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EonDon : 

Printed for RICHARD PHILLIPS, No. 6, Bridge- 
street, BLACKFRIAR8. 


By T. Cillet, Salisbury-square. 





. Miss Farren. 

It is well known, that Mr. Younger 
was the occasion of the celebrated 
Miss Farren's introduction to the Lon- 
don stage ; and that his generous and 
friendly aid and protection laid the 
foundation of the future spllendour of 
herself and family* 

In Mr. Tate Wilkinson's Memoirs of 
his own Life, he has unnecessarily 
weighed in his partial scales the living 
merit of Miss Farren, and the dead 
merit of Mrs. Woffinoton. 



In wit, beatty, figure, and profesaional 
abilities, he has fixed an equal beam y 
and no one, I believe, will question the 
justice of the hand that holds it: but. 
why might he not have blazoned the 
coat of the goddess of his idolatry*, 
without making a blot in Woffington's 
scutcheon ? Why tell us, that in the 
race of virtue,. Miss Farren, Atalanta- 
Kke, outstrips the benevolent, the no- 
ble spirited Woffington? May Miss 
Farren' long live the pattern cf virtue^. 
and may the faults of the departed /r^z7 
©ne be forgottea ! 

But in the race of charity (a capital 
virtue) I will not yield the palm to* 
Miss Farren. Mr. Wilkinson tells us. 
Miss Farren has settled ah annuity 
upoo her mother : I call ttis duty^ and 
heaven will reward her for it. But di0> 
not, in this instance, Jtt us rob pboif 

XVbffington of her due. As Mr. Wilkin- 
son has^ thought it necessary to bring; 
the virtue of Miss-Farren more forward 
in the canvas^ by placing Mrs. Wof- 
fington's ^lults in- the back-ground>. 
I shall taiie the liberty (without wish- 
ing in die least to lessen the merits ofe 
IVliss Farren), in the following picture^ 
to place her in the^fore-ground*. 



MISS wopf inoton;. 


In taking a comparative view of tlie-^ 
^lial merits of two ladies^ namely, of 
Miss WoflBngton that wm greats and* 
Miss Farxen that isy. it does not, nor 
should not follow, that though Miss 
Woffington*^ many acts of charity de- 
terve to be mentioned to her honour^, 
that Miss Farren*s benevolent propensw 
ties are not praise-worthy^^ 

Mrs* Woffington was>^ in hec earliest^ 


infancy^ a child of indigence : her fa- 
ther was an honest labouring man ^ he 
died, perhaps luckily for her, when she 
had not arrived at two years of age. 
Her mother earned a scanty livelihood 
for her two daughters, by hawking 
fruit about tlie streets of Dublin > with 
the youngest (the honourable Mrs. Chol- 
mondeley) on her breast, and Peggy, 
the chirming, lovely Peggy, trotting 
by her side. This sordid life the mo- 
ther and her unhappy orphans led for 
some years. I have met with more 
than one in Dublin, who assured me, 
that they remember to have seen the 
lovely Peggy, with a little dish upon 
her hand, and without shoes to cover 
her delicate feet, crying through Col- 
lege-green, Dame-street, and 6ther parts 
of that end of the town — " All this fine 
young sallad for a halfpenny-^all for a 
halfpenny ; all for a halfpenny here 1'* 

i » 


The little creature's frequent visits to 
the college, in the way 6f her profes- 
sion ; her early wit, and the sweet fea* 
tures she was blest with, recommended 
her to the notice of many generous 
young students of the university, who 
were even then, when she was scarcely 
nine years old, extremely lavish in the 
praises of her wit ami beauty. 
I There was at this time a foreign 
4ady of the name of Madame Vilante, 
whose surprising performances on the 
tight-rope, (never seen there before) 
with her pu[nls, drew vast crowds to a 
booth she had erected in George's-lane,* 
which now, since the reform in light-* 
ing, paving, and other improvements 
of that elegant city, is known by the 
name of Great George-street, probably 
in honour of our present gracious So-v 
vereign ; since the commencement of 
whose happy reign, more has been done 


^ lilSMOIllS OF 

^or the cmelument of that loyal, though 
.much oppressed nation^ andthat within 
ithese twenty years last past, than was 
.for five hundred years before. 

JVIadame*s theatrical booth was, whe- 
ther by chance or design, built in the 
tveryrneighbourhood of an.clegant play- 
house, known at this time by the name 
-of the Theatre .Royal, Aungier-street, 
ra spacious'^difice, and then occupied by 
^he best dramatic performers in the 
ikingdom, Th«re were four brother* 
r©f the name of Elrington, who, in their 
.di^erent walks, were hdd to be unri- 
vdied. The eldei^ the famous Tim, 
slione brightest in the tyrants—he was 
there the original Zanga and Busiris, 
and had the honourable satisfaction of 
.receiving the* thanks of the author. Dr. 
Young,, personally . on the spot, who 
^eld him for a considerable time by 
^tle^hand, 4aid dedarcd lie had ,nevw 


^•een liis Moor done such justice to sis 
hf him^ acknowledging with some re- 
gret, that Mills senior did but growl 
and mouth the character. 

There is an anecdote recorded of the 
above-named distinguished tragedian, ' 
which may not unaptly be related here. 
When the Distressed Mother was per- 
formed for the first time in Dublin, I 
.think in the year 1713, Mr, Thomas 
JElrington .performed the part of Ores- 
tes. He was .much. applauded, and very 
deservedly it seems, through the whole^ 
-fcut in the last scene, where hi^ brain is 
-so affected at an account of the death 
of his beloved Hermione, that he falls 
into an ungovernable madness, he acted 
so very naturally, that it had a dreadful 
^effect on the sensorium of a musician 
in the orchestra. From the first start of 
4he actor, wh#n he wildly says—" Blow 

.B-4 . 


winds ! the murder'd lovers wait !— ^ 
Hark, how they csJl— rnay, if your 
Uood still reeks, Fll mingle mine, &c/' 
•—he suddenly caught the infection in 
reality ; and, as some travellers inform 
us that birds, squirrels, and many other 
animals, are so disordered by the fasci- 
nating power of the eyes of the rattle 
snake, ths^ they are entirely deprived 
of the power of avoiding thdr own 
certain destruction; so was it with 
this poor musician — he could not avert 
his eyes from the sight of the unreal 
•* Mad Tom ;" and before Orestes was 
carried off, the fatally affected son of 
Orpheus began to rave, stare, and dis- 
cover other symptoms of the most out* 
rageous madness. In short, he was re« 
moved from the playhouse to the mad- 
house, where he soon after died. 

I must not omit in this place, that 
Mr. Ellington proved himself to be a 


fnbstandal friend to the widow and 
children of the poor man, of whose mi* 
teraUc death be had been the innocent 

The second brother of the Elringtons, 
then the props and supporters of the 
Irish stage, was nanoed Frank, famous 
many years for acting the Miser, Sir 
Francis Gripe, and parts of the Uke 
cast. The third was Ralph, a very use* 
ful performer ; and the youngest was 
known by the jolly appellation of Honest 
0/d yoe : he was held in the same de- 
gree of estimation in Dublin, that Mr. 
Ryan was in London, and played fine 
gentlemen and young heroes, long after 
be had passed his grand climacteric. 
This last surviving branch of the EU 
ringtonian family made his mortal exit 
from this stage of life in the month of 
December, 1755. 

Why I have been so particular in 

ireUting any memoirs of this tMrother- 
bood, was to introduce to my readers 
the persons .who were the chii^ instru* 
jnents of bringing on, and encouraging 
the lovely J^eggy in her drarilatic at- 
vteqipt on the st^[ge. ^However, I must 
liot forget to inform them, that she 
^was first taken into the service of Ma- 
-^ame Vilaote, who taught her to dance 
^for her own purpose. Here her un- 
'/^omraon, agflity and dexterity made 
^her extreme^ popular.] Being thus 
'^brought to an early acquamtance with 
:^ profession, which the immortal Rich 
/ looked^upon as^ the very perfection of 
all scenic performances, oio wonder that 
-Peggy was admitted as a visitor at the 
Theatre Royal, as it was then presump- 
tuously called; she there imbibed deli- 
<iQUS draughts of the sweet intoxicating 
/jytrcams, which n«vcr feil io flaw from 


tlie well wtou^t pieces of our dramatic 

Now her y6ung t>osom panted for 
the wide ^extending hoop, the long rich 
:train9 laced fhoes, and brocaded suits, in- 
stead of thelotig drawers, short jacket^ 
and flat. punip3, she 'Was used to wear. 
Thus pr(gudiced against vaulting and 
highflying, and dangerous capering ia 
4he^air,even sometimes above the clouds . 
theatrical, i^e longed to give the ad- 
miring^town some ,proofs of her capa- 
.bility of pleasing it, by appearing in 
some character of consequence on the 
iboards below. Her mistress perceiv- 
ing the bent of her genius that, way, 
had her instructed in several ballad-far* 
-cical parts, such asPhilida, and*others^ 
Jbut above all, she excelled in the part of 
t^dl, in the Devil to Pay ; in which s?he 
^received the instructions of the fond fa- 

rthe]:4a4aw«€f the4:Qbk¥^9 ionoceat »a4 

diverting wife. Hiiswas Mr.CharlesCof- 
fey,*whowas then newly returned from 
liOndon, whither he had wisely carried 
his piece after he had materially altered 
it from a farce written by Mr. Jevon, 
ar player of Charles the Second's time. 
It is well known the part of Nell ei^ta* 
blisfaed the fame of Miss Raftor, after<» 
wards Mrs. Qive. Mr. Cofiey, very 
lucidly for Iwely Peggy y by frequenting 

the booth she belonged to, took a 


* This mgenious gentleman was a school- 
ttiasteryand taught youth for many years, in the 
place called Com^Market, in the city of Dub- 
lin. Besides the alterations he confessedly 
nade in JeYon''s uncouth pece of the Devil of a 
Wife, by •which it was gready amended ; he 
was the sole author of the Beggar's Wedding, 
an opera of great humour; but being of the 
local kind, and chiefly calculated for the meri* 
dian of Dublin, it was rejected by the London 
managers. He was author likewise of a large 
^flection of jpoems of 'SomeJittmour« 


mighty pleasure in instructing and using 
his good natured endeavours to culti- 
vate her rising genius. In his favourite 
character of Nell, he was particularly 
assiduous in teaching her every applaud- 
ed stroke he had observed in Miss Raf- 
tor's performance. Mr. Coflfey*s cares 
for her future welfare did not end 
there ; he spoke warmly of his young 
pupil t9 Mr. Thomas Elrington, who 
was then manager of Aungier-street 
house, advising him by all means to 
engage her. He, fortunately for him* 
self, followed the good man's advice, 
and though she had hardly reached her 
thirteenth year, put her on for ipany 
womanly characters — such as Mrs* 
Peachum, Mother Midnight in Far* 
quhar's Twin Rivals, and other parts, 
which required humour in the perfori. 
mance of them. She continued under 
the management of the judicious . £t 

tj^ ATEMOIRS or 

rington a good while, and met wit!r 
great indulgence both from him and 
the town, but was obliged to quit his- 
theatre, through the ill-treatment of 
tifie cynical John Ward, the grandfa- 
rfier of the KemWes and the Siddonses, 
who at that time bore some sway in the 
company. But she had wisely taken 
care to g^t herself engaged with a set 
of players who had the liberty of per- 
forming in a nobleman's house in the 
outskirts of the dty^ known by the- 
name of Rainsford-street. This corps- 
called themselves a Conmionwealth* 

The Rainsford-street company con-, 
asted principally of the following per- 
formers, who were well known, and^ 
received some years after at our Lon- 
doii Theatres ^ Messrs. Luke and Isaac 
Sparks (brothers), Mr, John Bar- 
rington, Mr. Robert LayfieW, Mr. 
lAiichael Dyerj and above all^ Miss 


Margaret Woffin gt on, though last^ iiot 
feast upon the scale of merit. Her great 
tiieatrical exploits in London and Dub* 
Kn, for a long succession of smiling 
years, have been recounted by other 
pens, therefore I shall say nothing of 
ihetn here. But as I began with a com*^ 
pariison between her and Miss Farren, 
Ehope I may, without the censure of 
being a prejudiced man^ declire that, in 
my humble opinion, the lowly bred^ 
Woffington, far surpassed^ her rival ia 
filial duty* Miss Woffington, Bke an^ 
affectiohj^te child, supported her an- 
cient parent, by prudently giving to 
die old woman even the little douceurafc- 
which were gathered for her on the 
stkge, after she had gone through a 
dance that was approved.. This she didy. 
t^hite she was yet very young, and had? 
no manner of check upon her, so that, 
liad she beea^ mcliiied, she might hav^ 


squandered these casual perquisites 
away in babbles and other unnecessary- 
childish articles. When she arrived 
at the state of womanhood, and her 
great merit commanded a salary ade- 
quate to that merit, she settled an an* 
nuity of forty pounds upon her mother, 
with the addition of two changes of ap- 
parel yearly 1 ! 1— Peace to her manes ! 
But I cannot quit this subject, without 
informing my readers, that lovely 
Peggy had a. sister she most tenderly 
loved; she gave the amiable youi>g 
creature an education which fitted her 
for appearing with great advantage in 
the worldi. She was so far from look- 
ing on her with the jealous eye of her 
rivial in beauty, though generally al- 
lowed to surpass her in that feminize 
qualification, that she watched over her 
Inexperienced youth with the laudable 
(SiXe of the most tendei? another : audi 


though many irregularities attended 
her own manner of conducting her- 
self through life, she was ever anxious 
for the safeguard of her sister's honour! 
She sent her to a foreign convent with a 
stipend for her maintenance little short 
of the allowance of a daughter of a no- 
bleman ; and when she had the offer of 
an unexceptionable match, she had her 
lovely relation married honourably to 
a gentleman who loved her, and hap- 
pily made her a good husband. 

Many of my readers have been misled 
by seeing a very fallacious account of 
the Farren family, which, fgr what pur- 
pose I cannot tell, has been published 
in many of our monthly magazines^ 

The ingenious Henry Fielding says 
somewhere, in his admirable novel of 
'J bm Jones, that it is indispensably ne- 

* VOL. 11. c 


cessary for an author to have some 
knowledge of his subject before he sits 
down to write upon it. This axiom, 
I may truly say, was totally neglected 
by the historians who have so daringly 
palmed upon the public those spurious 
accounts of the Farrens. 

1 had no sooner compared the pa- 
pers put into my hands by my un- 
doubtedly well-infornKd friends, than I 
plainly perceived falsehood and igno- 
rance to pervade the whole of their sur- 
reptitious memoirs. 

The limits of this work will not en- 
able me to lay before my readers such 
circumstantial and minute particulars, 
as will entirely obviate the misrepresen- 
tations of these misinformed biogra^ 
phers ; I shall, therefore, content my- 
self with casually adverting to the in- 
correctness of the memoirs alluded to. 

The printed accounts already come 


to hand^ all agree^ that Mr. George 
Farren, father of the celebrated actress 
of that name, and now Countess of 
Derby, was born in the city of Cork, 
in the kingdom of Ireland ; — here is a 
palpable mis-statement. Mr. Farren was 
not a Munster man, nor was he bred 
an- attorney, as his biographers would 
make us believe. That gentleman drew 
his first breath in the city of Dublin,^ 
and his father being a wine merchant, 
he was indented to him for five years, 
to serve as his clerk. His education was 
of the liberal kind ; he was sent early in 
life to the most approved seminary in 
the kingdom, which was in CapeUstreet, 
Dublin ; the master of it was the Rev. 
Moses Magill, formerly principal ush^r 
under Doctor Sheridan, grandfather of 
our English Demosthenes. His brother 
lived in the s^me street — his profession 

c 2 

10 MJLMoitiS or 

#^s t&at of a modeller in plaister of 

The public are already acquainted 
with Mr. Farrcn*s introduction to a 
theatrical litie of life, and his peregri- 
Uatiofts have been so amply detailed by 
<3ther pens, that a recapitulation of his 
dramsitic adventures would be uninte- 
resting and unnecessary. I shall, how^ 
ever, beg leave to relate an anecdote, 
which has never yet been published, re- 
lative to his application to Mr. Gibson, 
the well known and respected mana- 
ger of a company of comedians many 
years ago at Liverpool. 

Mr. Farren's abilities as a performer 
not meeting with that encouragement 
ift Dublin which he expected, he wa? 
resolved to take the first opportunity 
of quitting feme's metropolis, and try 
his fortune in England. Arriving at 

HvtTfooiih^ applied to Mr. Oibson^ 
then manager of the London company 
of X)nify4£tne, for a ^situation of eveaa 
the lowest salary ; hut this modest 
dffer of his service dftd not iproduoc 
the fejRpQct'ed success. " Our com* 
paiShy, rfjciend/* «id Gibeoai, '* bring 
foiOTed ^md foil ere we kft London, 
Cftnnot possibly adniit of .any addition. 
Xhom h^st toW me, ^ientft, th^t them 
hast never tidied thy talents on the :3tage, 
wd it is an unalterable onaKim ^ith 
mc to rqject all siqperfluities Gif ,any 
kind. I'will not ent^ittain more eats 
than m^ kill nnce ; and therefore^ 
IS by -thy own confession thou art pot 
practised in the business of an mtw^ 
the most prudent course for thee would 
be :to ^usb thyself into some other way 
of life, which may support thee better. 
What^er thy vain hope may flatter 



thee with, expect not to keep up long 
the flashy appearance thou now dost 
make, shouldst thou engage with any 
travelling company of comedians. But 
le»t, peradventure, thou shouldst lack 
wherewithal to answer for a bed and 
a supper, I make thee here a present 
of this half crown ; thou dost look 
most pitifully lank, young man, but 
this may, if properly used by thee, 
prevent thy growing thinner for a 
short space of time." The exordium 
to this puritanical speech made poor 
Farren look blank; he thought pro- 
per, however, being in want of half- 
-crown, to pocket the affront ! and 
making his best bow to his monitor, 
he went back to his lodging. 
- Now, lest my reader should imagine 
I am amusing him with an ideal speech, 
I must inform him, or her, that Gibsoa 


the player was bred a Quaker^ and 
brought up in the most rigid discipline 
of that sect, till the .pomps and vanities 
of this wicked world drew him off from 
the precise rules by which he had been 
hitherto used to square his life. The 
many hotbeds which are to be found 
in Co vent-Gar den, and the purlieus 
thereof, soon ripened in him the seeds 
of degeneracy, and, as he became a con- 
stant visitor to both the theatres, the 
spirit gave way to the fleshy and soon 
rendered him a proselyte to the doc- 
trines of Otway, Dryden, and the 
sprightly Congreve, instead of the dis- 
courses of George Fox and James Nai- 
lor. The simplicity of his original dis- 
cipline was not so wholly erased, but 
that the Quaker was still legible, and 
rendered him a ludicrous mixture of 
gravity, and stage-buffoonery. 

c 4 


In fine, he found, or thought he 
found, he had been imposed upon, by 
his father, mother, and the whole 
fraternity of friends^ with whom he 
had for many years held almost ex- 
clusive converse. To gratify his sen- 
sual appetite, in opposition to paren« 
tal authority, he cast off the tram- 
mels of a strictly pious education, and 
boldly listed among the free and easy 
sons of the church militant, established 
by the laws of England. Whilst he re- 
mained a saint^ having the handling of 
a good deal of cash, he was so provi- 
dent as to by by some for future con- 
tingencies ; and now it was much want- 
ed, he was read ouioi the meeting of 
the Friends, and furthermore, repro- 
bated by his parents, and his relatives 
in general. He had been for some time 
weaning himself from the peculiarities 
of the speech and garb of the Quakers, 


and with facility both dressed and spoke 
like a man of the world. The stage, 
with all its fascinating charms, was look- 
ed forward to by young Gibson, but the 
same impediment which hindered Far- 
ren from an engagement at liverpoc^ 
lay in the way of Gibson in London. 
But getting acquainted with Messrs. 
Bridgewater and Hij^sley at a tavera 
in the Garden, and the houses being 
near their closing for the season, they 
were far from discouraging our new- 
made Christian^* they rather commend- 

• However strange it may appear to many of 
my reader s» that I here insinuate a distinction 
between a Qnaker and a Christian— yet so it waa 
in young Mr. Gibson's case — ^as be has been 
often heard to declare, that until he had been 
received into the bosom of the church of £ng- 
landy he had not received the sacrament of bap«> 
tism, being not of the age of thixty. Fanatics, 
look to yourselves ; if the seal of baptism be re« 
quisite and necessary to salvation \ I !<-*It is said 


ed his spirit ; and the droll Hippesley, 
being upon the eve of opening his theatre 
at Bristol, he oflFered him a situation in 
'his corps^ with a promise of instruction 
•and protection while he should remain 
with him. The old gentleman kept his 
word ; and when he was recalled to his 
town engagement, he gave the young 
man a letter of recommendation to Mr. 
Bennis Herbert, with whom he re- 
mained a considerable time. His figure 
was a good one, and he was blessed 
with a prepossessing countenance, which 
gained him much applause, especially 
in the soft sighing lovers. Particular 
circumstances induced him to apply 
for a London engagement, which he 
without difficulty obtained from ftfpr. 

that Quakers have no pride. It is possible fox 
the cynical slovenliness of Diogories to trample 
on Plato's splendid garments, with more gride 
than Plato wore them. 


Rich, where he remained for a long 
course of years, performing a respect- 
able line of business. I have already 
informed rtiy readers, that Mr. Gibson 
was bred up to quakerism, and though - 
I have never heard of his morals being 
, impeached for any action of his life, 
yet I am afraid that some of my serious 
readers will be apt to scruple my testi- 
mony in behalf of his moral rectitude, 
when they recollect the levity of his be- 
haviour towards our adventurer George 
Farren. , 

A needy candidate for fame and 
bread presents himself, and addresses 
him in his official capacity, as manager 
of a company of players, whom he had 
a strong desire and pressing necessity 
to engage with ; but, instead of a seri- 
ous answer to his solicitation on that 
head, he is treated with levity and 
rudeness. This was cruel, you may 


say, and mdeed it seems so, at £nt 
s\glit : but Mr. Gibson was a maji tha^ 
bad been accustomed long to make 
shrewd observations on men and oun* 
ners. This premised, where is the won* 
der, that one thus qualified to form a 
judgment of people by their behaviour, 
should be moved to exercise his inno- 
ce;jit humour in a manner no ways 
cruel, as he gave the applicant season- 
able relief, acconxpanbd with whdie- 
some advice, to shim the rock that had 
been fatal to many a callous adventurjer, 
very well perceiving that Farren was 
a finished character of that description ? 
And in the like .manner, it was well 
known, Gibson treated all .pretenders 
to merit J for which purpose he ever 
made use of the grave and pithy stile 
of iiis quondam friends and brethren, 
which he preferred on tliese occasions 
to the rude common lanjguage of the 


ungodly world. This palliation of a 
supposed outrage being committed by 
friend Gibson, against the amiable rules 
of good breeding, I owe to him, as he 
was a man universally respected, and 
remarkable for his probity and philan- 


The following whimsical particulars 
relative to Mr. William Lewis, elder 
brother to the well known king of 
grief, the prince of discontent, the fa- 
ther of calamity, the symbol of despair, 
and the type of sorrow, may not prove 
uninteresting. Mr. William Lewis wa$ 
in every respect the reverse of his bro- 
ther : he was sensible and witty, with- 
dut sarcasm ; well bred, and though a 
Welshman, without pride. I wish I 
could extend the compliment to his . 
son — ^^ O ! what a falling off is there ! 


No more jof that j that way madness 
lies r 

Mr. Lewis senior, was not only an 
amiable character in private life; hi& 
easy deportment, great professional ta- 
lents, and scholastic education, made 
his agreeable conversation coveted by 
?the learned, as well as the illiterate. 
These slight traits of his character will 
prepare the reader to give credit, with- 
out wonder, to the following tragi- 
comic scene. 

It may be necessary to premise, 
that there is great reason to believe 
that the true art of theatrical puf- 
fing originated among our provincial 
actors. Whiteley might be reckoned, 
with respect to his excellence in thi« 
art, to be one of the first of itinerant 
^puffers. So great was his skill in this 
practice, that old Ward, grandfather 
of Jdrs. S ■ s, often lamented his in^ 


capacity for inventing such sublime ad- 
vertisements, . as came from his sworn 
foe and formidable competitor, White- 
ley. Strange as it may appear, though 
the art of stage-puffing was of so low an 
origin, it is now arrived to such a re- 
spectable consequence, as to he practised, 
as a most essential and indispensable 
support of our royal theatrical repu- 
tation. It has increased within these, 
forty years so as to cause those bills of 
modest compass, which only contained 
the mere names of the st^ge dishes, to 
be extended with sheet pasted after 
sheet, so as to become a nuisance. 

The following specimen will serve to 
shew that the art of theatrical puffing 
is cHOt .unpractised amongst the Spani- 
ards ; and it must be acknowledged our 
English puff theatricals are inferior .to 
theirs in sublimity. , 



To the Sovereign of Heaven — 

To the Mother of the eternal world— 

To the Polar Star of Spain — 

To the faithful Protectress of the 

Spanish Nation — 

To the 

Honour and Glory of the most 

Holy Virgin Mary ; 

For her Benefit, 

and for the propagation of her worship, 

The Company of Comedians 

will this day give a representation of 

the Comic Piece, called 


The celebrated Italun will also dance 
The Fandango, 

and tlie Theatre will be superbly 



The foHowihg whimsical, circum- 
stance once happened to Mr. Lewis^ 
previous to the performance of the Earl 

"■ ITxe puflE contained the Earl's re- 
cent amours with the haughty Prin- 
cess; his private marriage with the 
lady Rutland ; the envy, jealousy, and 
cruelty of the lady Nottingham^ who, 
in revenge for slighted love, concealed 
a ring that proved fatal* to the innocent 
Earl; the unparalleled friendship of 
Essex and Southampton, with the be- 
heading 4{ the much injured Earl/' 
As this puff comprized such a state- 
ment of circumstances^ great mischief 
had nearly been the consequence, from 
this hotch-potch of false facts and per- 
verted history. 

One of the wiseacres of the town 
came to the landlord of Lewis with one 
of these puffing bills, which not being 

VOL, n. D 


^le to peruse himself, he requested 
Mr» Lewis WiOif Id read it for hinu 
X^ben the det^ was finished, he b^an 
to name the characters. " The part of 
the Xarl of Essex to be performed by 
Mr. Lewis." 

^' Hdd, holdr' said the landlord, «i« 
Mr. Lewis to be beheaded ?" 

** You see he is,'* answered Mr* 

" rU be d-^ if he shaU^'' exclaim- 
ed the Undlord, ^^ let me alone, 111 take 
care of that,*** ^ 

The horror which had seiased the 
whole Acuities of the poor simple land- 
lord, at hearing his harmless tenant 
was to lose his head, was soon suc- 
ceeded by a gtorm <^ rage and indig* 

^ Behead himj'* cried he, « VH be 
d — d if they shall ! And pray who will 
they get to do tliis bloody work for < 
them ?** 


** The iame stage-keeper," the other 
answered, " who else do you think ?*' 

" He ! a blackguard, a rascal !" the 
liost rejcHned — " I always thought he 
had the marks of murder in his very 
looks ? — He belonged to the soldiers io 

" Aye ! so he says,** replied Wise- 
acre. ** He was beside at a slaughter- 
house in Cork, where he enlisted ! Aye, 
now *tis plain what they hired him for, 
the cruel, blood-thirsty vagabonds !*' 

" But ril put a stop to this,'* said 
the host. " nris a pity I can't leave the 
house now, and Mr. and Mrs. Lewis 
are now at the rehearsal, as they call 
It ; however, let me alone, Pll manage 
it so as to get him off, I warrant you/' 

The landlady returning from market, 
the indignant husband slipped out tQ 
beg a proper guard and protection for 
his favourite tenant. 

D 2 

36 M£M0IR8 OF 

The magistrate hearing the doleful 
complaint and earnest request, saw al- 
ready the mistake of the unhappy land- 
lord, and, therefore, dismissed him 
with words of fair comfort and en- 
couragement, such as a solemn promise 
of protection long before the dreadfid 
;ict could be perpetrated. 

During the absence of honest Stingo 
Mr. Lewis returned home from the re- 
Jiearsal, and to the astonishment of the 
much affected landlord, made a hearty 
dinner. His host was shocked at his 
cahn intrepidity ; and when Lewis 
withdrew to his apartments, to supply 
himself with sonie requisites for the 
performance, the landlord followed 
him. After many hem's and ha's, he 
asked him, if he really was going to 
the play-house that night ? 

*^ By all means, sir," said Lewis — 
'*^ Why do you ask me r^' 


** And will you do the part of the 
Earl of Essex ?*' continued the anxious 
and inquisitive landlord. 

" Most certainly I will, please God!** 
answered the performer. 

« You will !'* said the host. " But 
what if I won't let you go ?" 

" Won't let me !'* asked Lewis, with 
no little surprize: '* Do I owe you 
any thing for which you can detain 
me from my business ?'* 

" Owe me !" replied the friendly 
landlord-T-'* No ! God love you — ^you 
owe me nothing but gCiod will, I hope.*' 

" Well, then, explain yourself," de- 
sired the impatient Lewis. 

" You are resolved to play the Earl 
of Essex this night ?" the host asked. 

*' I am,'* Lewis answered. 

*^ And are you not to be beheaded ?*' 
asked the landlord ; " that is, I sup- 
pose, have your head cut off?" The 


poor man delivered these words with 
such a tremulous voice and faiultering 
' accent, that Lewi^ could no longer mis* 
take him. He saw the joke, and was 
determined to humour it* 

'' My head cut off!** said Lewis — 
" It cannot be avoided, my dear friend. 
No — know that one or other of us are 
obliged frequently to submit to be a 
voluntary sacrifice for the benefit of 
the rest of our community ; and, un- 
fortunately for me, it happens that I 
must be the victim to-night. You, 
however, pcrcei^^, I submit with cheer* 

*' Aye, to my sorrow I see it,** an- 
swered the compassionating landlord-*- 
" I would never have believed it, had 
I not seen it, that you could be so 
h^rd-hearted as to go headlong to the 
devil in a stage play, and leave your 
poor wife and your pretty little boy, 


for the sake of a set of raggamufBns, 
aot worth powder and shot. You 
sh*aEi*t,' Mr. Lewis, before God, you 
shan't go !'* 

^ My worthy friend," repKed Lewis, 
^ I feel your goodness in every vein o£ 
my grateful heart ; but there is an in- 
dispensable necessity for my sacrifice^, 1 
must suffer it. Pray for me, dear land- 
lord, and be assured, that in my last 
moments, I will so remember your 
kindness, as to recommend you witL 
my dying words up0n the scaffold, to 
him that caii only reward your good^ 


" O my dear friend !" exclaimed thc^ 
host, " I can't part with you so." 

*' We must part, my worthy land- 
lord," answered Lewis. ^ I have bu- 
siness that would employ an age, and 
have but five hours to do it in. — ^Fare- 
well ! give me your hand !" 



" Stop !" cried the landlord in an 
agony of real grief, " my heart's sa 
fiiU, I must weep. But stop a litde, I 

Here his tender-hearted host turned 
away j but he stopt at tlie first flight 
of stairs to wipe the bursting tear fronx 
his honest countenance. 

Lewis, creeping out of his room to 
listen, heard him muttering to him* 

" rU be d^ — ^^d if you die this 
night, die when you wUl ^ a pack of 
thieves, savage murderers ! An honest 
man, worth ten cartloads of such fel- 
lows, must have his head cut off to put 
bread into the mauths of such strolling 
vagrants as you, indeed. It won't do I 
It won't do, 1 tell you.'* 

By this time he was beyond the 
bearing of Mr. Lewes, who, with his 
accustomed tenderness, sympathized 


with the distress of this worthy cha^ 
ractcr. But he still was resolved not 
to undeceive him until he was going 
to the play-house. By the time he had. 
placed every thing in order in his dres- 
sing box, the good and generous host 
returned, with a full pot of beer, and 
with a woe-begone countenance^ faul- 
tering voice, and out-stretched hand i 
— " Well, Mr. Lewis, «ince you will ga 
of your own accord to die a shameful 
death, let us drink a parting cup to- 
gether. — Here's iong life and good health 
lo you." 

Lewis returned him very gravely hig 
hearty thanks. Here the child came 
into the room, the present hero of Co- 
vent-Garden theatre. 

Lewis^'was now ralarmed lest the boy 
should hear all the sport he had pronus- 
ed himselE He. therefore, interrupted 
their discourse, by informing the land* 


lord, that his idea that befaeacfiog 
was a shameful death, was wrong ; for 
that it was the most honourable of aK 
deaths, except that of dying with 9 
brace of bullets, the thrust of a halbert 
or a bayonet, in a glorious field of 

** I am heartily eoncerned," said Mr. 
Lewis, *' to see you so afflicted for One 
with whom you are so slightly acqusdnt* 
ed. You are a worthy good subject and a 
Christian ; and it is really an honour 
to have the friendship of a man posr 
sessed, like you, of so many inestimable 

Aye, you don't know all yet, my 
friend," said the landlord, with symp- 
toms of in ward triumph, *' come—sup 
it off! there*s not much of it ; for my 
part I have supped nothing but sorrow 
ever since 1 heard of your approaching 



- The good host having a part to play 
which he carefully concealed from 
Lewis, he withdrew, with a much more 
placid countenance than he had worn 
ever since the morning. As the time 
of the performance was drawing near, 
he sent his waiter for the mayor's two 
Serjeants, and parish constable, with a 
message, to desire they would speedily 
repair to his house, as a circumstance 
of life and death required their imme- 
diate attendance. 

The tremendous summons brought 
them instantly, when the host set be- 
fore them a half gallon pot of the best 
homcpbrewed in his cellar. He had 
placed the men so advantageously, that 
it was impossible the suspected victim 
could escape their vigilance. The of- 
ficers of justice being at a loss to know 
the cause of their dreadful summons. 


inquired of each other for a dcvdope- 
ment of this alarming business, which 
was yet unknown to all except the sa- 
gacious landlord, who meant to surprise 
them with a capital stroke of profound 
policy. His face wore unusual traits of 
sapience which, assisted by nods, winks, 
smiles, and other significant gestures, 
promised the production of somethmg 
very extraordinary. 

The parturiunt monies^ nascitur ridU 
cuius mus of Horace, was never more 
verified than in the catastrophe. Mr. 
Lewis descended to the passage entry ; 
the landlord gave the signal by stamp- 
ing with his foot, and cried out to his 
astonished myrmidons— 
. " Seize him, seize him ! that^s your 
nun!'* The police officers instantly 

Bring him in gently,*' said the 



landlord, ^^ and make him sit down-; 
I won't have him used roughly; — he 
never deserved it at my hands." 

** But, pray/* asked the constable; 
" what's his crime ? With what misde« 
meanor do you charge him ?'* 

** Aye, pray, landlord," demanded 
Lewis, " what have I done, that by 
your directions I am now suffering 
this detention ?'* 

" You have done nothing to me,** 
answered the host, ** nor I to you, efX- 
cept taking this method of saving you 
from being murdered by a set of canni- 
bal vagabonds." ' 

" What is all this about ?" said the 
constable, " I am lost in a fog here. 
Pray, Mr. Lewis, explain this dark bu- 
siness, if you can. This chuckle-head- 
ed landlord of yours sent his stupid 
boy to us, desiring our immediate at- 
tendance on a matter of life and death. 


When we cairie we found every thing 
quiet in the house. We inquired of 
Mr. Solomon the Second there, what 
was his business with us, but we could ' 
get nothing out of him, except that * 
there was mischief brewing, and wc 
should see all by and bye ; ^^ and when I 
stamp my foot,*' continued the num- 
scuU, *^ do you seize the man that comes 
down those stairs facing you ;** and ' 
who was it but you ? and now, he says 
he has nothing to allege against you, 

forsooth. Was there ever such a ." 

« Why, Mr. Constable,'* said Mr. 
Lewis, ^^ although this affair has, I con- 
fess, a little disconcerted me, yet I can- 
not be seriously angry with him. His 
innocent, but friendly anxiety to pre* 
'Serve me, has solely brought me into 
this ridiculous situation. I acknow* 
ledge myself partly to blame for sport- 
inga as I did, so long with his credulity; 


and, I must •confess, I deserve muck 
more than I have suffered, for my wan- 
ton cruelty, and for which I beg his 
and your pardon. But the part I have 
acted ki ihas curk)us and whimsical in* 
terlude, shall be the last of the kind I 
will ever perform.** He then recounted 
€very circumstance as before related^ 
bowed, and retired, leaving the host of 
the Gdklen Ball, a subject for the plea- 
•santry of innocent jest and jocularity. 


During the management of Mr. Tho- 
mas Sheridan, which he conducted with 
honour to himself, and great credit to 
his performers, the sinking state, of the 
stage was suddenly snatched from im- 
pending ruin. He raised the salary of 
all those worthy of encouragement of 
the old school, as a reward tor not aban- 
doning; their former manager, Tom 


Phillips, who was Garrick^s director in 


Mr. Sheridan sparing neither cxpencc 
nor trouble to entertain the public, was 
recompensed with the most unaam- 
mon encouragement. In this full tide 
of popular favour, he continued until 
the beginning of the year 1754. At 
that time the following circumstance 

In the first scene of Mahomet, Mr; 
Digges spoke with such energy a 
speech fraught with execrations against 
all betrayers of their country's liber- 
ties, either for a grasp of ore, or 
paltry office, that the house not only 
rang with applause, but also desired it 
might be encored. This unexpected 
shout brought Mr. Sheridan from his 
room, at the moment Digges was pre- 
paring to comply with the request of 
the audience. The manager immcdi- 

ttdy threatened him widi the forfei- 
ture of a month's salary, if he so far 
disobeyed his orders as to repeat the 
speech. Digges, knowing that the for- 
feit would amount to twenty-four 
pounds, was irresolute. He knew not 
how to act, for he equally dreaded 
the resentment of the audience, while 
they cried, ^* Go on, Digges — ^go on l*^ 
He stood bowing, and looking askew 
at his enraged manager, who with up* 
lifted fist, and a violent stamp of the 
foot, menaced an exemplary punish- 
ment, if he had the temerity to obey 
a. factious multitude, contrary to his 
positive commands. 

Some gentlemen collegians, who 
were in the pit, and Mr. Sheridan's 
very good friends, overheard his 
threats, and the general cry was, ndw, 
Bella J borrida Belial A burning can- 

TOL. n. £ 


die from one of the sconces hurle^ 
upon the stage, was the signal for a ge« 
neral attack. This was commenced 
by a heavy shower of potatoes from the 
upper gallery, while some of the more 
active and dauntless bucks leaped over 
the cheveaux-de-frize which separated 
the stage from the orchestra, and made 
such rapid devastation, as caused the 
manager to flee in order to prevent his 
falling the victim of their boundless fury. 
He was sought through every part of^ 
the house. Their search proving in vain, 
they directed their vengeance against 
scenes, looking glasses, chairs, and every 
other valuable in the new decked ward- 
robe. Thus did this moral, honest man, 
bring destruction on his property from* 
fearing the frowns of Lord George Sack- 
ville, the secretary to his father, then 
Lord Lieutenant. Rather than risk his 

CHARLES L££ LfiW£S. ^l 


displeasure, he defied the resentment of 
the public, from whom he was receiv- 
ing the most essential support and dis- 
tinguished patronage. With this sen- 
timent he met his ruin ; and with a 
young gro^ng family unprovided for; 
he abandoned his native country, with- 
out a ray of hope that he should re- 
trieve the losses he had now sustained. 
But this supererogatory instance of 
his ze<U for the court party, at that 
time, did not meet with the reward 
it deserved; for so far from receiv- 
ing any gratuity for the mighty fa- 
vour he fondly supposed he had done 
to the government, his memorial^ 
wherein his melancholy circumstances 
were fully exhibited to the chief gover- 
nor and council, was laid aside : and 
notwithstanding many solicitations of 
iiimself and a numerous party of res- 

E 2 


spectable friends, who warmly vaXeresU 
cd themselves in his behalf, every ap- 
plication for an indemnification of his 
loss proved abortive., 

^* Hstxnlet, this deed, for thine especial safietjt 
" lijlust ship thee hencer— therefore prepare : 
•* The barque is ready, and the wi^id sets fair 
* For England/' 

And to England, that excellent repre- 
sentative of the Danish prince was com- 
pelled to come, which made a horrid 
chasm and a perilous gash in the stage 
affairs in Dublin. 

The deplorable condition to which 
the theatre of Smock-alley was thus re- 
duced, deterred adventurers from ven- 
turing on board this wreck of a play- 

Benjamin Victor, Esq. poet laureat fot 
Ireland, was in the house on the above 
destructive evening, but was too incoii« 


siderable ' as an individual, to prevent 
the mischief he could not avoid lament* 

Mr. Sowden, a performer under the 
late manager, Sheridan, possessing some 
money, ventured to refit the theatre 
with all possible haste, and retain as 
many of the deserted' performers as re- 
mained in the kingdom. Some of the 
remainder went to England, and others 
to Scotland : among the latter was Mr. 
Laurence KLennedy, whose wife was the 
younger sister of Mr. Younger, and 
was, without exception, the best comic 
actress that the Irish theatre ever pro- 
duced. She remained in Dublin to send 
her husband certain intelligence of what 
might happen, for or against his re- 
turn, in the circumstances of the rising 



I here take the liberty to relate an 
anecdote of Thomas Sheridan , master 
of arts ; and who was, at the time the 
affair happened which I am abottt to 
tell my reader, manager of the Theatre 
Royal in Smock-aSey, Dublin. 

At a trial m the Court of Exchequer 
in that city, of a cause wherein Mr. 
Sheridan had a friend principally con- 
cerned, Mr. Sheridan's evidence was of 
the utmost consequence to his friend. 
He accordingly appeared in court. The 
leading counsel for his friend most ably 
supported his cause, and to corroboi;jtc 
his arguments the more forcibly, he 
frequently urged the evidence of so 
very respectable a gentleman as Mr. 
Sheridan, who came there to support 
his client's cause. There was not a 
single doubt entertained in the whole 
court of the integrity of Mr. Sheridan ; 


even from the Chief Baron to the at- 
torncy's clerk, all were convinced he 
was not prejudiced dishonourably in 
behalf of his friend. But the barrister 
who was employed upon the other 
side, laying hold of his learned bro- 
ther's repeatedly terming Mr. Sheri- 
dan a gentletnan^ commenced his ha- 
rangue with one of those illiberal, be- 
cause general reflections, which his 
learning, and in every other respect 
. gentlemanly manners, sht)uld have 
taught him to avoid, and more parti- 
cularly so pointedly to apply to Mr. 
Sheridan. " My Lord,'' said he, " I am 
afraid we shall be shortly at a loss to 
know who to distinguish by the re- 
spectable appellation of gentleman.^— 
Why, gentleman, instead of being re- 
puted honourable among us, will be 
meant by those who choose to reproach 

E 4 


and insult us, but as a cant phrase, to 
procure to us the scorn of the vulgar, 
to bring us real gentlemen to a level 
with the lawless mob. 

" My learned brother calls a stage- 
player, an actor in Tragedies and Co- 
medies, a gentleman / Tell it not in 
Gath— -Jet it not be heard in the streets 
of Ascalon, that a common player 
should, in a high court of justice, be 
termed a gentleman ! I have heard, in- 
deed, of gentlemen soldiers, gentlemen, 
sailors, and of gentlemen taylors ! but 
I must confess, I never before now 
heard of, or saw, a gentleman player.^* 

On this occasion Mr. Sheridan never 
acted a part better in his life ; for, as 
Lord Mansfield observed to Mr. Mack- 
li'n, when he had prudently comprc- 
mised matters with some gentleman 
who had injured him highly, " that he 


never saw him so much in character 
before,'* or words to that effect ; so 
Sheridan repressed his indignation, and 
instantaneously turned to the calum* 
niator of his profession, with a placid 
smile on his countenance, and his hand 
laid gracefully on his bosom, " I hope^ 
sir, you see one now/^ This was ac- 
companied with a very low bow. 

The learned gentleman, on hearing 
the general plaudit given to the dis^ 
erect Sheridan, shrunk abashed, and 
sat down upon the seat which he had 
that day disgraced by an insult on 
the feelings of a man, justly esteemed, 
as accomplished a gentleman, as Ire- 
land, the land of gentlemen, could 



I have already informed my readers, 
that Mrs. Kennedy remained in Dublin,, 
to give her husband intelligence of the 
new direction ; and was, soon after the 
departure of Mr. Sheridan, engaged on 
a salary of four pounds per week. Her 
husband was then playing with Mr. 
Garrick's counterpart, Mr. John Lee, 
at Edinburgh. Conjugal love and pa- 
ternal affection, with almost a certainty 
of a very good engagement, powerfully 
stimulated him to return home to his 
wife and family. He arrived in. Dublin 
in 1755, after about a year's absence. 
Mrs. Kennedy was re-engaged at her 
former salary, but without being able 
to obtain any provision for her hus- 
band. She expostulated with the ma- 
nagers on the cruelty of separating man 
Ind wife, and did not fail to remind 


them, that in Mr. Sheridan's managr- 
ment, her husband had, for the last 
three years, three pounds a week, and 
for which he had done a great deal of 
business. They would not give any 
such salary ; but, to oblige her, they 
offered to allow him thirty shHlings a-, 
week, which, they said, was as much 
as they could possibly afford him ; the 
repairs of the theatre, and the expec- 
tation of the public of new scenes and 
more splendid decorations under the 
new managers, having exhausted their 
narrow finances. 

Mrs. Kennedy, thus repulsed, went 
home, and acquainted her husband of 
what had happened, who, being rather 
warm in his temper, was unusually 
filled with resentment. He resolved^ 
that nothing but one or both of the 
offenders' lives, or the loss of his own, 
should appease his wrath, or satisfy his 


wounded honour. Thus determined, 
he issued forth— went to a friend's 
hou^e, borrowed a case of pistols, which 
he loaded with ball upon the spot.*— 
I'hus armed, he instantly went to the 
lodgings of Sowden, who was acting- 
manager, as well as, the most formid- 
able of his opponents. Being shewn 
into a room where Sowden was oppor- 
tunely alone, he pulled out his pistols, 
laid them on the table before him, and 
dtsirad he would take his choice ; for 
his cruel refusal of his usual salary 
being the cause of his present rashness, 
it was indifferent to him whether he 
survived it or not. 

Sowden was so planet-struck, that, 
for some time, he could not articulate 
a single syllable. But when his utter- 
ance returned, he addressed the bold 
Larry in the following manner— 

" You have, my dear Mr, Kennedy, 


ItiiAakisti yoxit man. I am not the per- 
fioa that opposes your wishes. Upon 
ihy honour, it is Mr. Victor you should 
invite to this coarse entertainment.** • 

** Cotne, sir, no evasion — -you see 
rm resolved.*' 

** Dear sir," replied Sowdeni, with 
the utmost trepidation, " my partner 
is the sole cause of your uneasiness. 
Believe ttiie, he is.** 

** Is he ?** said Kennedy, " why 
th^n you^re safe for a while. FU go 
directly to him^ and if he acknowledges 
the fault, you may live secure. But, at 
your peril, do not stir till t return, 
^hich, if Tm alive, shall be very soon.** 

He hastened instantly to Victor*s 
libuse, and had no sooner entered thaii 
he thus accosted him. 

** Mr. Victor, you are a gentleman 
by birth and education, and are esteem- 
ed by the first personages in this king- 


dom, which makes me believe, yon 
would not be the sole oppressor of a 
man from whom you had never receiv- 
ed, or had cause to apprehend, the 
least injury. I trust, therefore, you 
can exculpate yourself from the charge 
I bring against you. Don't be alarm- 
ed, sir; no innocent man need be afraid 
of me. My charge against you is this— ^ 
You are resolved to keep me out of 
bread in my native city. The late 
unhappy tumult which drove me 
from Ireland, has. now happily sub- 
sided — and now, on my return, I am 
informed, that you, and your coadju<- 
tor, have resolved to give me but half a 
loaf. That will not do, Mr. Victor j so, 
[drawing out his pistols^ either let me 
enjoy my late salary, or take one of 
these, and entirely deprive a man of 
life, who, from an unlucky habit, per- 
haps, cannot live without his full i\r 


** You astonish me, Mr. Kennedy — 
indeed you do,'* replied ^^ctor. *• Have 
you no respect for the laws of your 
country thus to " ■ ' ?** 

" Sir, sir, no more words — ^you 
have driven me to desperation ; a man 
does not fear hanging who is in dan- 
ger of starving. I am an Irishman, 
sir, so let me eat, or take the conse- 

*' But how am I the man," asked 
Victor, " that keeps you out of bread ? 
Who has been so uncharitable, and has 
so mistaken my character, as to advance 
so great a falsehood ?" 

*' Then you are not the cause?" 
said Kennedy. 

*' No, upon my honour," replied 
Victor. " Who told you I was ?" 

*f Mr. Sowden," Kennedy answered. 

** He !'* said Victor. " He wrongs 
me, upon my honour." 


** To prove your innocence xiearlj/' 
taid Larry, ^' let Mr. Sowden be sent 
for immediately. I will suffer no pri- 
vate hints to be given to the messengei^, 
by which he may gather the natiire of 
our present perilous situation.'* This 
was exactly complied with. 

Mr. Sowden being announced, was 
cksired to enter by bold Larry, who, 
during the absence of the servant, .stood 
with his back, to the room door with a 
pistol in each hand. The tremendous 
aspect of Kennedy thus armed, filled 
poor Sowden with new terrors. Mr. • 
Victor, more collected, asked him how 
he could be so tmjust as to lay the 
whole blame of this business upon him. 

" Who r* said the terrified Sowden. 

** Yes, y<ju,'* answered thcresolute 
Kennedy. ^* But come to the point at 


*J For heaven sake, don't be so rash,^ 

1 _-•' 


^id the mild Mr, Victor. " I must 
confess we were to blame* Your plea 
of being, a native of this opulent and 
magnificent city is greatly in your fa- 
vour; for my part, I agree to the 
terms of your former engagement. You 
arc a very useful man, and was always 
ready and willing to perform any part 
rather than let the stage stand, as we 

^* I think as you do, Mr, VIctoi*," 
•said Sowden ; "and the sooner we 
finish this business, the better. I have 
some blank articles about me ; here, 
Mr. Kennedy, fill 'em up immediately. 
Cod forbid I should be the means of 
banishing you from your family and 
•country P* The articles being signe4 
and witnessed, for three pounds per 
^veek, they shopk hands, when bold- 
Larry went home triumphantly,' and 



informed his unsuspecting wife of what 
he had eflfected. 

The affair being trusted to a woman 
was soon published, and Kennedy thus 
obtained the name of the Bold Larry, 
from that day of resolute enterprize 
until that of his death. I cannot pre- 
vent the lapse of a tear while recording 
bis intrepidity j I recollect his tragical 


It is rather singular that Mr. Gar- 
tick's numerous biographers should 
have entirely omitted not the least of the 
interesting particulars of his marriage 
with" Signora Violetti ; particularly as 
they have thought proper to trouble 
the world with the most circumstan- 
tial and minute account of his foibles, 
peculiarities, and eccentricities. 


Mn Davis, in his Memoirs of Gar* 
rick, has been rather too brief in re- 
lating tliat important event, in the life 
of that eminent performer: whether 
Mr. Davis knew the circumstances 
which caused the union of the happy- 
pair, or whether he chose for private 
reasons to suppress their relation, I will 
not presume to determine. 

It is as singular that Mn Murphy 
should have omitted this interesting 
circumstance, merely glancing at hl^ 
piarriage with the fair Violetti. 

Mr. Wilkinson of the theatre-royal, 
York, has likewise fa^oure^ us, in his 
own eventful history, with ^ great va- 
riety oPmatter relatiyc to the deceased 
Roscius. I therefore consider myself 
fortunate in having it in my power to 
give a tircumstantial and authentic ac- 
count of his courtship and marriage, 
as I received it from an aged domestic, 

F 2 

68 MEMOIRS or 

^ho lived at the time it happened, at 
Burlington-House, Piccadilly. 

The late Earl of Cork and Burling- 
ton, that distinguished patron of the 
fine arts, had, during his tour through 
ftaly, an imour with a young lady of 
family, in the city of Florence/, Their 
intimacy produced, at a naturally ex- 
pected period, a sweet pledge of their 
endearniehts. His lordship was un- 
fortunately called home before he could 
have the pleasure of beholding the dear 
offspring of his tender attachment*; and 
the mother, although she was aban- 
doned by4ier relatives for the disgrace 
she had brought upon her family, 
sought, in her infant, the only comfort 
she could find for the absence of its 
beloved fether. Family considerations 
obliged him, soon after his return from 
Italy, to form a matrimonial connec- 
ti6u With %• nuive of his own country* 


But this union of family prudence anci 
accommodation, could not obliterate 
his fond remembrance of his former 
. love, nor the affection which he fdt ^s 
a parent. In a word, he deserted nei- 
ther the Italian |ady nor his child : he 
sent ample remittances to her, and ac- 
tually corresponded with her by letters, 
and several trusty messengers, whom 
he employed for the purpose of hear- 
ing faithfully the state of the piother 
and her infant, who he had every 
reason to believe was his ov^n. The 
lovely girl received from her well-bred 
mother a virtuous, and an accomplish- 
ed education. She was the delight pf 
her parents; and the great advances 
she made in every branch of politeness 
and elegance, rendered her capable of 
adorning the most exalted spheres of 
life* Unfortunately, before she arrived 

^ 3 


at womanhood she lost her mother, 
whom she had the affliction to see gra* 
dually falling the victim of a cause too 
latent for her to discover ; and as her 
mother never gave her the least per- 
sonal knowledge of her real father, shd 
thus found herself, at a very early pe- 
* riod of life, in the situation of an or- 
phan, without a parent to guide, pro- 
tect, or cherish that period of female 
life, when all around is danger anddc*. 
fusion. She had, however, the satis- 
faction of learning from her mother, 
that her father was of a family both ho- 
nourable and noble. His lordship hav- 
ing early intelligence of the death of 
the amiable woman, immediately form- 
ed a plan for completing the education 
of his daughter, which the mother had, 
with his liberal and powerful assistance, 
considerably advanced towards a state 
of singular perfectibn. To effect this 


rfesiratle purpose, "he wrote to a person 
at Florence^ in whom he had great con- 
fidence, to take instantly charge of the 
young creature. This person, however, 
proved so unfaithful, as to appropriate 
the greater part of the allowance that 
should have supported and educat- 
ed the absent daughter with every 
splendour and accommodation becom- 
ing her descent. She was even thank- 
ful to him for an engagement he ob- 
tained for her as a dancer in the opera- 
house of the Great Duke ; so much was 
she deceived by the pretences and re- 
presentations of this perfidious monster, 
that she even received the most trifling 
allowance as the gratuity of his own 
beneficence. Her appointment as a 
dancer soon reaching the ears of her 
noble. father and protector, made him 
resolve that she should no longer con- 
tinue at such a distance fronok his carC 

. '4 


' and observance. Being arrived at the* 
most precarious time of life, and her 
situation being, in every respect,, truly 
hazardous, still more determined him 
to dispatch a messenger for her, who 
engaged her to come to England, at a 
much greater salary than she could ever 
possibly expect to have in Italy* Th^ 
offer was irresistible, and either a pre* 
sentiment of what followed, or a desire 
to visit other climes^ induced her to 
take the earliest opportunity of coming 
to England. 

The period of the arrival of Signora 
Violetti was soon after Mr. Gar rick 
(with whom she was engaged) com- 
menced manager of Drury-lahe theatre* 
The graces that attended her first ap- 
pearance, charmed and prepossessed- 
every spectator in her favour, " She 
won the hearts of all the swains,, and 
Rivalled all the fair." Modesty, like 


4k&r native handmaid, waited on all her 
steps ; and dame Fortune, however cruet 
to others, lavished upon her the most 
desirable of her bounties. 

My readers must almost anticipate 
my informing them, that the. noble 
lord, her father, although under covert, 
was not the less zealous or inactive in 
establishing her reputation. He like- 
wise embraced every opportunity of 
conversing with his fair offspring in her 
native language, in which he found her 
possess all the perfection his most an- 
xious wishes could have formed. But 
these frequent and pleaang conversa- 
tions to both- were not yet sufficiently 
satisfactory ta the parent, who was na- 
turally impatient to have the mutual en- 
oyment that arises fr.on> filial and pa- 
rental intercourse, uncontrouled by dis- 
guise, and unfettered by mystery. No- 
thing could possibly ease the sdicitude 


of the anxious parent but providing her 
an asylum tinder his own roof* To^ac-. 
complin this desirable object, required 
the greatest delicacy and discretion. 
His lordship being blessed with a daugh- 
ter* some years younger than Signora 
Violetti, this circumsttince suggested 
to him the idea of having his fair 
exotic the tutoress of her unknown 
sister. Signora winning incessantly on 
his affections, increased his impati- 
ence to effect his purpose of having 
her in his family. As his daughter 
by his lady frequently accompanied 
him* to the theatre, he availed himself 
of this circumstance, to create an esteem 
in her for her unknown relation, the 
admired dancer. Particularly specify- 
ing her graces and excellences, he soon 

* She was afterwards married to the most 
noble Marquis of Hartington j who, on tbe de- 
mise of his father, came to tbe title and estate of 
Dake of Devonshire. 


caused his honourable daughter to feel 
warmly in the interest of Signora. Find- 
ing that he had thus far succeeded in 
his wishes, he asked her one night as 
they were sitting in the stage box, if 
she would approve of Signora Violetti 
as companion and tutoress in the Italian 
tongue, in which he informed her that 
she was most eminently perfect, and 
that her other accomplishments were 
equally excellent. He was happy to 
find his ardent wishes almost anticipat- 
ed, by the ready and pleased compli- 
ance of the young lady. Signora was, 
therefore, conveyed the same night in 
his lordship*^ carriage, to the town 
mansion in PiccadiUy. 

This fair and amiable stranger at 
}fome found her accommodations in 
that abode of hospitality, in every re- 
spect equal, and even surpassing the 
most sanguine wishes of her heart. And 

y6 MEMOIRS 07 

she felt herself for the first time in z P 
state of happiness, in which nature had 
more concern than reason at preseet 
could explain. But as the tenor of 
human comfort was not meant to 
consist in a continuity of satisfaction, 
her's w^as soon interrupted by him who 
wounds every breast, either to fill it 
often with the balm of enjoyment^ or 
the bitterness of affliction. Love sat 
heavy on her breast, and pallid on her 
cheek. Her charms withered, and her 
health decayed; until nature, exhausted, 
obliored her to recline on the couch of 
sickness. Here, to the great alarm and 
concern of her unknown relations, she 
languished a' considerable time. Her 
amiable pupil was uncommonly con* 
cerned ; perhaps the ties of nature la- 
tently increased the a^liction : the 
ablest physicians were obtained for her 
relief ^ but notwithstanding all the c#ire» 


bility, and tenderness, that were em- 
Joyed for her recovery, the violence 
>f her indisposition frustrated every 
ndeavour. Her own delicacy would 
kot permit her to divulge the secret 
:ause of her malady. Although it 
hreatened her with almost an instan- 
aneous dissolution, yet the hopes of a 
:ure could ilot induce her to acknow- 
edge herself the victim of affection.— » 
iis lordship felt the bitter pangs of a 
oving parent, distressed by the visible 
lecline of an amiable daughter. He 
aw, with extreme distress, the tender 
)lant that he was with so much care 
ind anxiety fostering, wither beneath 
he cold hand of an invisible disease, 
iis lady was, likewise, greatly affect- 
:d ; and sympathized with her noble 
)artner. for the loss they were al! likely 
o sustain. Her ladyship, however, not 
Icspiiring of a remedy being found, 


took the most prudential and effectual 
method, by delicately searching the ten- 
der heart of the afflicted fair ope. Doc« 
tor Mead, the Esculapius of his day, 
pronouncing her disorder beyond his 
power, or even that of medicine, to re- 
move, prompted the good lady to di.^ 
yine the cause. She was convinced that 
love alone was the disturber of her 
mind, and the destroyer of her frame. 
Assured of this, her ladyship made her 
fair guest a visit, resolving, if possible, 
to discover the latent cause of her in- 
disposition. For this purpose, she, with 
great address, asked hej* where she felt 
the most pain ? and in what manner 
particularly she wa$ affected ? Not re- 
ceiving to these questions, and some 
others of a similar nature, the most ex- 
plicit answers, her first suspicions were 
still stronger confirmed. With all the 
tender delicacy, therefore, which dis- 


tinguished her amiable character, she 
seized her hand with benign sympathy, . 
and declared she was most extremely 
happy to have discovered, that the 
qiuse of her malady was not incurable^ 
•* The cause is love/' said she, " and 
for which I think a certain cure may 
be found/' The change she perccive4 
this observation made in her fair pa. 
tient, confirmed its propriety. She then 
entreated the indisposed damsel to own 
to her, jvho was the object of her af- 
fection ; and promised, upon her ho* 
uour, not to .beti:ay her confidence. She 
farther prevailed, by assuring her that 
{she would, were it possibk, obtain for 
her the object of her languishing de- 
4sires. " J have .so great an opinion of 
your discretion, my dear Signora,*' 
.continued the worthy lady, ^* that you 
cojuld not possibly fix your affections 
on an improper object, that I am the 

So iiEMOtRs or 

more impatient to know who he w, 
that I may the sooner find the meant 
of restoring you to your wonted 
-charms, health, and happiness. My 
Lord is deeply afflicted in consequence 
of your indisposition. He is, indeed, 
much more distressed than I could have 
.thought he could, with all his tender- 
jiess of nature, have been for any 
stranger to his blood, even a? amiable 
as you are, my dear Signora." 

" O, my dear madam !*' said the 
much to be pitied young lady, " Sparc 
me, spare me ! I dare not confess my 
weakness, even to you — all-gracious as 
you have been to your orphan^ charge. 
And I cannot express the remorse I 
feel at my being obliged to behave 
with ingratitude to your dear Lord, 
by concealing from him as well as from 
yoii, two such generous benefactors, 


whkt .preys upon my existence, and 
must finsdly bear me to my grave/' 

" My dear Signora,*' rejdied the lady, 
^ 'tis now in your power to acquit 
yourself of all conceived obligation to^ 
both him and me, by so far convincing 
OS we deserve your confidence, as to^ 
trust us with the important secret. We 
would wish to have this assurance o£ 
your reposing in our zealous efforts 
being exerted in your wel£stre. It is no« 
idle curiosity that urges my intreaty^ 
but* an indescribable interest I feel in 
your favour, Should there be found, 
upon enquiry, any insuperable bar to 
an honourable union, that can alone 
restore you to your former peace of 
mind : the secret shall ever remain un* 
discovered to the impertinence of en* 
quiry, or the censure of malignity/' 
- The above candid, sincere, and in^ 


82 MEMOiaS OF. ^ 

teresting declaration of the good laidy 
was too prevailing. It won at once the 
confidence and heartfelt gratitude of 
the aflSiicted fair one. She confessed, 
** That Mr. Garrick was the object 
of her esteem ; but that he was as yet 
entirely ignorant of being the cause of 
what she had so severely felt from her 
tender attachment." 

The amiable lady, with the greatest 
concern, heard this confession, and 
told her with symptoms of apprehen- 
sion, that she feared the possibility of 
her desires ever being gratified by the 
attainment of their object : that Mr* 
Garrick was a young fellow universally 
caressed by families of the first distinc- 
tion, and one who had been already 
suspected of aspiring to rank and for- 
tune in a matrimonial alliance. She re- 
presented likewise to her languishing 

CHAICLES lee LfeWES. 83 

patient many other difficulties ; -but, 
finding they had visibly affected the 
tender state of the now all-desponding ^ 
fair, she assured her that no means 
should be left untried. She begged 
that neither languor nor hopeless grief 
should be suffered to prey, any longer 
on her almost exhausted frame. *^ Con- 
fide," said she, " in my lord's good 
offices, and be assured of our best ef- 
forts being exerted to obtain you con- 
solatiop and relief.*' 

His lordship was rejoiced that»his lady 
had obtained the secret cause of his be- 
loved (although unavowed) daughter's 
indisposition : in proportion to its con- 
ccalment having caused him the great- 
est uneasiness, its discovery afforded 
Jiim pleasure. Being possessed of the 
truth, his hopes of his child's speedy 
recovery began to revive. Knowing 



Garrick's love for money was the ray 
of his expectation, and the guide of his 
measures^ Mr. Garrick was instantly 
sent for to his house. He had no sooner 
arrived, and enquired after the health 
of Signora, than his lordship opened 
the negociation of Hymen, by inform^ 
ing him with a smile, ^ that the lady's 
indisposition was not to be removed 
by any other than one Doctor Garrick, 
an intimate acquaintance of his/' 

" Pray, my dear lord," said the as- 
tonished manager, " explain yourself." 

" Well, sir," answered his lordship, 
" should you find, upon the strictest 
enquiry, that Signora Violette is a lady 
of family znd fortune^ and possessed of 
every virtue indispensable to the ho- 
nour of the female character, do you 
think you could satisfactorily receive 
her from my hands, with a portion of 


fm * thousand pounds ? And here let 
me inform you that she is jny daugb'^ 


The enraptured Garrick gave this 
brdship ten thousand thanks for the 
mmerited honour '^nd fortune to 
Krhich he so unexpectedly9 but gene^ 
rously, invited him. He at the same 
:ime declared, with all due decorum, 
' that the lady was, from the first mo- 
pient of his acqusdntance with her, far 
Brom being indiflferent to either his 
td^ws or his wishes ; and that he had 
ever fdt more than a common interest 
xk her favour.'* 

■ ** You add to my satisfaction, and 
rdieve the parental ^prehensions I felt 
For the recovery of my daughter," re- 
plied his lordship. ^' Until the cause of 

ler complaint was discovered, the fear 

^— ^— —— '^— ■— ■ ■■ I I — ■■—i—i ^»—i ^>— — — ■ ■ I » 

* Mr. Murphy mentions the sum to have been 
ix thousand pounds. 



of losing my child was my incessant 
affiction. And, now Doctor, if you 
please, I will conduct you to your pa- 
tient. My lady will, I know, . accom- 
pany us." 

When MrJSMrrick entered the cham* 
ber, be flew to the bed-side of his en- 
amoured fair, and acted his part with 
as much grace, and perhaps more na- 
ture, than he had ever performed it on 
the stage. His lordship then pleasantly 
informed her, that her Doctor had 
been in danger of the same disorder, 
and from the same cause — an obstinate 
and unnecessary silence. From this 
auspicious hour, the God of Health re- 
bloomed her cheek, and re-illumined 
her eye. And the English Roscius con- 
tinued unremitting in his attendance 
on the young lady, whose cure was 
speedily effected, to the great joy of 
the noble family. 


The nuptials being celebrated, Mr. 
Edward Moore, the ingenious city poet, 
inscribed a very pretty copy of verses 
to Mrs. Garrick, wherein he describes 
Fortune in search of a favourite daugh- 
ter. After many a weary step, she stopt 
her giddy wheel at Burlington gate, 
where she found the object of her en- 
quiry, and lavished on her the choicest 
of her favours. 

GARRICK's antipathy to BARRY. 

This circumstance having occasioned 
many remarks, and much observation 
in the sphere of theatricals, the assign^ 
ment of its real cause may prove ac- 
ceptable, from its tendency to elucidate 
what has yet been too unknown for all 
preceding attempts of explanation. 

Mr. Garrick was married in 1 749. 
In March, 1730, his late Majesty ho- 

G 4 

88 M£M01&S0P 

nourdr Barry so highly^ as to com- 
mand the pky on the night of his be- 
nefit. Ganrick felt a constderahlfi mor- 
tificatton at this royal countenance of 
a performer^ who exerted J3l his ta^ 
lents and industry to rival him in dra- 
matic fame. 

And, indeed, like every great cha* 
ncter, who aspires to the summit of 
excellence, and is ambitious to stand 
unrivalled in popular favour, he con- 
ceived an inveterate prejudice s^ainst 
this distinguished performer. Such 
were his ap'prehensions of Barry's ta« 
knta, that he has been frequGntly heard 
to vmh he (Barry) had never been 
bom. So alarmed was he at the p<^* 
krity of this great actor, that it en* 
creased to a species of envy, productive 
of an antipathy, that was only termi- 
nated by the life of Barry« 


Sir John Hill, in the Inspector, re« 
lates a Green-room quarrel, in which 
Mrs, Give and Mr$. Woffijogton were 
principals. Garrick espcaised the coiu 
•duct of Mrs^ WofiSngton^ and Barry 
that of Mrs. CUve. Scraidbed facet 
ivere the consequences, and CUve wai 
the conqueror. And as many believed 
<Farnck'9 antipathy to Barry aroM from 
^is dispute, it ia here just mentioned 
as an erroneous explication. 

The author is informed, &om indis* 
fiutabfe authority, of circumstancei 
that will incontestably prove the source 
of the diS^ence subsisting between the 
Ajax and Hector of the Drama. A few 
week^ after the nuptial ceremony, Mrs. 
Garrick was insulted by the presenta- 
tion of the following letter ; the copy 
^ which is substantially as foUows. 



** Impelled by my love, I can no 
longer conceal the passion which your 
beauty has inspired. In vain does my 
Reason suggest that you already belong 
to another, when the same reason whis- 
pers, that he is unworthy of you. Yesi" 
madam, he has received your hand, not 
from choice, but prudence. He is a 
wretch as incapable of love as of : get* 
nerosity — a pitiful little animal, who 
has' no other passion but avarice, and 
no other mistress but a Guinea. Your 
answer will reach me in safety, if ad- 
dressed as follows — 


•• • 

With that abhorrence natural to 
purity of manners, chastity of disposi- 
tion, and dignity of sentiment, Mrs. 


Garrick communicated instantly thi^ 
attack upon her honour and character, 
to her husband. The eager curio- 
sity of Garrick was immediately ex- 
cited, for the purpose of discovering 
the writer. Every means were em- 
ployed, and sb successfully, as to trace 
the clue so far, as to give hinl all pos- 
sible reason to supp^ose the whole ori- 
ginated and commenced with Barry. 
But not being able entirely to prove 
him the author, he could never directly 
charge him with the fact. So forcibly 
however was he convinced of Barry's 
being the lover, that he ever after con- 
ceived against him a most inveterate 
hatred. And as ojie effect ' of his an- 
tipathy, the following Epigram appear- 
ed, on Barry joining Mr.' Rich^ at the 
close of the season, 1750. 

t 4 




Ofie great Goliah Gath could boast. 

Of Philistines of yore ; 
But Covent Garden's tbrtat'nifig bost 

Boasts one Goliah more : — 
Yet, fear not ye of Drury Lane, 

By little champion kd ; 
Their two Goliahs roam in vaint 

While David's at your head* 

I shall here take an opportunity of 
recording another marked instance of 
Mr. Garrick's jealousy, with regard 
to the dramatic merits of every per* 
former who had any chance of ri- 
vailing him in the public estimation. 
It will put his disposition with respect 
to that failing in a characteristic point 
of view. 


Mr. Mossop, conceiving himself but 
U^tly treated by Mr. Garrick, though 
in high estimation with the public, was 
resolved to pay a visit to Dublin, from 
whence he had been absent some years. 
But being too haughty in his disposi- 
tion to condescend to njake known, in 
a direct manner, his intention, he com- 
municated it to one, who, he was cer- 
tain, would convey immediate notice 
to the Irish managers. The news of 
which instantaneously operated like i 
stroke of electricity on the sensible 
nerves of the Dublin directors, who 
immediately sent over proposals to 
Mossop, such as he could not with 
prudence Tefuse. He accordingly con- 
eluded an engagement with them, 
and embarked for Ireland immedi- 

The great, and deserved applause. 

94 memoifLs of ^ 

which this gentleman had received, 
from the most critical and candid au^ 
dience in the world, (a London thea- 
tre), was no slender recommendation 
to him in his native capital. But a 
few years before he had made his debut 
on the very stage where he was now to 
perform, and 

** Reach'd perfection in his first essay." 

I must premise, that Mr. Mossop 
originally performed the part of Bar- 
barossa, and was, perhaps, the only 
performer that ever made that bluster- 
ing character truly respectable. At this 
juncture he took upon himself to cast 
that play, allotting to himself Achmet, 
wherein Mr. Garrick shone with a dis- 
tinguished lustre. And it is allowed by 
the most candid and impartial judges 
in Dublin, to this day, that Mossop fell 


nothing short of the English Roscius « 
in any of the scenes throughout the 
whole part, excepting two; the one 
with his mother, Zaphira, and that 
with Irene, the tyrant Barbarossa*s 
daughter. The tenderness required in 
these scenes sat rather aukward and 
distressing on him, as they evidently 
cramped, or put a curb on the natural 
exertions of those strong powers of 
voice, which he possessed to an un- 
rivalled degree ; but where such powers 
were necessary, he acted so as to bid 
loud defiance to competition. 

"It is reported, that Mr. Garrick, 
when he saw Mr. Mossop's name in 
the Dublin papers set down for the 
part of Achmet, expressed a wi§h for 
his success — with what sincerity, we 
are not competent to judge ; but, if we 
may guess, Garrick certainly was far 



from being in earnest. ^Whcn he 

was informed, by several Hibernian 
critics, of the rapturous applause his 
rival had received in that character iii 
particular, he was remarked to grow 
suddenly peevish to his most confiden- 
tial friends belonging to the theatre. So 
far did his peevish humour carry him on 
the occasion^ that Mossop*s great merit 
being the topic of conversation one 
morning in the Green-room, even in the 
presence of Doctor Brown, the avowed 
author of Barbarossa — " He wished,*^ 
he said, ** that gentlemen would pay 
more attention to their duty to the 
public, than by their ill-timed dis- 
courses, during rehearsals, obstruct 
the essential business of the stage. If ^ 
Mr. Mossop, gentlemen, whom some 
of you take so much pains to extol, 
and magnify his great deservings,'^ 


continued he, *^ has become so much 
the god of your idolatry, I would ad- 
vise you to exert yourselves to emu- 
late the perfections of that great man, 
and try all in your power to even ex- 
cel him, as the task is not impossible, 
nor even improbable to arrive at, 
among so many geniuses, possessed of 
so much critical knowledge, as many 
of you seem to have to an exalted de- 

The severity which this cool advice 
carried with it, served to silence for 
the present all the parties who heard 
it. But it also developed, and clearly 
shewed them, that any praise being 
^ven, however just, to any other per- 
former, in Mr. Garrick's hearing, pro- 
voked him to an unpardonable jealousy. 
Unpardonable I must call it, as his de- 
served reputation was fully establishedj, 



rot only in the British dominions, but 
in every polite country in Europe, 

There was an old snarling cynic of 
the name of Taswell, at this time, who 
was a performer in Drury-hne Theatre, 
and held in high estimation by Mr. 
Garrick for his classical knowledge.— 
This gentleman, who had a ready wit,- 
and was particularly famous for re- 
partee and bitter sarcasms, consulted 
his own interest so w^ell (being poor 
and expensive in his living), as not 
ever to give any oflFence to his techy 
manager. While Mossop was thunder- 
ing away in Drury-lane, Mr. David 
Ross, then an elegant figure, and a 
rising favourite with the public, occu- 
pied a very extensive line of stage busi^ 
ness at Coven t Garden Theatre. Mos- 
spp, as we have hinted above, was 
causelessly envied by Garrick, who 
held Ross's merit in no great esteem* 


This silly spleen of the great little man 
could not possibly escape the observa- 
tion of the discerning Taswell ; and he 
made his advantage of it, by frequently 
flinging out slurs and sharp invectives 
against the town, for favouring those 
two gentlemen by any means at alL 

In one of those ill-natured (I was 
going to say ill-mannered) humours, 
he came into the Green-room, at a time 
of rehearsal, pulling up his breeches, 
(a common custom with him), and 
growling out — " Damn it, I believe my 
townsmen, as well as my townswomen, 
are all mad ! Here's a piece of work, 
indeed ! — Great actors — aye to be surcy 
and wiio but they forsooth ? — Ross ! — 
Mossop ! why that's the general cry 


** How now, what is the matter ? — 
what has disturbed you, Mr. Taswell ?'* 
jsaid Mr. Garrick, who beheld with a 

H a 



malicious satisficttoq, a fit of ill-hu- 
mour rising in the old snarler : ^^ what 
has so disturbed you ?'* 

^^ It is enough, Master Garrick, to 
provoke a Socrates or a Plato, to see a 
whole town, famed for wit and sound 
judgment, DOW sacrificing both, in so 
lavishingly praising a couple of boys. — 
Their merit, indeed ! — ^the one bellows 
out his turgid passions in unnatural 
rants ; and the other, if he has any 
claim to powerful lungs, saves them, 
and entertains the audience with snivel- 
ling and whining, in parts which re- 
quire a man's utmost e^certions. But 
let them divide the silly, infatuated 
town, for me — I don't care ai button — 

The templars, they cry Mossop ; . 
The ladies, they cry Koss up ; 
But which ia the beat, is a toss up ." 

" WeU hit oflF," said Mr. Garrickj 
^^ and I dare swear, Mr« Taawell, thas^- 


witty triplet was unpremeditated; a 
newly conceived iinpromptu, eh ! Old 
Tas ! was it so ?** 

** Why should jr^tf ask such a ques* 
tion. Master Garrick ? I was in hopes 
you knew me better, than to suppose 
I would waste half an hour's time, in 
istudying to animadvert upon the slen- 
der capacities of such Automatons as 
they both are in my eyes/* 

Nothing could have been more satis- 
fstctpry to Garrick's feelings, than these 
frequent cynical remarks of Taswell, 
and he appeared always highly delight- 
ed with his splenetic critiques. 

Though Mr. Garrick was confessedly 
unrivalled in every character he under- 
took to perform, he never so far for- 
got his duty to an Indulgent public, or 
to himself, as to act the Grecian cob** 
kr, and go beyond his last, 



I have heard an anecdote of I 
Garrick, which may not unaptly be 
lated here. He associated with i 
most distinguished men for criti 
knowledge in the kingdom ; and ^ 
pressed by one gentleman of the ab< 
description, to try his talents on 1 
Old Knight. « He would/' he sa 
** ensure him success ; as he had o 
versed with many of his admirers, 
other walks of the Drama, who 
agreed with him in opinion, that 
was not only equal to the difficult ta 
allowing for his deficiency in point 
bulk and height, but that he m 

succeed in it : Your genius ^ 

strike out in that part new beaut 
as you have in many othersj to \ 
astonishment and admiration of, 
town-'* : 

" Sir/' replied Mr. Garrick, « r 
very flattering picture you are pl< 

. t 


cd to draw of my dramatic abilities; 
deserves my warmest acknowledg- 
ment. I must confess, I have been 
frequently pressed by a great number 
of my partial friends to get into the 
buckbas'ket^ or handle the sword and 
target of the humorous, amorous, and 
blustering Sir John. But^ as the in- 
dulgence of the public has raised me to 
a state above the fear of want in this 
life, I trust I shall not be ever so weak 
and silly, as to hazard, by my rash 
imprudence, their good opinion of my 
understanding, by venturing the repu- 
tation I have acquired, by dint of ap- 
plication for so many years, by one 
night's piece of folly, in a part so much 
above my compass of voice and bodily 

There spoke the man of sense : and 
y«t it is well known to many of his 


104 iyiEMOlItS OF 

convivial friends, that, Quin excqpted, 
no performer of his time had a juster 
conception, or could repeat the part of 
Falstaflf with more propriety. But 
would he not hazard his well-earned 
fame, by pigmy-like strutting upon the 
stage, with stuffed doublet, and the 
assistance of vermilion, lake, or car- 

There are very few instances on re- 
cord of actors or actresses, that a very 
pathetic speech had so powerful effect 
upon, as to cause a flood of tears to 
pour down their cheeks, on the red- 
tal of. The late Mrs. Pritchard's great 
sensibility sometimes choaked all the 
fine powers of that eminent mistress 
in the art of acting. So it was with 
the late Mr. Powel. Not so was Mr. 
Garrick ever affected, even in parts 
where his manner of delivering hiin« 


self, pardon the hyperbole, would have 
made even stones weep ; yet were the 
eyes of that great master of scenic per* 
formances, dry as those of an unfeel* 
ing hypocrite. 

I happened one evening^ in conver- 
sation with a very intelligent friend, to 
ask him his opinion relative to the 
matter I am now treating of. I wished 
to know, whether there might not be 
some physical cause of the singular 
sensibility of some, and the no less ex* 
traordinary absolute apathy of others ; 
many possessing that happy command 
of features, that they can look sor- 
row and terror, without suffering the 
ordinary effects, tears^ to make their 
appearance ? My friend expressed him«- 
self at as great a loss to account for 
the different effects of the passion as 
I did} and at the same time told 


me of a more surprizing phenome- 
non which he had several times had 
an opportunity of beholding on the 
stage — that was of a man, of the name 
of Henry Dunn, who never went on 
in a tragic character, let the night be 
ever so cold, but his face was all be- 
dewed with sweat, and the further he 
proceeded in the part, the more dis- 
agreeable he made it to the audience ; 
as from every pore, in his face alone, 
drop succeeded drop, till sometimes 
the stage was perceptibly wet with his 
unaccountable perspiration. Strange ! 
that a man of a thin habit of body, 
should be thus afflicted, I may say, 
with a malady of this kind. This per- 
son played with Whitely one season ; 
and that sarcastical manager, whenever 
he cast Mr. Dunn a tragic part," used 
waggishly to say, he was giving him^ 
a sudorific : no unapt expression, you 


will say. But the mischief of it was, 
whatever pains poor Dunn took to 
make him look his part with propriety, 
he was sure to have the marks of the 
Indian ink entirely obliterated from his 
countenance, by the torrents that ran 
down so plentifully while he was squeez-^ 
ing out his words. The tyrant, Richard 
the Third, was sure to lose the tip that 
had been made on his chin as well as 
his formidable whiskers; a depriva- 
tion that made him consequently ap- 
pear less terrible, and that before the 
second act was over. The good old 
Lear, and Lusignan, were not less dis- 
figured, by those powerful enemies to 
a clean face. Yet when this man has 
represented Falstaff, and many other 
parts, where blank verse was excluded, 
a drop never started from him, evert 
at midsummer. Ye profound meta- 
physicians, ye learned of Warwick-lane, 


with the whole body of well-infbrmed 
natural philosophers — ^solve me this pa- 
radox ! 

garrick's refusal of th£ first sa« 


After having played Richard at 
Goodman's-fields Theatre, without any 
previous agreement about salary, at 
the end of the first week, young Gif- 
fard, from whom I had this infornuu 
tion, suddenly went into a room, where 
he found his father aud Garrick alter- 
cating as follows 'd — 

« You shall.** " I won't by hea^ 
vens !" " Come, come, young gentlo> 
man, 1 insist upon it/* At length, six 
guineas fell between on the carpet.-^ 
** Upon my honour, sir,** said Garrick, 
*• it is too much, and I positively will 
not take it.** 

The fact was, Gifiard' meant to pre* 


sent him with the six guineas, which 
he had appointed as his weekly salary. 
During this struggle between conscious 
merit in the mind of Giffard, respect- 
ing Garrick, and modesty in Gat- 
rick with respect to his own deserv- 
• ings, young GiflFard, unperceived, pick- 
ed up the six guineas, decamped, and 
spent it. 

About a month after young Giffard 
was witness to another altercation be- 
tween them, but of a different nature. 
It was, ^^ Garrick insisting, that he 
would not play any more, if he was 
not admitted to a certain portion of 
the profits ! ! !'' I shall make no com<« 
ment on this, farther than it confirms 
the general opinion of Garrick's exceU 
lence, not only as an actor, but a bar- 
gain-maker : yet, abstracted from scenic 
bargains, his excellence is to be ques- 
tioned, I mean in the particular- is^ 

>flO MEMOIRS 09 

Stance of laying out that vast sum 
(near 1,000,000 1.) which the public 
had possessed him of. I have heard 
Mr. Murphy say, " had he a mint of 
money, he would not give more than 
60,000 1. for what actually cost Garrick 
near 1 00,000 1.*' 

So much has been said of this great 
performer, that I thought myself for- 
tunate in the possession of the forego- 
ing anecdotes, which I shall now close 
with an observation or two. Mono- 
tony was the leading feature of the old 
school, aided by a long stride, and a 
dignified motion of the head to wave 
the funereal plume that crowned it. 
To Mr. Garrick alone is the stage in- 
debted for correcting those errors. — 
With him emphasis and gesture made 
their first appearance ; he led them in- 
to the temple of taste^ sanctified by 


We must say of him, as Thomas 
Randolph said of Thomas Riley— 

* When thou art pleased to act an angry part, 
** Tfaoafright'st the audience ; and with nimble 

*• Turn'd lover, thou dost that so lively too, 
** Men think that Capid taught thee how to woo, 
** T' express thee all wou*d ask a better pen ; 
•* Thou art, tho' // //f, the whole map of men.'* 


I shall here subjoin an exact copy of 
the Play Bill which announced the first 
appearance of Mr. Garrick on the Lon- 
don stage, which will clo^e my anec- 
dotes of the English Roscius. 

October 19/A, 174 1. 

Goodman's Fields. 

At the late Theatre, .in Goodman's- 
fields, this day, will be performed a 
Concert ' of Vocal and Instrumental 
Music, divided into Two Parts. 


Tickets at three, two, and one Shil- 

Places for the Boxes to be taken at 
the Fleece Tavern, next the Theatre. 

N. B. Between the two parts of the 
Concert, will be presented, an Histori- 
cal Play, called, 



(Containing the distress of K. Henry VI. 

The artful acquisition of the Crown, 

by King Richard. 

The murder of young King Edward V. 

and his brother in the Tower. 
The landing of the Earl of Richmond ; 
and the death of King Richard in the 
memorable battle of Bosworth-field, 
being the last th,at was fought between 
the houses of York and Lancaster. 

With many other true Historical 


The part of King Richard by a Gen- 
deman (who never appeared on any 

King Henry by Mr. GifFard ; Rich- 
mond, Mr. Marshall; Prince Edward 
by Miss Hippislcy ; Duke of York, 
Miss Naylor; Duke of Buckingham, 
Mr. Patterson ; Duke of Norfolk, Mr. 
Blakes ; Lord Stanley, Mr. Pagett ; 
Oxford, Mr. Vaughan ; Tressel, Mr. 
W. GifFard ; Catesby, Mr. Marr ; Rat- 
cliflF, Mr. Crofts ; Blunt, Mr. Naylor ; 
Tyrrel, Mr. Puttenham ; Lord Mayor, 
Mr. Dunstall : The Queen, Mrs. Steel j 
Duchess of York, Mrs. Yates ; 
And the part of Lady Anne 
By Mrs. Giffard. 
With Entertainments of Dancing, 
By Mons. Fromet, Madam Duvalt, 
And the two Masters and 
Miss Granier. 
Vol. lU J 


To which will be added, 

A Ballad Opera of One Act, called. 

The Virgin Unmask'd. 

The part of Lucy by Miss Hippislcy. 

Both of which will be performed 

gratis, by persons for their diversion. 

The Concert will begin exactly at 
Six o'clock. 

Having had occasion to mention Mr. 
Mossop in the preceding part of these 
Memoirs, I shall beg leave to introduce 
to the sympathising reader, the follow- 
ing melancholy account of this de* 
scrvedly admired actor. 

Mn Ryder, in the year 1771, rose 
upon the ruins of the august Mossop. 
Mr. Ryder received from the latter the 
confidential trust by a power of attor- 
ney, with the management of his shat- 
tered affairs, while he went himself to 
London, to engage performers. But, 


as misfortune was determined not to 
desist persecuting him until his entire 
ruin was effected, he was thrown into 
prison for a debt contracted in Dublin ; 
and, although he was soon liberated, 
the disgrace so operated upon his 
proud heart, that he pined, and soon 
afterwards died a victim to his sensibi- 
lity. The sympathising reader will ex- 
cuse this digression, while I relate the 
melancholy circumstance of the death 
of this extraordinary and admired ac- 

This unhappy gentleman having been 
defrauded of a large sum of money by 
the artifice of a villainous attorney, and 
being in a very distijessed condition, 
after having encountered the miseries 
of a jail, was so affected through his 
exigences, that it threw him into a me- 
lancholy. He had some friends in Lon- 
don, from whom he accepted now and 

I 2 * 


then a small sum to subsist on. He was 
necessitated to rip the hce oflF some 
clothes he purchased for his wardrobe ; 
he sold it, and by that sale announcing 
himself a dealer and chapman, he had a 
commission of bankruptcy issued out 
against him, and made a resolution of 
never returning to Ireland. He com- 
missioned one Captain Smith, an inti- 
mate friend of his, to sound the Lon- 
don managers with regard to an en- 

He had then been absent from a Lon- 
don audience nearly twelve years, and 
•his faculties were not in the least impair^ 
ed, he therefore conceived that the ma- 
nagers would have gladly embraced the 
opportunity of entering upon an agree- 
ment with him : they were- resolved, 
however (though conscious^ of his me* 
rit), to humble his highblown pride, 
and refused to receive any overtures 


to an engagement, unless ma3e by 
personaj application. This determina- 
tion of the royal despots^ added to the 
mortification and disappointment 'of 
the theatrical Timon, determined him . 
to adopt the most extraordinary reso- 
lution that ever man, exempt from bo- 
' dily pains, and surrounded by friends, 
willing, and in a capacity to serve him 
to the utmost, ever, I believe, under- 
took. This was no other but to refuse 
all manner of food, or any other suste^ 
nance, but rather perish than apply to 
the managers in person. 

This unnatural purpose of destroy- 
ing his life, he too fatally performed at 
his lodgings in Chelsea. His landlady, 
a' good tender-hearted woman, was 
greatly surprised, on the evening of 
his first day's fast, that he never once 
rang his bell, as usual, yet did she hear 
.him almost continually walking about 

^ 3 • 


his chamber. The good creature guess- 
ed at his distressed condition, and 
could not resist the feelings of huma- 
nity which moved her to visit him* 
She went to his door, and knocked 
gently at it several times.- Mossop de- 
manded from within, ** Who's there ?*' 

^ 'Tis I, sir,*' said she. 

" What is it you want, madam ?*' 

" Only conr>e to ask you, sir, whe- 
ther you want any thing that I can 
serve you with ?** 

" No, nothing at all, I am busy 
Mrs. '' 

" Well, sir, if you should stand in 
need of my assistance, I hope you will 
be so good as to let me know it.** 

" I sincerely thank you, good Mrs. 
— — . When I want your assistance I 
shall certainly give you notice ; 'till 
then, I beg you will not trouble me.** 

The landlady dejectedly retired j but 


not hearing from him, about two 
o'clock next day she stole up to his- 
room door, and looking through tha 
key-hole saw the wretched Mossop 
leaning on a ^ table, with a pair o£ 
pocket pistols before him, seemingly 
agitated, and in great perturbation of 
mind. Being greatly alarmed on dis- 
covering him in this condition, she. 
stole softly down, and in great terror 
disclosed what she had observed to her 
husband, who immediately w-ent up 
stairs and knocked pretty smartly at 
the door: he was answered with the 
usual " who's thei;e ?*' in a faint que* 
tulous tone of voice. 
.. ," Pray, sir, be so good as to let 
me in ?" 

" Begone, friend," said Mossop^ in 
an elevated tone of voice, " Youl have 
no business here— rnor shall. yx)u enter 
this room." 


126 - M£>10IRS OF 

^* Came, come, sir,*' said the man, 
" it can be for no good purpose that 
you shut yourself up these two days 
past, without fire or food, or any other 
of the necessaries of life/* 

" Begone, fellow, I say again.'* 

" I beseech you, sir, allow me to 
brino: some food," exclaimed the land- 

" If you do not fly this instant,'* re- 
plies Mossop, " Til shoot you through 
the key-hole.'* 

The humane landlord, finding all en- 
treaties vain, declared that he would 
force in the door. Mossop was obsti- 
nate in his purpose, and vowed that 
he would shoot the first man who en- 
tered his apartment. 

About eight o'clock that evening, 
Mossop's especial friend. Captain Smith, 
arrived ; he had been in the country 
some days, and -on his entrance was 


for rushing up stairs, as usual, without 
ceremony, but was stopped short by 
the landlady, who informed him of 
poor Mossop's situation. He listened 
to the whole with astonishment and 
concern ; but, as he made no doubt of 
obtaining admission upon the first no- 
tice being given of his visit, he walked 
ijp and immediately knocked at the 
door — no answer was returned — the 
devoted self-martyr supposed it was 
one of the family who had come to 
torment him again with their useless 
entreaties. After repeated knocks at 
the door and wainscot alternately, the 
Captain called out, " Harry, Harry 
Mossop, for God's sake open the door ! 
'tis your friend Smith conjures you." 

" Mr. Smith,'* replied the miserable 
object within, " you can have no busi- 
ness with me that I can possibly attend 
to now. 'Ixt me see you to-morrow ; 


I cannot let you come in now ; leave 
me, I beg you wilL*' 

" By the recollection of our friend- 
ship, I entreat you'll let me in ; I bring 
you nourishment/^ 

*' Your entreaties arc in vain, Mr. 
Smith, I am not in want of nourish- 
ment, you have been misinformed; 
and as you value your life, which is 
dearer to me than my own, dbturb mc 
no more this night ; suflfer mc to get 
some repose, for indeed I want it.*' 

The Captain, finding all solicitation 
fruitless, retired, and recommended to 
his landlord and landlady to try mc*- 
thods of soft persuasion to induce him 
to take some refreshment; that he 
would come at an early hour in the 
mottling, and bring with him some of 
his most intimate acquaintances ; and 
if he should then persist in barring the 
door against them, they would cer- 



tainly pursue the only method on such 
occasions, and force their way to him. 
Accordingly in the morning he 
came with a number of their common 
friends, and rapped loudly at the door, 
but no answer was returned. They 
then proceeded to force, and burst it^ 
open. But, here I confess myself inca- 
pable of describing the horror they 
were all seized with, at sight pf the 
lost wretch lying stretched on his back 
upon the bed, no way resembling the 
iturdy Mossop, but his anatomy! — I 
must here draw a veil over this sad 
spectacle, and I hope my readers will 
not blame me for dilating on the cir- 
cumstances of this unusual catastrophe. 
To see a rational creature, with a mind 
well cultivated, coolly and deliberately, 
(I had almost said rationally), consume 
his precious life, and without any vi- 
sible cause, form a plot against his own 



existence. Could any thing be more 
incongruous to man's nature^ than such 
a crime as this? — Sonie may answer 
me, that his great heart could no longer 
suffer the keen arrows of adversity to 
pierce it. His pride was hurt — it may 
be so ; but how must the Majesty of 
heaven be offended by the presence of 
a self-murderer! It is an established 
axiom, that self-preser\^ation is the first 
law of nature; and the whole brute 
creation concur in giving their assent 
to this self-evident principle. The di- 
vine Plato, as he is called, and very 
justly, reasons in words to the follow- 
ing purport : — 

** Why fihrinks the soul back on herself 

And startles at destruction ? 

Tis the divinity tliat sj)Ciks within us, 
' Fis Heaven itsrlf ihut points out an hercafter» 
And intimates eternity to Man/* 



Mr. Vernon. 

The following account of this fa- 
vourite singer and actor, having never 
yet been published, it is presumed will 
prove acceptable to my readers. 
^ In the year 1752, Mr. Richard Yates, 
and Mr. John Palmer, stopped, on their 
journey to Birmingham, where they 
were going to open their newly erected 
theatre, at the Bull Inn in Coventry. 
Proposing to remain here for the night, 
they wer^ solacing themselves with a 
cheerful glass after dinner, when their 
ears were saluted by the melodious 
sounds of a young warbler. Their con- 
versation was instantly suspended, in 
order to listen more. attentively to the 
wild notes of the songster. The doors 
of the dining-room were, at the same 
moment, thrown open, to enable them 
to hear more distinctly the words of 


the song which had so engaged their 

Being considerably gratified at hear- 
ing the words agree with the melody 
and expression of the music, they rang 
the bell, and enquired of the host who 
the youth was by whom they had been 
so much delighted; whether he was 
sent for to entertain a select party in 
the kitchen, or had come there by 
chance ? To these questions the land- 
lord answered, that the singer was a 
poor lad, who deserved and received 
the greatest encouragement from the- 
inhabitants of Coventry and its neigh- 
bourhood, not only for his taste in 
singing, but for his goodness towards 
his mother : for every penny that he 
collects by his innocent trade of sing- 
ing at diflFerent public houses; he gives 
to her. This generosity and filial affec* 
tion still more stimxxlated the theatric 


Strangers to desire a sight of the boy. 
Young Vernon was immediately intro-' 
'duced, blushing like the morn. Being 
cheared with a glass of wine, he was 
desired to sing one of his best songs. 
Without much intreaty, he very mo- 
destly complied. The , actors were 
charmed. Mr. Yates asked him, if 
this talent was the only means of his 
subsistence ? 

" No,'* answered the boy, " a good- 
natured man,' who is a plush weaver in 
our town, has offered to take me pren- 
tice, without a fee. But though I 
should like to learn some trade, by 
which I might get an honest livelihood, 
yet I could not find it in my heart to 
lea^ve my helpless mother to the mercy 
of parish officers, who might almo^ 
starve her. Rather than she shouid 
want, I would beg for her from door 
to door as long as I live,** 



. " My boy;'* said Mr. Yates, " you 
possess a noble heart ; your regard for 
your poor mother will ensure you hap- 
piness through life. I know not how 
it is, but I never was so much pre- 
possessed or interested in favour of a 
stranger, as I am with you, my dear 
lad. But to the point at once — Cau 
you, landlord, vouch for the boy's ho- 
nesty ?" 

" Indeed, sir," "answered the land- 
lord, '* he has never given any person 
the least reason to suspect it. And 
would he live with me as a drawer, I 
would be glad to take him without 
any security." 

" That's sufficient,'- replied- Yates. 
** My good lad, how should you like 
to wear a livery, and attend a gentle- 
man ?" 

" I should like it very well, sir," an- 
swered the young vocalist. *' But, sir, 
what will become of my mother ?" 

CHAlCL^tf LE£ Lft WES* I ^5 

^'^ Pooh, pbdh ! your mother/* re- 
plied Yates, " will be glad to see you 
provided for ; and if you will agree to 
go with me to Birmingham, you shall 
not want fof encouragement. And if 
your mother will not object to bind 
you to nie for a terni of five years, I 
will allow lici: two shillings a-week, 
which, with the allowance the parish 
must give her, will prove a comfortable 

** You belong to the actors, sir, do 
you ?" asked the boy. 

** Yes," answered Yates, " would 
you not be glad of the opportunity of 
seeing plays for nothing every night ?" 

*' O yes, dear sir," replied the young 
lad, ^ it would be the delight of my 
heart. You must know, sir, that I 
oflFered myself to the master of the ac- , 
tors that play in the hay-loft over the 
stables at the Half*Moon here* I think 



they call him Mr. Squelch. But he tdd 
me that he could sing better himself, 
and that my voice was common enough 
every where.'^ 

" What," said Palmer, " are there 
players in your town, landlord ?'* 

•' Yes, sir," replied, the landlord, 
*' they came here at our Lady Godiva 
fair : it seems they claimed the common 
privilege of other shows and sights.— 
But they have remained here longer 
than the time granted them by the 
mayor, to take benefits. They are but 
a weary set, as a body may say. We 
shall soon, however, have the Great 
Wardj who has taken our Old Bridewell 
here below, in the Bobblicks^ and he in- 
tends to make a shining play-house of 
it. He has now a very great company 
at Birmingham : many of them are no 
less than Lpndcners ; and I am sorry to 
tdl you, gentlemen, if you are going 


\o play there against him, you will find 
him a tough match for you : he is a 
rich old fellow. He swore here in my 
house t'other day to some gendemen, 
that he would work you a pen'worth, 
if it cost him even the last inch of land, 
or the last spangle upon his clothes/' 

^* We thank you, landlord/' said 
Palmer, leering at his brother manager, 
5H^ho was more attentive to the engage- 
ment of young Vernon, than to the 
intelligence given by his landlord. To 
complete his wish of ha^mg the boy 
instantly bound to him, the mc^er 
was sent for. She came, and beins p^ 
formed of Yates's intention, was oyer* 
' joyed to hear of her own, and her 89n'i 
good fortune, in finding such an ho- 
nourable master as Mr. Yates promised 
to be. 

An attprti^ . that night bound .the 
J^oy to the joyful manager. H^yi|]iff 

K 2 

139 vmoiMov 

taken next morning a tender leave, of 
bis nototber, and being fitted bjr his 
inaster with decent appard, he set oS 
for the famous town of Birmingham, 
where, for a few weeks, he served 
Yates as a lacquey ; but wore no other 
badge of livery than ^ crunson collar. 
Tates, however, soon foimd the means 
of employing the lad's talents tp much 
greater advantage than runmng errands 
ot handing a tea-kettle. 

To prepare the boy fqr his change 
^f occupation, he was sent to scjiod, 
where he learnt to read, &c. with such 
rapidity, that he was not only the 
praise, but the astonishment of aU who 
Joiew him. Py his own i»ivate nie^ 
and application, he leardt dancing fcon^ 
some pK)fessors employed by the- ma- 
nagers as stage-figuranti ; and, by acu4:e 
and incessant observation, he corrected 
^ provincial dialect^ jiq as to speak 

chawaBs hun LEWES. 133* 

upon the tnpst common subjects with 
lingular ease^ spirit, and propriety. . 
All this improvement was effected in 
a few weeks. AlchQugh these qualifica^ 
tions were in their infancy, yet they 
escaped not the notice of Mr. yatesw?-- 
Being the acting manager^i he.was pos* 
sessed of more power than any other 
of the company. This authority he 
exerted, in trying the talents of his 
young servant on the stage. Having 
great hopes, from several specimens he 
had given in private, that he should 
derive great emolument by employing 
him on the stage, he soon prepared 
him for the scene,, and as a farther en« 
couragement, allowed him a small sa- 
lary. That the lad might no longer 
consider himself as a servant, he wa» 
divested of his red collar, which Mi*.. 
Yates perceived had xsome time been 
conddered by. him as the insignia of 



slavery. Being graced with a smart 
laced hat, and a waistcOat trimmed 
with silver, he was announced in the 
bills of the play, to sing between ttc 
acts> under the name of Master Ver- 
non. He was received with the great-' 
est a|>p!ause, and soon became one of 
the chief supporters of the theatre. 

His improvements were so rapid, 
that in a very short time he became 
one of the most popular omameilts, 
both as an actor and a singer, tl^e Lon- 
don stage had to boast for a series of 
years. In the hst of these dramatic 
perfections he had but few competitors. 
His judgment was correct, his execu- 
tion rapid, and his expression such as 
went to every heart.. Mr. Yatesj on 
his return to London, proposed to re- 
sign the remaining time of his servi- 
tude to Mr. Garrick, for a valuable 
consideration* The boy's rapid pro^ 


gress and fame having reached the ca- 
pital, induced that consummate judge 
of theatrical perfection to accept Mr, 
Yates's proposal. Garrick knew the 
value of the treasure he had in part 
purchased, and determined to spare no 
expence in the cultivation of so exube- 
rant and sweet a gem as he conceived 
Vernon to be: he, therefore, for the 
advantage of both, had him instructed 
in music, dancings fencing, &c. his 
mind was also improved by attaining a 
knowledge of polite literature. These 
accomplishments were soon attained 
by such a capacity as that of Vernon's. 
This forward plant was carefiiUy che- 
rished by his master, Garrick. The 
town received him with attention and 
favour, and his great talents secured 
their admiration and esteem, while he 
continued before them. 

K 4 


Woodward and STAYLEYr 

The success of Woodward and Barry 
on the opening of the new theatre in 
Crow-street, very speedily Occasioned 
Mr. Sheridan to abdicate his dramatic 
throne, and seek a refuge in England. 
He was, however, so much esteemed 
by the public, and so much respected 
by his performers for the mildness of 
his government, and the punctuality of 
his payments, that he found his grate*- 
ful subjects, although absent from 
them, steady in their exertions to re- 
instate him in his former power. 

Among his firmest adherents was an 
author of the name of Stayley, who 
could use a pen with as much effect 
and dexterity as he could a foil or a 
truncheon. Being one of the defenders 
of Smock-alley theatre against the for- 
midable powers of the new house» he 


frequently diverted the town with his 
well-timed satires on Wopdwa^rd and 
Barry } for he ccmsidered the former 
as the chief cause of Sheridan's ovet'- 

Mi:. Garrick's satire of Lethe, used 
especially to raise the laugh against Mr. 
Woodward^ he being the original fine 
gentleman in this dramatic trifle ; and 
Stayley perceiving that the London ad- 
venturers were disbursing more than 
it then appeared they would receive, 
availed himself of this circumstance to 
satirize the folly and credulity of Wood- 
wardj whom he knew was expending 
his hard-earned fortune in a Vain and 
giddy enterprize. For this purpose he 
altered Lethe. iEsop was continued as 
usual, to examine every mortal that 
was introduced by Mercury : but, in- 
stead of Garrick's fancied fine gentle- 
man, Mr, Woodward w^ introduced 


in propria persona^ and represented by 
George Stayley. Even the dress Jbe 
commonly wore in Dublin streets was 
imitated : this was a fustian frock and 
nankeen small clothes, with this di£kr- 
ence, that Stayley^s breeches pockets ^ 
•were turned inside out. 

Thus equipped, Stayley enters, stands 
at an humble distance, looks' very 
sheepish, heaves a dismal groan, and 
thus accosts his old acquaintance ^sop. 
'' Your humble servant, Mr. iEsop." 
^sop. " Sir, I am your humble ser- 
vant; but really I don't know youi 


Woodward* " I don't wonder at that, 
good Mr. ^sop ; for really I have for- 
gotten myself — Heigh ho !" 

JEsop. " If you have forgotten your- 
self, I fear the waters' of Lethe wall not 
assist your recollection." 

JVoodward* '* You misunderstand 


me, Mr. ^sop*. I don't mean that — ^I 
have forgot who / was — but I would 
most willingly forget who J am^ and 
erase from my remembrance all former 
traces of myself. Pray, dear sir, exa- 
mine the features of my chop-fallen 
• countenance j and then, perhaps, you 
may — nay, you must recollect me." 

Msop. " With the greatest accuracy I 
have inspected your doleful counte- 
nance, and cannot remember to have 
seen you before. Tell me your name, 
^od sighing, sobbing sir." 

Woodward. " My name is, sir. Mar- 
plot O'Blunder, formerly known to 
you by the name of xk^^fine gentleman. 
But that was when I was getting money 
in London, and not losing it, like an 
ass, in Dublin. Although I was then 
only a journeyman player, yet since I 
have turned manager, curse me if I can 
keep one shilling to rub against another 


in mj pocket. I have, therefore^ aban* 
tloned, even in fiction, the name of a 
gentleman.— Heigh ho !" 

JEsop. ^' Were you not afraid of catch* 
ing cold by putting on viret breeches ? 
for I suppose they are1)ut just washed, 
by your hanging the pockets out. to 

Woodward. '* You are again mis- 
taken, Mr. iEsop. Yet I can't help 
smiling at your pleasantry. But to in- 
form you truly, philosopher — with re- 
gard* to your thinking this a whini in 
me, I must acquaint your wisdongi, that, 
in better times, ipy breeches pockets 
served me for two material purposes, 
videlicet y to put in my loose money, and 
to put my hands in whenever I per- 
formed a part of distinction. There is 
more merit in the manner of placing 
your hands in the breeches pockets than 
can possibly be conceived by any person 
but an actor.'* 

' Msop. ^^Itkink you, sir^, for your 
candid communication ; butmyfriendi^y 
Demosthenes, Cicero, Pericles, Roscius,. 
^sopus, and a long train of orators that 
have resided a considerable time among 
us, have told me that they always kept 
their hands at Kbcrty while they were 
£siscinatmg their auditors with their 
judicious acting and irresistible elo-* 

Wowiward. ** Sir, they wore no 
breeches. Ha, ha, ha ! Had they had 
such aids as we modems^ they woull^t 
liave found their service. Hiey would 
not, as we are^ did', ^^ saw the 
air,*' They were very aukward, in* 
deed thfey were. Master ^ffisop— witness 
4jieir characteristic violent stamping c^ 
*hc foot» Ah ! sir, we know better/' 

Msop. *^ I know you do. And«ow$ 
:t^r, what is your ^piutictikr business 


Wioehoard.. " Why, sir, J -am cdmc 
to let you know that I am in the same 
predicament as a cei^tain' Yorkshire 
gentleman, whose name is Sir Francis 
Wronghead. My coming to Dublin 
has proved a very foolish journey. Al^* 
though I am not come to start a caiidi- 
date for parliament, I am such a simple- 
ton as to have come her^ to manage a 
theatre-royal without a patent, and, 
what is worse, without patronage. But 
I know not how it was — I belieye the 
same devil that caused Thurot to in-^ 
vade Ireland, was certainly concerned 
in sending me. Marplot O'Blunder, to 
invade the managerial throne. Heaven 
forbid that I should meet with a similar 
fete. Marplot would rather return, 
with a whole skin at lea3t, to his dear 
native country, England. He. would 
even be contented tp return with an 
empty stomach, as well as empty pock^ LEE LEWES. 1 43 

Ah] sir, were you to know what 
easy life I led with my master, Ros- 
5, in London. Why, my vails and 
istmas-boxes — not to mention my 
ital salary. Heigh ho ! amounted to 
re than all I can possibly get in Dub- 
, Cork, or indeed in any other part 
our king's dominions. Pity me, O 
y me, my dear Mr. .^op, and give 
the advice of your matchless wis- 
m. Never having been known to 
oil in England, is it not hard that 
w strolling should be the word ?*' 
Bsop. " Very hard, indeed^ especially 
be the first on the list of mock royal 
inagers, who had been reduced to so 
'did and shameful an alternative. 
»ur deplorable case really excites my 
[npassion. Even your enemies must 
y, poor devil, your hapless situation, 
ith respect to my advice, if I must 
re it, it is— «Go back to your master 

144 MtMdiu or 

«— Nay, start not ! but resume that pe» 
sitential face in which yon first attract- 
ed my attenlion. Being, as you' state, 
sfensible of your merit, he wilt certainly 
listen to your tale, if told with the hu« 
miUty and repentance of the prodigal 


Woodward. " O, sir, you don't know 
my old master, Roscius. Although he 
jpardons small injuries, yet I have fre- 
quently heard him declare that he would 
never forgive ingratitude/* 

^sop. ** Nay, if you have been guilty 
of ingratitude, ^* your deed's up6n your 
head, enjoy your reward — a night of 
moral shade/' 

Ingratum si dixeru omma £cts* 

Woodward. ** How can I, therefore, 
with any sort of face, humble or peni- 
tential, approach him ? Wer^ he even 
to take me again into his fevour, his XEE LEWES. I45 

^aHy presence would be to me a perpe- 
tual reproach. 

£A loud barking Iica-rd, InHtatlng a 
large ma^iff.3 

£sop. ** Don't be surprised, 'tis only 
Cerberus, sir. He*s barking, I suppose^ 
ut some mortal just landed by Charon.** 

Woodward. ^ Cerberus ? I really, Mr. 
JEsop, thought it was the hideous noise 
of one of my performers. We have, 
yon must know, one Zanga Coriolanus, 
whose voice is, in some of his ranting 
-speeches, loud enougb to wake the 
dead. Your Grecian Stentor would 
make but a contemptible bawler in the 
presence of our modern dramatk hero. 
O that you would but hear him ! — ^^but 
all in good time. Why, sir, he has 
more than once injured my- hearing. 
But the best of the joke is, to see and 
4iear my partner pretending to swell 
and outbellow Zanga ! There is no more 

VOL.. lU L 


comparison in tbeir powers of modulsu 
tion than in the soft easy tones of a fla- 
gelet and a full chorus of HandeL If 
you have time and will honour me 
with a call at my lodging on the College- 
green, I will present you with an order. 
I give away daily whole packs of orders 
to people not half so deserving of my 
favours as you are, my dear friend, Mr. 

JEsof. " I thank you heartily, Mr. 
Marplot O'Blunder, but I cannot accept 
of your kind offer : both duty and in- 
clination confine me for ever to these 
lower regions. I would, however, re- 
commend to you a large draught of our 
oblivious waters. Were they only to 
make you forget the folly of depriving 
yourself, in the wane of life, of afiiture 
subsistence, their effects would certainly 
be most desirable. Whether this mis- 
conduct of turning manager was die- 


tated by fc^yor madness, is not for me 
now to enquire. In that grove you will 
find a seat planted with willows : there 
you may, at leisure, ruminate upon the 
weakness that has brought you intoi- 
y4!>ur proient truly lamentable situa- 
tion*" ^ 

Woodward. *^ Which is the path, Mr. 
2Esop, to this happy bower ? W[ust I turn 
to the right or to the left?'* ^ 

£sop. " The left, most certainly, Mr. 

Woodward. *^ Well, as soon as is con- 
venient, serve me with this most de- 
sirable beverage of forgetfulness ; for I 
would fain lose all remembrance of -my- 
self till I can produce a pantomime 
which I am with all speed preparing. 
This producticHi will afiright and asto- 
nish the whole town, fill my pockets, 
aiid thus enable me to discharge all ar- 
rears due to my performers. Tou are. 


1^8 MEMOIRS onr '^ i 

Mn jS^op, a most tr^erabfe heatheti/ 
To extend your compassion to a poor 
persecuted Christian, is the most liberal 
beneficence; Do you know, sir, that 
dire necessity obliges me to break th6 
Sabbath in all reheatsab, or more pro^ 
perly, practices of Harlequin entertain* 
xniMs ? And for . this breach of sodal 
duty, I am threatened by the church- 
wardens of St. Andrew's. I am also 
disturbed with frequent alarms froAi a 
more terrible quarter than a parochial 
enquiry ; inter nos^ Mr. Esop, iiO less 
than a citation from the Bishop's courts 
Sad work, Mr. -Ssop. I know yt)ur cha^ 
rity will sympathize with my poor and 
hopeless condition; Now^ thdrc^s my 
brother manager takes no other troubki 
to hook in, as we term it, an audience 
than mounting proudly his gHt triurri- 
phal ear, A car ortiamiented it my 4x? 
ppnee; In thtestslte he surrduilids him- 


self with his awkward squad of super'' 
numerariesy while I am devoted to be 
the only suflferen Although he is a 
Dublin boy^ as he vauntingly calls him- 
self, and well acquainted with ail the 
civilians, and all the other limbs of the 
courts, he only laughs at my apprehen* 
sions, without interesting himself the 
least in my favour. A word from him 
would certainly save me* from what I 
may suffer by Sabbath*breaking. But, 
sir, I perceive you grow tired o£ hear* 
iQg my grievances; and therefore, at^ 
revairy as I always said at parting witji 
you, my thrice-honomxd monitor/' . 

[Exit Woodward* 



fikune events during the last four 
years in Irdand have excited the asto- 
jpjfthmciit /d thia ^cwoitry, and in adis- 


150 lllMOIRt OF 

gree even injured that kingdom m Ike 
public estimation of the sister island* - 

To whatever cause it may l}e impwt- 
edf the passions of the Irish are doubt- 
less more ardent, and therefore more 
frequently productive oithe mostguilty 
% excesses, than those of their fellow-sub- 
jects. Let not this be construed into the 
illiberality erf national reflection: Ire- 
land has ever had its just repute : it is 
the land of honour and hospitality ^ but 
its lower classes, and such of its higher 
orders as resemble them, have more fe- 
rocity and less respect to laws human 
and divine, in the indulgence of their 
passionate impulses, than we are accus- 
tomed to see in England. Such must 
be the inference from the events of the 
present day ; and as national character 

• cither slowly or never varies, sucfr will 

• be found to have ever been their cha- 
raaeristic The evcflt that ranoved 


Mr. Vernon from the Irish stage, some 
years ago, is an eminent example. 

Woodward and Barry having com- 
tnenced their management of Crow- 
street Theatre in the year 1758, and 
Vernon being at that time in high re- 
pute as a singer on the English stage, 
they thought it. might turn to account 
to tempt him to their banners. A sa- 
lary greater than had ever been given 
to any former singer was offered, and 
after something of dramatic coquetry,, 
accepted with feigned reluctance. 

His course, however, though bril- 
liant, was but short. The Brown Bear 
coffee-house was at that time the fa« 

vouritc resort of die XhibUn actors. In 


the interval of the acts Vernon had one 
evening slipped out to the enjoyment 
of this his favourite lounge. His dia-- 
logue with the good-humoured land-^ 
lady was suddenly interrupted by the 

^ 4 


entrance of three young fellows vociife^ 
rously demanding, witli drawn swords, 
*^ the rascal who had affronted them/^ 
^^ D— n the infernal rascai, he took the 
wall of me," exclaimed the leader of the 
three } ^ give him up to us, madam, or 
we'll bury him and yourself in the ruins 
of your house. We saw him enter this 
Iiouse : think not to shelter him, for 
by G — he shall not so escape us^'' 

In vain did the affrighted landlady 
protest that no one had entered her 
house in the 'manner they had d^ 

In this moment a young man, seated 
peaceably by the fire, happened to turni 
his head towards the infuriate sparks. 

" Here he is^ here he is 1" exclaimed^ 
they all at once ; and wichoot more 
words their leader, a young mjm, in the- 
habit of a scholar of the college^ plungedl 
his sword into the bosom of th? ha^ 


less victim, and his example was imi- 
tated with increased fury by his two- 

My hand trembles whilst I recorci 
this ^ct of savage murder, th» ddibe-r 
rate butchery ^ for as the ycmth did not 
expire in the moment of receiving, the 
three stabs, each repeated his^ stroke^ 
till the work of laiuider was accom^ 

Mr» Vernon gazed a moment in stu-^ 
psd horror : the feelings of a man at 
length knpeUed him forwards to repe) 
so brutal a murder.^ The landlady^ 
however, forcibly detained him„ heff^ 
faculties beii^ suspended in terror*. 
The murderess having completed their 
act fledr-no, not fled, but calmly, tran^ 
Quilly retired to the theatre. 

WiU any one credit this atrocity f 
yet the pubU^ recgiicd ffimai,]^ l^S^ 


to that document: I repeat that the 
scene was the Bro^^ Bear, now an in- 
ferior tavern at the corner of Temple- 
lane, the time the year 1759, and the 
chief, the leader of these honoun^le 
bandits, the son of Lady D — T-r • 

The murderers were of course fol- 
lowed to the theatre, and delivered up 
to the hands of justice. Justice, how- 
ever, was by some means rendered in- 
effectual ; for when the trial came on, 
and the witnesses were summoned, no 
one appeared, the evidence having been 
bought off. — Shame! where is thy 
blush ? 

Let it not be here supposed that the 
writer of these memoirs intends any 
reflection on the criminal law of Ire- 
land, or on the integrity of those by 
whom it was at that period administei- 
ed. The presiding judge was a man of 
equal learmng and unsuspected purity«. 


And little as may be the legal know- 
kdge of the writer of these memoirs, 
he need not be told that it is the excel- 
lence of the British criininal law to re- 
quire that amplitude of proof, ^whick 
admits of the escape of an hundred of 
the guilty, rather than risk the more 
fatal error of the ccmdemnatk>n of one 

However eager for the interests of 
justice, Mr. Vernon was compelled to 
listen to a more immediate interest, and 
to return to England. He was accom- 
panied in his return by the son of his 
favourite landlady, young Hodgins* 
The unsuccessful management of the 
Crow-street Theatre inspired the latter 
with the resolution of seeking his fbr« 
tune in England. He was an excellent 
scene-painter, an art of more difficulty 
and real skill than public estimation. 
His, preceptcMT^ Mr.Carver, was amongst 


the most able painters of the day, and 
Hodgins has not fallen short of his 

The greater part of the older sceneis 
of Ck)vent-garden Theatre are from the 
hands of the one or other of these ai:- 
tists« There is a boldness, an origina- 
lity, a contempt of the common-place 
. of scenic picturesque, which well merit- 
ed the admiration it has received^ and 
oninendy display the taste and im^gi- 
i^^tion of Hodgins. 


How endless is the chain of our ideas ! 
Let a man of common retention, and a 
very ordinary fancy, seize one of the 
numerous threads of his memory, and 
he knows not where the clue will lead 

Nor where the regular eoofoiion eD4F* . 


^c mention of Hodgins recalls most 
forcibly to my mind the memory of my 
once loved Messink; I cannot with- 
hold a just tribute to my deceased com- 
panion. Let it, therefore, be here ac- 
knowledged, that his rich conceptions 
embraced all the excellence necessary to 
complete and embellish both the painter 
and machinist. And here let friendship 
drop one tributary tear at the recollec- 
tion of the fate of this deserving and 
celebrated character. Being in the de- 
cline of life, the munificence of a dutiful 
and affectionate son promised that the 
remainder *)f his days should end in 
peace. The theatrical part of my rea- 
ders will no doubt recollect some parti- 
culars of a company of gentlemen who 
amused themselves ,with jprivate thea- 
tricals at Calcutta, in the East Indies. 
ABout seven-and-twenty years ago, Mr> 
Warrick, in the highest good hunipur^ 


read a letter from India addressed to 
hun, and signed by several gentlemen at 
Calcutta, requesting that able theatrical 
caterer to send them agendeman capable 
of conducting their theatre. And as a 
stronginducemeat,thegentlemen pledg- 
ed themselves to give such a person an 
ample salary, with such contingent per- 
quisites as would make it in every re* 
spect deserving his attention and ac- 
oeptancc. " Now, ladies and gentle- 
men," said Roscius, " who among you 
are inclined to acquire a fortune in the 
east with the facility and expedition of 
a nabob ? You must understand that I 
am not confined in my commission, to 
send none but a conductor of stage con- 
cerns : ladies and gendemen both of the 
sock and buskin are required. Those 
who enter upon this service will be ac- 
commodated in the best manner on 
board a Company's ship, supplied witli 


etjuipment-moiley here in,f ngland, and 
even instructed by competent judges 
how to provide every necessary for the 
voyage and sojournment in India." 

Among the ladies this communica- 
tion excited a titter without an answer* 
Nor did any of the gentlemen seem to 
listen to the golden advantages of the 
promised land, except the prudent Mes- 
sink. Being himself advanced in years, 
and engaged v/ith Mr. Garrick at a cer- 
tain, comfortable, and respectable salary 
durante vitJ^ he had no incentive to en^i- 
brace so flattering an offer for himself. 
But his anxious desire to see his son ac-^ 
<{aire a fortune, induced him to com- 
municate the news to him, and to ad- 
vise him to undertake the management 
of the whole plan. The young man 
consented, and on his arrival in India 
• all his hopes were very soon gratified* 
And to con^srince his fond father of hi^ 

t6d HtMont OP 

success, as vdl as lus fifial affecdoo, lie 
sent a remittance ^riiich cnaMcd his pa- 
ren t to enfoy a comfbrtable conqieteiKy* 
This was transmitted cYcn befwe it 
<ouId have been thoi^fat posnUe for 
young Messink himself to have realized 
a sin^ nij)ee, at least beyond what was 
.necessary to support the figure expected 
^rom Europeans of respectability in our 
^Asiatic territories. In a word, after t 
very short stay, having reafized a for- 
tune o( twenty-seven thousand pounds, 
acquired with equal ability^ industry, and 
integrity, he was desirous of returning 
to England to ^oy his acquisitions 
with his beloved parent. He comnm- 
nicated his intentions to a friend who 
<ommanded one of the homeward- 
bound ships, who kindly oflfered him a 
free passage to England, provided he 
could reconcile himself to accompany 
Slim to Bencoolen. where.: he was to 

touch in his way home. ToungM^is- 
sink's strong attachment to his friend 
determined him to accompany him, al- 
though it was attended with the dday 
and danger of a circuitous voyage* In 
vain did his friends represrat the danger . 
to which he was exposed by eveA touch* 
ing at such a place ; and thou^ they 
united in one common sentiment that 
Bencoolen was justly considered as the 
grave of the English, no perai^ion 
could deter him from the voyage. He 
humorously said, *^ that as k wai^ the 
grave of the Engfish, he being an Irish^ 
man convinced him of his safety/' But, 
however, whether the hour-glass of his 
existence had dropt its last sandy par- 
ticle, or whether he fell an untimely 
victim to hfe own temerity, he had no 
.sooner arrived at Bencoolen, that Dutch 
oven of nwrialUy^ than he fell, in the vi- 
gour of life, by a most £sU;al disorder, to 

VOL, II. JVi , . 


1 62 . MEMOIRS OF 

the great regret of his Asiatic friends, 
and his European relatives. 

The fsital news reaching his £tther at 
Dublin, embittered the close of his days, 
although the worthy son had left to his 
disposal the whole of his fortune. The 
afflicted parent came immediately to 
London and took possession of the le- 
gacy ; but his debility and extreme an- 
guish soon took him from the enjoy* 
ment of his wealth. The rheumatic 
gout and other chronic diseases so prey- 
ed op his weakened frame, that he soon 
fell a victim to age, infirmity, and af- 



Being >now in the precincts of Crow- 
street Theatre,, it is presumed a further 
introduction ^ into the Green-room wiH 
Botbe deemedusacceptabletothereader. 


Having already introduced him to some 
acquaintance with Messrs. Barry ^Wood- 
ward, and Vernon, we proceed to the 
mention of others no less distinguished 
in an inferior walk indeed of dramatic 
€:scellence. The late improvements in 
the ballet have indeed advanced that 
part of the scenic art toa higher degree 
of estimation, and given something of 
the regularity of art, and even the dig- 
xiity of science, to what has been hi- 
therto considered as harlequinade ; but 
in the year 1760 it had not reached its 
present excellence. 

Ofie of the most en^inent in this art 
was Mr. Rob. Aldridge, justly deemed 
the first stage-dancer that ever appeared 
on the Irish boards* His invention was 
only equalled by his execution, and in 
both he surpassed any idea that words 
can cpnvey. This is not the language 
of partial eulogy; Mr. Aldridge and his 

M 2 


pupil Mr. Slingsby were long without 
competitora, ^and might liave borne 
away the palm even from the most ce- 
lebrated names of a later period. 

Mr. Aldridge was bom in the town 
of Audee, in the county of Lowtlu The 
profession of his father was that of a 
dancing-master. Young Aldridge, hav- 
ing learnt with his parent the rudiments 
of his profession, left home at the age of 
1 5^ with 1^0 other prospect of succeed- 
ing than the possession of an uncom- 
laon agility and a great attachment to 
dancing. So unpromisuQtg were his 
prospects at home, that he could never 
have.cacpected to ha^ve risen above the 
situation of a music-master to a provi». 
cial school, at least as lojotg as he remain^ 
^ with bis £^her. But this, worthy 
.parent was^ not so^sel&h^ or «):xndi&- 
j:ent to the interests o£ his sonw as to 


fractcd sphere of daily attendance on 
the scholars of Dr. Norris, at Drogheda, 
where the coupee and the boree were 
taught to the young gentlemen of that 
seminai*y* He possessed a more exten* 
sive and liberal mindt he agreed, there- 
fore, for the sum of one hundred gui- 
neas with Mr. Sam. Lee, the leader of 
the Smock-alley band, during Mr. She-: 
ridan's management of that theatre, to 
instruct his son in the science of musit, 
and particularly in the practice of th^ 
vi<^n, of which Mr. Lee was jQlovrcd^ 
to be the greatest master of his day. In 
some respeas, indeed, and particularly 
with regard to his knowledge and t%t- 
cation of time, ht was not inferi<9r evet^ 
to Geminiani, AragOni^ ot the famous ^ 

Young Aldridge, being accustomed * 
during his pupilage to see a long suc- 
cession of foreign dancers, fclt the im^ 

M 3 


pulse of his natural propensity , and was 
determined to seize the first opportu- 
nity of trying his own talents in the 
same way. Conscious that he could 
trip it " on the light fantastic toe'* as 
featly as^the best of them» he engaged 
in 1755, for a few months, with a com- 
pany of players who were going from 
Dublin to Kilkenny. Aldridge easily 
prevailed upon Lee to grant him leave 
of absence during the theatrical vaca- 
tion in Dublin. He was indeed en- 
^ged only as a performer in the or- 
chestra, ^nd even this at a salary only 
conditional upon his success. But his 
primary object was the hopes of having 
frequent opportunities of shaking * his 
heels upon the stage, as well as his arm 
in the orchestra. His hopes w^e grati- 
fied; for having danced, with the most 
flattering applause, for the benefit of a 
friend, several others of the performers 


solicited his high-flying exertions on 
their respective nights. His good na- 
ture and attachment to dancing united 
to mduce him to comply with all their 
requests. His youthful* vanity- was 
every night most pleasingly flattered* 
by loud and general plaudits. 

The close of September, the period" 
for opening the Dublin theatre, pre- 
vented his appearing any longer be- 
fore his. friends and countrymen as 
the hero of hornpipe : nothing but 
the odious orchestra presented itsdf, 
in which he was convinced " he had 
no opportunity of appearing with th6 
eclat of excellence, the- talents of his « 
master being too superior to leave him 
the faintest expectation of rivalship. 
He grew, thereforfe, dissatisfied with 4iis 
situation, a circumstance that >)(ras per- 
ceived iiy his master, who, being of a 
liaughty disposition, concealed with dif^ 

M 4 


ficulty his disjdcasure. Hovever, in 
January 1756, which was before the 
Cfid of the season^ Aldridge bdng much 
improved in dancings went to Drog- 
heda. He here met with a man whose 
name was Gordon M^NetUe, a favourite 
hornpipe dancer ; Aldridge adopted 
him in the instant for his model. But 
having hacn told, at hk ' probation at 
Kilkenny, that, he excelled this Don, he 
CQuId no longer endure being merely a 
spectator of this M^Nolle's perform- 

Mr* SherifPs company being then 
playing at Drogheda, an opportunity 
offered itself to Aldridge to display be* 
fore his £ilher's scholars how greatty he 
had improved. Old Philip Lewis, wfa<» 
was an actor in this company, having 
a benefit approaching, requested die 
&vour of the young dancer to perform' 
Harlequin for him on his night. The 


favour was graQted, and the perform^ 
ance of the pantomime was preceded 
by Aldridge's hornpipe. In both parts 
he was honoured with so much deserv- 
ed ai^laqse, that his pride of heart 
prompted him to declare that for hint 
all the fiddles might be pitched firom 
Drogheda to Cremona. 

His reputation being in some degree 
established by these performances, he 
was induced to follow the fortunes oi 
that part of the company which adher-^ 
ed to Lewis during the succeeding sum«- 
mer ; but his income not being ade-» 
quate to his promised and expected en» 
joyments, he very prudently returned 
once more to Drogheda, his father, and' 
his vocation. The Aldridge school ink 
proved by a daily increase of sdiohrs*. 
The sons and daughters of the most r&» 
spectable and distinguished were under 
their joint tuition. The accomfdished 


3ro!iiig Mr. Balls, of Balls-^rove, wha 
have $ince been conspicuous ornaments 
to their country and their family, treat- 
ed ypung Aldridge with that aflFable 
fiimiliarity, which is equally an honour 
to the elevated and subordinate* But 
Ui this they only followed the excellent' 
lesson which the all-accomplished Sir 
Richard Steele has given in his charac- 
ter of Bevil, in the Conscious Loversy 
that no man is degraded by an honest 
exertion of his talents, and that kind<- 
ness and protection in its di£Ferent de- 
grees is the common debt of man to 

Although Aldridge was now so gene- 
rally caressed by all that was fashionable 
and respectable in his immediate neigh- 
bourhood, he could not content him- 
self until he made one grand eflFort 
at what he conceived would put him 
in possession of an independency. His 


object was to emulate, if not exceF, 
those whom he considered his compr* 
titors in the fame of stage dancings 

Animated with the thought of leap* 
ing over tlie heads of all who stood in 
his professional path to fame and for- 
tune, he went to Dublin in 1758, which 
was soon after the commencement of 
Woodward and Barry's management. 
Arriving at the Hibernian capital, he 
engaged with them on very moderate 
terms. Here his modesty of deport** 
ment considerably recommended him 
to Mr. Woodward, whose skill in the 
bopy stepy zxid jumpy was acknowledged to 
be unquestionable. ^ He likewise deriv- 
ed great assistance from the elder Mes- 
sink, who was a good mime and a prin- 
cipal figvirante, and had a fertile genius 
at the invention of ballets. Aldridge's 
execution exceeded all possible expecta- 
tion, when the short period of his prac^ 

i/a misiQiRS OF 

tice in ballets was'tonsidered. iUthougfr: 
he had a host of formidable competitors 
in Senior Leuca, f^iano, Marsigniy 
and the Irish hero Gordy M^Neille, he 
surmounted every difficidty, routed his- 
enemies^ and finally so triumphed over 
all opposition, as to gain the direction 
of the ballets, and the entire sovereignty* 
of the springing-board. In diia state of r 
success he took pupils, and recdTcd sa- 
laries, which ahnost immediately raised' 
him to the independence foi^ which he. 
liad so long sighed, and so unremittingr 
ly pursued. 

Having before mentioned that Slin^- 
by was under his tuition, an anecdote 
respecting that incomparable dancer, 
which was communicated to tne by Mr. 
Woodward himself, wiH not be here 

Messink, as before observed, was a^ 
dancer, but not in the modish way* 


"Now, whether he had enviously con- 
j:eived a personal pique against Slings- 
by, or had not noticed with sufficient 
candour and judgment his progress, he 
pronounced him a dunce, an incorri- 
gitde blockhead, without the least ear 
or taste for the art of dancing; he there, 
fore deemed iiim entirely inadequate to 
the profession in whi(^ he had engaged. 
Infusing the same opinion into the mind 
of the manager. Woodward, he had 
very nearly deprived Europe of the ini- 
mitable talents of Slingsby, who was 
then a f^rante at the low salary of 
eleven shillings per week. But fortu- 
nately for him his master Aldridge 
knowing his abUities, persuaded the 
manager to continue his promising pu* 
|al at whatever salary he might think 
he deserved. The celebrity of Slingsby 
haa since proved that Aldridge evinced 
^udier more jtt<%ment or Hberality than 


If the eminence of this performer was 
in some degree owing to the ardour, 
in other words, nitural genius which 
at first impelled him to this art, and af- 
terwards accompanied lum in his pro- 
gress, still more is it to be imputed to 
that invincible industry and obstinate 
persevering labour with which he 
stretched towards the goal never for a 
moment absent from his mind's eye. 
And never indeed has the hzjppy effect 
of such perseverance been more forci- 
bly exemplified. If Demosthenes, ac- 
cording to his biographer Plutarch, 
made himself a voice, and became an 
orator in despite of nature, Slingsby 
fought a battle equally hard, and gain- 
ed a victory, allowing fpr the difference 
of the objects of the warfare, equally 
brilliant. Never was a man so litdc 
formed for a dancer as Slingsby. His 
figure was clumsy, and the calves of his 

CHAiWLES 'LEE !-•£ WES. I75 

^egs those of a portdr. For years did 
he submit to the voluntary penance of 
the most severe exercise during six 
hours of the day^to overcome this im- 
pediment. He at length succeeded — z 
victory over a natural obstacle, which 
if gained for a nobler purpose, and by 
a hero instead of a dancer, would have 
been justly celebrated, as the pifoof of 
vigour of mind, and a happy example 
of the effect of industry. 

By these and other similar exertions- 
Slingsby approached so near the excel- 
lence of his master Aldridge, that it was 
a subject of discussion amongst the cri- 
tics, whether he had not reached and 
even surpassed it. But it is an injus- 
tice too frequent to detract the laurels 
from the master to deck the brow of 
his rising pupil. It is perhaps some 
gratification to envy to lessen the fame 
«f the one by advancing that t>f the 


Other, not as yet become an object of 
envy. Let the balance be held fiairly---^ 
Slingsby was eminent, but Aldridge was 
origuial--^lingsby was above all the 
dancers of his day, and was unrivalled 
even in France; but Aldridge was never 
compared to any other, because he was 
universally allowed to be like none of 
them, but in every respect an original. 
Let us return to Aldridge. Although 
Aldridgc's whimsical performances, the 
Fingallian Rant, and other pleasing Hi- 
ber nian ballets, seemed only calculated for 
the meridian ofDublin, and would indeed 
have been no better than clod-hopping 
directed by any other ; yet the skill and 
management of Aldridge were such as 
to reconcile them to. the taste of the 
most refined judges of dancing in Eng- 
land. All his Irish jigs, &c. were so 
improved by his singular address and 
mode of conducting them, that, while 


he contioued in London, none was sut^ 
prised to find the Bog of Allen trand^ 
planted, or, if you will, transported, to 
Drury-lanc Theatre. As it would ex- 
ceed our licdits in these memoirs to say 
more respecting the merits of this ex^ 
ceUent dancer, suffice it that his talents 
must be long remembered in London, 
and many other places of polite resort, 
where they have been displayed with 
their deserved eclat and approbation. 
HerCj^ therefore, I take leave of my 
friend, the truly begotten child of Co- 
mus; with only stating that he has wise- 
ly withdrawn himself from the irksome, 
degrading tyranny of stage managers^ 
to the city of Edinburgh. Here hi 
most socially lives among judges and 
encouragers of genius ; resolved to finisk 
life's career, as he began it, in the pri- 
vate direction of the .r/^ of youth, and 

VOjL. II. . N 

178 , •memoir^ Ol" 

thus enjoy, without envy, the otium cum 



'. Claims our next attention ; but with- 
out obtruding an opinion of this gentle- 
man as an actor of eminence, he was 
justly considered a very useful per* 
former. To this character every ma- 
nager with whom he engaged, in Ireland 

• Since the above was written^ poor Aldridge 
paid the debt of nature about the latter end of 
May 1793, lamented by a numerous acqupint- 
ancfe. He was attended to his grave by many 
gentlemen of the first respectability, among 
whom was Lord Provost Elder. - He has left 
behind him an amiable wife (daughter of his 
former master, Mr. Samuel Lee of Dublin), two 
daughters, and a son, whom he has instructed 
in his own profession ; and long may they live, 
the worthy o£fspring of so worthy a father ! 


_ • 

and England, were ever willing to sub- 
scribe. But, still further to his credit^ 
it must be acknowledged that he was 
truly benevolent, and warmly sinjcercf 
in his friendship. These virtues will 
always render him more estimable than 
if he had shone among the most cele- 
brated of his profession without them. 
It must, therefore, be a satisfaction td 
every candid and worthy mind to hes^r 
that this deserving character is now 
happily above the rude blasts of precar- 
rious drudgery and dependence. Pos- 
sessing what the ladies term a good per* 
soHy he attracted the partial notice of a 
young lady of the city of Exeter. Being 
prepossessed with his person and ad* 
dress at a private ball, she found means 
to communicate by a common friend 
her favourable opinion. With a can- 
dour not the less laudable becayse very 
pmisual, she declared that her hand and 


fortune were att Iver own disposal, and 
tla^t she knew no one to whom she 
^ould inQre willingly transfer them than 
tjQ Mr* EUsird Such an offer was not 
to be ne^cted. XUatd was not so 
foaoraured of bis profession as to pre- 
fer a smaU salary, and the caprice of 
managers, to independence and the pos- 
session of beauty y the business there- 
iforewas reg^riycomxnenced^andpro* 
eeeded with speedy progress towards a 
happy conclusion. 

But . notwithstanding the affair was 
conduX:ted with the greatest caution by 
this: pHbcipalSy as well as their confident 
taal frimd^ it was not long before it 
ttranspiired^ It no sooner reached the 
eaxs of hk aock and buskin brother- 
hood, than tb^y treated it with their 
umal nobchjevoufi, if not malicious^ le- 
yity, and the Romeo and Juliet had to 
endure, the fleers and gibes of every 


Mercutio of the company ; a propen* 
sity but too common amongst the geni. 
tlemen of the stage. Hamlet speaks 
well in sayiftg, " Follow that gentleman^ 
but mind you mock him not/' ^ 

The lady had a rich aunt by whom 
she was loved with the greatest tender^ 
ness, and from whom she had consider- 
able expectations. Although the for- 
tune in her own disposal was but little 
short of four hundred pounds per an* 
num, yet the reversion of a large fori- 
tune on the death of her aunt, who was 
then almost supdrannuated, was an ob^ 
ject not to be despised. It therefore 
gave her no little concern that the man 
of her heart was of a profession whose 
members were not only execrated by 
her aunty but deemed unwof thy of nO' 
tice in this world, and even salvation in 
the next. Such were the pi^udicei 
that £Uard had to eacowutti ctxb the 



i8a MEMoms of 

cheveaux defrise through which he had 
to force his way to the possession of his 
fair. In vain did the prudent aunt ap- 
peal to the reason of the^enamoured 
fair ; in vain did she represent that, ac> 
cording to the opinion of some of the 
celebrated doctors of the Sorbqnne, 
players were possessed with evil spirits, 
and the chosen receptacles for the earth- 
ly abode of the devils. The young 
lady^s passion rendered her deaf alike 
to argument and reproach. Her reso- 
iution was fixed ; and EUard, whether 
possessed or not, was to be the man of 
her choice. 

And fortunate was it for him that 
her love was thus firmly founded, as a 
«torm had now gathered which would 
Jhave effectually destroyed all the fair 
fabric of his hopes. This tempest was 
as sudden as it was unexpected. . 

A newly married man, who may ht 

« . 


termed a wolf in sheep's : clothing, ex-4 
cited by Ate, or some of her sister Furies^ 
was resolved, if possible, to blight the 
promised happiness of the contested lo- 
vers. To efiGbct his infamous purpose,* 
he began with sending a very friendly> 
anonymous epistle to the aunt, advising 
her to prevent her niece from commit* 
ting the crime of marrying a man al- 
ready married to a wife then living. He 
added, that the wife had been tenderly 
loved, and had borne several children, 
some of whom were still alive. The 
claims, he said, of this discarded . wife 
and the abandoned children, would cer- 
tainly enabitter the remainder, of the 
aunt's days. 

Had this artifice, as shallow as malig- 
nant, succeeded, Ellard's hopes were at 
an end. But the young lady, with her 
.ordinary discretion, resolved to hear be- 
fore she condemned, and Ellard was s^c- 

N 4 

184 MZMOiRS or 

cordlngly sent for, that he might stn-f 
swer to the accusation ; so well did she 
merit the love of this Vorthy man. 

^^ Mr. EUard/' said the generous lady, 
^ be ingenuous with me, sir-— was you 
ever married ?" 

^' Never, madam,'' answered Ellard, 
with no small surprise* 

*' I could wish you to be candid in 
the matter," continued she. >^ I need 
not say that I have a good opinion of 
your morals/' 

" And I hope," rejoined he, '^ you 
will never find my conduct such as to 
merit a forfeiture of that confidence 
with which you have been pleased to 
honour my sincerity/' 

** Had you at any time of your life, 
sir, any iUicit^onnexion with any wo-^ 
man by whom you have children f " 

*« Madam," answered the candid El- 
hrd thus^ urged, ^* I must confess, to 


my shame, that I had ; and although I 
blush to own my moral delinquency in 
your respectable presence, I must add^ 
that she was a married woman, and I 
believe may be still living. She was 
artful, I was young and inexperienced/' 

^* I thank you, sir, for your confes-* 
sion,'* returned the lady. *^ Now wo 
can come to the subject in question* 
There has been sent to my aunt a letter 
which has created in us both an equal ^ 
alarm. Here is another addressed to 
myself J in which the writer, Mr. Wolfj 
advises me to break oflf all coimexion^ 
which I might be imprudently inclined 
to form with Mr. Ellard« And here he; 
ofiers, at his own expence, to depart 
immediately for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 
and return to Exeter accompanied by 
your wife, and as many of your chil« 
dren as he may find living.'' 

The innocent £llard was motionless 

- \ 


with surprise. He acknowledged tliat 
the infanDOus Carrol, the woman who 
had seduced his youth, might be still 
living, but he denied that she had the 
least daim on him as a wife. He was 
the bolder in this assertion, knowing 
that he had a most incontestable witness 
of its veracity. His witness was a man 
of unimpeached integrity, and who was 
then in Mr. Bates's company at Sunder- 
land, which is near the town where the 
insidious Wolf had fixed the present re- 
sidence of his pretended wife. This ho- 
nest man had known Mr. Ellard from 
a boy, and was equally acquainted with 
the pretended wife, Betty Carrol. He 
also not only knew her real husband^ 
but was well acquainted with the cause 
of that husband turning her out of 
doors.* Ellard had no sooner seen the 
folly of hisj^ attachment, than he adopted 
the example of the husband, and dis- 


'. » * 

burtKencd himself of a plague which hfc 
found sat heavy on his existence. He 
therefore took the prudent step of leav- 
ing htr , even at the expence of abandon- 
ing a good situation in Crow-street The- 
atre, and coming to England with Mr. 
ThomksJeflferson,who was just going to 
sail from the port of Dublin for Exete^» 

EUard was thus enabled to as^rt his 
innocence with the boldness of truth, as 
he could oppose the assertion of Wotf, 
seconded by the testimony of the infa- 
.mous Betty, and by the more respectable 
evidence of his friend at Sunderland. 

The lady was thus satisfied that she 
had been grossly abused, and with the 
characteristic generosity of her sex, was 
eager to compensate her lover for the 
momentary injustice of her suspicions.- 

" I thank you most sincerely, sir,*' 
said the yqung lady, " for this unre- 
.served declaration. You havq eased my 

aftl iC£MOIllS OF 

mind of a pressure that was too heavy 
for my weakness ; but now I ani satis- 
fied. And if my doubts of your worth 
have made no alteration in your opinion 
of me, my band and fortune are freely 

Thus terminated this unpardonable 
act of malignity ; an act so much the 
more atrocious, as it had been provok- 
ed by no enmity, no wrong in word or 
deed, of the worthy Ellard. It had, 
indeed, no other source than that of 
envy, which repines at the good of an- 
other as an evil happening Jto himself. 

To the merited disappointment of 
Wolf and his associates, Ellard was at 
length happily married to the lady of 
his hope. The wedding being without 
the consent and against the desire of 
the aunt, she would not permit her 
name to be mentioned in her presence. 
Mrs. jElUard was therefore obliged to re- 


sume her maiden name whenever she 

visited her relation. Nor . could even 

the obdurate old lady be prevailed xtpon 

to be thoroughly reconciled to her niece, 

on any other terms than the removal of 

Mr. Ellard to some remote part^ where 

she could never be o&nded with the 

sight of him. Being convinced that 

his compliance was the only means of 

relieving the uneasiness of his wife, and 

securing their future expectations from 

the aunt, Ellard prudently withdrew to 

Teignmouth, a pleasant sea-port about 

fifteen n^les from Exeter. Here my 

friend EUard purchased a spot of ground 

on which he bi^t 'a handsome houae, 

which he decently fuxnisfaed. To shew 

himself also an eecomomist, as well as a 

Sftam of ta$te, he began tx> pesform in 

earnest in his own Eden a part in which 

he had frequently appeared on a barren 

5tage# This new-made. Faxadisc 


ed Ellard considerable pleasure, in de- 
spite of the penance to which the aunt 
had thought she had condemned him, 
by thus secluding hini from the com- 
pany and converse of his former com*^ 
panions the players. 

And here I conclude this account of 
a worthy friend with observing, that 
no man is more respected in his ndgh- 
bourhood than Mr. Ellard. And the 
late Lord Courtenay, whose old Eng- 
lish hospitality all Devonshire has wit- 
nessed, always invited the worthy jolly 
companion Ellard to his hunting and 
convivial parties, where equal plenty 
and festivity ever xeigned. 

Farewell, my honest and respected 
friend. Disregard your unprovoked 
enemies, and let this distich live in 
your memory : 

" Short is the date in which ill acts prevail 
• <* But honesty's a rock vrill'never fail !** • 



We have no need of foreigners of 
any description to gratify the eye, ear^ 
or any other sense we chuse to make 
proper use of. We have already provr 
ed that Aldridge and Slingsby were, as 
highly qualified for the gentle, undulate 
ing movement on the boards of: a balU 
room, or the high^-flying graces which k 
seems are held to be indispensibly necest 
sary to please the great and small vulgar* 
In painting, the cognoscenti allow we are 
not exceUed by any modern artists now 
existing ; and Sir Joshua Reynolds, for 
delitaoy , may, without flattery, be com- 
pared to the best masters of the Italian 
school*. In literature, the British writ- 
ers in every branch of it are confessedly 
unrivalled. Music, that charmer of the 
soul, both vocal and instrumental, ha$ 
made rapid strides within these thirty 
years past towards perfection.: Singer^ 
especially we have^ and of our own na^ 


live growth, and, what should more 
particularly recommend them to our 
attention, we either do or shou/d under- 
stand the language of their songs* 

And here it may not appear imperti- 
nent to give a few words upon some o! 
our female singers, as their excellence 
has given dignity to an art whicH had 
been deemed hitherto to have little con- 
nection with any thing of science. 

The most celebrated singer in the be- 
ginning of this, I suppose I must rather 
say of the last century, was Mrs. To£ts» 
However the powers of this lady havs 
been extolled, she was in truth but litde 
superior to one of the ballad-singers of 
our put^ gardens, or minor theatres. 
She had admirers, ^owever, amongst 
those whose praise was £cime, and whose 
nod the stamp imperial of merit. Ad- 
dison and Steele endeavoured to outrun 
esaeh other in their worship to this god* 

CHARLEd L££ LEWES. 1 93 

dcss of their idolatry. The sprightly 
Farquhar compares her to the lyre of 
Orpheus, causing his Aimwell to ex- 

What do I hear ; 
Soft Orpheus play* or fair Toffida siqg ? 

I have heard observed, and mqst rea« 
dily believe, that were this female Or- 
pheus to return again, and rear her 
head upon the present stage, she would 
be received with every thing but en- 
thusiasm* Amongst many other im- 
provements of the world, it has become 
too v(dse for such rapture, at least to 
be moved to it by any excellence of 
mere natural talents, llie concurrence 
of musical science with vocal excellence 
is now required ; and to my thoughts, 
this is no inconsiderable improvement 
on the age which preceded us. 

As to the person of Mrs. Tofts, an 
ancient friend of mine rep9rts it t^- 

VOL. lU Q 

194^ ' MEMOIRS Of 

liavc exceeded in beauty .any of our 
present singers, anfi perhaps^ the greater 
part of her reputation, even as a singer, 
must be imputed tq this source. Wc 
are seldom nice or discriminating in 
our admiration of beauty. Let her 
please us by the possession of personal 
gifts, and however inferior she inay be 
in any. other talent, we seldom scruple 
to allow her jexcellence. 

The name of Storace cannot but 
suggesif itself among the list of singers, 
and: the name recalls to my memory an 
anecdote of the well-known Trusler, 
the grandfather of this lady. Her mo- 
ther, Miss Trusler, was celebrated for a 
confectionary talent of some domestic 
esteem, that of making the best cakes ^ 
at the least possible expence. But the 
most capital cake ever made by that 
family was, when Storace's grandfather 
made such, a ^rand cake of the public. 


The pecuniary affairs of Sherrard and 
Trusler having been long in a crab-like 
motion, ^^ procul este frofan?^ became 
their motto, and " non est iifoenius'^ the 
consequence, Trusler died, that is to 
say, waij generjiUy lamented as dead ; 
when, after some interval, lo ! the, 
grave gave up her dead, and Trusler 
re-appeared as a pfeader ; that is to say, 
whenever troubled for his debts, he 

pleaded the Statute of Limitation. 

Mrs. Clive 

Was originally servant to Miss Eleanor 
Knowles, afterwards Mrs. Young, mo- 
ther to the present Sir George Young, 
and Mr. Thomas Young, who, in 1774, 
came out at Covent-garden Theatre ia 
Macheath, which he performed nine 
nights witli rnuch celebrity. When 
Mrs. Clive lived with Miss Knowles, 

o 2 


^ho then lodged at Mrs. Snell's, a fan- 
painter in |Church-row, Houndsditch, 
Mr. Watson, many years box-keeper at 
Drury-lane and Richmond, kept the 
Bell Tavern, directly opposite to Mrs. 
Snell's. At this house was held ^the 
Beef-steak Club, instituted by Mr. 
Beard, Mr. Dunstall, Mr. Woodward, 
Stoppalear, Bencraft, Gi£fard, && &c. 
Kitty Rafter, being one day washing 
the steps of the door, and singing, the 
windows of the club-room being open, 
they were instantly crowded by the 
company, who were all enchanted with 
her natural grace and simplicity. This 
circumstance alone led her to the stage, 
under the auspices of Mr. Beard and Mr. 
Dunstall { how she succeeded, charm- 
ed^ and astonished, is needless -here 
to. relate, farther than that she quitted 
the stag^ with a fame, in her line of 
acting, not inferior to any of her pre* 


decessors. I have given the above a»ec* 
dote as I received it from Mr. Thomas 

Tom Young. 

This gentleman is well known in the 
theatrical world under the denomina- 
tion of a good-natured fellow, but is 
in fact a truly sensible, well-bred man. 
His leading feature was, a charitable 
disposition to people all hospitals with 
stray babesj and a vindictive spirit in 
denouncing vengeance against all pa- 
rishes that did not bribe him to spare 
them. ^^ No man has made so many 
chambermaids lose their voices, by ris- 
ing in the cold night to let him in to 
their madam .'^ 

In the year 1765, he was playing in 
Whitely's company in Manchester, and 
was distinguished very much by the 
partial attentions of 2 widow lady of 



extcnsivi property. Being too honour- 
^\At to take advantage of her weakness 
in his farour, he rejected her ardent 
and repeated offers to meet her at the 
altar of Hymen : at that period she had 
^ a legacy of 1 200 guineas bequeathed to 
her, which sum she gave him to pur- 
chase a commission in £lliot*s dragoons, 
then quartered at Manchester. He ap- 
plied to the General, who informed 
him a cometcy was to be disposed of, 
. but could not pointedly say the exact 
time, only he- imagined it would not 
be for sale in less time than six months. 
The late Mr. Sam. Touchet, banker, 
was in company when Young was men- 
tioning this, and said, "Young, Fll 
allow you 5 per cent, for, the money 
till you want it, if you'll place it in our 
house.'* He did so, prudently thinking 
the interest would be something to- 
wards purchasing his horse, .&c. &c. 


On the Monday Mr. Touchet touck- 
ed the i2oo guineas, on the Thurs- 
day following stopped payment for 
800,000 1., and a few, days after shot 

Soon after this event, I received a 
letter from him from the West Indies, 
and in speaking of this circumstance 
he says, " My only consolation. was, in 
finding that generous woman so far 
from upbraiding me in aught, she only 
said I should have placed the ;iioney in 
her hands ; but, blind to her paiftialify, 
I quitted Manchester, I quittejd Mrs. 
********, I quitted ******** hall, I 
quitted a worthy woman, and twenty- 
five hundred pounds per annum, in 
pursuit of random schemes.^* 

Soon after Tom Young went abroad, 
Mrs. M******** was married: to -a 
gentleman then at Manchesteri belong- 
ing to a new raised regiment, and \vell 

o 4 


known by the epithet of Spanking Ro« 
ger. She so6n after died, and left him 
in possession of all her estate, a part of 
ly'hich he has sold for near 1 00,000 L, 
and holds ^ very large and valuable 
portion of it at this moment. 

Mr. Incledon. 

The present male singers of the Bri^ 
tish litage infinitely surpass those 6f 
any other nation of Europe. In strength 
united with sweetness, who has ever 
approached the excellence of Incledon ? 
The silent raptures I have beheld a 
house in, when he has sung the popular 
.verses of the gentle and witty Gay, 
kno>Yn by the name of Black eyed Susatiy 
gave me more real delight than even 
the Stabat Mater^ when accompanied 
with a band, whose harmony was al- 
most seraphic. Yet our countryman, 
to shew his superior skill in the melt- 


ing moods, charmed us without assist- 
ance from any instrument of music 
whatever. O my infatuated country- 
men, how long will you suffer your- 
selves to be duped by a band of inso- 
lent foreigners? Learn some wisdom 
from one book at least, that is replete 
with good sense, a commodity which 
you are allowed by all the world to 
possess in a distinguished manner. The 
precept I would be understood to re- 
commend to your serious notice here, 
is, not to take your children's meat, 
and throw it to dogs. I will in this 
place remind you of a verse in an old 
ballad of Harry Carey, the poet and 
tnu^ician, wherein he pathetically la« 
ments the degeneracy of our forefa^ 
thers, some sixty or seventy years ago, 
when he makes a boqby squire lash 
them in the following words |— * 


" And there*s your English actors go 

With many a hungry belly ; 
While heaps of gold arc lavi»h'd«->oh ! 

On Signior FurinclliV* 

Mr, Kelly. 

The scientific Kelly comes next to be 
considered. His exquisite taste and 
judgment justly merit the countenance 
and praise of the connoisseurs in music. 
This gentleman we have always, or 
with very little intermission, among 
us. He was, as far as I can understand, 
early taught the pleasing science, and 
sung, when but a little boy, at a Ro- 
mish chapel, upon Sundays and other 
festivals, the Ltuis Creator^ and Magni- 
jicat^ in tones so harmonious, that his 
promising abilities raised him friends 
among the opulent catholics of the ca- 
pital of Ireland, the place of his nati* 


vity. . A sum was raised sufficient to 
send him in a respectable manner to 
Italy, the very centre of instruction in 
his line, that of Lltin church-music: 
but the stage has more allurements 
than the church for one of aa amorous 
complexion. No wonder then, that 
Mr. Kelly made choice of the flowery 
paths of pleasure in the gay season of 
iiis youth, and in a line more suitable 
to his natural disposition, as variety, 
the darling passion of youth, invited 
him to take a full swing. The graver 
music to which he had been accustom- 
ed, and the paucity of its inflections^ 
required not the exertions of one, who 
had such flattering expectations of 
pleasing all sects and degrees* 

904 memoirs of 

Charles Bannister. 

Mr* Charles Bannister, though not 
ranked ^among the sweet singers, has 
held, and most deservingly, a high re- 
putation, and that within his own ma- 
gic circle, where none dare tread but 
he. Darley has merit in the same line 
of singing, and when mdlowed by the 
stealing hours of time, will well befit 
the seat of majesty, which Bannister so 
ably filled, and render us, no doubt, 
as happy in his reign, as we have long 
been in that of my friend Charles the 

I have been told by many old fre- 
quenters of Covent-garden Theatre, 
and such as were held to be very good 
judges, that Charles Bannister was the 
legitimate son of old Leveridge. Whe- 
ther it was that the bard cast his cloak 


upon my friend Charles, or by what 
other way he caught the spirit of the 
man, who could boast of yielding plea- 
sure to many of the great-grandfathers 
of the children of the present age j yet 
so it is, he has been for many years 
allowed to have possessed a double spirit 
of his vocal father's : and his restora* 
lion to his lawful dominion over the 
choral tribe, in this month of January, 
1793, gave more real satisfaction to 
the numerous friends and strenuous 
supporters of merit, than any piece of 
theatrical justice that has occurred for 
these many years past. 

Le Grand PiTROT. 

The following instance of folly, inso- 
lence, and arrogance, in that celebrated 
dancer, Le Grand Pitrot, well known 
throughout all Europe for his superior 

306 KTBMOIRS 6^ . 

professional excellence, will be another' 
striking instance to the many which I 
could relate, of the presumptuous self- 
sufficiency of these foreign caperers. 

This consequential prince of all the 
skipping, capering tribe, had the au- 
gust appellation of le grand tacked to 
his parental name. The pride, obsti- 
nacy, and merit of this performer, be- 
came proverbial at all the courts of Eu- 
rope, and he took particular care to 
mark his own character. » At Vienna, 
he chose to appear only in the last act 
of a ballet. On the Emperor's desiring 
that he should make his entree at the 
end of the first act, he answered the 
officer, " that men of talent never made 
themselves too cheap/* The monarch 
instantly left the opera, and the whole 
court followed his example. Pitrot^ on 
being informed of this, stepped fw-^ 


wafd, and in the face of the whole re^^ 
maining audience, thus addressed the 
dancers : " Mes enfants, nous dansons 
pour nous-memes, et non pas pour 
TEmpereur." And it is said, that in 
his life he never danced so well. How* 
ever strange it may appear, the Em- 
peror forgave the insult ; and when he 
understood that Pitrot^s engagement 
was finished, and he upon the point of 
departing, he sent this favourite exotic 
a gold snuff-box, with his picture set 
round with brilliants.* Pitrot was uti- 

^ ■ ■ I ■■ fc I ■■ !■■■■■ H I »■ a n .. m ^ ■IW^.^ * ^ — i^M^ ■» ■ IM^.^P. !■ —— ^— — ^ 

* We can boast something similar to this in 
England; for, in 1 735, his present Majesty's fa- 
ther, then Prince of Wales, .made a present of ^ 
fine wrought gold snuff-box, richly set with dia- 
monds and rubies, in which was inclosed a pair 
of diamond knee-buckles, as also a purse of 100 
guineas, to the famous Signior Farin^Iii. 

At Madrid this singer rceeived.a-nnually 10,000 
dollars, besides presents and other advantages. 


der the hands of his hair-dresser, when 
a colonel belonging to the Emperor's 
guards delivered him the present. Pi- 
trot took it after a careless manner, 
looked at it, then pressed his thumb 
upon the cbrystal and crushed the pic- 
ture ; which done, he gave the box to 
his hair-dresser, and bade the officer 
acquaint his master, that that was the 
vray he disposed of baubles sent him 
by men he did not think worthy of his 
friendship— then stepped into his car- 
riage, and just got out of the Em- 
peror's dominions time enough to save 
his head, a party of hussars having 
been dispatched in pursuit of the fugi- 
tive ; and the more was the pity, they 
arrived too late. 

He was told of his lucky escape, 
yet did it not serve to mend his 
manners in the least: for, in Ber- 


Iin, the Emperor sent to him, ex- 
pressing his desire that he would re- 
sume his station in Vienna ; and that 
on account of his superior merits he 
had forgot what kad passed. — ^** Tell 
the Emperor," said Pitrot, " he knows 
I am not a fool." The Kang of Prussia 
desired him t6 get up a most magnifi- 
cent ballet, leaving the expence of it 
entirely to him. But the charge wat 
so very extravagant^ that Frederic r^ 
monstrated. But the intrepid dealer io 
^hops told that bold prince, that the ho^ 
nour of Pitrot was not to be limited 
by the purses of monarchs ; and that 
the king, in future, might take the; 
trifling part (the charges^ upon hini- 

I • ■! ■ M ^ I ■ t ■■ ■ ■ „ ^ 

* In 177^9 Gabrielli wa« in Pctcrsburgh; pre- 
y\o\x% to her eq^agcment by tiie Empress^ she waii 
at Milan^ the price she deoMBdcd was 1 jool. 



Are you not surprised, ihy reader, 
at hearing that such an arrogant scoun- 
drel escaped punishment, in two such 
arbitrary sovereignties as Austria and 
Prussia are known to be? Now you 
shall see a specimen of his behaviour 
when in your own duped countr)% 
When he was here as ballet master, in 
some dispute with fiorville, he threat- 
ened to kick him, if he did not obey 
his directions. Then turning round, 
said, " If there is any stupid lord, or 
gentleman, who pretending to judge of 
the merits of a dancer without know* 

0terYiog per annum, beside a house and carriage ; 
nor would she take less. She was remonstrated 
-with on the unreasonableness •£ yo enormons a 
^aiy ; and to induce her to make some abate- 
ment, they assured her that a Fidd Marshal had 
j)o more. ** If that be the case,*' she said, ** I 
vould advise all hu Majesty's JfiM Marshals 


ing how to pull off their hats, shall dare 
to take your part, Pitrot will prove that 
he can use his sword as well as his legs/^ 
If this outrage on good manners doc» 
not serve to work an effectual cure in 
you, my sensible countrymen, your 
case must be desperate indeed, and 
^common sense must give you over, to. 
mix among the incurable. 

In France, at the moment when he 
was about to begin a dance with the 
sister of Madame du Th€, the father 
of the present Duke of Orleans whis- 
pered to her, that he should sup with 
her ; Pitrot heard him, and told the 
la4y, that he was resolved to supplant 
the duke. The lady modestly told him, 
this his highness would give her an 
hundred louis d'ors. Wellj replied 
Pitrot, I will give you a thousand. On 
her expressing her doubts, he laid his - 

P 2 

2\i MEMOIRS 09 . 


hand on his breast, and rq)lied, '^^ You' 
shall have them,^/ de Pifrot ;" ztkd the 
next morning he kept his word* 

This eccentric man, of whbftia^eat 
variety of anecdotes of tfiis nature' 
might be related, after being reduced, 
by acts of imprudence, to the utmost 
necessity, when Le Picq went to Rus- 
sia, was entrusted with all his school^ 
which brought him in eight hundred 
pounds a year! Emerging from wretch- 
edness, on a sudden, to a state of afflu- 
ence, he launched immediately into his 
usual manner of living, which impru- 
dence obliged him in three years to 
.quit the kingdom : but he has since re- 
turned, and is at this moment in Ca- 
his, without even a coat to cover him J 
A strange reverse of fortune, for a 
.man, whose establishments in Prussia^ 
yienna^ Russia, JPVance, &c# Uc. were 

CHARLES Veb lewes; aj3 

tnore like those of sovereign princes 
than a, ballet master. For example, 
when at Vienna, his equipage was su- 


perb in a most extravagant degree ; he 
always had three servants behind hi^ 
berlin, in the richest liveries, and a 
running footman preceding him. When 
he was established in Le Picq*s school, 
he hired two furnished houses ; in each 
of which he kept a female friend, with 
a carriage a-piece for the accommoda* 
tion of the fair-ones. 

Here was a species of mad extrava- 
gance, only to be equalled by our ho- 
nest tars, who, in the war that raged 
in the year 1762, took the Hermionc, a 
rich Spanish ship. On theActive^s sailors 
receiving the first part of their prize- 
money, at Plymouth, the poor fellows 
were at a loss how to get rid of their 
troublesome load of ready cash. Among 



nany other methods of dissipation, the 
following was adopted by one thought- 
less blade* He hired three post chaises, 
which were occupied thus : in the first 
was deposited a gold-headed cane he 
. iiad bought that morning of a Jew, 
whom he believed he had taken in most 
^regiously. In the next his lass, be- 
dizened with ribbons of the true blue 
colour : and in. the third he seated him- 
self with a flaming point d'Espagne hat 
on his knees, and two double doublooiTs 
placed on each of his breasts, tacked to 
his outward garment with yellow sew* 
ing-silk. These pieces of whimsical 
grandeur he called his stars of the or- 
der of the blue jacket. In this order 
the cavalcade set off from the Pope's- 
head for the Cherry-tree on the road 
leading to Exeter, and was attended by 
a prodigious crowd of men and wo- 


men ; who, when honest Jack gave the 
signal to the drivers to stop^ whick 
was frequently repeated, gave him 
three cheers — and in return for the ho* 
nour done him by this mob. Jack gave 
orders for a red hot bowl of punch to' 
be presented to the blatant beast, at the 
public house where he chose to receive 
their huzzas^ When arrived at the 
Cherry-tree, the end of their first day's 
trip. Jack was blest with the sight of a 
number of his ship^mates, who were 
regaling themselves and their numerous 
friends, with the best the house afford* 
ed. They were surrounded with Israelite 
dealers in every kind of trinkets to al- 
lure the eye, and pick the pockets of 
the honest tars. Every man of the for- 
tunate crew agreed to purchase each 
two watches — ^bawbles too must be 
bought for their occasional spouses, as. 



the disinterested descendants of dd hf 
4her Abraham told the jolly fellows^ 
that their ladies would become cbeweh^ 
^ well as the docbes o£ the land. Such 
recommendations, accompanied with 
*sweet blandishments from the ladies 
themselves, could hardly fail — plenty 
•of the ready was squandered away in a 
short time. But to crown all their 
freakish acts, little short of insanity, 
when they had refreshed on a vast 
quantity of beef steaks fried in butter, 
with plenty of onions, they unani* 
mously agreed to fry their watches in 
•the grease which was used in dressing 
their meat ; and some among the crew 
were so nice in palate, that they could 
not put up with the indelicate fare of 
their companions, but must order spin- 
nage to be boiled for then! : and, 
strange to tell, yet true it is, caused 


their already dressed tatkrs, as they 
termed their watches, to be served up 
to them amongst their spiimage, in lieu 
of eggs ! 

These marks and tokens of tepi- 
porary madness in the rough hardy 
sons of Neptune, manifested on many 
similar occasions, are rtiore excusable, 
than I hope will be allowed in a man, 
who was all his life accustomed to the 
company x)f personages in the highest 
and most exalted spheres of life. Pi- 
trot's arrogance should, one might rea- 
sonably suppose, put people in high 
life upon their guard, not to be daily 
imposed upon by such whiffling, xmqe- 
cessary fellows, who only laugh in their 
sleeves at the stupid credulity of the 
persons of quality and i fashion, who 
encourage them to be insolent to thcif 


supporters. Engbnd has long been tbe 
standing jest of these exotics. 

It is not long since that some of our 
travelling gentlemen beheld in Italy a 
monunient of our gross weakness, 
which was raised out of a small part of 
the sum carried from hence by Signor 
Farinellr. It is a very superb building, 
in which he dwelt, and chose to dig- 
nify it with the significant appellation 
of the English folly. Sennessino, and 
the Cuzzoni, were very little behind 
the first-named charmer of the fair of 
Great Britain, in sweeping away with 
them to their native countries enough 
to buy the fee-simple of some of their 
petty princes, could they have thus 
alienated their estates and honours 
from their posterity. 

CHARI^S LC£ JC£ W£S« 3 1 9 

Father OTLeary. 

In the year 1787, I dined with a 
party at Cork, where Father O'Leary 
was one of the company ; he appeared 
to me as a man in whom there is an 
habitual amiable disposition of mind, 
mild, meek, and peaceable ; devoid of 
that rigid stiffness, or angry zeal, which 
blemish the characters of some men, 
otherwise great and valuable : there is 
such a gentle, affable, sweetness of tem- 
per in his conversation, with such a 
vein of pleasantry and good sense run- 
ning through it, as to constitute hrm a 
most desirable, instructive, and enter- 
taining companion. When the intem- 
perate, indiscreet zeal of the Roman 
Catholics, carried them to an unwar- 
rantable height in the province of Mun- 

220- MBMOIRS OF ' 

ster, he did not foil to shetv tKose who 
were immediately under his influence^ 
that they were destroying both their 
civil and r^//]f/^«x interests, and acting 
to the reproach of common Christi- 
anity : in short, his heart will not let 
him be an inattentive observer, but 
forces him to take a deep share in the 
sorrows and joys of his fellow-crea- 
, tures. 

The only draw -back upon the plea- 
santry of the after-dinner chat w:tS 
the forward impertinence of a young 
spark, who every now and then, (de- 
void of all politeness, and totally for- 
getting that respect which good sense 
.will always pay to Father 0*Leary's 
liberality,) laboured to raise a laugh at 
the expence of his brotherhood of the 
church of Rome. At length an un- 
fortunate attempt to sport with this 


.worthy priest, relieved us from his fur- 
ther fooleries, and gave an opportunity 
of enjoying the smartness of O'Leary'itf 
repartee, tto which he was at length 
provoked, even in despite of his Chris- 
tian patience. 

The puppy, in his pick-tooth man- 
ner, asked O'Lcary what family he 
.had ? " But,'* continued he, ^' I b^ 
pardon, in vyour church you are not 
allowed to marry. You understand 
chy mistry, I suppose, doctor ? Pray, 
. can you tell me what quantity of chas* 
tity, extracted from the sanctimony of 
a nunnery, would cure the priesthood 
of lechery f*V 

Thinking the good man was firing 
with an acrimonious answer, he again 
hastily begged his pardon, and said, 
" he did not mean to ofiend hint; 
that he highly honoured the- clergy ; 

that he was hhAsdf the imif a priest.^. 

%2% * iCEMOIRSy kc 


Arc you so/' s4id O'Lcary (taking 
his snuff), " why then, by your own 
account, you must either be a liar^ or 
a son of a w— — /' 


mt I ■ ■■■■■»■ 

T. GiUct, JPciottit Salitbiiry-s^taif. 


-■- -n -VvJ 

»-■ ' _ _ "^ \ 1 "N ^^ V. 

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