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was not a single O. P. who had not the pit, than to perpetuate scenes so raised the prices of his shop-goods disgraceful and so alarming. This over and over again since the admis- conduct on the part of the propriesion to the boxes was 6s. and to the tors we approve ; but we openly ut. pit 3s. 6d. The argument of these ter our reprobation of the violence men, to use one of their own homely which rendered it necessary; a viocouplets, was
lence so unlike the generosity of the “ John Kemble, let your monopoly cease, English character, that it remains to And then raise your prices as high as you this moment an anomalous and inexplease."
plicable blot. We have never heard We are by no means advocates for it contended, that the prices of adtheatrical monopoly: we wish the mission before the rebuilding of the stage of our country were as free as theatre were too high ; and the evithe press, and despair indeed of see- dence of the committee for examining the drama revive till this freedom ing the affairs of the theatre, (evishall take place. But “ John Kem- dence as respectable as this great ble,” (as the proprietors of this the. country could select from its comatre were throughout the contest per- mercial body,) proves that the profita sonified,) has no controul over this of the concern for several years had monopoly ; and could no more have been far less than is common in the bidden it to cease, than the O. P. ordinary speculations of trade. How, riot. The king will have the the. then, was a small rise improper, when atres limited by letters patent ; and is every thing else had risen ? 'It is vain it not very hard to say to one of to contend that this rise was occathese patentees, “ You shall not be sioned by the existence of a theatrisuffered to raise your demands, in cal monopoly. That argument would proportion as demands are raised be all-powerful, if the increased deupon you, till a contingency happens mand had really been exorbitant; but over which
you have no controul?" the use of it was a cruel appeal to If they are not to be the better for popular prejudice, when no such exthe patent, do not let them be the orbitancy was even pretended; and worse. It is almost idle to argue it is surely hard that a fair claim this question ; for the king's patent should be resisted, merely because very properly gives its holders per- made in circumstances which might mission to demand such prices as they have rendered it possible to enforce shall think reasonable ; and, in point an unjust one.
For our own part, of law, they have a right to do so. we believe that Old Prices were claIn point of fact, they, on the pre- moured for, because power was in sent occasion, compromised that the hands of the acclamants; and that right upon the principle of, “ Any the pleasure enjoyed in the despotic thing for a quiet life.” They had exercise of that power, aided by the struggled against public fury vain- absurd introduction of boxing Jews ly and hopelessly for nearly three and hired ruffians, was the chief, if months; and, seeing no prospect of not the sole excitement, to all the any termination to the riots which riots which we have recorded. nightly shook the walls of their We are not such advocates for the house, they chose rather to sacrifice expediency of private boxes in a pubthe rise on the price of admission to lic theatre, to which there are many
objections, chiefly founded on the po- have been directed. But we are dis. pular nature of a theatre, and the na- gusted with the thoughts of this dis. tural dislike of a free people to the graceful scene ; and, glad as we were obtrusion of aristocratic distinctions ; to see it closed, we could have wish. but we cannot wonder that opulent fa- ed that that end had been brought milies should wish to preserve their about by the high hand of the law, wives and daughters from the increa. rather than by the friendly one of sing contamination of the public lob- compromise, this mode establishing bies, the shamelessness and open pro- no security whatever against the refligacy of which have arrived at a pitch petition of theatrical riot. that almost precludes the possibility Another year must elapse before of permitting one's family to pay even can record the tears and the an annual tribute of admiration to the smiles of the tragic and comic muses talents of Mrs Siddons.
upon their return to this theatre; for In looking back upon the history this barbarous war, which had chaof this riot, it is impossible not to be ced them away so long, has brought disgusted with the unfeeling wrong- us to the close of the year 1899. headedness of the rioters. Their be. haviour was indeed so completely wanting in that refinement, which it
HAYMARKET THEATRE. is the part of the drama to induce, On the 1st day of Easter term, Sir that we cannot help thinking the Samuel Romilly moved the Court of 0. P.'s of the theatre were by no Chancery, on behalf of Messrs Mor. means the theatrical public of Lon- ris, Winston, and others, proprietors don. They consisted, if we may cre- of one half of the Haymarket Thedit the description of those whose atre, to remove Mr Colman, the
pro. names were recorded at Bow street, prietor of the other half, from the of idle city clerks and apprentices, chief management of the theatre, who preferred Covent-Garden pit to upon the alleged ground of his inabithe Fives Court near the Pad and lity to fulfil the duties of his situaSwimmer, * just at that time, be. tion, in consequence of his being con. cause there was a better row going fined for debt in the King's Bench priforward there. Truly theatrical men son ; and for the court to appoint anowould have known better than to re- ther person in his stead, who might, by venge the acts of the proprietors of his personal attention and exertions, the theatre upon Mr Kemble, who be able to do more ample justice to was merely their mouth, or upon Mr the situation. The learned counsel Brandon, who was only their hand. stated, that the bill filed by the They would have reflected, that the plaintiffs set forth that the defendmost obnoxious measure to whichant was, in 1804, sole proprietor of recourse was had, the introduction of the theatre ; he became embarrassed, fighting Jews to combat the 0. P.'s, and sold four-eighthsof it to the plainwas the entire act of an individual, of tiffs ; that, since that period, he had Mr Henry Harris, at whom, and not again become embarrassed, and had at Mr Brandon, their rage would not given his assistance to the the
* Slang translation of the Horse and Dolphin, a public house ncar the Haymarkct, kept by Richmond, the fighting black.
atre, by which means the property trusted it would be found in the preand interest of it had decreased, for sent case. want of an active person at its head. The Lord Chancellor took a few It was alleged, that the defendant had days to consider the difficulties of the entered into a treaty with Mr Haro case, before he gave judgement; and ris, proprietor of the late Covent- on the 22d of April, his lordship orGarden Theatre, to dispose of to him dered the case to stand over till the his play of the Africans, for 10001., 4th of May, to afford the parties an although he might have had 11001. opportunity to settle the business from the proprietors of the Haymar- amicably. On that day, Sir Samuel ket Theatre; and also, that he had Romilly informed the court, that the stopped the performance of a popu- parties could not agree in the aplar piece, called the Critic, which pointment of arbitrators. Mr Craw. they had played for three nights last ford, the barrister, was chosen by the season to overflowing houses. Sir plaintiffs, and Mr Harris, the manaSamuel Romilly contended, that these ger, by the defendant, and mutually were sufficient grounds for the dis- objected to. The Lord Chancellor missal of the defendant from the ma- concurred in the opinion, that Mr nagement.
Harris was a very unfit person for an Mr Hart, counsel for the defende arbitration in such a case, and said ant, stated, that, by a deed of agree- he should take till the 8th of May to ment, all differences were to be settled come to his decision, which he felt by arbitration-none had taken place, confident would be disagreeable to all and until there had, the court had no the parties. Mr Hart-"My Lord, cognizance. He admitted the Afri. it will not be necessary, as we will cans had been offered to Mr Harris appoint another arbitrator without for 1000l. ; but that sum was more giving your lordship the trouble of advantageous to Mr Colman than interfering." Lord Guildford was 11001. from his own theatre, of accordingly appointed, and his lord- . which 5501. would have come out of ship and Mr Crawford not agreeing, his own pocket. As to the Critic, he a further application was made to the prevented its performance to oblige Chancellor on the 6th of June, on beMr Sheridan, who had signified his half of Mr Morris. The application displeasure on the occasion. It was complained that Mr Colman had infurther contended, that the value of terfered in the treasurership, contrarily the property had increased, the shares, to his contract, and had engaged perwhich, in 1805, brought 25001., be- formers, not only without the coring estimated in 1807 at 50001. The sent, but in defiance of Mr Morris. circumstance of the defendant's con- In answer, it was stated, that Mr Col. finement could be no ground for man received the money, merely to his dismissal ; being in the Bench, he enable him to perform his engagewas sure to be found at home. In ment with the public, and that, if his the case of Mr Taylor, the manager partner was ready to receive it, he of the Opera House, who had at- had no objection. It was replied, tachments and outlawries against that Mr Morris would, by such an him, the interest of the concern was act, acquiesce in the engagements of proved not to have suffered by ne- which he disapproved. On the 13th glect, and so the learned counsel of June, the Lord Chancellor ordered Mr Morris to continue to act as trea- the lord and master admirably well ; surer without prejudice. The affairs, but no art could give to his manly, therefore, remain just where they did. sensible, and thinking countenance,
In the mean time, the theatre was the air of that of a simpleton. Mr opened on the oth of June, by the Jones was a very unworthy Coppercompany of the last season, with the Captain. This gentleman acceded to exception of Mr Fawcett, and the the Covent-Garden company in the addition of Mrs Glover, Mrs Eyre, season 1807-8. He came to London and Messrs Jones, Eyre, and Holland. elevated by the praises of a Dublin Fletcher's comedy of Rule a Wife audience ; and, upon a national prinand Have a Wife was the opening ciple, was received with great applay; and introduced to us Mr Young plause by the Irish in London. With as Leon, Mr Jones as Michael Perez, all their support, however, he has not and Mrs Glover as Estifania. Of all been able to preserve the reputation other dramatists, Fletcher has the he acquired in Dublin. He acts pringreatest command of natural and easy cipally Mr Lewis's characters, and, humour ; it comes to him without ef. of course, encounters great disadvan. fort; and it remains with him with- tages. Suchofthat gentleman's parts, out any anxiety to preserve it. The indeed, as were written expressly for reader of Beaumont and Fletcher's him, seem fated to die with their ori. plays is never tired: he runs through ginal actor : and any other comedian one play, and enters upon another, with ought no more to be censured for not as much vigour as he opened the book; playing them well, than for not beand if, in the course of his reading, ing able to wear a coat which was he is seldom dazzled by the splendour made for Mr Lewis, or for not reof Shakespeare, or amazed by the sembling a portrait which was drawn profundity of Jonson, he is never- for him. Mrs Glover is an excellent theless free from the obscurities of comic actress: Her embonpoint is the former and the pedantry of the somewhat against her powers of plea. latter. Mr Young's Leon assumed sing ; but she has the genius of her
The following anecdote, which we deliver upon the authority of a gentleman who was present, is so characteristic of the fire and vivacity which remained with this lively veteran to the last, that we are irresistibly tempted to lay it before our readers. Mr Lewis's excellence in Squire Groom is known to every one in the least degree conversant with theatrical matters. Some time after he had taken his leave of the stage, and was residing in Liverpool as a private gentleman, a Mr Jones (but not the Mr Jones above alluded to) was announced for this dashing part; Lewis, who was a proprietor of the theatre, was at great pains to instruct the young representative, and, on the night of performance, went behind the scenes, to encourage him. He had himself repeateilly performed the character at Liverpool, and was anxious that the mantle which he had relinquished, should, if possible, be made to fit the shoulders of Mr Jones. The entri of Squire Groom is usually preceded by a rattling view-holla; but just as Mr Jones was “ mustering his breath” to give it, or rather, in the words of our narrator, was beginning to chirp it out like a mouse in a cheese, the disappointed veteran, slapping the actor on the back, himself sent forth a peal, so clear, so loud, so ringing, that the audience, instantly catching the well-known tones of their favourite, were lost in acclamations of admiration, regret, and delight ! For a few moments, they half-indulged the hope of once more beholding Lewis on the boards ; but the stirring sound was a rox, et preterea nihil ; for it ushered in Mr Jones.
art out of all question : Her Jealous which was afterwards published by Wife is her chef d'æuvre.
the author with the rest of the farce. On the 14th of June, the Critic Thus purged, the farce made its apwas restored to its place on the stock. pearance on the stage ; and is cerlist at this theatre. The great at- tainly the liveliest offspring of Mr traction of this dramatic olio is the Hook's giddy muse. Sir Fretful Plagiary of Mr Mathews, On the 10th of July was produa a piece of acting which is, beyond ced one of Mr Dimond's “ three-act doubt, one of the chef d'oeuvres of the plays,” under the title of the Foundstage. The “fretful temper” of the ling of the Forest. Mr Dimond has character, which “ winces at every a pretty talent for working up distouch," is inimitably depic:ed by Mr mal stories into spectacles, and proviMathews's continual restlessness and ding them with Aowing words : he eager examination of every look in has now acquired a habit of prothe room, to see whether it makes ducing one of these things regularly for or against him; and nothing can at the Hay-market, which, being a be finer than the quickness with summer theatre, is ambitious of oriwhich he catches at every favourable valling Astley's and the Circus. The spark, and turns round to fan it into Foundling of the Forest should have a fame.
usurped no higher situation than that On the first of July was produced, of a melo-drama. It is not without from the pen of Mr Theodore Hook, a interest ; but it proceeds upon the new farce, called Killing no Murder, wrong principle of mistaking horror the first representation of which ex- for terror, and pain for pity. The cited an unusual interest, on account character of Bertrand is like the ex, of its being known in the theatre, hibition of a man on the rack ; this that Mr Larpent, the deputy-licen- agonized wretch has taken an oath ser, had refused to pass it, till it had to commit murder, and suffers the received certain alterations. The title must dreadful conflicts of conscience, of the piece, Killing no Murder, at whether he can more safely break a first led the public to believe, that vow, or cut a throat. The piece, the license was refused for political however, met with great success, and reasons ; but it afterwards turned out ran a long career with “ Killing no that Mr Larpent's only objection to Murder." the piece was, that its second act was On the 1st of August, a musical a “ most indecent and shameful at. romance, called The Vintagers, was tack (we quote his words) on a very produced from the pen of Mr Eyre religious and harmless set of people, of the theatre. This piece ranks Mr and was altogether an infamous per. Eyre as an author about as high (or secution of the methodists, whom go- rather as low) as he stands in the vernment did not wish to be ridicu- scale of actors. The great blot of led.” The farce was easily altered; the drama is the clap-trapping Engfor nothing from Mr Theodore Hook's lish sailor, which, we are informed, was pen possesses so laborious a compact- heightened to suit the taste of its acness and finish as to be injured by tor, Mr Farley, and against the betsubsequent change ; and it was found ter judgment of Mr Eyre. The munecessary to suppress only one scene, sic was composed by Mr Bishop, a