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mirer of Garrick, as appears from several passages in his letters he says that that great actor had once, in playing Macbeth, nearly made him throw himself over the front of the two shilling gallery. And in another letter he says, “ I thought my old friend Garrick « fell little or nothing short of theatrical perfection; and I have

seen him in his prime and in his highest characters; but Garrick u never affected me half so much as Mrs. Siddons has done." Had Garrick lived to hear this from such a person as Doctor Beattie, it would have killed him;—but the Doctor had in him as large a share of prudent suavity as Mr. Garrick himself, and would not probably have hurt the feelings of Roscius by the avowal of such an opinion, if he were alive.

From Garrick's excessive and irrational je usy arose a number of foibles, and, I am sorry to say it, one vice worse than all. It rendered him sometimes unjust to the merit of others, and sometimes betrayed him into little acts of duplicity. His conduct to Mr. Mossop is one of the many instances which appear in the history of the stage to establish this charge against him. Tate Wilkinson, who has indulged as freely as any one in jesting upon the singularities of that excellent actor, Mossop, speaking of his leaving Drury Lane, says, “ It was occasioned by an affront he took from Mr. 36 Garrick's appointing him to act Richard, as we will suppose this " night, and his first and best character,* which stood well against " Mr. Garrick's, though not so artfully discriminated; while at the ~ same time the manager (Garrick) had secured a command from « the Prir.ce of Wales, for the night following; so that when Mossop

had finished his Richard with remarkable credit, to his astonishment the Mr. Palmer of that age stept forward, and said, “ To-morrow night, by command of his royal highness the Prince “ of Wales (George the third, then a youth), King Richard the " third--King Richard by Mr. Garrick."-It gave a great damp " to what Mr. Mossop had just done. It was certainly galling, and “proved duplicity and ill-nature as well as envy.” Nothing that can be advanced on this transaction could convey a more adoquate idea of Mr. Garrick's motives, than the simple recital of the transaction itself. It was decisive as to the fate of Mossop, who was too proud to remain any longer at Drury Lane, and too dignified to complain of the insult to any one but Mr. Garrick himselt.

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No; not by many, not by a great deal!

In disgust, therefore, he left him for ever, and engaging with Barry and Woodward, at Crow-street, Dublin, incurred that series of losses and woes which at last brought him to the grave.

Though Mr. Sheridan was a much less formidable rival than Mossop, Mr. Garrick was tortured with jealousy of him too: and his feelings were raised to an unreasonable degree of painfulness at Sheridan's success in King John, especially when he was told that the king was uncommonly pleased with that actor's representation of the part. “ To make the draught still more unpalatable,” says the recorder of these facts, “ upon his (Garrick's) asking whether “ his majesty approved his playing the Bastard, he was told, with“ out the least compliment paid to his acting, it was imagined that “ the king thought that the character was rather too bold in the “ drawing, and that the colouring was overcharged and glaring. “ Mr. Garrick, who had been so accustomed to applause, and who, “ of all men living, most sensibly felt the neglect of it, was greatly “ struck with a preference given to another, and which left him s out of all consideration; and though the boxes were taken for “ King John several nights successively, he would never after per“ mit the play to be acted."

These are proofs of a most unpardonable invidiousness of nature: They are absolute,-not in the least doubtful, or capable of palliation,-for of Mossop or Sheridan he was not called upon to give an opinion: the stamp of public opinion had been long impressed upon them. But in the case of Henderson, a pretext may be set up that his opposition to that admirable actor was an error of judge ment. Yet his many endeavours to depreciate, and his perseverance in undervaluing Henderson, after the talents of the latter had gone through the mint, assayed to high value, show that our hero was governed, in that case at least, by the same envious spirit which moved him in those of Sheridan and Mossop. After Henderson had at Bath obtained the name of the Bath Roscius, and at Dublin was placed in the same rank with their favored Mossops, Sheridans, and Barrys -and what was much more, after he had received the most unequivocal approbation from no less a man than Richard Brinsley Sheridan, Mr. Garrick being prevailed upon to go to the Haymarket to see him play Shylock, in which he excelled, and be. ing asked by the friend who brought him, " Well, Mr. Garrick,

speak candidly did not Shylock please you?” “Oh yes, oh yes," replied Garrick,"and so did Tubal."

Without meaning any thing like offence to the profession, we are. firmly persuaded that there are many good actors who are far from being competent judges of the merits of others. We have been accustomed from infancy to hear it remarked, and long observation has confirmed us in the opinion. We think it not difficult to account for it either. Old Charles Macklin, who never saw real merit that he did not endeavour to bring it forward, of which there are many living examples, and the venerable Mr. Hull, of Covent-garden theatre, were excellent judges, and no doubt others are to be found; but we speak generally. Even old Sheridan, who, so far from having any of Garrick's envy, always erred on the other side, and who was a gentleman of most uncommon powers of mind and refined taste, was deficient in judgment upon the talents of players; of which we cannot give a stronger proof than what Doctor Beattie relates of him. In a letter to Sir William Forbes, the Doctor says, that “Sheridan “ assured him, that in every comic character, from Lady Townly a to Nell, Mrs. Siddons was as great and as original as in tragedy;" which was downright rhodomontade. In reviewing the history of the stage, we find Mr. Garrick, with a perversion of judgment truly astonishing, the opposer of candidates of talent, and the promoter of men of incapacity. He discouraged the after celebrated Tom King, and kept him in the shade, till Mr. Sheridan took him to Dublin, where he first received the just reward of his rare powers. He refused Miss Brent, though urged by Doctor Arne to secure her to his theatre; and he entirely overlooked Miss Younge for two seasons, during which she played inferior parts under him at Drury Lane Theatre. That this was owing to mere defect of judgment, not jealousy, appears from his subsequent conduct; for as soon as he heard that she succeeded in Dublin, he actually despatched Moody the player after her, to offer her a carte blanche; in consequence of which she played the first characters at Drury Lane for eight years, and would have continued to do so longer, if Mr. Har. ris had not bought her off by terms which Mr. Garrick would not agree to. To the repeated offers of the celebrated John Palmer, and after various probationary rehearsals, he gave a positive refu. sal, still assuring him that “ he never would do;”—and he uniformly undervalued the imperial mistress of the stage, Mrs. Siddons; while on the other hand he admired more than any one, Tate Wilkinson, one of the worst actors in the world;—and why?- why truly, because he was a mimic. These are all facts, to find which

we can direct any reader to the books and pages where they are recorded: and we think it is not going too far to conclude from these instances of his want of judgment or of candour in the case of persons of conspicuity, that numbers who might have been ornaments to the stage, were pushed off from it in the course of his long theatrical reign, and were left to languish away life unknown, perhaps, in obscurity and want.

Lively as was his genius, and irritable as were his feelings, his conduct was still kept under the steady unrelaxed rein of worldly prudence and discretion. Like most other actors, he frequently mistook the bent of his talents, and often found that his inclinations ‘and his professional powers were at variance: very different from them, however, he never persisted in putting his conceits into practice; but as soon as he found that the public differed from his expectation in his performance of a character, he wisely abandoned the attempt. Falstaff, Shylock, the Bastard in King John, King John himself, Marplot, and a long et cætera, he attempted because he liked them, and left them because the public did not: for it is a mistaken idea, universally though it prevailed, that he could play every thing better than all other actors. His superiority consisted really in this, that he was unrivalled in a greater number and greater variety of characters than any other performer.

To say that in wit he was inferior to Foote, is to say no more of him than may be asserted of any of the most brilliant of their cotemporaries. That Garrick had occasionally sallies of true wit is unquestionable; but they were only occasional, not frequent; nor were they, as Foote's were, continually and instantly at his command. I have often heard the question discussed, whether Garrick's claim to the title of a wit was perfectly clear. He had, however, in abundance, that which often passes current for wit, a vigorous and lively imagination, aided by a considerable share of knowledge of books, and much knowledge of mankind, together with a keen perception of the ludicrous. Along with these he had extraordinary talents for mimicry, and an excellent memory, which, from a large store of experience and observation, furnished him with boundless inaterials for conversation, of which he generally made the most, expatiating upon them in a very fascinating manner: but from his dilatations, if they were presented in writing and not witnessed personally, any man who knew him could tell what the sort of compa. ny was in which he uttered them. In the presence of superiors in VOL. IV.


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rank and condition, his fancy seemed to be lowered down to a reverential decorum: and in the presence of Foote his wit was subdued as it is said Antony's spirit was by Cæsar. It was not in the pleasant warfare of wit, nor in the quick reply or retort, nor in the vivid reciprocation of dialogue he shone, but in the happy relation of humorous stories, and pleasant anecdotes. In these he had a peculiar felicity, and was almost unrivalled. The superiority of Barry in the telling of an Irish story, however, but in none other, he acknowledged. Yet with all these gifts there is reason to believe that Goldsmith's character of him in the little poem of Retaliation, was perfectly correct. With his opinion,

“ It is only that when he is off he is acting," Lord Orford (Walpole) exactly corresponded: "I dined to day at “ Garrick's, (says his lordship)-There were the duke of Grafton, « lady Rochfort, lady Holderness, the crooked Moyston, and Da. “ breu, the Spanish minister; two regents, of which one is lord “ chamberlain, and the other groom of the stole; and the wife of “ a secretary of state. This is being sur un assez bon ton, for a « player! Don't you want to ask me how I like him?--Do want, “ and I will tell you. I like her exceedingly; she is all sense and « all sweetness too. I don't know how, he does not improve so fast “ upon me! There is a great deal of parts, vivacity, and variety; « but there is a great deal too of mimicry and burlesque. I am very “ ungrateful, for he flatters me abundantly; but unluckily I know “ it. I was accustomed to it enough, when my father was first mi“ nister; on his fall I lost it all at once."-"Garrick," says another elegant writer, “ was all submission in the presence of a peer “ or a poet; equally loth to offend the dignity of the one, or pro“ voke the irritability of the other: hence he was at all times too “ methodical in his conversation, to admit of his mixing in the 6 feast of reason and the flow of soul. To his dependents and infe" rior players, however, he was indeed King David, except when “ he had a mind to mortify them by means of one another. On “ such occasions, he generally took up some of the lowest among “ them, whom he not only cast in the same scenes with himself, “ but frequently walked arm and arm with them in the green-room, 6 and sometimes in his morning rambles about the streets."

By all his imitators, his ordinary deportment and speech in private life have been described as very singular. We have heard him

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