Mr. Macready had a right," he after- 
wards remarked, "to object to the carrying of a cane at 
rehearsal ; but it was obvious to me that this was not 
his point. He chose to disregard the fact that we had 


met as social equals, and to omit the civility of a word 
of inquiry, which would have procured immediate expla- 
nation. His purpose was to overbear and humiliate 
me, so as to discipline and subjugate the rest of the 
company. It was a rude exercise of authority, and its 
manner was impertinent." 

It is recorded of Joseph Jefferson and Euphemia 
Fortune, whom he wedded, that they were born on the 
same day of the same month and year, one in Eng- 
land, the other in America. Their marriage proved 
fortunate and happy. They were blessed with nine 
children (Cowell erroneously says thirteen), and the 
death of the husband followed that of the wife, 
within eighteen months. All their children, with 
two exceptions, adopted the stage. One died in in- 
fancy. The following is a record of those descend- 
ants : 

1 . THOMAS, the eldest son, went on the stage in his fourteenth 
year, rose to a good position, and died, in 1824, at the age of 
twenty-seven. He was never married. 

2. JOSEPH, 1804-1842. He was the father of Rip Van Winkle 
Jefferson. His career is made the subject of a separate chapter. 

3. JOHN was accounted the most brilliant of this family. He 
was remarkably handsome and athletic. He received a careful 
education, and he displayed astonishing talents. Had he lived, and 
continued to improve, he would have become a great actor ; but he 
was prematurely broken down by conviviality, and he died, sud- 
denly, at Lancaster, Pa., in 1831, aged twenty-three. 

4. EUPHEMIA, her father's favourite daughter, was correct and 
pleasing on the stage, and a most estimable woman. She married 
WILLIAM ANDERSON, described by Ludlow as " a good actor in 
heavy characters, tragedy villains, and the like," but he was an 
unworthy person, and he embittered her life. Her marriage was 
a grief to her father. She was a member of the dramatic com- 


pany at the New York Park theatre in 1816, and of the Chestnut 
Street theatre, Philadelphia, in 1817. "Mrs. Anderson, late Miss 
Jefferson," says Wood, in his Personal Recollections, " was now 
added to the company, and shortly reached a high place in public 
favour." She died in 1831, leaving two daughters, Jane and Eliza- 
beth. JANE ANDERSON, born in February, 1822, appeared at the 
Franklin theatre, New York, August 15, 1836, as Sally Giggle, in 
Catching an Heiress. She had a bright career on the stage, begin- 
ning in 1829, and she was a superior representative of old women. 
She became MRS. GREENBURY C. GERMON, and was long a resident 
of Baltimore. She retired from professional life in 1889-90. Miss 
EFFIE GERMON, born at Augusta, Ga., on June 13, 1840, and long a 
sparkling soubrette of Wallack's theatre, is her daughter, and thus 
a descendant of Thomas Jefferson. The father, G. C. GERMON, the 
original Uncle Tom, in Uncle Tom's Cabin, died at Chicago, in 
April, 1854, aged thirty-eight. ELIZABETH ANDERSON began at 
the Franklin theatre, August i, 1836, as Mrs. Nicely, and she also 
had a good theatrical career. She was married in 1837, to Jacob 
W. Thoman, and subsequently, as MRS. THOMAN, she became a 
favourite in Boston. She accompanied Thoman to California, 
where she obtained a divorce from him ; and afterwards she again 
married, becoming MRS. C. SAUNDERS. Both Jane and Elizabeth 
Anderson had played, as early as 1831, in the theatre at Washington, 
managed by their uncle Joseph. Elizabeth, although very young, 
acted old women. She was at the Walnut Street theatre, Philadel- 
phia, in 1835. WILLIAM ANDERSON, the father of those girls, after 
a career of painful irregularity, ending in indigence, died, in 1869, 
at a hospital in Philadelphia. Cowell remarks that Jemmy Eland's 
answer, when adrift in the words, to the question, " Who is 
this Coriolanus ? " exactly describes Anderson : " Why, he's a fel- 
low who is always going about grumbling, and making everybody 

5. HESTER became MRS. ALEXANDER MACKENZIE, first wife of 
the actor and manager of that name, once prominent in the West. 
Mackenzie was a cousin to Joseph Neal, author of Charcoal 
Sketches. Mrs. Mackenzie began to act in 1831, and attained to 
a good rank as a general actress. She died at Nashville, Tenn., 
February 3, 1845, much lamented. 


liant and popular actress at the New York Park, in its great days. 
Her story is told in a separate chapter. 

7. MARY ANNE. She became the wife of DAVID IN ERSOLL, a 
tragedian, of great promise, who died at St. Louis in 1837, aged 
twenty-five. She subsequently married JAMES S. WRIGHT, for 
many years prompter at Wallack's theatre. She was a member of the 
Bowery theatre company, New York, in 1834, and she was a favour- 
ite in theatres on the western circuit. James S. Wright died, in 
New York, June 27, 1893, aged 79. Mrs. Wright is still living 

8. JANE is remembered as a lovable girl, devoted to her family. 
She never went on the stage, but died, aged seventeen, in 1831. 

Lives that do not imprint themselves on the passing 
age are lost so quickly and so irretrievably that it seems 
as if they never had existed. There is something for- 
lorn in the few slight and scattered memorials that 
remain of those persons ; all of them at one time auspi- 
cious, and actuated, no doubt, by a high ambition. 
Thomas Jefferson, as a lad, appeared at the Park 
theatre, New York, on May 27, 1803, as the Boy, in 
The Children in the Wood, a drama by Thomas 
Morton, the music by Dr. Arnold, first acted at the 
London Haymarket, in 1793, and made memorable by 
the great success of John Bannister as Walter, and 
he was seen at the Chestnut, Philadelphia, January i, 
1806, as Cupid, in the pantomime of Cinderella, his 
father playing Pedro and his mother Thisbe ; but his 
first important effort was made on October 7, 1811, in 
his fifteenth year. The play was The Merry Wives of 
Windsor. Warren acted Falstaff ; Jefferson, Sir Hugh 
Evans ; Blissett, Dr. Caius ; Mackenzie, Ford ; and 
young Thomas Jefferson came on as Master Slender. 
The result was recorded by a contemporary writer, 


S. C. Carpenter, the dramatic censor of The Mirror of 
Taste (Vol. IV., p. 297) : - 

" The chief novelty of the night, and on many accounts a most 
pleasing one, was Mr. Jefferson's eldest son, in Master Slender. 
... A fine boy, and the son of one of the greatest favourites of the 
people of Philadelphia. . . . There was no blind, undistinguishing 
enthusiasm exhibited on the occasion. . . . The audience chose 
rather to reserve their praise till it would do the youth substantial 
credit, by being bestowed only on desert ; and in the full truth of 
severe criticism we declare that of the loud applause bestowed upon 
the boy there was not a plaudit which he did not deserve. From 
this juvenile specimen we are disposed to believe that he inherits 
the fine natural talents of his father." 

In 1817 the three brothers, Thomas, Joseph, and 
John, acted together, in Valentine and Orson, In 1821 
James H. Caldwell (1793-1863), the pioneer theatrical 
manager in the South and West, next after " old man- 
Drake," 1 as the actors commonly called him, and like- 
wise after the veteran Ludlow, had a good dramatic 
company, at Petersburg, Va., which included (according 
to James Rees, Dramatic Authors, p. 58) Mrs. Anderson, 
Mrs. Benton, Mr. Cafferty, Mr. Gray, Mr. and Mrs. 
Hughes, Mr. and Mrs. Hutton, Mr. Jefferson, Mr. Lud- 
low, Miss Eliza Placide, Mr. and Mrs. Russell, Mr. 
Scholes, Miss Tilden, and Mr. West. Miss Eliza 
Placide, sister to Henry and Thomas Placide, became 
Mrs. Mann and mother of Alice Placide Mann. The 
Mr. Jefferson, no doubt, was Thomas. In 1825, at 
Washington, the elder Joseph Jefferson and his son 
John acted in Cherry and Fair Star, which was set in 

1 SAMUEL DRAKE, 1772-1847, was the only manager in the West, as 
late as 1816. He made his first appearance on the American stage, in 
1809, at the Federal Street theatre, Boston, 


scenery painted by the younger Joseph. Bombastes 
Furioso was likewise presented, the elder Jefferson 
acting Bombastes, and both John and Joseph co-operat- 
ing as actors in the performance. Joseph, our Jeffer- 
son's father, was then regarded as mainly a scenic 

The untimely death of Thomas Jefferson was caused 
by an accident on the stage, when he was doing a service 
for a brother actor. That was the vocalist and comedian 
John Barley (1780-1858), father of the artist Felix O. C. 
Darley, both of whose parents were ornaments of the 
early American theatre ; his mother being Miss Ellen 
Westray. John Darley was playing Paul, in the opera 
of Paul and Virginia, and, not wishing to make the leap 
from the rock, he asked young Jefferson to make it for 
him. The youth, who was playing the slave Alhambra, 
acceded to his request, plunged from the scenic preci- 
pice, and in so doing broke a blood-vessel in his lungs. 
That injury resulted in consumption, and, after a linger- 
ing illness, he died in Philadelphia on September 16, 
1824. "He had been afflicted for some time," said a 
writer in the National Intelligencer (September 21), 
" with a pulmonary complaint, which he bore with forti- 
tude. His end was calm and resigned. . . . His friends 
valued him ; their regret is mingled with the tears of 
his family ; and his remembrance is drawn on a tablet 
whence passing occurrences cannot easily efface it." 

Hester Jefferson, Mrs. Mackenzie, seems to have 
possessed the same patient, submissive nature. A 
Nashville journal, recording her death, says that "she 
bore a severe illness with Christian serenity," and that 
she was " a lady graced by many accomplishments, but 


still more by virtues which conciliated the esteem and 
affection of all who knew her." "There are many 
friends of her late father," adds that obituary tribute, 
"and of his family, in different parts of the Union, to 
whom this brief notice will recall many affecting asso- 
ciations. It will be a solace to them to know that she 
passed to the portals of the tomb in the full and joyous 
assurance of a blessed immortality." 

The Chestnut Street theatre, established by Thomas 
Wignell, in 1792-94, stood in Chestnut street, next to 
the west corner of Sixth street, and was the pride of 
Philadelphia. In April, 1820, it was burnt down, and the 
accumulations of the finest dramatic temple in America 
were lost. It was rebuilt and reopened, but it never 
recovered its former glory. 1 A change in the public 
taste as to theatrical matters was maturing at about 
that time, and players who had long been favourites, 
were losing their -hold upon popularity, in the gradual 
waning of the generation to which they belonged. 
Jefferson, a continual sufferer from hereditary gout, had 
begun somewhat to decline, alike in personal strength 

1 An article in the New York Clipper, 1893, descriptive of the veteran 

actor John Roland Reed, 1808 , records that about 1824 "Mr. Reed 

contracted to light the three principal theatres in Philadelphia, the 
Chestnut, under the management of Wood & Warren; the Arch, under 
the management of ' the three Bills,' William Forrest, brother of Edwin 
Forrest, William Duffy, and William Jones; and the Walnut, under the 
management of Wemyss. The lamps were made in acorn shape, the foot- 
lights representing one hundred and fifty lamps. All were filled with oil. 
When a dark scene was necessary, at a signal from the stage-manager 
the lights were lowered under the stage. Around the boxes there were 
chandeliers, presenting three lamps on three prongs. . When severe cold 
weather came, the oil would freeze, and the lights would go out. Then 
Mr. Reed had to go around with hot irons and thaw the oil." 


and popular favour. During the season of 1821, Jeffer- 
son, Francis, Wheatley, and others of the Chestnut com- 
pany, were ill almost one-third of the time, and could 
not appear. In the season of 1823-24, at Baltimore, 
Jefferson was ill nine nights, and did not act. The 
final scenes of his life's drama were ushered in by those 
warnings of decay. Wood refers to unfriendly machina- 
tions against himself, which presently parted him from 
Warren, who was thus left alone in the management, in 
1826; and thereafter the business grew worse and ever 
worse, the receipts falling as low as $98, $90, $61.50, 
and even $20.75 a night, till at last Warren left the 
theatre, utterly ruined, in 1829. 

" Jefferson's last benefit," writes Wood, " took place on December 
23, 1829, and, being suddenly announced, failed to attract his old 
admirers to the house. He was now infirm and in ill spirits, from 
domestic distresses, as well as the breaking up of the old manage- 
ment, and the gloomy professional prospects which that event placed 
before him. The play, A School for Grown Children, had originally 
failed here, being remarkably local, and proved a singularly bad 

That was a comedy by Morton, which Burton once 
gave in New York, under the name of Begone Dull 

Similar testimony is borne by Wemyss : 

" Jefferson, whose benefit was announced with the new play of 
A School for Grown Children, could scarcely muster enough to pay 
the expenses, and resolved to leave the theatre. The manager, hav- 
ing demanded and received the full amount of his nightly charge on 
such occasions, offered him but half his income, at the treasury on 
Saturday. This was a blow the favourite comedian could not brook. 
The success of Sloman, an actor so greatly his inferior, had irritated 
him both with his manager and the audience. But what must have 
been the apathy of the public towards dramatic representation, when 


such a man, whose reputation shed lustre on the theatre to which he 
was attached, was permitted to leave the city of Philadelphia, with 
scarcely an inquiry as to his whereabouts ; two-thirds of the audience 
ignorant of his departure! The last time he acted in Philadelphia 
was for my benefit, kindly studying the part of Sir Bashful Constant, 
in The Way to Keep Him, 1 which he played admirably." 

Cowell's Thirty Years, a useful though censorious 
book, contains a kindred reference to the last days and 
the character of Jefferson. Cowell was the father of 
Samuel Cowell, a once popular actor and comic singer, 
and of Sydney Frances Cowell, who, as Mrs. Hezekiah 
L. Bateman, became known as a dramatic author, and 
as the mother of " the Bateman children," Kate, Ellen, 
and Virginia. Cowell succeeded Wood, as stage man- 
ager of the Chestnut, and it is to that period he refers 
(Vol. II., chapter 8), when writing of Jefferson : 

"Jefferson was the low comedian, and had been for more than 
five and twenty years. Of course he was a most overwhelming 
favourite, though at this time drops of pity for fast-coming signs of 
age and infirmity began to be freely sprinkled with the approbation 
long habit more than enthusiasm now elicited. . . . Literally born 
on the stage, he brought with him to this country the experience of 
age with all the energy of youth, and in the then infant state of the 
drama, his superior talent, adorned by his most exemplary private 
deportment, gave him lasting claims to the respect and gratitude, 
both of the profession and its admirers. And, perhaps, on some 
such imaginary reed he placed too much dependence ; for the whole 
range of the drama cannot, probably, furnish a more painful yet per- 
fect example of the mutability of theatrical popularity than Joseph 

1 The Way to Keep Him. Comedy, by Arthur Murphy : Drury Lane, 
1761. "Sir Bashful Constant is a gentleman who, though passionately 
fond of his wife, yet from a fear of being laughed at by the gay world, for 
uxoriousness, is perpetually assuming the tyrant, and treating her, at least 
before company, with great unkindness." 


" When Warren left the management, younger, not better, actors 
were brought in competition with the veteran, and the same audience 
that had actually grown up laughing at him alone, as if they had 
been mistaken in life talent all this time, suddenly turned their smiles 
on foreign faces ; and, to place their changed opinion past a doubt, 
his benefits, which had never produced less than twelve or fourteen 
hundred dollars, and often sixteen, fell down to less than three. 
Wounded in pride, and ill prepared in pocket for this sudden reverse 
of favour and fortune, he bade adieu forever to Philadelphia. With 
the aid of his wife and children he formed a travelling company, and 
wandered through the smaller towns of Pennsylvania, Maryland, and 
Virginia, making Washington his headquarters. 1 Kindly received 
and respected everywhere, his old age might still have passed in 
calm contentment, but that ' one woe did tread upon another's heel, 
so fast they followed. 1 His daughter, Mrs. Anderson, and his 
youngest, Jane, died in quick succession, after torturing hope with 
long and lingering disease. His son-in-law, Chapman, was thrown 
from a horse, and the week following was in his grave. His son 
John, an excellent actor, performed for his father's benefit, at Lan- 
caster, Pa., was well and happy, went home, fell in a fit, and was 
dead. And last, not least, to be named in this sad list, the wife of 
his youth, the mother of his thirteen [error : he had but nine] chil- 
dren, the sharer of his joys and sorrows for six and thirty years, 
was ' torn from out his heart.' " 

To Wood the inquirer is indebted for an account of 
the closing days and the death of Jefferson, containing 
discriminative observations on his character. Though 
not a sympathetic man, Wood has no word for Jeffer- 
son, except of profound respect and cordial kindness. 

1 The comedian had long been accustomed to make periodical trips 
to Washington, and he knew his ground, therefore, on going into exile. 
"Washington city," says the same writer [ Thirty Years, Vol. II., chapter 10], 
" could then (1827) boast of only a very small theatre, in a very out-of-the- 
way situation, and used by Warren and Wood as a sort of summer retreat 
for their company, where the disciples of Izaak Walton, with old Jefferson 
at their head, could indulge their fishing propensities." 


"At an early age Jefferson anticipated the inheritance of his 
father's complaint, gout, and vainly endeavoured, by a life of the 
severest care and regimen, to escape its assaults. For many years 
the attacks were slight, but with increasing age they increased also, 
and at length became so frequent and violent as to undermine his 
health and spirits. The decline of Warren's fortunes greatly dis- 
tressed him. His associates of thirty years were disappearing from 
his side, and he retired suddenly from a stage of which for a quarter 
of a century he had been the delight, ornament, and boast. ... I 
unexpectedly met him, subsequently, at Washington. He was en- 
gaged, along with John Jefferson, Dwyer, Mills, and Brown, in a tem- 
porary establishment, the manager of which had invited Mrs. Wood 
and myself to a short star engagement. The company was suffi- 
ciently strong to present a few plays creditably, but could not have 
afforded either a suitable recompense or scene for his remarkable 
and finished powers. On our final night at Washington, Jefferson 
roused himself to an effort which astonished us. Though now grown 
old and dispirited, and with a theatre very different from the one 
which had formerly inspired his efforts, his performance of Sir Peter 
Teazle in The School for Scandal, and of Drugget, in Three Weeks 
After Marriage, was nearly equal to his finest and early efforts. 
This was the last time we ever met. I understood, that, after this, 
he became engaged with a company at the town of Harrisburg, Pa., 
and appeared occasionally. . . . Many and severe domestic afflic- 
tions were added to his bodily sufferings, and, worn out with physical 
and mental distress, he there closed his pure and blameless life. . . . 
Nobody of just feelings could know Jefferson as long and intimately 
as I knew him, and have any estrangement with him, about anything ; 
for he was a man at once just, discreet, unassuming, and amiable. . . . 
Studious and secluded in his habits, and surrounded by a numerous 
family, he had neither the wish nor leisure for general society. A 
few select friends and the care of his children occupied the hours 
hardly snatched from his professional duties. He felt an unconquer- 
able dislike to the degradation of being exhibited as the merry-maker 
of a dinner party, 1 and sometimes offended by his perseverance on 

1 This was also true of his contemporary and associate, Francis Blissett, 
and the same trait has shown itself in the character of Joseph Jefferson, 
his grandson. 


this point. He was frequently heard to observe. that for any dinner 
entertainments there were plenty of amateur amusers to be found, 
without exhausting the spirits and powers of actors who felt them- 
selves pledged to reserve their best professional efforts for the public 
who sustained them. To an excellent ear for music, he added no 
inconsiderable pretensions as a painter and machinist. Incapable 
alike of feeling or inspiring enmity, he passed nearly thirty years of 
theatrical life in harmony and comfort. It is painful to contrast 
those with the misfortunes of his later years." 

Among contemporary opinions of Jefferson,' that of 
John P. Kennedy, the novelist, author of Horse-shoe 
Robinson, etc., is significant: 

" He played everything that was comic, and always made people 
laugh until the tears came in their eyes. ... I don't believe he 
ever saw the world doing anything else. Whomsoever he looked 
at laughed. . . . When he was about to enter, he would pronounce 
the first words of his part, to herald his appearance, and instantly 
the whole audience set up a shout. It was only the sound of his 
voice. He had a patent right to shake the world's diaphragm, 
which seemed to be infallible. When he acted, families all went 
together, old and young. Smiles were on every face ; the town was 

" In low or eccentric comedy," says Ireland, " he has rarely been 
equalled ; yet his success in other lines was very great." 

"In the days of Salmagundi, in the days when the leaders of 
intellect and of society were frequenters of our theatres," said the 
poet N. P. Willis, " flourished Jefferson ; and there are some yet 
living who will speak to us with all the fondness of early recollec- 
tions, connected with the freshness of life, of one who now lies 
mouldering beneath the sod." 

Those tributes are examples of the general testimony 
of his time, with reference to Joseph Jefferson. He 
was a man of original mind, studious habits, fine tem- 
perament, natural dignity, and great charm of charac- 
ter, and his life was free from contention, acrimony, 
and reproach. 


An instructive description of Jefferson as an actor is 
given by Wemyss : 

" Joseph Jefferson was an actor formed in nature's merriest mood. 
.... There was a vein of rich humour running through all he did, 
which forced you to laugh, despite of yourself. He discarded gri- 
mace as unworthy of him, although no actor possessed a greater 
command over the muscles of his own face, or the faces of his audi- 
ence, compelling you to laugh or cry, at his pleasure. His excel- 
lent personation of old men acquired for him, before he had reached 
the meridian of life, the title of ' Old Jefferson.' The astonishment 
of strangers, at seeing a good-looking young man pointed out in 
the street as Jefferson, whom they had seen the night previous at 
the theatre, tottering apparently on the verge of existence, was the 
greatest compliment which could be paid to the talent of the actor. 
His versatility was astonishing light comedy, old men, panto- 
mime, and occasionally juvenile tragedy. Educated in the very 
best school for acquiring knowledge in his profession, . . . Jeffer- 
son was an adept in all the trickery of the stage, which, when it 
suited his purpose, he could turn to excellent account. He was the 
reigning favourite of the Philadelphia theatre for a longer period 
than any other actor ever attached to the city, and left it with a 
reputation all might envy. In his social relations he was the model 
of what a gentleman should be, a kind husband, an affectionate 
father, a warm friend, and a truly honest man." 

A tribute to Jefferson and to his associate Francis, 
occurs in James Fennell's Apology for the Life of an 
Actor, pp. 418, 419: 

" My next excursion was to Alexandria, where I completed my 
engagements under the direction of Messrs. Francis and Jefferson. 
I cannot reflect on the conduct of these gentlemen without compar- 
ing it with my own : nothing has impeached their characters during 
their residence in the United States, but much has occurred to exalt 
them. No instability has marked their dispositions ; with steady 
industry, perseverance, and prudence, they have attached themselves 
closely to the profession they had chosen and the city which was 
originally their promised land, and in which they are now (1813) in 


happy possession of competency and respect ; the one, the friend 
and protector of the orphan ; the other, the father of a numerous 
family, under the guardianship of himself and his amiable consort, well 
educated and well instructed. Neither one nor the other entered 
this new world (they will pardon the remark) with the advantages 
I possessed, nor has either of them received a fourth part of the sum 
of money that I have, from the patronage of Americans. What, 
then, has made them rich ? Prudence. What has reduced my 
state ? Imprudence. Jefferson ! the amiable father of an amiable 
offspring ; Francis ! the protector of the unprotected, permit me to 
offer you, poor as it is, my homage." 

Fennell seems to have been the Micawber of actors, 
long before the character was created. He was born 
in London, December n, 1766; made his appearance 
on the American stage in 1794; and was excellent in 
the tragic parts of Zanga and Glenalvon. He lived a 
wild life, and wrote an account of it ; and he died in Phila- 
delphia, a pitiable imbecile, in 1816. 

A Philadelphia writer, whose name is unknown, gives 
this glimpse of the personal appearance of Jefferson : 

" He was scarcely of medium height, not corpulent, elderly, with 
clear and searching eyes, a rather large and pointed nose, and an 
agreeable general expression. But never was a human face more 
plastic. His natural recognition of each personage in the mimic 
scene, his interest in all that was addressed to him, the plan or 
purpose of what he had to say, his coaxing, quizzing, wheedling, 
domineering, and grotesque effects, were all complete, without the 
utterance of words ; yet it was said that in these particulars he never 
twice rendered a scene in precisely the same manner. In singing, 
his voice was a rich baritone, and in speech it was naturally the 
same. He was so perfect an artist that, although always faithful to 
his author, he could, by voice or face or gesture, make a point at 
every exit." 

Edwin Forrest, who had known Jefferson and was 
familiar with his acting, spoke of him with earnest ad- 
miration : 


"One morning ... he began relating to Oakes . . . his recol- 
lections of old Joseph Jefferson, the, great comedian. He told how, 
when a boy, he had visited that beautiful and gifted old man ; what 
poverty and what purity and high morality were in his household ; 
how he had educated his children; and how at last he had died 
among strangers, heart-broken by ingratitude. He told how he 
had seen him play Dogberry, in a way that out-topped all compari- 
son ; how at a later time he had again seen him play the part of the 
Fool, in Lear, so as to set up an idol in the memory of the beholders, 
for he insinuated into the words such wonderful contrasts of the 
greatness and misery and mystery of life, with the seeming ignorant 
and innocent simplicity of the comments on them, that comedy 
became wiser and stronger than tragedy. His listener afterwards 
said, 'We two were alone. Never had I seen him so deeply and so 
loftily stirred in his very soul as he was then, about Jefferson. His 
eulogy had more moral dignity and intense religious feeling than 
any sermon I ever heard from the pulpit.' " Life of Edwin Forrest. 
By William Roimseville Alger, Vol. II., pp. 827-28. 

Jefferson resided for many years at No. 10 Powell 
street, Philadelphia. The house is still standing, but a 
change in the enumeration of the houses in that street 
has made it number 510. In company with Rip Van 
Winkle Jefferson I visited that house, in September, 
1880. Upon Jefferson's saying that his grandfather 
once lived there, the occupants courteously invited us 
to enter, and we passed a little time in the rooms on the 
second floor, which the comedian remembered as asso- 
ciated with his ancestor; and he recalled having been 
held up, at the front window, a child in his grandfather's 
arms, to watch the heavy raindrops pattering in the pools 
of water in the street below, which drops the old gen- 
tleman told him were silver pieces, and said he should 
presently go and get them. That anecdote, told then 
and there, seemed very suggestive of the kind, playful 
nature always ascribed to "old Jefferson." 


There was a strong personal resemblance between 
President Jefferson and the comedian, and this indica- 
tion confirmed their belief that they had sprung from 
the same origin. They were friendly acquaintances and 
occasionally met ; but the actor, who shrunk with hon- 
ourable pride from even the appearance of courting the 
favour of the great, was always shy of accepting the 
attentions of the President. A book had appeared, 
written by an Englishman, in which it was asserted, in 
a spirit of ridicule, that the President of the United 
States, while in the morning he would write state 
papers and attend to the affairs of the nation, could at 
night be seen at the theatre, with a red wig on his head, 
bowing responsive to the applause that he got while 
making the people laugh, in a farce. That was suffi- 
ciently childish satire, and it is not to be supposed that 
any person seriously regarded it. Yet it was not wholly 
without effect on the sensitive mind of the comedian. 
He entertained a profound respect for the republican 
ideas of his adopted country, and for the exalted office 
of its chief magistrate ; and this, conjoined with the 
self-respecting dignity of his character, made him ex- 
tremely punctilious as to all social intercourse outside 
of his own class and rank. The President and himself 
were not able to trace their relationship, but both 
believed it to exist, although the ancestry of the former 
was Welsh, while that of the latter was English. The 
actor, however, said that his gratification in their alli- 
ance would be marred if the matter were made known, 
as an avowal of it might be misunderstood. President 
Jefferson presented to the actor a court-dress, as a mark 
of his respect and admiration. This was highly valued 


by the recipient, and was left by him to his son Joseph, 
who also inherited Garrick's -Abel Drugger wig. Those 
relics formed part of the wardrobe entrusted to Joseph 
Cowell, and by him stored in the St. Charles theatre, 
New Orleans, which was burnt, with its contents, on 
Sunday night, March 13, 1842. 

One of the biographers of President Jefferson de- 
scribes that remarkable man in language which might 
equally well apply to the great actor who was his con- 
temporary : 

" He was a tender husband and father, a mild master, a warm 
friend, and a delightful host. His knowledge of life, extensive 
travels, and long familiarity with great events and distinguished 
men rendered his conversation highly attractive to social visitors. 
His scientific acquisitions and the deep interest which he took in all 
branches of natural history made his society equally agreeable to 
men of learning. Many such visited him, and were impressed as 
deeply by his general knowledge as they were by the courtesy of his 

Jefferson was buried in the grounds of the Episcopal 
church at Harrisburg, at the rear of the building ; and 
there, in 1843, a memorial stone was placed over him, 
by Judge Gibson l and Judge Rogers, of the Supreme 

1 JOHN BANNISTER GIBSON was distinguished as a jurist of high ability. 
He was a native of Pennsylvania, born in 1780, being the son of Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel Gibson, who was killed in battle with the savage Indians, 
in St. Clair's expedition against them, in 1791. He was admitted to the 
bar in 1803, and subsequently was several times elected to the State legis- 
lature. In 1813 he was appointed presiding Judge of one of the judicial 
districts of Pennsylvania, and in 1816 he became Associate Justice of the 
Supreme Court of that State. In 1827 he became Chief Justice, succeeding 
Judge Tilghman. He was deprived of his seat in 1851, when a change in 
the Constitution of Pennsylvania made the judiciary an elective institution. 
He was, however, elected an Associate Justice in the same year. He died 


Court of Pennsylvania. The inscription upon it, written 
by Judge Gibson, is as follows : 

















IN THE YEAR l832. 

" / knew him, Horatio : a fellow of infinite jest ; of most 
excellent fancy" 


in Philadelphia in 1853, having been eminent on the bench for forty 
years. An eloquent eulogy on him was delivered by Chief Justice Jere- 
miah Black, which may be found in the seventh volume of Harris's Penn- 
sylvania State Reports. 


There is an authentic tradition that the clergyman 
who read the burial service .over the remains of Jeffer- 
son, knowing that he had been an actor, and disapprov- 
ing of that circumstance, altered the text of the ritual, 
substituting the phrase "this man" for "our deceased 
brother," in the solemn passage beginning " Forasmuch 
as it hath pleased Almighty God, in his wise providence, 
to take out of this world the soul of our deceased brother, 
we therefore commit his body to the ground earth to 
earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust." That proceeding, 
which was observed at the time, and which can only be 
viewed as an act of bigotry, done with intent to cast a 
sort of ecclesiastical indignity upon the dead, has been 
remembered by the descendants of the noble and blame- 
less person whose dust was thus disparaged. The 
present Joseph Jefferson, whose spotless character and 
beneficent life are their own sufficient praise, is not a 
member of the church. It is by acts like that, with 
which its history has often been sullied, that the church 
has suffered the alienation of many true hearts. 

After nearly forty years, the remains of Joseph Jeffer- 
son were removed from the Episcopal churchyard to the 
Harrisburg cemetery, and again laid in the earth. The 
same stone that marked their first sepulchre, marks their 
final place of rest. This disturbance of them was com- 
pelled, through the conversion of a part of the church- 
yard into a building plot. In the absence of the pres- 
ent Jefferson, the removal to a temporary sepulchre was 
effected by Attorney-General Benjamin F. Brewsterand 
Senator Cameron, of Pennsylvania ; but on returning 
from Europe, Jefferson personally supervised the final 


It is my privilege to present a compendium of PER- 
me by his daughter, ELIZABETH JEFFERSON, Mrs. 
Chapman-Richardson-Fisher. These recollections were 
written at my request, in 1869-70. They came to me 
in the form of rough memoranda, the manuscript being 
entitled Notes from Memory, and they were found 
to need revision. Accordingly, with their respected 
writer's consent, I carefully pruned, condensed, and 
paraphrased her narrative, preserving her facts, strictly 
adhering to the spirit of her statements, and, where- 
ever possible, using her words. A sketch of Elizabeth 
Jefferson's life is given in a separate chapter of this 
biography. Her reminiscences are appended : 

" My father was genial and social, but reserved in manner. He 
never allowed theatrical matters to be discussed in his presence ; 
not from dislike of his profession, but because his life was so entirely 
wrapt up in it that he needed relief from reference to the subject of 
his constant study and thought. 

" Hodgkinson was most liberal to my father in professional busi- 
ness, and in a very little time after they came together gave up to 
him the low-comedy parts. This soon made him a leading feature 
of the John Street theatre, and a great favourite with the public. 
One night, when it chanced that his first child was very ill, he had 
gone to the theatre much depressed, though not apprehensive of 
bereavement. While dressing himself for a farce, he received news 
that his child was dead. The love of children was a ruling passion 
with my father, and to lose his own and (then) only one, was an 
overwhelming grief. Hodgkinson went, before the curtain to state 
the reason of the delay that had been caused by this news, and 
to beg of the audience to allow another farce to be substituted 
for the one announced ; but the whole house rose, and, with a 
cry of 'No farce! 1 left the theatre. This was an unusual compli- 

" Considerations of economy were among the reasons that induced 


my father to remove from New York to Philadelphia, where his name 
became a household word. No man ever held more esteem and 
affection than followed him. His wife lived but in him ; his children 
idolised him ; his servants worshipped him ; his nature was one that 
inspired not only respect but love ; his fondness for children was 
extreme, and I have seen our parlour at home filled with little ones, 
children of neighbours, whose names even he did not know, 
but they flocked around him as if he were something more than mor- 
tal, and he never tired of amusing them. A great tease he was to 
them, but they preferred to be teased by him rather than petted 
by others. 

"There was a simplicity in our household that I have seldom met 
with since. In affairs of business my father would often take us all 
into his council. One instance of this, which is singular and amus- 
ing, I particularly recall. A neighbour of ours was in the habit of 
lending money at interest, a proceeding which we had been taught 
to regard as almost as bad as robbery, and a merchant of Phila- 
delphia, who was in need of money, had come to him to borrow it. 
The usurer chanced to be insufficiently supplied, and he mentioned 
this exigency to my father, saying that a certain very high rate of 
interest could be obtained upon a loan. My father answered that 
he would consider the proposition, and communicate his decision on 
the morrow. He then called a family council and apprised us of his 
opportunity to profit by usury. He dwelt long and earnestly on the 
merchant's distress. We all exclaimed in horror against the idea. 
I vividly remember the impression I received that he was about to 
become a Shylock, and that he might be tempted to end by cutting 
a pound of flesh from the breast of the impoverished debtor. But 
we kept our father from that shocking crime, which, of course, he 
had not dreamed of an intention to commit, and blessed him that 
he was not a Shylock. His waggish way of enforcing a moral lesson 
was to be realised afterward, in memory. I do not suppose that 
there ever was a man who lived more entirely t unspotted from the 
world. 1 

" In matters relative to the stage he was scrupulously careful and 
thorough. His wigs were, with a few exceptions, invented and 
made by himself. He hit upon the idea of a wig that should be 
practicable, the hair upon it rising at fright. He had undertaken 


a part in a piece entitled The Farmer? but not being particularly 
struck by it, he set about the study of what could be done to 
strengthen it. It was then that he hit upon the expedient of mak- 
ing the wig do what the part could not, and he was richly repaid by 
the laughter of the audience. I was present, and I remember hear- 
ing the people around me saying, 'Now look at Jefferson's wig, 1 in 
a certain scene of the piece ; and, indeed, this comic wig saved the 

" His varied talent was turned to every line of acting, except 
tragedy. On one occasion Mrs. Wood,' 2 the leading lady of the 
Chestnut Street theatre, wife of the manager, William B. Wood, was 
joking with him, saying that he had mistaken his calling, and that 
his line was tragedy, and she persuaded him to play for his benefit 
Old Norval, in John Home's tragedy of Douglas. I have heard him 
declare that he really intended to act that part seriously, but he said 
that the audience had been so accustomed to laughing whenever he 
appeared that they would not accept him soberly, and when he made 
his entrance in this tragic character, he was greeted with a shriek 
of laughter. He tried to be solemn, but it was of no use. The 
spectators had determined to laugh at Jefferson, and laugh they did. 
Mrs. Wood always said that he did something on the sly to provoke 
the laughter, but he would not acknowledge this. I suspect him, 
though, for his sentimental acting, as it occasionally occurred in 
comedy, was touching and beautiful. 

" After my father's death, when I was alone in New York, I was 
requested to give permission for the removal of his remains from 
Harrisburg to Philadelphia, where it was said a monument should 
be erected to his memory. But, knowing what sorrow he had suf- 
fered at the neglect he received in Philadelphia, towards the end of 
his career, and knowing also his aversion to all disturbance of the 
grave, I refused to sanction this proceeding. His ideas were peculiar 
as to death. When I wished him to see my mother, after she was 
dead, he would not be persuaded. ' How can you ask me," 1 he said, 

1 The Farmer. A musical farce, in two acts. By John O'Keefe. 
Covent Garden, 1787. 

2 / " January 3Oth, 1804. Married by the Rev. Dr. Abercrombie; Mr. 
W. B. Wood, to Miss Juliana Westray, both of this (the Chestnut) thea- 
tre." Wood's Personal Recollections, page 101. 


- to turn with disgust from a face which for so many years has been 
my pride and my pleasure ? ' And until a year before his death he 
never saw a corpse. The first and only dead face he ever looked on 
was that of his son John. His wish was to be buried in a village 
churchyard, with no stone to mark the place. But this, it seems, 
could not be, for two of his old friends, judges of Pennsylvania, 
erected a stone at his head, in Harrisburg, where he died. 

" I never but once saw my father out of temper : and, indeed, he 
could not have borne to be so ; his naturally equable temper was essen- 
tial to his health. During Mr. Wemyss's 1 stage management of the 
Chestnut Street theatre (1827-30), that gentleman went abroad to 
try to engage a company that, in fact, was not wanted. Among other 
importations that he brought back was Mr. John Sloman, a comic 
singer, together with his wife, as stars. Mr. Sloman was a good 
comic singer, but as an actor was execrable. In my father's con- 
tract with the theatre it was expressly stipulated, and had been so 
for years, that all plays or farces in which he was desired to appear 
should be sent to him, so that he might choose his part. This 
arrangement seemed to hurt the self-love of some of the actors ; 
but, as it was a rule, Mr. Wemyss did not attempt to break it. 
Nevertheless, after Mr. Sloman had made a hit with his comic sing- 
ing, Mr. Wemyss harboured the idea that the American public would 
also accept him as an actor ; and so all the new pieces that came 
from England that season were given to Sloman, on the pretext that 
he was a new star, and that they were his property. My father 
made no protest, feeling sure that neither Mr. Wemyss nor Mr. 
Sloman could depose him from his place in the public regard. On 
an occasion of Mr. Warren's benefit, Sloman volunteered his ser- 
vices, and my father was to act in a new farce. I was in the green- 

1 FRANCIS COURTNEY WEMYSS (1797-1859), author of a Theatrical 
Biography. In chap. xiii. of that work Mr. Wemyss refers to this sub- 
ject as follows : " We proceeded as usual to Baltimore for the spring season, 
and while there I was taken one morning by surprise, by an offer from Mr. 
Warren to accept the acting and stage management of the theatres under 
his direction; to cross the Atlantic, and recruit his dramatic company by 
engaging new faces from England. ... I therefore, on May 6, 1827, made 
an engagement for three years with Mr. Warren. . . . On June 20, 1 sailed 
from Philadelphia." 


room that day, and I never shall forget my father's face when he 
saw the announcement. This proclaimed, first, a five-act tragedy ; 
then six successive songs by Sloman ; then a farce for Sloman ; and 
finally his own feature, The Illustrious Stranger. v Mr. Wemyss hap- 
pened to enter the room at this moment. My father said to him, 
'Good morning, sir; that bill must be changed. 1 'Why, Mr. Jeffer- 
son,' he replied, ' it is impossible : we could not have new bills printed 
by night. 1 ' I don't care what you do,' answered my father ; ' I want 
the order of those pieces changed. I have spent time and thought 
upon my part, and, damn it, sir, I won't have it wasted. 1 The man- 
ager's face was a picture. An oath from the lips of Jefferson fright- 
ened us all ; but his farce was placed immediately after the tragedy, 
and I remember that it was a success. I never heard my father use 
a profane word, except on that occasion. 

"The Chestnut Street theatre was now declining in prosperity. 
Mr. Warren, my uncle, was soon declared insolvent. This new 
company, which his stage-manager, Mr. Wemyss, had engaged, 
was to have raised the theatre to the pinnacle of success ; but it 
proved, as sensible observers had feared, the ruin of the house. 2 
My father's benefit, always good before' this, now turned out a fail- 
ure. Edwin Forrest, then the rising star, chanced to be acting at 
the Walnut. On my father's benefit night the opposition managers 
had put up Forrest's name for a benefit, and the young favourite 
proved the success. While we were sitting that day at dinner, a 
letter was brought from Forrest, stating that the writer had not 
been aware of the employment of his name to oppose that of the 
elder actor, and that he hoped the blame might be laid where it 
was due ; and he offered to give my father a night, whenever he 
might choose to name the time, to prove his respect and apprecia- 
tion. My father deemed the young actor somewhat presumptuous, 
in taking so much for granted ; but a few hours sufficed to teach 
him the bitter lesson of waning popularity. On the night of that 
last benefit in Philadelphia, he made up his mind to leave that city 
and never return to it. 

1 The Illustrious Stranger, or Married and Buried. Musical farce. 
By James Kenney. Drury Lane, 1827. 

2 The instructions to engage this company emanated from Mr. Warren, 
of whose plans Mr. Wemyss was the executor, not the originator. 


" At a later time, when my father was acting and managing in 
Washington, Forrest came there ,as a star, and he then actually 
refused one night's emolument. He had said that he would play 
one night for Jefferson, and he insisted on keeping his word. The 
money was sent after him, when this was discovered, but he returned 
it, and positively refused to receive it. Efforts were made, from 
time to time, to induce my father to return to Philadelphia. For- 
rest's brother, at the Walnut, made him a most liberal offer, with- 
out conditions. Wemyss also came, offering anything. But this 
was in vain. The heart and the pride of the actor had been 
wounded to death. He never went back, and he soon died. 

" Of all my father's children the most talented was John. He 
was the pride of our family. A classical scholar, proficient also in 
modern languages, a clever artist, an accomplished musician, a good 
caricaturist, an excellent actor, he was one of the most talented men 
of his day. Playing seconds to my father, he had caught his thor- 
oughness of style, without becoming a servile imitator. He was 
a good singer and a graceful dancer. He possessed every attribute 
essential to an actor. But his attractive disposition and his brilliant 
talents soon gave him an exacting and perilous popularity. Gay 
company, and the dissipation that it caused, injured his health, 
though to the last he never was known to fail in professional duty. 
The last performance he ever gave was in Lancaster, Pa. When 
my father left Philadelphia, John, who had acted both at the 
Chestnut and Walnut, resolved to turn manager, and, for some time 
after that, he managed theatres at Washington and Baltimore, mak- 
ing summer trips to Harrisburg, Lancaster, Pottsville, and other 
places. It was while we were playing at Lancaster that John died. 
The pieces that night were The School for Scandal and The Poor 
Soldier. Part of the cast of the former was as follows : 

Sir Peter Teazle Joseph Jefferson, Sr. 

Sir Oliver Surface John Jefferson. 

Rowley Joseph Jefferson, Jr. 

Lady Teazle Mrs. S. Chapman (Elizabeth Jefferson). 

Mrs. Candour Mrs. Joseph Jefferson, Jr. 

Lady Sneerwell Miss Anderson. 

Maria Miss Jefferson. 

" The Miss Anderson was Jane (afterwards Mrs. Germon), the eld- 
est daughter of my sister Euphemia ; the Miss Jefferson was my sis- 


ter Mary Anne (afterwards Mrs. Wright) ; Mrs. S. Chapman was my- 
self; so this was indeed a theatrical family party. In mounting the 
stone steps of the hotel, on our return from the performance, my 
brother John slipped on a bit of orange peel, and fell heavily, strik- 
ing his head, and fracturing his skull. He was taken up insensible, 
and he never spoke again. My father never rallied from the shock 
of that calamity. In this son his chief hopes had been centred. 
He believed that John was destined to great honour and fame, and 
that he would keep the name of Jefferson distinguished upon the 
stage. After this my father refused to act in any of the plays in 
which John had been accustomed to act with him, and in less than 
a year he, too, went to his rest. 

"My nephew, Joseph Jefferson (Rip Van Winkle), bears a 
striking resemblance to my father. He was a wonderfully preco- 
cious child : all who remember his childhood say this. When little 
more than two years old he gave an imitation of Fletcher, 1 the 

1 JOHN FLETCHER, said to have been born in that part of London's 
historic fortress called the Bloody Tower, appeared at the London Adelphi 
in 1831, showing the Venetian statues; came to America; appeared at 
Boston, November 28, 1831, at the Bowery theatre, New York, December 
13, 1831, and at the Walnut Street theatre, Philadelphia, January 5, 1832. 
Joseph Jefferson (Rip Van Winkle) was born in Philadelphia, February 
20, 1829, and consequently was less than three years old when Fletcher 
first performed in that city. It must have been his own mother who ob- 
served his precocious endeavours and who made the statue dress for him, 
because Elizabeth Jefferson's mother died in January, 1831. The lad 
was very early taken on the stage, at the theatre in Washington, as Cora's 
Child, in Pizarro, that being his beginning in the profession ; but his 
first regular appearance, in a speaking part, was made at the age of four, 
1833, when he was carried on as little Jim Crow, by Thomas D. Rice, at 
Washington. He then danced and sang. His appearance in the statues 
preceded his appearance as little Jim Crow. 

A passing glimpse of that juvenile statue episode is given in an article 
that was published in the New York Times, June 5, 1881, descriptive of an 
interview with the aged actor Edmon S. Conner, then 72 years old, since 
dead : 

" Mr. Conner recalls a circumstance regarding Joseph Jefferson. He says that the 
great comedian was a remarkably small child at the age of seven (?), being hardly larger 
than other children at three, but that he was beautifully formed. A man named Fletcher 


statue man, and it was indeed an astonishing feat. My mother 
chanced to notice the child, in a corner of the room, trying this 
experiment, and she called him to her side, and found that he had 
got all the " business " of the statues, though he could not have pro- 
nounced the name of one of them. She made him a dress similar 
to that worn by Fletcher, and he actually gave these imitations upon 
the stage when only three years old. Rice came to Washington to 
sing his Jim Crow songs, and little Joe caught them up directly, 
and, in his baby voice, sung the songs, although he could not 
correctly pronounce the words that he sung. His taste for drawing 
and painting showed itself at an early age. My father could not 
keep his drawing-box away from the boy. Joe was in his fourth 
year when my father died. The old gentleman idolised him. I 
remember his almost daily salutation would be, ' Joe, where 's my 
paint ?' 'It's gone,' said the child. 'Yes, sir, I know it's gone; 
but where ? where ? ' ' Him lost,' was Joe's reply. ' Yes, sir, I 
know it 's lost and gone ; but how and where ? ' The boy would 
look up, roguishly, and say, ' Him hook um ' ; and then his grand- 
father would prophesy what a great artist that child would one day 
become, and say that he was ' the greatest boy in the world,' and 
let him destroy any amount of anything he chose. The inheritance 
of talent was never more clearly shown than in the case of the 
present Joseph Jefferson : his habits, his tastes, his acting, all he 
is and does seems just a repetition of his grandfather." 

The professional life of Joseph Jefferson exemplified 
a wide versatility of shining intellectual power and great 
and zealous artistic labour. The specification of some 
of the parts that he acted will supply an eloquent testi- 

had then just introduced into this country living tableaux representing renowned statu- 
ary of the Old World. They had created a great sensation. During a certain summer 
season Mr. Conner, with others, was in Wilmington, Del. One of the most attractive 
features of their entertainments was that furnished by little Joe, who, in white fleshings, 
white wig, and chalked face, was placed upon a small round table, and gave imitations of 
Fletcher's statuary, 'The Discobolus,' ' Ajax Defying the Lightning,' etc. He was 
hardly longer than the legs of the table, but so admirably he struck the attitudes, and so 
perfectly proportioned was he, that the audiences were charmed with the graceful, lovely 


monial to the force and brilliancy of his talents and to 
his studious energy. He appeared in more than two 
hundred characters, and the list is by no means com- 
plete. It is by records of this kind, carefully examined 
and considered, that the judicious observer is able to 
gauge the actors of the past, 1 and, at the same time, by 
remarking the changes which occur in the public taste, 
to trace the dramatic movement from age to age, and 
thus to sharpen his perception and broaden his grasp of 
the march of civilised society : for the accepted drama 
of a nation is always a significant sign of the condition 
of its people. Subjoined is a partial 



Adonis, alias Joe the Shepherd, in Poor Vulcan, or Gods upon 
Earth. Burlesque. By Charles Dibdin. Covent Garden, 1778. 

Alibi, in The Toy, or The Lie of the Day. Comedy. By John 
O'Keefe. Covent Garden, 1789. 

1 The old theatrical chronicler, Downes, in a note to his Roscius Angli- 
camts, edition of 1789, p. 63, says, of Betterton : 

" Nothing shows the richness of this actor's genius so much as the variety of different 
characters that he represented. The first tragedian of the age acting the solemn coxcomb 
would appear surprising to us had we not seen Mr. Garrick perform Sir Anthony Bran- 
ville, in The Discovery. The accomplished actor is master of the whole business in his 
profession, and no one excepting Mr. Garrick performed such a number of different char- 
acters as Betterton." 

The veteran Macklin presented one hundred and sixty-five characters. 
The actor who has played the greatest number of parts, however, is Henry 
Irving, who, between the time of his first appearance on the regular 
stage, September 29, 1856, at Sunderland, and that of his departure from 
Edinburgh, for the Princess's theatre, London, September 13, 1859, played 
four hundred and twenty-eight parts. [See Biographical Sketch of Henry 
Irving. By Austin Brereton. 1884.] Since 1859 the list of parts played 
by Irving must have been largely extended. Henderson played one hun- 
dred and fifteen parts. 


Acres, in The Rivals. Comedy. By Richard Brinsley Sheri- 
dan. Covent Garden, 1775. 

Apollo Belvi, and also Buskin, in Killing No Murder. Farce. 
By Theodore Hook. Haymarket, 1809. The elder Mathews was 
the original Buskin. 


Bluntly, in Next Door Neighbours. Comedy. By Elizabeth 
Inchbald. Haymarket, 1791. 

Bombastes Furioso, in the burlesque tragic opera of that name. 

Bobby Pendragon, in Which fs the Man? Comedy. By Mrs. 
Hannah Cowley. Covent Garden, 1783. 

Block, in Where is He? Farce. By William Dunlap. 1801. 

Bras de Fer, in Tekeli, or The Siege of Montgatz. Melodrama. 
By Theodore Edward Hook. Music by the elder Hook. Drury 
Lane, November 24, 1806. 

Bribon, in Columbus. 


Cloten, in Shakespeare's tragedy of Cymbeline. 

Cloddy, in The Mysteries of the Castle. By Miles Peter Andrews. 
Covent Garden, 1795. 

Count Cassell, in Lover's Vows. Drama. Adapted from Kotze- 
bue by William Dunlap. New York Park, 1799. 

Clown, in Harlequins Vagaries. There are, of course, many old 
plays implicating the Italian masques. The Biographia Dramatica 
mentions no less than sixty, relative to Harlequin. 

Charles, in Know Your Own Mind. Comedy. By Arthur Murphy. 
Covent Garden, 1777. The character of Dashwould, in this piece, 
was intended to portray Foote, the actor and dramatist. 

Conrad, in The Stranger's Birthday, a sequel to Kotzebue's play 
of The Stranger. 

Carlos, in The Man of Fortitude. Drama, 1797. Alleged author, 
Hodgkinson ; but Dunlap claimed the piece as his, under the name 
of The Knight's Adventure, and said that Hodgkinson made use of 
his manuscript. 

Carlos, in The Blind Boy. An alteration, made by Dunlap, of 
Kotzebue's The Epigram. 


Cadi, in // Bondocani. Comic Opera. By Thomas Dibdin, 
1801. Music by Boieldieu. Afterwards played as The Caliph of 

Colin, in The Irish Mimic, or Blunders at Brighton. Musical 
Farce. By John O'Keefe. Covent Garden, 1795. 

Captain Copp, in Charles the Second. Comedy. By John 
Howard Payne. 

Caleb, in He Would Be a Soldier. Comedy. By Frederick 
Pillon. Covent Garden, 1786. 

Captain Flash, in Miss in Her J^eens. Farce. By David Garrick. 
Covent Garden, 1747. 


Don Ferolo Whiskerandos, in The Critic. Farce. By Richard 
Brinsley Sheridan. Drury Lane, 1779. 

Diego, in The Virgin of the Sun. Drama. Translated from 
Kotzebue. Jefferson also acted, later, Orozembo, in Pizarro, or The 
Death of Rolla, another version of the same piece. 

Dogberry, and also Verges, in Shakespeare's comedy of Much 
Ado About Nothing. 

Davy, in Bon Ton. Farce. By David Garrick. Drury Lane, 


Dickey Gossip, in My Grandmother. Farce. By Prince Hoare. 
Drury Lane, 1796. 

Dorilas, in The Whims of Galatea, or The Power of Love. Jeffer- 
son painted the scenery for this piece, at the John Street theatre, 
New York, March, 1796. 

Don Vincentio, in A Bold Stroke for a Husband. Comedy. By 
Mrs. Hannah Cowley. Covent Garden, 1783. 

David Mowbray, in First Love, or The French Emigrant. Com- 
edy. Drury Lane, 1795. Dora Jordan was admirably good as 
Sabina Rosni. The part was acted in America by Mrs. Hodg- 

Drugget, in Three Weeks After Marriage. Comedy. By Arthur 
Murphy. Covent Garden, 1776. 

Don Manuel, in She Would and She Would Not. Comedy. By 
Colley Gibber. Drury Lane, 1703. 

Doctor Last, in The Devil upon Two Sticks. Comedy. By 


Samuel Foote. Haymarket, 1768. The original Doctor Last was 
Weston. Foote acted the Devil. 

Dromio of Syracuse, in Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors. Cowell 
was the other Dromio. 

Dubois, in The Abbe de L'Epee, or Deaf and Dumb. 1801. 

Don Guzman, in The Follies of a Day. Comedy. By Thomas 
Holcroft. Covent Garden, 1785. Adapted from La Folle Journee* 
by Beaumarchais. 

Dominique, in the opera of Paul and Virginia. By James Cobb. 
Music by Mazzinghi and Reeve. Covent Garden, 1800. 

Dr. Smugface, in A Budget of Blunders. Farce. By Prince 
Hoare. Covent Garden, 1810. Jefferson, in Dr. Smugface, wore a 
false nose, skilfully made of wax, which increased the comicality of 
his aspect in that irascible character. 

Dr. Lenitive, in The Prize, or 2-5-3-8. 

Dominie Sampson, in Guy Mannering. Musical Play, on Sir 
Walter Scott's novel. By Daniel Terry. Covent Garden, 1816. 

Dr. Petitqueue, in The Toothache. Farce. By John Bray. 


Edward, in The Haunted Tower. Comic Opera. By James 
Cobb. Drury Lane, 1789. 

Endless, in The Young Quaker. Comedy. By John O'Keefe. 
Haymarket, 1783. 

Ennui, in The Dramatist. Comedy. By Frederic Reynolds. 
Covent Garden, 1789. 

Ephraim, in The school for Prejudice. Comedy. By Thomas 
Dibdin. Covent Garden, 1801. An enlargement of its author's 
previous comedy of Liberal Opinions. 


Frank, in Half an Hour After Supper. Haymarket, 1789. 

Farmer Ashfield, in Speed the Plough. Comedy. By Thomas 
Morton. Covent Garden, 1800. 

Ireland cites a critical opinion on Jefferson's personation of Farmer 
Ashfield, which is suggestively descriptive of his quality and style : 

" No man possessed such happy requisites for exhibiting this character in 
the true colours of nature as Mr. Jefferson. In the rustic deportment and dia- 


lect, in the artless effusions of benignity and undisguised truth, and in those 
masterly strokes of pathos and simplicity with which the author has finished the 
inimitable picture, Mr. Jefferson showed uniform excellence ; and as, in the hu- 
morous parts, his comic powers produced their customary effect, so, in the 
serious overflowings of the honest farmer's nature, the mellow, deep, impressive 
tones of the actor's voice vibrated to the heart, and produced the most intense 
and exquisite sensations." Mirror of Taste, Vol. I., p. 75. 

Ferrett, in The Horse and the Widow. Farce. Altered from the 
German of Kotzebue, by Thomas Dibdin. Covent Garden, 1799. 

Fool, in The Italian Father. Drama. By William Dunlap. 
Park, 1799. 

Frank Oatland, in A Cure for the Heartache. Comedy. By 
Thomas Morton. Covent Garden, 1797. This was among Jeffer- 
son's best performances. 

Francis, in Shakespeare's King Henry IV. 

First Witch, in Macbeth. 

Fixture, in A Roland for an Oliver, Comedy, 1819. 


Gregory Gubbin, in The Battle of Hexham. Drama. By George 
Colman. Jr. Music by Dr. Arnold. Haymarket, 1789. Story of 
Margaret, Queen to Henry VI., befriended by a bandit. 

Grime, in The Deserted Daughter. Comedy. By Thomas Hoi- 
croft. Covent Garden, 1795. This piece was sometimes acted 
under the name of The Steward. Item, in this, was also one of 
Jefferson's characters. 

Gregory, in The Mock Doctor, or The Dumb Lady Cured. 1 Farce. 
By Henry Fielding. Drury Lane, 1732. 

1 That piece was taken from Le Medecin malgre Lui. by Moliere, 
originally named Le Fagotier. The story is that the wife of a wood-cutter, 
in order to be revenged on her husband for his ill treatment of her, told 
two strangers that he was a learned physician, who would not, however, 
give his medical knowledge and care, until he had been soundly thrashed; 
whereupon they compelled him first to attempt the cure of a girl who had 
been feigning dumbness in order to avoid an obnoxious marriage, and next 
to assist in an elopement. The situations had previously been used, in 
Love's Contrivance (1703), by Susanna Centlivre, and The Dumb Lady 
(1672), by John Lacy. The subject has been treated in an opera by 


Guillot, in Richard Cceur de Lion. Historical Play. By Gen. 
John Burgoyne. Drury Lane, 1786. 

Gil Bias, in pantomime play of Gil Bias. 


Hans Molkin, in The Wild Goose Chase. Translated by Dunlap. 

Herbert, in The Man of Ten Thousand. Comedy. By Thomas 
Holcroft. Drury Lane, 1796. 

Hurry, in The Maid of the Oaks. Farce. By Gen. John Bur- 
goyne. Drury Lane, 1774. Covent Garden, with Mrs. Abington 
in it, 1782. The author was the British commander who capitu- 
lated to General Gates, at Saratoga, in 1777, prompting Sheridan's 

couplet : 

" Burgoyne defeated oh, ye Fates, 
Could not this Samson carry Gates ! " 

Humphrey Grizzle, and also Frank, in The Three and the Deuce. 
Comedy. By Prince Hoare. Haymarket, 1795. This piece is sug- 
gestive of both the Comedy of Errors and She Stoops to Conquer. 

Gounod, produced at the Theatre Lyrique, Paris, January 15, 1858, and at 
the Princess's theatre, London, early in 1865. 

It is recorded that David Garrick, before he decided to adopt the dra- 
matic profession, chose The Mock Doctor, to test his powers. The particu- 
lars are given as follows : 

" The place was the room over St. John's Gate, Clerkenwell. . . . The time was 
soon after Garrick's friend and tutor, Samuel Johnson, had formed a close intimacy with 
Cave, the printer and publisher of the Gentleman's Magazine, and while Garrick was 
still in the wine trade, with his brother Peter, and secretly meditating a withdrawal from 
it, in order to adopt the congenial, but, in the opinion of his friends, the disreputable, call- 
ing of an actor. The audience was composed, first of Cave himself, who, though not a 
man given to mirth, or with an idea beyond his printing presses, had been tickled by 
Johnson's description of his young townsman's powers. . . . Then there was the burly 
lexicographer, in those days very shabby and seedy indeed, but proudly battling his 
way in the world. . . . Several of Cave's literary handicraftsmen were, doubtless, among 
the audience: Webb, the enigma writer, Derrick, the pen-cutter, and ' Tobacco' Browne, 
whose serious poetry even the religious Johnson himself confessed he was unable to read 
with patience. The actors who assisted Garrick were some of Cave's journeymen printers, 
who had, for the time, laid aside their composing sticks, and read or recited the parts 
allotted to them, as best they could. Garrick played the involuntary physician Gregory, 
as Fielding renamed him; and we have all read how Johnson, in his later years, return- 
ing from the Mitre, or the Cheshire Cheese, with Boswell, in the early morning, would 
grasp the street-post by Temple Gate, and send forth a peal of laughter, which echoed 
and re-echoed through the silent streets, as he recalled the irresistible humour of his clever 
iriend little Davy." 


The comic effect is obtained by means of complications arising out 
of the bewildering resemblance between three brothers, each being 
mistaken for another, and all displayed at cross purposes with the 
rest of the characters. Frank is a rustic, of the Zekiei Homespun 
stripe. Humphrey Grizzle is an opinionated, cranky, eccentric old 
servant, whose perplexity affords much amusement. The three 
brothers, Percival, Peregrine, and Pertinax Single, who " raise 
the Deuce " by being alike in appearance but diverse in character 
and conduct, are acted by one and the same person. 


Ibrahim, in Blue Beard, or Female Curiosity. Musical Extrava- 
ganza. By George Colman, Jr. Drury Lane, 1798. 


Jasper Lunge, in A Good Spec Land in the Moon. Farce. 

Jacob Gawky, in A Chapter of Accidents. Comedy. By Miss 
Sophia Lee. Haymarket, 1780. 

Jaques. and also Rolando, in The Honeymoon. Comedy. By 
John Tobin. Drury Lane, 1805. 

Jeremy Diddler, in Raising the Wind. Farce. By James Ken- 
ney. Covent Garden, 1803. Lewis was the original Jeremy. 
" Diddler has been attempted by many celebrated comedians, but 
by none so successfully as by Jefferson, who exhibits the various 
dispositions of Jeremy with admirable effect." The Thespian 

John Lump, in The Review, or The Wags of Windsor. Musical 
Farce. By George Colman, Jr. Haymarket, 1808. 

Jargon, in The Bulse of Diamonds, or What is She? [By 
Dr. Doddrell ?J 

John, in The Wheel of Truth. Farce. By James Fennell, the 
actor. New York Park, 1803. . 

Job Thornbury, in John Bull. Comedy. By George Colman, 
Jr. Covent Garden, 1805. 

Jack Stocks, in The Lottery. Farce. By Henry Fielding. 
Drury Lane, 1731- 

Justice Greedy, in A New Way to Pay Old Debts. Comedy. 
By Philip Massinger. Acted at the Pho3nix in Drury Lane, 1633. 


John, in False Shame. Drama. Adapted from the German, by 

Jack Meggott, in The Suspicious Husband. Comedy. By Dr. 
Benjamin Hoadly. Covent Garden, 1747. Garrick was famously 
good, in this piece, as Ranger. George the Second sent the author 
one hundred pounds, as a compliment. 

Jack Arable, in Speculation. Comedy. By Frederic Reynolds. 
Covent Garden, 1795. 

James, in Bourville Castle. Musical Drama. By Rev. John 
Blair Linn. 1797. 

Jack Bowline, and also Captain Bertram, in Fraternal Discord. 
Drama. Adapted from the German of Kotzebue, by Dunlap. John 
Street theatre, 1800. 

Jack Acorn, in Columbia's Daughters. Drama. By Mrs. Susanna 
Rowson, author of The Female Patriot, Slaves in Algiers, Charlotte 
Temple, Americans in England, and other pieces. 1800. 

Jew, in Self-Immolation, or Family Distress. Drama. Adapted 
from Kotzebue, by Dunlap. 

Kourakim, in The Captive of Spilsberg. Drama. By Prince 
Hoare. Drury Lane, 1799. 

Kit Cosey, in Town and Country. By Thomas Morton. Covent 
Garden, 1807. 

Kudrin, in Count Benyowski. Drama. By Dunlap. Park, 1799. 

Louis, in The Robbery. Drama. By Monvel. Translated by 
William Dunlap. 

Lackbrain, in Life. Comedy. By Frederic Reynolds. Covent 
Garden, 1801. 

Lord Listless, in The East Indian. Comedy. By M. G. Lewis. 
Drury Lane, 1799. 

Launcelot Gobbo, in The Merchant of Venice. 

Lord Grizzle, in The Life and Death of Tom Thumb, the Great. 
Burlesque. 1785. 

La Fleur, in Siemens Maria, or The Vintage. Opera. By Dunlap. 
Music by Pellesier. 1799- 


Leopold, in The Siege of Belgrade. Comic opera. By James 
Cobb. Music by Stephen Storace. Jefferson painted scenery for 
this piece. 

Lieutenant, in The Archers, or The Mountaineers of Switzerland. 
Opera. By Dunlap. Called, also, William Tell, or The Archers. 

La Gloire, in The Surrender of Calais. Play. By George Col- 
man, Jr. Haymarket, 1791. Based on a French novel. 

Lord Dartford, in The Fair Fugitive, or He Forgot Himself. 
This was The Fair Fugitives, a musical extravaganza, by Miss Anna 
Maria Porter. Music by Dr. Busby. Acted at Covent Garden, 1803. 

Lord Foppington, in The Relapse. Comedy. By Sir John Van- 
brugh. Drury Lane, 1708. Altered, and named The Country 

Lodowick, in Adelmorn, The Outlaw. Drama. By M. G. Lewis. 
Drury Lane, 1801. 

La Fleur, in Animal Magnetism. Farce. By Elizabeth Inch- 
bald. Covent Garden, 1788. Of French origin. 


Michael, in The Adopted Child. Musical piece. By Samuel 
Birch. Drury Lane, 1795. 

Memno, in Aballino. Drama. By Dunlap, from the German 
of Zsokke. 

Motley, in The Castle Spectre. Drama. By Matthew Gregory 
Lewis. Drury Lane, 1798. "A story has been told that about 
the end of the season (this piece having proved very successful), 
Mr. Sheridan and the author had a dispute in the green-room ; when 
the latter offered, in confirmation of his arguments, to bet all the 
money which The Castle Spectre had brought, that he was right. 
' No,' said Sheridan: ' I cannot afford to bet all it has brought ; but 
Til tell you what I'll do I'll bet you all it is worth.'" Biogra- 
phia Dramatica. 

Mercutio, and also Peter, in Romeo and Juliet. The former 
part Jefferson acted, for the first time, at the Chestnut Street theatre, 
Philadelphia, in the season of 1815-16. 

Matthew Mug, in A House to Be Sold. Musical piece. By 
James Cobb. Music by Kelly. Drury Lane, 1802. Altered and 
enlarged from a French piece, entitled Maison a Vendre. 


Michelli, in A Tale of Mystery. Melodrama. By Thomas Hoi- 
croft. Covent Garden, 1802. Jefferson also acted Francisco, in 
this piece. 

Mawworm, in The Hypocrite. Comedy. By Isaac Bickerstaff. 
Drury Lane, 1768. An alteration of Gibber's The Nonjuror. 

Mendoza, in The Duenna. Comic opera. By R. B. Sheridan. 
Covent Garden, 1775. 

Muley Hassan, in Fiesco. Drama. From the German of 
Schiller. 1796, 1798. 

Marshal Ingelheim, in The Harpers Daughter, or Love and 
Ambition. Called, also, The Minister. Drama. Adapted by 
M. G. Lewis, from Love and Intrigue, by Schiller. 


Nicholas Rue, in Secrets Worth Knowing. Comedy. By 
Thomas Morton. Covent Garden, 1798. 

Nicholas, in The Follies of Fashion. Comedy. By Leonard 
McNally. Original title, Fashionable Levities. Covent Garden, 

Nipperkin, in The Sprigs of Laurel. Comic Opera. By John 
O'Keefe. Covent Garden, 1793. Afterwards acted under the title 
of The Rival Soldiers. 


Osman, in The Two Misers. Farce. By Kane O'Hara. Covent 
Garden, 1775. 

Officer, in The Independence of America. Pantomime. 1796. 

Old Rapid, in A Cure for the Heartache. Comedy. By Thomas 
Morton. Covent Garden, 1797. 


Polonius, and Osric, in Hamlet. " Jefferson was the best 
Polonius that ever trod the American stage. No other actor ever 
succeeded so well in combining the courtier and the gentleman with 
the humourist. He gave elegance and dignity to the character." 
Old N. Y. Spirit of the Times. 

Plainwell, in A Quarter of an Hour Before Dinner. Farce. By 
Rev. John Rose. Haymarket, 1788. 


Peter, in The Stranger. Dunlap's version of Kotzebue's drama. 

Pero, in The Spanish Castle, or The Knight of Guadalquivir. 
Musical Drama. By William Dunlap. Music by Hewitt. 1800. 

Papillion, in The Liar. Comedy. By Samuel Foote. Covent 
Garden, 1762. 

Paulo, in The Italian Monk. Drama. By James Boaden. 
1797. Founded on Mrs. RadcliftVs novel of that name. 

Precipe Rebate, in Retaliation. Farce. By Leonard McNally. 
Covent Garden, 1782. 

Peter Postobit, in Folly as It Flies. Comedy. By Frederic 
Reynolds. Covent Garden, 1802. 

Pedro, in Cinderella. Pantomime. 

Philosopher, in The Merry Girl, or The Two Philosophers. 


Quillet, in Hear Both Sides. Comedy. By Thomas Holcroft. 
Drury Lane, 1803. 


Robert, in The Prisoner. Musical Piece. By John Rose. 1792. 

Realize, in The Will. Comedy. By Frederic Reynolds. Drury 
Lane, 1797. 

Ralph, in Lock and Key. Musical Farce. By Prince Hoare. 
Covent Garden, 1796-97. 

Roderigo, in Othello. 

Robert Grange, in Delays and Blunders. Comedy. By Frederic 
Reynolds. Covent Garden, 1803. 


Sir William Howe, in Bunker Hill, or The Death of Warren. 
Drama. By John D. Burke. 1797. 

Samuel, in The Indians in England, or The Nabob of Mysore. 
Drama. Adapted from Kotzebue, by Dunlap. 

Stephano, in Shakespeare's comedy of 77te Tempest. 

Soleby, in The School for Soldiers. Play, from the French, by 

Sambo, in Laugh When You Can. Comedy. By Frederic 
Reynolds. Covent Garden, 1799. 


Sir Matthew Maxim, in Five Thousand a Year. Comedy. By 
Thomas Dibdin. Covent Garden; 1799. 

Sir Shenkin, in Fontainebleau, or Our Way in France. Comic 
Opera. By John O'Keefe. Covent Garden, 1784. The sub-title 
given to that piece when it was acted in America was John Bull in 
Paris. The part of Sir Shenkin Ap Griffin was subsequently 
changed by the author to Squire Tallyho. 

Septimus, in The Doldrum. Farce. By John O'Keefe. Covent 
Garden, 1796. 

Sir Samuel Sheepy, in The School for Arrogance. Comedy. By 
Thomas Holcroft. Covent Garden, 1791. 

Sir Stately Perfect, in The Natural Daughter. Comedy. By 
Dunlap. 1799- New York Park theatre. 

Stephen, in Every Man in His Humour. Comedy. By Ben 
Jonson. 1598. 

Sir Peter Curious, in The Telegraph. Comedy. By John Dent. 
Covent Garden, 1795. 

Silky, in The Road to Ruin. Comedy. By Thomas Holcroft. 
Covent Garden, 1792. 

Sancho, in Love Makes a Man, or The Fop's Fortune. Comedy. 
By Colley Cibber. Drury Lane, 1701. 

Sir Adam Contest, in The Wedding Day. Comedy. By Eliza- 
beth Inchbald. Drury Lane, 1794. 

Sadi, the Moor, in The Mountaineers, or Love and Madness. 
Play. By George Colman, Jr. Haymarket, 1795. Based on the 
episode of Cardenio, in Don Quixote. "Jefferson as Sadi was 
universally admired and applauded. The music of the piece he is 
perfectly acquainted with, and his manner of delivering the duets, 
in conjunction with Mrs. Wilmofs 1 notes, in Agnes, communicated 
the highest gratification and delight." Thespian Monitor, Decem- 
ber 1 6, 1809. 

1 MRS. WlLMOT, originally Miss Webb, was first known as Mrs. Mar- 
shall. She came from England in 1792, with Marshall, and both were 
speedily accepted as favourites. Mrs. Marshall was reputed the best 
chambermaid actress of her time. "A pretty little woman," says Dunlap, 
" and a most charming actress, in the Pickles and romps of the drama." 
She was much admired by Washington. She returned to England, left 
Marshall, wedded Wilmot, came back to America, and here died. 


Sir Harry Harmless, in /'// Tell You What. Comedy. By 
Elizabeth Inchbald. Haymarket, 1785-86. Colman named this 

Sir David Daw, in The Wheel of Fortune. Comedy. By Rich- 
ard Cumberland. Drury Lane, 1795. 

Sebastian, in The Midnight Hour. Comedy. By Elizabeth Inch- 
bald. Covent Garden, 1788. From the French of M. Damaniant. 

Squire Richard, in The Provoked Husband, or A Journey to 
London. Comedy. By Colley Gibber. Drury Lane, 1728. 

Sampson Rawbold, in The Iron Chest. Tragedy. By George 
Colman, Jr. Drury Lane, 1796. 

Stave, in The Shipwreck. Comic Opera. By S. J. Arnold. 
Drury Lane, 1796. 

Solus, in Every One Has His Fault. Comedy. By Elizabeth 
Inchbald. Covent Garden, 1793. A fine portrait of Jefferson, as 
Solus, appears in the Wemyss collection of theatrical portraits. 

Sir Benjamin Dove, in The Brothers. Comedy. By Richard 
Cumberland. Covent Garden, 1769. 

Sharpset, in The Votary of Wealth. Comedy. By J. G. Hoi- 
man. Covent Garden, 1799. 

Sir Robert Bramble, and also Dr. Ollapod, in The Poor Gentle- 
man. Comedy. By George Colman, Jr. Covent Garden, 1802. 

Sir Peter Teazle, Sir Oliver Surface, Charles Surface, Crabtree, 
and Moses, in The School for Scandal. By Richard Brinsley 
Sheridan. First acted, May 8, 1777, at Drury Lane. 

Sheepface, in The Village Lawyer. Farce. From the French. 


Sir Hugh Evans, in Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor. 
Sir Owen Ap Griffith, in The Welsh Girl. Vaudeville. 
Scaramouch, in Don Juan. 


Toby, in The Wandering Jew, or Lovers Masquerade. Comedy. 
By Andrew Franklin. Drury Lane, 1797. 

Toby Allspice, in The Way to Get Married. Comedy. By 
Thomas Morton. Covent Garden, 1796. 

Tom Seymour, in Fortune's Fool. Comedy. By Frederic 
Reynolds. Covent Garden, 1796. 


Tom Holton, in Tell Truth and Shame the Devil. Comedy. 
By Dunlap. John Street theatre, New York, 1797. Reduced to 
one act, and played at Covent Garden, London, May 18, 1799, for 
benefit of Mrs. Johnson. 

Touchstone, Adam, Le Beau, and William, in As You Like 

Toby Thatch, in The London Hermit, or Rambles in Dorset- 
shire. Comedy. By John O'Keefe. Haymarket, 1793. 

Tagg, in The Spoiled Child. Farce. Drury Lane, 1790. At- 
tributed to Isaac Bickerstaff. 

Tallboy, in The Spanish Barber. Musical Farce. By George 
Colman, Sr. Haymarket, 1777. 

Tristram Fickle, in The Weathercock. Farce. By J. T. Ailing- 
ham. Drury Lane, 1806. "Jefferson's Tristram, lively, active, 
and productive of real merriment." Thespian Monitor, December 
13, 1809. 

Tim Tartlet, in The First Floor. Farce. By James Cobb. 
Drury Lane, 1787. 

Tom Starch, in The Wise Man of the East. Play. By Elizabeth 
Inchbald. Adapted from Kotzebue. Covent Garden, 1799. 

Thomas, in The Good Neighbor. Farce. 

Timothy Quaint, in The Soldier's Daughter. Comedy. By 
Andrew Cherry. Drury Lane, 1804. Edwin Forrest, in his youth, 
often acted Malfort, in this piece. The Soldiers Daughter was 
revived in Boston, at the Globe theatre, in June, 1872, but it did 
not please the public. 


Varland, in The West Indian. Comedy. By Richard Cumber- 
land. Drury Lane, 1771. 


Williams, in He^s Much to Blame. Comedy. By Thomas 
Holcroft. Covent Garden, 1798. 

William, in the opera of Rosina. By Mrs. Brooke. Covent 
Garden, 1783. Bible story of Boaz and Ruth. 

Witzki, in Zorinski. Drama. By Thomas Morton. Hay- 
market, 1795. 



Young Scharfeneck, in The Force of Calumny . Drama. Adapted 
from the German, by Dunlap. 

Young Clackett, in The Guardian. Comedy. By David Gar- 
rick. Drury Lane, 1759, 1773. Based on La Pupille, by M. Fagan. 

Zekiel Homespun, in The Heir at Law. Comedy. By George 
Colman, Jr. Haymarket, 1797. 

Born in 1774, five years before the death of Garrick, 
and dying in 1832, one year before the birth of Edwin 
Booth, Joseph Jefferson's lifetime covered much of the 
period of the Kembles and Edmund Kean, in England, 
and of Dunlap, Wignell, Warren, Wood, and others who 
aided to build the foundations of the stage in Amer- 
ica. He saw the rise and fall of Hodgkinson and of 
Fennell, and the advent of Cooper, Junius Brutus Booth, 
Maywood, Conway, Hamblin, and Forrest. He acted in 
the same company with the beautiful Anne Brunton 
and the wonderful Mary Duff. 1 He made his advent in 

1 MARY A. D. DUFF, 1794-1857. She was, probably, the greatest tragic 
actress that ever trod our stage. It was to her that the poet Moore re- 
ferred, in his lovely song, " While gazing on the moon's light." She was 
born in London; married John R. Duff, of the Dublin stage; came with 
him to America in 1810; and in subsequent years had a career of astonish- 
ing brilliancy, darkened, however, by much misfortune. She died, of 
cancer, at No. 36 West Ninth street, New York, and is buried in Green- 
wood (lot 8999, grave 805). Her life has been affectionately written by 
Ireland. Ludlow describes her as "refined, yet powerful; not boisterous, 
yet forcible; graceful in all her motions, and dignified without stiffness." 
She had lived a Catholic all her days, but she became a Methodist toward 
the last, after her marriage with Mr. J. G. Sevier, of New Orleans. Her 
death and burial were obscure, and for many years her fate remained un- 
known, some of her relatives being averse to the association of her name 
with the stage, and desirous of leaving the subject in oblivion. She was a 

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the second term of the presidency of Washington, when 
the American Republic consisted of only sixteen States 
and contained a population of barely four millions, 1 and, 
living through the terms of Adams, Jefferson, Madison, 
Monroe, and John Quincy Adams, he died in the first 
term of Andrew Jackson. It was a courtly period in 
American history, and Joseph Jefferson was one of its 
most conspicuous ornaments. He differed materially 
from his father, not in worth or honour, but in important 
personal attributes and in the general character of his 
life. He was less sturdy, less bluff, less genial and com- 
panionable, less a man of the world, and more a studious 
recluse. His temperament was more delicate, his nat- 
ure more reticent, his mind more ambitious, his faculties 
more nimble and more brilliant ; and his life seems to 
have been carefully planned and rigidly governed. He 
saw at an early age both the direction of his talents 
and the goal of his desires ; and thereafter, in a spirit of 
simple self-devotion, he moved forward to the attainment 
of high and honourable ends. He was essentially a 
virtuous person, acting always from the monitions of 
principle, never from the promptings of impulse or the 
fickle whims of expediency or of social custom. His 
consideration for others was an exact regard for their 
rights and a tender sympathy with their feelings. He 
was unselfish, devoid of conceit and affectation, and he 
loved the dramatic art more than he loved himself. His 
wish was to live the life of a good man and to win the 

good woman as well as a great actress. See my Shadows of the Stage, 
Vol. II. 

1 In 1790 the population of those States was 3,929,214. The city of 
New York, as late as 1807, contained scarcely more than 80,000 persons. 


success of a great comedian, and that wish was nobly 
accomplished. For business enterprise he had but little 
either of taste or talent, and his mental constitution was 
such as required that personal advancement should be 
the result of personal desert and worthy achievement. 
His ambition was to grasp success itself, and not to 
grasp merely its emoluments, and he would have been 
made miserable by honour and wealth that he had not 
merited. That fine nature, flowing into all his works 
and ways, inspired his acting with lovely and winning 
attributes, those indefinable charms which far tran- 
scend words and actions, in the expression of the soul. 
His lack, if such it may be deemed, was one that is nat- 
ural and usual in a comedian, a lack of passion. No 
deadly conflict could ever have raged upon the theatre 
of that serene spirit ; no pall of tempest could ever 
have lowered over its pure, pellucid depths. He felt no 
wounds but those that strike the heart. His private 
life was lived in the affections ; his public life in that 
realm of dramatic art which requires, exclusively, ob- 
servation mingled with invention, eccentricity tempered 
by fancy, and humour touched with tenderness. As an 
actor his superiority appears to have consisted in his ex- 
traordinary thoroughness and felicity of treatment. His 
genius did not overwhelm, but it always delighted and 
satisfied. His contemporaries universally commended 
him as a natural actor. His artifice, accordingly, must 
have been perfect, and must have been employed with 
consummate skill ; for no actor ever yet produced the 
effect of nature by being perfectly natural. He pos- 
sessed, in ample variety, the rich treasures of wise and 
safe tradition, but he used those treasures with the bold- 


ness of an original mind ; and therefore he left upon his 
age the impression, not of a' copyist, but a creator. His 
artistic ancestors, if conjecture be not idle, were Robert 
Wilks (1670-1732) and Thomas Dogget (obiit 1721). 
He had the deep feeling, the delicacy, the versatility 
and the dash of Wilks, and he had more than Dogget's 
glowing humour and consistent and polished art. " I 
can only copy nature from the originals before me," said 
Sir Godfrey Kneller, to Dogget ; " but you can vary 
them at pleasure, and yet preserve the likeness." That 
was likewise true of Jefferson ; and there can be no tes- 
timonial more explanatory of his charm, or more signifi- 
cant of his exalted powers and achievements, alike in 
the conservation, the improvement, and the transmission 
of the best tradition of comedy-acting on the English 
stage, than the eloquent fact that the actors, who are 
habitually severe censors of each other, actors like 
Hodgkinson, Cooper, Kean, and Forrest, heartily, and 
with one accord, pronounced him the finest comedian of 
the age in which he lived. 




ELIZABETH JEFFERSON, whose recollections have been 
incorporated in my sketch of her father, was born in 
Philadelphia, about the year 1810, and in the spring of 
1827, when seventeen years of age, was presented at the 
Chestnut Street theatre as Rosina, in The Spanish Bar- 
ber}- She had a lovely voice, and had been carefully 
instructed and trained in music ; but her timidity and 
inexperience, on the first night, marred her efforts, and 
her attempt was accounted a failure. Cowell, who pre- 
ceded Wemyss in the stage management of the Chest- 
nut, when Warren and Wood dissolved their partner- 
ship, in 1826, had the superintendence of the effort, and 
he has left this record of it, in his Thirty Years, Vol. 

II, p. 9:- 

"During this season, 1826-27, I had the gratification of intro- 
ducing two of the ' fairest of creation, 1 as candidates for histrionic 
fame a daughter of old Warren, and a daughter of old Jefferson. 
They were cousins, and about the same age. Hetty Warren had 
decidedly the best of the race for favour at the start, but Elizabeth 

1 The Spanish Barber. Comedy, with songs, by George Colman. 
Haymarket, 1777. Taken from Le Barbiere de Seville, by P. A. C. de 



Jefferson soon shot ahead, and maintained a decided superiority. 
Poor girls ! They were both born and educated in affluence, and 
both lived to see their parents sink to the grave in comparative 
poverty. Hetty married a big man named Willis, a very talented 
musician, much against the will of her doting father ; and, like 
most arrangements of the kind, it proved a sorry one. Elizabeth 
became the wife of Sam Chapman, in 1828. He was a very worthy 
fellow, with both tact and talent in his favour, and her lot promised 
unbounded happiness." 

Wemyss, who saw Elizabeth Jefferson's first appear- 
ance, gives concurrent testimony, in his Theatrical Biog- 
raphy, chap. 13: 

" For the benefit of Mr. Jefferson, whose name was sure to fill 
the house, his daughter, Miss E. Jefferson, made her first appear- 
ance upon any stage as Rosina, in The Spanish Barber. If Miss 
Warren was the best debutante I had ever seen, Miss Jefferson was 
decidedly the worst. She spoke so low, and so completely lost all 
self-possession, that, had it not been for her father, she would scarcely 
have escaped deris'ion. The only redeeming point was her song of 
An Old Man would be Wooing, in which she was feebly encored. 
From such an unfavourable beginning little was to be expected. 
But, in the race commenced between Miss Warren and herself, 
although distanced in the first attempt, she soon outstripped her 
rival, in her future career, rising step by step, until she became, as 
Mrs. S. Chapman, the leading actress of the American stage, in the 
Park theatre of New York/' 

After a dull beginning Miss Jefferson put forth her 
powers with augmented resolution, and, at the Chest- 
nut, and in those wandering theatrical expeditions with 
which her renowned father closed his professional 
career, she soon acquired the experience essential 
to her success. Thus equipped, she came forward at 
the Park theatre, New York, on September I, 1834, 
as Ophelia, and there was accepted as an actress of the 
finest powers. She had in the mean time been married, 


in Philadelphia, to Samuel Chapman, a young and 
clever actor, who seems to have been a favourite with 
"old Jefferson"; but he had died 1 shortly after their 
marriage, and she was now a widow. The bills an- 
nounced her as Mrs. S. Chapman. The stock company 
in which she took her place included T. H. Blakeley, 
John H. Clarke, John Fisher, H. B. Harrison, Henry 
S. Hayden, John Jones, W. H. Latham, John Kemble 
Mason, Gilbert Nexsen, Henry Placide, Thomas Placide, 
T. Povey, Henry Russell, Peter Richings, William 
Wheatley, Mrs. Archer, Mrs. Durie, the lovely Mrs. 
Gurner, Mrs. Harrison, the Misses Turnbull, Mrs. 
Vernon, and Mrs. Wheatley. James William Wallack 
acted Hamlet, to open the season, and in its course 
Sheridan Knowles appeared, in a round of his own 
characters. Mrs. Chapman's success was uncommonly 

"No actress who ever preceded or followed her on the Park 
stage," says Ireland, " excelled her in general ability, and she was 
the last stock actress attached to the establishment fully competent 
to sustain equally well the leading characters in the most opposite 
walks of the drama. Devoid of stage trickery, artless, unaffected, 
and perfectly true to nature, not beautiful in feature, but with a coun- 

1 SAMUEL CHAPMAN. " The Reading mail stage, with nine male 
passengers and the driver, was stopped by three foot-pads, a few miles 
from Philadelphia, in the middle of the night. . . . Chapman, who was 
extremely clever at dramatising local matters, took a ride out to the scene 
of the robbery, the better to regulate the action of a piece he was pre- 
paring on the subject, was thrown from his horse, and slightly grazed his 
shoulder. He had to wear, that night, a suit of brass armour, and, the 
weather being excessively hot, he wore it next his skin, which increased 
the excoriation, and it was supposed the verdigris had poisoned the 
wound. At any rate, he died, in a week after the accident. . . ." 
Cowell's Thirty Years, Vol. II., chap. 9. 


tenance beaming with beauty of expression, in whatever character 
cast, she always succeeded in throwing a peculiar charm around it, 
and in making herself admired and appreciated. Her performance 
of Julia, in The Hunchback, first stamped her reputation as an artist 
of the highest rank. Her engagement was a continued triumph, 
and her retirement from the stage, in the spring of 1835, on her 
marriage with Mr. Richardson, a source of deep and earnest 

The marriage was contracted with Mr. Augustus 
Richardson, of Baltimore. Cowell mentions him, as " a 
clever young printer," whom he met, in company with 
Junius Brutus Booth, at Annapolis, in 1829. Mr. 
Richardson, like his matrimonial predecessor, died sud- 
denly, in consequence of an accident ; and his widow, 
returning to the stage, was again seen at the Park. She 
subsequently went into the South, joining her brother 
Joseph and other relatives and connections. After her 
brother's death, in 1842, she managed for a time the 
theatre at Mobile; and at that place, in 1849, sne 
was married to Charles J. B. Fisher, brother to the 
famous vocalist, Clara Fisher, whose death, in 1859, 
aged fifty-four, left her again a widow. Those bereave- 
ments were not her worst afflictions. One of her sons 
was murdered in New Orleans, and another, Vernon, 
became insane from a fall, and, after lingering for many 
years in lunacy, expired in an asylum. Her own death 
was stated, in Brown's History of the American Stage, 
p. 310, to have occurred in 1853, but that was an error. 
A strong will, an intrepid spirit, and a magnificent 
constitution, sustained her, in patience and steadfast 
industry, to a great age. For many years she was a 
teacher of music ; and one of her daughters, Clara 
Fisher, named after her distinguished relative, now 


(1894) Mrs. Maeder, was favourably known as a 
vocalist. Charles J. B. Fisher's first appearance on 
the stage was made at the Mobile theatre, in 1842, as 
Dazzle, in London Assurance. 

The musical style of Elizabeth Jefferson was based 
on that of the beautiful Garcia, 1 whom she saw at the 
New York Park theatre in the season of 1825, having 
been sent from Philadelphia to observe and study that 
incomparable model. When only eleven years old she 
was elected an honorary member of the Musical Fund 
Society, of Philadelphia. John Sinclair, the vocalist, 
father of Catherine Sinclair, who became the wife of 
Edwin Forrest, repeatedly designated her the best singer 
in America, and more than once offered her a star posi- 
tion in his musical company. Had she devoted herself 
exclusively to either the lyric or dramatic stage, and re- 
sisted the allurements of ideal domesticity, she might have 
reached the greatest eminence. Before she came to the 
Park theatre, Henry J. Finn, the comedian, had assured 
Edmund Simpson, the manager, that she was beyond 
rivalry as a comedy actress ; and Finn had offered her 
the leading business, on her own terms, at the St. Charles 
theatre, New Orleans. Tyrone Power had also spoken 
of her, with unstinted admiration. Edwin Forrest, in 

1 SIGNORINA MARIA FELICIT& GARCIA. Born in 1808. Made her first 
appearance in 1823, at Covent Garden. Appeared at the Park theatre, 
New York, November 29, 1825, as Rosina. Was married on March 23, 
1826, to Eugene Malibran. Made her last appearance in America, Octo- 
ber 28, 1827, at the Bowery theatre, New York, as the Princess of Navarre, 
in John of Paris. Went to Europe and had great success as Mme. Mali- 
bran. Obtained a divorce from her husband and married the violinist De 
Beriot. Died September 17, 1836, at Manchester, England, in her twenty- 
eighth year, and is there buried. She was a wonder of genius and beauty. 


whose support she had acted, at Washington, declared 
her to be the best tragic actress on the stage. " She 
is the best Lady Macbeth we have," he said, " and the 
only Pauline." Somebody asked Simpson how he had 
happened to hear of her as an actress. " I have heard 
of nobody else for two years," he answered. During 
the Park engagement of Sheridan Knowles, she acted 
in all the plays produced for him, The Hunchback. 
William Tell, Virginius, The Wife, etc., and the 
famous author was fascinated with her loveliness and 
her genius. Ever afterward, in writing to her from 
England, he addressed her as Lady Julia Rochdale, and 
signed his letters, "Your father, Walter." It was as 
Julia that she made her first hit at the Park ; and her 
popularity there was so great that every omission of 
her name from the bill would cause a serious fall in the 
receipts. Yet she was only a member of the stock com- 
pany, receiving a salary of $30 a week ; and the receipts 
from her farewell benefit performance were only $882. 
Elizabeth Jefferson (she acted as Mrs. Chapman in 1834, 
and as Mrs. Richardson in 1835 and 1837) was the 
original representative in America of several important 
characters in modern comedy, vaudeville, and burlesque- 
A few of those parts may be named : 

Bess .... in . . The Beggar of Bethnal Green. 

Eliza . . . . . . The Dumb Belle. 

Gabrielle ..." . . Tom Noddy's Secret. 

Gertrude ..." . . The Loan of a Lover. 

Julia . . . . " . . The Hunchback. 

Lydia . . . . " . . The Love Chase. 

Lissette Gerstein " . . The Swiss Cottage. 

Marianne . . " . . The Wife. 

Oliver Twist " . . Oliver Twist. 



Pauline ... in . The Lady of Lyons. 
Perseus ... " . The Deep, Deep Sea. 
Smike ... " . Nicholas Nickleby. 

Her repertory also included, aside from more conspicu- 
ous characters : 

Amina ... in . The Somnambulist. 

Cinderella . . " . Cinderella. 

Esmeralda . . " . The Hunchback of Notre Dame. 

Helen Worret . " . Man and Wife, or More Secrets than One. 

Jenny ... " . The Widow's Victim. 

Maria ... " . Of Age To-morrow. 

Mimi .... " . The Pet of the Petticoats. 

Mrs. Budd . . " . My Wife's Mother. 

Mrs. Lynx . . " . Married Life. 

Mme. de Manville " . Married Lovers. 

Myrtello ... " . The Broken Sword. 

Rosina ....... The Barber. 

Therese ... " . Secret Service. 

Vettoria ... " . The Knight of the Golden Fleece. 

A complete list of her embodiments would fill several 
pages. Her range extended from Little Pickle to Lady 
Macbeth, and in all that she attempted she was excel- 
lent. Time makes sad havoc with beauty and popularity. 
In those bright days of the old Park theatre when 
Elizabeth Jefferson walked abroad, her footsteps were 
followed by the admiring glances of hundreds of wor- 
shippers. There came a time when her slight and faded 
figure, clad in the sable garments of grief, would flit 
by unnoticed in the crowd. She passed some time, 
toward the close of her life, at St. John, Newfoundland, 
where she gave instruction in music. She died, at 
No. 139 West 2Oth street, New York, on November 18, 
1890, closing in poverty and oblivion a career most 
sadly admonitive of the evanescence of human happi- 
ness, worldly fortune, and theatrical renown. 




JOSEPH JEFFERSON, the father of our Rip Van Winkle, 
lived an uneventful life, the story of which naturally 
takes the form of a tribute to beauty and worth of char- 
acter rather than a narrative of achievements that con- 
cern the world. Joseph Jefferson, the third of the Jeffer- 
son Family of Actors, was born at Philadelphia, in 1804, 
and in that city he received his education and grew to 
manhood. While a boy he did not evince a taste for 
the stage, but preferred the study of architecture and 
drawing ; and that he pursued diligently and with suc- 
cess. In those branches, and also in painting, he was 
instructed by Robert Coyle, 1 an English scenic artist, of 
repute at that period. There is no positive record of 
his first appearance upon the stage, but it is remembered 
that he sometimes played such parts as the First Mur- 
derer, in Macbeth, while yet a youth. His name appears 
in the playbills of the Chestnut Street theatre as early 
as 1814, and it is known that when finally he had adopted 

1 ROBERT COYLE was killed by an accidental fall from a wagon, his 
horse having suddenly started in fright. A performance for the benefit of 
his widow occurred at the Bowery theatre, New York, August 22, 1827. 


the dramatic profession, he made himself a good actor in 
the line of old men. In 1824, he was a member of the 
dramatic company of the Chatham Garden theatre, New 
York, under the management of Henry Barriere. That 
company comprised Andrew J. Allen, George H. Bar- 
rett, Thomas Burke, John M. Collins, C. Durang, Thomas 
Kilner, who was stage-manager, Henry George More- 
land, William Oliff, once prompter at the old Park thea- 
tre, W. Robertson, Alexander Simpson, Spiller, 

Somerville, John Augustus Stone, who after- 
ward wrote Metamora, for Edwin Forrest, Henry 

Wallack, Williamson, Mrs. Allen, Mrs. Burke, 

Mrs. P. M. Clark, Mrs. Durang, Mrs. Entwistle (who 
had been Mrs. Mason and who became Mrs. Crooke), 
Miss Henry, afterward famous as the beautiful Mrs. 
Barrett, Mrs. Kilner, Miss Oliff, Mrs. Spiller, Mrs. H. 
Wallack, Mrs. Walstein, and Mrs. Caroline Placide War- 
ing, 1 widow of Leigh Waring, and afterwards the wife 
of William Rufus Blake. The theatre was opened for 
its third season on May 17, 1824, with The Soldier's 
Daughter and Raising the Wind, and the casts of the 
night set Jefferson's name against the characters of 
Woodley and Fainwould. His acting, on that and sub- 
sequent occasions, was thought to give a promise of 
excellence. He did not long remain in New York, but 
went back to Philadelphia ; and there, and in Washing- 
ton, Baltimore, and the adjacent region, he fulfilled dis- 

1 ANN D. WARING, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Leigh Waring, became 
the wife of James W. Wallack, Jr., son of Henry Wallack, and by the mar- 
riage of Blake to Mrs. Waring, James W. Wallack, Jr., became Blake's 
step-son-in-law, a relationship between those actors which was ever the 
cause of some mirth. Ann D. Waring's first husband was William Sefton. 


cursively his theatrical duties. In 1826, at the age of 
twenty-two, he was married' to Mrs. Thomas Burke, 
whom he had first met at the Chatham Garden theatre, 
and who was eight years his senior. That was a love- 
match, and the marriage proved exceptionally happy 
and fortunate. After his father left Philadelphia, in the 
season of 1829-30, he managed for him, in Washington, 
Lancaster, Harrisburg, and other cities, and he remained 
with him till the end. During the season of 1831-32 
he directed the theatre in Washington. During the 
seasons of 1835-37 ne was connected, successively, with 
the Franklin theatre, at No. 175 Chatham street, New 
York, and with Niblo's Garden. At the Franklin he 
was scene-painter as well as actor. Mobb the Outlazu, 
or Jemmy Twitcher in France, a version of Robert 
Macaire, was given there, on May 2, 1836, with new 
scenery painted by him. On May 25, he acted King 
Arthur, in the travestie of Tom Thumb. On June I, 
The Hunchback was performed, for his benefit, with his 
sister Elizabeth as Julia, and with his wife in the bill, 
for a song. The latter had been absent about ten years 
from the New York stage, and it was observed that her 
voice and person had been impaired by time. On March 
i, 1837, Jefferson took another benefit, the bill compris- 
ing The Lady of the Lake, The Forty Thieves, and a 
vaudeville entitled The Welsh Girl, in the latter of which 
pieces he represented Sir Owen Ap Griffith. Mrs. Jef- 
ferson appeared as Blanche of Devon, and as Morgiana. 
Charles Burke, her son, then a lad of fifteen, took part 
in the exercises, singing a song entitled The Beautiful 
Boy. The fourth Jefferson, Rip Van Winkle, then eight 
years old, was present at that performance. For a few 


weeks during the summer of 1837 Jefferson and John 
Sefton managed a vaudeville company at Niblo's Garden, 
and produced musical farces. Miss Jane Anderson, Miss 
De Bar (first wife of J. B. Booth, Jr.), Mrs. Bailey, 
Alexina Fisher (afterward Mrs. Lewis Baker), Mrs. Gur- 
ner, Mrs. Harrison, Mrs. Henry, Mrs. Knight, Mrs. 
Maeder (Clara Fisher), Mrs. Richardson, and Mrs. Watts 
appeared in that company, as also did T. Bishop, William 
Edwin, William Henry, Joseph Jefferson, W. H. Latham, 

Lewellen, Cramer Plumer, John Sefton, Edward 

Thayer, Jacob Thoman, J. W. Wallack, Jr., and P. Wil- 
liams. The season ended on September 16, 1837, and 
that proved Jefferson's farewell of the New York stage. 
He proceeded with his family to Chicago, there joining 
his brother-in-law, Alexander Mackenzie ; and the rest 
of his career made up of wandering and vicissitude 
was accomplished in the West and South, in a primi- 
tive period of the American theatre. He seldom met 
with prosperity, but he possessed the Mark Tapley tem- 
perament, and his spirits always rose when his fortunes 
were at the worst. He was manager, actor, scene-painter, 
stage-carpenter, anything and everything connected 
with the art and business of the stage. He understood 
it all, and in every relation that he sustained toward it 
he was faithful, thorough, and adequate to his duties. 
The dramatic chronicles give but little attention to his 
proceedings ; yet they bear invariable testimony to his 
personal charm, winning simplicity, and intellectual and 
moral worth. His trials were bravely met ; his hard- 
ships were patiently borne ; and, to the end, he laboured 
in steadfast cheerfulness and hope, making good use of 
his talents and opportunities, and never repining at his lot. 


" The father of our Rip Van Winkle " so, in a letter to me, 
wrote the veteran manager, John T. Ford "was one of the most 
lovable men that ever lived. He acted occasionally, painted almost 
constantly, and when he had a theatre, as sometimes happened, he 
managed his business with that careless amiability, almost amount- 
ing to weakness, that was inseparable from his nature. Once, when 
he was managing in Washington, he was so poor that, wanting 
Edwin Forrest to act there, he had to walk to Baltimore, forty 
miles, and did so, to solicit him. He enjoyed life, in a dreamy 
way, and his only anxiety was for his children." 

Another kindly picture of him is afforded by his sis- 
ter Elizabeth, who wrote to me as follows : 

" My brother Joe was a gentle, good man, true and kind in every 
relation of life. He was very like his father, so much so that, in 
the play of The Exile, 1 when the latter had to dance in domino, Joe 
would often, to save his father the trouble, put on the dress and 
dance the quadrille, and no spectator could tell the difference, or 
was aware of the change of persons. He was fond of his fireside, 
serene in adversity, humble in prosperity, affectionate in tempera- 
ment, and beloved by all who knew him. Painting was his great 
passion. He became a very good actor in old men. He was an 
inveterate quiz. I have se'en him, when he was manager as well 
as actor, after making a mistake on the stage, fix his composed 
and solemn gaze magisterially upon some one of the supers, till the 
poor fellow came really to think that the blunder had been made by 
himself, and trembled lest he might be discharged. Joe married 
Mrs. Burke, who was a great singer. No voice that I ever heard 
could compare with hers, except, possibly, that of Parepa. My 
father feared that, as Joe was so much younger than his wife, the 
match might not turn out well ; but there never was a happier 
marriage. Indeed, it could not be otherwise ; for Joe was all sun- 
shine, and she loved him, and that says all." 

Jefferson was not self-assertive, and, apparently, one 
reason why he did not take a high rank in the public 

1 The Exile, or The Desert of Siberia. Musical Play, in three acts. 
By Frederic Reynolds. Covent Garden, November 10, 1818. 


estimation was that he did not care to make the essen- 
tial effort. His philosophic, drifting, serene disposition 
is aptly illustrated in this incident. An old friend of 
his, hearing that he had met with great misfortune 
in business, and, in fact, become bankrupt, called at his 
dwelling to cheer him, and was told by Mrs. Jeffer- 
son that her husband had gone fishing. He expressed 
surprise, and, with some vague apprehension that all 
might not be well, went to the .river in search of him. 
The object of his solicitude was soon found, sitting 
composedly in a shady nook on the bank of the Schuyl- 
kill, humming a tune, and sketching the ruins of a mill 
on the shore. Cordial greetings having been exchanged, 
the sympathetic visitor could not conceal his aston- 
ishment that a crushing trouble should be accepted 
so cheerfully. " Not at all," said Jefferson ; " I have 
lost everything, and I am so poor now that I really 
cannot afford to let anything worry me." 

A few of the characters that were acted by the third 
Jefferson are specified here : 

Admiral Franklin, in Sweethearts and Wives. 

Baron Vanderbushel, in The Sentinel. 

Baptisto, in The Hunter of the Alps. 

Crabtree, in The School for Scandal. 

Dogberry, in Much Ado About Nothing. 

First Grave-digger, in Hamlet. 

Gratiano, in The Merchant of Venice. 

John Bull, in Colman's comedy of John Bull. 

King Arthur, in Tom Thumb. 

M. de Villecour, in Promotion, or The GeneraVs Hat. 

Mr. Coddle, in Married Life. 

Memno, in Abcellino. 

Naudin, in Tom Noddy" 1 * Secret. 

Norfolk, in Gibber's version of Shakespeare's Richard the Third. 


Polonius. In the unconsciously humorous sapience and half- 
senile prolixity of that part he must,have been exceptionally excellent. 

Raff, in The Conquering Game. 

Reef, in Ambrose Givinett. Melodrama. By Douglas Jerrold. 

Sentinel, in Pizarro. 

Sentinel, in The Wandering Boys. By M. M. Noah. 

Sir Robert Bramble, in The Poor Gentleman. 

Spinoza, in Venice Preserved. Tragedy. By Thomas Otway. 
1682. It is interesting to consider that Garrick placed the plays of 
Otway next to those of Shakespeare, as to dramatic qualities. 

Stanon, in The Blind Boy. By William Dunlap. Altered from 

Tapwell, in A New Way to Pay Old Debts. 

Witch, in Macbeth. 

Abczllino was a conspicuous example of the " wretched 
Dutch stuff" that Dunlap's actors despised. In later 
days, at the Chatham Garden theatre, it gave occasion 
for a facetious exploit by Jefferson and his comrades, 
to the discomfiture of Andrew Jackson Allen (1776- 
1853), who was the guy of the company. That per- 
former was a maker of ornaments, of gold and silver 
leather, for stage dresses ; and it was he who once as- 
tonished Edwin Forrest by the inquiry, " I should like 

to know what in your Richard the Third would 

amount to, without my spangles ? " Allen was partial 
to the play of Abcellino, and he chose it for his benefit. 
One situation in it presents all its persons on the scene, 
and at a certain moment they are to exclaim, " Where 
is Abaellino?" But Jefferson's sportive plan had ar- 
ranged that the company, at this supreme moment, 
should stand immovable and speechless. Abaellino, 
his head darkly muffled in his cloak, for a while awaited 
the cue. At last he was heard to mutter, several times, 
" Somebody say, ' Where's Abaellino ! ' ' There was no 


response, and the house was already in a titter. The 
dilemma was finally broken by Allen himself, who 
loudly cried out, " If you want to know where's Abael- 
lino, here he is," and threw off his disguise, amid 
general laughter. 

In Cowell's Thirty Years there is a glimpse of Jeffer- 
son's last days. Cowell had repaired to Mobile, after 
the burning of the St. Charles theatre, New Orleans, in 
1842, and he refers to the theatre which he there joined, 
a property at the corner of Royal and St. Michael 
streets, owned by James H. Caldwell, leased in that 
year to Messrs. E. De Vendel and Dumas, and managed 
for them by Charles J. B. Fisher, brother to Clara 
Fisher, the once famous singer, now Mrs. Maeder. 
Cowell says: 

"Charles Fisher, being very desirous of proving his friendship 
for the Jefferson family, engaged all the immediate descendants of 
' the old man ' now alive, and as many of the collateral branches as 
were in want of situations. Mrs. Richardson had been in Mobile 
the season before, and therefore she was the nucleus around whom 
were clustered her two sisters and their husbands, Messrs. Mackenzie 
and Wright, her brother Joseph and his two very clever children, 
and her niece Mrs. Germon and husband. The company, in conse- 
quence, was literally a family, with the exception of James Thome 
and myself, Mrs. Stewart, Morton, and Mr. and Mrs. Hodges: so 
that when poor Joe Jefferson died the theatre had to be closed two 
nights ; for without the assistance of the chief mourners we could 
not make a performance." 1 

1 " OLD JOE COWELL was an envious man, who looked on the actions of 
his fellow-men with an eye of sarcasm, and was ready at all times to pick 
a flaw in, and to turn to ridicule, their best efforts." Ludlow's Dramatic 
Life, p. 528. That is found to be true in reading Cowell's book, for the 
spirit of the writer shines through his words. Nevertheless, he affords an 
occasional detail that is of advantage to this picture of the past. 


Jefferson's death occurred, suddenly, at Mobile, Ala., 
at midnight on Thursday, -November 24, 1842. He 
died of yellow fever, and his remains were buried the 
next day. His grave is in Magnolia Cemetery, at 
Mobile (Square number 6, Lot number 32), and it is 
marked by a white marble headstone, inscribed with his 
name, the date of his death, and the number of his 
years. He was only thirty-eight. The stone to com- 
memorate him was erected in 1867, by his son Joseph, 
and at the same time a wooden grave-mark, which had 
originally designated the spot (the sole tribute that 
poverty then permitted filial reverence to offer), was 
brought away by him and buried in the earth, at his 
home in Hohokus, N.J., an estate that has since 
passed out of his possession. 

The subjoined reflections upon the death of Jefferson 
were published, at the time, in the Mobile Adver- 

" Joseph Jefferson was the second son and the namesake of that 
distinguished comedian so many years the pride and ornament of 
the Chestnut Street theatre in Philadelphia, whose unblemished 
private life was a moral sanction for his public, reputation ; and 
never did the unostentatious virtues of a father more purely descend 
upon his offspring than in the person of the deceased. He was an 
actor of great talent, and an artist of unquestioned excellence. 
Though living in the public world, it was not there that his true 
merit was seen ; and one who has known him many years, in every 
relation of life, may be permitted to say that, as a son, a brother, a 
father, a husband, and a friend he has left none purer to lament his 
death or attest his virtues. Guileless as a child, he passed through 
life in perfect charity to all mankind, and never, by his nearest and 
dearest, was he known to utter an unkind word or entertain an illib- 
eral opinion. . . . His blameless nature was as free from a thought 
or act of dishonour as the diamond is free from alloy." 


A portrait of Joseph Jefferson appears in the 
Autobiography of his son, our Rip Van Winkle, pub- 
lished in 1889-90. A silhouette likeness of him and 
of his wife is also extant. A water-colour portrait 
of him, made by a Philadelphia artist, named Wood, 
was long in existence. It was in a circular frame, 
marked with masonic emblems. It disappeared, with 
other possessions of the family, in a western city, 
about 1840-42. Jefferson was an uncommonly hand- 
some man, self-contained, placid, and singularly interest- 
ing. With the person, manners, and serene and gentle 
temperament of an Addison, the actor was an inveter- 
ate wag. That ideal is the clearest image of him that 
lives in memory, and various anecdotes are told, to give 
it proof. On an occasion, at the Washington theatre, 
the play of Tekeli was presented, under Jefferson's man- 
agement, with a melodramatic actor named Dan Reed 
as the hero. Reed was a large man, tall and formidable, 
wore a tremendous wig of black hair, and spoke in tones 
of thunder. On that occasion he was drunk ; so that, 
when the first curtain fell, Jefferson thought it best to 
withdraw him from the performance. There was a stage- 
struck tailor in the theatre, the keeper of the wardrobe, 
a little man with a small round head, entirely bald. 
That person, seeing his opportunity, offered himself as 
a substitute for the stalwart and vociferous Reed, and 
the occasion instantly became one that Jefferson could 
not resist. He seized Reed's wig, put it on the bald 
head of the tailor, and, without a word of explanation to 
the audience, sent him on. The business requires that 
Tekeli shall be brought upon the scene, in act second, 
upon a litter, and that he presently shall declare his 


identity. The little tailor rose to the occasion, assum- 
ing a fine attitude, and squeaking, in a thin, shrill voice, 
" Hi ham Teakaylee ! " At the same instant the great 
shaggy wig dropped from his pate, and revealed that 
object, hairless, and shining like a soap-bubble, while a 
deep voice from the gallery, improving the ensuing 
moment of startled silence, clearly ejaculated, "Great 
Gosh, what a head ! " The audience shrieked with 
laughter. Jefferson's enjoyment of the scene would, 
naturally, have been profound. He kept a grave exte- 
rior, but he was ever willing to gild the dulness and 
drudgery of life with innocent merriment. The jocose 
element was commingled in him with pensive gravity 
and gentleness. His character had the calm beauty of 
an autumn landscape, of wooded hills and browning 
meadows, when the sun is going down : but his achieve- 
ment as an actor was colourless, and he exerted no 
appreciable influence upon the stage. 



IT is the testimony of judicious observers who remem- 
ber Charles Burke, that he was pre-eminently a man of 
genius in the dramatic art ; but his life was so brief, his 
health so delicate, his temperament so dream-like and 
drifting, and his experience so sad, that he neither made 
a rightfully ample impression upon his own period, nor 
left an adequate memory to ours. Charles Saint Thomas 
Burke, deriving the name of Saint from his god-father, 
and that of Thomas from his mother, was the son of 
Thomas Burke and his wife, Cornelia Frances Thomas, 
and was born in Philadelphia, March 27, 1822. When 
three years old he was introduced upon the stage, being 
utilised in a line of infantile parts, according to the 
custom of theatrical families in those days ; and from 
that time he was devoted to a theatrical career. As a 
lad he was exceedingly apt and intelligent. He saw, 
and, although very young at the time, he could in some 
measure appreciate, the acting of the second Jefferson, 
and of John and Thomas Jefferson, his connections, 
not to speak of other worthies of the Chestnut Street 
theatre, and in that good school he was carefully 



trained. In the summer of 1836, when in his fifteenth 
year, he appeared at the National theatre, New York, as 
the Prince of Wales, in Richard the Third. The elder 
Booth was acting Gloster. Later in the season Burke 
was seen as Prince John, in Henry the Fourth, and as 
Irus in Ion, the former play having been produced 
for J. H. Hackett, as Falstaff, and the latter for George 
Jones, subsequently known as Count Joannes. Burke 
also occasionally sang in public, and he was esteemed 
clever in comic vocalism. Long before that time his 
mother had married Joseph Jefferson (they were wedded 
in 1826), and when, at the end of 1837, his step-father 
removed from New York into the West, Burke went 
with the' rest of the family ; and he shared the vicissi- 
tudes and hardships of the wandering life which ensued, 
at first in the dramatic company formed by Jefferson 
and his brother-in-law Alexander Mackenzie, and after- 
wards with Sol. Smith and others. He was not seen 
again in New York till 1847, when, on July 19, he 
appeared at the Bowery theatre, acting Ebenezer Calf, 
in Ole Bull, and Dickory, in The Spectre Bridegroom. 
There he remained about a year, and he established 
himself as a local favourite. In the summer of 1848 he 
joined his friend, Frank S. Chanfrau, 1 at the New Na- 

1 FRANCIS S. CHANFRAU, one of the most versatile and brilliant actors 
of his time, was born in New York, on February 22, 1824. His father 
was a French sailor; his mother an American, a native of West Chester 
county, N.Y. In boyhood he learned the trade of a ship carpenter. He 
early drifted to the stage, and I have heard him say that he profited much 
by the training that he received at the hands of Mitchell, at the old 
Olympic theatre. That house was No. 444 Broadway, and it was first 
opened on September 13, 1837, by Henry E. Willard and William Rufus 
Blake. It subsequently passed to William Mitchell (1798-1856), who 


tional theatre, formerly the Chatham, which was opened 
on August 14, in that year, with Burke as acting- 
manager ; and with that house he was associated, inter- 
mittently, for two or three seasons. There is a record 
of his having appeared at Burton's theatre, in the spring 
of 1849, as Billy Bowbell, in The Illustrious Stranger: 
but Burton was jealous of him, as a possible rival in 
popularity, and subsequently used effective influence to 
exclude him from the theatres of the West Side ; so 
that Burke was banished to the Bowery, and ever since 
has commonly been named, not, as he should be, with 
Twaits, Blissett, Warren, Jefferson, Finn, Burton, and 
Blake, but with comedians of the somewhat less intel- 
lectual quality of Barnes, Gates, Sefton, and Hadaway. 

conducted it from December 9, 1839, until March 9, 1850. Chanfrau was 
for some time a member of Mitchell's company, an organisation which, 
first and last, included some of the most sparkling and choice dramatic 
spirits of the age. Among them were Benedict De Bar, James Dunn, 
Augustus Fenno, George Holland, John Nickinson, Charles Walcot the 
elder, Mary Gannon, the bewitching Mary Taylor, the beautiful Mrs. 
George Loder, Mrs. H. C. Timm, and Mrs. Watts, afterward Mrs. John 
Sefton. Chanfrau made an extraordinary hit, at the Olympic, on February 
15, 1848, as Mose, the fireman, in A Glance at New York, by B. A. Baker, 
a paraphrase of Tom and Jerry. Chanfrau told me that the first per- 
formance was not auspicious, and that the play was repeated only because 
of Mitchell's rule that every piece produced at his theatre should be acted 
at least twice. On the second night the success was prodigious, and 
shortly afterward Chanfrau was acting Mose, nightly, at two theatres, the 
Chatham as well as the Olympic, the run lasting over three months, at 
both houses. On July 23, 1858, he married Miss Henrietta Baker, 
daughter of Mrs. Alexina Fisher Baker. He had a long and prosperous 
career. He died, suddenly, at Taylor's Hotel, Jersey City, on October 2, 
1884, and was buried in the cemetery of the West End Methodist church, 
at Long Branch, N.J. There also rest the ashes of those esteemed actors, 
William R. Floyd, who died on November 25, 1880, aged 48, and George 
Ryer, who died on April 26, 1882, aged 74. 


The last three years of Burke's life were mainly spent 
in professional travel. Ludlow saw him in St. Louis, 
in his latter days, and Edwin Booth and David Ander- 
son entertained him at their ranch in California in 
1852-53. He worked hard, and found favour and made 
friends ; but he met with scant prosperity, and he suf- 
fered from failing health and waning spirits. His last 
appearance on the stage was made where his professional 
life began, at the Chestnut Street theatre, Philadel- 
phia, on February 11, 1854; and the last character that 
he personated was Ichabod Crane, in Murrell, the Land 
Pirate. He was twice wedded, but left no children. 
Both his marriages were unfortunate. His first wife, 
Margaret Murcoyne, a native of Philadelphia, born in 
1818, died in that city, in 1849. His second wife, Mrs. 
Sutherland, survived him, but has since passed away. 
Both those ladies were on the stage. The latter was 
the mother of lone Sutherland, who adopted her step- 
father's name, and, as lone Burke, had a brief theatrical 
career, mostly at Laura Keene's theatre and at Wai- 
lack's, terminating in marriage ; after which she 
found a home in England. Charles Burke died in the 
old Florence Hotel, corner of Broadway and Walker 
street, New York, November 10, 1854, in the thirty-third 
year of his age, and was buried in the same grave with 
his mother, in Ronaldson's cemetery, at Philadelphia. 
He died in the arms of his brother, Joseph Jefferson, 
and his last words were, " I am going to our mother." 

The testimonials that exist to the loveliness of 
Burke's character and to the strength and versatility 
of his genius, are touched equally with affection and 
tender regret. 


"He grew up," said Elizabeth Jefferson, "to be 
one of the best actors we ever had. As a boy he was 
full of promise ; and when, after fifteen years, I saw 
him act, in Mobile, I was struck with what seemed to 
me a revival of the old time. A more talented and 
kind-hearted man than Charles Burke never lived." 

His old comrade, Frank S. Chanfrau, wrote to me in 
the same strain : " Burke was a great actor and a true 
man. One cannot say too much of his talents and his 
worth. He could do many things in acting, and was 
wonderful in all that he did." 

In person Burke was tall, slender, and extraordinarily 
thin ; and his long, emaciated figure agile, supple, 
and graceful seemed made for comic contortions and 
grotesque attitudes. His countenance was capable of 
great variety of expression, ranging from ludicrous 
eccentricity to pensive sadness, and he had it under 
such complete control that it responded, instantly and 
exactly, to every changing impulse of his mind and feel- 
ings ; so that he had a new face for every part that he 
played. The boys of the Bowery pit firmly believed 
him to be the original of the long-legged figure in the 
comic almanac. 

" I knew Charles Burke well, in my early manhood," 

so said the lamented John T. Ford, writing to me on 
February 26, 1894, only sixteen days before his death, 

"and saw him act, last, on April i, 1850 (?), under 
singular circumstances. He was then comedian of the 
Richmond theatre, 1 and a very great favourite. Very 

1 Burke filled an engagement at the Richmond, Va., theatre, with 
Chippendale and John Sefton, in 1849, and acted Mose. On December 
17, 1852, he received a benefit, at the Arch Street theatre, Philadelphia, 


homely in the face. Much like his father in person, 
and his mother in artistic endowment." 

In the course of thirty years many parts were acted 
by Charles Burke, of which a few may serve to indicate 
his artistic attributes and affinities : 


Acres, in The Rivals. 

Billy Bowbell, in The Illustrious Stranger. 

Baillie Nicol Jarvie, in Rob Roy. 

Billy Lackaday, in Sweethearts and Wives. 

Caleb Scrimmage, in Jonathan Bradford, or The Roadside 

Clever, in Woman's Wit. Acted under the name of Slander. 
By Sheridan Knowles. 

Clod Meddlenot, in The Lady of the Lions. Burlesque. 

Captain Tobin, in The Mysteries and Miseries of New York. 
By H. P. Grattan. Based on a story by u Ned Buntline " (E. C. Z. 

Cloten, in Cymbeline. 

Caleb Plummer, in The Cricket on the Hearth. 

Dromio of Syracuse, in The Comedy of Errors. 

Deuteronomy Dutiful, in The Vermont Wool Dealer. 

Darby, in The Poor Soldier. Comic Opera. By John O'Keefe. 
Covent Garden, 1793. 

Dickory, in The Spectre Bridegroom. Farce. By W. T. Mon- 
crieff. Drury Lane, 1821. 

Dr. Ollapod, in The Poor Gentleman. 

Ebenezer Calf, in Ole Bidl. Farce. 

Thomas T. Hemphill being then the manager, and was seen in Rip Van 
Winkle, Murrell the Land Pirate, and The Idiot Witness. In 1852 
he applied to J. W. Wallack for an engagement, and was refused. Burke 
received $2655 for six nights in San Francisco, in 1852-53. His second 
wife, Mrs. Sutherland, had been divorced from A. B. Sutherland, an actor, 
who subsequently was allied with the handsome, talented, and eccentric 
Charlotte Crampton. 


Ensign Jost Stoll, in Jacob Leisler, or New York in ibgo. His- 
torical Drama. By Cornelius Matthews. Bowery theatre, 1848. 

First Grave-digger, in Hamlet. 

Grumio, in The Taming of the Shrew. 

Grandfather Whitehead, in the drama of that name. By Mark 
Lemon. Henry Placide was the original in America (1843). 

Horsebeam Hemlock, in Captain Kid. Drama. First acted at 
the Park, New York, in 1839, with Peter Richings as Robert 
Lester, alias Kid, Mrs. Richardson as Kate, and Charlotte Cushman 
as Elspy. 

Isidore Farine, in The Pride of the Market. Mary Taylor acted 
with Burke, as Marton. 

Ichabod Crane, in Murrell the Land Pirate, or The Yankee in 
Mississippi. Drama. By Nathaniel Harrington Bannister (1813- 
1847), author of about one hundred plays. 

lago, in a travestie of Othello. 

Jemmy Twitcher, in The Golden Farmer. Gates was the orig- 
inal in America (1834). 

Jonathan Ploughboy, in The Forest Rose, or American Farmers. 

John Duck, in Cavaliers and Roundheads. 

Launce, in The Two Gentlemen of Verona. 

Launcelot Gobbo, in The Merchant of Venice. 

Mr. McGreedy, in a burlesque, by Charles Burke, satirising 
W. C. Macready. 

Mesopotamia Jenkins, in The Revolution. Play. By Charles 
Burke. Bowery, 1847. 

Mettaroarer, in The Female Forty Thieves. Burlesque. In that 
part Burke gave a comic imitation of Edwin Forrest, as Metamora. 

Moses, in The School for Scandal. 

Marrall, in A New Way to Pay Old Debts. 

Mock Duke Jaques, in The Honeymoon. 

Mark Meddle, in Boucicault's comedy of London Assurance. 

Paul Pry, in the comedy of Paul Pry. By John Poole. 

Rip Van Winkle, in a drama on that subject, by himself. 

Seth Slope, in the farce of Seth Slope. 

Selim Pettibone, in A Kiss in the Dark. 

Stitchback, in Hofer, the Tell of the Tyrol. 

Splash, in The Young Widow. 


Solon Shingle, in The People's Lawyer. Farcical play. By Dr. 
J. S. Jones. 

Slender, in The Merry Wives of Windsor. 

Sir Andrew Aguecheek, in Twelfth Night. 

Sudden, in The Breach of Promise. 

Timothy Toodle, in the farce of The Toadies. 

Toby Veck, in The Chimes. Drama. Based on the Christmas 
story by Charles Dickens. 

Touchstone, in As Yoii Like It. 

Zekiel Homespun, in The Heir at Law. 

An instructive article by L. Clarke Davis, published 
in Lippincotfs Magazine, July, 1879, entitled At and 
After the Play, incidentally shows Burke as dramatist 
and actor, embodies a pleasing reminiscence of him by 
the famous humourist and comedian John S. Clarke, and 
places Burke and Jefferson before the reader in their 
sacred relation of affectionate brotherhood. Burke made 
a version of Rip Van Winkle, and acted Rip. Mr. Davis 
compares the more recent Boucicault version with that 
of Burke : 

" Burke's play follows closely the story of the Sketch-Book, and 
lacks altogether the sweet, tender humanity and the weird spiritual- 
ity which pervade the combined work of Jefferson and Boucicault : 
it makes nothing of the parting from, or the meeting with, the child 
Meenie ; but much of the dialogue, which was Burke's own, has 
been wisely retained. The speech containing the notable line, 'Are 
we so soon forgot when we are gone ? ' is Burke's, not Boucicault's, 
though Jefferson has transposed and altered it for the better. It is 
introduced in the original, when Rip, returning to his old home, is 
told that if he be Rip, and not an impostor, some one of his old 
cronies will surely recognise him. He answers: 'To be sure dey 
will! Everyone knows me in Catskill. 1 {All gather around him 
and shake their heads.) ' No, no, I don't know dese peoples dey 
don't know me neither; and yesterday dere was not a dog in the 
village but would have wagged his tail at me ; now dey bark. Dere 


was not a child but would have scrambled on my knees : now dey 
run from me. Are we so soon forgotten when we are gone ? Already 
dere is no one wot knows poor Rip Van Winkle.' 

"We never saw Charles Burke play this part, though we have 
seen him play many others, and can testify to the greatness of his 
genius and the perfection of his art. . . . How he spoke that speech 
we have been told by John Sleeper Clarke, who is so just a man, and 
so free from professional jealousy, that he could not,- if he would, 
praise the dead at the expense of the living. Mr. Clarke says that 
in the delivery of those lines no other actor has ever disturbed the 
impression that the profound pathos of Burke's voice, face, and ges- 
ture created : it fell upon the senses like the culmination of all mor- 
tal despair, and the actor's figure, as the low, sweet tones died away, 
symbolised more the ruin of the representative of a race than the 
sufferings of an individual : his awful loss and loneliness seemed to 
clothe him with a supernatural dignity and grandeur, which com- 
manded the sympathy and awe of his audience. Mr. Clarke played 
Seth with Mr. Burke for many consecutive nights, and he relates 
that, on each succeeding night, though he was always aware of what 
was coming, even watching for it, when those lines were spoken his 
heart seemed to rise in his throat, choking him, and his cheeks were 
wet with tears ; for Burke's manner of pronouncing them was so 
pathetic that not only the audience but even the actors on the stage 
were affected by it. 

" Mr. Jefferson, remembering how his brother spoke that speech, 
has adopted a different mode : ' It is possible that I might speak it 
as he did, but ' He leaves the sentence unfinished, the reason 
untold ; but it is an open secret, to those who know how deep is the 
reverence of the living Rip for the dead one. They know that 
there are tones of Charles Burke's voice even which are held in too 
sacred a memory by his brother ever to be recalled by him upon the 
stage. In speaking of him, Mr. Jefferson said : ' Charles Burke was 
to acting what Mendelssohn was to music. He did not have to work 
for his effects, as I do. He was not analytical, as I am. Whatever 
he did came to him naturally, as grass grows or water runs. It 
was not talent that informed his art, but genius.'" 


The memorials that remain of Burke are few and un- 
substantial. Those playgoers who remember a French 
comedian named Leduc, 1 who acted at the theatre in 
Fourteenth street, New York, when La Grande Duchesse 
was first presented in America, October, 1867, possess 
at least a suggestion of Burke's likeness. The French 
actor was one of the company that Hezekiah L. Bate- 
man brought from Paris to co-operate with Mile. Toste'e, 
in the introduction of Opera Bouffe upon the American 
stage. Leduc acted Prince Paul, and subsequently 
Menelaus, in La Belle He"lene. He was of a winning 
personality. He never obtruded himself. He drifted 
in and out of the scenic spaces like a star among the 
light clouds of a summer night. His art concealed every 
vestige of effort. He was the perfection of grace. And 
through all the gentle drollery of his seemingly uncon- 
scious action there ran a vein of wistful sensibility, which, 
without being sadness itself, produced the momentary 
effect of sadness. It was my fortune often to see that 
refined actor, with our Joseph Jefferson as a compan- 
ion spectator, and to enjoy in his acting a great delight, 
because of that thoroughness of dramatic art which is 
nature transfigured. Jefferson said that Leduc was 
more like Charles Burke than any man he had ever seen. 
But Burke, he added, had tragic power as well as humour, 
and would often astonish his associates and spectators, 
who had been thinking only of his drollery, by a sudden 
tragic passion, or by his marvellous poise in the realm 
of pathos. Burke as an actor had the mental constitu- 
tion of Hood as a poet, who, in one mood, could 

1 The comedian Leduc is, I am informed, still living, (1894). He was 
associated, not very long ago, with the Municipal theatre, at Toulon. 


chuckle over the farcical theme of Miss Kilmansegg, 
and, in another, could melt the heart with The Bridge 
of Sighs, or awe the fancy with the sombre image of 
Eugene Aram, or wake the spirit of melancholy regret 
with Inez, or thrill the deep foundations of imagina- 
tion with the weird, poetic atmosphere of The Haunted 

In the days of his prosperity as Mose, Frank S. 
Chanfrau opened a theatre, in Brooklyn, called The 
Museum, with Charles Burke as stage-manager. On 
the opening night Burke acted the chief comic part in a 
new piece, and spoke the tag. Chanfrau, who had been 
acting elsewhere, hurried thither as soon as his per- 
formance was ended, impatient to learn the result of 
the new venture. That result was disaster. The piece 
had been coldly received, and all Burke's efforts had 
failed to save it. Chanfrau went at once to the stage. 
The curtain had fallen. The actors had dispersed. 
Burke alone remained upon the scene. He was stand- 
ing in the centre front of the stage, exactly where he 
had stood when the curtain fell. Motionless, with head 
bowed, with hands clasped, unconscious of all around 
him, the comic genius stood there, in the shadow, with 
bitter grief in his heart, and with tears slowly trickling 
down his face. He could not speak. His sensitive 
spirit had taken upon itself the blame and the blight 
of a failure. So, transfigured by loss and sorrow, he 
stands forever in the pantheon of memory ; and round 
him the withering leaves of autumn fall, and cold winds 
sigh in the long grasses, and twilight slowly deepens, 
and the world is far away. 




THE maternal ancestry of Joseph Jefferson, the 
present representative (1894) of the Jefferson Family of 
Actors, the famous Rip Van Winkle whom everybody 
knows and loves, is French ; and of him, as of Garrick, 
it is to be observed that the blood of three nationalities 
flows in his veins. French, English, and Irish were the 
currents that mingled in Garrick : French, English, and 
Scotch are the currents that combine in Jefferson. The 
inquirer finds Jefferson's French ancestry in the island 
of St. Domingo. There, about the beginning of the 
nineteenth century, living in affluence upon his planta- 
tion, dwelt M. Thomas, a gentleman newly arrived from 
France. Little is known about him ; but it is remem- 
bered that he was a person of winning manners, cheer- 
ful fortitude, and resolute mind. He had paused for a 
while in New York, with his wife, on their journey from 
France to St. Domingo to take possession of an in- 
herited estate; and in New York, on October i, 1796, 
was born their daughter, Cornelia Frances. In the 
next year they were established in their new home, and 



there they resided till the period of the negro insurrec- 
tion led by Dessalines. At that crisis they had a 
narrow escape from murder, in the massacre of the 
white population by which that revolt was attended. 
The first rising of the negroes against the French in 
St. Domingo occurred in 1791-93, and it was succeeded 
by the temporary government of Toussaint L'Ouverture, 
to whom Wordsworth addressed a sonnet, and whom 
Wendell Phillips canonised. The second rising, which 
resulted in either the murder or expatriation of the 
French residents, was effected in March, 1804, and it 
was then that M. Thomas and his family were in 
peril. They escaped, however, by favour of a negro 
slave, named Alexandre, who, impelled by affectionate 
fidelity, gave warning of their danger, just as it was at 
hand ; but it was only by precipitate flight that M. 
Thomas was able to elude the doom of slaughter which 
had been pronounced against him and his household. 
He fled by night; 1 and, after many perils, escaped to 
sea, in an open boat, accompanied by his wife and 
daughter, and by the faithful servant who had saved 
their lives. The exiles were picked up by an American 
vessel and carried into Charleston, S.C. 

M. Thomas was now poor, and the rest of his life was 
passed in poverty and labour. At first he attempted a 
minor shop-keeping industry, but that did not succeed. 
His wife soon died, and his daughter remained his chief 
care. One day, in a Charleston street, he chanced to 

1 Jefferson's mother told him that she could distinctly remember that 
night, and the dreadful moments of breathless suspense while the barbar- 
ous and bloodthirsty negroes were beating the bushes, to discover the fugi- 
tives in their concealment. 


meet Alexander Placide, whom he had known in France, 
and who welcomed him as an old friend. Placide, popu- 
lar as an athlete and a rope-dancer, the father of 
Henry, Thomas, Caroline, Eliza, and Jane Placide, all 
known, in later days, upon the stage, was then man- 
ager of the Charleston theatre, and in that theatre M. 
Thomas found employment. He never attempted act- 
ing ; but his daughter, who became a pet with the Pla- 
cide family, was soon brought forward, in the ballet, 
and presently was entrusted with minor parts in plays. 
That was her school, and there she grew up, an actress 
and a singer, early winning a good rank in the profes- 
sion, especially as a vocalist, which she maintained 
almost to the end of her life. 

"Possessing a fair share of ability as a comic actress," says 
Ireland, " with a pleasing face and person, and an exquisite voice, 
which, in power, purity, and sweetness, was unapproached by any 
contemporary, she soon eclipsed all rivalry in vocalism ; and, till 
the more cultivated style of Italy was introduced, was considered 
the model of all excellence. She was attached to the Park, New 
York, for two or three seasons, and afterwards removed to Philadel- 
phia, where she became an equally distinguished favourite." 

The first husband of Cornelia Frances Thomds was 
the Irish comedian, Thomas Burke, to whom she was 
married in her girlhood. Burke was noted for his fine 
talents, handsome person, and ill-ordered life. He 
was on the Charleston stage, where Miss Thomds first 
met him, as early as 1802. He first appeared in New 
York, on April 29, 1811, at the Park, and subsequently 
he fulfilled several New York engagements. At a 
later period he resided in Philadelphia, where he 
became a favourite with playgoers, as the dashing 


Irishman. His death was caused by delirium tremens, 
in 1824, in Baltimore. W. B. Wood says he died on 
June 6, 1825. However that may be, his demise was a 
relief to those who were best acquainted with him ; and 
on July 27, 1826, his widow became the wife of Joseph 
Jefferson, the third of the line of actors commemorated 
in this biography. 

A pleasant glimpse of the mother of our Jefferson is 
given in N. M. Ludlow's Dramatic Life (1880) : 

"Finding matters so dull in New York (1826), my wife and I 
went to Philadelphia, to pay a visit to our much-esteemed friend, 
Mrs. Cornelia Burke, after whom our first daughter was named. 
We found the lady recently married again, to Mr. Joseph Jefferson, 
scenic artist, afterwards father of Joseph Jefferson, of Rip Van Win- 
kle renown. . . . Our meeting with this lady was a very pleasant 
one : we had not seen her since the voyage we made with her to 
Virginia, from New Orleans, in the summer of 1821. We presented 
to her the little namesake, then five years of age, who was greatly 
admired by Mrs. Jefferson and her friends. (Now, 1894, Mrs. 
Matthew C. Field, an old lady, resident in the .West.) 

" We passed a very pleasant week in Philadelphia, occasionally 
visiting Mrs. Jefferson, who was always excellent company herself; 
and, in addition to this, we often met with very agreeable persons 
at her house, who were in the habit of visiting her. Mrs. Jefferson 
was of French parentage. . . . Her first efforts on the stage were 
in singing characters, such as Rosina, in the comic opera of Rosina, 
or the Reapers ; Countess, in John of Paris ; and Virginia, in Paul 
and Virginia, and the like. I remember with much pleasure her 
singing, in those English operas. She performed Blanche of Devon, 
in the melodrama of The Lady of the Lake, on the night when I 
made my first appearance in Mr. Caldwell's company, in New Orleans, 
in 1821. She also performed speaking characters very well. The 
first time that I remember to have seen her was at Albany (1814- 
15), in the character of Susan Ashfield, in Speed the Plough, on the 
occasion when I made my clandestine appearance as Bob Handy's 
servant, and was complimented on it by Mr. Thomas Burke." 


Mr. and Mrs. Burke had one son, Charles Saint 
Thomas Burke. He became a fine comedian, but, as 
already shown, he died too soon for his fame and for 
the happiness of his generation. Mr. and Mrs. Jeffer- 
son had four children, two of whom died in infancy, 
while two have survived to the present day (1894) : 

1. JOSEPH JEFFERSON. This is our Rip Van Winkle. 

2. CORNELIA JEFFERSON. She was born in Baltimore, October 
i, 1835, and went on the stage in childhood, performing in 
the travelling company of which her parents were members, at 
Chicago, Galena, and other places in the West and South, after the 
year 1837. She accompanied her relatives, in their various profes- 
sional wanderings, during the next twelve years. On May 17, 1849, 
she appeared in New York, at Chanfrau's National theatre, in 
Chatham street, acting Little Pickle, in The Spoiled Child, In 
1857 and 1858 she was a member of the dramatic company of 
Laura Keene's theatre, and she was seen on that stage after it 
became the Olympic, being the second house of that name in 
New York, in the autumn of 1867, as Titania, in A Midsummer 
Nighfs Dream. (The Olympic, which had been opened in 1863, 
by John A. Duff, its first manager being Mrs. John Wood, 
was, in 1867-68, managed by James E. Hayes, a noted scene- 
painter, who had married one of Mr. Duff's daughters, and who 
died in New York, May 7, 1873. Mr. Duff died, in New York, 
March 31, 1889.) Cornelia Jefferson visited England in 1877. 
She is the widow of Charles Jackson, and has one son, Charles 
Jackson, who is on the stage. She has long been living in re- 

The mother of Charles Burke and Joseph Jefferson 
died, at Philadelphia, in November, 1849, and her grave 
which, in 1854, became also that of the former of those 
sons is in Ronaldson's cemetery, corner of Bainbridge 
and Ninth streets, in that city. In company with Joseph 
Jefferson, I once visited that place of rest, and found it 
thickly overgrown with flowering shrubs and climbing 


roses. A large white stone marks the spot, inscribed 

In that little graveyard rest other members of the 
dramatic profession, admired in their day, but mostly 
forgotten now. The sumptuous Josephine Clifton, who 
died in 1846, is buried there, together with her sister, 
Louisa Missouri Miller, and there was entombed Samuel 
Chapman, the first husband of our Jefferson's aunt Eliza- 
beth. The grave of William Jones, commonly known 
as "Old Snacks," who died in Edwin Forrest's house, 
in 1841, aged sixty, is also in that cemetery. 

The fate of M. Thomas, the French ancestor of Jeffer- 
son, was tragic. He survived till 1827, living, toward 
the last, in his daughter's household. During his latter 
years he was in continual suffering, from incurable gout. 
He bore his agonies patiently, till he could bear no 
more : the constant torture drove him to despair. In 
that condition, frantic with pain, hopeless, and miser- 
able, the poor old gentleman drove out, one morning* 
to the Market street bridge, over the Schuylkill river, 
dismissed his carriage, and, as soon as he was left alone, 
sprang over the parapet and was drowned. 

JOSEPH JEFFERSON, the representative American come- 
dian of our time, was born at Philadelphia on February 
20, 1829, in a house which still is standing, unchanged 
except that a shop has been opened on the ground-floor 
of it, at the southwest corner of Spruce and Sixth 
streets. In childhood he gave indications of an excep- 
tional mind and character, and of artistic abilities. He 
was reared amidst theatrical surroundings, and, in 1833, 


when only four years old, was carried upon the stage, at 
the Washington theatre, by Thomas D. Rice, a famous 
delineator of negro character. That comedian, on a 
benefit occasion, introduced the child, blackened and 
dressed like himself, into his performance of Jim Crow. 
Little Joe was taken upon the scene in a bag, and 
emptied from it, with the couplet, 

" Ladies and gentlemen, Td have you for to know 
IVe got a little darkey here, to jump Jim Crow." 

A witness of that scene the veteran actress, Mrs. 
John Drew 1 says that the boy promptly assumed the 
attitude of Jim Crow Rice, and sang and danced in imi- 
tation of his sable companion, and was a miniature like- 
ness of that grotesque person. 

Thomas D. Rice, thus associated with Jefferson, was 
a remarkable man and had a singular career. He was 
born in New York on May 20, 1808, and died there, on 
September 19, 1860. When a boy, he was employed as 
a supernumerary at the Park theatre. Afterwards he 
went into the West. Cowell met him, at Cincinnati, in 
1829, "a very unassuming, modest young man, little 
dreaming then that he was destined to astonish the 
Duchess of St. Albans, or anybody else ; he had a queer 
hat, very much pointed down before and behind, and 
very much cocked on one side." The same writer says 
that Thomas H. Blakeley was the first to introduce 
negro vocalism on the American stage, and adds that 
Blakeley's singing of the Coal Black Rose set the fashion 

1 " The first time I acted in Washington was in a company with which 
Joseph Jefferson made his first appearance, at the age of four, as the baby 
in Jim Crow Rice's negro sketch." Mrs. John Drew, in the Baltimore 
American. Friday, February, 1 6, 1894. See note on p. 104. 


which Rice followed. G. W. Dixon, known as Zip 
Coon, and notorious as a newspaper libeller, was a 
pioneer in that form of public entertainment ; and he 
closed a disreputable life, in a charity hospital, at New 
Orleans, in 1861. Wemyss, however, declares that 
the original Jim Crow was a negro, at Pittsburgh, Pa., 
named Jim Cuff. The veteran actor, Edmon S. Conner, 
in an article published in the N. Y. Times, June 5, 1881, 
asserts that it was an old negro slave, owned by Mr. 
Crow, who kept a livery-stable in the rear of the thea- 
tre, in Louisville, Ky., managed by Ludlow and Smith, in 
1828-29, an d that the slave adopted his master's name, 
and called himself Jim Crow. Conner adds : 

" He was much deformed, the right shoulder being drawn high 
up, the left leg stiff and crooked at the knee, giving him a painful 
but laughable limp. He used to croon a queer tune with words of 
his own, and at the end of each stanza would give a little jump, and 
when he came down he set his ' heel a-rockinV He called it ' jump- 
ing Jim Crow.' The words of the refrain were : 

' Wheel about, turn about, 

Do jes so, 

An' ebery time I wheel about, 
I jump Jim Crow ! ' 

" Rice watched him closely, and saw that here was a character 
unknown to the stage. He wrote several stanzas, changed the air 
somewhat, quickened it, made up exactly like the old negro, and 
sang to a Louisville audience. They were wild with delight, and 
on the first night he was recalled twenty times." 

Rice went to England in 1836, and soon became 
prominent on the London stage. He married Miss 
Gladstane, daughter of the manager of the Surrey 
theatre. His profession yielded him a large income. 
It was one of his fancies to wear gold pieces on his coat 


for buttons ; and sometimes he was first stupefied with 
wine and then robbed of those ornaments. He was a 
capital actor, in such parts as Wormwood, in Buck- 
stone's farce of The Lottery Ticket, Old Delf, in Family 
Jars, Ginger Blue, and Spruce Pink, in The Virginia 
Mummy. He took hints from actual life, but he was an 
interpreter, not a photographer ; and, in that sense, he 
was the original of whatever he did. The moment any 
man accomplishes anything that is out of the ordinary 
rut of mediocrity, numerous observers strive to detract 
from his merit by impugning his originality. Well 
and wisely did Falstaff say that "honour is a mere 
scutcheon." Rice wrote the negro burlesque opera 
called Bone Squash, and also a Travesty of OtJiello. 

Jefferson's beginning as little Jim Crow is mentioned, 
together with other matters illustrating his juvenile 
talent, in the Notes from Memory that were written 
for me by his aunt Elizabeth : while William Warren, 
his second cousin and old comrade, told me a quaint 
story suggestive of a certain sapient maturity in his 
childhood. That rare comedian, Henry J. Finn, 1 going 
into the green-room one night at the Washington thea- 
tre, dressed for the part he was to act, observed little 
Joe, wrapped in a shawl, sitting in a corner. After 
various flourishes of action and mimicry, for which he 
was admirable, he paused in front of the boy, and, not 

1 FINN was indeed one of the most extraordinary men that have ap- 
peared upon the stage. He was thoroughly educated, a ripe scholar, an 
excellent writer, both serious and comic, a good dramatist, a skilful 
painter, and a clever editor; and as an actor, he succeeded in both trag- 
edy and comedy. He was born at Cape Breton, in 1790, had his career 
both in England and America, and perished in the burning of the steamer 
Lexington, in Long Island Sound, in January, 1840. 


dreaming that such a tiny creature could make any 
reply, solemnly inquired, " Well, my little friend, what 
do you think of me ? " The child looked at him, with 
serious eyes, and gravely answered, " I think you are 
a very wonderful man." And Finn was impressed, and 
a little disconcerted, by that elf-like quaintness and 
judicial sobriety of infancy. 

In 1837, when eight years old, the little lad was at 
the Franklin theatre, New York, with his parents, 
and it is recorded that he appeared upon the stage, 
September 30, in a sword-combat, with Master Titus. 1 
Young Jefferson, on that occasion, personated a pirate, 
while young Titus opposed him, in the character of a 
sailor ; and, at the end of a spirited encounter, the 
miniature pirate was prostrate, and the miniature sailor 
bestrode him in triumph. Mr. and Mrs. Jefferson left 
New York at the end of the season of I83/-38, 2 tak- 

1 The Master Titus who figured in that scene was a bright boy, the 
son of an officer at the New York City Hall, but his career was prema- 
turely ended, shortly after that time, by the accidental explosion of a gun, 
which blinded him. He was acting in Matteo Falconi, with Mr. William 
Sefton, when the disaster occurred. 

2 In a letter to J. H. McVicker, which got into print, Jefferson 
said : 

" I am not sure that I remember dates and circumstances in their exact form. My 
father and his family arrived in Chicago, by way of the lakes, in a steamer, somewhere 
about May in the year 1838. He came to join Alexander Mackenzie, my uncle, in the 
management of his new theatre. Mackenzie had been manager of the old one, the sea- 
son before: I think the new theatre was the old one refitted. [An error.] I know it was 
the pride of the city and the ideal of the new managers, for it had one tier of boxes and a 
gallery at the back. I don't think that the seats of the dress-circle were stuffed, but I am 
almost sure that they were planed. The company consisted of William Leicester, William 
Warren, James S. Wright, Charles Burke, Joseph Jefferson, Thomas Sankey, William 
Childs, Harry Isherwood, Joseph Jefferson, Jr., Mrs. Mackenzie, Mrs. J. Jefferson, my 
mother, Mrs. Ingersoll, and Jane Germon. I was the comic singer of this party, 
making myself useful in small parts and first villagers : now and then doing duty as 
a Roman Senator, at the back, wrapped in a clean hotel sheet, with my head just peering 
over the profile banquet table. I was just nine years old. I was found useful as Albert 


ing their children, Charles Burke, and Cornelia and 
Joseph Jefferson, and went to Chicago; and for the 
next twelve years the family led the life of the strolling 
player, wandering through the West and South, and 
even following the armies of the Republic into Mexico ; 
so that, until he came forward at Chanfrau's New Na- 
tional theatre, as Jack Rackbottle, in Jonathan Brad- 
ford, September 10, 1849, Jefferson was not again seen 
in New York. Those intervening years were crowded 
with vicissitude and privation. Often the youthful Jef- 
ferson participated in performances that were given in 
the dining-rooms of country hotels, without scenery, 
and with no adjunct to create the illusion of a stage, 
except a strip of board, nailed to the floor, sustaining a 
row of tallow candles. Not the less were those represen- 
tations given with the earnestness, force, and fidelity of 
accomplished actors. That kind of experience, indeed, 
was not uncommon with the players, in the early days 
of the American stage, when strolling actors drifted in 
flat boats down the great rivers of the West, and now 
and then shot wild beasts upon their banks, and often 
performed in the barns of the frugal-minded farmer. 
Land journeys from town to town were made in wag- 
ons or on foot, while cold and hunger not infrequently 
were the harsh companions of that precarious life. 
Once the Jefferson company, roaming in a region far 

and the Duke of York. In those days the audience used to throw money on the stage, 
either for comic songs or dances, and, oh, with that thoughtful prudence which has char- 
acterised my after life, how I used to lengthen out the verses! The stars, during the sea- 
son, were Mrs. McClure, Dan Marble, and A. A. Adams. Some of the plays acted were 
The Lady of Lyons, The Stranger, Rob Roy, Damon and Pythias, Wives as They 
Were Maids as They Are, and Sam Patch. The theatre was in Randolph street 
at least it strikes me that was the name. [It was in Dearborn street.] The city, about 
that time, had from 3000 to 4000 inhabitants. I can remember following my father along 
the shore, when he went shooting, in what is now Michigan avenue." 


from any settlement, had found a more than commonly 
spacious barn, and a farmer of more than commonly 
benevolent aspect, and it was thereupon resolved to 
give a performance in that auspicious spot. Written 
handbills, distributed through the neighbourhood, pro- 
claimed the joyous design. There was a cordial re- 
sponse. The farmers and their wives and children, 
from far and near, came to see the play. The receipts 
were twenty dollars, and that treasure was viewed as 
a godsend by the poor players, who saw in it the 
means of food, and of a ride to the next town. But no 
adequate allowance had been made for the frugality of 
the genial owner of the barn. " I guess that pays my 
bill," he said, as he put the money into his pocket; and 
so the venture was settled, and the rueful comedians 
walked away. On another occasion, in Mississippi, they 
had hired a wagon to carry them from one town to 
another, fifteen miles distant, and their driver, after pro- 
ceeding about half way, demanded payment of his due ; 
when, being told that it would be paid out of the pro- 
ceeds of their next performance, he turned them from 
his vehicle, and left them in a forest road, in a rain- 
storm ; from which predicament they were rescued, 
after some hours, by a friendly ox-cart. Amid scenes 
of that kind young Jefferson learned to be an actor ; 
and, aside from barely three months at school which he 
once enjoyed, that was the only kind of training he ever 
received. In Mexico, when the war occurred, in 1846, 
he was among the followers of the American army, and 
gave performances in tents. He saw General Taylor on 
the banks of the Rio Grande ; he heard the thunder of 
the guns at Palo Alto ; he stood beside the tent in 


which the gallant Major Ringgold lay dying; he wit- 
nessed the bombardment of Matamoras, and, two nights 
after the capture of that city (May, 1846), he acted in 
its Spanish theatre. Those were the days when he 
wore the gypsy colours, and knew the gypsy freedom, 
and saw the world without disguise. 

The principal features of the cast of Jonathan Brad- 
ford, in which Jefferson acted at Chanfrau's New Na- 
tional theatre, when he came home in 1849, were 
these : 

Jonathan Bradford John Crocker. 

Dan McCraisy Redmond Ryan. 

Jack Rackbottle Joseph Jefferson. 

Caleb Scrimmage . . ... . . Charles Burke. 

Anne Bradford Mrs. H. Isherwood. 

Sally Sighabout Mrs. Sutherland. 

In and Out of Place was also acted, with Mrs. Charles 
Mestayer as Letty. That lady, formerly Miss Pray, then 
Mrs. C. Mestayer, and finally Mrs. Barney Williams, was 
in the bloom of her buxom vivacity. In The Poor Sol- 
dier, which completed the bill for that night, Charles 
Burke appeared as Darby, and Miss Lockyer as Norah. 
Cupid, also, seems to have been present ; for Mrs. Suth- 
erland was afterwards wedded to Burke, and Miss Lock- 
yer to Jefferson. The season lasted from September 10, 
1849, to July 6, ^50, and among the players who ap- 
peared during that time, and with whom, accordingly, 
Jefferson was associated, were Mrs. D. P. Bowers ; Miss 
Sarah Crocker, afterwards Mrs. Frederick B. Conway, 
sister to Mrs. Bowers ; Frank S. Chanfrau, then popular 
as Mose ; Anna Cruse, afterwards Mrs. William Cowell ; 
Fanny Herring ; Emily Mestayer ; Mrs. Helen Muzzy ; 


Wyzeman Marshall ; Barney Williams ; and Harry 
Watkins, who died at 463 West Twenty-third street, 
New York, February 5, 1894, aged sixty-nine. The 
elder Booth acted at the National, in those days ; the 
inveterate wag, Harry Perry, was seen there ; Edwin 
Booth made his first New York appearance on that 
stage ; Joseph Proctor there presented the avenging 
Jibbenainosay ; John R. Scott exhibited there the exu- 
berant melodrama of the past ; George L. Fox began his 
metropolitan career in that theatre; the fascinating Julia 
Pelby passed across its scene, in The Child of the Regi- 
ment ; Charles Dibdin Pitt displayed his fine figure and 
plastic art as Virginius ; and Yankee Locke, James H. 
McVicker, and Jim Crow Riee there let slip the spirits 
of their humour, and paid their tribute to the rosy gods 
of mirth. In other quarters Burton, Blake, and Mitchell 
were the sovereigns of laughter; Hamblin, Conner, 
and Forrest were the kings of tragedy ; and John 
Brougham, Lester Wallack, and George Jordan held 
the field of elegant comedy against all comers, and 
felt, with Alexander, that " none but the brave deserve 
the fair." 

On leaving the National theatre, in the autumn of 
1850, Jefferson and his wife went to Mitchell's Olympic, 
where they acted in November; and about that time 
the young comedian applied for a position in Brougham's 
Lyceum, opened December 23, that year. He wished 
to be stage-manager ; and had he been accepted the 
fate of that theatre, and the subsequent career of 
the loved and lamented John Brougham, might have 
been different from what they were, an almost contin- 
uous tissue of misfortunes. In the season of 1851-52, 


Jefferson was attached to the company of Anna Thillon 
and the Irish comedian' Hudson, who gave musical 
plays at Niblo's Garden ; and shortly afterward at that 
theatre he was associated with Mr. and Mrs. John 
Drew, William Rufus Blake, Lester Wallack, Mrs. Ste- 
phens, Mrs. Conover, afterwards Mrs. J. H. Stoddart, 
and Charles Wheatleigh. He then formed a partner- 
ship with John Ellsler, and took a dramatic company 
through a circuit of theatres in the South, visiting 
Charleston, Savannah, Macon, Atlanta, Augusta, Wil- 
mington, and other cities. After that tour was ended 
he settled in Philadelphia, and then in Baltimore, 
first at the Holliday Street theatre, and then at the 
Baltimore Museum, corner of Baltimore and Calvert 
streets, where he was stage-manager. In the summer of 
1856 he made a trip to Europe, to study the acting then 
visible in London and Paris. On November 18, 
1856, the beautiful Laura Keene opened her theatre, 
afterwards the second Olympic, at 622 and 624 Broad- 
way, New York, and Jefferson was soon added to the 
force, already strong, of her recruits, a company that 
included, among others, James G. Burnett, George Jor- 
dan, T. B. Johnston, Charles Peters, James H. Stoddart, 
Charles Wheatleigh, Ada Clifton, afterward Mrs. Ed- 
ward Mollenhauer, Cornelia Jefferson, Mrs. Stephens 
(died July 29, 1858), Charlotte Thompson, and Mary 
Wells. The second season opened on August 31, 1857, 
with The Heir at Law, and Jefferson made a hit as Dr. 
Pangloss. On the opening night of the third season 
(1857-58) he appeared as Augustus, in The Willow Copse. 
Charles W. Couldock acted Luke Fielding, Edward A. 
Sothern, Sir Richard Vaughan, and Laura Keene, Rose 


Fielding. Mr. and Mrs. W. R. Blake, Sara Stevens, Effie 
Germon, and Charles Walcot joined the company in that 
season ; and it was then that Blake, a good actor, but 
one who had a tendency to coarseness, being resent- 
ful of Jefferson's custom of expunging indelicate lines 
from the old comedies, made a vain attempt to stigma- 
tise him as "the Sunday-school comedian." There was 
a scene in the green-room, and Blake was discomfited. 
"You take an unfair and unmanly advantage of people," 
said Jefferson, "when you force them to listen to your 
coarseness. They are, for the time, imprisoned, and 
have no choice but to hear and see your ill-breeding. 
You have no better right to be offensive on the stage 
than you have in the drawing-room." On October 18, 
1858, for the first time anywhere, was presented Tom 
Taylor's comedy of Our American Cousin, which brought 
the flood-tide of fortune in Jefferson's professional life. 
He acted Asa Trenchard and he was famous. Seldom 
has an actor found a medium for the expression of his 
spirit so ample and so congenial as that part proved to 
be for Jefferson. Rustic grace, simple manliness, un- 
conscious drollery, and unaffected pathos, expressed with 
artistic control and in an atmosphere of repose, could 
not have been more truthfully and beautifully combined. 
The piece ran for one hundred and forty consecutive 
nights, until March 25, 1859, a long run for that 
epoch, and it made the success of the year and of the 
theatre. It was then also that Sothern, reluctantly 
accepting the trivial part of Lord Dundreary, afterwards 
much elaborated by him, laid the foundation of his 
fortune and fame, presenting, in a vein of delicate 
caricature, a new and perfect type of whimsical humour. 

At the age of 28. 


This was the cast of Our American Cottsin : 

Asa Trenchard Joseph Jefferson. 

Lord Dundreary Edward A. Sothern. 1 

Sir Edward Trenchard Edwin Varrey. 

Lieutenant Vernon Milnes Levick. 

Capt. de Boots Clinton. 

Coyle James G. Burnett. 1 

Abel Murcot Charles W. Couldock. 

Binney Charles Peters. 1 

Buddicombe Henry McDouall. 1 

Florence Trenchard Laura Keene. 1 

Mrs. Mountchessington .... Mary Wells. 1 

Augusta Effie Germon. 

Georgina Mrs. E. A. Sothern. 1 

Mary Meredith Sara Stevens. 1 

Sharp Miss Flynn. 1 

Skillet Mrs. M. Levick. 

The season of 1858-59 at Laura Keene's theatre 
lasted till July 14, when Jefferson's relations with her 
company were ended, and on September 14, 1859, ne 
appeared in the dramatic company engaged by Dion 
Boucicault and William Stuart for the Winter Garden 
theatre, then opened with Boucicault's adaptation of The 
Cricket on the Hearth, entitled Dot. 2 That theatre, 
originally called Tripler Hall, had been known as the 

2 This was the cast of characters in Dot : 

John Perrybingle Harry Pearson. 1 

Edward A. H. Davenport. 1 

Tackleton T. B. Johnston. 1 

Dot Agnes Robertson. 

Bertha Sara Stevens. 1 

Mrs. Fielding Mrs. W. R. Blake. 1 

Tilly Slowboy Mrs. John Wood. 

Caleb Plummer Joseph Jefferson. 

1 Dead. 


Metropolitan, under William E. Burton's management, 
and later as Laura Keene's Varieties. It was in Broad- 
way, on the west side, opposite the end of Bond street. 
Jefferson appeared as Caleb Plummer, and also as Mr. 
Bobtail ; and in the course of the ensuing six months 
he was seen as Newman Noggs, Salem Scudder, Granby 
Gag, Sir Brian, and Rip Van Winkle. The first presen- 
tation of Boucicault's drama of The Octoroon, Decem- 
ber 5, 1859, was an important incident of the season; 
and on February 2, 1860, a new theatrical version of 
Dickens's novel of Oliver Twist, made by Jefferson, 
was for the first time presented, the withdrawal of 
Boucicault, who left the theatre suddenly, on a disagree- 
ment, having opened the way for it. James W. Wallack, 
Jr., a superb romantic actor and one of the most in- 
teresting of men, made an astonishing success, as Fagin, 
the Jew, while Matilda Heron acted with a wonderful 
wild power as Nancy. 1 There were in the Winter 

1 The chief features of the cast of Oliver Twist show the diversified 
strength of the company and the good judgment with which that strength 
was directed : 

Brownlow James H. Stoddart. 

Bumble George Holland. 1 

Sikes George Jordan. 1 

Fagin James W. Wallack, Jr. 1 

The Artful Dodger T. B. Johnston. 1 

Oliver Twist lone Burke. 

Nancy Matilda Heron. 1 

Mrs. Corney Mrs. W. R. Blake. 1 

From October I, 1860, till March 9, 1861, Charlotte Cushman acted at 
the Winter Garden theatre, giving forty-eight performances, and in the 
course of that engagement Oliver Twist was presented, and Miss Cushman 
acted Nancy, a part originally played by her many years before, and in 
which, probably, she never had an equal. 

' Dead. 


Garden company, at one time, A. H. Davenport, George 
Holland, Joseph Jefferson, George Jamieson, T. B. John- 
ston, George Jordan, Harry Pearson, who died in 
May, 1884, James H. Stoddart, James W. Wallack, Jr., 
Mrs. J. H. Allen, lone Burke, Mrs. W. R. Blake, Matilda 
Heron, Sara Stevens, and Mrs. John Wood. Mr. and 
Mrs. Boucicault had retired, proceeding to Laura 
Keene's theatre, where they remained from January 9 
to May 12, 1860. There Boucicault produced, for the 
first time, his plays of The Heart of Midlothian, Jan- 
uary 9, and The Colleen Bawn, March 29. The Winter 
Garden season, meantime, was further signalised by the 
production, February 19, of Mrs. Sidney Frances Cowell 
Bateman's play of Evangeline, a work based on Long- 
fellow's poem, in which Miss Kate Bateman began the 
more mature portion of her professional career, and in 
which Jefferson acted the humorous character not 
much to the author's satisfaction. " It is the best comic 
part my wife ever wrote," Bateman said ; and " It is the 
worst comic part I ever played," was Jefferson's reply. 
He withdrew from the Winter Garden in the spring of 
1860, and on May 16 opened Laura Keene's theatre for 
a summer season, which lasted till August 31. The 
pieces presented were The Invisible Prince, Our Jap- 
anese Embassy, The Tycoon, or Young America in Japan, 
and Our American Cousin. Jefferson, Sothern, and 
Couldock reappeared, acting their original parts, in the 
latter piece, while Mrs. Wood enacted Florence. In 
Jefferson's dramatic company, at that time, were lone 
Burke, James G. Burnett, Mrs. Henrietta Chanfrau, 
Cornelia Jefferson, James H. Stoddart, Mrs. H. Vincent, 
Hetty Warren, and Mrs. John Wood. In those seasons 


at the Winter Garden and Laura Keene's theatre, the 
foundations of Jefferson's fame were completed and the 
building of its noble structure was well begun. 

Early in 1861, being much oppressed by a domestic 
bereavement and by failing health, Jefferson was 
persuaded to seek relief in travel and new scenes. 
He formed at that time the resolution to appear on 
the London stage, and he planned the career which 
he has since fulfilled. There has not been much of 
either luck or chance in Jefferson's life, and, though a 
fortunate man, he is pre-eminently a man who has com- 
' pelled fortune, by acting with resolution upon a wise 
and definite purpose. At first he went to California, 
arriving in San Francisco on June 26, 1861, and on 
July 8 he made his first appearance in that city, at 
Maguire's Opera House, in Washington street. His 
California season lasted till November 4, when he made 
his farewell appearance. The next day he sailed for 
Australia, 1 and in that country enchanted with its 
magnificent climate, its beautiful scenery, its progres- 
sive civilisation, and its intelligent, kindly people he 
passed four prosperous and beneficial years. There he 
recovered his health, and there he won golden opinions 
by his acting of Asa Trenchard, Caleb Plummer, Bob 
Brierly, Rip Van Winkle, Dogberry, and many other 
characters. He also gained hosts of friends. Among 

1 Jefferson was accompanied on that expedition by Mr. James Sim- 
monds, who remained in those colonies and died there, at Auckland, 
New Zealand, early in 1871. Mr. James Simmonds was well known as an 
actor and a manager. At one time he managed the Eagle theatre, in Sud- 
bury street, Boston, Mass. He was the author of several songs, one of 
which, entitled Speak of a Man as You find Him, has enjoyed much 


his comrades at that time were Benjamin L. Farjeon, 
the novelist, Henry Edwards, George Fawcett Rowe, 
famous as Micawber, Louis A. Lewis, the composer, 
and James Smith, the brilliant editorial writer. One 
notable incident of his professional life at Melbourne 
was the success of Rosa Dunn, Mrs. Lewis, who acted 
Mary Meredith in Our American Cousin, Hero in Much 
Ado, and kindred characters, and showed herself to be 
a lovely actress. From Melbourne he went to Tas- 
mania, where, among what Henry J. Byron called the 
Tasmaniacs, he met with prodigious favour. His per- 
formance of Bob Brierly, on one occasion, at Hobart 
Town, drew an audience that included upward of six 
hundred ticket-of-leave men ; and, though at first they 
viewed him with looks of implacable ferocity, they ended 
by giving him their hearts, in a hurricane of acclamation. 
Leaving Tasmania, he sailed for Callao, and passed a 
little time on the Pacific coast of South America and 
at the Isthmus of Panama. Daniel Symons, remem- 
bered for his piquant acting of Dr. Cains, accompanied 
him from Australia, and was thenceforth for a time the 
companion of his travels. (Mr. Symons 1 died in 1871.) 
At Panama Jefferson took passage for England, and on 
arriving at London he commissioned Boucicault to recast 
and rewrite the old play of Rip Van Winkle, for produc- 
tion in the English capital. 

The story of Rip Van Winkle is suffused with the 
wildness of gypsy life, and it arouses the imagination at 
the same time that it touches the heart. The famili- 

1 For the benefit of Mr. Daniel Symons, on June 29, 1871, at the 
Olympic theatre, New York, Jefferson acted Mr. Golightly and George L. 
Fox acted Gregory Thimblewell, the Tailor of Tamworth, in State Secrets. 


arity and the ascendency with which, in the contempo- 
rary mind, it has been endued, are attributable less to 
Washington Irving's sketch than to the influence of 
the actor, by whom the name of Rip Van Winkle has 
been written on the tablet of human affection, all over 
the world. Irving's sketch, while felicitous both in 
atmosphere and style, is but a faint and dim fore- 
shadowing of Jefferson's vital creation. The regnancy 
of Rip Van Winkle, the fact that the character has 
become a part of actual life, is due to the stage. It 
had existed for centuries : it never really lived until it 
was vitalised by the dramatic art. The legend is Greek. 
The original Rip was a Grecian youth, named Epimeni- 
des, who was sent into the mountains to hunt for a stray 
sheep, and who fell asleep in a cave, at mid-day, and 
slept for fifty-seven years ; so that, when he returned, 
his home and his people were gone, and he was a stran- 
ger among strangers ntil recognised by his younger 
brother, now become an old man. That legend appears 
again in remote German literature. Washington Irving 
gave it a local habitation among the Catskill Mountains, 
and in that way it has been known to the reading 
world since The Sketch-Book was published, in 1819. 
Irving's narrative is brief, and Irving's vagabond is 
"a thirsty soul," who haunts taverns and who is by no 
means the romantic and poetic vagabond of Jefferson. 
The beauty of the sketch is felicity of description. 
The possible element in the legend that inspired Irv- 
ing's fancy was the association of a spectral presence 
with the midnight storm among the mountains. No 
thought, in particular, was expended by him upon the 
character ; and the commendation that has from time 


to time been bestowed upon Jefferson, for his fidelity to 
Irving, in the delineation of Rip Van Winkle, is there- 
fore comical. The hero of the sketch is an amiable 
sot : the Rip embodied by Jefferson is a dream-like, 
drifting, wandering poet of the woods. No two persons 
could be more unlike. Artistic minds everywhere have 
felt the influence of Jefferson's genius, and have been 
stimulated to take especial note of the subject, and to 
view it through a haze of the imagination. The actors, 
however, were first in the field. 

The first recorded play on the subject was produced 
at Albany, on May 26, 1828, and the first Rip was 
Thomas Flynn (1804-1849), the intimate friend of 
Junius Brutus Booth, and the man from whom the late 
Edwin Booth derived his middle name of Thomas (not 
Forrest, as often incorrectly stated). In my former 
account of the Jeffersons, 1881, I indicated Charles B. 
Parsons as probably the first representative of Rip Van 
Winkle upon the stage. That was an error ; he was 
the second ; and I am indebted to the research of that 
careful theatrical scholar, H. P. Phelps, 1 of Albany, for 
the conclusive evidence that Flynn was the first. 

The Albany Argus of May 24, 1828, contained the 
following paragraph : 


" This interesting and favourite actress (late Miss Twibell) takes 
her benefit on Monday evening next, when will be performed for 

1 Mr. Phelps, in addition to his Players of a Century, published in 
1880, being a record of the Albany stage, and a very useful book, has 
begun the publication of The Stage History of Famous Plays, a work of 
obvious value and special interest, of which the first volume, 1890, is 
devoted to Hamlet, and contains numerous contemporary testimonials as 
to various representatives of the character. 


the first time an entirely new melodrama, written by a gentleman 
of this city and called Rip Van Winkle, taken from Washington 
Irving's novel of that name. The piece, we understand, has been 
several days in active preparation, and is pronounced by competent 
judges to be replete with wit and humour, which, added to the 
locality of the piece in a story which is familiar, cannot fail to draw 
a full house." 

"I can find no notice of its production,"- so Mr. 
Phelps writes to me, " but it must have been played, 
for it is announced for the second and last time, May 28, 
1828, in an advertisement in which it is called Rip Van 
Winkle, or the Spirits of the Catskill Mountains. 

The principal parts were cast as follows, and the cast 
was advertised : 

Derrick Von Slous Parsons. 1 

Knickerbocker Phillips. 

Rip Flynn. 

Lowenna Mrs. Flynn. 

Alice Mrs. Forbes. 

A prologue, by "a gentleman of this city," introduced 
the piece, with these propitiatory rhymes : 

" If scenes of yore, endeared by classic tales, 
The comic muse with smiles of rapture hails ; 
If when we view those days of Auld Lang Syne 
Their charms with home, that magic name, combine ; 
May we not hope, kind friends, indulgence here? 
Say, (for I speak to yonder fat mynheer,) 

1 Parsons became a clergyman, and it is mentioned that he preached 
the funeral sermon of Danford Marble, one of the most distinctive of 
American comedians, who died of Asiatic cholera, at Louisville, Ky., 
in 1849. Parsons was born in 1803 and died in 1871. The Phillips 
mentioned in this cast was Moses S. Phillips, of Philadelphia, commonly 
called " Nosey," for the reason that his nose was prodigious. He was 
born in 1798, and died in 1854, at New York. 


Say, shall our burgomasters smile to-night? 
Shall Sleepy Hollow's fairy scenes delight? 
Shall they from woe-worn care 'divert one wrinkle 
To crown our hero, far-fam'd Rip Van Winkle? 
Shall Knickerbocker's sons, that gen'rous race, 
Whose feelings always beam upon their face, 
Excuse the efforts which the muse affords 
And greet each buskin'd hero on these boards ? 
Shades of the Dutch ! How seldom rhyme hath shown 
Your ruddy beauties, and your charms full blown ! 
How long neglected have your merits lain, 
But Irving's genius bids them rise again. 

" To you, Albanians, grateful as we are, 
We offer tremblingly our bill of fare. 
Yours was the soil of Dutchmen. Here they trod, 
When leaving Hudson's waves, fair freedom's sod. 
'Twas here a Stuyvesant and Chrystyon came, 
And kept their honour and their unstained name. 
Oranje Boven be their motto, too, 
And be their sons like them, to freedom true. 
Let, then, our generous friends one smile bestow ! 
Friends perched aloft and you, my friends below, 
Save us, we ask you, from the critic's paw : 
We know your answer ; 'tis a cheering Yaw." 

The second representative of Rip, Charles B. Parsons, 
played it at Cincinnati, in the season of 1828-29. The 
version that Parsons used was bought in New York, 
in the summer of 1828, and carried to the West by the 
theatrical manager, N. M. Ludlow. Still another ver- 
sion was presented, on October 30, 1829, at the Walnut 
Street theatre, Philadelphia, with William Chapman as 
Rip. Mrs. Samuel Chapman (Elizabeth Jefferson), 
Miss Jane Anderson (now, 1894, Mrs. Germon), and 
J. Jefferson, probably John, were in the cast. That 
piece is thought to have been one that was made in 


England by a dramatist named Kerr; but possibly it 
may have been another draft of the same play that 
Ludlow had produced in Cincinnati. James H. Hack- 
ett, afterward so widely celebrated as Falstaff, produced 
Rip Van Winkle at the Park theatre, New York, on 
April 22, 1830, and played the chief part. His version,- 
which he again presented on August 10, 1830, at the 
Bowery theatre, may have been written by himself r he 
was a good writer. On April 15, 1831, however, he 
acted Rip, at the Park, in a version "altered" by him- 
self " from a piece written and produced in London." 
In 1832 he went to England, making his second expe- 
dition to that country, and at that time Bayle Bernard 
made a new draft of the play for him, in which he 
appeared in London ; and upon his return to America, 
he brought out Bernard's version at the New York 
Park on September 4, 1833, and that he continued to 
present for several years. Bernard had made an earlier 
version for Yates, which was acted in 1831-32 at the 
London Adelphi, with Yates, John Reeve, J. B. Buck- 
stone, O. Smith, W. Bennett, and Miss Novello in the 
cast. Flynn, acting at the Richmond Hill theatre, New 
York, played Rip on July 29, 1833, keeping, no doubt, 
the draft that he had originally offered at Albany. 
A version by John H. Hewitt, of Baltimore, was 
performed at the. Front Street theatre in that city, in 
the season of 1833-34, with William Isherwood as Rip. 1 
Charles Burke made a play for himself on the subject, 
and brought it forward at the Arch Street theatre, Phil- 

1 Harry and William Isherwood were the managers of the Front Street 
theatre, Baltimore, in 1833-34. William Isherwood played leading parts, 
and Harry Isherwood painted the scenery. 


adelphia, in 1 849. Burke acted Rip, and Jefferson acted 
the inn-keeper, Seth. Burke's version was subsequently 
amended and improved by him, and on January 7, 1850, 
he acted in it at the New National theatre, New York. 
Burke's play seems to have been based upon the earliest 
versions, used by Flynn and Parsons, but it was largely 
the work of his own hands. The material appears to 
have been viewed as common property. Flynn, Par- 
sons, Chapman, Hackett, Yates, Isherwood, and Burke 
were predecessors of Jefferson as Rip Van Winkle ; 
but when Jefferson arose he treated the part in an 
original manner, lifting it into the realm of poetry, and 
making it substantially a new character. Down to 1866 
the best known and most widely accepted Rip Van 
Winkle was Hackett ; but, in melancholy illustration 
of the mutability of human affairs, the fame of Hackett 
declined as that of Jefferson advanced, till at last there 
came a time when the old actor of Rip laid aside the 
part, and was content to sit among the admiring specta- 
tors of the favourite of a new age. Jefferson's perform- 
-ance is different from Hackett's and a greater work, 
but not less sad was the moral of that spectacle : 

" 'Tis certain, greatness, once fall'n out with fortune, 
Must fall out with men too : What the de'clin'd is 
He shall as soon read in the eyes of others 
As feel in his own fall. . . . 
The present eye praises the present object." 

Thus through a period of more than two generations 
the stage has been illuminating and enforcing the 
romantic aspects of the story of Rip Van Winkle. It 
was the stage that suggested how much that theme con- 
tains. All the salient extremes of a representative 


picture of human experience are found in it : fact and 
fancy ; youth and age ; love and hatred ; loss and gain ; 
mirth and sadness ; humour and pathos ; rosy childhood 
and decrepit senility ; lovers with their troubles which 
will all be smoothed away, and married people with their 
anxieties which will never cease ; life within doors, and 
life among trees and mountains ; the domestic and the 
romantic ; the natural and the preternatural ; and, 
through all, the development and exposition of a humor- 
ous, cheering, romantic, restful human character. Such 
a theme cannot be too much commended to thoughtful 
consideration. It is prolific of lessons for the conduct 
of life. It teaches no direct moral ; but its power is in 
its influence, to lure us away from absorption in the 
busy world, and to make us hear again the music of 
running water and rippling leaves, the wind in the pine- 
trees, the surf upon the beach, and, under all, the distant 
murmur of that great ocean to which our spirits turn 
and into which we must vanish. 

Jefferson, beginning with Burke's method, but soon 
veering into his own, had long acted Rip, though he did 
not become conspicuous in it till the time of his visit to 
England in 1865. The piece that he put^nto the hands 
of Boucicault, for revision, was the old piece made by 
Charles Burke ; and further to stimulate the plan of 
that ingenious dramatist he indicated a plan for revising 
and rewriting it. 1 In particular he suggested that the 

1 " He asked Boucicault to reconstruct it. Many of the suggestions of 
changes came from Jefferson, and one at least from Shakespeare. Bouci- 
cault shaped them in a week, . . . but he had no faith in the success of 
his work, and told Jefferson that it could not possibly keep the stage for 
more than a month. While much of the first and third act was the con- 
ception of Burke, part of each was Jefferson's. . . . The impressive end- 


spectres, in the midnight encounter on the mountain, 
should maintain a cold and awful silence, and that only 
the environed and bewildered man should speak. Bouci- 
cault adopted that idea, and contributing the scheme 
of Gretchen's second marriage, and annexing a diluted 
paraphrase of the recognition of Cordelia, in King Lear, 
he made a new version of the old play, and with that, 
Jefferson sought the favour of the London audience, 
appearing at the Adelphi theatre on September 4, 1865. 
His success was great, and it has ripened into a renown 
as wide as the world. 

1 On the night before his first appearance in London, 
Jefferson, who was nervous and apprehensive, retired to 
his apartment, in a house in Regent street, and, in a 
mood of intense thought and abstraction, proceeded to 
"make up" for the third act of Rip Van Winkle. That 
done, and quite oblivious of his surroundings, he began 
to act the part. Dominie Sampson himself was never 
more absent-minded. The window-curtains happened 
to be raised, and the room was brightly lighted, so that 
the view from without was unobscured. Not many 

ing of the first act is wholly Boucicault's, but the climax of the third 
the recognition is Shakespeare's. ... In Rip Van Winkle the child 
struggles to a recognition of her father, while in Lear the father struggles 
to recognise his child. Compare the two situations, that of Lear and 
Cordelia with that of Meenie and Rip, and the source of Boucicault's 
inspiration will be apparent; and only as Shakespeare is greater than 
Boucicault is the end of the fourth act of Lear greater than the third act 
of Rip. It is the most beautiful of all human passions, the love between 
father and child, which informs them both, and which makes them both 
take hold upon the heartstrings with a grasp of iron. The second act of 
Rip Van Winkle, which is remarkable as being wholly a monologue, is 
entirely Jefferson's conception." L. Clarke Davis, in Lippincotfs Maga- 
zine, July, 1879. 


minutes passed before it began to be utilised, and 
a London crowd is quick to assemble. Inside, the ab- 
sorbed and inadvertent comedian unconcernedly went 
on acting Rip Van Winkle : outside, the curious multi- 
tude, thinking him a comic lunatic, thronged the street 
till it became impassable. The police made their way 
to the spot. The landlady was finally alarmed ; and the 
astonished actor, brought back to the world by a clamour 
at his door, inquiring if he was ill, at length compre- 
hended the situation, and suspended his rehearsal. 

An incident kindred with this, as to comicality, 
attended one of Jefferson's performances of Rip, at 
Charleston, South Carolina. He had reached the first 
scene of the third act, and the venerable Rip, just 
awakened from his long sleep, was slowly and painfully 
raising himself from the earth. The house was hushed, 
in anxious and pitying suspense. At that moment the 
heavy, floundering tread of a drunken man was heard 
in the gallery. He descended in the centre aisle, 
reached the front row, and gazed upon the stage. 
Then, suddenly, was heard his voice, distinctly audible 
throughout the theatre, the voice of interested curi- 
osity, tipsy gravity, and a good-natured thirst for knowl- 
edge : " What in is that old idiot tryin' to do ? " 

The British public took Rip Van Winkle to its 
heart. "In Mr. Jefferson's hands," wrote the liberal 
and kindly John Oxenford, " the character of Rip Van 
Winkle becomes the vehicle for an extremely refined 
psychological exhibition." "Mr. Jefferson achieved a 
triumphant success on the night of his first appearance 
in London " [C. E. Pascoe's Dramatic List, p. 190], 
"and he has now the reputation of being one of the 


most genuine artists who have at any time appeared on 
the English stage." 

Jefferson sailed from Liverpool on July 30, 1866, 
arrived in New York on August 13, and on September 
3 appeared at the Olympic theatre. His performance 
of Rip was received with delight, and the fame of its 
beauty soon ran over the land. During that engagement 
he also acted Asa Trenchard, Caleb Plummer, Mr. Wood- 
cock, and Tobias Shortcut. It was my good fortune to 
witness those performances, and to make this record of 
them, at the time, in the New York Tribune : 

' Our American Cousin was revived (October 15) at the Olympic 
theatre, and it was played before a large audience. It is a favourite 
play with the multitude. Its half sentimental, half melodramatic 
story appeals to sympathy, while its central character the mag- 
nanimous Yankee, whose outside is rough, but whose heart is noble, 
who does justice to an injured woman, and who copiously chaffs 
the British aristocrat is a pleasing personage to many minds. 
The puerility of the incidents and dialogue and the exaggerations 
of character seem to pass unnoticed, or, if noticed, are tolerated for 
the sake of the hero. Mr. Jefferson as Asa Trenchard displayed 
winning humour, delicate sentiment, and delightful precision. The 
charm of his personation is the fine individuality with which he 
invests the character. The quality of manliness was prominently 
indicated, so that Asa's self-sacrifice seemed the natural act of 
a magnanimous man, and not the phenomenal generosity of a 
buffoon. In the scene with Mary Meredith, where the will is burned, 
Mr. Jefferson captivated his hearers by his perfectly natural expres- 
sion of the pure tenderness of homely simplicity. In the comic 
dialogues he was irresistibly humorous. His personation is more 
highly polished than it was of old, but the art is well concealed 
and the effect is admirable. Next to Mr. Jefferson as Asa was 
Charles Peters as Binney, a perfect type of the stolid British ser- 
vant. J. H. Stoddart was Abel Murcott, and he played it with 
strong emotion and good art. Charles Vandenhoff, a new actor, 
made his first appearance as Lord Dundreary, following the old 


model and playing well. Miss Kate Newton enacted Mary Mere- 
dith, and Miss Caroline Carson, Florence. 

'Jefferson's personation of Caleb Plummer (October 17) was 
worthy of his genius. The gentle old man of Dickens's story lives 
again in him, and touches every heart by his sweet self-sacrifice. 
Jefferson's sensibility makes him sympathetic with the character, 
while his admirable art enables him to embody it with thorough 
precision of detail. There is no elaboration in his acting. 
Jefferson's Caleb is deeply touching, and the story of the drama 
is beautiful in its purity, simplicity, and humanising sentiment. 
J. H. Stoddart's Tackleton exhibited close fidelity to the original. 
Charles Vandenhoff made a pleasant impression as John Perry- 
bingle, as also did Miss Carson as Dot. Tilly was Mrs. Saunders, 
who has delightful whimsicality. Blanche Gray as Bertha evinced 
a quick sympathy with the part. May Fielding was personated 
by Miss Telbin ; Dot by Miss Alice Harrison, a charming actress ; 
and Edward Plummer by Charles Barron. 

* Jefferson, at the Olympic (October 22), kept his audience in a 
state of happy laughter for several hours. Woodcock's Little Game 
is a cross between comedy and farce, and is very bright ; and The 
Spitfire is one of the most delicious of farces. Jefferson acted 
admirably. His manner, when issuing the command to " weigh the 
anchor," and then "come and tell me how much it weighs," was 
ludicrous beyond description, an assumption of sapience that no 
gravity could resist, it was at once so earnest and so comical.' 

Washington Irving (1783-1859) did not live to be 
a witness of the success of Jefferson, in the character 
of Rip ; but Irving saw Jefferson upon the stage, 
and remembered his grandfather, and appreciated and 
admired the acting of both. The following mention 
of them occurs in the Journal of the last days of 
Washington Irving, kept by his nephew, Pierre M. 
Irving, and published in 1862 : 

"September 30, 1858. Mr. Irving came in town, to remain 
a few days. In the evening went to Laura Keene's theatre to see 


young Jefferson as Goldfinch, in HolcrofVs comedy of The Road 
to Ruin. Thought Jefferson, the father, one of the best actors 
he had ever seen ; and the son reminded him, in look, gesture, size, 
and make, of the father. Had never seen the father in Goldfinch, 
but was delighted with the son. Life and Letters of Washington 
Irving. Vol. IV., p. 253. 

The grandfather, and not the father, evidently, was 
meant in this reference. Irving had seen old Jefferson, 
in the days of Salmagundi. It is doubtful whether he 
ever saw the father of our comedian. 

At the close of that engagement Jefferson departed, 
on a tour of the West and South ; but in 1867 he was 
again at the Olympic, from September 9 to October 
26, playing only Rip, which drew crowded houses. 
James E. Hayes succeeding Leonard Grover, who 
was the successor of Mrs. John Wood had then 
assumed management of that theatre, with Clifton 
W. Tayleure as his assistant, and with a dramatic 
company comprising William Davidge, William Daly, 
Charles K. Fox, T. J. Hind, Owen Marlowe, Edmund 
Milton (Holland), Horace Wall, Miss Bessie Foote, 
Miss Alice Harrison, Mrs. T. J. Hind, and Miss 
Cornelia Jefferson. Miss Foote, a handsome woman, 
from the London stage, made her first appearance 
on September 9. Jefferson took a benefit on October 
19, and closed on October 26, leaving on the Olympic 
stage A Midsummer Night's Dream (produced on 
October 28), with a fine panorama by W. Telbin, which 
he had brought from London. Cornelia Jefferson 
assumed the character of Titania, giving a performance 
that was remarkable for poetic feeling and delicate sen- 
timent. George L. Fox impersonated Bottom. That 


beautiful play had a hundred consecutive representa- 
tions. During his tour of the country in 1867 Jefferson 
put into rehearsal, at the Varieties theatre, New Orleans, 
then managed by the sparkling light comedian William 
R. Floyd (died November 25, 1880), the comedy of 
Across the Atlantic, by Robertson ; but, feeling dissatis- 
fied with himself in the character of Colonel White, he 
sent back the piece to its author, with a forfeit of $500, 
and Robertson subsequently sold it to Sothern, by whom 
it was produced at the London Haymarket, under the 
title of Home. Lester Wallack afterward presented it 
in New York, and Colonel White was one of the happiest 
impersonations of that polished comedian. The summer 
of 1868 was passed by Jefferson among the mountains 
of Pennsylvania; but on August 31, he began a new 
season, appearing at McVicker's theatre, Chicago. Rip 
ran for four weeks, drawing and pleasing crowds of 
people, and then, on October 3, was succeeded by The 
Rivals, in which the comedian made a marked hit, as 
Acres. In 1869 he bought an estate near Yonkers, on 
the Hudson river, an estate at Hohokus, N.J., in the 
peaceful valley of the Saddle river, and still another, 
a lonely and lovely island, ten miles west of New 
Iberia, in Louisiana, hard by the prairie home of the 
exiled Acadians of Evangeline. On May 4, 1869, he 
began an engagement in Boston, and from August 2 till 
September 18 he was at Booth's theatre, New York 
(opened for the first time on February 3, 1869), still 
acting Rip. Early in 1870 he went into the South, to 
visit his Iberian plantation. He was heard of in New 
Orleans about the middle of February, and towards the 
end of February he was in Mobile, and quite ill. He 


came north in March, acted in Boston toward the end 
of April, and subsequently appeared in Louisville, in 
Philadelphia, and elsewhere, repairing finally to Hoho- 
kus, N.J., where, in 1869, he had established his home. 
On August 15 he again came forward at Booth's 
theatre, making his fourth visit to the capital, with Rip ; 
and he filled an engagement lasting till February 7, 
1871, nearly five months, and steadily prosperous 
from beginning to end. By the middle of December, 
1870, Rip had been seen, at Booth's theatre, by more 
than 150,000 persons. Between Jefferson and Edwin 
Booth whom no man ever knew well except to honour 
and love, and whose great services to the stage were 
equally a blessing to his countrymen and a source of 
pure renown to himself there existed an affectionate 
friendship, and the fact has its peculiar significance, that 
no scrap of writing was ever used between them, in the 
business of those engagements. 

On January 19 and 21, 1871, performances were given 
in New York for the benefit of the widow and children 
of the veteran actor, George Holland (1791-1870), and 
Jefferson, who had delayed his departure from the capi- 
tal for that purpose, participated in them. The farce of 
Lend Me Five Shillings was acted, and Jefferson ap- 
peared as Mr. Golightly. The other parts were presented 
by Blanche de Bar, Frank Chapman, James Dunn, Effie 
Germon, W. J. Leonard, Thomas E. Morris, George 
Parkes, and Mr. Peck. Jefferson was greeted with great 
delight. To note the glad faces of the multitude that 
gazed on him with such lively interest, and followed the 
current of his droll humour with so much sympathy and 
pleasure, was to see that he had won the affection not 


less than the admiration of the public. The spirit of 
his impersonation of Mr. Golightly was perfectly cor- 
rect, and the method was as delicate and as precisely 
adjusted as the mechanism of the finest watch; and over 
all there was the charm of a genial, gentle personality. 

In 1872 the comedian was attacked with glaucoma; 1 
but a skilful operation on his left eye, performed early 
in June, by Dr. Reuling of Baltimore, averted blindness, 
and soon restored his health. He reappeared upon the 
stage, January i, 1873, at Ford's Opera House, Balti- 
more, and was received with an affectionate greeting, in 
which the whole country joined. On July 9, 1873, ac- 
companied by his wife and by William Warren, the 
comedian, his second cousin, he sailed for England, but 
he did not act while abroad. The return voyage began 
on August 1 6, and on September I, Rip was again seen 
at Booth's theatre. On September 3, 1874, at the same 

1 In June, 1872, Jefferson wrote to a friend as follows: 

" My left eye has been overcast by a mist, for some time; the pain became so intense 
that I was alarmed, and called upon Dr. Chisolm, one of the celebrated oculists of 
Baltimore, who told me that I was threatened with the loss of sight in one eye, and 
possibly in both. To-day I had another examination under the ophthalmoscope, by the 
eminent oculist Dr. Reuling, and I regret to say he gives me the same cheerless intelli- 
gence. Nothing can save my sight unless at once I give up my profession and submit to 
an operation, which will not only keep me in bed for two days, but confine me in darkness 
for a longer time. Dr. Reuling, who will at once perform the operation, gives me every 
hope of recovery, by attending to my case in this its early stage, but cannot take the 
responsibility if I expose my eye to the continual glare of the light, or delay in at once 
submitting to an operation. I would have informed you before, but I am only just in 
possession of the serious fact." 

The necessary surgical operation was performed by Dr. Reuling, at 
Jefferson's home, at Hohokus, N.J., on June 13, and in August the 
comedian thus announced his recovery : 

" I have just returned from a visit to Dr. Reuling, at Baltimore. He made a final 
examination of my eye and gives me the pleasing intelligence that all traces of the 
disease have entirely disappeared. I no longer wear glasses, and in fact am as good 
as new. The Doctor says I could act to-night, without the slightest risk." 


house, he began his farewell engagement, and in June, 
1875, he went to England, on a professional expedition. 
He remained abroad two years and a half, his first 
London engagement, at the Princess's, extending from 
November i, 1875, to April 29, 1876, and his second, 
from Easter, 1877, to the ensuing midsummer, when he 
went to the Haymarket for a brief season of farces, 
Lend Me Five Shillings and A Regular Fix, under the 
management of John S. Clarke, after which he re- 
turned to America, and here he has ever since 
remained. 1 

Jefferson arrived home on October 17, 1877, and on 
October 28, at Booth's theatre, under the management 
of Augustin Daly, again accosted his countrymen, as 
Rip. A warm welcome greeted him, and he made 
another successful tour of the United States. Early in 
1878 he paid a second visit to California, and on Decem- 
ber 1 6, 1878, he acted in New York, at the Fifth Avenue 
theatre, then under the direction of Daniel H. Harkins 
and Stephen Fiske. After that he was absent from 
the metropolis till October, 1879, when he appeared at 
the Grand Opera House. On September 13, 1880, he 
effected, at the Arch Street theatre, Philadelphia, a 
careful and brilliant production of The Rivals, and made 
an extraordinary hit as Acres, a part in which he first 
gained distinction in his youth ; and his professional 
exertions have since been divided between Acres and 

1 " Mr. Jefferson's departure," said the London Telegraph, " means the 
loss of one of the most interesting and intellectual forms of amusement. 
. . . His picture is engraven on our memories. . . . There will be no 
lack of smiling faces when London is once more favoured with the pres- 
ence of so genial, accomplished, and sympathetic an artist." 


Rip. Those two characters, together with Asa Trench- 
ard, Caleb Plummer, Dr. Pangloss, Dr. Ollapod, Bob 
Brierly, Mr. Golightly, Tobias Shortcut, Hugh de Brass, 
the First Grave-digger in Hamlet, and Tracy Coach are 
the only parts that Jefferson has acted since 1880. 
The story of his life, indeed, since that time, is mainly 
a record of pleasant professional wanderings with Rip, 
Acres, and Dr. Pangloss. He has acted but a part 
of each season, preferring to live mostly at home and 
devote his attention to the art of painting. All his 
life he had been accustomed to sketch and to paint 
in water-colours, as a diversion ; but some time after 
1880 he began to manifest not only great enthusiasm 
but remarkable talent for oil painting, in the depart- 
ment of landscape. In that art he has found much 
happiness, and his achievements have aroused the 
interest and commanded the respect of many competent 
judges. Several of his works have been exhibited. 
Some of them have been circulated, in etchings. The 
charm of his pictures, like that of his acting, is tender- 
ness of feeling, combined with a touch of mystery, an 
imaginative quality, kindred with the freedom and the 
wildness that are seen in the paintings of Corot. In 
that field Jefferson has accomplished more than perhaps 
his contemporaries are likely to recognise, - for no 
man must succeed in more than one art, if he would 
satisfy the contemporary standard and retain the good- 
will of the present age. 

In 1869 Jefferson began to make a home for himself 
upon a magnificent estate about ten miles west of 
Iberia, and not far from the Gulf of Mexico, in Louis- 
iana. He possesses, indeed, a fine dwelling, upon a 


breezy upland, at Buzzard's Bay, 1 in Massachusetts ; 
but his southern plantation, which is devoted to oranges, 
flowers, sheep, and sport, is his more characteristic 
retreat. It is a place where any man might be happy. 
It is an island in the prairie, but high and variegated, 
containing more .than six hundred acres of land, and 
isolated by a broad, shining, steel-blue lake, and by an 
arm of one of the bayous of that well-watered country, 
the country associated with Longfellow's Evangeline, 
and in which still may be found the race of the exiled 
Acadians. Almost every kind of wood that grows may 
be found growing upon that estate. Some of its trees 
are nearly three hundred years old, and in summer the 
great spreading boughs of those giants are profusely 
draped, in many a green dell, not only with the long, 
funereal moss of the South, but with brilliant and 
odorous tropical flowers. Orange groves are scattered 
over the island ; many kinds of wild fowl live in the 
woods and swamps and on the lake ; and often the blue 
waters are cleft by the rapid canoe of the sportsman. 
In one wild part of that gorgeous solitude an eagle has 
made its nest, on the peak of a stalwart pine-tree. 

1 Jefferson's home at Buzzard's Bay is called " Crow's Nest," and is not 
distant from " Gray Gables," the home of his friend, President Cleveland. 
The comedian built it in 1889, and there collected a number of excellent 
paintings, a fine library, and many interesting memorials and relics. On 
April I, 1893, in consequence of an accident to a gasoline tank, the house 
caught fire and was burnt down. Among the paintings that were con- 
sumed was a portrait of Mrs. Siddons by Sir Joshua Reynolds; a portrait 
of himself by Sir David Wilkie; a portrait of a lady by Sir Thomas Law- 
rence; and pictures by Corot, Daubigny, Troyon, Van Marke, Michel, 
Rousseau, Diaz, A. Maure, Coutourier, and Montecelli. An old, attached, 
and much-esteemed servant, Miss Helen McGrath, perished in the flames. 
"Crow's Nest" has been rebuilt, 1894. 


Jefferson's dwelling, a mansion embowered by large 
trees, stands upon an eminence, looking southward, and 
commands an unbroken prospect of miles of lonely 
prairie, over which the dark buzzards slowly sail and 
the small birds flit merrily about, and on Which herds 
of roving cattle, seen in the distance as black and 
formless shapes, roam lazily around, making a changeful 
picture of commingled motion and peace. There, with 
his wife and children, his books, his pictures, the art of 
painting for an occupation, and the memories of a good 
and honoured life for a solace, the veteran may reap 
"the harvest of a quiet mind," and calmly look onward 
to the sunset of life. 

Jefferson has been twice married. His ftrst wife, to 
whom he was wedded on May 19, 1850, in New York, 
was Margaret Clements Lockyer, a native of Burnham, 
Somersetshire, England, born September 6, 1832, and 
brought to America, by her parents, while yet a child. 
Miss Lockyer went on the stage when about sixteen 
years old, and early in her career was connected with 
the Museum at Troy, N.Y. Ireland mentions that she 
appeared at the Bowery theatre, New York, on Novem- 
ber 6, 1847, on the occasion of a benefit of Thomas H. 
Blakeley. " Chanfrau and Mrs. Timm, from the Olym- 
pic, enacted Jeremiah Clip and Jane Chatterly, in The 
Widow's Victim, and a pas de deux was executed by the 
Misses Barber and Lockyer. The latter was young and 
talented." She is mentioned, on another occasion, as 
having acted Norah, in The Poor Soldier}- After her 

1 The Poor Soldier. Comic opera, by John O'Keefe. 1798. Altered 
and improved, by the author, from his earlier farce (1783) of The Sham- 
rock. Wood says it was a favourite with George Washington. 

At Orange Island, La. 


marriage she did not continuously pursue the dramatic 
profession, nor did she at any time acquire exceptional 
distinction as an actress. Her death occurred on Feb- 
ruary 1 8, 1 86 1, in Twelfth street, New York, and she 
was buried at Cypress Hills, Long Island. 

The children of Jefferson's first marriage are : 

1. CHARLES BURKE JEFFERSON. Born at Macon, Ga., March 
20,1851. He adopted the stage, and made his first regular pro- 
fessional appearance, November 26, 1869, at McVicker's theatre, 
Chicago. The occasion was that of his father's benefit, and Charles, 
a handsome youth of eighteen, acted Dickory, in 77ie Spectre Bride- 
grpom. He has acted other parts, but has not steadily pursued the 

2. MARGARET JANE JEFFERSON. Born at New York, July 4, 
1853. She never was on the stage. She is the wife of Benjamin 
L. Farjeon, the distinguished English novelist, to whom she was 
married, in London, in June, 1877. 

3. FRANCES FLORENCE JEFFERSON. Born at Baltimore, Md., 
July 9, 1855 ; died there, December 12, 1855. 

4. JOSEPH JEFFERSON, JR. Born at Richmond, Va., in Sep- 
tember, 1856; died there, in 1857. 

5. THOMAS JEFFERSON. Born in New York, in 1857. In boy- 
hood he attended school in London, and afterward, in Paris. 
Having adopted the stage, he made his first regular professional ap- 
pearance, at Edinburgh, in the character of Coccles, in Rip Van 
Winkle, in 1877, acting in his father's theatrical company. He was 
engaged at Wallack's theatre, New York, for the part of Anatole, in 
A Scrap of Paper, appearing on January 5, 1880, and he again 
played the same part there, March 28, 1881. When his father re- 
vived The Rivals, September 13, 1880, at the Arch Street theatre, 
Philadelphia, he was cast for Fag, and in that mercurial type of 
bland mendacity and good-natured assurance he made a pleasing 
impression. On August 21, 1879, at Hohokus, N.J., Thomas 
Jefferson was married to Miss Eugenia Paul. 

6. JOSEPHINE DUFF JEFFERSON. Born at New York, November 
10, 1859. She never was on the stage. 



The second marriage of Jefferson occurred on Decem- 
ber 20, 1867, at Chicago, when he was wedded to Miss 
Sarah Isabel Warren, a daughter of his father's cousin, 
Henry Warren (died 1894), brother of William Warren, 
the once famous comedian. The children of his second 
marriage are : 

1. JOSEPH WARREN JEFFERSON. Born at New York, July 6, 
1869. Married, June 13, 1891, to Blanche Beatrice Bender. Has 
adopted the stage and is a member of his father's company (1894). 

2. HENRY JEFFERSON. Born at Chicago, 111. Died, at London, 
England, November 5, 1875. Buried at Cypress Hills, Long Island, 

3. WILLIAM WINTER JEFFERSON. Born in Bedford House, 
Tavistock Square, London, April 29, 1876, and christened, on June 
27, the same year, in the Church of the Holy Trinity, the Shake- 
speare church, at Stratford-on-Avon. Is on the stage. 

4. FRANK JEFFERSON. Born at New York, September 12, 

The fourth Jefferson, resembling his grandfather in 
this as in some other particulars, has shown remarkable 
versatility in the dramatic art, not only by the wealth 
of contrasted attributes lavished by him upon Rip Van 
Winkle, which he has made an epitome of human nature 
and representative experience, but by the number and 
variety of the parts that he has acted. More than a 
hundred of them are recorded here, and in many of 
them his acting has been so fine that he would have 
been recognised as a rare and admirable comedian, 
even though he had not acted Rip at all. It is either 
ignorance or injustice, accordingly, that with the 
intention of disparagement designates him as " a 
one-part actor." Yet certainly he has gained his place 
mainly by acting one part, and that fact has been 


noticed by various observers; in various moods. " I am 
glad to see you making your fortune, Jefferson," said 
Charles Mathews, "but I don't like to see you doing 
it with one part and a carpet bag." Mathews was 
obliged to play many parts, and therefore to travel 
with many boxes of wardrobe ; whereas the blue shirt, 
the old, rusty leather jacket, the red-brown breeches, 
the stained leggings, the old shoes, the torn red and 
white silk handkerchief, the tattered old hat, the guns 
and bottle, and the two wigs for Rip can be carried 
in a single box. The comment of Mathews, however, 
was meant to glance at the " one-part " policy, and 
Jefferson's reply to that ebullition was alike significant 
and good-humoured. " It is perhaps better," he said, 
" to play one part in different ways than to play many 
parts all in one way." That sentence explains his 
artistic victory. A few of Jefferson's characters are 
designated here : 




Acres, in The Rivals. 
Andrew, the Savoyard, in Isabel. 

Asa Trenchard, in Our American Cousin. Domestic drama. 
By Tom Taylor. Laura Keene's theatre, New York, 1858. 


Beppo, in Fra Diavolo. Burlesque. By H. J. Byron. 

Box, and also Cox, in Box and Cox. Farce. By J. M. Morton. 
London, Haymarket, 1847. Jefferson was the original Cox, in 
America, and Burton the original Box at the Arch Street theatre, 
Philadelphia, in 1848. 


Bob Trickett, in An Alarming Sacrifice. Jefferson's first wife 
played Susan Sweetapple. 

Bob Brierly, in The Ticket-of- Leave Man. Drama. By Tom 
Taylor. 1863. 

Bob, in Old Heads and Young Hearts. Comedy. By Dion 

Bobtail, in Bobtail and Wagtail. 


C. T. Item, and also The Tycoon, in The Tycoon, or Young 
America in Japan. Burlesque. By William Brough. Adapted 
by Fitz-James O'Brien and Joseph Jefferson. Olympic, New York, 

Caleb Plummer, in Dot, or The Cricket on the Hearth. Drama. 
By Dion Boucicault. Based on Christmas story by Charles Dickens. 

Crabtree, Moses, and Trip, in The School for Scandal. 

Caleb Quotem, and also John Lump, in The Review, or The 
Wags of Windsor. Farce. By George Colman, Jr. Haymarket. 
Authorised edition, 1808. Fawcett was the original Caleb Quotem. 
Junius Brutus Booth sometimes acted John Lump, and Jefferson 
acted with him as Caleb. 


Dr. Botherby, in An Unequal Match. Comedy. By Tom 

Dard, in White Lies. Drama. By Cyril Turner. Based on 
novel, of French origin, by Charles Reade. 

Dick, in Paddy the Piper. Drama. By James Pilgrim. New 
National theatre, New York, October 6, 1850. 

Dr. Smugface, in A Budget of Blunders. Farce. By Prince 
Hoare. Covent Garden, 1810. 

Dr. Pangloss, in The Heir at Law. 

Dan, in John Bull. Comedy. By George Colman, Jr. Covent 
Garden, 1805. 

Donaldbain, Malcolm, and each of the Three Witches, in Mac- 

Dickory, in The Spectre Bridegroom. 

Dr. Ollapod, and also Stephen Harrowby, in The Poor Gentleman. 

Dogberry, and also Verges, in Much Ado About Nothing. 



Figaro, in The Barber of Seville. 
Fixture, in A Roland for an Oliver. 

Fainwould, in Raising the Wind. Farce. By James Kenney. 
Covent Garden, 1803. 

Francis, in Shakespeare's Henry the Fourth. 


Gloss, in Doublefaced People. Comedy. By H. Courtney. 
Granby Gag, in Jenny Lind. 

Goldfinch, in The Road to Ruin. Comedy. By Thomas Hoi- 
croft. Covent Garden, 1792. 

Hans Morritz, in Somebody Else. 

Hugh Chalcote, in Ours. Comedy. By Thomas W. Robertson. 

Isaac, in Lucille. 


Joe Wadd, in The Hope of the Family. 

James, in Blue Devils. 

John Quill, in Beauty and the Beast. 

Joshua Butterby, in Victims. Comedy. By Tom Taylor. 

Jaques Strop, in Robert Macaire. 

Joe Meggs, in The Parish Clerk. Drama. By Dion Boucicault. 
Acted at Manchester, England. Contains one excellent scene. 
Has not been acted in America. 


Kaserac, in Aladdin. , 


La Fleur, in Animal Magnetism. Farce. By Elizabeth Inch- 
bald. Covent Garden, 1788. 

Lord Mayor, Catesby, Oxford, the Prince of Wales, and the Duke 
of York, in Cibber's version of Shakespeare's Richard the Third. 



Mr. Woodcock, in Woodcock's Little Game. 

Mr. Gilman, in The Happiest Day of My Life. 

Mr. Timid, in The Dead Shot. 

Mazeppa, in the burlesque of Mazeppa. By H. J. Byron. 

Mr. Fluffy, in Mother and Child. 

Mr. Brown, in the farce of My Neighbours Wife. 

Mr. Lullaby, in A Conjugal Lesson. 

Mr. Golightly, in Lend Me Five Shillings. 


Newman Noggs, in Nicholas Nickleby. Drama. By Dion Bou- 
cicault. Based on the novel by Dickens. 
Niken, in The Carpenter of Rouen. 


Old Phil Stapleton, in Old Phil's Birthday. 

Oliver Dobbs, in Agnes de Vere. 

Oswald, in King Lear. 

Osric, and also the Two Clowns, or Grave-diggers, in Hamlet. 


Pierre Rough, in The Husband of an Hour. Drama. By 
Edmund Falconer. 

Pierrot, in Linda, The Pearl of Chamoitni. 

Prop, in No Song no Supper. 

Pan, in Midas. Burlesque. By Kane O'Hara. Covent Garden, 

Pillicoddy, in Poor Pillicoddy. Farce. By J. M. Morton. 

Peter, and also Paris, in Romeo and Juliet. 

Peter, in The Stranger. 


Robin, in The Waterman, or The First of August. Ballad opera. 
By Charles Dibdin. Haymarket, 1774. 

Roderigo, in Othello. 

Rip Van Winkle, in the romantic and domestic drama of that 
name. Old version by Charles Burke. 1849. New one by Dion 
Boucicault. Adelphi, London, 1865. 



Septimus, in My Son Diana. 

Salem Scudder, in The Octoroon. Drama. By Dion Boucicault. 
Based on novel by Captain Mayne Reid. Winter Garden, New 
York, 1859. 

Slasher, in Slasher and Crasher. Farce. By J. M. Morton. 

Sheepface, in The Village Lawyer. Farce. 1795. 

Simon, in 7 he Rendezvous. 

Sir Brian, in Ivanhoe. Burlesque. By the Brough Brothers. 

Sampson Rawbold, in The Iron Chest. Tragedy. By George 
Colman, Jr. Drury Lane, 1796. Music by Storace. Kemble was 
the original Sir Edward Mortimer. The piece was based on Wil- 
liam Godwin's novel of Caleb Williams, and may be contrasted with 
that tale, for an illustration of the difference between narrative and 
dramatic writing. 

Slender, in The Merry Wives of Windsor. 

The Steward, in The Child of the Regiment. 

Tracy Coach, in Baby. 

Toby Twinkle, in All that Glitters is not Gold. 

The Infant Furibond, in The Invisible Prince. 

The Sentinel, in Pizarro. 

Tony Lumpkin, in She Stoops to Conquer. Comedy. By Oliver 
Goldsmith. Covent Garden, 1773. 

Tobias Shortcut, in The Spitfire. Farce. By J. M. Morton. 
Covent Garden, 1838. 

Touchstone, in As You Like It. 


Wyndham, in The Handsome Husband. 
Whiskerandos, in The Critic. 


Yonkers, in Chamooni the Third. Burlesque. By Dion Bouci- 
cault. Winter Garden, New York, 1859. 

In Joseph Jefferson, fourth of the line, famous as 
Rip Van Winkle, and destined to be long remembered 


by that name in dramatic history there is an obvious 
union of the salient qualities of his ancestors. The 
rustic luxuriance, manly vigour, and careless and adven- 
turous disposition of the first Jefferson, the refined 
intellect, delicate sensibility, dry humour, and gentle 
tenderness of the second, and the amiable, philosophic, 
and drifting temperament of the third reappear in this 
descendant. But more than either of his ancestors, 
and more than most of his contemporaries, the pres- 
ent Jefferson is an originator in the art of acting. 
The comedians of the Burbage and Betterton periods 
were rich in humour, and a few of them possessed 
superb artistic faculty in its display ; but the inquirer 
will -read many volumes of theatrical history, and 
traverse a wide field of time, before he will come 
upon a great representative of human nature in the 
realm that is signified by Touchstone, or Jaques, or 
the Fool, in King Lear. Wilks, certainly, must have 
been a great comedian. He had serious power, too, 
and tenderness, and his artistic method was studiously 
thorough ; but it was in gay parts that he was best, 
in Sir Harry Wildair and the wooing scene of Henry 
the Fifth. The comedians of the Garrick period, 
aside from its illustrious chieftain, made but little ad- 
vance upon those of the Restoration. The parts that 
were simply humorous continued to be the parts 
that were acted best. Even Garrick mostly kept his 
pathos for his tragedy : it was the glittering splendour 
of vitality that dazzled, in his Don Felix, and it was the 
various and wonderful comic eccentricity that delighted, 
in his Abel Drugger. The growth of comedy-acting, 
nevertheless, took the direction of the heart. King, the 


first Sir Peter Teazle, had, at least a ray of pathetic 
warmth. Holcroft and the younger Colman, breaking 
away from the influence of Congreve and Wycherley, 
set the example of writing in a vein that elicited the 
humanity no less than the humour of the comedians. 
The influence of tragic genius, like that of Barry, 
Henderson, Mrs. Crawford, and Mrs. Siddons, lent its 
aid to foster the development of its sister art. Munden, 
Dowton, and kindred spirits came upon the scene; and 
it was soon proved, and felt, and recognised that humour 
is all the more humour when it makes the tear of pity 
glisten through the smile of pleasure. From that day 
to this the stage in England and America has presented 
an unbroken line of comedians, who possessed of 
diversified humour, ranging from that of Rabelais to that 
of Sterne have also possessed the generous warmth of 
Steele, the quaint kindliness of Lamb, the pitying gentle- 
ness of Hood, and the sad-eyed charity of Thackeray. 
From that day the art of comedy-acting has been allied to 
a purpose that aimed higher than to make the world laugh. 
In the second Jefferson that growth attained to a 
splendid maturity, and pathos and humour were per- 
fectly blended. It remained that a rare form of genius 
should irradiate mirth and tenderness with the light of 
poetic imagination. The fulfilment came with Jeffer- 
son in Rip Van Winkle. Most other comedians suggest 
their prototypes in the past. Burton, Bass, Florence, 
Owens, and Setchell are names that point to a fine lin- 
eage, calling up the shades of Wright, Reeve, Suett, 
Liston, Nokes, Kempe, and Lowin. The elder and 
the younger Warren, Hackett, Davidge, Parselle, and 
Le Moyne were descendants of Quin. The honoured 


name of John Gilbert was long since written with those 
of Webster, Farren, and Munden ; and to that family 
belonged the courtly Placide, the polished and com- 
manding Sedley, the versatile and gentle Charles Fisher, 
and the hearty, robust, and human Mark Smith. 
Sothern, that prince of elegant caricature and soul of 
whimsical fun, was of the line of Foote, Tate Wilkin- 
son, Finn, and Mathews; while in many attributes John 
T. Raymond and George Fawcett Rowe were of the 
same lineage. James Lewis suggests the spontaneity 
of Weston, the versatile humour of Estcourt, and the 
finish of Blissett. Lester Wallack, the most picturesque 
figure of a famous race, was in the brilliant comedy 
group of Mountfort, Elliston, Lewis, and Charles Kem- 
ble ; while John S. Clarke is the heir, in comic eccen- 
tricity, of Woodward and John Emery. But Joseph 
Jefferson is unlike them all, as distinct as Charles 
Lamb among essayists, or George Darley among lyrical 
poets. No actor of the past prefigured him, unless, 
perhaps, it was John Bannister, and no name, in the 
teeming annals of modern art, has shone with a more 
tranquil lustre, or can be more confidently committed 
to the esteem of posterity. 



EVERY reader of Washington Irving knows the story 
of Rip Van Winkle's adventure on the Catskill Moun- 
tains, that delightful, romantic idyl, in which char- 
acter, humour, and fancy are so delicately blended. 
Under the spell of Jefferson's acting the spectator 
was transported into the past, and made to see, as 
with bodily eyes, the orderly Dutch civilisation as it 
crept up the borders of the Hudson : the quaint vil- 
lages ; the stout Hollanders, with their pipes and 
schnapps ; the loves and troubles of an elder genera- 
tion. It is a calmer life than ours ; yet the same ele- 
ments compose it. Here is a mean and cruel schemer 
making a heedless man his victim, and thriving on 
the weakness that he well knows how to betray. Here 
is parental love, tried, as it often is, by sad cares ; and 
here the love of young and hopeful hearts, blooming 
amid flowers, sunshine, music, and happiness. Rip 
Van Winkle never seemed so lovable as in the form of 
this great actor, standing in poetic relief against the 
background of actual life. Jefferson has made him 
our familiar friend. We see that Rip is a dreamer, 
fond of his bottle and his ease, but beneath all his 
rags and tatters, of character as well as raiment essen- 



tially good. We understand why the children love him, 
why the dogs run after him with joy, and why the jolly 
boys at the tavern welcome his song and story and 
genial companionship. He has wasted his fortune and 
impoverished his wife and child, and we know that he is 
much to blame. ' He knows it too ; and his talk with 
the children shows how keenly he feels the consequence 
of a weakness which yet he is unable to discard. It is 
in those minute touches that Jefferson denoted his sym- 
pathetic study of human nature ; his intuitive percep- 
tion, looking quite through the hearts and thoughts of 
men. The observer saw this in the struggle of Rip's 
long-submerged but only dormant spirit of manliness, 
when his wife turns him from their home, in night and 
storm and abandoned degradation. Still more vividly 
was it shown in his pathetic bewilderment, his touch- 
ing embodiment of the anguish of lonely age bowed 
down by sorrow and doubt, when he comes back from 
his sleep of twenty years. His disclosure of himself to 
his daughter marked the climax of pathos, and every 
heart was melted by those imploring looks of mute sus- 
pense, those broken accents of love that almost fears an 
utterance. Perhaps the perfection of Jefferson's acting 
was seen in the weird interview with the ghosts. That 
situation is one of the best ever devised for the stage; 
and the actor devised it. Midnight, on the highest peak 
of the Catskill, dimly lighted by the moon. No one 
speaks but Rip. The ghosts cluster around him. The 
grim shade of Hudson proffers a cup of drink to the 
mortal intruder, already dazed by supernatural surround- 
ings. Rip, almost shuddering in the awful silence, 
pledges the ghosts in their liquor. Then, suddenly the 


spell is broken ; the moon is lost in struggling clouds ; 
the spectres glide away and slowly vanish ; and Rip Van 
Winkle, with the drowsy, piteous murmur, " Don't leave 
me, boys," falls into his mystic sleep. 
_ The idle, dram-drinking Dutch spendthrift so per- 
fectly reproduced, yet so exalted by ideal treatment 
is not an heroic figure, and cannot be said to possess an 
exemplary significance, either in himself or his experi- 
ence. Yet his temperament has the fine fibre that 
everybody loves, arid everybody, accordingly, has a 
good feeling for him, although nobody may have a 
good word for his way of life. All observers know 
that order of man. He is generally poor. He never 
did a bad action in all his life. He is continually 
cheering the weak and lowly. He always wears a 
smile, the reflex of a gentle heart. Ambition does 
not trouble him. His wants are few. He has no 
care, except when, now and then, he feels that he may 
have wasted time and talent, or when the sorrow 
of others falls darkly on his heart. This, however, is 
rare ; for at most times he is " bright as light and clear 
as wind." Nature has established with him a kind of 
kindred that she allows with only a chosen few. In 
him Shakespeare's rosy ideal is suggested : 

" Suppose the singing birds musicians ; 
The grass whereon thou tread'st, the presence strew'd ; 
The flowers fair ladies ; and thy steps, no more 
Than a delightful measure, or a dance." 

Nobody would dream of setting up Jefferson's Rip 
as a model, but everybody is glad that he exists. Most 
persons are so full of care and trouble, so weighed 
down with the sense of duty, so anxious to regulate the 


world, that contact with a nature which is careless of 
the stress and din of toil, dwells in an atmosphere of 
sunshine idleness, and is the embodiment of careless 
mirth, brings a positive relief. This is the feeling that 
Jefferson's acting inspired. The halo of genius was all 
around it. Sincerity, humour, pathos, imagination, the 
glamour of wild flowers and woodland brooks, slumber- 
ous, slow-drifting summer-clouds, and soft music heard 
upon the waters, in star-lit nights of June, those are 
the springs of the actor's art. There are a hundred 
beauties of method in it which satisfy the judgment and 
fascinate the sense of symmetry ; but underlying those 
beauties there is a magical sweetness of temperament, 
a delicate blending of emotion, gentleness, quaintness, 
and dream-like repose, which awakens the most affec- 
tionate sympathy. Art could not supply that subtle, 
potent charm. It is the divine fire. 

In his embodiment of Rip Van Winkle Jefferson 
delineates an individual character, through successive 
stages of growth, till the story of a life is completely 
told. If the student of acting would appreciate the fine- 
ness and force of the dramatic art that is displayed in 
the work, let him consider the complexity and depth of 
the effect, as contrasted with the simplicity of the means 
that are used to produce it. The sense of beauty is 
satisfied, because the object that it apprehends is beau- 
tiful. The heart is deeply and surely touched, for the 
simple and sufficient reason that the character and expe- 
rience revealed to it are lovely and pathetic. For Rip 
Van Winkle's goodness exists as an oak exists, and is 
not dependent on principle, precept, or purpose. How- 
ever he may drift, he cannot drift away from human 


affection. Weakness was never punished with more 
sorrowful misfortune than his. ^Dear to us for what he 
is, he becomes dearer still for what he suffers, and, in 
the acting of Jefferson, for the manner in which he suf- 
fers it. That manner, arising out of complete identifi- 
cation with the part, informed by intuitive and liberal 
knowledge of human nature, and guided by an unerring 
instinct of taste, is unfettered, graceful, free from ef- 
fort ; and it shows with delicate precision the gradual, 
natural changes of the character, as wrought by the 
pressure of experience. Its result is the winning em- 
bodiment of a rare type of human nature and mystical 
experience, embellished by the hues of romance and 
exalted by the atmosphere of poetry ; and no person of 
imagination and sensibility can see it without being 
charmed by its humour, thrilled by its spiritual beauty, 
and, beneath the spell of its humanity, made deeply 
conscious that life is worthless, however its ambition 
may be rewarded, unless it is hallowed by love. 

There will be, as there have been, many performers 
of Rip Van Winkle; there is but one Jefferson. For 
him it was reserved to idealise the subject; to elevate 
a prosaic type of good-natured indolence into an emblem 
of poetical freedom ; to construct and translate, in the 
world of fact, the Arcadian vagabond of the world of 
dreams. In the presence of his fascinating embodiment 
of that droll, gentle, drifting human creature, to whom 
trees and brooks and flowers are familiar companions, 
to whom spirits appear, and for whom the mysterious 
voices of the lonely midnight forest have a meaning 
and a charm, the observer feels that poetry is no 
longer restricted to canvas and marble, but walks forth 


crystallised in a human form, spangled with the diamond 
light of morning, mysterious with spiritual intimations, 
lovely with rustic freedom, and fragrant with the in- 
cense of the woods. 

v Jefferson's acting is an education as well as a delight. 
It especially teaches the imperative importance, in dra- 
matic art, of a thorough and perfect plan, which yet, 
by freshness of spirit and spontaneity of execution, 
shall be made to seem free and careless. Jefferson's 
embodiment of Rip has been prominently before the 
public for thirty years, yet it is not hackneyed, and it 
does not grow tiresome. The secret of its vitality is its 
poetry. A thriftless, commonplace sot, as drawn by 
Washington Irving, becomes a poetic vagabond, as 
transfigured and embodied by the actor ; and the dig- 
nity of his artistic work is augmented rather than 
diminished from the fact that he plays in a drama 
throughout which the expedient of inebriety, as a 
motive of action, is exaggerated. Boucicault, working 
under explicit information as to Jefferson's views and 
wishes with reference to the part, certainly improved 
the old piece ; but, as certainly, the scheme to show 
the sunny sweetness and indolent temperament of Rip 
is clumsily planned, while the text is devoid of literary 
excellence and intellectual character, attributes which, 
though not dramatic, are desirable. The actor is im- 
mensely superior to the play, and may indeed be said 
to make it. The obvious goodness of his heart, the 
deep sincerity of his moral purpose, the potential force 
of his sense of beauty, the supremacy in him of what 
Voltaire was the first to call the "faculty of taste," the 
incessant charm of his temperament, those are the 


means, ruled and guided by clear vision and strong will, 
and made to animate an artistic figure possessing both 
symmetry and luxuriant wildness, that make the great- 
ness of Jefferson's embodiment of Rip. He has created 
a character that everybody will continue to love, not- 
withstanding weakness of nature and indolent conduct. 
Jefferson never had the purpose to extol improvidence 
or extenuate the wrong and misery of inebriety. The 
opportunity that he discerned and has brilliantly im- 
proved was that of showing a lovely nature, set free 
from the shackles of conventionality and circumscribed 
with picturesque, romantic surroundings, during a mo- 
mentous experience of spiritual life, and of the muta- 
bility of the world. The obvious defects in the structure 
are an undue emphasis upon the bottle, as poor Rip's 
failing, and an undue exaggeration of the virago quality 
in Gretchen. It would be easy, taking the prosy tone 
of the temperance lecturer, to look at Jefferson's design 
as a matter of fact and not of poetry, and, by dwelling 
on the impediments of his subject rather than the spirit 
of his art and the beauty of his execution, to set his 
beautiful and elevating achievement in a degraded and 
degrading light. But, fortunately, the heart has its 
logic as well as the head, and all observers are not with- 
out imagination. The heart and imagination of our 
age know what Jefferson means in Rip, and have ac- 
cepted him, therefore, into the sanctuary of affection. 

The world does not love Rip Van Winkle because of 
his faults, but in spite of them. Underneath his defects 
the human nature is sound and bright ; and it is out 
of this interior beauty that the charm of Jefferson's 
personation arises. The conduct of Rip Van Winkle is 


the result of his character, not of his drams. At the 
sacrifice of comicality, here and there, the element of 
inebriety might be left out of his experience and he 
would still act in the same way, and possess the same 
fascination. The drink is only an expedient, to involve 
the hero in domestic strife and open the way for his 
ghostly adventure and his pathetic resuscitation. The 
machinery is clumsy ; but that does not invalidate either 
the beauty of the character or the supernatural thrill 
and mortal anguish of the experience. Those elements 
make the soul of this great work, which, while it capti- 
vates the heart, also enthralls the imagination, lifting 
us above the storms of life, its sorrows, its losses, and 
its fret, till we rest at last on Nature's bosom, children 
once more, and once more happy. 




IN 1880 Jefferson complied with a desire, which had 
been generally felt and frequently expressed, that he 
should appear in some other part than Rip Van Winkle. 
He had not tired of that character any more than the 
public had tired of it ; but he felt the mental need of a 
change, and he recognised the claim of a new genera- 
tion of playgoers upon that versatility of art and those 
resources of faculty and humour which had given en- 
joyment to theatrical audiences of an earlier time, and 
laid the basis of his professional renown. He was not 
unwilling to correct a mistaken impression, current to 
some extent, that he was only a one-part actor. In 
former days, before he adopted Rip Van Winkle, Jeffer- 
son acted many parts ; and early in his career he was 
recognised, by the dramatic profession and by the more 
discerning part of the public, as an actor of much versa- 
tility. His personations of Asa Trenchard, Caleb Plum- 
mer, Dr. Pangloss, Dr. Ollapod, Salem Scudder, Mr. 
Golightly, Mr. Lullaby, Newman Noggs, Goldfinch, Bob 
Brierly, the burlesque Mazeppa, Dickory, and Tobias 
Shortcut delighted old playgoers, and by them were 
remembered only to be admired and extolled. But 
after his return from England, in 1866, he seldom 


acted anything but Rip Van Winkle, so that the public 
conception of him as a general actor had grown dim, or 
altogether faded. In reviving TJie Rivals, and appear- 
ing as Acres, he afforded refreshment to his mind ; he 
lessened the possibility of making Rip Van Winkle 
tedious ; he satisfied a craving for novelty on the part 
of his admirers ; he revived a just sense of the breadth 
of his scope as a comedian ; and, keeping pace with 
modern taste, he gave his public a new pleasure, a new 
picture in dramatic art, and a new subject for study and 

The professional career of Jefferson has been marked, 
all along its course, by wisdom. He came to the capi- 
tal at the right time, and in the right way. He early 
applied to the old comedies the right, because the pure 
and poetic, method of treatment. He could look far 
ahead for the results of his labour and devotion, and 
he made fidelity to the highest ideal of art the first 
object of his life. He understood perfectly well the 
nature of the structure that he was rearing, and he 
never trusted anything to chance. It was he who 
caused the production of Our American Cousin, at 
Laura Keene's theatre, in New York, October 18, 1858, 
and so made one of the best dramatic successes of 
which there is a record. He had the foresight to select, 
while yet a young man, the character in which his 
powers were destined to find their amplest expression, 
the character of Rip Van Winkle; and for that he 
conceived an ideal and devised a treatment so original, 
poetic, and lovely, so unlike and so superior to the 
man in Washington Irving's sketch and to the em- 
bodiment of previous actors, that he may be said to 


have created the part. He left America and visited 
Australia at a favourable period for such an expedition, 
and with a practical view to subsequent success upon 
the London stage. He sagaciously resorted to Dion 
Boucicault, in London, when he deemed it essential 
that a new play should be built upon the basis of the 
old one, and he furnished to that practical dramatist a 
general outline of the piece, the drift of the central 
character, and the great situation in the second act of 
Rip Van Winkle as it now stands, a dramatic idea 
which of itself would suffice to prove him a man of 
genius. He returned home opportunely, after his ex- 
traordinary success in Great Britain ; and the fame 
and fortune he has since acquired, the affection with 
which his renown is cherished, and the joyous admira- 
tion with which his name is spoken throughout Amer- 
ica amply indicate that his conduct of the artist-life, 
since then, has been no less prudent and right than 
kindly, modest, gentle, and sincere. It is not caprice 
which shapes such a career as that of Jefferson, nor 
is it accident that has crowned it with the laurels of 

The sagacity of the comedian was shown in the choice 
he made of a piece and a character to contrast with Rip 
Van Winkle. Of all the old comedies, The Rivals is 
obviously the best that this actor could have selected, 
with a view of making his particular part in the per- 
formance the apex of the entertainment. The piece 
is one that has not become antiquated. Its picture of 
life and manners is as modern and as vital as it is clear, 
richly coloured, humorous, and brilliant. The spirit of 
it, moreover, is human, kindly, and pure. There is no 


taint of indelicacy in the plot, no blur of licentious- 
ness, such as smirches the mirror of its great companion- 
piece, The School for Scandal, and in the style there 
is but little of that elaborate, brittle wit which some- 
times seems to impart to Sheridan's writings a tire- 
some glitter of artifice. The play 'is genial, sprightly, 
and droll ; it has interest of story, alert movement, and 
substantial and well-contrasted characters ; and its 
theme, incidents, and atmosphere are suited to Jeffer- 
son's simple artistic method. He obtained in his choice 
of it a means of expression by which he could seize 
and hold the sympathy of the spectator, all the while 
that he was scattering over him the flowers of 
mirth, and waking in his heart the echoes of happy 
laughter. It would be hard to find another comedy 
equally sparkling with life, delightful in colour, and 
merry and gentle in influence, in which a single, and 
that a comic, character, one of a group, yet drawn 
and kept in harmony with its surroundings, could 
thus be made tributary to the idiosyncrasies of an actor, 
and thus elevated into shining prominence, without 
injury to its form or to the symmetry of the play. 
After seeing The Rivals, as Jefferson presented it, the 
spectator felt a great kindness for the old piece, and 
had the conviction that, in Jefferson's performance of 
Acres, he had seen a slight character made fascinating 
by drollery of spirit, sincerity of feeling, and grace of 
expression. 1 

1 The several parts were dressed in a correct and sumptuous manner, 
though with some intentional inaccuracy as to powdered hair. The repre- 
sentation was marked by clearness of outline, brilliancy of colour, and 
harmony of effect. The characters in The Rivals, when Jefferson first 


When The Rivals was first produced (1775), it had to 
be cut, in a ruthless manner, before it could be made to 
succeed. 1 The author, then but twenty-three years old, 

produced his adaptation of it, September 15, 1880, at the Arch Street 
theatre, Philadelphia, were cast as follows : 

Acres Mr. Jefferson. 

Sir Anthony Absolute Frederick Robinson. 

Captain Absolute Maurice Barrymore. 

Sir Lucius O'Trigger Charles Waverley. 1 

Falkland Henry F. Taylor. 

Fag Thomas Jefferson. 

David James Galloway. 

Mrs. Malaprop Mrs. John Drew. 

Lydia Languish Rosa Rand. 

Lucy Adine Stephens. 

Jefferson produced The Rivals and personated Acres, at the Union 
Square theatre, New York, on September 12, 1881. That was his first 
presentation of the subject in New York, subsequent to the Philadelphia 
revival. The cast of characters then was : 

Acres Mr. Jefferson. 

Sir Anthony Absolute Frederick Robinson. 

Captain Absolute Mark Pendleton. 

Sir Lucius O'Trigger Charles Waverley. 

Falkland Henry F. Taylor. 

Fag Thomas Jefferson. 

David James Galloway. 

Mrs. Malaprop Mrs. John Drew. 

Lydia Languish Rose Wood. 

Lucy Eugenia Paul. 

1 The partial failure of The Rivals, when first acted, was due in part to 
its inordinate length, and in part to its incompatibility with the taste then 
prevalent, which preferred sentimental plays, harmonious with the manners- 
of the time. Falkland and Julia were approved, but Mrs. Malaprop, being 
a humorous caricature, was condemned. An interesting reference to this 
subject is made by Bernard {Retrospections, Vol. L, p. 86), who saw 

1 Charles Waverley was a conscientious actor and notable for refinement. His per- 
ception of character was keen, and in parts of a demure or playful order he could be very 
agreeably droll. He was a man of steadfast principles and amiable disposition, and was 
modest and sympathetic. He died, in London, in August, 1883. 


had written it with exuberant spirits, and it contained 
substance enough for several plays rather than one. 
Jefferson did not hesitate to cut it still further, and 
slightly to change its sequence of action, and here and 
there, in the character of Acres, to deepen traits that the 
author has only outlined, to add new business, always, 
however, in harmony with the original conception, 
and to give, by occasional new lines, an added emphasis 
and prolongation to the humorous strokes of Sheridan. 
Those parts of plays which are not essential may 
well be spared, unless they can be done perfectly well. 
The last of the four great soliloquies of Hamlet is 
invariably omitted ; and no one of Shakespeare's plays 
is ever acted exactly as it stands, because there are 
lines that cannot be spoken, and because the necessity 
of certain other lines is obviated by the resources of 
modern stage scenery. The author of The Rivals 
would, probably, have been the first to favour any 
change that might improve its effect, for, as stated 
by Moore, on the authority of Lady Cork, he " always 
said that The Rivals was one of the worst plays in the 
language, and he would give anything if he had not 
written it." Jefferson gave the comedy in three acts, 
the first curtain falling upon the exit of Sir Anthony 
Absolute, after his choleric scene with his son ; the 
second upon the exit of Acres, at the words, "Tell 
him I kill a man a week"; and the third upon the 
close of the piece, with a tag that the actor added. 
The character of Julia was omitted and that of Falk- 

the performance, and who declares that the ascription of the partial 
failure to the inefficient acting of Lee, as Sir Lucius OTrigger, was unjust 
and ungenerous. 


land considerably reduced. Those parts are only 
pleasant when acted by players of the first class, 
such as can no longer be led to undertake them. 
(Mrs. Siddons once played Sheridan's Julia, but a 
walking lady would hardly accept it now.) The loose 
lines, as well as what Moore called the "false finery and 
second-rate ornament," were shorn away. Two of the 
scenes" of Acres were blended into one, so that the vain 
and timorous squire's truculence, when writing the 
challenge, might be made the more comical by imme- 
diate contrast with his dismay and gradually growing 
cowardice, as he begins to realise its possible conse- 
quences. In other respects there was no change. 

Jefferson's felicity in light parts, whether of comedy, 
burlesque, or farce, resides in his application to them of 
an intense earnestness of spirit and a poetic treatment, 1 
by which is meant a treatment that interprets, illus- 
trates, and elevates the character. In that way he 
embodied Acres. The first of the three scenes in which 
he appeared was that of the call which is made by Acres 
at the lodging of Captain Absolute, where he meets 
Falkland ; the second, that of his reception of Sir Lucius 
O'Trigger, at his own chambers, when he writes the 
challenge to the mythical Beverley, is frightened by the 

1 In 1871, on the occasion of the Holland Benefit, in New York, Jeffer- 
son charmed a great audience with his representation of Mr. Golightly; 
and that exquisite work he gave later (1877), in London, on the occasion 
of a benefit to the impoverished and dying veteran, Henry Compton, when 
his success was such that John S. Clarke immediately proposed to him 
a season of farce at the Haymarket, a season devoted to Mr. Golightly 
and Hugh de Brass, in which, while the treasury neither gained nor 
lost, fastidious critics of the British capital enjoyed a kind of acting 
which they conceded to be kindred with the best upon the light comedy 
stage of Paris. 


terror of his bumpkin servant, David, and, at last, with 
rueful reluctance, entrusts the warlike missive to Cap- 
tain Absolute; and the third, that of the frustrated 
meeting in King's Mead meadows, when, in the extrem- 
ity of fear, his " valour oozes out at the tips of his 
fingers," and the snarl that young Absolute has woven 
is happily disentangled. The variety that he evoked 
from those scenes was little less than wonderful. At 
first it seemed as if he had overladen the character with 
meaning and lifted it too far. But, when the work was 
studied, it was seen that the actor had only taken the 
justifiable and admirable license of deepening the lines 
and tints of the author, and of endearing the character 
by infusing into it an amiable and lovable personality. 
That this was not clearly intended by Sheridan would 
not invalidate its propriety. The part admits of it, and 
is better for it ; and this certainly would have been 
intended had it been thought of, for it makes the play 
doubly interesting and potential. That Acres becomes 
a striking figure in the group, and a vigorous motive in 
the action, is only because he is thus vitalised. If the 
other parts were animated by an equal genius in the 
performance of them, it would be seen that he has no 
undue prominence. 

Jefferson considered that a country squire need not 
necessarily reek of the ale-house and the stables; that 
Acres is neither the noisy and coarse Tony Lumpkin 
nor the "horsey" Goldfinch; that he is not less kindly 
because vain and vapid ; that he has tender ties of 
home, and a background of innocent, domestic life ; 
that his head is completely turned by contact with 
town fashions ; that there may be a kind of artlessness 


H 1 roii i .-i | il ii >ti ij^r.-i ] >1 i 1 >v K.-ilU. 


in his ridiculous assumption of rakish airs ; that there 
is something a little pitiable in his bombast ; that 
he is a good fellow, at heart ; and that his sufferings 
in the predicament of the duel are genuine, intense, 
and quite as doleful as they are comic. All this ap- 
peared in the personation. You were impressed at 
once by the winning appearance and temperament, and 
Acres got your friendship, and was a welcome presence, 
laugh at him though you might. Jefferson introduced 
a comic blunder with which to take him out of the 
first scene with Absolute, and also some characteristic 
comic business for him, before a mirror, when Sir 
Lucius, coming upon him unawares, finds him practis- 
ing bows and studying deportment. He did not seem 
contemptible in those situations ; he only seemed ab- 
surdly comical. He communicated to every spectator 
his joy in the success of his curl-papers ; and no one, 
even amidst uncontrollable laughter, thought of his pen- 
ning of his challenge as otherwise than a proceeding of 
serious import. He was made a winning human being, 
with an experience of action and suffering; and sympa- 
thy with him, on his battle-field, would have been really 
painful but that the spectators were in the secret. The 
spirit of Jefferson's impersonation was humanity and 
sweet good nature, while the traits that he especially 
emphasised were ludicrous vanity and comic trepida- 
tion. He left no moment unfilled with action, when he 
was on the scene, and all his by-play was made tribu- 
tary to the expression of those traits. One of his 
deft touches was the trifling with Captain Absolute's 
gold-laced hat, and obviously to the eye consider- 
ing whether it would be suitable to himself. Nothing 


could be more humorous than the mixture of assurance, 
uneasy levity, and dubious apprehension, at the mo- 
ment when the challenge has at last and irrevocably 
found its way into Captain Absolute's pocket. The 
rueful face, then, was a study for a painter, and only a 
portrait could do it justice. The mirth of the duel scene 
it is impossible to convey. It must be supreme art 
indeed which can arouse, at the same instant, as this 
did, an almost tender solicitude and inextinguishable 
laughter. The little introductions of a word or two here 
and there in the text, made at this point by the come- 
dian, were very happy. To make Acres say that he 
does not care " how little the risk is" was an inspiration ; 
and his sudden and joyous greeting, " How are you, 
Falkland?" with the relief that it implies, and the 
momentary return of the airy swagger, was a stroke 
of genius. 

The test to which, in his success, a comedian proves 
equal was suggested, in all its clear and cold severity, 
by that extraordinary work. No tragic actor is ever so 
rigidly judged ; or, in the nature of the case, ever can 
be. It may be as difficult to act well in tragedy as in 
comedy ; but it is always easier to produce successful 
effect by tragedy than by comedy ; and tragedy can 
often be made to disguise imperfect acting. The 
spectator of a tragedy soon becomes excited, sympa- 
thetic, and responsive, under the stress of the tragic 
subject itself, and out of his own imagination and 
feeling he will often supply the charm, and perfect 
the illusion, which it may happen that the tragedian 
can neither exert nor create. The comedian, on the 
contrary, derives no such aid from his subject or from 


his audience. The spectator of a comedy is placid : he 
does not laugh until something laughable occurs, and 
he casts no glamour of emotion or fancy around the 
artist before him. The expedient known as "mugging" 
may, indeed, beguile a vulgar taste into the mood of 
laughter; but with "the judicious" it never will supply 
the humour that is essential in comedy, nor obtain 
acceptance as a substitute for art in acting. Further- 
more, the composition of a piece of comedy-acting is a 
mosaic, made of many details, tints, and tones, 
whereas an embodiment in tragedy may be achieved 
with large, imposing strokes, and masses of colour. 
Never was a truer word spoken than that of Garrick, 
when he said that comedy is serious business. It may 
not be so noble to act Don Felix as to act Hamlet ; 
but, in art, it is more difficult to make a great effect 
with the former than with the latter. Jefferson ex- 
pended rare intellectual force and exuberant humour 
upon the fabric of Acres, and in that respect, while 
giving much pleasure, taught a valuable lesson. 

Mrs. Drew treated in the same earnest spirit the 
character of Mrs. Malaprop. The dressing was appro- 
priately rich, and in suitable taste ; the manner de- 
corous and stately ; the personality formidable ; the 
deportment elaborate and pretentious, as it should be ; 
the delivery of the text exquisite in its accuracy and 
finish, and in its unconscious grace, the word being 
always matched by the right mood, and not a single 
blunder, in what that eccentric character calls her 
"orthodoxy," made in any spirit but that of fervent con- 
viction. Merely to hear her say, " He has enveloped the 
plot to me, and he will give you the perpendiculars," 


was to apprehend the character in a single sentence. 
Her illustrative stage business with the letter, giv- 
ing to Absolute, by mistake, one of the love-letters of 
OTrigger, instead of the intercepted epistle of Bever- 
ley, and then hastily reclaiming it, was done with a 
bridling simper and an antique blush that were irre- 
sistible. The pervasive excellence of the work was 
intense sincerity, and that redeemed the extravagance 
of the character and the farcical quality of its text. 
For the first time it seemed as if Mrs. Malaprop might 
exist. The part was finely acted, in earlier days, by 
Mrs. Vernon ; but Mrs. Drew made it rational. 

Frederick Robinson, as Sir Anthony Absolute, was 
admirable for choler, captivating warmth of humour, and 
clever management of the dubious, pausing moments of 
suspicion, in Captain Absolute's hoodwinking scene with 
his father. Thomas Jefferson was a gay and effective 
figure, as Fag, and he made his satirical exit with skill 
and effect, worthy of a comedian. Jefferson's pre- 
sentment of The Rivals showed what thoroughness and 
sincerity can accomplish in the ministry of art. Never 
to slight anything, but to go to the depth and height of 
the subject, and bring out all its meaning and all its 
beauty, that was the suggested moral of his splendid 
success with one of the everyday plays of the theatre. 
The wild flower that grows by the wayside, if you but 
nurture it aright, will reward your care a hundredfold 
in loveliness and bloom. 



IN the characters of Caleb Plummer and Mr. Golightly 
Jefferson touched, in his true and delicate manner, the 
springs of tears and laughter. There are, indeed, re- 
sources in the comedian's nature upon which neither 
of them makes any demand. His deep sympathy with 
whatever is weird, romantic, and picturesque remained 
unaffected by those characters. His sense of spiritual 
sublimity was not awakened. His imagination rested. 
Yet it would be difficult to select two parts more com- 
modious or more apt for the exhibition of his humanity 
and his humour. 

In Caleb Plummer, an infirm old man, oppressed with 
poverty but sustained by inherent patience and good- 
ness, the attribute to be exemplified is the possible 
unselfishness of human nature, under serio-comic condi- 
tions. In Mr. Golightly, which the comedian made a 
gem of comedy in a setting of farce, the spirit is that 
of joyous animal mirthfulness shining through comic 
perplexity. Jefferson's acting has always been remark- 
able for tenderness of heart, which no man can convey 
who does not possess it, and for the spontaneous droll- 
ery, the condition of being an amusing person, which 
comes by nature, and which cannot be taught. His 



investiture with the individuality of that character was 
"a property of easiness." He has often attained to a 
loftier height than is reached in those works. His 
crowning excellence as a comedian is, that he can sus- 
tain himself in the realm of the ideal, that he does 
not stop at being a photographic copyist of the eccen- 
tric, the rustic, the ludicrous, and the grotesque in 
human life. His scene with the ghosts, in Rip Van 
Winkle, his night-talk in the empty schoolhouse of The 
Parish Clerk, his letter-scene with Mary Meredith, in 
Our American Cousin, each, in a different way, exempli- 
fied the power of the actor, when feeding the heart 
from the fountain of the imagination, to sublimate 
human feeling and to create and personify a splendid 
ideal. The level upon which, however, he more habitu- 
ally treads is that of humanity, in its laughable, mournful 
admixture of weakness, suffering, patience, amiability, 
despondency, hope, and endeavour. Simple, tender, 
pensive, bright, and droll, the comedian assumes with 
perfect readiness the guise of a nature kindred with his 
own. And, after all, nothing is more clearly proved, by 
all that is known of actors, than the truth that an actor 
makes his most substantial success in a character that 
implicates his essential individuality. He may display 
mechanical versatility in a hundred types, but into that 
type he will pour the golden life-blood of his heart. 
Jefferson's achievements, which are those of the imagi- 
nation, have not, perhaps, been appreciated as such, 
except by a few persons. His Rip Van Winkle, to 
most observers, is a young man merrily tipsy and an 
old man wretchedly desolate ; and it makes them laugh 
and cry, and there is an end of the matter. They do 


not consider that Rip, when .confronting the beings of 
another world, the spectres that encircle him on the 
lonely mountain top and in the depth and mystery of 
the night, is in a position analogous to that which in 
Hamlet is awful beyond expression. They are aware, 
indeed, that the illusion is sustained ; but they take no 
thought of the profound, exalted, tremulous, poetic sen- 
sibility which sustains it. Jefferson's achievements of 
the heart are much more obvious, and those and his 
humour have always been understood. In that way, 
doubtless, his memory will live, in the years to come. 
Many of his admirers have long regarded his Caleb 
Plummer as the best of his embodiments. The right 
method of estimating the full stature of an actor is to 
deduce it, not from one of his works, but from all of 
them. The performance of Caleb Plummer was a 
touching exemplification of dramatic art applied to the 
expression of simple tenderness ; but it revealed only 
one phase of the actor's strength. Caleb Plummer is a 
more pathetic person to think about than to see. You 
cannot read his story without tears. But the moment 
the actor makes him visible he runs the risk of ab- 
surdity or of tediousness in the result ; for he must 
make the personality amusing, and he must make the 
self-sacrifice beautiful. The audience must be made to 
laugh at him, and to love him while they laugh. Jeffer- 
son's sincerity was not more obvious than his consum- 
mate skill. He lived in the character. He never lapsed 
out of the feeling of it. He kept, with nature's precis- 
ion, the woful face and the forlorn, blighted figure, a 
being sequent on years of penury. He sustained, in a 
vein of irresistible pathos, the artificial, jocular man- 


ner. It was easy to see that the whole of that nature 
and experience was developed by him from within, 
that in the infirmity and the grief of the heroic old man 
it was the heart that trembled, and not merely the fin- 
gers. And yet, behind the spontaneousness of identi- 
fication, the actor must have kept his mind and nerves in 
repose and control. There was not a false tone, a wrong- 
gesture, an excess, or any flaw of form in the work, and 
it held its audience in eager suspense. A tragedian 
may sometimes reach that effect with his subject; a 
comedian never reaches it except with his soul. 

Jefferson gave a neat theatrical version of The Cricket 
on the Hea.'tJiy in three acts, using the text of Dickens, 
and braiding deftly together the affairs of Dot and 
John Perrybingle, Caleb Plummer and blind Bertha, 
the returned sailor-boy, old gruff Tackleton and Tilly 
Slowboy. In the second act occurs the pious decep- 
tion of Bertha, and the old man makes merry, with his 
quavering song, an effect produced with sweet and 
touching quaintness by Jefferson. In the third act the 
righteous deceit of Caleb is confessed, with a pathos 
certainly equal to that of the recognition scene of Rip 
Van Winkle, long peerless among scenes of domestic 
tenderness upon the stage. 

The farce of Lend Me Five Shillings is notable for 
unflagging vivacity of incident and language. Jefferson 
as Golightly presented a good fellow, of vivacious man- 
ners, beset with little troubles, through which he makes 
his way with mirth and grace, alternating with a most 
comical denotement of serio-comic perplexity. 




ONE of the peculiarities of Jefferson as a comedian is 
that he thinks in an original way and strikes out for 
himself new pathways and new methods. The char- 
acter of Rip Van Winkle had been presented by several 
good actors before he assumed it, but it never became a 
representative character comprehensive of many con- 
trasted elements of human nature and human experi- 
ence until it was refashioned and newly embodied 
by him ; and the reason of his surpassing success with it 
is that he treated it in a poetical and not in a literal 
manner. The character of Acres, in The Rivals, had 
always been treated as a low-comedy character, until 
Jefferson, in his memorable revival of that comedy at 
the Arch Street theatre, Philadelphia, in 1880, embodied 
it in such a way as to make it rueful, sweet, and sympa- 
thetic to the feelings, as well as quaint, ludicrous, and 
effective to the sense of comic humour. Censors of the 
acted drama said, indeed, that he took .an unjustifiable 
liberty with the old piece : William Warren, the veteran 
comedian, playfully remarked that he was giving The 
Rivals " with Sheridan thirty miles away " : yet it was 
found that the character of Acres would bear that con- 
struction, and that the practical result was a more effec- 



tive performance of the part than had before been seen, 
because for the first time the auditor was made to 
sympathise with Acres in his serious perplexity and 
well-grounded apprehension, as well as to laugh at his 
ridiculous bravado and comic cowardice. Here, then, 
was an independent intellect operating in an original 
manner, refreshing an old and almost worn-out stage 
figure, and commending it to the practical appreciation 
of the living age. Lester Wallack, re-enforced with the 
great prestige of his father's name, and potential with 
his own brilliant ability and reputation and his capital 
stock company, could, toward the last of his career, 
accomplish nothing with the old comedies ; and, seeing 
himself gradually deserted by the public, he withdrew 
from the field. Jefferson has kept The Rivals steadily 
in his working repertory, and everywhere has had prac- 
tical success in the presentation of it. The new time 
cares not for the conventional methods of the old. 
Whoever would succeed with an old stock comedy must 
suffuse it with the alert, nimble, sparkling spirit of the 
life of to-day, must brush away from it the moss and 
lichen of the past, and so must make it appreciable by 
the mood if not actually applicable to the experience of 
the passing hour. That is what Jefferson has done for 
The Rivals, and for Colman's still more recondite 
comedy of The Heir at Law. 

Old playgoers, familiar with this comedy, know how 
far removed it is from the knowledge and from the prob- 
able liking of the present day. Its ground-plan, indeed, 
would always be effective, a plan that had frequently 
been used before Colman used it, and has repeatedly 
been used since. That plan comprehends the invest!- 


ture of a low character with the state and embellish- 
ments of high social life, and the deduction therefrom 
of incongruities that are comical. Shakespeare employed 
that device in Christopher Sly. Burton's performance 
of the Parvenu was a modern example of it. But that 
well-approved expedient of humour was not handled by 
Colman with exceptional brilliancy, and, aside from its 
felicitous equivoke, the piece is not one of robust merit. 
Sentimental comedy had not entirely gone out of fashion 
in England when this play was written, and Colman 
harsh satirist though he was, and of the rough school of 
Peter Pindar deemed it still essential to temper his 
satire with a little of the current popular sentiment. 
The impoverished young lady who is an orphan, and 
who is attended in her poverty by one faithful old ser- 
vant, finds, accordingly, a place in the piece, and is at 
once the occasion and the vehicle of amiable platitudes. 
Nor is her devoted lover omitted from the scene, the 
rightful heir to the estate and title that have fallen to 
the old tallow-chandler, who will be permitted to enjoy 
them, in the company of his absurd wife and his cox- 
combical son, for only a few ridiculous days. Caroline 
Dormer and the Irish Kendricks and Henry Moreland 
and Mr. Steadfast are wooden persons that long had 
served the English stage before Colman again enlisted 
them. But the humour of The Heir at Lazv is genuine, 
and it far exceeds the conventional sentiment, while the 
situations are neatly made, and frequently are droll, and 
the drawing of the characters is equally true and bold. 
This much might always have been said of it ; and, in- 
deed, average modern critical opinion, reverential of 
time, commonly refers with particular respect to this 


piece and to many of its kindred, although the custom 
of going to see them would lapse altogether, if it were 
not for the occasional rejuvenating influence that is 
exercised upon them by living genius. 

The Heir at Law was first acted on July 15, 1797, at 
the Haymarket theatre, London, and there is a certain 
significance in the fact that it still lingers upon the stage 
when now almost a hundred years have passed away. 
The original cast is a strong one, and the performance 
must have been excellent. Dr. Pangloss was played by 
Fawcett ; Daniel Dowlas, alias Lord Duberly, by Suett ; 
Dick Dowlas, by Palmer ; Zekiel Homespun, by Mun- 
den ; Henry Moreland, by Charles Kemble ; Steadfast, 
by J. Aikin ; Kenrick, by Johnstone ; Cicely Home- 
spun, by Mrs. Gibbs ; Deborah Dowlas, alias Lady 
Duberly, by Mrs. Davenport ; and Caroline Dormer, by 
Miss De Camp. Almost every name in that cast is a 
famous one. On its first production the piece was acted 
twenty-eight times, and on December 12, the same year, 
it was revived at Covent Garden, with Quick as Daniel 
Dowlas, Knight as Dick, and Munden, Fawcett, John- 
stone, Mrs. Gibbs, and Mrs. Davenport in their original 
characters. After that it seems to have been neglected ; 
but it came again on May 2, 1808, at Drury Lane, and 
the chief features of the cast were once more remark- 
able. Dr. Pangloss was acted by Bannister ; Dowlas, 
by the elder Mathews ; Dick, by Russell ; Zekiel, by 
De Camp ; Cicely, by the fascinating Dora Jordan ; old 
Deborah, by Mrs. Sparks ; and Caroline Dormer, by 
Mrs. H. Siddons. On February 6, 1823, the piece was 
done at Drury Lane, with Harley as Dr. Pangloss, Lis- 
ton as Dowlas, S. Penley as Dick Dowlas, Knight as 


Zekiel, and Mrs. H. Hughes as Cicely. The Heir at 
Law was introduced upon the American stage at the 
old Park theatre, New York, on April 24, 1799, and it 
has remained a fixture, although not often produced 
with a great cast. Dunlap opened the season of 1799- 
1800 with it, November 18, 1799, at the Park, on which 
occasion Zekiel Homespun was acted by the present 
Joseph Jefferson's grandfather, Dr. Pangloss was as- 
sumed by the brilliant John Hodgkinson, and Cicely by 
his wife, while old Dowlas was taken by the elder Hal- 
lam, and Henry Moreland by the younger. That excel- 
lent annalist, Ireland, has preserved a notable cast with 
which the comedy was performed at the Richmond Hill 
theatre, New York, on July 6, 1832: Dr. Pangloss, 
Hilson ; old Dowlas, John Barnes ; Zekiel, Thomas 
Placide ; Dick Dowlas, Clarke ; Kenrick, Greene ; 
Deborah, Mrs. Walstein ; Caroline, Miss Smith ; Cicely, 
Mrs. Hilson. In later times, Burton, John Brougham, 
John E. Owens, William Warren and John S. Clarke 
have gained particular distinction as Dr. Pangloss. 
Jefferson acted Dr. Pangloss for the first time in New 
York on August 31, 1857, at Laura Keene's theatre, 
making a decisive hit. 

Jefferson has applied to Dr. Pangloss the same subtle 
method of interpretation that he applied to Acres. 1 
The part was obviously intended as a harsh and bitter 
satire upon a class of unworthy persons numerous in 
Colman's time, imposters in religion and morality, 
and more pretentious than sound in scholarship, who, 
as parsons or as tutors, were willing, for a consideration, 

1 For further consideration of Jefferson as Dr. Pangloss, see my Shadows 
of the Stage, Vol. I. 


to become the companions of wealthy vice. Dr. Pan- 
gloss possesses a smattering of learning, a little Latin, 
less Greek, a shrewd perception of character, and abun- 
dant knowledge of the fashionable world. He is not, 
however, burdened with moral principle or refinement 
of character. He will serve Lord Duberly for one 
salary and Lady Duberly for another, and the Hon. Mr. 
Dowlas for a third, knowing all the while that they are 
at cross-purposes, and meaning to be true to neither, 
but absolutely and entirely to serve his own interest. 
The quality that chiefly stamps him in the printed page 
is waggish alacrity. On the stage he has usually been 
depicted as a fantastical comicality, ludicrous but unreal. 
It was enough if he got the response of laughter. Jef- 
ferson, making him exceedingly comical, made him also 
human, natural, probable, real, and even established him 
in a kindly regard. You not only laughed at Dr. Pan- 
gloss, you liked him. N He did not impress you as a 
rogue. He was never mischievous, never unamiable. 
He was a scholar who has had hard times ; he meant to 
do well by all those absurd people who employed him ; 
and his light heart, gay disposition, and jocular humour 
seemed to endear him to all the characters with whom 
he came into contact, and they endeared him to his 



A COMPREHENSIVE view of Jefferson's period should 
include certain parallel careers with which his own 
has been associated. One of the most important of 
them was that of Sothern, whose eminence as Lord 
Dundreary was at one time very high, and whose name 
assuredly will live in the history of the stage. Edward 
Askew Sothern was born at No. I Parliament street, 
Liverpool, England, April I, 1826. His father was a 
rich colliery proprietor and ship-owner. The family 
consisted of nine children. Edward was the seventh, 
and the only member of the family that adopted the 
stage. His parents had died before he made choice of 
that profession. He was educated under the charge of 
a private tutor, the Rev. Dr. Redhead, rector of a church 
in Cheshire. Reverses of fortune which befell his 
father, and then the death of his parents, broke up the 
family and dissipated his prospects, and this led to 
his adoption of the stage. He was then, in 1854, a 
medical student in London ; but he was conscious of a 
strong predilection for the drama, and presently he con- 
sorted with amateurs who paid for the privilege of play- 
ing at the King's Cross theatre, and so he embarked 
on his career. His first regular engagement was at a 
theatre in Guernsey, and the first salary he ever received 



was fifteen shillings a week. The characters in which 
he there began his career were the Ghost, Laertes, and 
the Second Actor in Hamlet. To facilitate his proceed- 
ings in those three parts, which, of course, required 
change of dress, he wrote three slips, for identification, 
and pinned one on each wig. A sportive individual 
changed them, and the consequent mixing up of Laertes 
with the scenes allotted to the Ghost produced a re- 
markable effect, and the young actor was thereupon 
discharged for incapacity. He then visited the theatres 
of Plymouth, Weymouth, Wolverhampton, and Birming- 
ham, and finally emigrated to America. 

In 1862 he appeared at the National theatre, Hay- 
market Square, Boston, as Dr. Pangloss in The Heir at 
Law, and met with a failure. His stage name then was 
Douglas Stuart, and this he continued to use till, in 
1856, by the advice of the veteran J. W. Wallack, he 
discarded it and took his own. The first performance 
that he gave under his own name was in the character 
of Wilson Mayne, in Lester Wallack's comedy of First 
Impressions, produced at Wallack's theatre, September 
17, 1856. From Boston he removed after his failure, 
which he had the sense to recognise and accept to 
Barnum's Museum, in New York, 1853, where he took 
a utility engagement to play all sorts of parts and to 
appear twice every day. That was a rough school, but 
a good one, and he rapidly improved under the discipline 
of industry. Those were the times to which Artemus 
Ward referred, when he commended the actors as "a 
hard-working class of people " visible every morning, 
"with their tin dinner-cans in their hands," on the way 
to the scene of their toil. 


While at Barnum's Museum, Sothern made so good an 
impression that he attracted the notice of E. A. Mar- 
shall of the Broadway theatre, who presently engaged 
him to play light comedy and juvenile business at 
Washington. After a few months in the capital, he 
joined Laura Keene, at the Charles Street theatre, Bal- 
timore, and thence he went to Wallack's, in New York, 
then in Broadway, near the corner of Broome street. 
His first appearance there was made as Lord Charles 
Roebuck, in Old Heads and Young Hearts, September 
9, 1854, and there he remained four years, acting various 
parts, walking gentlemen, heavies, and broad low 
comedy. In December, 1857, he was selected for Ar- 
mand Duval, to the Camille of Matilda Heron, and from 
that time he steadily moved upward in professional rank. 
In the next year he joined Laura Keene's theatre, 
afterwards the Olympic, destroyed August 10, 1880, 
acting juvenile and comedy business. When Our 
American Cousin was brought out there, October 18, 
1858, Laura Keene asked Sothern to try and do some- 
thing with a " fourth-class dyed-up old man," who had 
about seventeen lines to speak. The actor assented, on 
condition that he might be permitted to try an experi- 
ment. That was the beginning of his success in Lord 
Dundreary. " I do and say nothing in Dundreary," 
Sothern once wrote, "that I have not known to be, in 
some form or another, done and said in society since I 
was five years old." 1 

1 The subjoined statement was made by Sothern, in one of the news- 
papers, with reference to his design and method in his acting : 

" In Dundreary I desired to illustrate the drawling, imbecile dandy. That required 
the rewriting and large extension of a part originally of but a few lines. I have tried to 
make the type of character ridiculous, and to minister to innocent amusement in so 


In 1861 he went to the Haymarket theatre, London, 
appearing November 1 1 as Lord Dundreary, and from 
that time onward his career was one of almost unvary- 
ing prosperity. In July, 1867, he acted in Paris, but was 
not much commended there. He became a favourite 
at the London Haymarket, where he fulfilled many en- 
gagements, and at one time he was associated with its 
management. He there brought out Aunt's Advice, 
adapted by himself from the French ; and he there ap- 
peared as David Garrick, 1864; Frank Jocelyn, in The 
Woman in Mauve, 1865; Hon. Sam Slingsby ; Marquis 
Victor de Tourville, in A Hero of Romance ; Colonel 
John White, in Home; Hugh de Brass; Charles Chuckles, 
in An English Gentleman; Sidney Spoonbill, in A Hor- 
net's Nest, and Fitzaltamont, in The Crushed Tragedian. 
Those, together with Frank Annerly, in The Favourite 
of Fortune, Mulcraft, Chuckfield, and Laylot, in Barwises 

doing; but more has happened than I at first expected. I have found the character a 
vehicle for many hits, conceits, and odd jumbles and devices, and I have had to vary the 
lines repeatedly, preserving only the characteristics and the central purpose. That pur- 
pose is intellectual, and only incidentally comical. Every speech in Dundreary is a hit 
at himself or at social follies. The secret of wit, which is surprise, is cultivated in the 
putting of things, and the purpose of satire is served by the effect of the scheme, events, 
and lines on the audience. There is a large superficial but sympathetic class who are 
mainly interested in the story; for them I bring the character to success and happiness 
both through and in spite of his seeming blunders. But I have them very little in mind 
in acting. I think of the most intellectual persons I can presume to be present and play 
to them. They see the inner purpose. The general effect lifts the rest. 

" The purpose I have in The Crushed Tragedian is to portray and extinguish the 
much too serious and eminently ridiculous heavy striders and posers of the stage. It is 
not a caricature. In some parts of the English provinces, as we call the regions out of 
London, and in parts of America remote from great cities, the play has been taken as a 
serious one. They have thought The Crushed was like many actors they were used to 
seeing, though perhaps a very bad case himself; but they have paid me the compliment 
of taking me to be as poor and misplaced a person in my profession as the one I was try- 
ing to portray. My make-up in that play had no reference to George Jones, The Count 
Joannes. I acted the part over 100 nights before I ever saw him. I never modified 
my manner or make-up after I saw him, and never thought of him before I saw him. The 
resemblance was in the type. He and not I was responsible for that." 


Book and The Burrampooter, Harry Vivian, in A Lesson 
for Life, and Robert Devlin, in A Wild Goose, were his 
characters. But his chief works were Lord Dundreary 
and David Garrick. These called into play his wonder- 
ful skill in caricature and his slender powers in senti- 
ment, together with his genuine earnestness and fine 
artistic method. 

After passing about ten years in England, Sothern 
returned to America in 1871. His farewell benefit at 
the Haymarket occurred on October 5, that year, and 
on October 23 he came forward as Dundreary, at 
Niblo's. In the fall of 1872 he played a long engage- 
ment at Wallack's theatre, November 11, 1872, to 
May, 1873, a period of twenty-nine weeks. His first 
appearance in America as David Garrick was made on 
February 10, 1873. The following summer he visited 
California, returning to Wallack's in the autumn. On 
August 15, 1874, he sailed for England, but he was 
again in New York two years later, and filled a fine 
engagement at the Fifth Avenue. In the autumn of 
1877 ne took an active part in organising and conduct- 
ing benefits for his much-loved friend and comrade 
Edwin Adams, himself giving performances in New 
York, Philadelphia, and Boston, and no one who was 
associated with him in that enterprise (as I was) will 
forget the persistent energy, patient kindness, and whole- 
hearted, unselfish zeal with which he laboured for his 
dying comrade, or the honest pride and joy that he felt 
in the success of the project. The performance in New 
York occurred on October 12, at the Academy, when 
Sothern appeared as Othello, with W. J. Florence as 
lago, Mrs. John Drew as Emilia, and Miss Lotta as 


Desdemona, in the third act of the tragedy, and, con- 
trary to the public expectation, gave a performance of 
the Moor which was just in design and good in method. 
Mrs. Adams received $9381. In the same year he was 
seen in a round of parts at the Park theatre ; and at 
later as well as earlier times he made prosperous starring 
tours of the United States and Canada. During the 
summer of 1879 ne passed several weeks on the Resti- 
gouche River, near Quebec, in company with the Duke 
of Beaufort, Sir John Rae Reid, W. J. Florence, Col. 
E. A. Buck, and other friends. The Duke is the sole 
survivor (1894) of that merry company. Sothern's last 
engagements in New York were filled at the Park 
theatre and the Grand Opera House, in September and 
December, 1879, an ^ n ^ s l ast appearance was made 
on December 27, 1879, at the latter house. 

The acting of Sothern formed a subject of attractive 
and singular study. He was a thorough artist in every 
word and action. He laboured over his characters with 
a microscope. He was perpetually studying, perpet- 
ually on the watch for peculiarities of character and of 
its expression, whether in himself or others. He was a 
master of the realm of whim, as true and fine, within 
his especial field of dramatic art, as even Laurence 
Sterne in the wider field of creative literature. He 
committed to memory all the parts in every play that he 
acted, and he laboured to make each part complemen- 
tary of the others, and thus to produce a perfect mosaic 
picture of human nature in social life. His particular 
aptitude was for comedy, and that of a whimsical 
character. His sentiment, though truly felt, was far 
less free in expression, and indeed had a forced, unnatural 


effect. He read many books .and was fond of the hard 
work of thinking, which most persons shun. He wrote 
well, though slowly and but little ; yet each of his 
characters owed something to his own invention. 
Dundreary was almost entirely his own ; and he wrote 
in Robertson's comedy of Home the best part of the 
love scenes. He wrote a portion also of a comedy 
called Trade, which, in later years, has been acted 
by his son, E. H. Sothern, under the name of The 
Highest Bidder. He had studied the acting of Rachel, 
whom he ranked above all other actresses. His nature 
was deeper in human tenderness than it seemed to 
be in the eyes of most persons. He could be selfish, 
icy, and stern ; but it usually was when confronted with 
selfishness in others. At the same time it is to be 
admitted that he grew cynical in his ideas of human 
nature as he grew older, and as he bitterly realised and 
condemned his own faults and saw how little there is 
in the world of absolutely unselfish goodness. Yet he 
was by nature of an affectionate, kindly disposition, 
and he honoured integrity wherever found. The senti- 
ments that David Garrick utters to Ada Ingot, in the 
last scene of the comedy, were those in which he truly 
believed. His habitual mood, however, was one of 
levity, and he was apt to prove fickle in his superficial 
friendships. He loved and trusted but few persons. It 
suited his humour to jest and to seek excitement and 
distraction; first because his temperament naturally 
bloomed in a frolic atmosphere, and then because he 
wished to suppress melancholy feelings and a gloomy 
proneness to self-reproach and saddening introspection. 
In his domestic life he was unfortunate ; and he lived 


to learn as all must do who depart away from inno- 
cence that the wrong that is done to the affections 
can never be righted on earth. Outwardly he was the 
gayest of the gay : at heart he was an unhappy man, 
and he suffered much. But he fulfilled his work and 
his destiny which was his character. He made the 
world laugh. He exemplified anew, for artists and 
thinkers, the beauty of thorough artistic mechanism. 
He impressed the men of his time with a profound and 
abiding sense of the power of intellectual purpose. And 
he left to his friends the remembrance of a strange, 
quaint, sweet comrade, at whose presence the sunshine 
sparkled and the flowers bloomed, and life became a 
holiday of careless pleasure. He died at No. I Vere 
street, London, January 20, 1881, and was buried in 
the cemetery at Southampton. 

Laura Keene, with whom Jefferson was conspicu- 
ously associated in the production of Our American 
Cousin, was of English origin, and was born in 1820. 
At an early age she acted, under the management of 
Madame Vestris, at the London Olympic theatre, where 
she attracted attention and esteem for various efforts in 
light comedy. One of her most pleasing personations 
was Pauline in The Lady of Lyons. In 1852 she was 
engaged by J. W. Wallack for his new theatre, then 
just opened, near the corner of Broome street and 
Broadway, New York ; and on October 20, that year, 
she made her first American appearance, acting Albina 
Mandeville, in The Will. Her success was immediate 
and decided. She soon left Wallack's theatre, though, 
and took to strolling as a star. In 1854 she visited 
San Francisco, and, in company with Edwin Booth, 


D. C. Anderson, and others, made a trip to Australia. 
In November, 1855, she was again in New York, and 
managed the Metropolitan theatre, afterwards called 
the Winter Garden, styling it the Varieties. A little 
later she took the management of the Olympic, which 
was then newly built, in Broadway, on the east side, 
between Bleecker and Houston streets, and she 
opened it on November 18, 1856, with As You Like It. 
That house, known as Laura Keene's theatre, she 
continued to direct for four or five years, but with 
dubious judgment and variable success. At times its 
fortunes sank to a low ebb. At one of those times 
Our American Cousin was brought out, and Jefferson 
made a great hit, and averted disaster, by his per- 
formance of Asa Trenchard. In 1860 Miss Keene 
became the wife of Mr. John Lutz, with whom she 
had been for some time associated. One of her last 
ventures at Laura Keene's theatre was a spectacle 
play, called The Seven Sisters, by Thomas Blades de 
Walden, which was considered rubbish, but which ran, 
from November 26, 1860, one hundred and sixty-nine 
nights. For a long time after leaving that theatre Miss 
Keene was inconspicuous in theatrical life, but it was 
vaguely known that she was roaming the country with 
a travelling company. She was acting at Ford's theatre, 
Washington, on April 14, 1865, in Our American Cousin, 
at the time of the dreadful and afflicting tragedy which 
bereaved the Republic of Abraham Lincoln. In 1870 
she united with William Creswick in the production of 
a piece called Nobody s CJdld, at the Fourteenth Street 
theatre, but her presence upon the stage was not pro- 
pitious to the success of that effort, and it was speedily 


discontinued. Her latest success in New York was 
obtained in Boucicault's drama of Hunted Down, which 
she produced at the theatre in Broadway known for 
a while as Lina Edwin's, and ultimately burnt down. 
Her last New York engagement was played at Wood's 

In person Miss Keene was slender and graceful. 
She had an aquiline face, delicate features, dark eyes, 
and a musical voice. She was lovely to see, in statuesque 
characters and attitudes. She often dressed in white 
garments, and she seemed to enjoy heightening as 
much as possible the effect of the spiritual attribute in 
her personal appearance. She had a swift, gliding 
motion, and a strange trick, in the expression of feeling, 
of continually winking both her eyes. As an actress, 
she was best in the utterance of despairing delirium. 
Moments of woe and of pathetic recklessness com- 
mended themselves to her temperament. One of her 
most successful performances was that of Marco in The 
Marble Heart. She was very good as Becky Sharp, in 
Vanity Fair. At the highest she was a clever actress 
of brilliant comedy ; but she wasted her talents, and 
came at last to be only an experimenter in the hydraulic 
emotional school. She died of consumption, at Mont- 
clair, N.J., on November 4, 1873, in her fifty-fourth 
year. To old playgoers her death was a mournful 
reminder of the flight of time and the rapid extinction 
of their favourites. In the prime of her beauty and 
talent, she enjoyed almost boundless favour with the 
public, but she outlived her popularity and sunk into 
comparative oblivion ; so that the news of her death 
scarcely caused a ripple of feeling, outside of a narrow 


circle of professional contemporaries and theatrical fol- 
lowers. The moral of her experience was not wholly the 
evanescence of popularity. Public life may be mutable, 
but solidity of character and talents well used upon 
the stage do not fail to win for their possessor a place 
of permanence, at least in the memory of the passing 
generation. Neither was possessed by Laura Keene, 
and hence her contemporaries scarcely heeded the 
sound of her passing bell. 

Another conspicuous career, contemporary with that 
of Jefferson, was that of Raymond, a comedian with 
whom Jefferson sometimes acted, and whose friendship 
he possessed to the last. John T. Raymond, long and 
widely distinguished as Colonel Sellers, was born at 
Buffalo, N.Y., on April 5, 1836, and died at Evansville, 
Ind., on April 10, 1887, having just entered on his 
fifty-first year. His family name was O'Brien. He 
received a common-school education, together with some 
training in mercantile pursuits ; but at the age of seven- 
teen he ran away from home to go upon the stage. " I 
knew no more about the theatre then," he once said, 
"than I did about the moon." His first appearance 
was made on June 27, 1853, at a theatre in Rochester, 
N.Y., under the management of Carr and Henry 
Warren, and he came forward in the part of Lopez in 
The Honeymoon. He was almost paralysed with stage 
fright on that occasion, and as the condition of Lopez 
is mostly that of comic vacuity, he made an accidental 
hit in the part ; but on the following night, when he 
undertook to play one of the soldiers in Macbeth, his 
inexperience was painfully revealed. From Rochester 
he went to Philadelphia, where he appeared as Timothy 


Quaint, in The Soldier s Daughter, on September 20, 
1854. A little later he was engaged by John E. Owens 
for the Charles Street theatre, Baltimore, and for several 
seasons after that he was employed on the circuit of the 
Southern theatres, acting in Charleston, Savannah, 
Mobile, and New Orleans. 

Raymond first became known in New York in 1861, 
when he appeared at Laura Keene's theatre, as the 
successor to Jefferson, in low comedy and character 
parts. He acted Asa Trenchard in Our American 
Cousin at that time. On July I, 1867, he appeared in 
London, at the Haymarket theatre, acting that part 
in association with Sothern, and in company with that 
famous actor he subsequently visited Paris and acted 
there, and likewise made a tour of the British provincial 
theatres. In the autumn of 1868 he reappeared in New 
York, playing Toby Twinkle in All that Glitters is not 
Gold. A little later he went to San Francisco, where, 
on January 18, 1869, he made his first appearance at the 
California theatre, acting Graves in Bulwer's comedy of 
Money. There he remained for several seasons, steadily 
advancing in public favour and appreciation. He was, 
in fact, a great favourite in California, but being am- 
bitious to extend the field of his activity and conquest, 
he presently left the stock company, returned to the 
eastern seaboard, and, after various efforts, at length 
made a conspicuous and brilliant hit in the character of 
Colonel Sellers, in a play based on Mark Twain's story 
of The Gilded Age. That piece was brought out at the 
Park theatre, Broadway and Twenty-second street, which 
was burned down in the fall of 1882. With that char- 
acter Raymond made himself known throughout the 


Republic and Canada, and in that part he appeared, but 
not with success, before the public of London in 1880. 

For several seasons Colonel Sellers prospered abun- 
dantly, but after a time it began to grow hackneyed, 
and Raymond was constrained to seek a new character. 
He played at Wallack's theatre as Ichabod Crane, in 
a drama by George Fawcett Rowe, on the basis of 
Washington Irving's story of Wolf erf s Roost, and this is 
justly remembered as one of the most quaint, humorous, 
and touching performances that have graced the comedy 
stage in our time. After that he travelled every season 
with more or less success throughout the country, vary- 
ing his performances of Colonel Sellers with such parts 
as the old shoemaker, in My Son; the politician, in 
D. D. Lloyd's For Congress ; and Montague Joliffe, in 
Pinero's In Chancery. In 1886 he played in the prin- 
cipal cities of the Union in Pinero's amusing farce 
of The Magistrate. His professional career extended 
over a period of thirty-two years, and in the course 
of that time he acted all the parts that usually fall 
to the lot of a low comedian. He was seen in Acres, 
Asa Trenchard, Dickory, Goldfinch, Lullaby, Ollapod, 
Pangloss, Pillicoddy, Roderigo, Salem Scudder, Toby 
Twinkle, Tony Lumpkin, Toodle, and many kindred 
characters. By nature and by purpose he was a thought- 
ful comedian, one who desired to identify himself with 
important eccentric characters in rational drama ; but 
his excessive animal spirits and a certain grotesque ex- 
travagance in his temperament and manner affected the 
public more directly and powerfully than anything that 
he did as a dramatic artist. " When I remain in the 
picture," he said to me, "the public will not accept me, 


but the moment I get out upon the frame they seem to 
be delighted." For this reason Raymond usually got 
"out upon the frame." His humour was rich and jocund. 
He had a peculiar and exceptional command over the 
composure of his countenance. He could deceive an 
observer by the sapient gravity of his visage, and he 
exerted his facial faculty with extraordinary comic effect. 
He was possessed of consummate audacity in the per- 
petration of practical jokes. His mood was eager, san- 
guine, and hopeful, and it sometimes painted the future 
in rosy hues ; but he was subject to melancholy, which 
he carefully concealed. He was impetuous in temper 
but affectionate in disposition, and his private life was 
marked by acts of kindness and generosity. As an 
actor he gave innocent pleasure to thousands of people, 
and lightened for many hearts the weary burden of care. 
His professional lineage is that of such ancestors as 
Foote, Finn and Sothern, though to some extent he 
lacked the artistic finish of those renowned models. 
Raymond was twice married, his first wife being Marie 
E. Gordon, an actress known upon the stage since 1864, 
now dead. They were legally separated. His second 
wife was the daughter of Miss Rose Eytinge, long a 
prominent and successful actress. At the time of his 
second marriage, the comedian obtained legal authority 
for the change of his name from John O'Brien to John 
T. Raymond. 

A most interesting comedian, one of Jefferson's prom- 
inent contemporaries, and one of his prized and honoured 
friends, was Mark Smith. That actor was the son of 
the veteran Sol Smith (1801-1869), and was born at 
New Orleans on January 27, 1829. He played juvenile 


characters at his father's theatre while yet a boy. At 
fifteen he went to sea, but he soon grew weary of marine 
toil, and in 1849 ne formally adopted the profession of 
the stage, and that he followed all his days. On March 
1 8, 1862, he appeared at Wallack's theatre, New York, 
as Sir William Fondlove, in The Love Chase, and made 
a brilliant hit, and from that time onward he maintained 
a high professional rank, and had the cordial esteem of 
the public. In 1863 he was associated with the English 
actress Emily Thorne in performances of musical bur- 
lesque at the Winter Garden. In 1866 he was a partner 
with Lewis Baker in the management of the New York 
theatre. In 1869 he was a member of Edwin Booth's 
company, at Booth's theatre, and later he was connected 
with the St. James theatre in London, and with Albert 
M. Palmer's Union Square theatre, New York. He 
died suddenly in Paris, France, on August n, 1884, and 
his remains were sent home and buried in the Belle- 
fontaine cemetery, at St. Louis. 

Mark Smith was a man of unique individuality and 
large intellectual resources. He had developed slowly 
and thoroughly, though not yet entirely, and had 
steadily risen, and was fitted still to rise, in an art-growth 
that never paused. He was a student and a thinker. 
He aimed high, and he was content with nothing less 
than superlative excellence. He possessed by nature 
both the actor's faculty and the literary spirit. An 
atmosphere of art surrounded him as naturally as foliage 
surrounds a tree. No one could be, even temporarily, 
his companion without perceiving in him an innate and 
profound love for letters; a rare and subtle apprehen- 
sion of the beauty and the significance of artistic forms ; 


an ample and exact knowledge of many books ; keen 
intuition combined with wide store of wise observation 
upon human nature ; and the spontaneous delight alike 
of the child and the philosopher in things that make 
human life radiant and lovely. Those faculties and 
qualities he had done much to cultivate. The in- 
fluence that radiated from his character was singularly 
charming. It was the sympathetic force of a thoroughly 
honest nature, good, tender, cheerful, responsive to 
virtue and simplicity, and exalted and made picturesque 
and zestful by the thrill of imaginative and aspiring 
intellect. Mark Smith was not the kind of good man 
whose worth is tedious and stupefying, and therein 
may injure virtue almost as much as if he were a profli- 
gate. In him the every-day virtues grew brilliant, 
taking on a rosy grace from the piquant loveliness of 
his character, and his comrades not only rested on his 
perfect probity, but found continual delight and com- 
fort in his presence. 

No one could see him act without being, in quite an 
equal degree, conscious of this personal charm. The 
attribute of winning goodness that endeared him in 
private life was the attribute that shone through his 
acting and endeared him upon the stage. As an actor, 
he was the Cheeryble Brothers rolled into one, and 
that one was endowed with a commanding intellect and 
polished taste as well as with helpful and lovable benig- 
nity. When Mark Smith was upon the scene, as Squire 
Broadlands, or April, or Harmony, or Col. Damas, or 
Sir Oliver Surface, the spectator involuntarily felt that 
every ray of manly worth, joyous serenity, and human 
feeling that flashed through the character had its native 


source in the heart of the man himself. This was the 
attractive power of his heart ; and the attention which 
he thus captivated his versatile mimetic talents and his 
fortunate personal characteristics never failed to repay. 
It would be almost impossible to name an actor so 
thoroughly satisfactory as Mark Smith was, in many 
sorts of character. His range of Shakespearian parts 
included Polonius, Friar Lawrence, Kent, Brabantio, 
Duncan, Hecate, Casca, Autolycus, the Host of the 
Gartar, the Duke of Venice, Adam, Dromio, Shallow, 
Verges, Sir Toby Belch, Bardolph, and Dogberry. He 
did not play them all equally well, but in each one of 
them he was an artist ; and outside of Shakespeare, his 
range touched at one extreme Sir Peter Teazle and at 
the other Diggory and Powhatan. One of the most 
complete pieces of acting that have adorned our stage 
was his impersonation of the vain, amorous, rickety, 
polished old coxcomb, Sir William Fondlove, in which 
he made his first appearance at Wallack's theatre, on 
March 17, 1862. Another characteristic and charming 
work was his Doctor Desmerets in The Romance of a 
Poor Young Man. Old Rapid, Hardcastle, Sir John 
Vesey, Stout, Haversac, De Blossiere, in Henriette, 
Lord Plantagenet, Solomon, Bob Tyke, Mr. Ironsides, 
Lord Duberley, and many more testified to his versatile 
abilities, and afforded channels of observation through 
which might be traced the peculiarities of his mind and 
the springs of his art. 

Whatever defects there were in his acting arose from 
over-correctness and inflexibility. He was a formal 
actor, and sometimes he was hard and dry. But that 
was a good defect, since it arose out of his profound 


desire and scrupulous care, first of all, to be true ; and 
it was a defect he was outgrowing, and would inevitably 
have outgrown, with the acquisition of perfect mastery 
of himself and of the methods of his art. Those who 
saw his stately, sweet, and tender personation of Jaques 
Fauvel, at the Union Square theatre, saw clearly enough 
how much the angular precision and set utterance of 
earlier days had faded away, and how richly his nature 
was developing in the direction of flexible and free 
humour and pathos. It is easy to go astray in attempt- 
ing to define a human being and to indicate the results 
of circumstance likely to flow out of the tendencies of 
a character ; but there is no doubt that Mark Smith was 
richly endowed, and there seems reason to say that if 
he had lived to complete his experience he would have 
become one of the great actors of his time. His fidelity 
to nature was as accurate as a reverent intention could 
make it. He was a graphic delineator. He was a rosy 
and jolly and yet a human and refined humourist. He 
possessed unusual natural dignity of mind; so that, while 
he respected the real worth of old models, he thought 
for himself and struck out a pathway of his own. His 
human sympathies were comprehensive and warm. He 
had a remarkably keen intuitive perception of the shades 
of character, and, as his Country Squire alone was suffi- 
cient to prove, he had the delicate and trained capacity 
to make them seen and felt. That hard, genial, stub- 
born, yielding, eccentric, simple, bluff, hospitable, per- 
emptory English gentleman has no representative on 
the American stage now that Mark Smith is gone. If 
any actor known to this country could have put Sir 
Roger de Coverley into the theatre, and made him as 


fine and as lovable there as he is in the pages of Addi- 
son, Mark Smith was the man. This points to his 
quality and his rank, and explains the affectionate re- 
membrance in which he is held. He belonged to the 
school of actors that Munden made distinctive, and that 
Burton, Blake, Gilbert, and Warren illustrated so well. 
He was not as droll as Blake, nor did he possess as 
juicy a humour; but in serious moments he resembled 
him ; and as to severe accuracy of form, he often sur- 
passed him. 

The breadth of his scope is indicated in the number 
and variety of parts that he could adequately play. The 
field of art in which he stood alone is that which Eng- 
lish literature has peopled with characters representa- 
tive of ambient, large-hearted hospitality, tinged with 
sentiment and eccentricity. His imagination took de- 
light in images of good-cheer and scenes of kindness. 
The prattle of children and the soft laughter of young 
lovers sounded in his mind and gladdened it. He was 
at home on the green lawn of the ancient manor-house, 
under the immemorial elms, crowning the feast with 
welcome, amid the blessings of music and sunshine, 
and fragrant summer wind, with, over all, a hazy, tran- 
quil air of restful antiquity and gentle romance. So 
he has passed into the region of storied memories and 
taken his place forever, the noblest type our stage has 
presented of the pure and simple country gentleman ! 
Scott and Irving would have loved that healthful 
nature, and honoured it and anchored by it, amidst the 
shams and fevers of a weary world. Primrose and the 
Village Preacher lived again in him, with other man- 
ners, indeed, and wearing another garb, and fettered and 


veiled ; but the same in soul. He adorned the stage ; 
he comforted and benefited his fellowmen ; he won an 
affection and left an ideal that will not die ; and he rests 
after an honest, useful, stainless life. 

At a meeting of the friends of Mark Smith, held at 
Booth's theatre, on September i, 1884, A. Oakey Hall 
presiding, arrangement was made for a performance for 
the benefit of his widow and children, which subse- 
quently occurred, and the following resolutions, 
written by me, were adopted : 

Whereas, In the wisdom and love of God, which, whether it 
bless us or whether it afflict, we but dimly understand and can 
never fathom, our beloved friend and comrade, Mark Smith, 
has been taken from the life of this world into the life that is 
eternal ; and 

Whereas, We, his friends, members of the stage and the press, 
amidst our personal sorrow under a bitter bereavement and 
affliction, are mindful that, in the death of Mark Smith, the pro- 
fession which he adorned, and this community, which he so often 
charmed and benefited, have sustained a loss so grievous and 
extraordinary that some formal commemoration of it ought to be 
made ; therefore, be it 

Resolved, That while we bow in humble reverence before the 
awful will of heaven, striving to keep in mind the belief that all 
things are ordered for the best, we yet deplore, in this death, the 
loss of one of the best and dearest of our fraternity, in the removal 
of whom from the scenes of his usefulness and from our companion- 
ship we feel the pangs of a calamitous and overwhelming affliction. 

That we remember Mark Smith as one who wore with purity and 
honour the noble name of gentleman ; whose character was lovely 
in its simplicity and modest worth ; whose life was virtuous ; whose 
mind was well stored ; whose talents were unusual and brilliant, 
and were always used for good and never for evil ; and who did his 
duty faithfully, thoroughly, and cheerfully, under every condition. 

That, when we recall Mark Smith as an actor, we think of one 
who loved his profession with all his heart, and served it with 


all his strength ; whose versatility and thoroughness were extraor- 
dinary ; who enriched the stage with many delightful personations 
of humorous and eccentric character ; and who was especially noble 
and impressive in parts emblematic of manly worth, human senti- 
ment, rosy and jolly humour, and the graces of domestic life. 

That, equally in his profession and his private walks and ways, 
Mark Smith illustrated integrity of principle that never swerved, 
and gentleness of life that never tired, setting an example of 
honour and goodness, and leaving, now that he is dead, the memory 
of a character and a career that were founded on justice and kind- 
ness and hallowed by virtue, humanity, charity, and good fellowship. 

That we deeply sympathise with the afflicted widow, children, 
and relatives of the deceased actor, commending them to seek 
comfort, as we do, in the thought of his goodness, and of the 
universal esteem in which he was held and in which he is remem- 
bered, and to rest with patient trust upon the Divine will. 

George Holland, still another of Jefferson's com- 
rades, was born in London, England, on December 6, 
1791. His father was a tradesman. The boy was first 
sent to preparatory schools in Lambeth, and afterwards 
to a boarding-school, kept by an eccentric scholar, Dr. 
Dupre*e, at Berkhampstead, Hertfordshire. He did not 
prove a devoted student. He was more remarkable for 
his pranks than for his proficiency in learning. But 
he became distinguished as a cricket-player, and he laid 
the foundation of good health by abundant indulgence 
in that sport. At Dr. DupreVs school he passed two 
years, at the end of which time he was taken home 
by his father and set at work in the silk and ribbon 
warehouse of Hill & Newcombe, Wood street, Cheap- 
side, London. Prior to going thither, though, he 
enjoyed a vacation of six weeks and had his first 
experience of the stage. Astley's amphitheatre existed 
then, and was conducted by Grossman, Smith & Davis. 


One of those managers, Smith, happened to be a 
friend of the Holland family, and by him young 
George was frequently taken to the rehearsals. Les 
Ombres was the name of the entertainment, 
a show consisting of pasteboard figures of men and 
animals, worked with wires, behind an illuminated 
screen. An incidental dialogue was delivered, corre- 
spondent to the action of those dummies. That exhi- 
bition so delighted the boy that he made an imitation 
of it, and so good a one that it made a hit in the home 
circle. With the silk mercers young Holland passed 
six months, selling silk and ribbons and silk hats, the 
latter articles having then only just come into fashion. 
Not liking that pursuit, he next procured work in 
a banking house in Cornhill. His post was that of 
an out-of-door clerk, and his duty required him to walk 
ten miles a day. This made an invalid of him and 
laid him up for two months. After that he passed 
six months in a bill-broker's office and acquired acquaint- 
ance with the volatile art of "kite-flying." Then came 
another illness, on recovering from which he found 
himself a wanderer in London. Accident now brought 
him into association with the once famous Newman, 
who established Newmans Echo, a cheap sheet, pre- 
senting an epitome of the advertisements of "wants " 
and "situations" originally published in the expen- 
sive newspapers of the day. Reading was costly 
in those days, and poor men could get the news 
only by dropping into an alehouse and paying for the 
privilege of taking a turn at the paper. This was the 
cheapest way. Newman's Echo placed a certain class 
of information, gleaned from all the current journals, 


within everybody's reach. So good an idea could not 
fail at the start. Holland worked at it with equal 
fidelity and energy, and Newman soon grew rich. Then 
he speculated with his money and was ruined, and the 
^Echo ceased to be heard. 

Once more at leisure, and waiting for something to 
turn up, young George now devoted some time to the 
art of fencing. This he learned from his brother, who 
was under the tuition of Professor Roland, then a 
distinguished practitioner with the sword. At the 
age of nineteen George was apprenticed to Thomas 
Davison, at Whitefriars, to learn the trade of a printer ; 
and in a somewhat vain pursuit of skill in that vocation 
the unfledged actor spent two years. While the boy 
did not perfect himself as a printer, he gained 
positive distinction in sparring and rowing. He was a 
member of a boat-club ; he could and frequently did 
row from London Bridge to Richmond and back 
again, twenty miles each way ; he frequented the Free 
and Easy, and learned and sang comic songs therein ; 
he made the illustrious acquaintance of Tom Cribb, 
Molineaux, Tom Belcher, Dutch Sam, Iky Solomons, 
and other champions and bruisers ; and he was him- 
self known in that peculiar society as "the Comic 
Chattering Cove." Thus early did those vigorous 
animal spirits and that overwhelming propensity to 
fun find vent, which afterward, for so many years, 
gave brightness to the stage and pleasure to multitudes 
of its supporters. Young Holland's way of life, how- 
ever, did not prove salutary to the printing business, 
and when twenty-one years of age he was fortunate 
enough to get his indentures cancelled, and thereafter 


he followed a natural and independent course, which 
is the only sure road to genuine success. His wan- 
derings first took him to Liverpool. There he found 
no employment, but had a sharp experience of poverty. 
From Liverpool he took passage for Dublin, where he, 
found his father's old friend, Smith, of Astley's am- 
phitheatre, now riding-master at the Castle School, 
a noted institution of the Irish capital. By Smith 
he was kindly received, and under his direction he 
made himself useful in the riding-school, and became 
proficient as a rider and a manager of horses. The 
evenings he passed at the Crow Street theatre. This 
equestrian and dramatic period of his life was brief, as 
he now became a commercial traveller, in the employ- 
ment of Nunn & Co., dealers in thread-lace. For 
two years George Holland drove a mercer's cart 
through Ireland ; and in every town he was successful 
and popular. One can readily imagine that, as a wit 
on the box and a songster in the tavern parlour, he 
would have a great success ; for good humour is a 
greater conqueror in the battle of life than Caesar in 
the battle of nations. In 1816, Holland, at the age of 
twenty-five, was set up in business for himself, to sell 
bobbinet-lace, manufactured in Nottingham. His shop 
was in Crow street, Dublin, near the Crow Street 
theatre, and immediately opposite to a favourite haunt 
of jolly boys, called Peter Kearney's Inn. To that 
resort George frequently repaired, and there he made 
many theatrical acquaintances. The bobbinet-lace busi- 
ness lasted six months, when George settled his affairs, 
took down his sign, and returned to England, to 
embark on that theatrical current which continued, 


through many vicissitudes of fortune, to the end of his 
days. George Holland was fifty-three years an actor. 
More than half a century of entrances and exits ! 

The first engagement that Holland secured was 
made with Samuel Russell, familiarly known as "Jerry 
Sneak Russell," the stage-manager for Robert William 
Elliston, that Elliston, the Magnificent, for whom, as 
Charles Lamb wrote, " the Pauline Muses weep." The 
engagement was to last six weeks, till the close of the 
season at the London Olympic. Elliston then offered 
Holland an engagement at the Birmingham theatre, 
to begin six weeks later. That interval the actor, now 
regularly embarked, spent in travelling, on foot, from 
London to Birmingham, in company with a friendly 
Lanville, or Folair, and exhibiting Les Ombres CJiinois 
at towns on the way. This enterprise, carried on in 
frolic, beguiled the tedium of the journey, and ended 
in a good supper. Arrived at Birmingham, Holland 
found Elliston grandly forgetful of the promised en- 
gagement, but ultimately he succeeded in getting a 
post in the great manager's company, with a salary of 
fifteen shillings a week. On May 19, 1817, the theatre 
opened with Bertram and The Broken Sword. Hol- 
land was cast as one of the monks in the former play, 
and as the Baron in the latter. With the monk he 
prospered well ; but, having permitted a couple of 
brother actors to " make up " his face and head for the 
Baron, which they did with a pantaloon wig and all 
the colours at hand, he went on in the second piece 
an object of such absurdity that he was literally laughed 
and hooted from the stage. A dark Baron would have 
answered every purpose ; but a red, white, and blue 


one was too much for the British public. For a long 
time after that adventure the unlucky comedian was 
known as "Baron Holland." For many days so 
great was his mortification he kept away from the 
theatre, having, indeed, set up a school for teaching 
fencing and boxing. So at length the old sports be- 
came useful auxiliaries in the serious labour of life. 
At last Holland had an explanation with Elliston, was 
reinstated in the company, and was made prompter. 
Brunton was then the stage-manager of the Birming- 
ham theatre, the father of the afterwards famous 
Miss Brunton, who finally became the Countess of 
Craven, and of that other Miss Brunton, Anne, who 
married in succession, Merry, Wignell, and Warren, 
and was once the chief actress of the American stage. 
While Holland was prompter, Macready came to the 
Birmingham theatre, and played Rob Roy. Other 
stars came also, and among them Vincent de Camp, 
with whom he formed an acquaintance that was destined 
to be of much value to him. Holland was now offered 
an engagement at the theatre in Newcastle-on-Tyne, 
accepting which he went to London, and thence pro- 
ceeded to Newcastle by a sailing vessel, that being the 
cheapest route. On that voyage he met Miss Povey, 
afterwards Mrs. Knight, and Junius Brutus Booth, 
together with other theatrical performers, bound to the 
same place. With Booth he formed a friendship which 
lasted all the days of the latter actor's life, and 
which the comedian always cherished in tender recol- 
lection. After finishing his engagement at Newcastle, 
Holland went to Manchester, with Usher, and there 
played as Harlequin. That was in 1819, the year of 


certain local disturbances known and remembered as 
the Peterloo riots. In December of that year Holland 
returned to Newcastle, which thenceforward, during five 
seasons, he made his home. The season in those times 
began in December and ended in May. During the 
summer Holland travelled, acting wherever occasion 
offered. While he was acting at the Newcastle theatre, 
in one of his annual engagements, his fondness for 
practical jokes and deviltry of all sorts frequently 
illustrated in mischievous adventures brought a tem- 
porary disaster upon him ; for, snipping at his nose 
one night, with a large pair of shears, for the amuse- 
ment of an enlightened public, he cut that useful organ 
very nearly into two pieces. It was well mended, 
though, and the wound left no visible scar. Holland's 
exceedingly natural acting on this occasion, nobody in 
front knowing what ailed him, was the subject of 
universal commendation, particularly from the manager, 
who sent an urgent request that the comedian would 
nightly repeat his spirited and remarkable performance. 
In the season of 1825-26 Holland was engaged at 
the London Haymarket theatre, under the manage- 
ment of T. P. Cooke. At a later period he fulfilled an 
engagement at the Surrey theatre. But his English 
career was now drawing to a close. At Christmas, 
1826, Junius Brutus Booth, then stage-manager of the 
Chatham Street theatre, New York, sent a letter offer- 
ing him an American engagement. That epistle in 
the earnest, simple style characteristic of all the writings 
of the great tragedian gives interesting details with 
reference to the condition of the New York stage in 
1826, when Edwin Forrest was a rising young actor, 


and Lester and J. W. Wallack, Jr., were boys, and 
Joseph Jefferson and Edwin Booth were yet unborn. 
(It is reprinted among the memorials in this volume, 
see p. 293.) Holland did not at once come over, but 
the allurement proved strong, and in the following year 
he accepted an engagement at the Bowery theatre. 
It was in August, 1827, in the ship Colttmbia, that he 
sailed for New York. 

The Bowery theatre, then called the New York 
theatre, was an important institution in the dramatic 
world when Holland came to America, and his appear- 
ance there, on September 12, 1827, naturally attracted 
attention. He acted in A Day After the Fair, then 
a favourite farce, and made a decided hit. It was a 
long time, though, before the comedian settled into 
a permanent position. For years after he arrived in 
America he led the nomadic life of his tribe. I trace 
him to the Tremont theatre, in Boston, then managed 
by Pelby. Afterwards he played at the Federal Street 
theatre, in the same city, long a favourite shrine of 
the dramatic muse, but now gone. Then he returned 
to New York, and established his residence at Yorkville. 
Then he performed at Albany. On January 21, 1829, 
he made his first appearance at New Orleans, in the 
Pearl Street theatre, afterwards called the Academy 
of Music. In the same year he acted at Louisville, 
Cincinnati, Natchez, Vicksburg, Montgomery, Mobile, 
Philadelphia, Boston, Salem, and Providence. This 
record shows how an actor was obliged to flit about 
in old times, and how hard he had to work ; for travel- 
ling was not then what it is now, nor could the country 
boast such theatres anywhere as now adorn it in almost 


every city. On September' 30, 1829, Holland took a 
benefit at the Bowery theatre, New York. Immedi- 
ately afterwards I trace him on another expedition, this 
time in company with Mr. and Mrs. Blake, with T. A. 
Cooper as manager, and a powerful combination it 
was, and a jovial time they must have had. In June, 
1830, the comedian occupied what was known as 
Holland's Cottage, at Yorkville, N.Y. That was a 
snug suburban inn and one that enjoyed much favour. 
Holland, indeed, was always a popular man, and if 
his business capacity had kept pace with his profes- 
sional success he would have gained a fortune. That 
success never waited on his efforts. As a worker he 
began, and to the last he lived in harness and ready 
to do his best. Leaving the Yorkville cottage in the 
fall of 1831, he once more went out with Cooper. 
That season of roving began on October 10, in that 
year, and lasted till April 10, 1832. Hamblin and 
John Henry Barton accompanied the party, and they 
played at Augusta, Savannah, Charleston, and New 
Orleans. Holland's portion of the entertainment was 
entitled Whims of a Comedian. It was a medley and 
included feats of ventriloquism, for which this actor was 
celebrated. "The whole of this performance," said the 
programme, " will be recited, acted, sung, and gesticu- 
lated by Mr. Holland alone." The bill of the play con- 
tained eight distinct features, and the price of admission 
was fixed at $i, which was a high price in those days. 

From New Orleans the party went up the Missis- 
sippi, and so to Pittsburg, where Holland's engagement 
terminated. He then went to Cincinnati and to Louis- 
ville, and, in association with N. M. Ludlow, gave enter- 


tainments in the principal towns of Kentucky and 
Tennessee. Subsequently, combining forces with Mr. 
and Mrs. Knight, he visited Nashville, and gave per- 
formances during one week, which were successful. 
This was in the cholera season of 1832, and here, as 
afterwards at New Orleans, the performances given by 
Holland exerted a cheering and reassuring influence 
over the public mind, inclined as it was to panic, in the 
presence of the baleful disease. In 1834 Holland was 
associated with old Sol Smith in the management 
of the theatre at Montgomery, Ala. Allusion is 
made to this fact on p. 103 of Sol Smith's Theatrical 
Management: "The season in Montgomery this year 
(1834) commenced on the i6th of January. The cele- 
brated George Holland joined me in the management, 
and the firm was Smith & Holland. . . . My business 
connection with George Holland was a very pleasant 
one. We parted at the close of the season with mutual 
good feelings." Jane Placide and George H. Barrett 
were members of the company at the Montgomery 
theatre. Holland went back to New Orleans on 
leaving Sol Smith, and was there made secretary of 
the New Orleans Gas-light and Banking Company. 
Not long afterward he accepted the post of private 
secretary to J. H. Caldwell, and treasurer of the St. 
Charles theatre. That was in the season of 1835-36, 
which began on November 30, 1835, with Miss Cush- 
man as the star. She played Patrick, in The Poor 
Soldier, Helen Macgregor, in Rob Roy, Peter Wilkins, 
Lady Macbeth, and other characters. During the same 
season Mr. and Mrs. Keeley, J. W. Wallack, C. K. 
Mason, Finn, A. A. Adams, and Madame Celeste 


filled engagements at the -St. Charles, and with all 
those theatric luminaries Holland had friendly re- 
lations in his capacity as treasurer. An opera troupe, 
including Adelaide Pedratti, G. B. Montressor, Antonio 
de Rosa, and others, came on Sunday, March 6, 1836, 
and again on December 4. In the mean time Holland 
had been very ill, so ill, indeed, that he was not ex- 
pected to recover, but a trip to Havana restored 
him to health, and after six months in that lovely 
island he came back with renewed vigour to his 
labours at the St. Charles. The Jewess, after fifteen 
months of preparation, was produced with success on 
December 25, 1837, an d the season closed on April 29, 
1838. During the following season performances were 
given there by Forrest, Booth, J. R. Scott, Finn, J. M. 
Field, Farren, Sam. Cowell, Ellen Tree, Celeste, and 
Josephine Clifton. Those details suggest what the 
theatre was, in old days, in the matter of acting, and 
they also suggest the associations into which George 
Holland was thrown, associations whereby, when old, 
he was a " mine of memories." On one of the bills 
of the St. Charles appeared these notices, which may 
indicate what were the manners of the time, among 
theatre-going people : " It is particularly requested that 
dogs will not be brought to the theatre, as they Cannot 
be admitted. Peanuts are proscribed." In the sea- 
son of 1840 Fanny Ellsler appeared at the St. Charles, 
engaged for $1000 a night, and a benefit, on which 
latter occasion she was to have all the receipts except 
$500. Those terms were made by Holland, in the 
absence of Caldwell, to secure the great attraction and 
keep it out of the rival theatre. On the first night the 


receipts were $3446.50, and for the ten nights of Fanny 
Ellsler's engagement the average receipts were $2597.35. 
The benefit brought in $3760. Holland paid to the 
great dancer $10,000 for the ten performances; $3260 
for her benefit; and $1192 for half benefit to Avalini 
and Silvani, her companions, in all, $14,453. Yet 
this enterprise was a thorough success to the theatre. 
On March 13, 1842, the St. Charles theatre was burned, 
and so ended Holland's connection with the most pros- 
perous establishment in which he had ever been en- 
gaged. Caldwell, the manager, survived his losses, and 
was a wealthy man to the last, dying in New York in 
the autumn of 1863. 

After the St. Charles had been destroyed, Holland 
made a trip with Dr. Lardner, who gave a series of 
lectures and illustrated them with pictures. The party 
visited Mobile, Natchez, Vicksburg, Jacksonville, Nash- 
ville, St. Louis (at which place they found Gentleman 
George H. Barrett keeping a restaurant), Louisville, Cin- 
cinnati, and Buffalo. From the latter place to Troy, 
Holland sailed in a canal-boat. Arrived in New York, 
he found his old acquaintance, Mitchell, engaged in the 
management of the Olympic theatre. He had known 
Mitchell since the year 1818, when both were members 
of De Camp's theatrical company at Newcastle. By 
Mitchell he was engaged, and in the Olympic com- 
pany he remained, constantly acting and always a pub- 
lic favourite, from 1843 to 1849. His first appearance 
at the Olympic was made on September 4, 1843, in A Day 
After the Fair and The Bill of Fare. In the summer 
of 1844 he acted, with Mitchell's company, at Niblo's, 
as Lobwitz, in The Child of the Regiment, Hassarac in 


Open Sesame, and divers other characters. In 1849 
Holland accepted an engagement at the Varieties 
theatre, New Orleans, and there, says Sol Smith, "he 
enjoyed a popularity never perhaps achieved by any 
other actor in that city." Thomas Placide was then 
the manager of the Varieties. In 1853 Holland was a 
member of Burton's company, in New York. On 
August 10, that year, on the occasion of the opening 
of the theatre, he acted Sunnyside, in A Capital 
Match, and Thomas, in The Secret. In the mean time, 
Wallack's theatre, at first called Wallack's Lyceum, 
had been opened, on September 8, 1852; and in the 
third season Holland was added to the company, ap- 
pearing on September 12, 1855, as Chubb, in John 
Brougham's Game of Love. With Wallack's he re- 
mained connected seceding only once, which was in 
the panic days of 1857, when he joined Christy's Min- 
strels until the end of the season of 1867-68. His 
last engagement was made with Augustin Daly, and 
in the season of 1869-70 he acted several times at 
the Fifth Avenue theatre. His last professional ap- 
pearance was made there on January 12, 1870, as the 
Reporter, in Miss Olive Logan's farcical comedy of Surf. 
Subsequently, on May 16, on the occasion of his benefit, 
the veteran appeared before the curtain, not having 
taken part in the presentation (the play was Fron- 
Frou], and made a brief but touching speech, con- 
sisting of three words, " God bless you ! " He died, 
at 309 Third avenue, New York, on Tuesday, Decem- 
ber 20, 1870. His death had been expected for a long 
time. During many months he clung to life by the 
slenderest thread. When at last, about five o'clock 


in the morning of December 20, he fell into his final 
sleep, he sunk away so calmly that his friends who 
surrounded him were unaware of his decease. He was 
eighty years old. The most of his long life was passed 
in active industry. His last days were much oppressed 
by the suffering incidental to infirmity. He bore those 
trials well, however, and flashes of his characteristic 
drollery and delightful humour often enlivened the 
gloom of the closing scenes. The refusal of a promi- 
nent clergyman of New York to allow Holland's funeral 
in his church, for the reason that he had been an actor, 
coupled with a mention of a "little church around the 
corner," prompted Jefferson's exclamation, "God bless 
the little church around the corner," and made that the 
church of the actors, for all time. Holland was buried 
from the church of the Transfiguration, in Twenty-ninth 
street, New York, the Rev. George H. Houghton 
reading the service. Performances for the benefit of 
his widow and children, given at the instance and 
mainly under the care of the present writer, produced 
a fund of $13,608.41. 

Holland's life was full of strange vicissitudes ; but it 
was animated by honest principle and characterised by 
faithful labour and spotless integrity. Holland was a 
good man. He attained a high rank in his profession, 
largely by reason of his skill as an artist, but more 
largely by reason of his natural endowments. He was a 
humourist of the eccentric order. To the comedian 
is accorded the happy privilege of casting the roses of 
mirth on the pathway of his fellowmen, making glad 
their hearts with cheerful and kindly feeling and light- 
ing up their faces with the sunshine of innocent pleas- 


ure. In the exercise of that privilege George Holland 
added in no inconsiderable degree to the sum of human 
happiness. He honoured his vocation. He respected 
himself. He performed his duty. This is no slight 
victory, in a world of strife, vicissitude, care, and pain ; 
but it is the rightful reward of goodness, devoted 
labour, and genuine talent. It is the crown of honour, 
and that veteran actor wore it with equal right and 

One of Jefferson's special friends, and one whose 
name occupies a conspicuous place in the annals of the 
American stage, was John T. Ford, long the leader of 
theatrical management in the Southern States of the 
American Union. He was not an actor, but as the 
friend and companion of actors throughout the genera- 
tion now closed or closing, and as one of Jefferson's 
comrades from the first, he should be commemorated 
in this chronicle. 

John T. Ford was born in Baltimore, Md., April 16, 
1829, and his youth was trained in the public schools of 
that city. It is remembered that he was a pupil at 
Grammar School No. 6, in Ross street, now Druid Hill 
avenue, and that William R. Creery, now dead, was his 
teacher, a gentleman and a scholar, who afterward be- 
came superintendent of the Baltimore public schools, 
and, to the last, enjoyed honour in that community. 
Successful men owe much to their good teachers, and 
the name of such a teacher should not be forgotten. 
While yet in his teens, the youthful Ford was employed 
by his uncle, William Greanor, a prosperous tobacco 
merchant of Richmond, Va. ; but the boy did not like 
that business, and he relinquished it and went into the 


book trade. That, too, was presently abandoned, and 
in 1851, having returned to Baltimore, he became the 
agent for the Nightingale Serenaders, a minstrel troupe 
organised by George Kunkel. With that he travelled 
during several seasons, visiting all the cities between 
the Atlantic and the Mississippi, the St. Lawrence 
river and the Gulf of Mexico. At that time, also, he 
wrote, as correspondent of The Baltimore Clipper. In 
1854-55 Ford became manager of the Holliday Street 
theatre, Baltimore, a house with which, fifty years 
before, his maternal grandmother had been associated, 
when Warren and Wood first managed it, and that 
field of labour he continued to cultivate for more than 
twenty years. Louisa Pyne, Adelina Patti, Edwin For- 
rest, Charles Kean, and many other artists were there 
presented, under his management. Rachel was en- 
gaged by him to act there, but when the time arrived 
she was too ill to appear. Jefferson, Edwin Adams, 
and John McCullough won early successes in the old 
Holliday Street theatre, and many new plays by 
George H. Miles, Edward Spencer, Clifton W. Tayleure, 
Annie Ford, and other distinctively Southern authors 
were originally produced there. In 1871 Ford built 
the Grand Opera House, Baltimore, and there his atten- 
tion and labour were centred, though not to the neglect 
of many important outlying enterprises. Baltimore was 
always Ford's home, and in that city he filled many 
offices of trust and honour. He served as acting mayor 
of Baltimore, member and president of the city council, 
president of the Union Railroad Company, many times 
foreman of the grand jury in both the state and county 
courts, president of a land association, director of the 


Maryland Penitentiary, and president of the Society for 
providing Free Summer Excursions and Food for the 
Poor. Every year he gave a performance in aid of the 
latter association, and the proceeds each year exceeded 
$2000. Ford always had the esteem and affection of 
his neighbours, as a just, generous, public-spirited 

Ford's first theatrical venture in Washington was 
undertaken in 1854, and from that time he conducted 
dramatic enterprises in that city. He built three thea- 
tres in Washington, two in Tenth street, and one at 
the corner of Ninth street and Louisiana avenue, named 
Ford's Opera House. His first theatre in Tenth street 
was burned down, and on the site of it he built the 
house known as Ford's theatre, and associated with one 
of the most terrible and afflicting tragedies of modern 
times. At the time of the murder of Lincoln, Ford and 
his brother Henry were for thirty-nine days detained in 
the Capitol prison ; but, having been fully exonerated, 
they were released. The theatre was seized by the 
United States government, and an order was issued 
prohibiting forever its use as a place of amusement. 
Ford received from the National Treasury $100,000 in 
payment for the building. It was used for public offices, 
and in 1893 it fell and killed many persons. After his 
twenty years of theatrical management in Washington, 
The Evening Star, a leading journal of the Capitol, 
described Ford's business proceedings there as having 
been marked by " rare integrity, indomitable will, and 
great sagacity." 

Previous to the establishment of his theatre in Wash- 
ington, Ford had often visited the city as an itinerant 


manager, and at a very early time in his theatrical 
career he had broken ground for enterprises along the 
Southern circuit. As long ago as 1857 he was associ- 
ated with the management of the theatre in Richmond, 
Va., and had Joseph Jefferson for stage-manager 
and Edwin Adams for leading man. John Wilkes 
Booth was a member of his company at that theatre 
in 1858. For nearly thirty years Ford furnished the 
Southern people with theatrical exhibitions. Edwin 
Booth, Joseph Jefferson, Charlotte Cushman, Madame 
Janauschek, Madame Modjeska, Mary Anderson, and 
many other celebrated actors travelled through the 
South under his guidance. In 1878 he assumed the 
management of the Broad Street theatre, Philadelphia, 
owned by John S. Clarke, the comedian. The place 
had been thought unfortunate. Heavy losses had been 
incurred there by previous managers. The season of 
1878-79 was, generally, bad; but Ford prospered, 
and the engagements of Booth, Jefferson, the Hess 
English Opera Company, and finally the Pinafore 
carried him buoyantly through the year. Ford's pro- 
duction of Pinafore was the earliest, after that of 
Montgomery Field at the Boston Museum. Attentive 
care was bestowed upon its musical requirements, and 
Ford was the first manager in America to offer com- 
pensation to the authors of the piece. Their pleasant 
memory of that proceeding doubtless prompted Gil- 
bert and Sullivan, in coming to America with a new 
opera, to entrust their business interests to his hands, 
whereupon he leased the Fifth Avenue theatre, New 
York, and there produced The. Pirates of Pensance, in 
the season of 1879-80. 


The death of Ben de Bar, August 28, 1877, left Ford 
the oldest living manager in America. For thirty years 
the entire line of theatres on the Southern circuit, 
from Baltimore to New Orleans, was largely subject 
to his administration of affairs. He wielded a greater 
power than was possessed by either Caldwell or de 
Bar. He was the last of the former generation 
of theatrical directors, the Hodgkinsons, Hallams, 
Warrens, Woods, and Barrys of long ago. Ford was 
married when young, and he reared a family of eleven 
children. The sudden death, in 1878, of his daughter 
Annie, a lovely and talented lady, was a heavy 
affliction. His children, educated in close association 
with the theatre, are an honour and credit to their 
parents and their vocation. His son, Charles E. 
Ford, worthily succeeded to his father's dramatic 
enterprises. Beginning business life with scarcely 
a dollar, Ford lived to control some of the wealthiest 
interests of his State, and where he once worked for a 
pittance built houses costing half a million. Baltimore 
was never accounted a good theatrical city, its inhabi- 
tants being largely engrossed with social pleasures and 
home life ; yet there Ford reared and sustained the 
stage, as one of the first and best of contemporary insti- 
tutions. He long resided in a fine mansion, in the 
northwest part of his native city, overlooking the town, 
the forest, and the distant bay ; and there, surrounded 
by books and friends, he viewed serenely the results of 
a well-spent life and the advance of an honourable, 
peaceful age. He died suddenly on March 14, 1894, 
and was buried at Greenmount. 


JEFFERSON is an actor in whom the romantic ardour 
of devotion to the dramatic art has never languished. 
Youth is gone, but neither its enthusiasm, its faith, 
nor its fire. He still embodies Rip Van Winkle with a 
sincerity as intense and with an artistic execution as 
thorough and as fresh as if the part were new, and as if 
he were playing it for the first time. The spontaneous 
drollery ; the wildwood freedom ; the endearing gentle- 
ness ; the piquant, quizzical sapience ; the unconscious 
humour; the pathetic blending of forlorn, wistful patience 
with awe-stricken apprehension ; the dazed, submissive, 
drifting surrender to the current of Fate ; and the appar- 
ently careless but clear-cut and beautiful method, all 
those attributes, that bewitched the community long 
ago, remain unchanged, and have lost no particle of 
their charm. The details of those familiar attractions 
the discomfiture of craft by simplicity, the expulsion 
from a desolated home, the flight into the night and the 
tempest, the aged wanderer's return, the recognition 
between father and daughter are matters of general 
knowledge. Irradiated as they long have been by the 
genius of Jefferson, they could not be forgotten. It is 
forty years since he played the part for the first time ; 


a photograph, by Sarony. 


and although at the outset his performance was viewed 
with indifference, it is now recognised throughout the 
world as a great achievement. Most persons who have 
seen Jefferson as Rip would probably name that achieve- 
ment as essentially the most natural piece of acting ever 
presented within their observation. In its effect it is 
natural ; in its method, in the process by which it is 
wrought, it is absolutely artificial. In that method 
not forgetting the soul within that method will be 
found the secret of its power ; in the art with which 
genius transfigures and interprets actual life ; and in 
that, furthermore, dwells the secret of all good acting. 
If you would produce the effect of nature, in dramatic 
art, you must not be natural ; you must be artificial, but 
you must seem to be natural. The same step, the same 
gesture, the same tone of voice, the same force of facial 
expression that you involuntarily use in the proceedings 
of actual, every-day life will not, upon the stage, prove 
adequate. They may indicate your meaning, but they 
will not convey it. Their result will be tame, narrow, 
and insufficient. Your step must be lengthened ; your 
tone must be elevated ; your facial muscles must be 
allowed a freer play ; the sound with which you in- 
tend to produce the effect of a sigh must leave your 
lips as a sob. The actor who is exactly natural in his 
demeanour and speech upon the stage who acts and 
speaks precisely as he would act and speak in a room 
wearies his audience, because he falls short of his object 
and is indefinite and commonplace. Jefferson, as Rip, 
has to present, among other aspects of human nature, a 
temperament that, to some extent, is swayed by an in- 
firmity, the appetite for intoxicant liquor. That, in 


actual life, is offensive ; but that, as shown by Jefferson, 
when it reaches his auditors reaches them only as the 
token or suggestion of an amiable weakness ; and that 
weakness, and not the symptom of it, is the spring of 
the whole character and action. The hiccough with 
which Rip looks in at the window of the cottage where 
the offended Gretchen is waiting for him, is not the 
obnoxious hiccough of a sot, but the playful hiccough 
of an artist who is only suggesting a sot. The effect is 
natural. The process is artificial. Jefferson constantly 
addresses the imagination, and he uses imagination with 
which to address it. In actual life the garments worn 
by Rip would be soiled. In Jefferson's artistic scheme 
the studied shabbiness and carefully selected tatters are 
scrupulously clean ; and they are made not only harmo- 
nious in colour, and thus so pleasing to the eye that 
they attract no especial attention, but accordant with 
the sweet drollery and listless, indolent, drifting spirit 
of the character. No idea could easily be suggested 
more incongruous with probability, more unnatural and 
fantastic, than the idea of a tipsy vagabond encircled by 
a ring of Dutch ghosts, on the top of a mountain, -in the 
middle of the night; but when Jefferson by the deep 
feeling and affluent imagination with which he fills the 
scene, and by the vigilant, firm, unerring, technical skill 
with which he controls his forces and guides them to 
effect has made that idea a living fact, no spectator 
of the weird, thrilling, pathetic picture ever thinks of it 
as unnatural. The illusion is perfect, and it is perfectly 
maintained. All along its line the character of Rip 
the impossible hero of an impossible experience is so 
essentially unnatural that if it were impersonated in the 


literal manner of nature it would produce the effect of 
whirling extravagance. Jefferson, pouring his soul into 
an ideal of which he is himself the creator, an ideal 
which does not exist either in Washington Irving's 
story, or Charles Burke's play, or Dion Boucicault's 
adaptation of Burke, and treating that idea in a poetic 
spirit, as to every fibre, tone, hue, motion, and attitude, 
has made Rip as natural as if we had personally partici- 
pated in his aimless and wandering life. So potent, 
indeed, is the poetic art of the actor that the dog 
Schneider, who is never shown, possesses, all the same, 
a positive existence in our thoughts. The principal 
truth denoted by Jefferson's acting, therefore, is the 
necessity of clear perception of what is meant by 
" nature." The heights are reached only when inspira- 
tion is guided by intellectual purpose and used with ar- 
tistic skill. Shakespeare, with his incomparable felicity, 
has crystallised this principle into diamond light : 

" Over that art, 

Which you say adds to nature, is an art 
Which nature makes." 

The same law should decide the question of correct- 
ness in the staging and dressing of plays. Correctness 
is essential, but it can be carried too far. Cardinal 
Wolsey had only one good eye, a peculiarity that is 
thought to account for the fact that he was always 
painted in profile; but the stage representative of Car- 
dinal Wolsey could scarcely be expected to extinguish 
an optic for the sake of perfecting his resemblance to 
that historical person. It would be natural and correct 
for Queen Katherine to resort to her pocket-handker- 
chief. Few ladies have been furnished with better 


reason for tears. But if that deposed and afflicted 
monarch were to sound a bugle note in the vision scene 
of King Henry VIII. it is obvious that the illusion would 
be destroyed. If the plays of Macbeth and Lear were 
to be dressed in strict accordance with the custom of 
their respective periods, some of the persons in them 
would appear in skins, chiefly their own. There is no 
wisdom in an over-scrupulous fidelity to fact. When 
Henry Irving accomplished his beautiful production of 
Charles the First, which opens with a scene at Hampton 
Court, showing the artificial lakes girded with superb 
trees, as they are at present, one sapient observer 
promptly advised him, by post, that he had made a 
serious mistake, because there were no trees at Hamp- 
ton in Charles's time. No such consideration is of the 
least importance. Upon the stage, where the story of 
a life or of a long historic period must be told in two or 
three hours, the essential result is effect. To that must 
be sacrificed correctness and all that is ordinarily meant 
by "nature." The actor will not make his audience cry, 
if he unrestrictedly cries himself. He will not make his 
audience feel, if his own feeling escapes from his control. 
Munden's answer to the youthful aspirant who had an- 
nounced his purpose to be "natural" in comedy was 
peremptory, but sensible : " Nature be damned ! You 
make your audience laugh!" Garrick, when playing 
King Lear, would walk up the stage, while waiting for 
the applause to subside after one of his tempestuous 
outbursts in that character, and with a grimace and a 
chuckle, whispering to the Fool, played by Austin, 
would say, "Joe, this is stage feeling." Yet Garrick 
had a command over the emotions of his auditors such 


as no other actor has surpassed, and few have ever 
equalled. Mrs. Siddons, when playing Constance, wept 
over Prince Arthur to such an extent that his collar was 
wet with her tears ; yet when she rushed from the stage, 
in the full tide of overwhelming anguish, as Constance 
or Belvidcra or Mrs. Beverley, she would walk placidly 
to the green-room, taking snuff with the utmost com- 
posure. Once, addressing an associate who was per- 
forming with her, in The Deserter, she gravely added, 
after praising his performance : " But, Kelly, you feel 
too much. If you feel so strongly you will never make 
an actor." One of Talma's best effects in acting was 
obtained by his use of a cry of anguish which he had 
first uttered on suddenly hearing of his mother's death, 
and which he had immediately committed to memory. 
Edmund Kean gave a certain sob, when he said, "Othello's 
occupation's gone," which was irresistibly affecting, 
until he fell into the custom of using it too often. 
"They have found me out," he said, on one occasion, 
when it was hissed. Mrs. Mowatt records that once 
when she was acting Mrs. Haller, with Mr. Moorhouse 
as the Stranger, in the most pathetic passage of that 
play, the audience being in tears, the afflicted Stran- 
ger murmured in her ear, "They are sending round 
umbrellas." The most comical wink I ever saw was 
bestowed upon me, as an auditor on the front seat, by 
that great actor Edwin Booth, who, in the terrible char- 
acter of Richard III., was standing upon the stage and 
just about to interrupt the funeral procession of King 
Henry VI. Those illustrations indicate the first princi- 
ple of dramatic art, absolute self-command. Those 
players were not insincere. Mrs. Siddons was not less 


in earnest because she did not allow herself to be swept 
away by her feelings. There never was a greater artist. 
"Cooke," said Lord Byron, "was the most natural actor, 
Kemble the most supernatural, Kean the medium be- 
tween the two; but Mrs. Siddons was worth them all 
put together." 

In dramatic writing the primal necessity is the same. 
The first things to be considered are action and effect. 
Dion Boucicault who was not remarkable as a writer, 
and who, as an actor, was technical, mechanical, and 
imitative possessed a rare and fine talent for compo- 
sition essentially dramatic. His little play of Kerry is 
an alteration and rearrangement of a well-known French 
comedy, Le Joie Fait Peiir, and his performance of 
Kerry was an Irish copy of an embodiment that he saw 
given by a good French comedian. His fine drama 
of Daddy O 1 Dowd was deduced from the much older 
play of The Porter's Knot, and his performance as 
O'Dowd was an Irish copy of Benjamin Webster. His 
excellent impersonation of the Shaughraun by which 
he was best known and by which, probably, he will be 
best remembered was an Irish copy of Jefferson's 
Rip Van Winkle, in the youthful part of it. If Bouci- 
cault had not known the one originated and suggested 
to him by Jefferson he would not have thought of the 
other. There is abundant discrepancy between the two 
figures, but the spirit and the dramatic purpose are the 
same in both. Boucicault almost always knew a good 
thing when he saw it, and his instinct as to dramatic 
effect was inerrant. In his play of The Octoroon, 
based on one of the stories of Captain Mayne Reid, 
the action is so copious and so incessant that the piece 


may be said actually to lack the relief of sufficient words. 
It was in that piece that the daguerreotype was first 
used as a dramatic expedient. It is left for a moment 
exposed in a lonely place, and in that moment it catches 
the visage of a murderer in the very act of his crime, 
a picture to be subsequently used with fatal, irresistible 
effect. No one who ever saw that piece will forget the 
sudden parting of the cane-brake in the swamp, the 
swift appearance of the avenging Indian, his momentary 
pause, and then his stealthy, implacable, terrible exit, 
upon the track of the assassin. In his play of Jessie 
Brown, which illustrates that fictitious story, wholly 
a newspaper invention, about the Scotch girl who heard 
afar off, and before any one else could hear it, the slogan 
of the Macgregor, at the Relief of Lucknow, there is 
a wonderful dramatic moment, and it is a moment 
entirely without words. It is the moment when the 
suspicious Nana Sahib, impassive but malignant and 
sinister, pauses watchfully beside the captive Jessie, 
who is sitting upon the floor, upon a bit of carpet that 
covers the hole through which the English soldiers are 
presently to make their entrance. Those soldiers have 
mined a passage beneath the palace, and the desired 
relief is close at hand. The least symptom of discom- 
posure on the part of the girl would now be fatal. She 
sits there, upon the brink of the deadliest peril, and as 
she sways her body gently to and fro, she softly sings 
the melody of the Blue Bells of Scotland, while the 
fateful eyes of the impacable Indian gaze on her in mute 
deliberation and reptile menace. The suspense of that 
situation cannot be conveyed in words, it must be 
felt. That is true drama. Another illustration of it 


would be found in Boucicault's play of Belle Lamar. 
That piece opens with a moonlit, rustic scene on the 
banks of the Potomac. A Federal soldier is pacing up 
and down in the silence, a sentry at his post. Pres- 
ently, thinking perhaps of his sweetheart at home, he 
breaks into song, and then he is again silent. In the 
stillness that follows, high, clear, vibrant, the voice of 
an unseen Confederate sentinel, across the river, peals 
out the silver melody of Maryland, My Maryland, while 
the Federal picket stops on his beat and listens. In 
that effect was instantly crystallised the whole idea of 
opposition and contrast in the Civil War. It was, in a 
modified form, an application of Shakespeare's thought, 
in the prelude to Act IV. of Henry V. : 

" Now entertain conjecture of a time 
When creeping murmur and the poring dark 
Fills the wide vessel of the universe. 
From camp to camp, through the foul womb of night, 
The hum of either army stilly sounds, 
That the fixed sentinels almost receive 
The secret whispers of each other's watch. 
Fire answers fire : and through their paly flames 
Each battle sees the other's umber'd face. 
Steed threatens steed, in high and boastful neighs, 
Piercing the night's dull ear ; and from the tents 
The armourers, accomplishing the knights, 
With busy hammers closing rivets up, 
Give dreadful note of preparation." 

In another of Boucicault's plays, The Long Strike, 
which was based on a novel by Mrs. Gaskell, there is 
a remarkably felicitous illustration of the dramatic prin- 
ciple. A benevolent but crusty old bachelor lawyer, 


Mr. Moneypenny, beautifully acted by James H. Stod- 
dart, 1 is disturbed at his evening fireside by the visita- 
tion of a poor girl, who has been waiting at his door for 
some hours in the cold, who seems very wretched, and 
who will not go away. For a brief time he is resolute, 
and he will not allow her to come in. But he cannot 
compose himself and, after much grumbling, he permits 
her approach. The girl is in great trouble. Her sweet- 
heart is accused of murder. He is innocent. The tes- 

1 James H. Stoddart, a native of Barnsley, Yorkshire, England, was 
born October 21, 1827. His father was an actor, and for twenty-five years 
was associated with the Theatre Royal at Glasgow, under the management 
of John Henry Alexander. In that theatre Stoddart began his career, 
while yet a boy, going on as page, peasant, juvenile lord, or other such 
subsidiary person, receiving one shilling a night when he had a speaking 
part, and sixpence a night when he was not required to speak. He did 
not, however, long remain there, but, in association with a younger 
brother, formed a company at Aberdeen, and thence wandered for a time 
through the north of Scotland. At Aberdeen, in November, 1848, he 
played Hamlet. He was subsequently associated with theatres in York- 
shire, and thence he went to Liverpool, and in 1854 he came to America. 
His first appearance was announced at Burton's theatre, September 6, 1854, 
as Sir Anthony Absolute, but he appeared at Wallack's, September 7, 
as Sowerberry, in A Phenomenon in a Smock Frock. He has been 
associated with Laura Keene's theatre, the Olympic, the Winter Garden, 
the Union Square, the Madison Square, and Palmer's theatre. In a letter 
about his early days Stoddart wrote (December 3, 1892) as follows: 

" Alexander in the course of his seasons played a great many patriotic Scotch dramas 
in which my oldest brother and myself were often opposed to each other in deadly strife. 
We were quite celebrated for our combats, two up and two down sort of thing. He being 
the older, always killed me, but even in defeat I came off with the honours, for when I 
was stabbed I used to pause for a moment, make myself quite rigid, and then fall back- 
wards; it always got a recognition, and I obtained quite a reputation for my back falls : 
so much so that my brother wanted to be the defeated party, but I would not have it. 
My brother and I were together in Glasgow for many winters, wandering through the 
smaller places in the north of Scotland the other portion of the year. The dear lad is 
long since dead. I still look back to the wanderings of my boyhood life as the happiest 
of all my theatrical career." 


timony of one man, and that only, can save his life. The 
man is a sailor, on board of a ship that has just sailed 
from Liverpool. If that sailor can be recalled, the girl's 
lover can be vindicated and rescued. The old lawyer 
becomes interested. There is, he explains, one chance. 
The telegraph from Liverpool may stop that ship at the 
mouth of the Mersey. That chance shall be taken. The 
scene changes to the office of the telegraph. The old 
man and the girl enter, among others, and the lawyer 
offers his dispatch. The clerk declines it. The station 
at the Heads, he declares, has long been closed for the 
night. The dispatch of a message would be useless. 
The lawyer pleads. The operator, at first impatient, 
then more considerate, finally assents to his request. 
He will signal the seaside station. This he proceeds to 
do. There is no response. The office is about to close. 
All the people are gone, except the operator, the lawyer, 
and the girl. There is a moment of dead and despairing 
silence. In that moment, suddenly, vibrating through 
the stillness with a quick, sharp, decisive sound that 
makes every heart leap with joy, comes the click of 
the telegraph, answering from the coast. The operator 
is by chance still there ; the message can be sent, and 
the ship can be stopped. What follows is, of course, 
happiness. No other effect in any of Boucicault's plays 
is commensurate with that of the telegraph, and it would 
be hard to find any other effect so dramatic in any mod- 
ern play. It applies to domestic drama the principle so 
superbly denoted by Shakespeare in the knocking at the 
gate in Macbeth. 

It is not pretended that excellence in the drama is 
dependent upon mechanical devices. The stage-carpen- 


ter cannot take the place of- the dramatist. It is only 
meant that there is a dramatic way of telling a story, 
and that the narrative way which is the way natural 
to most writers does not produce a dramatic effect. 
If everything could be put into words there would be 
no need of the stage, and the occupation of the actor 
would be gone. Dramatic art supplies an element that 
nothing else can give. You can read and enjoy Hamlet 
in your library ; but you will enjoy it much more if, 
having read it, you see it rightly acted. Consider, for 
example, the startling significance of the first line in 
that tragedy. In Hamlet the ghost of a king, who has 
been murdered, haunts the castle of Elsinore. That 
ghost is supposed to have been seen before the piece 
opens. The time is midnight; the place, a platform in 
the castle. A sentinel, Francisco, is alone, on guard. 
We do not know that he has seen the spectre. We do 
not know that he has heard of it. His fellow-soldiers, 
Bernardo and Marcellus, however, have seen it, and 
they may have whispered of it. There is an influence 
about the place, an atmosphere, a brooding, ominous, 
stealthy, sinister dread. Francisco feels that influence. 
The night is cold. There is no light but that of stars, 
and there is no sound but that of the moaning wind. 
Suddenly something like a footstep startles the sentry, 
and his quick challenge is the first line of the play, 
"Who's there?" In those two words Shakespeare 
strikes the key-note of his tragedy. The whole opening 
colloquy is thrilled with "supernatural soliciting." It 
is Bernardo who approaches, who has seen the ghost, 
and who has no mind to be left alone. " Have you had 
quiet guard ? " he says ; and, later, 


" If you do meet Horatio and Marcellus, 
The rivals of my watch, bid them make haste? 

The full effect of that scene can only be communicated 
by interpretation. The moment is an awful one. 
Words cannot express it. Action, and that only, can 
awaken the awe and terror that it ought to inspire. 
That is stage art. 

In the production of Twelfth Night, as that was 
accomplished at Daly's theatre, in the season of 1892- 
93, a production of extraordinary beauty, in which 
Miss Ada Rehan attained to the summit of excellence 
as a poetic actress, presenting the beautiful character of 
Viola, there was a striking illustration of the dramatic 
method, as contrasted with that of words. The scene 
is Olivia's garden. The time is evening. Viola, dis- 
guised as the minstrel, Cesario, having received an 
intimation that perhaps her brother, Sebastian, has not 
been drowned, has spoken her joyous soliloquy upon 
that auspicious thought, and has sunk into a seat, in 
meditation. The moon is rising over the distant sea, 
and in the fancied freshness of the balmy rising breeze 
you can almost hear the ripple of the leaves. The love- 
lorn Orsino enters, with many musicians, and they 
sing a serenade, beneath the windows of Olivia's palace. 
The proud beauty comes forth upon her balcony, and, 
parting her veil, looks down upon Viola, whom she 
loves, supposing her to be a man. Meantime, Orsino is 
gazing up at Olivia, whom he worships ; while Viola 
is gazing on Orsino, whom she adores. Not a word is 
needed. The garden is all in moonlight ; the delicious 
music flows on ; and over that picture entirely dra- 


matic, crystallising into one diamond point the whole 
meaning of the comedy the curtain slowly falls. 

It will be observed that these expedients of dramatic 
treatment derive their force from their harmony with 
the purpose of the play. One of the most touching and 
beautiful effects that I ever saw accomplished in acting 
was accomplished by Charles Dillon, an actor almost 
forgotten now, who came to America many years ago 
(1866), and represented, among other characters, Belphe- 
gor, in The Mountebank, Belphegor is a strolling player, 
a good fellow, very poor, who has married a girl of good 
family, whom he loves to idolatry. It is his wife's 
birthday. He wishes to signalise it, and he has saved 
a few bits of money and bought a shawl. On this 
day his wife persuaded by her wealthy relatives, and 
because her little daughter is starved leaves in their 
lodging a letter of farewell for her husband, and goes 
away. The room is empty. Dillon came into that room, 
eager, exultant, bringing his gift, and guarding it as if 
it were the treasure of the world. He was in ecstasy 
at being able to offer that little token of love and 
remembrance. He found the letter and read it : his 
figure drooped ; the whole man seemed to collapse ; 
the light faded out of his face ; he said nothing, but, 
as he walked feebly up the room, the shawl, or mantle, 
dropped from his arm, unrolling itself as it fell, and was 
negligently trodden under his feet. It is impossible to 
express the pathos of that simple action. There was 
the touch of genius in it, that captures every heart. 1 

1 Poor Dillon had the infirmity of drink, and his life was in a great 
degree wasted. He was born in 1819, and he began as an actor in Rich- 
ardson's Show. He fell dead in the street, at Harwick, England, in 1881. 


A companion effect to that was wrought by Jefferson, 
in a play by Boucicault, called The Parish Clerk, never 
acted in America, but presented by Jefferson, many 
years ago, at Manchester, England. The Parish Clerk 
is a gentle, generous young fellow, a teacher in an 
English village school. He loves a girl of the village, 
and he wishes to ask her to become his wife ; but the 
local Doctor who also loves that beautiful girl, and 
who wishes to get his rival out of the way apprises 
the Parish Clerk that his health is broken, and that he 
will, probably, die within a year. The poor teacher, 
believing this, and knowing his health to be frail, de- 
termines that it would be wrong for him to ask the girl 
to share his lot, and decides that he must remain silent 
and go away. Then comes a scene intrinsically dra- 
matic and of great value. The time is night. The 
stage displays the rough and simple interior of a rustic 
school-house. Through a large window at the back the 
moonlight streams in upon the scrawled and notched 
benches, the ink-stained forms, the school-master's desk, 
the coarse floor, and the common walls. The room is 
vacant. Soon the figure of the teacher, visible through 
the window, appears in the road, outside. He comes 
to the door, unlocks it, enters, and takes his place at 
the desk. He has come there to take his last look at 
the room, and to say his farewell words to the children 
whom he loves. Those children are present only in 
his fancy. He calls them, one by one ; he speaks of 
their pranks and mischief, their toys and their play, 
their studies and their future ; he bids them good-bye ; 
he breaks down, sobbing, and rushes away into the 
night ; and over his exit the curtain falls. There are 


but two or three lines in the text for the Parish Clerk 
to speak. Jefferson said whatever he happened to think 
of and to feel. It was not essential to be coherent. 
There was the situation for the actor, and there was 
the actor to fill it. No narrative, no literary style, no 
language. But there was the dramatic presentment of 
character and life, under ideal conditions ; and the 
audience was overwhelmed by it. The same cause will 
always produce the same effect. The play of Rip Van 
Winkle, as interpreted by Jefferson, contains that same 
dramatic quality ; and it produces, accordingly, the 
same potent result. 

The province of stage art is not to interpret and 
glorify the artist, ministering to his vanity and ending 
in the barren commodity of human admiration, but to 
spiritualise and ennoble the auditor. That province it 
fulfils by the communication of beauty and power. The 
true artist cares not for either censure or praise. His 
object is expression, and in the pursuit of that object 
he obeys an impulse as deep as the centre of the world. 
He is the minister of beauty and power, and precisely 
in proportion to his fidelity is the value of his utterance 
to others. The songs of Burns are precious to our 
hearts forever, not because they are the expression of 
the poet, but because they are the expression of our- 
selves. The emotion of Gray's immortal Elegy is ele- 
mental in the human soul, and hence that superb and 
supreme utterance of it is the fulfilment of our desire. 
Those artists and others of their kindred have spoken 
for us, fully and finally, and in a manner far beyond our 
faculties of speech, the feeling that we should like to 
have uttered for ourselves. When you read Words- 


worth's great Ode on Immortality the mists are dispersed 
from your mind, and you hear, in the temple of your 
soul, the voice not only of serene spiritual hope but of 
exultant conviction. While I listened to the funeral 
sermon on General Grant, in Westminster Abbey, I was 
unmoved ; but when, at the close of that discourse, the 
glorious strains of Handel's Dead March burst forth 
from the great organ and soared beneath the fretted 
vault of that sublime cathedral, my spirit seemed borne 
away to heaven, and all that I could feel or dream of 
glory was expressed. The great composer, the artist in 
music, had fulfilled his mission. Emerson, in his large, 
fine manner, has designated the poet as "a man without 
an impediment." It is a definition that covers all the 
arts, for they are sisters and inseparable, and it is 
because so many spirits are imprisoned in silence that 
the vocal spirit is so gratefully and gladly heard. The 
poet Holmes has said this, in words of tender grace : 

" A few can touch the magic string, 

And noisy fame is glad to win them : 
Alas for those that never sing, 

But die with all their music in them!" 

As with the arts of poetry and music, so also is it with 
the art of acting, the art not simply of imitating 
human nature and human life, but of transfiguring and 
interpreting them in forms of beauty and power. The 
actor who presents himself merely from the impulse of 
personal vanity, and whose quest is merely the admira- 
tion of others, is like a painter who offers a gilded frame 
instead of a picture. He brings no message. He has 
nothing to communicate. Like a bubble he floats and 


glistens, and like a bubble he. disappears. But the actor 
of authentic genius, the actor who is faithful all his days 
to the service of ideal beauty, comes upon our lives 
as a joy and a comfort, and lives in our memories as a 
perpetual benediction. 

" The music in my heart I bore, 
Long after it was heard no more." 




UPON the state of the stage in America, early in the nine- 
teenth century, viewing it as an institution existing broadcast 
and only prosperous at special places, and making allowance 
for the eccentricity of the writer, some useful light is thrown 
by a letter which was addressed by Junius Brutus Booth, father 
of Edwin Booth, to the comedian George Holland, in 1826. 
A copy of that manuscript was given to me by Holland, in 
1870, and by me was first published, in July of that year. 


NEW YORK, Xmas Eve, 1826. 
but direct y'r letter to the Theatre Baltimore U States. 

MY DEAR SIR : Messrs. Wallack and Freeman, a few days since, shewed 
me your letter, with the inclosure sent last winter to you at Sheffield. 

It is requisite that I inform you Theatricals are not in so flourishing a 
condition in this Country as they were some two years ago. There are 
four Theatres in this City each endeavoring to ruin the others, by foul 
means as well as fair. The reduction of the prices of admission has 
proved (as I always anticipated from the first suggestion of such a foolish 
plan) nearly ruinous to the Managers. The Publick here often witness a 
Performance in every respect equal to what is presented at the Theatres 
Royal D. L. and C. G. for these prices. Half a Dollar to the Boxes and a 
quarter do. to the Pit and Gallery ! 

The Chatham Theatre of which I am the Stage-Manager, at these low 
prices [holds] one thousand Dollars. Acting is sold too cheap to the 
Publick and the result will be a general theatrical bankruptcy. 

Tragedians are in abundance Macready Convvay Hamblin 
Forrest (now No. i) Cooper, Wallack Maywood and self with divers 



others now invest New- York. But it won't do; a diversion to the south 
must be made or to Jail three-fourths of the Great men and Managers 
must go. 

Now Sir, I will deal fairly with you. If you will pledge yourself to me 
for three years, and sacredly promise that no inducement which may be 
held out by the unprincipled and daring speculators which abound in this 
country shall cause you to leave me, I will, for ten months in each year, 
give you thirty dollars per week, and an annual benefit which you shall 
divide with me. Beyond this sum I would not venture, the privilege of your 
name for Benefits Extra to be allowed me and I should expect the terms 
on which you would be engaged to remain secret from all but ourselves. 

Mind this whether you play in my Theatres or elsewhere in the 
U States, I should look for implicit and faithful performance of your duty 
toward me or my colleagues! In case I should require you to travel, 
when in the United States, which is most probable, I will defray all the 
charges of conveyance for you and your luggage your living would not 
be included either by land or water Boarding (three meals a day,) and 
your Bed room, may be had in very respectable houses here & in Baltimore 
at from four to six dollars per week " Lodgings to let " are very scarce 
and expensive, and the customs of this country, in this respect, are essen- 
tially different to those of the English. 

The M. S. and music of Paul Pry, with Faustus's music Do. and Book 
of the Pilot, the M. S. and Do. of a piece played some few years back at 
Sadlers Wells, call'd " the Gheber or the Fire Worshippers," two or three 
of Liston's new pieces I should advise you to bring. And particularly the 
Gheber, for me. The Mogul Tale here is out of print. 

In the Exeter Theatre last January were two actresses that I should like 

to engage. Miss P (not the Miss P. formerly of Drury Lane) and 

Miss H. If you will inquire after them I will thank you. To each of 
these ladies a salary of fifteen dollars a week I can venture offering 15 
dollars are upward of three Guineas and Benefit annually. 

Now, Sir, I have offered to you and those Ladies as much as I can in 
honesty afford to give, their travelling expenses to and from Theatres in 
the United States (not including board) I should defray, as I told you 
respecting your own and the use of their names for benefits on Stock 
nights. Your line of business would be exclusively yours. For the ladies 
I would not make this guaranty The greatest actress in the World I may 

say is now in this city (Mrs. D ) and several very talented women 

besides I would endeavor to make such arrangements for Miss P and 

Miss II as would not be very repugnant to their ambition. 


The reason Mrs. D does not go to London is my strenuous advice 

to her against it. The passages from Europe I should expect repaid to 
me out of the salaries, by weekly deductions of three dollars each. The 
captain of the ship would call upon the parties or you might write to them 
on his visit to you. Everything on board will be furnished that is requisite 
for comfort, and the expenses I will settle for here previous to starting. 
Mind the ship you would come over in is one expressly bargained for, and 
will bring you where I shall (if living) be ready to welcome you 

Let me recomend you to Economy see what a number of our breth- 
ren are reduced to Indigence by their obstinate Vanity I have here Mr. 

D who was once in London the rival of Elliston, and is now a better 

actor approaching the age of sixty, and not a dollar put by for a rainy 
day too proud to accept a salary of twenty dollars per week in a regular 
engagement he stars and starves. Many have been deceived and misled 
in their calculations in coming to this country some have cut their 
throats &c from disappointment Mrs. Romer (once of the Surrey) Mrs. 
Alsop Mr. Entwistle Kirby the Clown are all on the felo de se list 
with others I now forget 

The temptations to Drunkenness here are too common and too power- 
ful for many weak beings who construe the approval of a boisterous circle 
of intoxicated fools as the climax of everything desirable in their profes- 
sion What do they find it, when a weakened shattered fraim, with loss 
of memory and often reason, are the results The hangers on drop 
astern and the poor wreck drives down the Gulf despised or pitied, and 
totally deserted. 

If you choose accepting my offer get for me those ladies. Sims can 
perhaps tell you where they are, and I will on the first occasion send for 
you and them, with the articles of agreement to be signed in London and 
legally ratified on your arrival in America recollect this the Passages 
in Summer, owing to the calms are longer in performing, but they are 
much safer, and the Newfoundland Bank is an ugly place to cross in 
Winter, though it is often done, yet still it is a great risk. 

The Crisis which left London Docks, last January, with all her passen- 
gers, after being out for 68 days, and being spoken to on the banks by another 
vessel is not yet come or will she ever The icebergs no doubt struck 
her, as they have many and the last farewell was echoed by the waves. 

Write to me soon and glean the information I ask for 

The letter bag for United States vessels, from London, is kept at the 
North American Coffee House near the Bank of England. 

Yours truly, BOOTH. 


MR. H 

Notice of the First Performance of Charles 

Lamb's Farce, Mr. H, at Drury Lane 

Theatre, London. 

December 10, 1806. MR. H. Under this singular title a 
farce was produced on this evening, preceded by an excellent 
prologue. ... It is a farce of very broad humour, and quite 
sui generis. The decision, though ultimately unfavourable, 
should not discourage the writer, who, as we understand, is a 
gentleman in the India house. The whole turns upon a man's 
dislike to his own name, and after numerous whimsical 
embarrassments, occasioned by his persisting to call himself 
MR. H., with his servants, the lady to whom he is attached, 
and in public company, he inadvertently discovers that his 
name is HOGSFLESH. The house was convulsed with laughter 
through the whole of the first act. In the second the incidents 
increased in extravagance, and, a few coarse expressions 
occurring, those who came to laugh, and had laughed most 
immoderately, exercised their remaining privilege, less grateful 
to an author's feelings, and the curtain dropped amidst so much 
disapprobation that the piece was withdrawn by the writer, 
after having been a second time announced in the bills. 
The Monthly Mirror, Vol. XXII., p. 420, London, 1806. 

Lamb's Prologue to his farce of Mr. H. 
Spoken by Elliston. 

If we have sinn'd in paring down a name, 
All civil well-bred authors do the same. 


Survey the columns of our daily writers 

You'll find that some initials are great fighters : 

How fierce the shock, how fatal is the jar, 

When Ensign W. meets Lieutenant R., 

With two stout seconds, just of their own gizzard, 

Cross Captain X. and rough old General Izzard ! 

Letter to letter spread the dire alarms, 

Till half the alphabet is up in arms. 

Nor with less lustre have initials shone, 

To grace the gentler annals of Crim Con., 

Where the dispensers of the public lash, 

Soft penance give a letter and a dash . 

Where vice, reduced in size, shrinks to a failing, 

And loses half its grossness by curtailing. 

Faux-pas are told in such a modest way 

" The affair of Colonel B. with Mrs. A." 

You must excuse them for what is there, say, 

Which such a pliant vowel must not grant 

To such a very pressing consonant ! 

Or who poetic justice dares dispute 

When, mildly melting at a lover's suite, 

The wife's a LIQUID her good man, a MUTE ! 

Even in the homelier scenes of honest life, 

The coarse-spun intercourse of man and wife, 

Initials, I am told, have taken place 

Of deary, spouse, and that old-fashioned race : 

And Cabbage, ask'd by brother Snip to tea, 

Replies, "I'll come but it don't rest with me 

" I always leaves them things to Mrs. C ." 

O should this mincing fashion ever spread 
From names of living heroes to the dead, 
How would ambition sigh and hang her head, 
As each lov'd syllable should melt away, 
Her Alexander turn'd into great A. 

A single C her Csesar to express 

Her Scipip shorten'd to a Roman S 

And, nick'd and dock'd to these new modes of speech, 

Great Hannibal himself a Mr. H 




MY chronicles of the Jefferson Family of Actors, when, in 
another form, they were first published (1881), were dedicated 
to the comedian William Warren, now dead and gone. That 
dedication, together with Warren's letter accepting it, may 
appropriately be preserved in this place. 

fKemorial of the Mfersons 











"AUGUSTA, MAINE, May 31, 1881. 

" MY DEAR WINTER : Your kind letter came to me last night, at 
Bangor. I do accept, with my best thanks, the proffered courtesy of the 
dedication of your coming book, the Biography of the Jefferson Family of 
Actors. Wishing you every success, in that, and all things, 
Believe me, ever yours, 





Some account of Warren has -been given in this book (see 
pages 56, 57). On October 27, 1882, the comedian com- 
pleted his fiftieth year upon the stage. Commemorative per- 
formances were given at the Boston Museum, on Saturday 
afternoon and evening, October 28. Warren played Dr. 
Pangloss in the afternoon and Sir Peter Teazle at night ; and 
after the public ceremonials were ended a party of his friends 
waited upon him, at his lodgings, No. 2 Bulfinch place, and 
conveyed to him a loving-cup, made of silver and gold, 
bearing this inscription : 



OCT. 27, 1882. 




The committee having charge of this gift comprised James R. 
Osgood, Nathan Appleton, F. G. Vinton, R. M. Field, T. R. 
Sullivan, and the writer of this biography, who spoke as follows : 


It is our desire that the ceremonial to which we now ask 
your attention, while it possesses all the earnestness appropriate 
to a manifestation of affectionate friendship, shall not be em- 
barrassed by even the slightest tinge of painful formality. For 
this reason we have sought you in your home, instead of accost- 
ing you upon the stage, amid the festivities of this brilliant and 
auspicious day. Your friends in Boston (which is equivalent to 


saying Boston itself) have had a golden opportunity, and have 
improved it in a glorious manner, of expressing their personal 
good-will, their esteem for your character, their appreciation 
of your achievements, and their just and natural pride in your 
renown. It is no common triumph to have gained such a 
reputation as yours, in such a city as Boston. But the fame of 
your genius and the knowledge of your deeds and virtues are 
not confined to the city of your residence. A great actor 
belongs to the nation and to the age. In every theatre in the 
United States, and at thousands of hearthstones, alike in your 
own country and in the lovely motherland beyond the sea, 
where your line was so honourably and famously founded, 
your name, to-night, has been spoken with tender respect and 
unaffected homage. In order that you may be reminded of 
this, and may be cheered, not alone with present plaudits, but 
with happy remembrance of the absent friends who are thinking 
of you now, I have been commissioned by five of the leading 
members of your profession, Joseph Jefferson, Edwin Booth, 
Mary Anderson, Lawrence Barrett, and John McCullough, 
to come into your presence and, in their names and with fer- 
vent assurance of their affection and sympathy, to beg your 
acceptance of this loving-cup, which is their gift. It is less 
bright than their friendship ; it is less permanent than their 
sense of your worth and their esteem for your virtues. Accept 
it, with all that it denotes, of joy in the triumph of the actor 
and of pride in the gentle, loving, blameless character and life 
of the man. 

Roses have ever been esteemed the pledges and emblems of 
faithful love. In the name of your absent friends, in the name 
of the thousands whom in time past you have delighted and 
cheered, in the name of your comrades of the Boston Museum, 
with whom you have been so long and so pleasantly associated, 
and finally, in the name of the friends now clustered around 
you in affection and gladness, I cast these roses before you ; 


and I am bold enough, presuming on your patience, and 
remembering the many years through which we have been 
friends, to add my personal tribute, in the lines which I now 


Red globes of autumn strew the sod, 

The bannered woods wear crimson shields, 
The aster and the golden-rod 
Deck all the fields. 

No clarion blast, at morning blown, 

Should greet the way-worn veteran here, 
Nor roll of drum nor trumpet-tone 
Assail his ear. 

No jewelled ensigns now should smite, 

With jarring flash, down emerald steeps, 
Where sweetly in the sunset light 
The valley sleeps. 

No bolder ray should bathe this bower 

Than when, above the glimmering stream, 
The crescent moon, in twilight's hour, 
First sheds her beam. 

No ruder note should break the thrall, 

That love "and peace and honour weave, 
Than some lone wild-bird's gentle call, 
At summer eve. 

But here should float the voice of song 

Like evening winds in autumn leaves, 
Sweet with the balm they waft along 
From golden sheaves. 

The sacred past should feel its spell, 

And here should murmur, soft and low, 
The voices that he loved so well, 
Long, long ago. 

The vanished scenes should give to this 

The cherished forms of other days, 
And rosy lips that felt his kiss 
Breathe out his praise. 


The comrades of his young renown 

Should proudly throng around him now, 
When falls the spotless laurel crown 
Upon his brow. 

Not in their clamorous shouts who make 

The noonday pomp of glory's lord 
Does the true soul of manhood take 
Its high reward. 


But when from all the glimmering years 

Beneath the moonlight of the past 
The strong and tender spirit hears 
"Well done," at last; 

When love looks forth from heavenly eyes, 

And heavenly voices make acclaim, 
And all his deeds of kindness rise 
To bless his name; 

When all that has been sweetly blends 

With all that is, and both revere 
The life so lovely in its ends, 
So pure, so dear; 

Then leaps indeed the golden flame 

Of blissful pride to rapture's brim 
The fire that sacramental fame 
Has lit for him ! 

For him who, lord of joy and woe, 

Through half a century's snow-white years 
Has gently ruled, in humour's glow, 
The fount of tears. 

True, simple, earnest, patient, kind, 

Through griefs that many a weaker will 
Had stricken dead, his noble mind 
Was constant still. 


Sweet, tender, playful, thoughtful, droll, 

His gentle genius still Has made 

Mirth's perfect sunshine in the soul, 

And pity's shade. 

With amaranths of eternal spring 

Be all his life's calm evening drest, 
While summer winds around him sing 
The songs of rest ! 

And thou, O Memory, strange and dread, 

That stand'st on heaven's ascending slope, 
Lay softly on his reverend head 
The wreath of hope ! 

So softly, when the port he wins, 

To which life's happiest breezes blow, 
That where earth ends and heaven begins 
He shall not know. 


JEFFERSON'S most popular predecessor in the character of 
Rip Van Winkle was James H. Hackett. Mention has been 
made of his visit to England in 1832. He returned to 
America in the summer of 1833. A memento of that English 
visit being also an illustrative document of a distant time 
may not be deemed inappropriate here. This is one of 
the Hackett playbills of 1832-33, and it is a curiosity : 


To-morrow, THURSDAY, March 14, 1833, (36th time) the Drama of 

The Scenery painted by Mr. GRIEVK, Mr. T. GRIEVE, Mr. W. GRIEVE, and 


King Charles the Second, Mr. JONES, Sir C. Barkeley, Mr. FORESTER 
Charles Hart, \ Managers of the King's Theatre,, / Mr. DURUSET, 
Major Mohun, / ' Dni'ry-Lane, 1667, \Mr. PERKINS. 

Betterton (Manager of the Duke's Theatre, Lincoln' s-Inn) Mr. PIDDEAR 


Joe Haines (late of Drury-Lane) Mr. MEADOWS, 
Counsellor Crowsfoot, Mr. BLANCHARD, Stockfish, Mr. F. MATTHEWS 

Nell Gwynue, Miss TAYLOR, 
Orange Moll, Mr. KEELEY Mrs. Snowdrop, Mrs. DALY. 

Scenery painted for this Piece 




Preparatory to " The Prologue by Mrs.Ellen Gwynne,in a broad-brimmed 

Hat and Waist Belt.' 1 ' 1 (Vide Dryden's Conquest of Granada.) 

After which, (4th time) A NEW FARCE, called The 

Or, A Trip to New York. 

Col. Nimrod Wildfire, (a Kentuckian) Mr. H A C K E T T, 

(Performed by him withuniversal applause throughout the United States of America) . 

Freeman, (a New York Merchant") Mr. F. MATTHEWS, 

Percival, (an English Merchant) Mr. DURUSET, 
Jenkins, (under the assumed name of Lord Granby) Mr. FORESTER, 

Csesar, (a Free Slack Waiter at the Hotel) Mr. TURNOUR, 

Tradesman, Mr PAYNE, Countryman, Mr ADDISON, Servant, Mr HEATH 

Mrs. Luminary (a Tourist and Speculator) Mrs. GIBBS, 

Mrs. Freeman, Mrs. VINING, Caroline, Miss LEE, 

Mary, Mrs. DALY, Waiting Woman, Mrs. BROWN 

To conclude with the Opera of 


With the Whole of the MUSIC, composed by Auber, 

Arranged and adapted to the English stage by M. ROINO LACY. 
Fra-Diavolo (disguised as the Marquis of San Carlo) Mr. WILSON, 

Lord Allcash, Mr. DURUSET, 

Lorenzo, (Captain of Carbiniers) Mr. I. BENNETT, 

Matteo, Mr. MORLEY, Beppo, Mr. G. STANSBURY, 

Giacomo, Mr. RANSFORD. 

Francesco, Mr. CHICKINI, First Carbinier, Mr. MEARS, 

Second Carbinier, Mr. HENRY, Third Carbinier, Mr. IRWIN, 

Lady Allcash, Miss INVERARITY. 

Zerlina, (Matteo's Daughter) Miss E. ROMER. 

In Act III. 


in which Moiis. A. ALBERT, and Mad. PROCHE GIUBIL.EI will appear. 
PLACES for the BOXES to be had of Mr. NOTTER, at the Box -Office, Hart-Street, 

from Ten till Four. 

OPERA GLASSES lent in the Theatre, by Mr. HUDSON, 28, Henrietta-street, 


REPUTATION ; or the State Secret, 

having been again received with the most enthusiastic applause, will 

be repeated on Saturday and Tuesday next. 
Hugo Istein, Mr. CHARLES KEAN. 


continuing to be honoured with rapturous approbation in the character 
of Colonel Nimrod Wildfire, and the whole performance having 
been received with incessant bursts of laughter and applause, 

The New Farce of The 

KENTUCKIAN or A Trip to New York, 
will be repeated To-Morrow, Saturday, and Monday next. 

On Friday, (Last Night but Four) the highly popular New Dramatic Oratorio, called 

The Israelites in Egypt ; or, the Passage of the Bed Sea. 
Moses, Mr. H. PHILLIPS, Aaron, Mr. WILSON, Pharaoh, Mr. E. SEGUIN, 

Amenophis, Mr. WOOD, Siuai'de, Miss SHIEEEFF, Annai, Mrs. WOOD. 
On Saturday, (7th time) REPUTATION, or the State Secret. 
After which, the New Farce of The Keiituckian, or A Trip to New York. 

With The WATERMAN. Tom Tug, Mr. H. PHILLIPS. 

On Monday, the Play of The HUNCHBACK. 

With (6th time) The New Farce of The Kentuckian, or A Trip to New York. 

To conclude with the Grand Ballet of M ASANIEL.LO. 

Printed by W. REYNOLDS, 9, Exeter-street, Strand. 


The Kerr version of Rip Van Winkle was presented at 
the Walnut Street theatre, Philadelphia, on October 30, 
1829, with this announcement and cast: 

" Positively for the last time, a new melodrama, founded on Washington 
Irving's celebrated tale of Rip Van Winkle, or the Demons of the Catskill 


Derrick Van Slous . . Mr. Porter 
Herman (his son) . . . Mr. Read 
Knickerbocker . Mr. J. Jefferson 
Rory Van Clump . . . Mr. Greene 
Nicholas Vedder . . Mr. (J.) Sefton 
Clausen Mr. James 

Swag de Grain .... Mr. Wells 
Gustaffe (aged 7) . . Miss Anderson 
Lowenna (aged 5) . . Miss Eberle 
Rip Van Winkle Mr. W. B. Chapman 
Dame Van Winkle Mrs. B. Stickney 
Grubba . . Miss Hathwell 

( Messrs. Garson, Thompson, Bloom, Miller, James, 
Jones, Williams, and Johnson. 





Allemaine (Grand Judge) Mr. James 
Herman .... Mr. Greenwood 
[probably this should be Read] 
Van Knickerbocker Mr. J. Jefferson 
Nicholas Vedder . . . Mr. Sefton 
Gustaffe . Mr. Greenwood 

Rip Van Winkle Mr. W. B. Chapman 
Lowenna .... Miss Chapman 

Jacintha Miss Hathwell 

Alice (now Mrs. Van ') Mrs. S. Chap- 
Knickerbocker) / man 

The J. Jefferson was the father of the present Rip. 
Miss Anderson was Jane, now Mrs. G. C. Germon. A letter 
to me from that venerable lady, dated Baltimore, April 29, 
1894, says : " I was the child. My sister Elizabeth, now 
Mrs. Saunders, did not go upon the stage till some time after, 
although older than myself. I played all the children that 
season, 1829-30, and then joined my mother, in Baltimore, 
playing the Duke of York, with the elder Booth, in Richard 
the Third." 

The characters in Rip Van Winkle, when it was acted for 
the first time at the Park theatre, New York, on April 22, 
1830, were cast thus: 

Rip Van Winkle . . Mr. Hackett 
Knickerbocker . . . Mr. Placide 
Nicholas Vedder Mr. Chapman, Sr. 
Von Slous Mr. Blakeley 

Herman Mr. Richings 

Dame Van Winkle . Mrs. Wheatley 

Alice Mrs. Hackett 

Lowenna . . Mrs. Wallack 

Hackett brought out the old version of Rip Van Winkle at 
the Bowery theatre, New York, on August 10, 1830, when he 
was joint manager of that house with T. S. Hamblin, casting 
the parts as follows : . 

Rip Mr. Hackett 

Knickerbocker . . . Mr. Roberts 

Nicholas Vedder . . Mr. C. Green 

Herman Mr. Lindsley 

Derrick Van Slous . . . Mr. Wray 
Dame Van Winkle . Mrs. W. Jones 

Alice Mrs. Hackett 

Lowenna Miss Waring 

A bill of the Park theatre, for April 15, 1831, makes this 
announcement : 

" To conclude with the popular melodrama of Rip Van Winkle, or the 
Legend of the Catskill Mountains, altered by Mr. Hackett from a piece 


written and produced in London, and founded on Washington Irving's 
well-known tale of that name." 


Derrick Van Slous . . Mr. Blakeley 

Herman (his son) . . Mr. Nexsen 

Knickerbocker . . . Mr. Richings 

Nicholas Vedder . Mr. Woodhull 

Rory Van Clump . . . Mr. Povey 

Swag de Grain .... Mr. Collet 
Rip Van Winkle . . Mr. Hackett 
Gustaffe(aged 7) MissEmmaWheatley 
Lowenna (aged 5) Miss Julia Turnbull 
Dame Van Winkle . Mrs. Wheatley 

Claussen Mr. Hayden Alice Mrs. Hackett 



Herman Mr. Nexsen 

Van Knickerbocker . Mr. Richings 
Nicholas Vedder . . Mr. Woodhull 
Gustaffe Mr. T. Placide 

Rip Van Winkle . . Mr. Hackett 

Alice (now Mrs. Van "1 

:,,., > Mrs. Hackett 
Knickerbocker) . J 

Lowenna Mrs. Wallack 

Jacintha Mrs. Durie 

A version of Rip Van Winkle by John H. Hewitt was 
presented at the Front Street theatre, Baltimore, in 1833, 
with this cast : 


Rip Van Winkle (aged 35) William Isherwood 

Brom Dutcher (aged 35) C. Durang 

Peter Vanderdonk (aged 23) Lear 

Derrick Van Brummel (aged 30) Joseph Jefferson 

Rip Van Winkle, Jr. (aged 8) Master Rogers 

Nicholas Vedder J. Stickney 

Capt. Hendrick Hutson ) Mountain Spooks . - Garner 

Hans Dundervelt . ) .... Lawson 

Dame Van Winkle (aged 30) Mrs. Anderson 

Judith Van Winkle (aged 6) 


Rip Van Winkle (aged 55) William Isherwood 

Brom Dutcher (aged 55) C. Durang 

Peter Vanderdonk (aged 43) Lear 

General Van Brummel (aged 50) Joseph Jefferson 

Capt. Van Winkle (aged 28) Greenwood 



Jonathan Doolittle A. Byrnes 

Judith (aged 26) Mrs. Durang 

Capt. Hutson and Spooks 

The Joseph Jefferson in this cast was the father of our Rip. 
Mr. Hewitt, in a letter written at Baltimore, May 18, 1887, 
says : 

" My adaptation differed from all others that I have since witnessed. 
I introduced Captain Hutson and his elfin crew upon the stage, and gave 
them excellent exercise in their game of bowls amid sheet-iron thunder, 
rosin lightning, and weird music. Their chorus, led by Mr. Garner, then 
a well-known Baltimore vocalist, was descriptive of the noisy game. The 
managers, not being able to raise a chorus of dwarfs, were compelled 
to substitute a ship's crew of jolly jack-tars, picked up in the neighbour- 
hood of Fell's Point." 

Flynn, the original performer of the part, played Rip Van 
Winkle at the Richmond Hill theatre, New York, on July 29, 


On September 4, 1833, when Mr. Hackett, at the Park 

theatre, presented the drama, as altered and improved for 
him, in London, by Bayle Bernard, the characters were 
cast as follows : 

Rip Van Winkle (ist appearance since return from Europe) . Mr. Hackett 

District Judge . . . Mr. Blakeley 
Perseverance Peashell . Mr. Povey 
Dame Van Winkle . Mrs. Wheatley 

Alice Mrs. Wallack 

Gertrude . Miss Rae 

Derrick Van Tassell . . Mr. Clarke 
Nicholas Vedder . Mr. John Fisher 
Brom Van Brunt . . Mr. Harrison 

Herman Mr. Keppell 

Arthur . . Mr. Rae 

The cast subjoined is from a bill of the Park theatre, 
for October 16, 1834: 


Rip Van Winkle . . Mr. Hackett 
Derrick Van Tassell . . Mr. Clarke 
Nicholas Vedder . . Mr. Blakeley 
Brom Van Brunt . Mr. John Fisher 
Rory Von Clump . . Mr. Russell 

Hendrick Hudson . . Mr. Hayden 

Richard Juet Mr. Harvey 

Dame Van Winkle . Mrs. Wheatley 
Alice . . . Mrs. Gurner 




Rip Van Winkle . . Mr. Hackett 
Young Rip .... Mr. Bancker 

Herman Van 1 ,., ,,, ,,,, ., 

v Mr. Wm. Wheatley 
Tassell f 

Abram Higginbottom 
(late Van Brunt) 

Bradford (probably") -. _ _. ., 

' v Mr. T. Placide 
Gustaffe) . . / 


Perseverance PeasheH . Mr. Povey 

Hiram Mr. Collett 

Ebenezer Mr. Russell 

District Judge . . . Mr. Blakeley 
Dame Higginbottom . Mrs. Gurner 

(formerly Alice Van Winkle) 
Gertrude . . Miss Turnbull 

Rip Van Winkle was announced at the New National or 
New Chatham theatre, New York, January 7, 1850, with this 
cast : 

Rip Van Winkle . Mr. Charles Burke 
Knickerbocker . . . Mr. Jefferson 

(the Rip of our day) 
Nicholas Vedder . . Mr. J. Herbert 
Herman . . Mr. Crocker 

Van Slous ... Mr. C. W. Taylor 

Ganderkin Mr. Seymour 

Dame Van Winkle . . Mrs. Muzzy 

Alice Mrs. Sutherland 

Lowenna . . . Mrs. H. Isherwood 

On September 27, 1855, an opera on the subject of Rip 
Van Winkle, the music by George Bristow, the words by 
J. H. Wainwright, was produced by the Pyne and Harrison 
Opera company, and it was much liked and admired. The 
parts were cast thus : 

Rip Van Winkle . . Mr. Stretton 

Gardinier Mr. Harrison 

Villecour .... Mr. Horncastle 
Nicholas Vedder . . . Mr. Hayes 

Van Brummell . . . Mr. Setchell 
Dame Van Winkle . Miss S. Pyne 
Alice Miss L. Pyne 


ON April 27, 1892, Jefferson appeared for the first time as a 
lecturer. The place was the Art Gallery of Yale University, at 
New Haven. The subject was Dramatic Art. The present 
biographer was in the audience, and subsequently wrote the 
following dispatch, which was printed in the New York Tribune 
the next morning : 


' When the popularity of Sir Walter Scott as a poet began 
to be affected v by the sudden advent of Byron with Childe 
Harold, the Wizard of the North waved his wand in another 
direction and presently produced the Waverley Novels. It is 
good to have resources. Jefferson, in his delivery of his dis- 
course on acting, made it evident that, if he were to leave 
the stage, he would still have at his command the influences 
of the lyceum. He spoke for more than an hour, in a fluent 
and sparkling strain of clear comment on the art that he 
represents, always wise and often humorous, giving evi- 
dence of the versatility of his mind, while affording conclusive 
illustration of the importance of his profession. The manner 
of his discourse can be but faintly noted in descriptive words. 
His instinct as to effect guides and sustains him equally as a 
speaker and an actor. The foreground of his speech was 
chiefly composed of comic anecdote, apt, pungent, and 
effective. When he reached the more serious portion of his 
address, the geniality of the actor gave unconscious emphasis 
to every truth he uttered. His distinction between oratory 
and acting was incisively made, and every auditor must have 
appreciated the subtle discrimination as to the relative value of 
tragedy and comedy, viewed with regard to the question of 
difficulty. How much may be achieved by a glance, or by an 
inflection of the voice, was no less potently shown than deftly 
urged. In response to questions that were asked, after his 
lecture had ended, he dwelt instructively upon the position of 
the actor, who must at once please at least three orders of the 
public intelligence, and whose dilemma is that he can neither 
be too refined for one class, nor too crude for another, nor too 
unconventional for a third. Much instruction was imparted by 
Jefferson, and still more of suggestion was given, and all with 
the simplicity which is the crowning grace of his art. No 
surrounding could have been desired of a more felicitous char- 
acter than was provided in the Art Gallery of Yale, hung with 


portraits of old renown ; nor could a more learned or a lovelier 
audience be anywhere assembled than was provided by New 
Haven on this occasion. The incident is not without a special 
significance. Neither theatre nor actor was permitted in 
Connecticut until within about fifty years. Jefferson was intro- 
duced to his audience by President Dwight, of Yale, and 
a speech in his honour, spoken by Prof. John Weir, 
was heartily cheered. The ancient social prejudice against 
the stage is melting away; more and more the learned 
and the thoughtful classes of society feel its potency and 
realise the importance of guiding it aright, and of utilising 
for the public benefit its subtle, comprehensive, far-reaching 
influence. The practical example and the monitions of 
such men as Jefferson stimulate that tendency and help to 
neutralise the base influence of the speculators and triflers, 
whose unrestricted exertions would soon bring it into irre- 
trievable disgrace. From Jefferson's doctrine that acting is 
more a gift than an art, many listeners might be disposed to 
dissent ; but the capacity for any art is a gift, and that, prob- 
ably, is all that he intended to maintain. The true actor is 
born, not made ; yet, on the other hand, if he have not art, he 
is a natural force wasted. No actor ever gave a more decisive 
proof than Jefferson himself afforded of the power that genius 
derives from command of the resources of art. He closed 
his discourse with some playful verses, in satire of Ignatius 
Donnelly's crazy theory 1 that Shakespeare's works were written 
by Francis Bacon.' 

1 Every reader who happens to be specially interested in the question 
of Shakespeare's authorship of his works should read the refutation of 
Donnelly's Cryptogram, written by Rev. A. Nicholson, of St. Alban's 
church, Leamington, and published under the title of No Cipher in 
Shakespeare. It completely destroys, upon mathematical grounds, the 
whole structure of Donnelly's argument. A reply was attempted by 
Donnelly, but it was so effectually answered by Mr. Nicholson that the 
cryptogram has been a laughing-stock ever since. There never was the 



1829 . . . Joseph Jefferson born, February 20, in Philadelphia. 
1833 . . . Made his first appearance on the stage, at the theatre in 
Washington, with Thomas D. Rice, as Jim Crow. 

1837 . . . Acted at the Franklin theatre, New York. 

1838 . . . Was removed to Chicago. 
1846 . . . Acted at Matamoras, Mexico. 

1849 September 10. Appeared in New York, at Chanfrau's New 

National theatre, as Jack Rackbottle. 

1850 . . . May 19. Married to Margaret Clements Lockyer, who died 

on February 18, 1861. 
Appeared at Mitchell's Olympic. 
Acted in the South with John Ellsler. 

1856 . . . Made voyage to Europe. 

Joined Laura Keene's theatre, New York. 

1857 . . . August 31. At Laura Keene's theatre made a hit as Dr. 


1858 . . . October 18. First time of Our American Cousin, at Laura 

Keene's theatre. Jefferson won distinction as Asa 
Trenchard. Piece ran till March 25, 1859. 
1 86 1 . . . Appeared for the first time in San Francisco, July 8. 

November 5. Sailed for Australia, where he passed four 

1865 . . . Appeared as Rip Van Winkle at the Adelphi theatre, London, 

September 4. 

1866 . . . September 3. Reappeared in America, at the Olympic theatre, 

New York, as Rip. 

1867 . . . December 20. Was married to Sarah Isabel Warren. 

least reason to suppose that Shakespeare did not write the works ascribed 
to him, or that Francis Bacon was concerned with them in any way. 
Donnelly's pernicious defamation of the dead, for his book casts a 
blight of obloquy as well upon Bacon as upon Shakespeare, could affect 
only the ignorant, the credulous, and the mean. Most scholars have 
naturally viewed it with contempt. It is, however, pleasant to know that, 
in a scientific point of view, that fabric of folly has been completely 


1869 . . . Appeared at Booth's theatre, New York, as Rip, August 2. 

Bought Orange Island, Iberia, La., and estate at Hohokus, 

1870 . . . Appeared at Booth's theatre, as Rip, August 15, and acted that 

part till February 7, 1871. 

1871 . . . January 20. Acted for benefit of George Holland's family. 

1872 . . . Cured of glaucoma by surgical operation. 

1873 . . . January I. Reappearance at Ford's theatre, Baltimore. 

July 9. Sailed for England. 

September i. Reappeared at Booth's theatre, New York, as Rip. 
1875 . . . Acted at the Princess's theatre, London, from November I, 
1875, to April 29, 1876, as Rip. 

1877 . . . Midsummer engagement with J. S. Clarke, at the London 

Haymarket theatre, in farces. 

October 28. Reappeared at Booth's theatre, New York, as 
Rip, under management of Augustin Daly. 

1878 . . . Revisited California. 

1880 . . . Produced The Rivals, at the Arch Street theatre, Philadelphia, 

and made a hit as Acres. 
1889 . . . Established, at Buzzard's Bay, his home, called Crow's Nest. 

1891 . . . April I. Crow's Nest was burnt down. It has been rebuilt. 

1892 . . . April 27. Made his first appearance as a lecturer, at Yale 

University, delivering address on acting. Received degree 
of LL.D. from Yale. 

1893 . . . March i. Delivered discourse on the Drama, at Carnegie 

Music Hall, New York, for the benefit of the Kindergarten 
Elected President of The Players, succeeding Edwin Booth. 

Jefferson's AUTOBIOGRAPHY, originally published [1889-1890] in the 
Century Magazine, fills a handsome volume, of about 500 pages, from 
the press of the Century Company. Its characteristics are those of its 
writer, originality, simplicity, gentleness, humour, and charm. A dis- 
quisition upon that book may be found in my SHADOWS OF THE STAGE, 
Vol. I., Chapter vii., together with essays on Jefferson's Acting. 


Abington, Frances, 27; described by 
Henry Crabb Robinson, 28. 

Acting in comedy and tragedy com- 
pared, 220. 

Action and effect in dramatic writing, 

Allen, Andrew J., 137. 

Andrews, William, 19. 

Barry, 12, 30. 

Bateman, Kate, 171. 

Bernard, John, 21, 23, 64. 

Blissett, Francis, 67, 68. 

Boucicault, Dion, his version of Rip 
Van Winkle, 180; talent for dra- 
matic composition, 278. 

Bowery theatre, 19. 

Brett, Miss, 60. 

Brunton, Anne, 65. 

Brunton, Louisa, 66. 

Burke, Charles, described by Elizabeth 
Jefferson, 146 ; described by Frank 
S. Chanfrau, 146 ; his parentage, 142, 
157; manager of the Museum, 
Brooklyn, 152; personal appearance 
of, 146 ; professional career of, 143- 
145 ; repertory of, 147 ; version of 
Rip Van Winkle by, 149. 

Burke, Mrs. Thomas, described by 
Elizabeth Jefferson, 135 ; described 
by I reland, 155 ; described by Lud- 
low, 156 ; her marriage, 157 ; her 
parentage, 155. 

Butler, Samuel, 18. 

Butler, Samuel W., described by Ire- 
land, 19; epitaph by Charles Swain, 

Caleb Plummer, as impersonated by 

Jefferson, 223. 

Chanfrau, Francis S., 143, 146, 152. 
Chapman, Samuel, 126. 
Chatham Garden theatre, 132. 
Chestnut Street theatre, Philadelphia, 

64, 85, 124, 131-145. 
Clarke, John S., 149, 189, 270. 
Colman's Heir at Laiv, 227 ; first acted 

in London, 230. 

Contemporaries of Jefferson, 233. 
Cooper, Thomas, 56, 58, 59, 63. 
Cowell, Joseph, 5, 124, 138. 
Coyle, Robert, 131. 
Crow Street theatre, Dublin, n. 
Covent Garden, 8. 
Cushman, Charlotte, 170. 

Daly, Augustin, 284. 

Davies, Mrs., 9. 

Davies, Thomas, 9. 

Dillon, Charles, 285. 

Douglas, David, 49, 52. 

Douglas, Mrs., 52. 

Drake, Samuel, 83. 

Dramatic art in composition, illustrated 
in Boucicault's The Octoroon, 279; 
in his Belle Lamar, 280 ; in his '1'he 
Long Strike, 281. 

Dramatic method supplies an element 
not to be given by words, 283 ; as in 
the opening scenes of Hamlet, 283 ; 
or of Twelfth Night, 284. 

Drew, Mrs.John, as Mrs. Malaprop, 222. 

Drury Lane theatre, 49. 

Drury Lane, Thomas Jefferson's ap- 
pearances with Garrick in, 5,7, 8. 




Duff, Mary A. D., 120. 
Dunlap, William, 54. 

Federal Street theatre, 64. 

Feeling in acting, 276; illustrated by 
anecdotes of Mrs. Siddons, 277 ; of 
Edmund Kean, 277. 

Fennell, James, his life, 92 ; his tribute 
to Jefferson and Francis, 91. 

Fidelity to fact in acting undesir- 
able, 273. 

Finn, Henry J., 161. 

First dramatic performance in Amer- 
ica, 50. 

Fisher, Charles J. B., 138. 

Fletcher, John, 104. 

Foote, Samuel, n. 

Ford, John T., describes Charles 
Burke, 146 ; describes Joseph Jeffer- 
son, 2d, 135 ; first theatrical venture 
in Washington, 269; professional 
career of, in Baltimore, 268 ; in 
Philadelphia, 270; through the 
South, 270. 

Ford's theatre, seized by United States 
government, 269. 

Fortune, Esther, 56. 

Fortune, Euphemia, 56; her marriage 
to Joseph Jefferson, ist, 80. 

Forrest, Edwin, 92, 102. 

Fraser, Simon, Lord Lovat, 7. 

Garcia, Maria Felicite, 128. 

Garrick, David, and Thomas Jefferson 
compared, 45 ; their first meeting, 
3, 8 ; manager of Drury Lane, 8, 49. 

Gibson, John B., 95 ; his epitaph on 
Joseph Jefferson, ist, 96. 

Goodman's Fields theatre, 9, 49, 51. 

Hackett, James H., 178 ; in England, 


Hallam, Lewis, 51. 
Hallam, Thomas, 51. 
Hallam, William, 49, 51. 
Havard, William, 9. 
Haydon, Benjamin, 26. 
Haydon, Benjamin R., 27. 
Haymarket theatre, 7, 27. 

Henderson, 12. 

Heron, Matilda, 170. 

Hodgkinson, John, and Hallam, 53; 
described by Bernard, 61 ; described 
by Elizabeth Jefferson, 98 ; his pro- 
fessional career, 60, 61. 

Holland, George, 253 ; vocations prior 
to going on the stage, 254 ; close of 
his life, in New York, 266 ; first en- 
gagement, 257 ; his English career, 
257 ; invited to America by Junius 
Brutus Booth, 259, 293 ; personal 
character, 266; wanderings in the 
United States, 260. 

Irving, Washington, 184. 

Jefferson, Charles Burke, 193. 

Jefferson, Cornelia, 157. 

Jefferson, Elizabeth (Mrs. Chapman- 
Richardson-Fisher), 82; marriage 
with Mr. Chapman, 126; with Mr. 
Richardson, 127 ; with Mr. Fisher, 
127 ; described by Wemyss, 125 ; 
family bereavements, 127; first ap- 
pearance at the Chestnut Street 
theatre, 124; her success described 
by Ireland, 126 ; her repertory, 129 ; 
the close of her life, 130. 

Jefferson, Euphemia (Mrs. Ander- 
son), 80. 

Jefferson, Frances (Mrs. Butler), 28. 

Jefferson, Frances Florence, 193. 

Jefferson, Frank, son of Joseph Jeffer- 
son, 3d, 194. 

Jefferson, Frank, son of Thomas Jef- 
ferson, 2, 18. 

Jefferson, George, 18. 

Jefferson, Henry, 194. 

Jefferson, Hester (Mrs. Mackenzie), 
81, 84. 

Jefferson, Jane, 82. 

Jefferson, John, SQJI of Thomas Jeffer- 
son, 14. 

Jefferson, John, son of Joseph Jeffer- 
son, ist, 80; described by his sister 
Elizabeth, 103. 

Jefferson, Joseph, ist, 23, 47, 57 ; ad- 
vent in America, 48 ; and Francis, 



91 ; anecdote illustrating his power 
in old men's parts, 62; as an actor, 
described by Wemyss, 91 ; at Park 
theatre, 58 ; his character described 
byCowell.Sj; described by Dunlap, 
54 ; his closing days, 89 ; his epitaph 
by Judge Gibson, 96; his last benefit, 
86; Kennedy's opinion of, 90; in 
Albany, 64 ; personal characteristics, 
121 ; recollections of, by his daughter 
Elizabeth, 98 ; repertory of, 59, 106; 
under Mrs. Wignell's management, 

Jefferson, Joseph, ad, 80 ; described by 
Elizabeth Jefferson, 135 ; described 
by John T. Ford, 135 ; his birth- 
place in Philadelphia, 131 ; his 
children, 157; his death, 139; his 
marriage with Mrs. Thomas Burke, 
133, 156; his repertory, 136; mem- 
ber of the dramatic company of 
the Chatham Garden theatre, 132. 

Jefferson, Joseph, 3d, 104; acting in 
Australia, 172 ; as a lecturer, 309 ; 
as Acres in The Rivals, 214; as 
Caleb Plummer, 223 ; as Dr. Pan- 
gloss, 229 ; as Mr. Golightly, 223 ; 
at Booth's theatre, 186, 188, 189; 
at Ford's Opera House, Baltimore, 
188 ; at McVicker's theatre in 
Chicago, 186 ; at the New National 
theatre, 165 ; at the Olympic theatre 
in 1866 and 1867, 183; chronology 
of the life of, 312; experiences as a 
strolling player, 163 ; his birthplace, 
158 ; his business sagacity, 212 ; his 
California season, 172; his changes 
in the text of The Rivals, 216 ; his 
children, 193 ; his first presentation 
of Asa Trenchard, 168 ; his imper- 
sonation of the character of Rip Van 
Winkle, 203 ; his Louisiana home, 
191 ; his marriage with Miss Lock- 
yer, 194; his marriage with Miss 
Warren, 194 ; his maternal ancestry, 
153; his place among his associates, 
202 ; his repertory, 195 ; his trium- 
phant success in the character of 
Rip, on the night of his first appear- 

ance in London, 182; later parts, 
190; personal characteristics, 200; 
under Burton's management, 170; 
under Miss Keene's management, 

Jefferson, Joseph, 4th, 193. 

Jefferson, Joseph Warren, 194. 

Jefferson, Josephine Duff, 193. 

Jefferson, Margaret Jane, 193. 

Jefferson, Thomas, founder of the 
Jefferson family, i ; as Horatio at 
the Haymarket, 7 ; his exodus from 
Ripon to London, 6; his first ap- 
pearance on the stage, 9; his first 
meeting with Garrick, 3, 8 ; his pro- 
fessional rank, 12, 13 ; last appear- 
ance on the stage, 22; personal 
appearance described by Drink- 
water Meadows, 2; personal char- 
acteristics, 31, 44; repertory of, 38; 
theatrical manager, 7, u, 17; with 
Garrick at Drury Lane, 5. 

Jefferson, Mary Anne (Mrs. Ingersoll- 
Wright), 82. 

Jefferson, Thomas, son of Joseph Jef- 
ferson, ist, 80, 82, 84. 

Jefferson, Thomas, son of Joseph Jef- 
ferson, 3d, 193. 

Jefferson, Mrs. Thomas (Miss May), 
14; Davies's account of her death, 
15 ; described by Wilkinson, 17. 

Jefferson, Mrs. Thomas (Miss Wood), 

Jefferson, William Winter, 194. 

John Street theatre, 52, 53, 56, 60. 

Keene, Laura, 167 ; as manager of her 
theatre, 241 ; early engagements, 
240 ; personal appearance, 242 ; pro- 
fessional career, 241. 

Kennedy, John P., 90. 

Knowles, Sheridan, 129. 

Kotzebue, A. F. F. von, 58. 

Lamb's farce of Mr. H. acted by the 
Jeffersons in Philadelphia, 71 ; no- 
tice of first performance of, 296; 
prologue to, 296. 



Lockyer, Margaret Clements (Mrs. 

Joseph Jefferson) , 192. 
Lovat, Lord, 7. 
Ludlow, N. M., his description of 

J. Jefferson's acting, 78. 

Mackenzie, Alexander, 143. 
Macklin, Charles, 9. 13, 30, 51. 
Macklin, Maria, 9. 
Macready, at the Chestnut Street 

theatre, 79. 
Mattocks, Mrs., 51. 
Meadows, Drinkwater, i, 23. 
Memorials, 293. 
Merry, Robert, 65. 
Miller, J. D., 55. 
Moody, John, 15, 48. 
Mossop, Henry, 12, 30, 32. 
Mount Vernon Gardens, 62. 
Munden, Mrs., 60. 

Palmer, 9. 

Park theatre, 19, 56, 64. 
Placide, Alexander, 155. 
Powell, C. S., 47. 
Power, Tyrone, 128. 
Pritchard, Mrs., 9, 30. 

Quin, James, 29, 45. 

Raymond, John T., professional career, 
243 ; as Colonel Sellers, 245 ; per- 
sonal character, 245. 

Reddish, Samuel, 17. 

Rehan, Ada, 284. 

Rice, Thomas D., 159. 

Rip Van Winkle, the story of, 174 ; first 
play on the subject, 175 ; the char- 
acter of Rip Van Winkle, 203 ; 
Bernard's versions, 178 ; Burke's 
version, 179 ; Hewitt's version, 178 ; 
the version used by Parsons, 177 ; 
by Chapman, 177 ; by Hackett, 178 ; 
notable early casts of, 305 ; Bouci- 
cault's revision, 180. 

Robinson, Frederick C. P., as Sir An- 
thony Absolute, 222. 

Ryley, Samuel W., 25. 

Self-control in acting, 276; illustrated 
by anecdotes of Mrs. Siddons, 
Kean, and others, 277. 

Sheridan, Thomas, 8, 12. 

Shuter, Edward, 16. 

Simmonds, James, 172. 

Sinclair, John, 128. 

Sloman, John, 101. 

Smith, Mark, 246; personal character, 
247 ; professional career, 247 ; reso- 
lutions passed at the time of his 
death, 232 ; scope and quality of his 
acting, 248. 

Smock Alley theatre, Dublin, 8, 32. 

Sothern, Edward A., 168 ; his parent- 
age, 233 ; his adventures before 
emigrating to America, 233; early 
appearances in Boston and New 
York, 234; under Laura Keene's 
management, 235; his success as 
Lord Dundreary, 236 ; his repertory, 
236; at the Haymarket, London, 
236; his return to America and last 
engagements, 237 ; his art, 238 ; his 
personal character, 239. 

Stage art, 272; its province, 287; com- 
pared with the arts of poetry and 
music, 288. 

Stage, the, in its palmy days, 293. 

Stoddart, James H., 281. 

Suett, Richard, 55. 

Thomas, M., 153 ; his escape from St. 
Domingo, 154 ; his death, 158. 

Thomas, Cornelia Frances, her mar- 
riage with Thomas Burke, 155 ; de- 
scribed by Ludlow, 156 ; her death, 


Tilt-yard coffee-house, 7. 
Tower Hill, 7. 
Twaits, William, 68. 

Wallack, James W., 170. 
Waring, Ann D., 132. 
Warren, Hetty, 124. 
Warren, William, 56, 57, 188, 298. 
Webb, Miss (Mrs. Marshall- Wilmot), 



Wemyss, Francis Courtney, 70, 101. 
Westray, Juliana (Mrs. Wood), 100. 
Wignell, Mrs., 65. 
Wilmot, Mrs., 117. 
Wilkinson, Tate, 17, 32. 
Winter Garden, 171. 

Wplfe, 21, 47. 
Woffington, Mrs., 7, 30. 
Wood, William B., 70. 

Yates, 9. 
Yates, Mrs., 30. 

The Works of Mr, William Winter, 


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valuable for the many fine glimpses it gives of Booth's contemporaries in 
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" Mr. Winter's sympathy with English antiquity is profound ; he writes 
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wise, and impressive." New York Times. 

" In the graceful English of which Mr. Winter is a master, he discourses 
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desired, on Stratford-on-Avon and its environs the most satisfactory 
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Warwickshire.' Other chapters describe with the same enthusiasm and 
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" Enthusiastic and yet keenly critical notes and comments on English 
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panion-book, in which the traveller guides us through the quiet and roman- 
tic scenery of the mother-country with a mingled affection and sentimerit 
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"This volume, in harmony with the edition of Mr. Winter's selected 
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search of history, but his offerings praise be to history that they lie upon 
her shrine are bits from his wanderings in England, Scotland, and 
France, and of his 'lingering in lovely Warwickshire.' Here he medi- 
tated and the thread runs through all the book upon the divine poet with 
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pleasing views along the road to them, the historical associations of the 
great buildings and' their relations to Shakespeare's plays, and adding 
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fellow. " Christian Intelligencer. 

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reality in this charming little book, in which we find chapters on Jefferson, 
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"Taken one by one, and regarded in the light of their original inten- 
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impulsive eloquence gives powerful and picturesque expression to catholic 
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" Mr. Winter has long been known as the foremost of American 
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lighter veins of English prose." Chicago Herald. 

" He has the poise and sure judgment of long experience, the fine per- 
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" This little book is in every way delightful. It gives us charming 
glimpses of personal character, exquisite bits of criticism, and the indefina- 
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Philadelphia Record. 

" Mr. Winter's exquisite style lends a charm to every page of the 
' Shadows,' and there are many passages of analytical criticism that make 
it a valuable contribution to stage literature." Dramatic Mirror. 

" It contains sketches of the elder Booth, who was probably the most 
original actor ever seen in America ; of Forrest ; of James H. Hackett, 
celebrated for his personation of Falstaff ; of John E. Owens ; of John 
Brougham ; of Modjeska, and of twenty others, either in some special or 
general aspect. An appreciative chapter is on Ada Rehan's acting." 
Chicago Herald. 

" The essays . . . are significant not only as containing on the whole 
the best literary criticism of the drama in our language to-day, but as 
forming with the first series under its title, already published, a tolerably 
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" Mr. Winter's rare gifts of insight, and his faculty of felicitous ex- 
pression are nowhere more conspicuous than in these papers, which em- 
brace a wide range of subject in their treatment of dramatic themes, and 
in their comment, commemorative and historical, upon actors, most of 
them contemporary, but not a few of whom have already joined the 
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" As long as men and women will want to hear and read about the 
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and crystalline English, the calm judgments of a man who is so unmistak- 
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and satisfies us far more than the pretentious mouthing which receives the 
seal of over-hasty approbation. " AtJtenceum. 

" They evince the true poetic spirit, and for daintiness, combined with 
elegance, depth, and power, rank with many of the best poems of the cen- 
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to be strong praise, but in his little volume will be found many gems of 
rare purity and sentiment." Minneapolis Tribune. 

" A most graceful and felicitous poet of occasions, Mr. Winter is yet 
more. He has the poet's temperament, with all its delicacy of intuitive 
insight, its susceptibility to beauty, and its ardent emotion. His music is 
all in minor chords, and if it is not the heroic call to life, the triumphant 
faith in the life to come, it is so sympathetic and so sweet in its sadness 
that it charms the imagination like a plaintive melody heard in the 
shadowy twilight." Boston Budget. 

"Mr. Winter has gone back for his inspiration to the English lyrical 
poets of the Elizabethan period and their successors, who, in spite of 
many changes in taste, still retain a secure place in our affections ; and 
their sweetness, simplicity, and spontaneity are easily traceable in his 
limpid verse." Home Journal (New York). 

"Whatever the theme of his song, he gives it that exquisite finish and 
imparts to it that true poetic touch that cannot fail to charm the reader 
who is blessed with a keen appreciation of the high, beautiful, and true 
elements of poetry. He is graceful, harmonious, spontaneous, apprecia- 
tive, and strong." Boston Home Journal. 

"... A collection of some poems as true as any that have been 
penned in the language for a century. The commendation is a strong 
one, but it is only just. Mr. Winter in every verse gives full testimony of 
the possession of the real poetic spirit." Chicago Times. 


With Portrait. 18mo, cloth, 75 cents. 

" Mr. Winter easily ranks among the most justly appreciative of 
critics and the most graceful of writers, and also was intimately ac- 
quainted with Mr. Curtis. From any point of view this eulogy com- 
mands a high degree of admiration, and will he read with wide atten- 
tion and interest. It is a literary treasure in itself apart from its theme." 

" It is the affectionate tribute of one who was a firm and intimate 
friend of the dead scholar and who knew the good qualities which were 
his. It is eloquent and pathetic in many instances, and full of reminis- 
cence." Chicago Times. 

" A splendid tribute to one of the foremost men of letter America 
has produced." Chicago Herald. 

" William Winter's tender, appreciative, eloquent, and just eulogy on 
George William Curtis is rightly published in book form and will be 
read and cherished by thousands of earnest Americans. . . . Mr. 
Winter has drawn a portrait full of color and feeling." Boston 

" A fragrant tribute that now, embalmed between the covers of a 
book, will shed lasting sweetness." Philadelphia Record. 

" Mr. Winter's tribute to the memory of his lifelong friend is not a 
task done perfunctorily. Manifestly his heart inspired the words that 
he spoke. The verdict of the future respecting Curtis's rank as an 
author, as a man of letters, as an oratcir, and as a citizen, can hardly be 
made up without a reference to this tiny volume; for it embodies from 
the experience and observation of a clear-sighted contemporary a sum- 
mary of the moral and intellectual forces that environed Curtis from his 
youth up. It shows that a thorough-going biography of the man would 
mean a history of the literature and politics of the nation during a most 
important period." New York Tribune. 



PN Winter, William 

2287 Life and art of Joseph 

J4.W5 Jefferson