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lic invitation, urged by puffing, to go post without horses, to an obscure borough without representatives, governed by a mayor and aldermen who are no magistrates, to celebrate a great poet, whose own works have made him immortal, by an ode without poetry, music without harmony, dinners without victuals, and lodgings without beds; a masquerade where half the people appeared barefaced, a horse-race up to the knees in water, fireworks extinguished as soon as they were lighted, and a gingerbread amphitheatre which, like a house of cards, tumbled to pieces as soon as it was finished.” The circumstance which gave rise to it happened some time before, and was as follows:-A clergyman, into whose possession the house once belonging to our great poet had come, found that a mulberry tree, which grew in the garden, and which had been planted, according to tradition, by Shakspeare himself, overshadowed too much of his mansion, and made it damp. To remedy this inconvenience, he caused it to be cut down; to the great mortification of his neighbours, who were so enraged at him, that they soon rendered the place, out of revenge, too disagreeable for him to remain in it. He therefore was obliged to quit it; and the tree, being pur. chased by a carpenter, was retailed and cut out in various relics of standdishes, tea-chests, tobacco-stoppers, and other things; some of which were secured by the corporation of Stratford. The gentlemen belonging to this body soon after agreed to present Mr. Garrick with the freedom of their borough; and their steward communicated their intentions to him in a letter, from which the following extract is taken:-“ The corporation of Stratford, ever desirous of expressing their gratitude to all who do honour and justice to the memory of Shakspeare, and highly sensible that no person,
in any age, hath excelled you therein, would think themselves much honoured if you would become one of their body. Though this borough doth not now send members to parliament, perhaps the inhabitants may not be less virtuous; and, to render the freedom of this place the more acceptable to you, the corporation propose to send it in a box made of that very mulberry tree planted by Shakspeare's own hand. The story of that valuable relic is too long to be here inserted; but the gentleman who is so obliging as to convey this to you will acquaint you therewith; as also that the corporation will be happy in receiving from your hands some statue, bust, or picture of Shakspeare, to be placed within their new town-hall; they would be equally pleased
to have some picture of yourself, that the memory of both may be perpetuated together in that place which gave him birth, and where he still lives in the mind of every inhabitant."
The honour proposed in this letter to be conferred on Mr. Garrick was accepted by him. In the month of May the persons deputed by the corporation waited on Mr. Garrick, and p:esented him with the freedom of their borough, accompanied with the following letter:
TO DAVID GARRICK, ESQ. SIR, The mayor, aldermen and burgesses of the ancient borough of Stratford-upon-Avon, a town that glories in giving birth to the immortal Shakspeare, whose memory you have so highly honour. ed, and whose conceptions you have ever so happily expressed, rejoice in an opportunity of adding their mite to that universal applause your inimitable powers have most justly merited; and, as a mark of their esteem and gratitude, have respectfully transmitted to you the freedom of their borough, in a box made from a mulberry tree, undoubtedly planted by Shakspeare's own hand, which they hope you will do them the honour of accepting.
By order of the mayor, aldermen, and burgesses in common council. Signed by
W. HUNT, Town-Clerk. Stratford-upon-Avon, May 3, 1763.
At this time Mr. Garrick had formed the plan of the Jubilee, as he intended it should be executed; and, at the conclusion of the theatrical season, invited his audience to be present at it, in the following terms:
My eyes till then no sights like this will see,
The manner in which this entertainment was to have been performed, the disappointment it sustained, and the several occurrences which took place at it, are so well known, that we shall not recapi
tulate them here. It is sufficient to observe, that accident deprived those who were present of part of their entertainment; that all which was exhibited gave general satisfaction; and Mr. Garrick, who was a great sum of money out of pocket by it, framed an entertainment which was performed at Drury-lane theatre ninety-two nights, with great applause, to very crowded audiences. The Ode which was spoken by him at Stratford was also repeated at the same theatre; but not with much success, being performed only seven times.
The management of a theatre is always attended with anxiety and vexation; the difficulty of satisfying the several candidates for theatrical fame is so great, that he who can preserve the friendship of those whose pieces he rejects, must be allowed to possess very extraordinary abilities. In the year 1772, it was Mr. Garrick's misfortune to be embroiled with Dr. Kenrick, a very irascible and troublesome person, who claimed the representation of one of his pieces at Drury-lane; and he inforced his demand in a manner that will always reflect disgrace on his memory. He published a poem, to intimidate the manager, called Love in the Suds, containing insinuations of the basest kind, and which he afterwards denied having had any intention to convey. Mr. Garrick had recourse to the Court of King's Bench, to punish the infamous libeller of his reputation; and, notwithstanding he had been a second time insulted by another publication conceived with equal malignity, he was weak enough to stop the prosecution he had commenced, on his adversary's signing an acknowledgment of his offence, which was printed in all the public papers. It cannot be denied but that the interests of society demanded that so gross an offender should meet with punishment, and that no concessions ought to have been allowed to deprecate that stroke which the law would have inflicted on so heinous a crime.
From this time no event of importance happened, until the resolution which Mr. Garrick had begun to form of quitting the stage was, to the concern of every one, carried into execution. It will be matter of surprise, both to the present and future generations to learn, that this determination was accelerated by the caprices of three celebrated actresses, Miss Young, Mrs. Abington, and Mrs. Yates, who contrived to render his situation so uneasy to him, that he frequently used to declare, that he should have continued some time longer in his public capacity, had it not been for the plague
these people gave him. On this subject the following two epigrams were published.
ORPHEUS AND GARRICK.
Three actresses drove Garrick from the stage.
THE MANAGER'S DISTRESS.
“I have no nerves,” says Young; "I cannot act!”
Here prompter, ring the bell, and drop the curtain. In the beginning of the year 1776, he entered into an agreement with some of the present patentees of Drury-lane, for the sale of his interest in the theatre; but continued to act during the remainder of that season. The last night of his performance was, for the Theatrical Fund, on the 10th day of June in that year; when he represented the character of Don Felix, in the comedy of The Wonder. At the conclusion of the play he came forward, and addressed the audience in a short speech, wherein he said, "it had been usual for persons in his situation to address the public in an epilogue; and that he had accordingly turned his thoughts that way, but found it as impossible to write, as it would be to speak, a studied composition: the jingle of rhyme and the language of fiction ill suiting his then feelings: that the moment in which he then spoke was an awful one to him: that he had received innumerable favours, and took his leave on the spot where those favours were conferred.” He then said, “ that, whatever the events of his future life might be, he should ever remember those favours with the highest satisfaction and deepest gratitude; and, though he admitted the superior skill and abilities of his successors, he defied them to exert themselves with more industry, zeal and attention, than he had done.”—This speech, which was de. livered with all that emotion which the particular situation of the speaker rendered very interesting and affecting, was received with the loudest bursts of applause: and he left the stage with the acclamations of a numerous and polite audience, who were unable to forbear expressing the deepest concern for the loss of their favourite performer,
Mr. Garrick now retired to the enjoyment of his friends, the most respectable in the kingdom, and of a large fortune, acquired in the course of more than thirty years: but the stone, which he had been afflicted with some time, had already made such inroads on his constitution, that he was unable to communicate or receive from his friends that pleasure which his company afforded, except at times, and in a very partial manner. It is supposed that he injured his health by the application of quack medicines, and often experienced the most violent torments from the severity of his disorder. At christmas, 1778, he went to visit lord Spencer, at Althorp, in Northamptonshire, during the holidays. He was there taken ill: but recovered so far that he was removed to town; where growing worse, he died in a few days afterwards, at his house in the Adelphi, on the 20th of January, 1779, at the age of sixty-three years. His brother George died within a fortnight after him. This fact, melancholy as it was, furnished the witty Charles Bannister with a topic for a bon-mot. George Garrick's anxiety to be always at his brother's command in the theatre, had brought on him a habit of asking, when he returned from any temporary absence, “ Has David wanted me?” His death so speedily following that of his brother, was remarked in the Green-room as an extraordinary circumstance." Extraordinary!" said Bannister; “I see nothing extraordinary in it-David wanted him."
Mr. Garrick was interred with extraordinary magnificence on the first of February, in Westminster-Abbey, near the monument of his beloved Shakspeare.